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Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. is a landmark Supreme Court case in which it was ruled that the contraceptive mandate from the Affordable Care Act was an unnecessary and substantial burden on Hobby Lobby’s corporate exercise of religious freedom. This is the latest of many court cases that have expanded corporation’s rights to equal those of humans, giving them individual status without the responsibilities that come along with it. By citing religious liberty rights, closely held corporations such as Hobby Lobby can impose their religious viewpoints on their employees, specifically by not providing certain contraceptive care coverage. Other corporations are forcing women to choose between careers and families by imposing certain preventative care guidelines, such as egg-freezing methods among others. In order to determine the future implications of this case, I researched the history of corporate personhood, women and usage of contraceptive care, and gender-based workplace discrimination. My research shows that by not supporting female employees who have different health needs, Hobby Lobby sets up a model for corporations to be discriminatory towards women by portraying the idea of an anti-family and unsupportive workforce environment. In addition, the Hobby Lobby case has broader implications, with increasing corporate power causing economic and political ripples. Solutions can be found outside the US, by looking at European guidelines concerning women preventative services as a template. On the home front, the US Government should stand its on ground on the Affordable Care Act mandate concerning women care, by requiring all corporations to adhere to those rules through mandatory legislation, and the American Medical Community should properly inform physicians and patients of all contraceptive options, including Long-acting reversible contraception. This will allow women to be rightfully given access to the full range of preventative care services and a supportive and nurturing environment, and will also keep corporate power in check, preventing future possible cases of workplace discrimination.
Public Health, Economics, Women's Rights
Hobby Lobby, Contraceptive Coverage, Corporate Personhood, Workplace Discrimination
Current Academic Year
Professor Mary Boyes
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