Ethical Dilemma

Ethical Dilemma

The move of some institutions like Wheaton College and the craft Store Hobby Lobby, to object the coverage of birth control to their students due to violation of their religious principles, has been raising many ethical questions. In Wheaton College, all student health care coverage was terminated as a way of avoiding a violation of the Affordable Care Act regulations (Keim, 2013). Hobby Lobby craft store in Oklahoma with its self-described Christian principles suggested that they want to provide coverage for certain emergency birth control due to their religious values (Griffin, 2014). In line with the debate, several problems are largely associated with refusal of institutions to provide reproductive health services to their students and employees. Lack of reproductive health coverages can make it hard for women to afford and access care, which may lead to serious economic, heal, and social consequences not only to women but also families. Therefore, the move by several institutions to decline health coverage of birth control is unethical since it can lead to harm as well as undermine the benefits of individuals.

Firstly, institutions are often the results of human actions, and they always have an ethical content by their origin. Ethical values are not often adhered to out of personal interest but out of social good and or the benefit of many people (Van den Hoven, Vermaas & van de Poel, 2015). The decision for several institutions to decline health coverage for birth control is unethical since the consequence of the action affects a significant number of employees and students. The institutions did not act out of social good for everyone because they were protecting their interest in religion. Religious-affiliated institutions normally employ workers from diverse religious backgrounds, unlike houses of worship. Similarly, institutions of learning also admit students from diverse religious backgrounds. Therefore, the move is a major drawback to most students and employees who depend on the coverage to access birth control.

Bailey & Burch (2015) assert that institutions that employ strong ethical behaviors and criteria tend to employ frameworks for correct evolution. The framework employed by the institutions shows that they do not have strong ethical values since they are only guided by their religious practices. The result of their actions will impose burdens not only to the students but also to workers and families. Consequently, the move will require workers to opt-in for contraceptive coverage, which means they have to cut off access to birth control for their covered family members. As such, it is unethical for the institutions to cut off health coverage for birth control since many people depend on the coverage, and they may be majorly affected by the action.

Even though sponsors and founders of institutions have their religious motivations, it is not ethically right for institutions to serve their religious functions. Religious-affiliated hospitals, social service agencies, hospitals, and insurance companies employ and serve the regular citizens, and they must abide by the rules of the public (Bailey & Burch, 2015). Morally, it is not correct for employers’ religious belief to take precedence over those of their workers. If the exemption is expanded, millions of employees and students will be affected since their access to preventive health care is interfered with. In the case of Wheaton college, not only will thousands of students be affected by the opposition but also many employees and their families who depend on the coverage. Indeed, the opposition to the use of contraceptives is ethically wrong since it affects the general public.

One major ethical value of an institution is to ensure that its employees are financially stable to ensure their effectiveness at work (Griffin, 2014). Therefore, objecting employees to their financial entanglement on the use of birth control is ethically wrong. Employers do not have a right to contradict an employee’s use of their health benefits as well as their sick leaves and other aspects of their compensation. Hobby Lobby is one organization that objects access to the financial accommodation from the contraceptive coverage requirement, which is every wrong move. Furthermore, employees paying for insurance are paying for other services they expect never to use. Hence, allowing workers to choose specific benefits is ethically wrong, and it undermines the ability of insurance to pool the risks of employees.

The religious exemption is likely to undercut the contraceptive coverage requirement for most women and their families as well as students, which may cause potential harm. Institutional ethics protect employees and students from any potential harm. Thus, carrying out the exemption by Hobby Lobby and Wheaton college will be unethical since it undermines the standard of protection that should be provided. According to (Van den Hoven, Vermaas & van de Poel, 2015) emergency care is a vital subset in health services, which is normally administered separately. Medical ethics also prohibits objections in emergencies, especially time-sensitive services like birth control, to clarify that the health of patients should not be undermined. Therefore, it is very unethical for institutions to object to the provision of coverage to health care services on contraceptives.

In sum, the fact remains that the decline of health coverage on birth control is ethically wrong since it may lead to harm, and it undermines the needs of the public. Employees, as well as students in any institution, are entitled to have access to health care coverage and protection from harm according to the ethics of many institutions. The move made by Wheaton College and Hobby Lobby Craft store to decline health coverage to the students and employees is a mean move that only benefits the personal interest of the stakeholders and employers. It is equally wrong since ethics requires social benefit for everyone, and the action will affect many students and employees. It is important for institutions to follow the right ethical behaviors, especially during the implementation of policies that may directly affect the employees as well as workers.







































Bailey, J., & Burch, M. (2016). Ethics for behavior analysts. Routledge.

Griffin, L. C. (2014). Hobby Lobby: The Crafty Case That Threatens Women’s Rights and

Keim, A. A. (2013). The HHS Mandate and Religious Liberty: A Primer. Academic Questions, 26(4), 429-437.

Religious Freedom. Hastings Const. LQ, 42, 641.

Van den Hoven, J., Vermaas, P. E., & van de Poel, I. (2015). Handbook of ethics, values and technological design. Dordrecht: Springer.


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