Hobby Lobby and healthcare exceptions


In what is no shock to anyone, the owners of craft store chain Hobby Lobby want to deny specific health insurance benefits to women because it “conflicts with their religious views.”

“The Green family’s religious beliefs forbid them from participating in, providing access to, paying for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting abortion-causing drugs and devices,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit says the family also has “a sincere religious objection” to providing coverage for certain kinds of intrauterine devices and alleges they can cause the death of an embryo by preventing it from implanting in the wall of a woman’s uterus.


Hobby Lobby isn’t some “small business,” they employ about 13,000 full time employees.  They make the standard claim, that they shouldn’t have to pay for something that goes against their religious beliefs. That their religious beliefs are more important than the ability for women to make their own decisions.

There’s also the fact that emergency contraception is a completely and totally different thing from an abortion. But Hobby Lobby isn’t going to let a little thing like “basic medical facts” stop their righteous outrage.

Why should the rest of us subsidize irrational sex negativity based on religion? There’s a good reason that insurance companies have no problem providing free contraception; consider that the cost of just one unplanned pregnancy can have skyrocketing health insurance costs compared to the much cheaper option of providing free birth control.

What happens when a business owned by a Jehovah’s Witness declares they will not pay for blood transfusions?

What happens when a business owned by some “True Believer(TM)” decides they don’t need to provide coverage for women at all, because that’s something their husband should do for them?


Jezebel has this take on it as well,

“..Abortion is bad because the parts of the Bible that I choose to believe sort of imply that abortion is bad (but that’s me taking some liberties with the interpretation), and emergency contraception is abortion because my popsicle stick mind-machine says it is. Even though it’s not. Therefore, employees of my company shouldn’t be allowed to use insurance coverage that they help pay for to buy emergency contraception It’s based on the notion that women having and enjoying sex is wrong, unless they’re married and constantly open to pregnancy. It’s just easier to file a lawsuit based on a deliberate conflation of medical facts (ABORTION) than it is to admit you find sex icky….”


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About doctorburger
  • Baal

    Wish I shopped there so I could tell them I would no longer do so. I’ll have to settle for not shopping there (should I move to a State where they exist). Nice to see the real example of the harm we fully expected from the right wing talking point that discrimination (bigotry) is a part of religious practice.

  • John Horstman

    Even more infuriating is that the entirety of value that a business generates – its justification for profit at all – is a function of the labor of its employees, not the piece of paper (or database entry) that says person X owns the business. The owners aren’t paying for birth control, the employees are, by virtue of engaging in labor other people find valuable enough to pay for. If anything, the employees should be able to sue their employers for e.g. donating money they skim from the profits generated by the workers to religious organizations that conflict with THEIR views. Obama actually didn’t say it, but I will: you DIDN’T build ‘your’ business (usually; if it’s a construction business and you were your own sole employee at the start, you may have actually built your own business). Suck on that, capitalists. :-)

    • smrnda

      Best thing I’ve read on this in a long time. The only right way to run a business is as a democratically governed organization where the workers – the people whose work built the place get a say in what happens with the profits. Otherwise, you have an organization where the person who did the least is the one who has the biggest say. The owner isn’t getting rich working, but by taking ownership of people’s work and then treating them like disposable commodities.

      And why should my employer be able to pick a plan I don’t want? Do they get to pay me in a coupon so I can only shop at stores they like?

      I totally agree that workers should be able to veto any contribution by their employer of profits (stolen wages) to organizations that they disagree with. I mean, it seems like the Republicans want to move us back to the ‘company town’ model.

  • http://www.ziztur.com Flimsyman

    I do a lot of modelling and miniatures work; it’s kind of a huge, out-of-control hobby of mine.

    I haven’t shopped there for years because of shit like this, but it pleases me greatly to tell them so again.

  • cag

    “The cag family’s religious beliefs forbid them from participating in, providing access to, paying for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting property tax exemptions for religious organizations or the categorizing of charitable for the purpose of tax avoidance of any moneys donated to a religious organization.

  • Switchhttr

    “What happens when a business owned by a Jehovah’s Witness declares they will not pay for blood transfusions?”

    Well, people may at least think twice before working for them. Hopefully. It may even be that only other JW’s will work for them. Oh, and I’m glad someone else brought this up, because it was the first thing that occurred to me when this particular birth control brouhaha got started.

    I also shudder to ask, “What’s next?” Will your employer get to tell you how to spend the rest of your paycheck, on the “reasoning” that it’s still the employer’s money?

  • http://madhominem.wordpress.com/ Mad Hominem

    As long as it’s the case that so many people depend on their employers to provide their healthcare, and we don’t live in the libertarian utopia where everyone can truly choose where to work, I think it’s perfectly fair for the government to level the employer/employee playing field by requiring that employers provide a standard set of benefits. I haven’t found as much traction as I’d like for this radical-leftist “privilege exists” concept, though; I’ve even tried the blood transfusion example on my (Catholic) dad to no effect at all.

    That being said, I’m starting to feel the bigger problem is that employees are depending on their employers for healthcare. Perhaps it would be better were employees simply given the money straight-up to go buy their own insurance. Giving consumers more choice is something those libertarian types ostensibly like (myself included; I kinda swing both ways). Meanwhile the religious employers would have less of an excuse to act like blood is on their poor uncalloused hands. It’s not like they can stop their employees from spending their paychecks on contraceptives (or blood transfusions) as it is, short of not paying them at all. They’ll simply be guaranteed the additional layer of abstraction wherein their employees write the checks instead of themselves.

    To be honest, I think the difference between
    employer -> insurer -> contraception
    employer -> employee -> insurer ->contraception
    is somewhere between fuckall and not much. But if it’ll appease both the American bishops and the purveyors of sundry arts and crafts…

  • Mark

    It’s a free country. Work elsewhere.

    • Steve

      The freedom of the employees has to supersede to freedom of the employers. Otherwise you get feudalism. There is actually no freedom to impose your religion in your employees. Being required to provide them with insurance doesn’t violate anyone’s so-called “religious freedom”