First off, I invited my readers to gloss over profiles in both The New York Times and The Washington Post, which were both penned today on the infamous Hobby Lobby case. The case, which reached oral argument at the United States Supreme Court today, namely revolves around the “contraception mandate” in Obamacare. What this provision does, simply put, is to require employers cover birth control on their employee health insurance. However, big exceptions have been made for both religious institutions (i.e., churches) and non-profits with some religious influence (e.g., Catholic Schools or Hospitals). Today, Hobby Lobby –a privately run for-profit corporation– (along with another similar business) argues that it violates both the 1st Amendment and Federal Statutes to compel it to cover specific forms of birth control for their employees.
However, this is where the woeful misinformation of the mainstream press becomes all too pervasive. The argument Hobby Lobby makes IS NOT that they refuse to condone the casual sex allegedly resulting from contraception, it all has to do with abortion. Hobby Lobby specifically is condemning both emergency contraception (Plan B) and Intrauterine Devices (IUD), arguing they occur after fertilization, thus ending a unique life. The problem with this, of course, is that neither drug actually causes abortion.
Call me old fashioned, but I actually agree with Chief Justice John Roberts that the courts should not be seeking out big decisions when the active causes and controversies do not actually necessitate them. The argument that Hobby Lobby makes is that they do not want to fund abortions. Whatever one’s personal opinion on that matter is, I think everyone may understand and appreciate just how unique this issue is. Federal money pays for unholy wars, for executions, to snoop on its citizens and plenty of other policies deemed objectionable by tons of citizens. One of the only issues, however, where we take great pains to avoid paying for something is abortion. The Hyde Amendment, first passed in 1976, accomplishes this. Accordingly, it is not too far fetched to understand that Hobby Lobby does not want to condone what the Federal Government itself is also tepid on. Not surprisingly, many of the Justices took up that line of reasoning.
The only problem with this is that Plan B and IUD do not cause abortions. The Times article makes a note of that, but I am disappointed the Post did not do the same. Accordingly, I do not understand why any Courts even took this issue up in the first place.
Hobby Lobby is not the right type of client if this case is really about religious liberty and birth control. According to the plaintiffs themselves, it isn’t. If you ask them, it is about abortion. Except it isn’t about abortion.
Confused? Welcome to the club.