Eden Foods CEO Doesn’t Know Why He’s Against Contraception, but He Is

What Women Really Think
April 18 2013 1:17 PM

Eden Foods CEO Doesn’t Know Why He’s Against Contraception, but He Is

Eden Foods CEO Michael Potter can't really explain why he's against this

Photo illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Michael Potter, the CEO of Eden Foods, has been outed by Irin Carmon at Salon as an anti-contraception crusader to his largely liberal customer base, and, to the delight of all watching, has an inability to grasp how incoherent he sounds as he keeps trying to explain what this is all about. Eden Foods is one of the many private companies that are suing the federal government over the HHS mandate requiring that contraception be treated like a preventive health care service and offered without a co-pay. Potter's lawyers, provided by the conservative Thomas More Society, have argued that Potter's deep religious beliefs mean he should be able to prevent his employees from spending their own benefits on contraception. But now that the lawsuit has come to light and the company has received thousands of complaints from its customers, Potter is trying to backtrack. In fact, he won’t even admit he has any particular religious beliefs, and says this is about the federal government meddling in his business. As he told Salon, “I don’t care if the federal government is telling me to buy my employees Jack Daniel’s or birth control."

Ian Millhiser, a legal analyst for Think Progressnoted that Potter's utter lack of religious conviction undermined his already-thin case. When Carmon called Potter back for comment, he seemed very confused by his lawyers' claims about devout religious faith. Carmon asked him what particular religious belief led him to sue, and his answer is surely one beloved by his lawyers:

“Well, there isn’t any one particular religious belief, Irin,” he said, sounding irritated. “I find it hard to get my head around the question.”

He then went on to claim that his employees could get "free" contraception elsewhere, because of the HHS mandate. In reality, they cannot, because the HHS mandate doesn't offer alternatives to employees whose employers have told them they can't use their own insurance benefits.

Not only has Potter jeopardized his own case, but arguably, he's managed to expose the larger issue with the lawsuits regarding the contraception mandate. Anti-choicers who support these lawsuits have vehemently denied that this is about separating as many women as possible from affordable contraception options. Instead, they swear up and down that it's about "religious freedom." No doubt the government lawyers are rubbing their hands in glee and hoping that Carmon and Potter have a few more chats about his non-existent religious convictions. I'd love to listen into the conversations where his lawyers beg him to stop talking to reporters.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.