Mic accuses companies of using the ‘guise‘ of religious freedom for nefarious purposes

September 9, 2022

By Tim Worstall

Mic claims that not forcing the religious to pay for PrEP for employees is paring back of key social protections under the “guise” of religious freedom. We do admire, although not in a good way, the use of that word “guise” there. It’s even claimed that this is all part of a long-running conservative program to gut those social protections.

That’s the claim:

A federal judge in Texas has ruled that an Obamacare provision mandating employer-run insurance cover the cost of certain preventative HIV medication is unconstitutional, in what has become the latest front of a longstanding conservative effort to pare back key societal protections under the guise of religious freedom.

 That there’s nothing long-standing about PrEP should be obvious – the first authorization was only 10 years ago, and it only became common in any manner much more recently.

PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a method to preemptively take drugs that work against HIV infection, without being infected. So as to not become infected even while engaging in the behavior that might cause infection. It is, in the true meaning of the word, a prophylactic, just as a condom or other barrier method is – something that prevents infection from the act. 

Given the likely causes of HIV infection, intravenous drug use or promiscuity of certain kinds, this does then run into the reality of who pays for health care insurance in America – employers. It’s obvious enough that some people won’t approve of those behaviors, how much should they be expected to pay for the prevention of infection from them? Add in that some of the objections will be religious and we’ve got something close to the Hobby Lobby case. Where a Christian-run and closely held company does not have to include contraception in its corporate health care policy. For the same reasons too – forcing someone to pay for what they disapprove of on religious grounds doesn’t meet with what the law can force people to do.

 PrEP isn’t, therefore, either a key nor longstanding social protection and it’s not even under the guise of religion – it’s simply the law. Corporate health insurance doesn’t have to cover prophylactics against what the employer thinks is immoral behavior – whether condoms or PrEP.

 There’s also another truth here which is that using insurance to pay for small and ongoing costs just isn’t economically correct anyway but that argument has already been lost.

“This ruling is shocking on every level,” Mitchell Warren, the executive director of HIV nonprofit AVAC, told NBC. “It defies evidence, logic, public health, and human rights, and sets back enormous progress in the fight to end the HIV epidemic.”

Well, no, not really. Forcing people to pay for what they think shouldn’t be happening doesn’t seem to us to advance human rights all that much.

Mic aims itself at the urban consumer and gains some 3 million visits a month as it does so. It’s also part of the larger group which includes Bustle and so on.

 Mic’s response here is so extreme that they’ve achieved that amazing feat of making BuzzFeed News look calm and rational on the same subject. If you manage that then time to sit down for a serious look at reporting standards, no?


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