Is the American Civil Liberties Union having trouble finding actual civil-liberty violations to challenge these days? That’s the question raised by one of their latest blog offerings, an anonymous sob story by someone who claims, “My employer shamed me for using birth control.”
Arguing that “no one should be forced to choose between her job and her dignity,” “Jessica R.” says she fears pressing her (also-anonymous) Catholic university employers for contraception coverage. Upon her hiring, the Human Resources secretary informed Jessica that birth control wasn’t covered, though she later learned the insurance company did cover it. So she happily received birth control coverage for more than a year, until…
You can imagine my surprise when my pharmacy told me out of the blue one day that my insurance company had denied coverage for my monthly prescription. Assuming it was just some sort of administrative error, I called my insurer. But there was no mistake—my employer had demanded that the insurance company refuse to cover birth control for employees unless they had a “prior authorization” from their OB-GYN. My doctor agreed to write a letter explaining that I needed birth control for contraceptive purposes. But according to the insurance company, family planning isn’t “medically necessary,” and the insurance company denied coverage again. I had to go back to my OB-GYN and ask her to tell the insurance company the second reason why I need birth control pills: to regulate my periods. My doctor did, and the authorization was ultimately accepted.
After the insurance company first denied me birth control, but before I learned that it was my employer who’d demanded they change their policies, I made an appointment with the university’s Human Resources director. I assumed it was a problem with the insurance company, and thought our HR Director would want to know. Boy, was I wrong. The HR director told me that birth control is something the university should never be expected to cover, and that I should be more responsible for my reproduction and “proud” of my child.
Ever since that conversation, the HR director gives me dirty looks whenever I pass him in the hallway. I discussed the situation with my boss, who was sympathetic, but advised me not to bring it up to anyone else in the University’s administration . . . because they might fire me.
The first thing to keep in mind, of course, is that it’s impossible to verify any of these claims without identifying the accused university, and “innocent until proven guilty” is supposed to be one of the ACLU’s bedrock principles. Lying to employees about their insurance options would of course be wrong, as would implying “Jessica” isn’t proud of her daughter—if, that is, those things actually happened. The jury requests more evidence, your honor.
Second, however deplorable “shaming” one’s employees may be, it’s not a civil-liberties violation or a legal issue. Presumably someone at the ACLU has a copy of the Constitution within arm’s reach, in which they would find precious little basis for a right to be insulated from the opinions of people around us, or from the “dirty looks” and words they can manifest in.
Most people figure out pretty early on that the occasional jerk boss is a fact of life, but because most people’s job gripes don’t happen to also be hot-button political demands of powerful special interests, they don’t expect the coercive force of government to come to their rescue, and have to settle for a process historically known as “dealing with it.” (See also “growing up.”)
And can we finally stop indulging this farce where people proactively seek out overtly religious institutions, voluntarily sign on with them with the obvious expectation that the terms will be in accordance with certain religious tenets, but then proactively seek to violate said tenets and pretend to be shocked when they meet inevitable resistance for doing so? No matter how many times liberals try packaging such people as blindsided victims, it only saddles their already-dubious claims of victimhood with the stench of foolishness, hypocrisy, and even more self-entitlement than government-mandate advocates usually reek of.
Ironically, if the ACLU was really desperate for legitimate work in the defense of freedom, they’d readily find it on the other side of the contraception wars. The fact that they champion such ludicrous causes by choice rather than necessity, however, demonstrates that a change of stationery is long overdue—the L stands not for Liberty, but Leftism.