12 reasons the Hobby Lobby case should be dismissed

As you’re likely aware, some eighty Christian groups and Christian-owned businesses now have wending through the court system lawsuits against the Obama administration, whereby they are seeking to block the contraceptive-coverage requirement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Their position is that use of the IUD and the oral contraceptive pills known as Plan B and Ella (all of which are FDA-approved) constitutes not birth control or preventive health care, but abortion.

In other words, they take exception to the moral choice they feel is made by any woman who uses an IUD or takes emergency contraceptive drugs.

The general who is leading the Christian charge against the ACA is conservative evangelical David Green, founder of the family-owned crafts store Hobby Lobby (500 stores in 41 states; 13,000 full-time employees). Green maintains that the government’s mandate to offer his employees insurance that covers the IUD and so-called “morning after” pills violates his right to freedom of religion. As Green told USA Today:

We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. … Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions. Which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. … The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law.

Hobby Lobby’s case against the government has made its way to the Supreme Court, which on March 25 will hear its argument that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (aimed at preventing laws that substantially burden a person’s free exercise of their religion) allows a for-profit corporation to deny its employees the health coverage of contraceptives to which the employees are otherwise entitled by federal law, based on the religious objections of the corporation’s owners.

Below are twelve points and perspectives on this issue that I feel worthy of some consideration. For convenience’s sake from here forward I’ll use “Hobby Lobby” to collectively refer to all of the Christian parties who are suing the U.S. government for the same reason that Hobby Lobby is (the American Family Association, the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Christian Legal Society, Reaching Souls International, etc.).

1. Although the Hobby Lobby’s case is ostensibly about the right to religious freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment, its informing principle has in truth more to do with the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery. A company does not own the bodies of its employees. It therefore has no right to determine how its employees choose to use the insurance coverage they are required to offer their employees. Hobby Lobby doesn’t purchase medical care for its employees; it purchases medical insurance, which it then offers its employees as one component of a total salary package that also includes such benefits as vacation pay, holiday pay, sick pay, overtime pay, a 401k plan, and so on. Hobby Lobby has no more right to tell its employees how to use their health insurance benefits than it does to tell them how to spend the money they earn, or where they should go on their vacation. Health insurance does not belong to the employer. It belongs to the employee.

2. Rick Warren said that requiring employers to provide their employees with insurance that covers contraceptive birth control is like making a law requiring Jewish delis to sell pork. No, Mr. Warren. It’s like making a law requiring, say, 13,000 full-time employees of a nationwide chain of Jewish delis to obey their employer’s edict that they never use the money they earn while working at the deli to buy or eat pork.

3. As evidenced by David Green’s quote above, Hobby Lobby’s argument rests upon its assertion that the IUD and emergency contraceptive pills are “abortifacients”—that is, that they cause abortions. But at best that is woefully misinformed, and at worst a purposeful misuse of inflammatory language.

Let’s let the Mayo Clinic explain:

Morning-after pills can help prevent pregnancy if you’ve had unprotected sex — whether you didn’t use birth control, you missed a birth control pill or your method of birth control failed.

Morning-after pills can prevent pregnancy because conception typically doesn’t occur immediately after sex. Instead, it may happen up to several days later. During the time between sex and conception, sperm travel through the fallopian tubes until they potentially reach an egg. As a result, using emergency contraception soon after unprotected sex isn’t too late to prevent pregnancy.

Morning-after pills do not end a pregnancy that has implanted. Depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle, morning-after pills may act by one or more of the following actions: delaying or preventing ovulation, blocking fertilization, or keeping a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. However, recent evidence strongly suggests that Plan B One-Step and Next Choice do not inhibit implantation. It’s not clear if the same is true for Ella.

Keep in mind that the morning-after pill isn’t the same as mifepristone (Mifeprex), also known as RU-486 or the abortion pill. Mifeprex terminates an established pregnancy — one in which the fertilized egg has attached to the uterine wall and has already begun to develop.

In short, the use of emergency contraception is birth control, not abortion.

4. About 50 percent of fertilized eggs naturally fail to implant in the uterus. Shall we then consider Mother Nature, or God, an abortionist?

5. When the owners of Hobby Lobby want to enjoy the legal and personal privileges and protections afforded them by the establishment and maintenance of their for-profit corporation, they do. But they are not then free to also claim, whenever doing so suits their desires, that they, in their capacity as owners of Hobby Lobby, are entitled to the federal protections defined for and extended to individual citizens. The Greens are not personally offering health insurance; their corporation is. No one gets to move freely between corporate and individual status in order to gain the advantages and avoid the disadvantages of either one.

6. The surest way for a company to drown itself in a sea of litigation is to interpose itself into the healthcare decisions made by its employees. Keeping an impenetrable wall between itself and the medical decisions and care received by its employees is foundational to protecting the legal indemnity of any company. Maintaining that wall is one of the primary functions of any company’s human relations department. Give your employees the medical choices that you’re required to? You’re safe. Start dictating what personal medical decisions your employees do and don’t make? Then lawyer up, because you’re gonna need it. It’s a mystery why any pro-business interests (save perhaps Michaels) would support Hobby Lobby’s efforts to forge a new way for American businesses to self-destruct.

7. If based upon its moral convictions Hobby Lobby is allowed to pick and choose the medical benefits it covers, why in the world wouldn’t any other company be allowed to do the same? And how could the criteria for such selections possibly be established or codified? Should a Muslim employer be allowed to refuse medical coverage for an employee who chokes on a ham sandwich? Should vegetarian Hindu employers be allowed to refuse coverage for meat-borne diseases? Should Amish-owned companies be allowed to offer only medical care that is not “of the world”? Christian Scientists believe all sickness is spiritual “error”; should they be allowed to offer their employees no medical benefits at all? Should New-Age employers be protected from having to extend medical benefits to employees who allowed their chakras to misalign? Can employers who are sun worshippers refuse coverage for frostbite? Can Jehovah’s Witnesses deny their employees coverage for blood transfusions, which they are against? Can vampire lovers mandate blood transfusions for their employees?

The whole thing is absurd. Where would such a slippery slope end?

8. Even though it’s suddenly become controversial, employer birth control coverage has been mandatory since 2000, when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that companies that provided prescription drugs to their employees but didn’t provide birth control were in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex. (After learning about the contraceptive-coverage requirement of the Affordable Care Act, Hobby Lobby “re-examined its insurance policies,” discovered that they already covered certain FDA-approved contraceptives to which the Greens objected, and proceeded to exclude those contraceptives from the Hobby Lobby plan.) The only change is that under the Affordable Care Act such coverage is offered for little or no out of pocket cost. This should be welcome news for anyone who favor fairness, since women of childbearing age now spend 68 percent more than men in out-of-pocket health care costs. [1])

9. The Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, is a “semi-private” organization Congress established “for the explicit purpose of furnishing advice to the Government. The Institute found that nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and that unintended pregnancies have adverse health consequences for both mothers and children—including inadequate prenatal care, higher incidence of depression during pregnancy, and increased likelihood of preterm birth and low birth weight. The Institute additionally observed that use of contraceptives leads to longer intervals between pregnancies, which “is important because of the increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes for pregnancies that are too closely spaced.” The Institute also noted that greater use of contraceptives lowers abortion rates—which makes sense, since an an estimated 43 percent of unwanted pregnancies end in abortion. Finally, the Institute explained that “contraception is highly cost-effective,” as the “direct medical cost of unintended pregnancy in the United States was estimated to be nearly $5 billion in 2002.” [2].

10. A large two-year study done last year by the University of Washington in St. Louis also found that free birth control leads to dramatically lower rates of abortion and far fewer unintended pregnancies. “As a society, we want to reduce unintended pregnancies and abortion rates. This study has demonstrated that having access to no-cost contraception helps us get to that goal,” said Alina Salganicoff, director of women’s health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “It’s just an amazing improvement,” Dr. James T. Breeden, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said of the results. “I would think if you were against abortions, you would be 100 percent for contraception access.” Yes. One certainly would think that.

11. Since the moment of their availability, erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra and Cialis have been fully covered by most insurance plans. Apparently it’s perfectly okay for men to use drugs that allow them to have sex, but perfectly not okay for women to use drugs that allow them to remain unimpregnanted. Nice. Totally not barbaric. (And in order to counter the perception that being “pro-life” is more about controlling female sexuality than it is about godly behavior, shouldn’t Hobby Lobby also be attempting to restrict its coverage of Viagra to married men only?)

12. If the birth control methods used by the owners of Hobby Lobby ever fail them, and they realize that they may become pregnant, and know themselves to be unable to carry their baby to full term, they are free, based upon their moral convictions, to choose to suffer through their pregnancy and deliver the premature stillborn baby that they and their doctor knew they would. If the owners of Hobby Lobby are forcibly raped, and choose to be impregnated by their rapist rather than use a morning-after pill to prevent that occurrence, that again is their right. What neither Hobby Lobby nor any other employer has the right to do is in any way interfere with the medical treatment, medical decisions, or reproductive rights of their employees.

 

[1] Supreme Court petition KATHLEEN SEBELIUS v. HOBBY LOBBY STORES, page 5.

[2] Ibid, page 7.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter. If you shop at Amazon, help support John by entering the site through this link right here--Amazon will then send John 3-4% of the cost of anything you buy before exiting the site again.

 

  • mhelbert

    Very informative post, John. What still discourages me is that men are still trying to tell women what’s good for them. As if women are somehow incapable of weighing the evidence and potential consequences of their God-given free choice and coming to a decision that’s correct for them. As always, I appreciate your ‘cut-to-the-core’ posts.

  • Matt

    The fact that the AFA is involved should have been anyone’s first clue that this isn’t about freedom of religion. Really well-done, detailed post!

  • Jill

    If men had to bleed from their penises every month, this wouldn’t even be a conversation.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      I wish that men who so want to have control over our reproductive organs would have to experience one day from my teens. Day one of any period of their choice. the vomiting, the horrible painful cramps, and the risk of fainting….and having to go to school, with no pain medications and pretend nothing is wrong, oh and wear white pants, with the pads you have to safety pin to your undies.

      sigh…my step mom insisted all my symptoms was mental, not physical. I finally learned to beg for Midol from friends.

      • Aurora Wright

        vomiting, fainting, white pants with pads safety pinned to your undies??? maybe you need to see a doctor.

        • Jill

          Yup. For those under a certain age, it’s true– pads were once either pinned in or strapped down. No adhesive until late ’70′s I believe.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            AND you just deduced my age.

          • Jill

            You + me both sister! ;)

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Haha Aurora. That thankfully was several decades, three kids and a hysterectomy ago.

          • Guest

            And people wonder why no babies for me. sheesh.

        • jdh

          ^^ I’m a guy and it appears I know more about menstruation than you do. Sad…

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Sweetie. Hate to tell you, but you’ll never know more about menstruation than any woman.

            Aurora is right. I should have seen a doctor, and gone on the pill to help with my hellish symptoms. Which what I did for my own daughter when she developed similar ones. It just wasn’t an option for me. Wish it had been,

          • jdh

            allegro63: you’ll notice I was replying to Aurora’s comment, which appeared to be ridiculing you and questioning the legitimacy of your symptoms. Perhaps I misread. The point was that I know many women who have very difficult periods running a wide gamut of symptoms. Women have a right to mitigate these medical symptoms even if it means taking birth control to regulate hormones. We’re on the same page. Peace.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Thankfully I’m fluent in sarcasm, I immediately got what she was saying.

            I wasn’t given an option for medical treatment as a kid. It was against my parent’s religion. (a whole other rant)
            Which also means that when I got pregnant at age nineteen, it was due partially to my own stupidity as well as utter ignorance about prevention

        • Guest

          It’s what many women experience with their cycles. I’ve nearly fainted many times during them and cramps so painful that I can hardly move.

      • Jill

        Don’t get me started. Laughed out loud when I stumbled over 1Peter 3.7 and the weaker sex last night.

      • Matt

        I know that feeling. My body was like, “How do I do this thing? No, I’ve got all the instructions–but how do I DO it? Okay, they call it the Curse, so pain should probably be involved. Yeah, let’s go with that.”

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Word.

    • Sugarbush43

      I think you just summed it all up in that one sentence.

    • disqus_cfBevsr42L

      That’s my line! LOL!

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

    I am still mystified how this got to the point of being heard by the Supreme Court. Hobby Lobby and others could have simply stopped offering health insurance to their employees and paid the fine instead. Sure they upped the wages for their 17000 employees, good for them. Its not a big deal though, other retailers have done so as well, and those retailers don’t try to force employees into limited health care choices.

    I personally don’t shop there, finding the products over-priced.

    • kvonm

      What’s even more baffling is that Hobby Lobby used to offer insurance that covered contraception (including emergency contraception) to all its employees, prior to the 2010 ruling on the ACA. But now that they’re being “forced” to offer it, all of a sudden it’s a huge blow to their Christian sensibilities (which seem to be severely lacking).

      I like Hobby Lobby for the fact that their proprietary brand of yarn has become one of my favorites. I really want to see how this is resolved, and whether Hobby Lobby chooses to return to reality or if they’re going to make good on their threats to close all their stores.

  • Joanne Pickrel

    The government does not belong in healthcare and mandating what either individuals or companies must do. There is irony in saying that a company should not have any say about health choices of employees but being okay with the government having a role AT ALL.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Wait a second. That means that you are against the government having and enforcing regulations that ensure the safety of things like chemical refineries, mines, medicines, roads, that ensure worker safety and fairness on the job, of ensuring that taxes levied are not funnelled into the private accounts of government officials, of having rules about owning car insurance, child restraint seats, airline safety measures, flight time limits for pilots, or drive time limits for over the road truckers. etc, etc, etc.

      Regulating our healthcare isn’t perfect, but its far better than anarchy, or allowing businesses to dictate what they deem fair for employees or customers. History has shown what happens when the company gets all the control.

    • http://thethreews.wordpress.com/ Ken Leonard

      1. Worker protections have long been established as within the realm of governmental authority. The specifics of the employer mandate have also already been upheld by the Court. So … no. You’re just plain wrong.

      2. Funny thing, the government derives its authority by the consent of the governed. People get elected. Votes are cast. That kind of thing. Businesses have … what? Money? They derive their power just by being wealthier than employees.

      If you want to take a pro-freedom stance, then you should really reverse positions immediately.

      • davidlamb

        Do you really think that what is offered as part of an insurance package applies under “worker protection”?

        Business owners take risk. They put their own lives and livelihoods on the line. They invest in people (via jobs) to make those businesses run and provide services or products to other people. They may end up making more money than their workers, but they also take the risk of failure (of which 80% of businesses do fail). If you have a job, you may thank your business owner for taking the risk on your behalf instead of disparaging them.

        Unfortunately, gov’ts do not always derive their power by the consent of the people. Sometimes they take matters into their own hands with over-reaching decisions — therefore it is the people’s responsibility to stand up when they do, otherwise risk losing all their freedoms.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Sure a business incurs a certain amount of risk, but so do employees. How many are working today in dangerous workplaces, where safety measures are either shoddy or lacking? How many people are underpaid because they happen to lack a green card? How many people are killed or injured every year while on the job? How many of those deaths or injuries were preventable, IF the employer had safety measures in place?

          Sure a business may fail. happens every day, but what comfort does that offer to a mining family who lost three members in a single afternoon, a town decimated by a train carrying natural gas extracted by fracking, another nearly blown off the map, because safety measures were not in place to prevent a chemical explosion.

          You see businesses are responsible for what they product, how they treat their workers, how safe their facilities are for those workers and the surrounding community. They are responsible to pay taxes, provide legal compensation to workers for jobs done, They aren’t necessarily the evil empire, but there are those that consider profit and reputation over safety and responsibility

        • KellyLynne

          Yes, actually, it does. For one thing, the EEOC determined that covering men’s prescriptions, but not birth control (often women’s primary prescription expense) is sex discrimination. It’s very much the same as paying men and women less for the same work.

    • jdh

      Joanne, it has nothing to do with government control of healthcare. There are long-standing laws governing employers’ treatment of their employees, namely with regard to religion (and gender). Those laws would be violated by the premise of these lawsuits. It is correct that this then would create a slippery slope eroding the rights of all American workers. If your argument is based on a ‘pro-freedom’ stance, you should be fighting these lawsuits tooth-and-nail.

    • John Masters

      Actually, these cases are the perfect example of WHY the government should have the only role. Have single-payer healthcare, get businesses out of the business of providing health insurance, and get for profit companies (health insurance companies), whose over-arching legal obligation is NOT to keep me healthy, but to optimize shareholder value, out of my healthcare and out from between me and my doctor. That would solve all this.

  • Leslie Marbach

    Their arguments about this are similar to the ones used by the bakery owners or florists who refused to provide their products for same-sex couples’ weddings. Two things always pop into my mind. 1) How can a business entity have freedom of religion? The owners, yes, but not the businesses. and 2) How does allowing others freedom of religion hinder the business owners’ freedom of religion?

    • DearbornGuy

      But in a private company… and these cases are … are not the owners responsible for paying for some of that insurance for their employees? And, if they are, then there is a case for going against their religious beliefs. Even for their own insurance. No one is saying ban birth control. They are saying it is against their belief to support or pay for it. The government has overstepped it role here. And as for Viagra… as people will certainly say … take that out too.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        No. They are responsible for offering it, and the benefit is an insurance company can often offer better rates according to the number of employees and the plan the company chooses. Some companies do supplement insurance, others do not. Some pay all an employee’s insurance, but not the dependents, Some even offer coverage for part time employers, but they aren’t required to. All the law states is that companies with so many or more employees must offer insurance.

      • AtalantaBethulia

        How is this different than an employer claiming they can limit where an employee can spend their vacation (like Las Vegas) because drinking and gambling are against their religious beliefs?

        What about the other examples John gave of religious beliefs that could impact employee health insurance?

        • Sugarbush43

          This is different. There are companies and other entities where your public persona could negatively impact them. What one does in the privacy of their own home is different and not at all subject to an employer’s management and/or beliefs (with the exception of illegal activities, of course).

          I once worked for a private Christian school. I had to sign an agreement that I would not drink or act immorally according to the Bible in public (I don’t remember the specifics, but they specified the behavior that was unacceptable). If I wanted to drink at home, that was fine. But, as a teacher at the school, they didn’t want students or parents to see me out acting a fool. That was understandable. I also would have been using birth control during my tenure if I wasn’t already pregnant and they would have had no right to tell me I could do otherwise.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            But that is different. Those were terms of your employment with a private, non-profit, religiously-affiliated entity with whom you agreed to enter into such an arrangement. And, lacking any state or federal funding, such an entity has the right to discriminate in its employment and require certain standards.

      • R Vogel

        I think this is the wrong way to think about this. Employer health care coverage is not a gift, it is a form of compensation. Even in a completely employer provided health care plan they are taking a part of your (potential) compensation and rather than giving it to you in your paycheck are purchasing health insurance (not procedures). They do it because it makes them (1) more competitive in the marketplace and (2) there are tax benefits to both the employee and employer. They should have no more say over how you use those benefits any more than they should be able to tell you how to spend your paycheck.

        • jdh

          But, but, but all these people claiming to be “business experts” say this is taking money out of the employers’ pockets. You mean they don’t really know what they are talking about? Lol. :) You are spot-on. The amount of compensation an employer offers an employee is reflective of their anticipated overhead of doing so. They’re not going to pay an employee ‘x’ and then say ‘oops, now we have to pay extra for ‘y’. Everything is considered in the compensation package from the cost of unemployment premiums to 401k matches. These self-professed ‘experts’ don’t appear to have ever been very high up on the employer totem pole…

        • davidlamb

          Almost — the employee is provided the options of what benefits are provided by the employer. If the employee doesn’t feel that is competitive, then they can choose to go elsewhere. If the employer chooses not to provide a certain benefit, they lose competitiveness in the marketplace (or improve it depending on the services).

          The idea that every service within that compensation is required or a right is inherently flawed. If it isn’t provided, the employee can choose to go elsewhere. If the employer is losing individuals to a service not provided, then it is their loss and they must think whether they need to change their level of services to prevent those losses.

          The company’s “say” in how the benefits are used only stops at the agreed list of benefits between employer and employee.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            An employer could also pay staff the amount of what insurance or retirement packages cost…that’s right vastly higher wages.

            But

            Employers would lose nice tax breaks which eat into their profit margins. Its cheaper to offset lower wages with benefit packages

          • davidlamb

            Not sure which state you are working for, but the case you are describing isn’t the case here in NY — our S-Corp company spends $10K per employee for health benefits. An employee can opt out of insurance and take that money him/herself. It is a straight exchange that they offer (and I’ve audited the books myself). Therefore, it is not cheaper for the tax breaks vs. no insurance. If there were the offsetting tax breaks, then the company would offer a reduced amount to the employee to offset those breaks (say $6K of that $10K).

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            If a company has employee related business expenses, they can use those expenses as a write off to help lower what their net income would be. Health insurance premiums could be one of those allowable expenses.

            Even if an employee takes the 10K instead of the insurance, it is still a deductible and completely legal business expense for the purpose of lowering taxable income. So it can almost be an even trade off, on the money side.

            Now I only did taxes for small companies, so larger business may have different rules, or limits on allowable deductions. I never did corporate taxes, as I know they have some different rules, but according to irs.gov, health insurance premiums can be an allowable deduction, they just have trickier rules. I’m glad I never had to do any corporate tax returns.

          • John Masters

            Just curious David, if the ONLY motivation of the gentle, loving, sweet Christians who own Hobby Lobby is to not be paying for contraception via an insurance policy…why did they do so for so many years without issue?

            Inquiring minds want to know.

          • Sugarbush43

            Exactly. This whole “issue” seems more like politics rather than religious conviction, to me.

          • Jill

            Since we have religio-political governance, yup. Oh, the days of church separated from state! Back when we walked 9 miles to school in the snow uphill both ways…

          • R Vogel

            So here’s the deal. Employers get significant tax benefits for offering employees health benefits, therefore they have to conform to certain standards. Part of the social contract. Personally I would do away with the entire employer based system and have everyone buy direct with full tax deductibility up to a certain premium while we wait for single payer. It is a dinosaur of the WWII era. Employers should have no business in their employees health care options or decisions.

            But here is a question – Do they use insurers that don’t cover these procedures, or do they just want a plan that doesn’t? Because if they use an insurer that covers the procedures they are allegedly offended by (see John’s question below), then they are still in a dilemma. Your premium dollars don’t go into an account just for you and your employees, they go into a giant pool of money, some of which may be used to fund those procedures. Thus, according to their argument, soiling them. They are paying for those procedures either way. So, assuming they used standard insurers, paying for procedures they find objectionable is not the issue, controlling your employees access to them is. And that is just plain wrong.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Ever lost a job? Ever put in application after application just to find a job? Ever count the average applications a day you submitted, to every company you could find, just to get a fucking job, worried that you were maxing out your credit cards, and how to pay for that doctor’s bill, much less stretching out your spouses income to make the mortgage and buy groceries? Ever do that while without unemployment insurance because you live in an “at will” state?

            Trust me when I say, a benefit package is the last of a person like that’s worries. You just want a paycheck. I was lucky, finding a small part time job after three months till I found a better full time one a couple months later…five months of financial anxiety. I lost count of applications i submitted. I didn’t care if an employer offered health insurance or a 401k, just that they offered enough salary to help us get by. I am one of millions who found themselves in that boat and I am damned lucky I managed to find shore so quickly.

            Here’s the thing, there are plenty of employers who aren’t expanding benefits or working hours. Many don’t offer benefits like retirement or health insurance for a large segment of their staff because they are part time. One third of retail employees are part time. Retail is also noted for being a lower wage option, the largest Walmart a prime example. Many of its employees have to obtain government assistance to help with medical or housing costs. Food services also have a high percentage of part time workers, higher than retail at almost half. Their salaries are also traditionally low.

            I worked a full time, straight commission job at JC Penneys for six years. My salary there averaged about $8.5, about the same as a waged employee, from which I had to pay for health insurance, taxes, and retirement. Thank the tip gods for the generous customers that helped supplement my salary (and yeah tips were also taxed) so I could afford gas and groceries.

          • KellyLynne

            Companies get tax breaks for providing insurance. It’s entirely within the government’s rights to define what sort of insurance you have to provide to receive that benefit.

            Additionally, it’s a legitimate government function to define minimum quality standards for goods and services. For example, the FDA will tell you you can’t sell unpasteurized milk—no, not even if you have a religious belief that pasteurization is bad. And if you choose to practice medicine or law without a license, the the government response is not, “Oh, well, if he’s unqualified,he won’t get any business,” but to throw you in jail.

            Insurance is a service sold to employees by either the insurance company or the self-insured employer, and it’s a legitimate government function to verify that it meets certain minimums. Because that service is frequently the difference between life and death, or the difference between contributing financially to society and being on SSI disability, the quality of that service has a major impact on society.

            Additionally, because large group policies are the only cost-effective way to buy insurance, employees are something of a captive audience. Your feasible insurance choices are usually whatever your employer offers, whatever your spouse’s employer offers, and nothing.

            Because insurance is tied to employment, “go elsewhere” isn’t practical for most people.

      • Jill

        John’s first bullet point made the case: “(the company) doesn’t purchase medical care for its employees; it purchases medical insurance”.

        My private company employer has the right to pay some, none or all of my insurance premium (depending on the size of its staff). It does not control what that medical insurance covers for me under its blanket policy. And we are all paying into an insurance pool, from which funds are moved to pay for all kinds of procedures. It’s a big melting pot.

    • davidlamb

      Most small businesses file taxes same as the person. Therefore, a person who owns a bake shop have an S-corp, or will file their company with their personal taxes. Therefore, in effect, the business is a person.

      It has been fashionable to compare businesses with faceless, evil entities — yet it is often your neighbor who is that actual business, providing jobs and services for your other neighbors. Small business is still the largest employer in the US.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        A cake shop with a couple of employees is exempt from the employers mandate to offset coverage. I want to say it involves companies with fifty or more staff

        As for corporations being people, that is an emphatic no. A corporation offers financial protection for the owner/owners from some.legal issues, financial loss and tax levies against the business. No one can sue the owners, just the business, in mamy cases.

        However owners end up being responsible for two sets of income taxes. A personal and a corporate. Corps cannot use any of the write offs of a personal return and their tax rate is different.

        Former small business owner and former tax preparer. Yes I’ve worn several hats during my life.

  • Jesse M

    Very interesting article, thanks for posting. Since this is the internet, I might as well put my 2 cents out there.
    I’m super excited that the research has begun to show that contraceptive pills don’t prevent implantation, but rather prevent the egg from being fertilized in the first place. This means that now I can be %100 morally in favour of the morning-after pill. (for the record, I hold the stance that once the fertilized egg has formed its own unique DNA, different from the parents, it is now its own human being in the making. It’s dependant on another human of course, so I’d say it deserves the same rights as a 2-day-old baby).
    As far as this employer-rights thing goes, I’d like to say this: while the businesses are in the wrong, let’s be gracious. People of all sorts are ill-informed, and everyone has room to grow. Once they realize the facts, and begin to understand that what others do is out of their control, things will change. Christians are (slowly) realizing that Jesus called us to love everyone the same: tax-collectors to priests, white skin to black skin, LGBT to straight, abortionists to pro-lifers and everyone in between.
    In the mean time, while Christians are getting their morals and facts in order, let’s live with grace, peace and love :)

  • CoolHandLNC

    Hobby Lobby could outsource all of their HR and benefits. They would pay a 3rd party to be the employer of record, or at least to provide a benefits package. The question then becomes: how far removed does the money have to be before Hobby Lobby no longer sees it as their money? I submit that the answer to that is infinitely far. They believe they should have dominion, as would be quite comfortable with controlling the most intimate aspects of the lives of everyone they see as subordinate. Which would be practically everyone. They of course would never admit this, especially to themselves

  • Judy

    The argument John makes comparing this to blood transfusions for Jehovah’s Witness corporation holders is most apropos. They believe that having a transfusion is expressly forbidden, yet we would not support them if they wanted only insurance products that do not cover transfusions.
    Every dollar spent on contraception translates into three dollars less spent on Medicaid. We haven’t even discussed the fact that contraception, whether pills or IUD or other long acting reversible contraception, has medical benefits : decrease in menstrual migraines, dysmenorrhea, heavy menses, endometriosis , ovarian cancer prevention, just to name a few.
    In short, get the stinkin politicians out of my medical exam room !

  • davidlamb

    I think the overall argument is flawed here. Hobby Lobby is not telling their employees that they cannot take birth control, they are saying that they (HL) are not paying for it. It is not a constitutional right for an employee to have a specific service as part of their plan — my company does not offer a plan that covers eyecare. I have glasses and can’t see without them — however, my company doesn’t offer that as part of any of their plans. It is MY prerogative to get my eyes checked and get corrective lenses. NOT my employer.

    To make the emotionally charged case that HL is “owning” the bodies of their employees is simply factually incorrect. The premise is intellectually insulting.

    (and I support the use of b.c. for menstruation symptoms as I buy these for my daughter — without the help of insurance).

    • Matt

      Hobby Lobby et al are not being honest. They are pretending that this is about religion, when it’s about being able to tell their employees how to use the compensation they are entitled to as part of their job. I say let’s fix that gaping intellectual hole first.

      • davidlamb

        entitled? ENTITLED? Every company has, until now, been able to choose what is in their offered health plan. Under ACA, they cannot. Not a single employee is “entitled” to even be hired by HL — so they are likewise not “entitled” to anything other than what they agree to as part of their employment (which is offered as part of their employment terms). If you actually think that one is “entitled” to be hired (in order to receive such “entitled” benefits)… well, there isn’t any intellect here to discuss…

        Again, HL isn’t telling people they cannot buy a particular drug — just that HL aren’t paying for it. People can choose to use their salary any way they want (unless for something that violates their employment agreement).

        • Matt

          I never said that anyone was entitled to be hired. Once a person IS employed, however, they are entitled to benefits.

          Entitle: To give (a person or thing) a title, right, or claim to something; furnish with grounds for laying claim.

          You may be hearing “entitled” in the negative sense of “did not earn but gets anyway.” I mean that an employee goes to work, does their job, and as a result, yes, they should be able to expect compensation. Making it difficult for them to access what could be vital health care is not something most folks sign up for, I’m guessing.

          And HL is not exactly shouldering this immense financial burden by itself. Employees generally pay monthly fees on their insurance drawn from their salary, plus co-pays due at the time of service, and other costs billed afterward. I would think that also gives employees a say in how their care is distributed and decided.

          Furthermore, this decision doesn’t just affect HL et al. They don’t put in the huge effort and time it takes to negotiate and (frankly) fight with insurance companies to pre-approve, process, bill, and medically code the claims made on their plans. The providers, whether hospitals or doctor’s offices, do that work. That was part of my former job. Every insurance company already plays by its own rules that we must memorize. I can’t imagine the nightmare of arbitrary exemptions from companies that can’t stand the idea of anyone taking a birth control pill.

          • buzzdixon

            Employees are entitled to be paid.

            Health insurance is part of the compensation package.

            The employer can’t tell the employee how to spend their money.

            The employer can’t tell the employee how to use their compensation package at their own discretion.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Not true. Employers choose from a choice of plans..a bundle of goods and services offered at set prices. The employer and the insurance company sign an contracted agreement as to cost, services and other details. Each contract lasts a year when a new contract goes into place.

          Al plans are bundled
          The difference is in cost, out of pocket or deduct able expensses, duration of certain services, like chiropractic or mental health care and disallowed services, like voluntary plastic surgery.

          Companies then offer insurance in leiu of a higher pay. Employees can choose to opt out that is how it worked in the mid night rteis when I negotiated my company’s health plan. And it is still how it works.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          I’m going to guess – although I could be wrong – that Hobby Lobby doesn’t pay 100% of the health insurance premium for its employees and the employees contribute a portion of their premium cost (an 80/20 or 70/30 cost share). So, why can’t it be that the policy offers this coverage – including basic women’s healthcare – and the parties involved choose to understand and believe that the portion contributed by the employee covers the part that pays for the objectionable parts that HL doesn’t want to?

          What would be so hard or wrong with that?

        • Alliecat04

          This isn’t rocket science. In a capitalist society, the one with the capital has almost all the power. To keep any country from being a place where workers live in horrifying Victorian levels of squalor, it’s necessary to pass laws that say if you want to employ people, you have to treat them like human beings.

          Is there some particular reason you object to the idea of employees being treated like human beings?

        • Sugarbush43

          No. Under the US law, no one is “entitled” to employment or healthcare. However, if HL is truly a Christian-based organization, I would imagine they would want to provide all they can to their employees rather than cherry pick. God gave us all free will and it seems that HL wants to remove that free will and say, “NO! We will not allow you to have this free will on our watch.” Sure, a person could go to the pharmacy or their doctor and get these things, but why would HL want them to have to pay out the wazoo for that when they’re already probably paying a mint for healthcare coverage? Also, I feel that it’s only “OK” if HL makes sure that the entire health plan works in favor of these Biblical principles. Otherwise, it’s like saying that it’s horrible to be a liar, but not a drunkard.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Hobby lobby would never have to fork over a dime to purchase any medication. That is bought by the insured at a discount determined by the insurance company. The same as if someone bought an antibiotic or insulin.

      That they are not on the hook to have to pay for something they object to that is not the problem , its their wanting to keep others in their employ from having to pay for it themselves that is the problem.

      • davidlamb

        I think we may have different starting points, which is why we see things differently. (no pun intended with the vision comparisons)

        The way that most company insurances work (at least mine and every company I’ve worked for) is that they are paying for part (usually 1./2) of the insurance on behalf of the employee. As a part of the premiums that the companies pay, they are therefore paying for (at least part of) all of the medications and health services that the employee purchased (albeit indirectly through the insurance companies). It’s the principle of “no free lunch”. The “discount” from the insurance company is paid for by the employer-matching healthcare premiums, therefore HL is paying for something they don’t agree with.

        I don’t read that HL is preventing employees from buying any medication that they want to on their own (which is what I understand that you are asserting) — and this may be the basis of the SC argument — which is that the company is not obligated to pay for every medical service of an employee, and therefore should not be forced to against their “will”.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          The problem is expecting one company to pick and choose which medications are included in a drug plan a d which isn’t. Drug companies contract what Medicines will be priced and which ones will incur a higher cost to the consumer as package deals

          . Its like buying cable. You get a crap load if channels you will never watch for a cheap price so you can also watch the channels you do want within that cost. Its packagrd contracts.

          Yanking out a medication or service for the sake of just a few people is bad business.

        • John Masters

          Your starting point is flawed. Hobby Lobby is not paying for any part/all of ANY drugs, medical care, medical procedures. They are paying all or part for health insurance coverage for their employees. John’s point about the slippery slope is very valid here. Remember how Steve Jobs decided a bunch of new age treatments would cure his cancer? What if he started picking and choosing what Apple’s employee insurance would or would not pay for…say, not paying for cancer surgery or chemo therapy? I presume, davidlamb, you’d be OK with that?

          There are two views here. As John notes, first off the OWNERS of Hobby Lobby aren’t paying for anything. The corporation is paying. If the owners are paying, then it’s not a corporation, so if I sue them for something, I get to go after the personal assets of the owners…you OK with that David?

          Second, they don’t write a check to the insurance company for my weekly dialysis, or my monthly prescription for blood pressure medication, etc. (BTW, luckily I really don’t have any of those expenses). They write a monthly check for an insurance policy.

          And yes, it is in the public interest to regulate those contractual agreements, just as we regulate many such agreements and activities. For example, there are enforcement mechanism the government uses to ensure that the doctor you visit has met some basic level of medical competency. I suppose to you’re opposed to that form of government interference David? Here in Florida, all car insurance policies must have a personal injury rider. That says, everyone pays for their own medical injuries, thus reducing the incentive for fraud. It works pretty well, but you’d be opposed to that in your world David, because I ought to be able to pick and choose what my insurance does and doesn’t cover without the government interfering.

          Sorry, but your starting point isn’t even on the track.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      I’ve had vision insurance. Its not worth the price. However, I remember when there was no such thing. I have horrible vision. Ive always paid out if pocket.

      I also remember when maternity care was extra and needed to be purchased prior to getting pregnant, or else you were in the hook for it all. Insurance has gotten more cimorehensive

    • jdh

      OK, but if federal law required them to provide coverage for eyecare and your employer tried to exempt tnemselves because their religious beliefs considered that coverage to be interfering with their God’s will for you to go blind, that would be preposterous…

      • davidlamb

        I think the main point here is about the over-reach of the gov’t. The gov’t should never step in and say that they HAVE to provide coverage for eyecare or any other medical service. It should be entirely up to the employer what kind of coverage they provide. The employee can then choose whether they want to work for that company or not based on the available benefits (that is how employers compete for workers).

        • AtalantaBethulia

          I think following the many healthcare forums and town hall meetings around the country our representatives in government heard how women’s policies tended not to cover all of their basic health care needs. So, I believe, perhaps, the government’s position in negotiating health care reform was based on the notion that women needed coverage for basic healthcare just like men do, and policies that limited coverage for women – and cost more – were a form of inequality and discrimination. It was also poor health policy. Leaving women without pregnancy coverage and contraceptive coverage becomes a public health issue. So, in an effort to make policy coverage more equitable and create a minimum standard these changes were made (just like the changes that made preventative care co-pay free and did away with pre-existing condition clauses). They also represent good public health policy by encouraging preventative and prenatal care as well as preventing unwanted pregnancy – all of which have economic and societal cost savings.

        • Alliecat04

          Because that’s worked out so well for all the millions of Americans who have a choice between their families starving on the streets or working for a greedy company that provides the minimum benefits allowed by law.

        • de_la_Nae

          It is absolutely in the State’s interest to work to increase the quality of life for its citizens. That’s part of why we pay taxes, why we even allow a State to exist. If the companies and the health insurance market had carried out their social responsibilities properly, this wouldn’t even be an issue.

          But they didn’t, and they increasingly have failed to do so over the years. Citizens are supposed to uphold their social responsibility by paying into infrastructure costs and not mucking up the park and all; when they consistently fail to do so, the State intervenes. It’s not really that dissimilar.

          Besides, this gets further complicated / simplified with the gender dynamics that enter into the equation. If you can take a lot of the arguments against the ACA rules on this matter, replace a few words, and suddenly realize you’re reading the sort of arguments people were putting out against racial desegregation, well that’s a poor bloody sign dontcha think?

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      You do realize that insurance can help you get that medication for your daughter for big discounts, and in some cases can be dispensed for free? This is one of the benefits of the affordable care act

  • Barry

    ‘The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law.’

    No Mr. Green. As with any statute and any citizen, we all have a choice… and that choice is between following the law of paying the penalty. Period!!

  • Randal Oulton

    ‘The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law.’

    No, it’s not. There is nothing preventing you from following, “take what thou hast, and give to the poor.” Except your evangelical religion which has whitewashed that out.

    • Philip Beck

      Regardless of what or how we believe, none of us should be
      forced to worship at the state’s altar.”

      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/366501/hobby-lobbys-secular-case-evan-bernick

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        The state has an alter?

        • Philip Beck

          So you didn’t bother to read the NRO article?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Yeah I read it. The question I asked remains.

          • Philip Beck

            Did you happen to pay attention to the DNC’s Charlotte convention in 2012? If you did, then you’d know what this “government is the answer” implication means. Any way, if you’re trying to dangle a “shiny thing” in front of a conservative to distract them, it will rarely work any more. It will never work with this conservative.

          • jdittelberger

            it’s “anymore” & “anyway”

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I have purposely never watched a political convention. I see nothing in them that helps me to determine the viability of a candidate or a political party. Its all a show, glitz, glamour and scripted comments, over hyped and over sold as relevent.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            From the National Review article

            Re: “Individuals are free to choose whether or not to become Hobby Lobby’s employees, and the Greens’ faith-based business practices are open and obvious. Employees also are free to work for the Greens and either pay for additional services out of pocket or purchase supplemental insurance.”

            In the interest of being “open and obvious”, would you be open to employers with deeply held religious beliefs like the Greens being required to disclose during the interview and employment inquiry process those aspects of the employment offered which might be affected by the employer’s religious beliefs including the need for the employee to purchase additional health insurance coverage? This would serve as a form of employee informed consent.

      • AtalantaBethulia

        Does it matter if their belief is inaccurate?

        Abortion, by definition, terminates a pregnancy.
        Pregnancy, by definition, is the implantation of a fertilized egg in the wall of the uterus. If an egg never implants, the woman is never pregnant. And she will never know that an egg was fertilized.

        Even if it is shown scientifically that some of these contraceptive methods prevent implantation (which Plan B has been shown does not), that some believe personhood begins at the moment of fertilization does not change that these medications prevent pregnancy and do not cause abortion.

        That 50% of fertilized eggs naturally fail to implant in a woman’s uterus should have some weight in this discussion. Should it not? If taking a pill or using a device to prevent pregnancy mimics what the human body already naturally does – and does so in the same fashion: without the woman ever knowing whether fertilization has taken place or not – why are steps to actively prevent pregnancy understood as unethical?

        In fact, women who are sexually active who use birth control actually LOWER the number of fertilized eggs that fail to implant as compared to if they were not using birth control at all because the primary mechanism of action of contraceptives is to inhibit ovulation, thereby significantly reducing the number of eggs available for fertilization. So, actually, the cohort of women who are sexually active AND using birth control – net/net – REDUCES the total number of fertilized eggs that are expelled from the body to way less than 50%.

        So. If one’s position is in favor of what reduces the number of fertilized eggs not being able to implant in the uterus – you should be on board with birth control.

  • Sugarbush43

    So, will they provide maternity care? If so, will they restrict it only to married women? I’m just curious, because it seems likely that the “abortion control” they claim they’re doing in the name of God is not really in the name of God and what they deem is morally right. First, they’re telling their female employees that if they choose to use an IUD or get a morning after pill that they’re morally corrupt. Second, I highly doubt (though this is just conjecture) that they’re worrying about any other area of the healthcare and it’s relation to their supposed Biblical principles.

  • Robert Bohmfalk

    Those who are pro-life see Viagra as being pro-life and birth control as being pro-choice.

    • Alliecat04

      I think you’re right about that, which makes it more evident that being “pro-life” is about control of female sexuality and not about godly behavior. HL is not attempting, for example, to restrict the use of Viagra to only married men.

      • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

        Good point, Allie. I’ve added it to where in the post I mention Viagra. “(And in order to counter the perception that being “pro-life” is more about controlling female sexuality than it is about godly behavior, shouldn’t Hobby Lobby also be attempting to restrict its coverage of Viagra to married men only?)”

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          60% of the retail staff at Hobby Lobby are part time.That means they don’t even qualify for health insurance at the retailer.

  • Jimmy White

    This article has gone to great lengths to make it seem unreasonable that HL doesn’t want to support things it finds morally reprehensible. There isn’t enough room to refute this point by point, but saying “50 percent of fertilized eggs naturally fail to implant in the uterus. Would anyone call those failures abortions?” is like comparing the murder of an elderly man to him dieing of natural causes. Comparing eating a ham sandwich to ending a life of a fetus is just asinine.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      Concentrate, Jimmy, on your use, in your first sentence here, of the word “it.” An “it” is not a person. “HL” is not a person. It is a corporation.

      Person. Corporation.

      Person. Corporation.

      Endeavor to comprehend the difference.

      • AtalantaBethulia

        Then why does he source his products from China where there is a high abortion and infanticide rate because of the State sanctioned “one child” limit? Not to mention the other human rights issues in China. Conscientious businesses source their products from ethical sources.

        • Jimmy White

          Providing a means for abortion for your employees is quite different than insisting that every vendor you deal with share your views.

          • KellyLynne

            And providing insurance coverage for IUDs and the morning-after pill is quite different from providing a means for abortion.

          • Jimmy White

            Maybe, maybe not. Depends on when you think life begins. Not saying I agree with his view completely, but I think he has a right to run his company within his religious beliefs.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            And he has the right to run his business into the ground on legal cases that he loses over and over again, because he’s basing it on faulty science, discrimination and a false sense of morality. He has the right to see his business lose customers to competitors…customers who are primarily female, because his views that tell women that they are incapable of making wise personal choices when it comes to their own bodies.

            We have the right to not shop at his stores, support reproductive rights and accessibility for all women, all over the world, and the decry the use of religion in attempts to deny the freedoms of others.

          • KellyLynne

            No. Abortion is a word that means something. It means the termination of a pregnancy.

            Here, let me give you an analogy. Suppose a church believes that it’s wrong to french kiss if you’re not married. They can believe that all they want. But if they accuse someone of “premarital sex” when what they’re actually objecting to is “premarital french kissing” then they’re lying. Likewise, when someone says that “preventing ovulation and maybe, possibly, we’re not sure, but we think it might, prevent implantation” is “abortion,” they’re either lying or misinformed. Those words mean what they mean.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            No. Providing a means for contraceptives, and even abortions doesn’t mean that all his employees are going to immediately run out and get contraceptives or an abortion, It is the same as not all his employees are going to get a tonsillectomy, or rotator cuff surgery, or prostate surgery, or use medications like Synthroid, lexapro or Nexium. It means that the option is available to employees at a reasonable price provided by the insurance company that the employee themselves are paying a fair amount for, above and beyond what may be covered by their insurance premiums.

          • Jimmy White

            Completely irrelevant because it’s providing the means to it that he finds reprehensible regardless of how few employees may take advantage of it.

          • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

            Gosh, it’s almost like you’re so blinded by your ideology that you refuse to listen to any rational argument at all. How odd.

      • KellyLynne

        Then he can be a sole proprietor and take full responsibility for his business. Corporations create a separation between the person and the business.

        Let’s say I work for Hobby Lobby, making minimum wage, and that I have a medical condition that makes pregnancy life-threatening. I can’t get an IUD because they refuse to cover it. Condom breaks, I get pregnant, I die. The company *owner* is not legally responsible. My husband could sue the *company* but even if he wins, that will not touch a penny of the owner’s money. Even though it’s his religious decision.

        If you get to separate yourself from the responsibilities your corporation incurs, your corporation doesn’t get to maintain all the rights you possess as an individual. It should work both ways. Instead, HL wants all the rights and none of the responsibilities.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Oh only if that were true.

      • Jimmy White

        [completely cretinous comment deleted]

        • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

          Annnnnd you just got blocked. (Man, it didn’t take you too long at all to abandon your thin facade of civility. What a surprise.)

    • KellyLynne

      Jimmy, are you misinformed, or just lying? Hobby Lobby is claiming that the morning-after pill and IUDs cause abortions. They do not. What they’re pretending is an abortion is the failure of a fertilized egg to implant. They’re also pretending that there’s evidence that IUDs and the morning-after pill actually cause that, which most recent, good studies show that they don’t.

      There is NO “ending the life of a fetus” because there is no fetus yet. Nor is there an embryo. They’re arguing that there might, maybe, be a blastocyst (which may or may not implant for reasons we don’t know much about).

      • Jimmy White

        Kelly, it would depend if you believe life begins when the embryo is formed when the egg and sperm meet or after it attaches to the uterus wall. I haven’t decided on that and will have to read more about it, but it’s irrelevant when it come to the pill, ‘ella’ that does kill embryos. I still feel it’s HL’s relgious belief and right and if you don’t like it, then don’t work for them.

        • KellyLynne

          I see you just got banned, but let me clarify for anyone else who may be reading. None of what I said depends on when you think life begins. You’re entitled to believe, if you want, that a fertilized egg is a person. But that still doesn’t demonstrate that IUDs or the morning-after pill actually prevent the fertilized egg from attaching.

          I would like to see a study that shows that either of those two things actually do prevent a fertilized egg from attaching. (Note that about 50% of fertilized eggs don’t implant anyway, so you’d have to show *cause* not just correlation.)

        • KellyLynne

          At least one study of ella has noted that the drug given at high or repeated doses could alter the lining of a woman’s uterus
          and theoretically impair an embryo’s implantation. Archer says there’s
          no evidence that ella can interrupt an existing pregnancy or prevent
          implantation, and other experts point to the drug’s 2 percent failure
          rate as proof.

          http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2010/08/is_ella_birth_control_or_abortion.html

          Note the phrases “high or repeated doses” and “theoretically.” That’s miles away from what you’re saying.

  • Erin

    It kills me that no one ever comments on the hypocrisy of this company, which is based on ‘Christian principles.’ This, when they continue to make millions on selling products that are massed produced in China (many which are religious). China – a country that does the exact opposite of what HL wants to take advantage of in the Freedom of Religion Restoration Act which is ‘aimed at preventing laws that substantially burden a person’s free exercise of their religion.’ Yeah, hypocrisy at its finest.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      And, worth noting, where China has a one child only policy (except in select areas) perpetuating a high abortion rate and female infanticide (not to mention the other human right’s abuses). If HL and the Greens are as opposed to abortion as they say they are, then they would refuse to source their products from China – but, “that’s just business”, of course.

      Ethical sourcing of goods and services is a common practice among conscientious retailers and investors. It costs more. There’s hardly any place cheaper to get the things HL sell, so – it’s economic decision. Their hypocrisy is a luxury afforded to them because of their economic position.

      In truth, to demure that “business is business” – yet be consistent – they would not oppose the business covering contraceptives designed to prevent abortion for their employees. but this is common in extremely conservative circles: What’s good for thee, is not for me. There is a double standard: A strict interpretation of the rules for you, a loose one for me.

    • KellyLynne

      Let’s say it again, because it clearly hasn’t been stated loudly enough (or it’s being willfully ignored). The morning-after pill is not an abortion. The morning-after pill is not an abortion. The morning-after pill is not an abortion.

      The morning-after pill prevents ovulation. No ovulation, no egg to fertilize. Not an abortion. Not even by the non-medical, non-scientific definition that stopping a fertilized egg from implanting is the same thing. (It’s not.)

      (And even if it *might* occasionally prevent a fertilized egg from implanting–which there are no studies to show it does–something like half of fertilized eggs don’t implant anyway. There’s no way to tell whether a drug caused that, or there was something wrong with the fertilized egg. If Hobby Lobby wants to claim that the morning-after pill causes abortions, they need to show some actual evidence proving that.)

      • Jimmy White

        In reference to ‘ella’. “It kills embryos. And it kills embryos before they implant, and it
        kills embryos after they implant,” The morning after pill depends on when you believe life begins. That is a gray area for me, but if the owner of HL believes it is at the moment the egg and sperm meet, then so be it.

        • Matt

          “It is unlikely that Ellaone [ella] could effectively be used as an abortifacient, since it is used in much lower doses (30 mg) than the roughly equipotent [equally as strong] mifepristone (600 mg), and since mifepristone has to be combined with a prostaglandin for the induction of abortion.”

          That’s Wikipedia. Original source: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Took me maybe five minutes to find and source that quote. I can also get you the ISBN number and full web address if you’re interested. Quotation marks aren’t just there to make you sound more credible. They actually have a purpose.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Information about Ella and other like contraceptives http://ec.princeton.edu/info/ecp.html

          Sperm can live up to five days inside a woman’s body. Which is why post coitus contraceptives do make sense. http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/sperm-and-semen-faq

        • JenellYB

          the owner of HL is free to believe, and practice, whatever, in the matter of contraception, but extending that to imposing it as a health care restriction on others is a entirely different matter. Consider just what it would mean if an employer can restrict the health care coverage of their employees in this, based their own religious beliefs. If this s allowed in this matter, then he door is opened to the “right” of employers to provide health care insurance that covers any other restrictions based the employers religious beliefs as no blood transfusions, or even nor medical or surgical intervention at all…. these are actual examples of the religious beliefs of some in this country, so is not merely a hypothetical.

        • JenellYB

          Jimmy, ‘kills” a you are presenting it is as applicable to “killing” any cells in a body, as to the cells of a zygote or embryo. the ‘life’ in those cells being “killed” being the same ‘life” that might be “killed” in any injury to any other cells in a body. The “life” in the cells of zygote or embryo is neither “new life” nor separate and independent life from the life present in the sperm and egg cells before they joined in conception.

        • KellyLynne

          I’d love to know what you’re quoting. As far as I know, that has not been proven.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      So in your logic, if you are a business like Hobby Lobby,.Its ok for your vendors to be utterly supportive of abortion and contraceptives, because they help your bottom line. Their religious views are irrelevant because they are selling you a cheap product that gives you a nice fat profit margin.

      It’s also perfectly ok for your customers to be supportive of abortions, and contraceptives, their religious preferences and ideals also irrelevant because you directly profit from their purchases of your nicely marked-up products, keeping your profit margin solid.,

      Yet, it is not ok for your employees to have access to contraceptives, or abortions, even though by that original logic, they are helping you keep profits going, and you only put religious bias on them, not your vendors or your customers.

      Is that what you are saying Jimmy?

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        A woman’s reproductive organs are her responsibilities, not a business, not religion, not society, hers. She is the one who has to live with them, deal with the things that those organs do, deal with it when things go wrong, deal with it when it gets invaded by foreign objects that emit cells that have the potential of interacting with cells her reproductive organs produce.

        That others try to tell a woman what or what they cannot do with a part of her body, is immoral. Do they tell her what to do with her heart, her digestive system, her neurological system? Do they dictate what is allowed or not?

        Do they tell men that their sexual organs are only for certain purposes? Do they try to deny services, or products that may help men with their sexual health, or choices when it comes to procreation? Do they repeatedly preach from pulpits how men need to be pure, and chaste? Do they tell men that if they are not virgins then they are whores? Do they lift a finger if a man get someone pregnant to force them into keeping and providing all the care and nurturing a child needs after it is born?

        • Dallas Jenkins

          “A woman’s reproductive organs are her responsibilities, not a business, not religion, not society, hers.”

          You clearly don’t believe that…if you did, you wouldn’t expect anyone else to be forced to pay for a woman’s sexual choices.

          You said it perfectly, I couldn’t agree more–a woman’s organs are HER RESPONSIBILITY. So if they’re her responsibility, then the costs of pills, condoms, diaphragms, etc., are HER RESPONSIBILITY.

          • EVBrach

            Women need to have access to the medical resources that allow them to take responsibility for their bodies. Practically speaking, removing those resources from their financial reach is the same thing as denying them. Would you insist that a woman with cancer pay for her chemo out-of-pocket if her employer found chemotherapy somehow morally objectionable?

            We as a society have decided that, due to rising medical costs, it serves us better to address health needs through pooled insurance. You seem to believe that somehow sexual health and reproductive care is an exception to other routine medical costs, but your “moral” grounds and claims about “personal responsibility” are only thinly disguised sexism.

            A woman can’t be responsible for her own body if she’s not allowed access to the tools that put her personal health under her own jurisdiction.

            By the way, I find one of the blithe throwaway points that you made to be pretty indicative of your sexist mindset – you say that women are responsible for condoms in addition to diaphragms. If I remember my biology correctly, condoms go on penises.

          • Michael L. Hoenig

            So I presume you pay full price for your Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra?
            Or maybe your blood pressure meds?
            Or your cholesterol meds?
            Or your antibiotics?

            I mean, it’s obvious you don’t have health insurance because you don’t like paying for other people’s erectile dysfunction, or their hypertension, or their hypercholesterolemia, or their infectious diseases…

            Oh…and I *know* you don’t have auto or homeowner’s insurance, because you don’t like paying to insure those drunk drivers or those idiots who live down the street…or across town, or across the county, or across the state, or across the country.

            You just don’t seem to understand how insurance works at all, do you?

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Rant? That’s cute. Oh honey, I’ve not even begun to rant. I have much better control of my temper, my access to the vast array of resources to prove my points, and the support of others in this forum. If I wanted to rant, you’d see a noticeable difference in my phrasing.

        No one is forcing Hobby Lobby to do anything. They are questioning the legality of a law using a dubious claim, and they keep losing at it, a law that the vast majority of businesses have accepted without qualm, because they easily recognize the benefits that are offered to their staffs and to the over all health of everyone.

  • JenellYB

    I am caught in a strange place here, that maybe only some other women can understand. I am having difficulty even reading either the post, or comments, and really keeping my thoughts on them, for, of all things, what the picture chosen to demonstrate it did to me at first look, and just won’t let go of me. But I a realizing, any and all the written words here, discussing and debating these matters, really ARE summed up as clearly as it could be possible, in this picture, all by itself. As a woman, the above picture could be any situation from a personal relationship of husband/wife, father/daughter, uncle/niece, male preacher or even any male church member/female church member, male employer or other ‘superior’/female employee, or even male/female co-workers of equal job status, throughout any and all range of experiences in our society, this picture demonstrates so clearly, so disturbingly, the expression of male patriarchal dominant social structure. The message is clear, submit to “gentle caring control’, with the always present element of warning that to not do so is to invite aggressive force to submission to male dominance. What Hobby Lobby and others taking this position are representative of is the patriarchal flexing of muscle that all females in society recognize, that warns us unless we change our tune and submit, its about to get violent.

  • JenellYB

    An observation here, something it seems to me being overlooked in these issues. It is not ONLY women and their own control over their body and life that is being challenged, but men as well. Whether a male employee whose employer provided health insurance also covers his wife, or the men that are husbands and partners of female employees, men are affected by this. In committed relationships, marriage, the decisions in family planning involved the man as well as the woman. Men are also often involved in decisions about abortion, as well. That many women that are married or in committed relationships also have abortions isn’t much discussed. And in connection to pregnancies outside marriage or committed relationship, there is sometimes the objection voiced of the men not having the right to prevent the woman from “killing his child,” both common sense, and real life experience, will tell us that far more common than men wanting that child, are those pressuring the woman to abort, for not wanting legal financial responsibilities for costs of prenatal care and child support. I wonder why there isn’t more attention being given to that in any and all the at are called “women’s reproductive rights” issues.

    • Michael L. Hoenig

      You leave out one very critical person in your discussion:

      The daughter of the HL worker whose period is in any way irregular, be it every two to three weeks, unpredictable, severely painful, etc.

      Sorry, child…no hormone therapy for you…it’s against my employer’s religious beliefs.

      • Eric Dodson

        This is the argument that I have proposed to everyone who is pro HL, and I said when did it become someone else’s concern over a medication that has other uses than just preventing pregnancies, my wife takes Birth Control to help with irregular periods and when she was a teenager she had very painful periods and that’s why she started taking birth control pills. I am grateful for them because she doesn’t have to have the symptoms of the irregular period, and I would be pissed if my employer was to take the coverage of them away from us.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Yet this company invests in companies that make those contraceptives as part of its portfolio. So they are ok, as long as they are profiting from them, but not if they help an employee

  • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

    If the Court finds against Hobby Lobby, upholds the mandate, and allows the religious exemption – what would that mean to the LGBT community?

    • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

      Um, let me take a swing at this. It would mean NOTHING to the LGBT community. They are already forbidden to marry in most jurisdictions, and they can’t reproduce without medical assistance or adoption most definitely not covered by insurance.

      Here’s the rub: LGBT, bless their hearts, tend to fight hard against other injustices. In this case, sexism.

      • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

        Thank you.

      • Gregory Peterson

        The “medical assistance” need not always be all that very tech.

  • Guy Norred

    You have just said much of what I have tried with much less success and eloquence several times in the past. I would like to add a point though. Hobby Lobby says that as Christians they oppose paying for this and you rightly point out that it is not they, but their employees who may be paying this as their insurance is part of their wages. Denying them the freedom to do with their wages as they choose is essentially denying them their wages. This is not just conceptually un-Christian, but goes directly against Jesus own words. Admittedly in another context but “…for the laborer deserves his wages….”.

  • Bob Miller

    I agree with the discussion. However I would point out that my healthcare plan (Oklahoma Satate University/BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma) does not cover erectile dysfunction drugs.

  • Dallas Jenkins

    I love you, but you’ve jumped the shark with this one, John.

    “Start dictating what personal medical decisions your employees do and don’t make? ”

    NO ONE is forcing employees to do or not do ANYTHING. They’re simply saying they shouldn’t be forced by law to pay for it, and they’re absolutely right. They’re a private company, they don’t owe anyone a job, they don’t owe anyone benefits, and they don’t owe anyone condoms, the pill, or any other contraception that an employee has every right to purchase themselves.

    “Christian Scientists believe all sickness is spiritual “error”; should they be allowed to offer their employees no medical benefits at all? ”

    Of course they should! Why should they be FORCED to offer their employees anything above minimum wage? The only reason companies offer benefits or give them full-time salaries is very simple: they want good employees, and if they don’t offer them good stuff, they won’t get good employees.

    But if they decide to say, “If you work for us, which of course you are under no obligation to do, you won’t get any of your health care paid for by us,” how is that anyone’s business but theirs and the people who choose to work there?

    Dallas

    • James Walker

      Hobby Lobby ceased to be a “private company” the very moment they hired an employee who wasn’t a family member of the founders, the very moment they began transacting business with the public, and most especially the very moment they offered shares of stock in their corporation for sale on the public stock exchange. I swear, people just seem incapable of distinguishing between the private and public spheres anymore…

      • Charles Heath

        Mr. Walker, Hobby Lobby is NOT a public traded corporation. There is no publicly owned stock, and the stock does not trade on any stock exchange. It is a privately owned company. Transacting business with the public does not make you a “public” company.

        • James Walker

          thanks for the catch about the publicly traded vs. privately held corporation. nevertheless, I stand by my assertion that they are not a “private company” in the sense that Dallas intended the meaning. they are incorporated under the laws of one of the states and, as such, the individual persons who hold shares in the corporation have a wall of separation between their personal, private finances and those of the business. their business sells to the public and employs members of the public. these three facts obligate them to treat their business as distinct from their private, religious lives to the extent that they are dealing with the public at large and to the extent that their exercise of personal religious liberty might interfere with the personal religious liberties of their customers or their employees.

    • terafied

      Are you aware that employees pay half of their insurance premiums?

  • Dallas Jenkins

    “The only change is that under the Affordable Care Act such coverage is offered for little or no out of pocket cost.”

    Yes, because apparently a woman’s reproductive choices aren’t her responsibility, they’re someone else’s.

    • James Walker

      You don’t seem to comprehend how group insurance works if you expect anyone here to share your concern about distributing the cost of women’s reproductive healthcare across the entire covered group.

    • Michael L. Hoenig

      And apparently men who want sex can have it any time, with any woman who chooses to act irresponsibly.

      Dallas knows…the man can’t get pregnant…that’s someone else’s responsibility.

  • Dallas Jenkins

    “Finally, the Institute explained that “contraception is highly cost-effective,””

    Great. Then all of you who are so passionate that these poor women who shouldn’t be forced to pay for their contraception on their own can start a charity that pays for contraception.

    (I give to one, by the way. Seriously. Because I have the choice to do so.)

    • terafied

      Why can’t the insurance I pay half for cover it?

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      We already have such a thing..Its called Medicaid.

  • Dallas Jenkins

    “What neither Hobby Lobby nor any other employer has the right to do is in any way interfere with the medical treatment, medical decisions, or reproductive rights of their employees.”

    CORRECT.

    Which is why Hobby Lobby isn’t doing that.

    • terafied

      Of course they are. Health insurance is expensive, particularly when you’re a retail employee and have to pay for half of it. The last thing you’d expect in that situation is that the company you work for will micro-manage you out of whatever they think is “sinful.” Health insurance is part of compensation tied to employment, just as salary is. And yet no one would suggest (I hope) allowing Hobby Lobby to require pre-approval for expenditures employees incur using their paychecks.

  • Caryl Chambers Chacey-Guba

    Curious why HL is so concerned about abortion in this country, but not in China where they choose to do business–many of the items stocked in HL stores are made in China, where abortion is government sponsored.

    • terafied

      In fact, HL invests HEAVILY there, purchasing about 90% of its raw materials and finished merchandise there. It’s cheap to do so because women work for peanuts, and can’t do that unless they limit their family size. Through abortion, which is *heavily* encouraged (aka: forced) by the government.

      Hobby Lobby is full of shit.

  • Gordon

    All of these points are very interesting, John.
    I don’t think abortion or contraception have anything to do with Hobby Lobby’s objection or the objections of the other groups. H.L. didn’t even know the plan they already offered to their employees covered contraception! This has to do with President Obama and Obamacare. They HATE the President and the Republicans have decided that the Affordable Care Act is the 2014 wedge issue to gain control of the Senate and maintain control of the House.
    I have lived in America my entire life, but I will never understand why it is that we are so backward when it comes to the issue of health care. My husband and I started and run our own business and frankly I don’t appreciate being responsible for our employee’s health insurance. The government has pawned this off on businesses and we have gone along with it. That’s because they don’t have the political will to stand up to the insurance companies and establish a single-payer system for every single U.S. citizen. “Greatest health care system in the world?” Bullshit.

  • Jill

    So I’m reading this today: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/25/us/contraception-ruling-could-have-reach-far-beyond-womens-rights.html?hp&_r=1

    And I all I can think is why haven’t we changed religion from believing discriminatory ideas about women, trans* and gay people? Enjoy all the religious freedom provided, just don’t use religion to excuse marginalization or control over groups of human beings!

    I feel stupid just typing this out loud.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Don’t feel stupid, just frustrated, because it keep needing to be said.

  • JonsBlog

    Though I agree wholeheartedly with the overall logic of this article, I must point out one rather important error in item #11: “All” health insurance plans most definitely do NOT cover Viagra and/or Cialis. My otherwise excellent coverage from a major insurer doesn’t.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      lemme go correct that … thank you.

  • http://mikemoorehome.com/ mike moore
    • Jill

      loving the raging hypocrisy

  • Kathryn Ryder

    NEWS FLASH: Rich White Girls will ALWAYS be able to get a “routine D&C” abortion in addition to being able to easily score birth control. While without contraception, this does not mean that minorities will give up sex … oh no, this means simply that we will face an EXPLOSION in the population of the bottom 40% … and when they grow up in such a disenfranchised society their anger will build until they revolt like the French and Russian Revolutions.


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