Last Thursday, July 11, a district court in Michigan refused to temporarily stop enforcement of the contraceptive coverage benefit against another for-profit corporation. The company challenging the contraceptive coverage benefit is Mersino Management. Mersino Management sells water bypass systems for profit. Indeed, it states that “complete water management is our specialty.” The bosses at Mersino Management also think that they have a special right to decide whether their employees get access to birth control. Specifically, Mersino Management has been arguing in court that for-profit companies can exercise religious beliefs and that bosses’ should be able to impose those religious beliefs on their employees to determine whether employees are able to have birth control coverage.
The court’s order on Friday said the company and its owners were unlikely to succeed with those arguments. First, the court found that this country’s religious freedom protections do not extend to Mersino Management as a company. As a secular, for-profit corporation, it cannot exercise religion and so, it is not burdened by any requirement to include coverage for birth control in the insurance provided to its employees. Second, the contraceptive coverage benefit imposes no burden on the Mersinos exercise of their religion as individuals. It simply requires the company to “indirectly provid[e] the means for their employees to make the independent decision to purchase contraceptives.”
Their employees’ independent decision to use contraceptives. Exactly. Mersino Management should stick to water bypass systems and—along with the other 33 for-profit companies—stop trying to impose its owners’ religious beliefs on its employees.