July 3, 2013
On June 27, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver stopped the clock that was ticking away at $1.3 million per day while Hobby Lobby tries to fight Obama’s contraception mandate. As every non-profit or religion-based business in the nation waits for the Supreme Court decision, it’s important to remember that Hobby Lobby might have won a war for religious freedom, but what about the war on women?
The Mandate Does Not Include RU-486 – a.k.a. The Abortion Pill
The contraception mandate covers exactly what it says – methods of contraception, not abortion. Included in the mandated coverage are condoms (both male and female), diaphragms, cervical sponges or caps, oral contraceptives, patches, vaginal contraceptives, DMPA shots, and IUDs.
Emergency contraceptives, such as Plan B One-Step and Next Choice One Dose, are also covered under the mandate and this is where the controversy lies. There’s a big difference between “The Morning After Pill” and “The Abortion Pill.”
Plan B and other “morning after pills” are emergency contraceptives – they prevent conception. They contain the same hormones as a birth control pill, only at much higher levels.
The Mayo Clinic has this to say about morning after pills:
“Morning-after pills can prevent pregnancy because conception typically doesn’t occur immediately after sex. Instead, it may happen up to several days later. During the time between sex and conception, sperm travel through the fallopian tubes until they potentially reach an egg. As a result, using emergency contraception soon after unprotected sex isn’t too late to prevent pregnancy.”
Mifepristone (Mifeprex), also known as RU-486 or “the abortion pill” is used to terminate an established pregnancy. It is not classified as a contraceptive or as an emergency contraceptive and it’s not included in the federal contraceptive mandate.
Does Hobby Lobby Screen For Religious Beliefs Before Hiring?
Unless Hobby Lobby is practicing discriminatory hiring, it’s safe to assume that all of their 14,000 employees don’t share the same religious beliefs.
While some may argue the constitutional validity of the existence of Obama’s contraception mandate, the fact is, we’re stuck with it for the time being. But, by refusing to comply on religious grounds, isn’t Hobby Lobby trying to force its religious beliefs onto its employees?
Put another way, if Hobby Lobby served all of their 14,000 employees a free BLT for lunch every day, you can bet your boots at least some of their Muslim employees would feel discriminated against. Hobby Lobby’s stand on contraceptives is the same concept in reverse – they’re withholding a benefit from everyone based on the beliefs of a few. (Unless, of course, they can prove that all of their employees share the same religious beliefs, which would set them up for even more trouble.)
Of course, there’s always the argument that women don’t have to work for Hobby Lobby, they could go work somewhere else. But we all know the employment situation in the USA today.
Hobby Lobby Is Arguing Against Women’s Reproductive Rights
Hobby Lobby’s argument that they’re exempt from the contraceptive mandate because of their religious beliefs is getting old and stale, and as already shown, it’s based on misdirection – contraception is not the same thing as abortion. Contraception prevents a pregnancy and abortion terminates a pregnancy.
It’s another Conservative attempt at using slight-of-hand to control women’s reproductive rights. We’re getting close to election time again so let’s revisit the war on women.
Contraception Reduces Abortion Rates
In 2012, Dr. Jeffrey Peipert of Washington University in St. Louis released his results from a 2-year study on contraceptive use. The project tracked more than 9,000 women, many of the poor or uninsured, who were given their choice of a range of free contraceptives. His results were pretty conclusive: contraception reduces abortion rates.
As reported in the New York Times:
“There were 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers in the study, compared with a national rate of 34 births per 1,000 teens in 2010. There also were substantially lower rates of abortion, when compared with women in the metro area and nationally: 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women in the study, compared with 13.4 to 17 abortions per 1,000 women in the St. Louis region, Dr. Peipert calculated. The national rate is almost 20 abortions per 1,000 women. Women’s health specialists said the study foreshadows the potential impact of the new health care law, in which millions of women are beginning to get contraceptives without a co-payment.”
Controlling Access To Contraceptives Would Increase Insurance Rates
Obviously, if contraception reduces abortion rates, it also reduces unplanned pregnancies and the medical care that comes along with the package.
One of the biggest problems with Obamacare is insurance providers are mandated to cover anyone with a pre-existing condition, pregnancy included.
Analysts estimate that 6 million people will choose to take their chances and choose not to purchase insurance until they need it, which is the main reason insurance rates are going to jump more than 146 percent when Obamacare takes effect.
Of course, insurance providers are always going to have some reason to raise rates, but would you rather your rates rise because you’re subsidizing birth control or would you rather they rise because you’re paying for prenatal care, hospital care, delivery room expenses, post-natal care, and a host of other medical expenses?
Hobby Lobby Is Arguing In The Wrong Direction
The owners of Hobby Lobby are arguing about whether or not they should be federally mandated to supply contraceptives to their employees if it goes against their religious beliefs, but that’s exactly what Obama wants. By focusing on these small battles we’re allowing him to win the war.
The real question here should be: Does Obama have the authority to federally mandate insurance coverage?