7 Myths (or Outright Lies) About Hobby Lobby and the Supreme Court Ruling

Hobby Lobby Supreme Court

photo credit: m01229 via photopin cc

I realize the Supreme Court’s decision on Hobby Lobby is tangentially related to a number of passionate opinions and beliefs. Everyone is free to disagree on many of the controversial issues. What no one is free to do, however, is to make up blatantly false facts about the ruling or Hobby Lobby itself.

I’m trying to be gracious in saying some of these may be myths. Wrong ideas can spread quickly through social media, as it did with false rumors about Pope Francis last year, so some people may be legitimately uninformed. But there are some who absolutely know the facts behind the case and are consciously choosing to deliver false information.

I honestly had to stop reading because I found too many false statements to address in one post. Either way, these seven widely-spread falsehoods need to be rejected by anyone seeking to know and speak the truth.

The Supreme Court just allowed Hobby Lobby to ban all birth control.

That would be impressive for a store that has yet to convince me that I should take up “crafting.” Suddenly, they have the ability to ban women across the United States from obtaining birth control.

But the reality is that Hobby Lobby wasn’t seeking such power, nor was the Supreme Court willing to grant it. In fact, the company only asked the court to allow them to not cover four specific types of birth control (out of the 20 FDA-approved types) that may prevent an already fertilized egg from implanting.

The court recognized the religious liberty of the owners to make such a decision, but it did so very narrowly. It stated their ruling was only in reference to religious beliefs about life beginning at conception in relation to those specific types of contraceptives.

In fact, before the ruling, Hobby Lobby was already covering 16 different birth control methods, which account for the types used by 93% of American women. They will continue to provide coverage for those 16 and will not (and cannot) prevent any employee from purchasing the other four types themselves.

All business owners can now stop covering these forms of birth control.

Actually, if you read the ruling, the Supreme Court limited this to closely held companies, basically small businesses or family-owned companies. Yes, Hobby Lobby is a large, national chain store, but they are owned and operated by the Green family, who have deeply held religious beliefs.

While not saying it explicitly, the court basically told large, publicly traded corporations that they would not be able to ask for and receive the same religious liberty protections.

Common sense, as well as the law, says there is a distinction between a gigantic company like Apple with divergent shareholders around the world and a business owned by a family who share similar values.

The religious freedom of the owners of the latter was recognized in the ruling, the court refused to extend the same to the former.

Religious owners can now refuse any type of medical treatment based on their beliefs.

Once again, the ruling specifically addresses this issue. Companies cannot take this and attempt to construe an ability to refuse coverage for things such as transfusions, vaccines or medical treatment in general.

The Supreme Court ruling is intentionally narrow to address only the four types of contraceptives being discussed in this specific case.

The government (or our boss) is now in our bedroom.

This seems to be an odd line of reasoning when the case centered around the government actually requiring both themselves and employers to be in the bedroom , as it were, through forced coverage of contraceptives.

I’m not sure I could respond better than this tweet from writer and political advisor Sean Davis:

The question is not about whether Hobby Lobby is in your bedroom, making birth control choices for you. The question is about whether the federal government has the right to force Hobby Lobby into your bedroom to pay for every form of birth control you may choose. Again, anyone can purchase any type of birth control they want right now – even if you work for Hobby Lobby – but the ruling prevents the government from requiring certain employers to pay for certain types.

Hobby Lobby is hypocritical because they do business in China.

That is a completely different (and much more complicated) discussion. But I’m not sure exactly why a lack of freedom there should dictate a loss of freedom here. The Greens may want to reconsider their relationship with Chinese vendors because of the government’s abhorrent human rights record, including forced abortions. They may decide that their conscious will not allow them to operate there. However, they may also come to the conclusion that their having a presence in China allows them to be a positive influence in that nation and on their government. I don’t know. I’m sure it is a difficult decision to make.  But none of it has bearing on whether the United States government, which does recognize religious freedom, should have the ability to force business owners to violate their beliefs.  

This is just another battle in the War on Women.

Here’s what Senator Harry Reid thought was a noteworthy point in this discussion:

Do I have to even go through the illogical reasoning at work here?

Does that mean rulings by female judges shouldn’t apply to men? Is he arguing for a “separate, but equal” Supreme Court for women?

By his own logic, shouldn’t we dismiss his opinion on the ruling, since he is, after all, a man? In the Senate, should he refuse to vote on any and all bills that may affect a woman?

This also ignores the women who were litigants in the case, arguing that their religious liberty was being trampled by the government.

As I frequently say in discussions surrounding abortion and pro-life issues, “Reason is no respecter of gender,” but apparently Harry Reid is no respecter of reason and logic.

Still others point out that Hobby Lobby covers things like Viagra, so this means …. who knows, but it makes an impressive talking point. Except, as we already discussed Hobby Lobby covers 16 of the 20 contraceptives for women.

But you know what they don’t cover – vasectomies or condoms. Does this mean they are engaged in a #WarOnMen?

The ruling jeopardizes the health of women.

I saved this for last because it has to be the most absurd assertion of all, but it is the one pushed by the White House itself. It’s so ridiculous that I have no idea how the spokesperson kept a straight face as they delivered that talking point.

It’s an absurd argument because it’s not really an argument. It’s merely an emotionally charged soundbite used to stir up political angst.

Not having your employer pay for your birth control is the equivalent of causing you to work in an asbestos-infested building or forcing you to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day?

Or how about food? Not having my employer pay for my food jeopardizes my health. I need to eat to stay healthy and live. How dare they not pay for my groceries? Except they do. That’s what my salary is for.

If the women who work for Hobby Lobby or other similar companies feel as if their health is dependent upon their employer paying for them to get the four specific types of birth control in question at no personal cost, they should by all means work somewhere else.

But I have a feeling that many of the women who work there support Hobby Lobby’s stance, of those who don’t the vast majority of them already have their birth control of choice covered, and of those who disagree and want to use one of the four methods not covered, Hobby Lobby pays extraordinarily well.

The national minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Last year, Hobby Lobby raised their company minimum wage to $9.50 an hour for part-time workers and $14 for full time hourly employees.

And do you know why they pay much higher than minimum wage for their employees? The same reason they do not want to pay for those four specific types of contraceptives – their religious convictions, which are thankfully protected.

UPDATE: Since some have asked about it and others have insinuated that I’m hiding this fact, I thought I would quickly address the idea that Hobby Lobby is hypocritical for “invested in pharmaceutical companies that make abortion drugs.” As this column at Forbes explains, this is a completely disingenuous argument because it ignores the reality of a 401(k).

401(k) plans are directed and invested by employees, not by employers. It’s the Hobby Lobby employees that would be disenfranchised by the twisted logic employed by Redden and Ungar here. They are the ones–not their bosses–who choose which mutual funds to invest in. This is true both of the employee’s elective deferral and the employer’s match.

Also, commenter Mrs. C. says she has some expertise on 401(k)s, of which I have none. She explains some about the plans and why this objection is “ridiculous.”

I reviewed the same documents that Mother Jones used to draw their conclusions about Hobby Lobby’s retirement plan. According to their DOL fillings their 401k Plan is a Multiple Employer plan. (Not to be confused with multi-employer plan) An MEP plan is where you have a number of un-related employers pooled together into one retirement plan and Hobby Lobby is probably just a Participating Employer of that plan. They would have no more discretion over the fund options in the plan than I would have the discretion to tell a commercial airlines pilot where to fly the plane to get me to my destination.


What other myths (or outright lies) have you seen about Hobby Lobby and the Supreme Court ruling?

Before you comment and/or accuse Hobby Lobby (and myself) of all manner of societal evils, read “Answers to All Your Hobby Lobby Questions” at Bloomberg View from Megan McArdle.

She answers many of the same myths I addressed here and virtually all of the most controversial ones that everyone has brought up in the comments, but does so with her experience in business and public policy.

176 Comments

  1. joe

    i don’t wish to express an opinion one way or another. i do want to clarify a statement you make in your paragraph “All business owners can now stop covering these forms of birth control” in which you conclude that large companies won’t be affected. i include this Forbes link that lists the top closely held companies. additionally, closely held companies employ 6.2 million people and account for $1.8 trillion in revenue.

    http://www.forbes.com/2008/11/03/largest-private-companies-biz-privates08-cx_sr_1103private_land.html

    • That is correct, Joe. There are lots of closely held companies. Most, like I said, are family businesses and/or small businesses. But some are much larger, like some of the companies in that article.

      That still doesn’t extend to all businesses, nor does it mean all of those businesses would stop offering the four specific types of birth control or even have a desire to.

      As should be obvious, companies that engage in these kinds of public battles over their religious viewpoints tend to make some potential costumers upset. I cannot see the large corporations, even though they may be considered closely-held, doing this.

      Nor should they be confident the Supreme Court would uphold their right to do so. They seemed intent on limiting the reach of the ruling.

      But thanks for stopping by, commenting and pointing out some of the facts about the case. I appreciate it.

      • Jan L

        The IRS definition of a “closely held corporation”: Answer:
        Generally, a closely held corporation is a corporation that:
        **Has more than 50% of the value of its outstanding stock owned (directly or indirectly) by 5 or fewer individuals at any time during the last half of the tax year; and
        **Is not a personal service corporation.

        90% of the corporations in the US are “closely held corporation” with Koch Industries being #2 (forbes.com)

        As you say, it may not be likely these businesses would stop offering, but the SCOTUS has opened the door and if these powerful companies were to start pushing the SC’s decision … I guess I have to ask … what if?

        Do you not see how unsettling this is to the public?

        • Scott D

          What if they did?

          Even if every single company in America did this (because that’s even remotely realistic) it would still not block access to these products from ANYONE. Hobby Lobby employees can still go to the drug store and pick up Plan B. There are groups that may even give it to them for free. Or, and here’s a wild thought, they can use the myriad of other contraception that Hobby Lobby does cover.

          Conversely, you are saying that business owners are not allowed to hold religious beliefs, or must violate those beliefs on any whim of the public. In effect, they must abandon their Constitutional rights to fully participate in society. How is that acceptable?

          • Shaler

            Every single woman couldn’t go to the doctor and get an IUD due to cost. They are used for more than birth control, but this ruling effectively eliminates them as an option, even if their doctor feels it would be the best option.

          • Scott D

            Shaler, your straw man still doesn’t hold up. The fact remains that there are viable covered options. Your willingness to stomp on someone else’s basic freedoms for convenience just because you don’t agree with them is scary.

          • @Shaler. The sole purpose of an IUD is to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting into the uterus thereby preventing pregnancy. I’m not aware of any other purpose of an IUD

          • Nancy

            An IUD is not really an option for “all women” either. Unless things have changed since I got one in 2005, they are really only recommended for women who have already given birth at least once, so that significantly lowers the number of those women seeking an IUD. Unlike “the pill,” an IUD really doesn’t have additional benefits and would not be prescribed for anything other than contraception.

          • Vince

            @Shaler Consider Planned Parenthood for women who truly cannot afford an IUD. This ruling did not make them any different or less accessible than they were before.

          • I’ll do some mythbusting of my own: A hormonal IUD does exactly what the pill does, but in a steady release instead of relying on fallible humans. It tells the ovaries no egg needed, thickens the mucus in the cervix (blocking sperm) and keeps the lining thin.
            The other IUD is a copper one. Copper is toxic to sperm. It makes the uterus and fallopian tubes produce fluid that kills sperm. This fluid contains white blood cells, copper ions, enzymes, and prostaglandins.
            Reduces heavy menstrual bleeding by an average of 90% after the first few months of use.1
            Reduces menstrual bleeding and cramps and, in many women, eventually causes menstrual periods to stop altogether. In this case, not menstruating is not harmful.
            May prevent endometrial hyperplasia or endometrial cancer.
            May effectively relieve endometriosis and is less likely to cause side effects than high-dose progestin.3
            Reduces the risk of ectopic pregnancy.
            Does not cause weight gain.

            Has not been proven to affect implantation as over 40% of fertilized eggs don’t implant without any outside effect.

            Plan B and Ella is the same thing as the Pill but in a higher dose (4 pills=a MaP). It does nothing different then it’s lower dose daily pill. It can not end a pregnancy.

            So why these 4? There’s no good reason except cost, public perception and to stick it to the President.

        • judy

          But yet they buy from China. This is just the tip of the iceburg. It’s not about birth control at all. Why didn’t you mention that.

          • Tl

            Patti, you should do some reading on how IUDs work and report back here when you’re ready to correct your comment.

    • Miles

      Actually if you read the SCOTUS ruling, even though Hobby Lobby only objected to 4 abortifacients, the ruling struck down the entire ACA contraception mandate. Hopefully insurance companies will be wise enough to craft policies allowing coverage of the 16 forms without mandate which would be a financial win/no-brainer for employee, employer and carrier.

      • Brant P

        You should research them then Patti. Ask google a question if you’re truly interested. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/106614.php

      • sickofreligion

        @Patty. Oh, are you a doctor? Did you know it also helps with endometriosis? Because denying those seems like it could jeopardize health. This article, while it may be well written, contains its own myths. And if you want to know “truth” you should go read some research articles about these “abortion pills”. They do not cause abortions, there is only one pill that actually induces abortion. It’s not even included in the birth control “genre” if you will. Someone said it correctly, it is whitewashing the full spectrum of the situation. It’s not just about “birth control”. It’s about the SCOTUS opening a can of worms.

        • Liz

          ok you are not a doctor because women who have endometriosis can not use IUD because they have a misshapen plumbing. and it can jeopardize their health by leading them to get PID. IUD’s are used for women you have had normal periods and a child. they are not used for any other reason then to prevent the implantation of a egg. and it does this by decreasing the lining of the uterus. which is why you must have a living child in most cases to even have this as an option. because there is a chance that the uterus can be damaged by the IUD.

          • squinty

            Already addressed http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/106614.php :

            The intrauterine device (IUD) isn’t just an effective contraceptive, it also provides some protection against endometrial cancer, according to David A. Grimes, MD, of Chapel Hill, NC, who presented the 3rd Current Issues Update – “New Uses for IUDs: Contraception and Beyond” today at The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) 56th Annual Clinical Meeting.
            Dr. Grimes said that the hormonal IUD is approved for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding in more than 80 countries (except the US). The hormonal IUD is also approved in a similar number of countries for protection of the endometrium in women taking estrogen in the menopause, he added. …IUDs can be appropriate for women who have never been pregnant and those with a history of ectopic pregnancy, according to Dr. Grimes. He added that studies have shown that the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease is negligible and limited to the first month after insertion.

            “IUD use among women is associated with a 40% reduction in the risk of endometrial cancer, similar to the cancer protection provided by oral contraceptives, yet many clinicians are not aware of that,” said Dr. Grimes. For treating endometriosis, the hormonal IUD is an alternative to leuprolide acetate injections or a ‘watch and wait’ approach (to see if the pain improves by itself). Another emerging use for the hormonal IUD is treating endometrial hyperplasia, a condition in which there is abnormal overgrowth of the endometrium.

      • SMA

        Patti, Patti, Patti.I’m sorry you are so ill-informed. I was given three options to address a health issue that was getting progressively worse. 1) Birth control pills 2) IUD, specifically Mirena or 3) or an ablation, which pretty has the same effect as the IUD, just without a device.

      • SMA

        Patti, Patti, Patti.I’m sorry you are so ill-informed. I was given three options to address a health issue that was getting progressively worse. 1) Birth control pills 2) IUD, specifically Mirena or 3) or an ablation, which pretty has the same effect as the IUD.

    • Learjet

      Whitewash it all you want, it sets a dangerous precedent for future rulings. What’s next? No covering of reconstructive surgery for a woman who gets a mastectomy after a breast cancer because they don’t believe in plastic surgery? To equate ANY birth control with abortion is RIDICULOUS and then to turn around and cover Viagra and invest in abortion drug and procedures companies for their portfolio is disgusting. Hobby Lobby made their bed and now they will have to lie in it and suffer the consequences. They make me sick.

      • JR

        Learjet, how is it whitewash? Seems pretty well reasoned and logical to me. Inciting the slippery slope fallacy does not undermine the author’s position.

        And whether you consider the Hobby Lobby owners’ position ridiculous or not is irrelevant to the question of whether government has the right to force family owned businesses to provide medical treatment that is clearly and demonstrably in convention of traditional and long-held religious beliefs.

      • Scott D

        1) “Plastic surgery” isn’t a real thing. Cosmetic surgery is, but a mastectomy is not cosmetic surgery.

        2) According to this ruling, a mastectomy could not be denied unless there were other methods of doing the same thing that were covered or reasonable access to the procedure from other sources.

        3) While religion may make you sick, the right to believe and worship as you see fit is among the most basic rights. The fact that you would require people to give up that right to fully participate in society (by owning a business) makes me sick.

      • G

        You are clearly very limited and simple minded in your thinking. You may consider yourself intelligent but your arguments clearly show otherwise. The laws that protect you to believe in nothing, protect others to believe in the truth. So tired of people like you raising the flag of freedom in an effort to take freedom away and force their beliefs on all.

    • WBFD125

      So with this logic if the owner of a company is a very religious Jehovah’s Witness he can refuse to cover vaccinations, blood transfusions and a myriad of other medical procedures that he himself believes goes against the will of god? Gee won’t that be fun for your next heart attack or case appendicitis…..you’re only covered for prayer.

      • Jbroyles

        It’s funny you mention that. In the opinion they specifically cite that this doesn’t apply to blood transfusions or medical procedures. Instead they narrowly tailor the ruling to abortifacients.

      • Jackie

        WDFD125, then don’t work for Jehovah’s Witness. If that was the case, then you can easily quit your job. Just like any Hobby Lobby employee can if the disagree with the ruling.

        • Davinda Harry

          So let me get this straight. It is against federal law for an employer to ask a interviewee about his or her religion. And yet you’re expecting an interviewee to know about his or her employer’s personal religious beliefs? What planet are you living on? I have never asked my employer about his or her faith nor should I be expected to. This is America in 2014.

  2. Thanks so much for writing this. The point about their wages was especially interesting. I did want to point out that (according to the NY Times) they do not object to covering surgical sterilizations (so vasectomies for one thing). Not that has much bearing on this, since vasectomies can’t even theoretically cause abortions.
    Otherwise, I think you about covered it. Impressed you could write something so coherent in the face of so much insanity.

    • Sorry if I wasn’t clear, Martha. No, Hobby Lobby would have no problems covering vasectomies. My point was that the Affordable Care Act does not require businesses to cover them.

      In fact, the HealthCare.gov site actually says under things that are not covered: “Services related to a man’s reproductive capacity, like vasectomies.”

      https://www.healthcare.gov/what-are-my-birth-control-benefits/

    • Katherine

      I think the larger problem in the understanding here is that *right now* not *all* companies can opt out of certain healthcare coverage on the basis of religious belief. Obviously this ruling is precedence and one which will be used for future decisions. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that that all companies will be able to opt out of certain healthcare coverage by claiming religious belief because of this precedence.

      • Steve Briggs

        The ruling listed some of the things that Hobby Lobby does that meet the “Sincere Religious Belief” requirement. In order for larger companies like GM to meet said requirements, they probably would have to do something like make a religious mission statement and have it approved and voted on by the share-holders, tell all their dealers and service techs to close on Sunday (or whatever Sabbath they choose), and name all of their vehicles after Biblical characters. I would buy a truck named Gideon, because he was a bad-mamma-jamma!

    • lucy

      The Christian music playing at the store on the sound system. Well that might be a clue. Also closed on Sunday. The other company was Mennonite. I think My neighbor his a Hasidic Jew, it’s kinda obvious.

  3. Jennifer

    Hey…

    Can you clear up any of the info I’ve been reading about Hobby Lobby being tied up in contributions to companies who make the very products they’re asking not to pay for? I’m impressed with all of your information above, but several of my more liberal friends are pointing out the hypocrisy in this…if indeed it is true. Thanks.

    • Matthew

      I can’t speak to the truth of these claims but what I can say that the claimed companies are very large pharmaceutical companies that are part of the employee IRA account. Hobby Lobby probably has an outside agent that has developed and watches over this IRA account. That being said, I have no idea what all companies are in my IRA account at any given time. I dare say that few people do.

      Quoted from http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2014/04/01/hobby-lobby-401k-discovered-to-be-investor-in-numerous-abortion-and-contraception-products-while-claiming-religious-objection/:
      “These companies include Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which makes Plan B and ParaGard, a copper IUD, and Actavis ACT +0.43%, which makes a generic version of Plan B and distributes Ella. Other holdings in the mutual funds selected by Hobby Lobby include Pfizer PFE +1.35%, the maker of Cytotec and Prostin E2, which are used to induce abortions; Bayer , which manufactures the hormonal IUDs Skyla and Mirena; AstraZeneca AZN +0.66%, which has an Indian subsidiary that manufactures Prostodin, Cerviprime, and Partocin, three drugs commonly used in abortions; and Forest Laboratories, which makes Cervidil, a drug used to induce abortions. Several funds in the Hobby Lobby retirement plan also invested in Aetna AET +1.21% and Humana, two health insurance companies that cover surgical abortions, abortion drugs, and emergency contraception in many of the health care policies they sell.”

      The companies listed above are huge. That would be like saying that I invested in torturing chickens if I buy food from Walmart. This really isn’t hypocrisy but rather something that liberals have cooked up into making Hobby Lobby look like the bad guy.

      • Matthew

        Excuse me I errored in saying IRA account. The claim was that these companies were a part of some of the company’s 401k account offerings.

    • Matthew is right. The issue is related to Hobby Lobby providing 401(k)s for their employees who then direct it to a whole host of companies, some of which are large pharmaceutical companies that produce drugs to which Hobby Lobby objects. This article from Forbes is an excellent counter to the misinformation about that topic:

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanellis/2014/07/01/hobby-lobby-owners-can-have-a-401k-and-first-amendment-rights/

      • JT

        Doesn’t the company choose the 401K administrator? Couldn’t they specify that they will not match contributions to a program which invests in companies which manufacture drugs that can cause abortions? I think the explanation here is a bit fishy. Just because we don’t know what we’re contributing to, doesn’t mean we aren’t ethically responsible. After all, it’s the stock holders that these drug companies try to please when they make money off of these drugs. Just because we’ve invested in a mutual fund does not me we’ve washed our hands, morally, of the actions that our $ supports.

        • JT, those are good questions that I’m not even close to being qualified to answer. I know next to nothing about investments and 401(k)s, which is why I linked to the Forbes article to let an expert explain it.

          I suppose there could be some measure of responsibility there, but I think one could argue there is a clear line of distinction between actively providing drugs which run contrary to your beliefs and allowing costumers the option of investing in companies who, as part of their business, produce those drugs. That seems a much more complicated question than paying for and providing the drugs directly.

          But even if that wasn’t the case, religious liberty is not and should not be determined by whether or not one acts hypocritically or there would be no one left with religious liberty. The Constitution protects our free exercise of religion, even if it is imperfectly practiced.

          • JT

            The heart of the issue is that if a government agency is going to decide whether or not a position is a core belief or not, then it makes sense to hold that belief to the highest of standards. After all, it’s hard to argue that Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t passionate about their position on blood transfusions (they let themselves die for it). If a situation arises where JH business owners mount a challenge, it would be difficult to prove that this ruling is discriminatory on the grounds of religious freedom. Also, that “article” you keep citing isn’t an article at all, it’s an editorial. It’s an opinion, not a well researched news item. I wish the author had taken the time to discover whether his allegations about Mother Jones’ 401K plan were true. He assumes that he’s right, which is misleading. How mutual funds are managed is a personal beef of mine. Taking the stance, “If I don’t know where they spend my money, I’m not guilty of what it supports,” is poor, poor stewardship.

        • I searched for several pieces on the 401k story, but they all were biased one way (the MJ story) or the other (the Forbes piece). No one has really written a significant news story on it, and part of the reason why is that it is not applicable to the court case. It might be an interesting sidebar and probably is a worthwhile discussion to have (how much responsibility should people take over their investments or the investments of their employees), but it has no bearing on the Supreme Court case.

          As I said in other comments http://thewardrobedoor.com/2014/07/5-myths-hobby-lobby-ruling.html#comment-26133 the ruling is not about the sincerity of belief. Government can restrict freedom if it has a compelling reason and it does so in the least restrictive way possible. The ruling is about whether or not the government used the least restrictive means possible to achieve their goal. The court found they didn’t.

          And everyone points out blood transfusions for Jehovah’s Witnesses, but would they object to covering that for others? While they refuse to accept them personally, does anyone know of an instance where a JW business owner objected to providing insurance that paid for them? That is another difference between that example and Hobby Lobby.

          • Mrs. C

            In the spirit of continuing your myth busting theme I posted a comment below with a little insight into the 401k aspect. Thanks!

          • Glen

            Your response indicates it certainly IS a case about what Hobby Lobby refuses to give its employees, because you see a difference in JWs that while they will not personally take blood, they would not refuse others to take blood. And you indicate it is a step beyond now personally allowing employees to have the specific four meds, it is also about telling the insurance companies to not provide those four meds. THAT is where I find the whole case baffling. Hobby Lobby does not provide those meds or any meds. Hobby Lobby buys insurance coverage, probably the employees also pay something into the insurance pot in order to have the insurance. Insurance companies provide a directory of medications which is usually broken up into tiers for what the copay will be. When Hobby Lobby pays for a company to provide insurance coverage, how does Hobby Lobby have the ability to tell that insurance provider not to provide a specific drug if a doctor feels providing THAT medication is best for that patient. And, if the employees pay anything into their insurance premiums, certainly their rights have been truncated.

          • Glen

            When I owned an S Corp, I researched, as all companies must do, what would be the best plan for my employees. One of my concerns at the time was that there would be NO investments made by the plan administrator or board into Krugerrand gold or any other issue that would benefit the apartheid government. Companies select the overall plan that the employees then use to adjust among choices of categories and shares. Hobby Lobby certainly could have designated it refused to be in any plan that made profits from the meds it objected to. Apparently, at the time of the selection of the plan, Hobby Lobby did not care about those meds.

        • Katherine

          Yes, of course. After all, they’re purported to be just a mom and pop “family owned company.” It would be completely in their best interest to know what they’re money is being invested in….hm, exactly as we see they care so much when it comes to contraceptives.

        • Brad

          For my 401k at another company I chose how to invest it. I could change it every hour of everyday if I wanted to. My employer has no idea how I invest it. Further even though I can chose some ways of investing it, Bank of America still handles the specifics. This means that I have no realistic way of keeping track of which companies BOA is directing my investment to on any given day.

          Basically there are layers upon layers of people changing the specific locations of where the money goes. Companies have no say, employees can choose broad (or not so broad) categories. The bank or investment firm chooses the specific companies to invest in.

    • Katherine

      It is indeed very much true unfortunately, the epitome of hypocrisy is business ethics.

  4. Sue smith

    Fortunately, for me, I can take my dollars and spend them anywhere. I will spend them on business that support women and not corporate greed or businesses that eliminate women’s rights. Good luck and good bye!!!

    • Pam crisanti

      Agreed. My money will go elsewhere. I bet my adult daughters will also spend their money elsewhere as well.

      • I’m thankful, Pam, that both you and Sue have that right. You absolutely have the freedom to refuse to shop at certain businesses, particularly if they operate contrary to your beliefs.

        I am also thankful, however, that the owners of Hobby Lobby also still have the freedom to follow their Constitutionally-protected religious beliefs.

        But again as I said at the beginning of the post, we are not free to have our own facts. The court case has nothing to do with “corporate greed.” As I wrote in my post, Hobby Lobby is actually quite generous with their employees and with their wealth in general.

        • ann

          Well said AAron! Funny how the liberals are the only ones with Constitutional rights and conservatives have none. Interesting that vasectomies are not required coverage in Obama care. So men have no right to birth control, yet if the women gets pregnant by a man denied a vasectomy he will be required to pay child support.

    • So you’d prefer a company that pays women minimum wage rather than $14 an hour, as long as the minimum wage job pays for their morning after pills and IUDs — even though with the higher pay the woman could buy a morning after pill every single day she works with the difference, and an IUD after working at Hobby Lobby only a month.

      Seems to me that more money in your pocket is far more liberating than a promise to provide you a backup if he doesn’t pull out in time.

      • Deb

        That salary is for management only.

        • Allen

          Let’s touch on the pay Hobby Lobby offers. While the news has been inundated with Hobby Lobby’s issue with the “birth control” mandate, why wasn’t their recent hike in wages equally reported? I think it would surprise most to know that in 2013, Hobby Lobby raised their minimum wage for full-time employees to $14. According to Charisma News in 2013:

          Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc …. announced … a minimum-wage increase to $14 per hour for full-time hourly employees … The company also announced a minimum wage increase for all part-time employees to $9.50 per hour.

          This is the fifth year in a row that the company has raised wages for full-time hourly employees, who earned a minimum of $13 per hour in 2012. It’s the fourth year in a row for the company to increase the minimum wage for its part-time hourly employees, up from a minimum of $9 in 2012.

          This increase for full-time hourly and part-time hourly employees will raise the pay of more than 17,726 employees nationwide. Hobby Lobby’s new minimum wage for full-time hourly employees is 93 percent above the national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

          In 2013, Hobby Lobby projects continued growth and plans to open 33 additional stores, which will create an additional 1,200 jobs across the country.

    • Becky

      How can you say HL does not support women? Simply because they only cover 16 types of birth control? They pay well above other jobs of that type, enabling, for example, single moms to make a decent living. Benefits are great, and the store is closed on Sundays. What rights, exactly, did they eliminate?

      • Tl

        Yowsa, $28,000 per year for full-time employees?! Better watch out, they’re all going to start retiring on all the cash they can set aside!

  5. p holden

    Pay for those 4 youself if that is what you insist on taking. Every insurance has a list of drugs it won’t cover, so are you not going to have insurance because they don’t cover all drugs– excuse me I wasn’t thinking, the government says you have to buy insurance or be fined:-):-):-)

    • Bob

      Cool. I’m sure you will have the same impact the homosexual lobby had on Chick-fil-a: none.

    • Diane

      How disappointing that you feel the need to make a claim that liberals actually believe that only they have constitutional rights. Not every point of view has to fall along political affiliation lines. This article was very informative, much more so than either the far right leaning Fox News coverage or the left leaning MSNBC. Perhaps everyone should stop looking at everyone who doesn’t vote like they themselves do as the enemy. As a nation, we all sink or swim together.

    • Candace

      This has nothing to do with women’s rights. They can still get these things just not through an employer. A company shouldn’t HAVE to cover anything they don’t want including healthcare at all. I never understood where the obligation to have insurance through an employer came from. Why don’t we pay for it ourselves like car insurance and other like things? A company does offer such things to entice employees to work for them and stay – but none of it should be REQUIRED – where is the freedom in that??

      • Frederic Mokren

        Employer covered health insurance is provided tax free. It is simple as that. So if a woman want to get an IUD, which does not cause an abortion by the way, she will have to pay approximately $1000 after taxes. In this case she will have to earn about $1150 (not including state taxes and social security, etc).

        At $14/hr that Hobby Lobby employee will have to work an extra 10 hours to pay for her contraceptive.

        What this amounts to is a tax increase on Hobby Lobby employees.

        • Nick

          Actually tax free does not mean free. The company I work for is self insured, meaning they pay and insurance company to handle the claim, but every dollar to pay for medical expenses is paid by the employer, excluding the 20% employee share of course. Add to that insurance premiums we pay are substantially lower than other companies in the area, and even less than Obama care premiums with less coverage. There are many other companies that use these same procedures, so is tax free, actually free for the company. I think not.

    • So you’d prefer a company that pays women minimum wage rather than $14 an hour, as long as the minimum wage job pays for their morning after pills and IUDs — even though with the higher pay the woman could buy a morning after pill every single day she works with the difference, and an IUD after working at Hobby Lobby only a month.

      Seems to me that more money in your pocket is far more liberating than a promise to provide you a backup if he doesn’t pull out in time.

  6. priscillamagdaleno@gmail.com

    Hopefully it’ll help pare down wanton sex and start using it the way it was created for..between a husband and wife that want children Yeah I went there!

  7. Dan

    Funny you failed to mention the fact Hobby Lobby is invested in pharmaceutical companies that produce birth control?

  8. You could not have written more clearly. There is a lot of confusion (& lies) about the Hobby Lobby case. Thanks for writing this, and I will be sharing this with others!

  9. Erin

    Thank you for this article! This helps clear up a lot of arguments I was hearing from the liberals. I have supported Hobby Lobby from the get-go and I will continue this support.

  10. Alexis

    So how do we measure what is a “sincere” belief? Is an Evangelical Christian’s sincere belief about birth control more sincere than a Jehovah Witness’s belief about blood transfusions?

    • First, let’s make sure we are clear about the terms here. The Greens and Hobby Lobby do not object to “birth control” per se. As I said in the post, they provide (at no cost) 16 forms of birth control to their female employees, which accounts for the types used by 93% of women. They are challenging four specific types, including Plan B, who have the intended result of not allowing a fertilized egg from implanting (as opposed to merely blocking fertilization).

      To the ruling itself, it is not about whether a belief is sincere or not. No one is arguing that the Jehovah Witness’ religious belief about blood transfusions is not as sincere as someone else’s belief that life begins at conception and should thus be protected.

      In fact, the Supreme Court has already said it is not the job of the courts to determine the sincerity of a religious belief in Thomas v. Review Board (1981) where they overturned the a state court ruling. “The Indiana Supreme Court improperly relied on the facts that petitioner was ‘struggling’ with his beliefs and that he was not able to ‘articulate’ his belief precisely. Courts should not undertake to dissect religious beliefs on such grounds.” Ginsberg even referenced this in her dissent (page 21).

      In this case, the Supreme Court, interpreting RFRA, was merely focused on whether or not the government has a compelling interest and if the government used the least restrictive means to achieve that interest. They assumed a compelling interest in this instance (providing FDA approved birth control), but found that the government did not demonstrate forcing the owners of Hobby Lobby to violate their beliefs and provide the four drugs in question was the least restrictive means. The court’s majority argued that those drugs could be provided to those women through other means, including the government paying for them at no cost.

      • Deb

        So, considering this clarification from the SC, plus the fact that companies are already asking to be exempted from the LGBT mandate, do you wanna re-frame your “narrowness of the ruling” POV? Also, I wonder how many taxpayer heads will explode at the idea of more than 100 companies petitioning to not cover contraceptives, some asking to be exempted from providing ANY – which may lead to the government paying for a LOT of contraception with taxpayer funds.
        http://business-news.thestreet.com/philly/story/supreme-court-clarifies-hobby-lobby-contraception-ruling/1

        • Nick

          Funny how everyone seems to expect some one else to pay for things for them. It is my belief we pay our own way, not rely on the government, our employer, or our neighbor to pay for them for us. In 40 years of marriage I have two children. Only two because that was all I could afford to raise. Family planning is not a problem, nor is it so expensive a person can not afford to pay for it themselves. I find it hard to believe people are so addicted to being cared for by the government they are willing to let the government tell them what they can and can not do. Freedom is precious, and to me it seems too many are willing give that freedom away for a bit of pocket change.

          • Deb

            What’s not funny at all is the fact that women (and men) use hormone-adjusting medication for a variety of reasons, and not all are family planning. What’s not funny at all is that most employee health plans include offerings from all classes of these medications and devices. What’s not funny at all is your airy dismissal of the fact that it is not equitable to refuse to cover these medications for women, yet cover them for men; and furthermore, as some companies are suing to do, even refuse to submit a form that would allow the women to deal directly with the insurance company. Health insurance is part of someone’s compensation package and is far from “relying on someone else to care for me.” So your ridiculous “freedom” rhetoric is just that – ridiculous.

      • navywife

        Please get your facts correct. Plan B does NOT prevent a fertilized egg from implanting; it delays ovulation so there is NO egg present when the sperm “get there.” If you’re going to write an article about outright lies and myths, please make sure you are not spreading misinformation as well.

        • KimJ

          Sorry Navywife – but you’re wrong. According to the Plan B website –

          How does Plan B One-Step® work?

          Plan B One-Step® is one tablet with levonorgestrel, a hormone that has been used in many birth control pills for several decades. Plan B One-Step® contains a higher dose of levonorgestrel than birth control pills, but works in a similar way to prevent pregnancy. It works mainly by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary. It is possible that Plan B One-Step® may also work by preventing fertilization of an egg (the uniting of sperm with the egg) or by preventing attachment (implantation) to the uterus (womb).

          http://www.planbonestep.com/faqs.aspx

  11. scarlett

    Hobby Lobby obviously has closely-held convictions about life, from a Christian viewpoint. Nobody is chaining Hobby Lobby employees to only buy the “covered” choices of birth control and now Hobby Lobby is not being forced to pay for what their religious convictions object to. There are all sorts of businesses out there that sell disgusting things that I object to or don’t want to see (or that stand for things I don’t agree with). I don’t frequent those businesses. I vote with my dollars. But I am thankful that I live in America and that those businesses have their freedom. If they fail because people like me don’t shop there, that’s the way it should go, just like it will go for Hobby Lobby if people don’t shop there. Hobby Lobby gets my business (I am an artist and decorative painter by trade) because I like their stores and I also admire them for standing up for what they believe in, even if it hurts. A high view of life at conception was what saved MY life. My teenage mother became pregnant out of wedlock. My grandparents tried to force my mother to have me aborted by their family doctor. Thank God, my mother would not kill me, even though my father had left for another state. Every day I am given is a blessing.

    • Awesome story, Scarlett!

    • Peter

      Awesome It’s funny how all these people who want abortions etc. Had mothers who chose NOT to murder their children. So glad your mom made a good decision and gave you a chance to be what you could be.

    • Deb

      The only thing is, Scarlett, that they covered Plan B and Ella before the ACA came along. They seemed to hang onto their religious freedoms & beliefs just fine then, despite covering via insurance those drugs of Satan. People are naive if they think this is about religious freedom – it’s about expanding the “rights” enjoyed by corporations and it’s about chipping away at the ACA.

      • Natasha

        Thank you for pointing that out! While they may still cover 16 forms of contraceptives, they now fail to cover a hormone free one, which can be a life saver for many women that can’t take a hormone based contraceptive. I’m a married mother of 2 that has been completely responsible for my contraceptives for the most part of the 13 years I’ve been married. Earlier in my marriage it was difficult to pay for it sometimes, 2 small children, daycare, etc. The day that I found out that my husband’s insurance was now completely covering the cost of my birth control was a happy day! There are SO many women that live paycheck to paycheck and that $30 or $50 makes a big difference. I don’t think these women expect handouts or for everything to be free but I also don’t think they want to be “barefoot and pregnant” all of the damn time because they can’t afford birth control.

    • Tl

      I concur. Why no rebuttal from the writer here?

      • I responded to that point in another comment in which the person attempted to ask an honest question instead of trying to be snarky talking about “drugs of satan.”

        That is a legitimate concern to me and it may raise questions, but it doesn’t really have a baring on the court case. To be a protected religious belief, they do not have to hold the belief for decades. It may have been the ACA that inspired them to investigate what they cover. Granted, they should have done it sooner, but government requiring you to do something often makes people consider what they trully oppose or support.

  12. JT

    I’m curious about how the supreme court ruling effect other law suits. It’s pretty clear that this ruling is specific (most supreme court rulings are). However, like other rulings, it can be cited in other court cases. Just because this ruing is about the four drugs, doesn’t mean that it won’t have weight to change influence future rulings on all court levels. Is it really up to the supreme court to decide which beliefs are genuine? That what they’ve done here. That’s the litmus test as to whether a religious belief is closely held. They get to decide. I think justice Ginsburg was right to make this point.

    • Others have brought up the precedence point as well, so this would be a good time to respond to it. Seeing how they ruled, it would seem the precedence they established is that of upholding RFRA in terms of requiring the government to prove that the government has a compelling interest in the case and that they means they are using is the least restrictive.

      As I wrote in the early comment, I don’t think it has anything to do with the level of sincerity of a belief. http://thewardrobedoor.com/2014/07/5-myths-hobby-lobby-ruling.html#comment-26127 It’s merely about is the government doing what it can to protect religious liberty.

      If they’ve exhausted other options and they still have a compelling interest to take an action, then they would have the ability to restrict religious practice – like, to use an extreme example, if someone said their religion asked them to murder others. The argument is not that their belief is sincere or not, maybe it is. The argument is that the government has a compelling interest to protect the lives of its citizens, even if that means limiting the religious freedom of the guy who says murdering is part of his religious practice.

      • Christine

        The whole case seems to hinge on the “least restrictive” bit. Because Congress created an exception for churches and religious organizations for birth control, SCOTUS has said that the least restrictive option would be to extend that exception (and its work-around provisions) to non-religious organizations. (And sure, they said “closely held corporations,” but that gets to the issue of whether the corporation could be considered to have “sincerely held religious beliefs.” A corporation that didn’t meet the “closely held” standard might still be covered, if they were able to reasonably argue that they should be considered to have the religious beliefs.)

        But that exception essentially DOES elevate anti-abortion religious beliefs above all other religious beliefs, because it’s the only one with an exception carved out for it. SCOTUS didn’t do that, Congress did. But SCOTUS just gave it a lot more reach.

        And it seems reasonable that other entities could challenge the ACA as violating their religious beliefs and force exceptions to be carved out for the provisions they object to. That will only threaten services and coverages that are specifically mandated by the ACA, but it’s still a slippery slope.

    • Frederic Mokren

      Let’s be clear that the contraceptives Hobby Lobby objects to don’t really cause an abortion.

      • Paula DENMON

        And the SCOTUS ruling agrees with your statement. That is the part I can’t understand. How does one say that the belief is not in fact: Fact; but since you believe it, you can go with that. That is the part of this that worries me. Facts are facts.

      • navywife

        It never was, Deb. It was about Citizens United and giving corporations MORE “personhood” rights as well as ruining the ACA. Most of us saw this coming.

  13. Dave R

    Thanks so much for clearing up much of the misinformation about this issue, especially for those who don’t look for more info on issues like this. Even I, as somewhat “liberal” can appreciate your clear and levelheaded approach. It’s refreshing to see this from a generally conservative writer. Now, would you please use that same approach to address the many myths and lies the conservatives have floated over the years about the ACA (“Obamacare”)? I look forward to reading that article also.

  14. Will

    Hello! I have some questions about specific statements you made:

    “Common sense, as well as the law, says there is a distinction between a gigantic company like Apple with divergent shareholders around the world and a business owned by a family who share similar values.”

    Do you think that “common sense” is well-defined enough to be included in an article debunking myths? Further, what is the precise legal definition of a closely-held company? Citations, please, because there is some real controversy right now about what exactly that term means.

    “Again, anyone can purchase any type of birth control they want right now”

    Do you feel that the expense of certain medications (that a woman and her doctor may feel that she genuinely requires) may make this a moot point? That is to say, if she can’t afford to purchase the medicine she needs, is there any practical difference between forbidding her from buying it, and just putting it beyond her reach? Either way, she still doesn’t have it.

    “Here’s what Senator Harry Reid thought”

    Do you feel that Harry Reid is the final authority on this point? Do you believe that he was chosen by a secret council of feminists to represent them on the political stage? I’m sorry to be snarky on this point, but you really only discuss one tweet from one person, which is a pretty easy target.

    “It’s an absurd argument because it’s not really an argument. It’s merely an emotionally charged soundbite used to stir up political angst.”

    I’m very unclear on your point here. Given that pregnancy can be damaging to a woman’s health, even fatal in some cases, it would seem to me that refusing women certain types of contraceptives would *absolutely* jeopardize women’s health. And that’s without even considering that many drugs can be prescribed for many purposes other than the most obvious one. That is to say, a woman may be taking a certain drug that is normally prescribed as a contraceptive to treat another medical condition.

    “If the women who work for Hobby Lobby or other similar companies feel as if their health is dependent upon their employer paying for them to get the four specific types of birth control in question at no personal cost, they should by all means work somewhere else.”

    Ugh. Let’s start with “at no personal cost”. The cost is them working at their job. The healthcare coverage they receive is compensation for that work. Pretending that their employer paying for their healthcare is somehow different from their employer giving them a paycheck is pure fantasy.

    Moving on from that logical fallacy, let’s talk about “work somewhere else”. Have you ever been poor? Have you ever lived paycheck-to-paycheck? How would you feel if, in that situation, someone who knows nothing about your personal situation were to come along and tell you that your new choice was to either a) forfeit your health, or b) find a new job. Oh, and in the meantime, you won’t be getting the medicine that you and your doctor have determined that you need.

    That’s . . . pretty callous, my friend.

    “But I have a feeling that many of the women who work there”

    Oh my.

    Well, I’m sorry to say, but this is where your article turns from “problematic” into “worse than any of the myths you’re trying to debunk”. You just speculated on the opinions of a large group of women, and used that baseless speculation to back up your argument. Aside from being really gross, that’s a complete abandonment of reason.

    • Tia

      Again, why should an employer be forced to pay for this or insurance at all? This is the greed of America expecting a handout and everything be given to them.

      • Deb

        An employer isn’t – they are free to not offer health insurance. Most, however, do because it’s a way to attract better employees.

      • Michelle

        Insurance premiums are withheld from the wages that an employee works for, co-pays when visiting the doctor are….paid for by that same employee, prescriptions when prescribed by the doctor are then paid for by the employee when picked up at the pharmacy………so very little if anything is ACTUALLY paid for by said employer. By the way, the employees WORK for those wages that pay for all the above, so your Hand-out theory if flawed. Think before you open your mouth or hit the keyboard.

        • Nick

          Actually you make no sense at all. I pay 1/10% for my employer based insurance than if I take out a policy on my own. My employer pays the majority of my premium. Two of the prescriptions I pick up at the pharmacy each month cost over $900 dollars. I pay a co-pay of $80, my employer based insurance pays $820. Now, can you clarify the ignorance in your statement that little if anything is paid for by the employer?

          • navywife

            Not all companies operate the same way in regards to healthcare. Some do actually pay for the majority of it; other pay half; others pay less.

    • Jordan

      Thank you so much for writing out this point by point analysis. While reading this article I was getting riled up, not by the position that the author has taken, but by his claim to be a champion of reason and promise to debunk myths when in reality he has fallen to the same logical fallacies and speculations he criticizes.

      The section on China is the most level headed argument in this piece. Considering the various motives that might be present is a mature and well reasoned outlook on the situation. Unfortunately the author does not extend this open mindedness to parties he has pre-determined he doesn’t agree with. The bit about how it does not affect women’s health is small minded and based on many assumptions.

      I am looking forward to seeing Aaron’s reply to you Will. Unfortunately it seems he does not want to engage in discussion seeing as he’s given replies to comments made the same day as yours. Perhaps he is crafting a well thought out reply.

    • Will, thanks for commenting and your questions.

      Should I have said “common sense”? Eh, maybe it was pushing it, but there is a clear distinction (that the Supreme Court recognized) between a corporation owned by thousands or millions of shareholders with numerous values and one predominately owned by a few people with shared values.

      What is a closely-held company? This WSJ article discusses it. http://online.wsj.com/articles/hobby-lobby-ruling-begs-question-what-does-closely-held-mean-1404154577 Basically, five or fewer individuals own over 50% of the stock. As has been pointed out, yes, around 90% of US companies are “closely-held,” but small businesses (those with 500 or less employees) make up 99.7% of U.S. employer firms http://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/FAQ_Sept_2012.pdf

      What about women who use these drugs for this besides birth control? Those are the most difficult examples. But the reality is that women will be able to get these drugs, they just won’t be paid for by Hobby Lobby. Either the government or the insurance company itself will pick up the costs. They aren’t losing coverage, it’s just shifting to another provider.

      Was Harry Reid an easy target? Absolutely, but he is the senator majority leader, don’t you think that’s a fairly significant politician to quote on this issue? I don’t think he was chosen to speak on the topic by anyway, but I believe his tweet unfortunately represents the opinions of many people on this issue – some of which I’ve interacted with over the last few days.

      Is pregnancy dangerous? Sure, for some women pregnancies are a risk. But to be blunt, Hobby Lobby is not requiring them to get pregnant. They are asserting their religious liberty to not pay for four types of birth control. Those women can still be on birth control, including the pill.

      Health coverage is compensation? OK, but insurance has always chosen to cover some things and not other things. That is a factor people use when choosing to take a job – how is the health coverage and does it meet the needs I have? In fact, it was one of the reasons I worked part time in the middle of the night loading packages into a transfer truck for five years – it provided great insurance for my family.

      Have I ever been poor? Once again, you make a lot of assumptions about me and my life. I won’t get into my whole life story here because it’s not relevant. But I will say that my wife and I lived in a one bedroom apartment in a high crime area and found out we were pregnant a month after I lost my (and our) only job.

      As to my making assumptions of the women who work at Hobby Lobby, I’m merely using statistics. Many, though obviously not all, would share similar convictions about certain forms of birth control, others may disagree but believe they have the right to their opinion. As to those who disagree with the ruling, again 93% of them have their birth control method paid for by the Hobby Lobby plan. Whatever percentage that is left face a choice, similar to the one the owners of Hobby Lobby faced. Is it worth it? Millions of people face that choice on a daily basis.

      Thanks again for engaging and asking good questions.

      • Deb

        “Health coverage is compensation? OK, but insurance has always chosen to cover some things and not other things. That is a factor people use when choosing to take a job – how is the health coverage and does it meet the needs I have?”

        In fact, employees likely DID take into account whether their employer’s health plan covered the health issues they prioritized. Your comment does not address the fact that by eliminating entire classes of hormone-adjustment medications that were covered when she was hired, women are essentially being given a pay cut. Furthermore, it’s patently discriminatory for a women who needs a certain bc medication for health reasons such as PCOS to be suddenly expected to pay retail cost out of her wages, when it was covered previously, while the company continues to pay for coverage of testosterone treatment for men. And I’m talking as much about the company owners who are demanding to be released from the requirement of covering ANY of the medications/classes, when their employees took the jobs based on the entire compensation package. While it may be common for health plans to be shuffled around each year, typically entire classes of medication are not discontinued. And in the cases of the “religious freedoms” companies, there haven’t been any announcements of lower insurance premium costs to the employees who are losing part of their health coverage.

  15. Brin Londo

    I despair at the straw man arguments you’ve crafted here. True, Hobby Lobby still allows many forms of birth control, but the Supreme Court on Tuesday clarified that their ruling COULD be construed to cover all forms of birth control, and many other corporations are clearly twitching to stop supplying it outright. The green light has been given to companies banning it in full, so it’s quite absurd to claim, “Well, thank God Hobby Lobby hasn’t dropped all of it.”

    Also: “Religious owners can now refuse any type of medical treatment based on their beliefs.” True, the Hobby Lobby case didn’t decide this, but the door has been opened that corporations can ask to deny their employees oh-so-many medical procedures. Behold the tidal wave of lawsuits to come as they attempt to do just that, based on the logic of this verdict.

    Also: “Not having your employer pay for your birth control is the equivalent of causing you to work in an asbestos-infested building or forcing you to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day?” Virtually nobody is making such an idiotic claim, and it’s idiotic of you to ramp it up to this level, or to act like that’s a widespread argument.

    That said, women’s health IS impacted by whether they get pregnant or not… it can cause all manner of complications, up to and including death. (Yes, the fatality rate has dropped sharply across the decades, but women still can and do die as a result of childbirth.) Can you look us in the eye and say that pregnancy *never* negatively impacts a woman’s health? No? This is, in part, why some women chose not to get pregnant.

    Trying to say, “Nope, this isn’t a health issue” is just an excuse by people who choose not to understand women’s biology all that well. But hey, don’t let me interrupt your straw man arguments.

    • Deb

      It absolutely is about health – millions of women take hormone-adjustment medication for reasons other than contraception. To withhold coverage of any of the medications is patently unfair to those women who entered into an employment agreement with a company based in part on the compensation package offered, which may well have included various classes of prescription medication including the ones at issue. To have that coverage removed from the coverage is tantamount to a wage reduction for those who need it. The industry should simply change the classification and names. I wonder if the insurance companies will be RAISING the price these companies have to pay due to this – because after all, babies cost an insurance company a LOT more than bc pills. The company will then pass along the increase to their employees, in effect making employees pay for the employer’s decision to REDUCE their coverage. Hmmm.

      • Lisa

        I wonder if you are as enthusiastic about addressing the other medications that are not covered by insurance companies. Every job I’ve ever had (that provided insurance) had a very specific list of what it would and wouldn’t cover. My current insurance, while more than adequate, does not cover a wide variety of medications/treatments that I consider necessary for my family (or they cover them at such a low rate that I can’t afford them anyway.) On top of those restrictions, I am also not allowed to smoke, have to keep my BMI at a certain level, and have to complete yearly physicals and health counseling. If I choose not to abide by these terms, my insurance premiums quadruple. Holding Hobby Lobby to a standard that few other companies meet is hypocritical at best.

      • Becky

        The contraceptives HL does not want to cover are not hormone adjusting contraceptives; they are the ones that prevent implantation of the egg after fertilization. This means that conception has occurred and to prevent the implantation of the egg is akin to abortion. Once again, Hobby Lobby has no problem paying for most forms of birth control. And, as Lisa stated, lots of prescriptions are currently not covered under some insurance plans.

        • navywife

          Plan B prevents ovulation, not implantation. It’s actually QUITE different than the IUDs, but many people don’t understand the difference.

        • Deb

          And once again, it isn’t just about HL and their “16 are covered” mentality. It’s about the 100+ companies lining up to sue to get out of covering bc, in some cases ALL FORMS.

    • Brin, thanks for your reply. I have an honest question for you, why would a company not want to cover birth control?

      You spoke about assertions I made, but to say that “many other corporations are clearly twitching to stop supplying it outright” is one of your own.

      Hobby Lobby has garnered significant praise and criticism for their stand. As many commenters have promised, they will lose costumers over this issue. So why would scores of other companies be jumping at the chance to drop birth control from their coverage?

      The only reason would be that the personal, religious convictions of the small group of owners are such that they would risk losing money to make such a stand. Do you know a ton of those companies?

      I never said people were making the argument that it was the equivalent of working in asbestos. I just used a clear example of hyperbole to make my point that it was ridiculous to assert that Hobby Lobby not providing four types of birth control was directly harmful to the health of all their female employees.

      Clearly, a woman becoming pregnant affects her, but Hobby Lobby is not making all of their female employees get pregnant. They are merely refusing to pay for four types of the 20 FDA approved methods of birth control, which, again, are used by 93% of women. Whether or not a women gets pregnant is still up to her and her significant other.

  16. Andy H.

    Your statement on 401k’s disagrees with my experience of them. The company selects a few and the employees get to select from amongst those. If that is also what Hobby Lobby does then they are responsible for selecting such firms and are open to criticism of inconsistency.

    • Peter

      If you don’t want to get pregnant, take the responsibility! what is wrong with people thinking sex it a right and that every one else should take the responsibility for it. [EDIT: I (Aaron) edited this post to take out some potentially offensive language and generally coarse dialogue. Discuss away, but do so respectfully.]

  17. Jan L

    Well it was just a matter of time! We knew this was coming … “Post-Hobby Lobby, Religious Orgs Want Exemption From LGBT Hiring Order … http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/religious-groups-lgbt-hiring-hobby-lobby

  18. Andy H.

    This decision in essence allows any company to proclaim itself the equivalent of a religious institution and as such the work around for churches makes most of what follows moot, but hey- this is the internet so I am going to spout off anyway.

    If Hobby Lobby is not a self insured company then they aren’t actually buying any particular health item for their employees, they are buying a cost sharing plan. That degree of indirection should be enough to make their religion moot.

    Even if they are self insured they aren’t actually buying health care and giving it to their employees (for the non-preventative care parts at least), they are directing some of the employee’s earnings to the employee’s selected health care provider, i.e. they are paying the employee’s medical expense and should not see themselves as responsible for the employee’s actions. Their moral convictions are as remotely applicable as for the choice of companies in a 401k plan.
    They are in fact, even if not consciously, injecting their personal views into the life decisions of their employees. I find that too patriarchical/authoritarian for my tastes.

    • Chase Gochnauer

      But the federal government forcing a family owned business to pay for an abortion pill isn’t too patriarchical/authoritarian for your tastes.

    • Deb

      Maybe this will help – if an employee takes money she earned at HL and buys birth control pills, they are as vested in that purchase & use as if the medication had been covered by the insurance plan. The money to purchase it still came from the Greens. 🙂

  19. Please stop referring to very young human beings as “fertilized eggs.” A fertilized egg is an egg that CONTAINS a zygote. Since humans, like all mammals, are viviparous, their young gestate in the womb and thus do not need an egg in which to gestate. The proper term is embryo or zygote.

    • Becky

      But that becomes the employee’s choice, not something the Greens are REQUIRED to do…can you see the difference? And quit saying that HL is against covering birth control pills, because that is not the case.

  20. Tfarnsworth

    Thank you for your post. I find it incredibly aggravating that so many people, apparently including our President, feel that if a company refuses to cover a certain type of drug, that the companyin question is “denying women healthcare.” If those types of birth control are what a particular woman choses to take, then she has the right to buy them on her own. Is it entitlement that makes some feel as though we are “owed” something? As an earlier person said, health insurance companies have numerous drugs that theydon’t cover….why is this any different?

    • Shaler

      All women aren’t the same, and sometimes the choice of birth control they made with their doctor is actually to lessen the effects of debilitating periods or in the case of IUDs, things like endometriosis. Many of these treatments are out of reach of someone at a HL wage without insurance. To push this to a logical extreme, in this country people who can’t work end up on disability, which is relatively expensive. Providing these drugs or devices could allow someone to work that otherwise would be out frequently.

      • These type of cases do make it difficult. The Greens are not objecting to the drugs necessarily. They object to the use of the drugs in a certain way.

        Those suffering from medical issues that are remedied by the drugs in question are the ones who are truly caught between legal issues. Personally, those are tough. But I do think we still must recognize the religious liberty issues involved.

        I hope those who suffer from these types of problems and are affected by this will be able to find treatment and help with as little disruption to their lives as possible.

      • Also, the Supreme Court essentially said that the government, under the ACA, could provide these drugs to those not covered. That is what will happen in this case, like it does already with non-profits. The insurance company and the government will work together to pay for the drugs, leaving Hobby Lobby out of the loop.

        • navywife

          Right. Because taxpayers want to pay for it and the government has SO much money to be spending on this.

        • Deb

          I believe this is only true if the company provides the necessary form. I don’t know what HL has decided about that, but other companies claiming “religious persecution” are refusing to even provide the form.

  21. Kim

    The water is as clear as mud but being in the women’s health field 30 yrs has taught me a lot about birth control. I prescribe several of the meds mentioned to not cause abortions but to ripen the cervix for delivery in an induction or to help open it for procedures such as iud insertion. Plan B is not an abortifacients – the only drug for a medically induced abortion is ru 486. A drug developed in France. Plan b is a high dose of a progestin found in all oral contraceptives.

  22. David

    I think another wrong idea is that the SCOTUS is blazing new ground is saying that someone can violate a law that runs contrary to his religious convictions. We have a long history of making accommodations for individuals when their personal beliefs were in conflict with a law. For example members of historic peace churches have been allowed to do alternative service when they would normally be drafted and forced to go to war. What is new here is that a corporation has been extended this freedom.

    • Deb

      One can only hope this also means that now, the Greens can be sued for the actions of their corporation. Since owners are tied more closely to their corporation than previously believed due to the protections that prompt people to incorporate.

  23. cecelia

    Thanks for your article. I found it informative. I have yet to read the dissent on this ruling. I’m definitely a liberal but I like my facts and try not to base my opinions on hyped retoric.

    I am educated in constitutional law and I’m concerned about the precedence set by this ruling. My other concern is due to a corporation being awarded constitutional rights. A corporation was never mentioned or given any rights by our forefathers.

    This ruling does not necessarily make me immediately refuse to shop at Hobby Lobby. I usually shop at whoever is closer and whoever has stuff on sale.

  24. Mrs. C

    Aaron, thank you for taking the time to review and provide this information. These are a great myth busters. I have a bit of expertise on the subject of the 401k and wish to share some of my observations.

    The Mother Jones piece and the subsequent opinion pieces that have spun off of it are drawing a direct line in the interest of trying to malign Hobby Lobby. The Forbes rebuttal you posted has some good points but allow me to share a few more.

    I reviewed the same documents that Mother Jones used to draw their conclusions about Hobby Lobby’s retirement plan. According to their DOL fillings their 401k Plan is a Multiple Employer plan. (Not to be confused with multi-employer plan) An MEP plan is where you have a number of un-related employers pooled together into one retirement plan and Hobby Lobby is probably just a Participating Employer of that plan. They would have no more discretion over the fund options in the plan than I would have the discretion to tell a commercial airlines pilot where to fly the plane to get me to my destination. “Captain, I’d like for you to avoid all blue states as you fly us across the country today, because I’m a Republican and don’t believe what those blue states believe in.” Ridiculous? Absolutely.

    The key decision makers at Hobby Lobby have only the fiduciary obligation to monitor their MEP plan provider. That’s pretty much it. They do not choose the menu of options made available to participants as most plans I work with do. Perhaps one could argue that a corporation that is willing to make a federal case over covering certain contraception should also remove themselves from a pooled retirement plan design so they have the discretion to avoid these companies. But that is still a stretch. Employers are choosing MEP and PEO relationships because of the high cost of benefits and this makes it cost effective for them. Most of my clients who choose this style of outsourcing are doing so because of the burden the ACA’s cost to employers.

    Here is a decent explanation for additional understanding on that topic.
    http://www.fa-mag.com/news/multiple-employer-plans-and-the-401k-advisor-7087.html

    My second issue with the article is the impression it leaves the reader that there is a direct connection from Hobby Lobby to what appears to be tens of millions of dollars invested in these pharmaceutical companies. Others of correctly pointed out that the participants choose mutual funds that in turn own shares in various different companies and that is hardly the same as what has been implied. After reviewing the fund options and the holdings as of the end of year 2012, I took a look at the annual reports of all of the funds and calculated about $262,475 was invested in Bayer (producer of IUD’s) and $21,442 in Teva Pharmaceuticals (producer of Plan B). (For simplicity sake I excluded the target date funds as they are fund of funds and would have required more effort than was really necessary to make the point). I am rejecting the other pharmaceutical companies listed in Mother Jones’s article because most of them are not explicitly abortion drugs. Their label and primary known use is non abortion related anyway. Such as cervadil and cytotec. They are used for labor inductions and postpardom hemorrhages, I calculated the holdings based on the two categories of birth control Hobby Lobby is highlighting.

    So in the end we are not talking about $73 million dollars. We are talking about less than $300,000.

    But let’s be the devils advocate for a moment and say that Hobby Lobby should apply their convictions to the 401k. Let’s also pretend that they are in a single employer plan where they meet annually to decide on the investment offerings. The 401k committee convenes and decides they want to consider socially conscious funds in their plan so that not even a penny is invested in big pharma. The Mother Jones article makes it sound like this was an easy option and could have readily made this happen. When plan sponsors review their fund offerings they must follow a prudent process and always make choices that are in the best interest of the participants and their beneficiaries and not what benefit themselves. They are also charged with ensuring that the costs the plan bears is reasonable. After looking at a number of funds offered by The Timothy Plan it would have been a huge liability to either add them to the line up or to map participants out of their current funds for these. One and two star rankings as opposed to the four and five star options they currently have. Expense ratios that would have nearly quadrupled. Higher than average risk. Abysmal returns compared to the benchmarks.

    If I had a client in this position whose business is a retail craft store with more than likely non-savvy investors and they told me they wanted to do this I would have advised them against this consideration as it no doubly would have been to benefit themselves and not their participants and but them in great liability. And this liability far greater than the court of public opinion considering them guilty of hypocrisy.

    Sorry for the long winded observations. I couldn’t help myself. But I’m glad someone posted this article in my FB newsfeed as it led me to your blog and I probably would never have found it otherwise.

    Cheers

  25. Echoe

    I’m asking: WHAT female litigants? there were NO women in the room arguing the female point of view. The Judge asked HOBBY LOBBY male attorneys how such a ruling might affect women.

    How is that representation of women in the issue?

    And, I keep hearing “it’s a limited case.” I’d like to remind you that this is America. Land of Lawsuits. That is the most naive statement I’ve ever heard. And every attorney laughs HUGELY when they hear it. (by the way.. I’m a paralegal, you bet I do the research using cases like these as precedents.)

  26. Heather

    I want to thank you for this blog. It was very informative. I also would like to state to all the hatters here that as you bad mouth all these big pharma’s, remember that they make one or two of the drugs that Hobby Lobby is against. They also make a lot of the med’s billions of people take on a daily basis. That includes you, your kids, parents, grandparents, and your friends.

    So what you are saying in bad mouthing Hobby Lobby for allowing their employees to invest in these companies is that then almost all med’s should then be banned because it is mad by these pharma’s!
    I am sorry but you are wrong!!!!!!!!!!

    That would be like me banning all of SC Johnson’s products because I am allergic to one of them. That is completely bs and uncalled for!

    Hobby Lobby has mad their decision and so has the Supreme Court. Do I completely agree with it? No I do not because I know that many drugs are used for more then one purpose.

    Any way I have said my peace, Thank you for reading! I will still continue to shop at and support Hobby Lobby! Good night and God Bless!

  27. Jenn

    Would you be willing to address the fact (admitted by HL in their original complaint) that HL’s company health plan used to cover at least 2 of the 4 birth control methods in question? It is only after the ACA made it mandatory for all insurance to cover birth control that suddenly HL had a problem with it. Again, this is something they’ve admitted.

    The truth is HL was backed by some pretty heavy-hitters to bring this case forward. Its sole purpose was to undermine the ACA since direct attacks have been completely unsuccessful. It has nothing to do with religious freedom and everything to do with partisan politics.

    And, before anyone starts tossing the L word around, I am a registered Republican and not only attend a Christian church regularly, I work for one. I just think this entire thing is dirty pool and will eventually set the case for religious freedom backward several steps.

    • nyx

      Thank you Jenn. I’m on the other side of the isle politically, and I’m glad to see people on both sides who can be reasonable about this. I admit to being one of the people who believed the myths (I’m still not convinced that they’re all myths, and I keep seeing a lot of conflicting information from both sides) and was as mad as everyone else on the blue side. I’m more inclined to think logically about it now, and react less.

    • To be honest, Jenn, that is the most troubling thing to me, personally. I do not believe it has a bearing on the Supreme Court case, and maybe it was the case that spurred them to consider their stance on the drugs in question, but I do wish they would have been consistent in their objections. I suppose you have to start somewhere, but, again, that is the most troubling to me.

  28. Carrie

    Go Hobby Lobby! The fact that this had turned into a national headline is curious to me. There are so many more controversial issues that should be talked about. Has anyone even mentioned yet that the Plan B drug is sold over the counter? Just like sudafed. Should my employer be responsible to pay for my sudafed because I have allergies? No. I purchase it out of pocket just like the tylenol for my kids when they’re sick. Morning after pills are not birth control. They’re an oops I forgot to take my birth control drug that can prevent a FERTILIZED egg from implanting in the uterin wall. That’s what the drug is designed to do…break down the uterin lining. I agree there may be more political agendas in play here that could affect future drug coverages. Again, I reiterate that many drugs are not covered by insurance. We could also comment on the agenda pushing debare that liberals have been doing it for years ie. roe vs wade. Interesting to note that miss roe is now an anti-abortionist pro life christian with religious beliefs that should still be upheld by the constitution. Where would the abortion agenda be if the courts allowed her to appeal the case?

  29. Bill

    So HL allows (and provides the means) for their employes to participate in activities that are against their religious convictions for their retirement plans but not for their medical care. It seems to me that HL is not a company of religious convictions, they are a company of religious convenience.

  30. mhadmax

    The problem is less in the specifics of what is and isnt covered.

    The issue is the court has allowed a policy to be allowed in a for profit enterprise, that allows them to not follow the same law I as a buisness owner, must follow, all because they think (incorrectly) there is an invisable man in the sky who murded his child to pay for the sins of an ancestral, equally fictional man who when given freewill didnt do as he was told. Either the god is NOT omnipotent, or he is a [edit]. Eitherway making these kind of decisions based on myth is… moronic.

    • Not to be all super snarky, but if you are going to insult the religious beliefs and intelligence of billions of individuals, you might want to do a quick spell check on your comment.

      But aside from that, the court is not ruling on whether or not someone’s religious beliefs are true – that’s not their job. They are merely ruling that they are protected under the RFRA and Constitution – that is their job.

  31. Jim

    Actually, though the ruling on Monday seemed narrow, the orders on Tuesday to the federal courts to reconsider cases in light of this ruling make it pretty clear that this could, in fact, be expanded to *all* contraceptives.

  32. ALAN

    What I cannot understand is this brand of Christianity that requires a civil law to enforce its beliefs. I know in the history of Christianity, Church and State were married side by side, but I thought the whole point of the Pilgrims crossing the Atlantic was to get away from that. Roger Williams established Rhode Island to get away from religious imposition. Now companies, irregardless of whether they are a ma and pa store or a major cooperation, are considered people? And now these “people” have a religious belief that is protected under the RFRA? I’m sorry, but a company like Hobby Lobby may have it’s leaders as part of this Imposing Christianity, but a company is NOT made up of just its cooperate bosses, it encompasses its employees and customers as well. If Hobby Lobby wishes only to cater to only a Christianity like its own, maybe they need to put signs outside its doors stating so. Something like: THIS IS A CONSERVATIVE FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN ESTABLISHMENT, if you do not comply with our religious beliefs do not shop or seek employment here. I can respect another person’s religious beliefs 100% no matter how much I disagree with them, but I cannot accept that a company is a person, and that this “person” has a religion. If this company has a religion, when was it baptized, and by whom? Does it notify potential customers and employees of its religious beliefs before one enters its doors? I’m sorry that their faith is so weak that they require a civil government to enforce its beliefs.

  33. P Kraft

    The lack of these 4 birth control options DOES have a negative effect on women’s health. If it was just about choosing not to become pregnant, then I could nominally agree with you that yes there are other maybe less effective methods available for someone. But you are discounting a LARGE number women who use this for medical reasons. Let’s say I worked for Hobby Lobby and up until now I was able to have access to this medicine. But now because of this ruling I will no longer have coverage for the birth control that also controls my hormonally triggered seizures, or the birth control that controls my endometriosis so I dont have to have blood transfusions twice a month. And NO you cannot just switch to a different type of birth control for this kind of thing. Great, I can just pay out of pocket since I do have a job, but wait a minute while Hobby Lobby’s pay is above average for the area for this type of work it definitely is not THAT great. So why dont I just quit and get another job? Well then I will have NO insurance to cover the additional treatments I will need because of the lack of birth control. And I have to somehow find another job while all this is going on as well.

    You are right, no my health would not be compromised at all. And what makes that worse is I am not even an extreme case. I am fairly common. Google endometriosis, which is just what I have one of the MANY conditions that birth control treats. And these are treatments, I and women like me will be using these treatments for the rest of our lives.

  34. Bob

    The following is a snip-it from webmd, describing plan B and how it functions within the body:
    How Does Plan B One-Step Work?
    Depending upon where you are in your cycle, Plan B One-Step may work in one of these ways:
    It may prevent or delay ovulation.
    It may interfere with fertilization of an egg.
    It is also possible that this type of emergency birth control prevents implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus by altering its lining.

    The third item is why the Green’s included it in the list of drugs they would not pay for. They have a strong belief that life is sacred, and it begins at the time the egg and sperm unite. They have that right, and the court agreed.

  35. Bob

    Any business owner, has to turn a profit, in order to remain in business, HL is no different. Only the government can print additional money or operate at a deficit continually. HL has chosen to create a self imposed minimum wage far above the federal minimum wage, which gives their employees more spendable income to pay for items they need or desire. The hourly wage hourly is just part of the cost of an employee, as a former union shop owner, I saw benefit packages that were almost equal to the employees hourly wage. This combination of wage and benefit package was the “real” cost of each employee.
    Today many feel that the average person is irresponsible and the government should mandate care. When we do this, we actually increase the cost of the care because we have to pay for the administrative layer of government that is needed to oversee the mandate. We tried that with the 18th amendment, and then had to put in place the 21st amendment to fix the problem we created.
    The constitution and bill of rights did not promise us a country where the government controlled everything to protect the citizens. We the people, have allowed ourselves to become dependent on the government to look after us, because we choose to not be, responsible enough to do it ourselves.

    • Alan

      Bob: “The constitution and bill of rights did not promise us a country where the government controlled everything to protect the citizens. We the people, have allowed ourselves to become dependent on the government to look after us, because we choose to not be, responsible enough to do it ourselves.”

      No country or government is perfect, including the United States. No economic system is perfect either, including the Free-Market Captialistic System that we have in the United States. Our federal government was established so that we could combined our forces to ensure the individual states would have a means to protect itself both financially and in times of war. As society grew more complex, so did our laws. It’s like reading the history of American Football. The rules and regulations of today’s American Football is far different from how the game originated. You probably wouldn’t even recognize the game had you seen it played when it became it’s own sport. But as events occurred in the game that required a rule, a new rule was added. Responsibilities shifted to a referee. People were assigned to keep score, etc. As things grow more complex, so too does its infrastructure. Government is no different. The NFL does not tell the individual players where to run, or who the quarterback can throw the ball to; those decisions still lie within the individual players. But their actions are more restricted than in previous times because rules were created as situations developed. So too with our society.
      We have allowed ourselves to become dependent on the government because our society is more complex. I rely on the government to keep the roads in a safe driving condition. I am not going to have a bucket of cement in my car and pull over everytime I see a pothole. If my house is on fire, I am going to call the fire department. If I get robbed, I am going to call the police. If I have a financial dispute with a company, I am going to go to court. I am not going to quit my job and home school my kid, but rather send him to a public school. I expect that the food I am buying at a store will not poison me and has met atleast the minimum safety requirements. If I am flying somewhere for business or vacation, I expect that the plane land safely. All these things require government. Not that they CONTROL these things, but that they regulate them and make sure there is a positive outcome. Goverment is the referee in the game, NOT the player. As to health services, our country developed a system in which we are dependent on our employer to provide us this service. In the 1990s, when health service prices soared, employers felt the need to share the health service burden with its employees. Most Americans now have to pay out of pocket expenses despite the fact that they have insurance. So, instead of being irresponsible, I think the average worker now has to be more responsible in making sure they get a plan that is affordable to them and best fits their needs. When employers paid 100% of the cost, there was no need to be “responsible.”
      Where I think our government, both on a federal level and on an individual state level, is regulating insurance companies and cooperate hospitals. A procedure that cost me $64,000 (me paying $7,000 out of pocket) in the US would only cost me $4,000 in Mexico (at a facility that has a solid reputation and is frequented by many Americans). When I looked at the itemized bill, there were so many overcharges, double charges, administrative fees, etc.
      I think the federal government made the right step by first trying to have all Americans obtain insurance (since most state governments failed miserably in this endevour) because that will help to keep costs down, but the next step is to beef up regulation on hopsitals and insurance companies as our country is, sadly, treating the sick as a means of profit.

    • Deb

      Does their insurance cover in vitro fertilization?

  36. Andrea

    Aaron,

    Debunking Aaron. …”Hobby Lobby was already covering 16 different birth control methods, which account for the types used by 93% of American women. They will continue to provide coverage for those 16″ …actually, one of the commonly prescribed “Contraceptives” no longer covered by HL’s ban is not is actually most prescribed to women in para-menopause/and not as a contraceptive. It’s called Mirena. It’s a last resort before surgery for Menorrhagia. Goggle it. It’s not pleasant and can be debilitating. The other 16 have very negative side-effects to many women and over the age of 40 may contribute to breast cancer. Out of pocket, it’s very expensive. This is not just about about BIRTH CONTROL.

    See the point of religious freedom or let’s call it Corporate Responsibility is to make ethical choices for themselves as a corporation. That includes your environmental footprint, fair market responsibility, fair treatment to employees and yes corporate investments. You can not choice one and rationalize the other, it’s illogical. Your either all in, or you can’t profess the other. Choosing what medicines they allow their employees to be able to take or not take, does cross a line that of Corporate Responsibility.

    If I choose to be a Vegan and run a corporation, I cannot then change the medical benefits for my employees to not cover “heart disease related medicines” like cholesterol meds as they are animal product eaters. To this point you may say “well that’s different” as people with high cholesterol may have genetic issues or have other medical issues not related to eating animal products. I know this example is reaching, but I am trying to display the same fallacy in the logic of the Hobby Lobby ruling based on religious convictions. I could also say that depending on your brand of “Christianity” or other Religious Doctrine, they could also rationalize not to offer coverage for Viagra alike products and infertility coverage, that if a man has erectile dysfunction or a women trouble conceiving,that it is God’s will. Also I could say those people should seek out other options, out of pocket.

    As for RFRA, read it. It was established mainly to protect Native Americans and the right to practice religious freedom without criminalization from employers. It’s now been stretched and pulled to rationalize other religious convictions…and more will come.

    Sadly, the major point is this sets a precedent that is not a good one. If the company you work for, your wife or loved one’s work for can change medical coverage under this precedent (there are 149 other cases pending BTW), it is possible that other things like vaccinations, organ transplant, treatment for rape, blood transfusions…could be candidates to not be covered. If you are already an employee, it is very difficult to find a new job to get coverage for yourself or family members in need of these treatments/procedures.

    The point of the Affordable Health Care Act was to offer (not for FREE as people are confused) but access to medical coverage without prejudice of per-existing condition and right for medical treatment for any American. It’s not FREE. Even it the case of HL, employees pay a premium. This HL case violates the point of access to medical coverage….it sets a bad precedent, and once again Americans take a step backwards for the “good of the many”.

    I predict, that more news is to follow this case….

  37. John

    I do wish you had bothered to list the contraceptives so that you could be fact-checked.

  38. Tony

    I must say that I was happy to see that we do not lose our rights when we organize together (or sometimes as individuals) into corporations, partnerships, etc. I know there is much talk about corporate personhood, but I agree that when you are speaking of closely held businesses they very much are just an extension of the owner(s).

    I knew the vast majority of employers would fall under a closely-held business so when recent articles were touting 90%, I was not surprised. However, I knew that statistic to be a biased one because when you have the Microsofts, Bank of Americas, and other very large employers, it takes a lot of little ones to have the same total employment. Well, I decided to see if I could find how many people work for closely-held businesses. The closest I could find was this study http://web-docs.stern.nyu.edu/salomon/docs/corporategovernance/S-CG-02-06.pdf. It does say that “close corporations” employ 52% of the workforce. It does seem to focus only on corporations and does not include LLCs, partnerships, or sole proprietors so the 52% may then be low, particularly when you consider the following paragraph.

    A particular publicly-traded company came to mind that I wondered if it would qualify as closely-held. After the Federal government, it is the largest employer with 1.3 million “associates.” That company is Wal-Mart. Three people own more than 50%. See page 75 of the proxy statement http://cdn.corporate.walmart.com/74/a3/5609010a4c79b7a0adbc92d20f53/2014-proxy-statement.pdf. Now granted one of the major owners of Wal-Mart, Inc. is Walton Enterprises, LLC but the LLC has just the three owners. Just a curious tidbit. I doubt the Waltons are particularly interested in this court case, but it is only a hunch.

  39. DC

    Paying for the 4 birth control methods they are now suddenly against was not”against their conscience” before the ACA.

    Their conscience doesn’t prevent them from
    buying most of their merchandise from China, where there are more abortions than anywhere.

    Their conscience doesn’t keep them from investing in
    and profiting hugely from companies that produce the very birth control they object
    to and refuse to allow insurance to cover for their employees.

    Apparently “their conscience” allows them to be hypocrites.

  40. john

    Some of those bullets are correct but they are not widely held by liberals. This is a bad decision period. At a minimum The decision just reinforces that corporations can tell you what health care is.
    What the religious right doesn’t get isif you want to qouite the part of the first amendment that protects freedom to practice your religion you have to read the part where the government will not favor any religion.

  41. Aaron,
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts – they were well organized and – obviously – provocative. I’ve bookmarked this page for future reference.

    I also took the time to read each and every comment – sometimes they provide the grist for the next argument or discussion.

    There is one aspect in all of this back and forth regarding Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision that hasn’t gotten its due attention…the reason why we’re being forced to do battle in the first place. That reason is Øbamacare. If not for that abominable act we wouldn’t be having the conversation. I can’t help but see Øbamacare as two steps forward, nine steps back. I still have insurance (for the moment) but it is a hollow shell of what it once offered – and at more than twice the price. Next month is when we will hear how the plans will be changing for 2015. I’m looking forward to it with dread.

    One of your posters (only one?!) was rather passionate in her demands that employers (not just HL) provide healthcare insurance benefits irrespective of the views of those employers regarding the efficacy, the ethics, the morality, or the costs involved. Looking beyond the conceit of “me, me, me” I would wonder how she expects companies (employers, insurance providers, medical treatment centers, etc) to shoulder the burdens of those demands?

    How long before Øbamacare kills the “Golden Goose”?

  42. JMC

    See? This is the beginning of many problems that come with government forcing a company, any company, to provide benefits for its employees. I would take issue if I were a Christian Scientist, being forced to pay for ANY medical benefits. Benefits are supposed to be a bonus, and should not be a requirement. Healthcare is supposed to be “affordable” so this can all be avoided by just getting it on your own….or did you find out that the Healthcare provided by the government is not all that affordable after all? Government being involved in benefits straddles the fence, hence what happened with Hobby Lobby. Here’s an idea…don’t require businesses to pay for health benefits, raise the minimum wage making it feasible for people to afford health care privately. This way people have healthcare that suits their individual needs and no one is forced to partake in actions that go against whichever religion one practices.

About Author

Aaron Earls

Christian. Husband. Daddy. Writer. Online editor for Facts & Trends Magazine. Fan of quick wits, magical wardrobes, brave hobbits, time traveling police boxes & Blue Devils.