The issue of who should be required to cover the cost of contraceptive provision highlights the ways in which political philosophy can shape health care policy and practice. In examining three media articles covering the Supreme Court’s ruling on this issue with regard to two companies – Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties – it is clear to see that the health care policy with regard to contraceptive provision has become a critical part of the battle between conservative and liberal ideologies.
Writing for CNN, Mears and Cohen emphasise the fact that this issue concerns the political division between state and individual rights, calling the case “a frenzied partisan debate over religious and reproductive rights” (Mears and Cohen, 2014, n.p.). The article quotes experts from both sides of the debate, including political analysts, majority and dissenting justices, and a White House Spokesman, to emphasise the political complexity of this issue.
Similarly, Adam Liptak of the New York Times quotes one of the justices involved as saying that the rulings in favour of allowing companies to opt out of providing contraceptive cover on religious grounds “introduced pointless complexity into an already byzantine set of regulations” (Liptak, 2014, n.p.). Unlike the CNN coverage, Liptak’s article is biased heavily against this decision, using quoted material from justices and experts who disagreed with the ruling to elucidate its consequences for American women.
Somashekhar, writing for the Washington Post, calls the ruling “the latest turn in the tortured path taken by the law” (Somashekhar, 2014, n.p.), in an article which does not explicity take sides in the debate, but instead emphasises the way in which health care policy is being used as a vehicle for the struggle between different ideological positions.
Overall, what these article demonstrate is the way in which welfare provisions such as health care policies pertaining to contraceptive cover are never objectively decided, but are instead subject to ideological and political influences which can have far-reaching effects for health care practice.
Liptak, A. (2014, July 3). “Birth Control Order Deepens Divide Among Justices.” The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/04/us/politics/supreme-court-order-suspends-contraception-rule-for-christian-college.html.
Mears, B. and Cohen, T. (2014, June 30). “Supreme Court Rules Against Obama in Contraception Case.” CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/30/politics/scotus-obamacare-contraception/.
Somashekhar, S. (2014, June 30). “Contraception Ruling is a Symbolic Blow to the Health-Care Law.” The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/contraception-ruling-is-a-symbolic-blow-to-the-health-care-law/2014/06/30/44ef2cc2-fe35-11e3-b1f4-8e77c632c07b_story.html.