Sayantani DasGupta

Why Corporations Should Keep Their Hands Off Employees' Ovaries

We all knew the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision earlier this year, which ruled that corporations with religious owners cannot be made to pay for insurance coverage of contraception, was only the tip of the iceberg. I for one imagined (only a bit facetiously) that Walmart, Chick-Fil-A, and other conservatively-owned businesses would soon be banning women shoppers from wearing slacks or requiring that female employees remain at all times barefoot and pregnant.

What I did not imagine was that seemingly progressive corporations like Facebook and Apple would also be trying to mange their female employees’ reproductive lives, under the guise of supporting women’s childbearing choices. Apple and Facebook’s recent offers to female employees of elective egg freezing benefits have been roundly critiqued as a not-so-subtle message for women workers to delay their childbearing in favor of advancing their careers and corporate profits. Bioethicists note that the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) does not endorse egg freezing for “the sole purpose of circumventing reproductive aging in healthy women,” while the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) goes even further. ASRM notes that egg freezing should be considered a viable option for women for whom it is medically necessary, including young women with cancer who will receive radiation, surgery or chemotherapy that will render them infertile, but too physically, emotionally and economically risky for those for whom it is simply a tool of delaying fertility.

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