It’s a shame organic food giant Eden Foods has failed to recognize the strong connections between access to modern contraception and a more sustainable world. Too bad – access to family planning services is not only vitally important for the health of women and girls, but also for the health of the human and natural communities.
So it’s hard to understand how Eden Foods can “maintain a healthy, respectful, challenging, and rewarding environment for employees” when denying employees this basic human right. And how can the company claim that “we strive to ‘walk the talk’ and hope that our activities result in a positive net impact on Planet Earth,” when refusing to allow women access to one of the simplest, most powerful opportunities to positively impact women, families, communities and the planet?
Background: Eden Foods sued the Obama administration over the contraceptive coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act, apparently because of the personal beliefs of CEO and sole shareholder Michael Potter, who infamously lumped contraceptives and Viagra together as “lifestyle drugs.” (Hat tip to Grist’s Lisa Hymas for a great blog about this!)
Michael Potter happens to be Catholic, and Eden Foods’ lawsuit was based on religious beliefs that “contraception or abortifacients … almost always involve immoral and unnatural practices.” The Supreme Court ruled in the Hobby Lobby case that certain companies (like Eden Foods) can refuse to cover family planning services for the company’s employees based on religious beliefs. Of course, religious beliefs about contraception vary greatly – and here’s another viewpoint:
“Enabling birth spacing by offering access to contraception and allowing women and mothers to choose based on their own needs and preferences is consistent with New Testament doctrine, and it affirms our respect for the dignity of all women.”
(Thanks to Anne Wilson of Christian Connections for International Health for her great Mother’s Day piece, Providing Access to Contraceptives – In the Name of Jesus)