Stand back, kids, because I’m about to whip a little science on you.
Recently, I read this hand-wringing account of what’s happening to the poor owners of Hobby Lobby. Although it is never a good idea when it comes to these articles, I read down into the comments. I did this to see if there was any disagreement among the readers about the nature of this “tragedy.”
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here are the facts as I understand them:
The Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, are reportedly devout, evangelical Christians. Shopping at Hobby Lobby makes this point very clear. But the Greens have always said they want their business to be run on Christian principles.
When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed, among the new regulations was a mandate that contraceptives be provided without a co-pay for employees. There were exceptions carved out for religious institutions and delays for religiously affiliated institutions, but if you’re just a regular company looking to make a profit (even if you adhere to biblical principles in your decision-making) you are required to provide contraceptive coverage in your health care plan.
The Greens didn’t like this and sued the federal government for emergency injunctive relief until this was all settled in the courts. The Supreme Court denied their request, so Hobby Lobby employees can get their contraceptives without a co-pay.
Or they would, except that the Greens have said they will defy the court order and pay the fines, which can total as much as $1.3 million per day.
That’s where the hand-wringing comes in.
The Greens claim that their religious freedom has been infringed upon because they are being forced to pay for abortions, which they believe is murder. The commenters mostly agreed except for a few who pointed out that an employer’s religious beliefs shouldn’t outweigh those of the employees’.
But I believe that’s the wrong argument (even though it is a valid one).
The argument should be over whether the contraception mandate is actually an abortion mandate. All through this article, the author refers to the “Obamacare abortion mandate.” The author claims this has nothing to do with contraceptives and that no one is trying to outlaw contraceptives (*cough* Santorum *cough*). They see it as unconscionable that a devout Christian can be forced to pay for his employee’s abortions.
To that point I can only say “Look at the science.”
When the Greens (and the author) talk about the abortion mandate, they are referring to “Plan B” or “emergency contraception” or “the morning after pill.” They and their ilk refer to these drugs as “abortifacients,” meaning they induce abortions.
But abortifacients aren’t a part of the contraceptive mandate. If you look at the HHS regulation, it says that insurance should cover “contraceptives” approved by the FDA. This list includes Plan B and emergency contraceptives, but neither of these drugs are abortifacients.
They simply aren’t. You may not like that fact. It may not jibe with what your minister or elected official tells you, but facts are facts.
If you are pregnant and you take either Plan B or emergency contraceptives, then the drugs have no affect. None. They don’t induce abortions in pregnant women. They can’t. They don’t work like that. They are classified as contraceptives because they prevent conception. Just because you happen to take them after sex doesn’t mean they are abortifacients and believing otherwise belies an ignorance of how one actually gets pregnant.
No one was making that point in the comments section and I wasn’t about to stick my hand in that particular hornet nest.
So, I say let Hobby Lobby pay all the fines it wants to. If it drives the company out of business, then they’ll serve as a cautionary tale for other business owners who want to impose their religious beliefs on their employees, based on bad science.
You can always buy your glue gun refills at Michaels, right?