Controversy Surrounding Decision to Revoke Healthcare Cover for Students by Wheaton College
Wheaton college and craft store Hobby Lobby are in the middle of a controversy relating to provision of health care coverage. According to the health care act, employers are to offer medical coverage for their employees and for Wheaton’s college case, students as well. Insofar as medical coverage in general is concerned, the two parties have no objection. The problem arises in a sections of the Obama healthcare bill requiring the educational institution and business to offer coverage for contraceptives. In protest to this law, the institution has rescinded the provision of general healthcare in order to stay clear from violating it. The problem is one of ethics as it involves the beliefs of the organizations, which they feel are violated.
According to Carrol (2014), the healthcare bill requires the learning institution to offer coverage for preventive measures for women. The directive as per the law directly interferes with the beliefs of the learning institution. However, McDonough (2015) points out that the healthcare law provides that if the law breaches the beliefs of the organizations, these institutions should notify the healthcare insurers. Also, instead of informing third party insurance companies, the various institutions have the option of notifying the government directly. Wheaton college is a Christian learning institution whose values and principles are based on Christian teaching and the Bible. The institution’s beliefs are in line with what the Catholic church teaches on the use of contraceptives. Rightfully by law (Protect Thy Neighbor, 2017), the religious affiliated institution can object to provisions of the healthcare law.
The right to exercise religion is enshrined in the constitution. Wheaton College and the Hobby Lobby Company have thus the right to object to being burdened by the healthcare law to forego their religious beliefs and principles. According to Christianity, one of the roles of human beings, under the institution of marriage is to procreate (BBC, 2009). The use of contraceptives hinders them from performing this role. It is important to understand that is the Christian teaching also that children are considered blessing and their existence should not be hindered for reasons that may be selfish. The health care act forces these institutions to go against this belief through its provisions. It is ethical that Wheaton College and the Hobby Lobby Company should want to protect what they hold to be true.
According to the constitution in the United States, when a law is formulated but lies in direct violation to what is enshrined in the constitution, then it is without significance or function (American Constitution Society, 2018). The Healthcare bill provides directives that lies in a previously enacted law to practice religion freely. In this line of reasoning, it would be sensible to conclude that that some of the healthcare sections are null. These sections that interfere with the faith of the citizens are null in other words. This could have prompted the learning institution to move to court to claim what is right according to the law and their beliefs. Liptak (2014) argues that Wheaton College places complexities into the matter when there is actually no need for them. Despite there being provisions for exemptions to provide coverage for preventive measures, the learning institution takes the position that their freedom is violated.
Pashman (2015) explains that despite the exemptions provided for by the law, the government through law still forces the religious affiliated institutions against their will. Bypassing the responsibility of providing to provide health care to the said extents still violates their beliefs. Handing over this responsibility is regarded as facilitating abortion or actions against their faith. Therefore, Wheaton College moved to court of appeal to object to the provisions provided. This action receives criticisms from various fronts including presiding judges of the appeal court. In one part, the institution is criticized for causing complexities that are unnecessary as all they have to do is to hand over the responsibility that violates their faith. It is necessary to point out that the two factions, the learning institution and the judiciary are guided by different principles. In as far as the place of human beings in procreation is concerned, the two parties have different stands. When the two struggle to bring out they are right in their perceptions as opposed to others, problems arise. However, it is necessary to respect the beliefs of others and in this case, Wheaton College.
In conclusion, the question of whether it is ethical or not for Wheaton College to revoke provision for healthcare coverage, the institution has the right to contest the law for what it believes to be right. It is ethical to stand by what one believes in as long as it does not injure another. The learning institution has shown commendable dedication and commitment to what they hold to be the truth. As with other organizations, they also have principles that guide their actions and these separate them from other institutions.
BBC (2009.). Contraception [Online]. Available at https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/christianethics/contraception_1.shtml
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Liptak. A. (2014). Birth Control Order Deepens Divide Among Justices. The New York times. [Online]. Available at https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/04/us/politics/supreme-court-order-suspends-contraception-rule-for-christian-college.html [accessed on 23 May 24, 2018]
McDonough. K (2015). In a move to block birth control access, Wheaton College just canceled health insurance for all students. Splinter [Online]. Available at https://splinternews.com/in-a-move-to-block-birth-control-access-wheaton-colleg-1793849627 [accessed on 23 May 24, 2018]
Pashman. M. B (2015) Wheaton College ends coverage amid fight against birth control mandate. Chicago Tribune [Online]. Available at https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-wheaton-college-ends-student-insurance-met-20150728-story.html [accessed on 23 May 24, 2018]
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