Facts About Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby

As you all have doubtless heard, the SCOTUS recently found in favor of Hobby Lobby in Sebelius v/s Hobby Lobby. In a nutshell, Hobby Lobby can now offer health insurances that does not cover women’s contraceptives.

Some people think this is about abortion.  Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green wrote in an open letter in 2013 smugly declaring that, “Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill … We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs.”

Regardless of his personal beliefs, that is not a factual statement.

Emergency contraception, the morning-after-pill or the week-after poll are NOT things that cause abortions. They MAY sometimes prevent the implantation of the fertilized egg into the uterine wall, but so can birth control pills.  If the fertilized egg does not implant, the woman has not conceived because “according to both the scientific community and long-standing federal policy, a woman is considered pregnant only when a fertilized egg has implanted in the wall of her uterus”.  Considering that 2/3 of human embryos fail to develop, nature itself causes abortions by David Green’s standards.

Additionally, if David Green feels preventing implantation is abortion (which it is not; abortion is the expulsion of an embryo or fetus), then that means that women who have used the birth control pill would be every bit as “guilty” of “taking drugs that might cause abortions” as a woman who has taken Plan B. More than 27% of all fertile women in the US are currently using the pill, and 80% have used the pill in an attempt to prevent pregnancy. Considering that more than 3/4 of the American population identify as Christians, I suspect there are many Christian women who have taken birth control pills.

That is not the only lack of factual information I have found regarding public perceptions of this case. Here is a quick fact sheet of the most common misconceptions:

Hobby Lobby facts

The real issue here is that “A provision in the Affordable Care Act requires corporations to offer insurance plans that meet minimum coverage standards if those corporations take advantage of tax benefits for compensating employees in health insurance, rather than wages. But the owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Store, a Pennsylvania wood manufacturer, challenged this provision, arguing that it violated their religious freedom.”

Hobby Lobby could have chosen to deny all employees health insurance and allowed them to get private insurance via Obamacare, or Hobby Lobby could have said no to the tax break and continued covering whatever it wished. However, Hobby Lobby wanted the tax break for offering health insurance while NOT following the rules of the tax break.

It is that simple.

I have to wonder — If this had been an Islamic-owned company demanding the same thing, would some Americans be as supportive as they are for Hobby lobby?

However, as a Christian it is the hypocrisy of Hobby Lobby’s founders that bothers me the most. 

  • David Green, the CEO of Hobby Lobby, has only three children; did his wife ever take birth control pills or other methods, such as the IUD, that may have prevented implantation? He has not disclosed this information about his own private life, while seeking to control the private lives of others.
  • Moreover, David Green is worth $5.1 BILLION. In Matthew 19:24 Jesus warned that “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” In Matthew 19:21 Jesus instructed a rich man that “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Clearly David Green, like most people of any religion, is more stringent about following some aspects of his faith than others.
  • Christianity and preventing abortions are, in spite of rhetoric to the contrary, separate things. Jesus says nothing about abortions in the New Testament, even though they were commonly practiced by Romans and Hebrews during his lifetime. Furthermore, in Exodus 21:22-24 the Bible indicates that a miscarried fetus is not considered to be equivalent to a person, since causing a miscarriage does not engenders a fine rather than the death penalty. Abortion is a theologically complex topic. Christians are found in both the Pro Choice and Anti Choice camps for that reason.
  • Hobby Lobby gets the products it sells from China, because imported goods are less expensive. China not only supports abortions, it forces women to have one upon occasion. Wouldn’t that conflict with David Green’s stance that to “end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs.”
  • Hobby Lobby appears to lose its sincerely held beliefs when there is money to be made. As reported in Forbes, “Mother Jones has uncovered numerous investments on the part of Hobby Lobby’s retirement fund in a wide variety of companies producing abortion and contraception related products.”

The hypocrisy is manifest.

While Jesus did not mention abortion he repeatedly castigated hypocrisy. Entire chapters of the New Testament, such as Matthew 23, are devoted to decrying hypocrisy. That’s something that David Green should consider carefully.

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