Hobby Lobby has liberals in hives these days, especially after the Supreme Court of the United States decided in their favor in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. this Monday. To hear liberals tell the story, the issue is whether or not corporations have any right to tell a woman what to do with her body – specifically regarding contraception.
Here’s the thing: This isn’t about contraception. Hobby Lobby’s insurance already covers 16 out of the 20 forms of contraception mandated by the Affordable Care Act…and, in fact, they covered contraception long before the Affordable Care Act mandated that they have to. So, what’s the rub?
Hobby Lobby is owned by a Christian family who have a religious objection to abortion and who consider four of the “contraceptive” methods that the ACA mandates to be abortion – or potentially abortive – rather than contraception. This includes two types of “morning after” pills and two types of intrauterine devices (IUDs).
The morning after pill is indisputably designed to terminate an existing (or potentially existing) pregnancy. There really is no counter-argument to that fact. It’s what the Plan B pill does. Period. End of story. As for the IUDs in question, there are clearly other forms of birth control available.
For the liberal, this poses a problem because corporations – or even individuals who own businesses and employ people, really – should not have a right to refuse to pay for an employee’s abortion. After all, in the liberal’s way of thinking, it is the individual worker’s choice and she should have the right to do what she wants to with her body, even if that includes using an abortive device or medication on the dime of someone who has a religious objection to abortion.
Hobby Lobby’s owners obviously disagree. However, nothing in the Burwell vs Hobby Lobby, Inc. case will prohibit a Hobby Lobby employee from using any form of contraception they want. It only limits whether Hobby Lobby will pay for it through their insurance program.
Liberals will argue that this puts the poor at an unfair disadvantage because a store clerk may not be able to afford to purchase Plan B or other abortive drugs for themselves. As a Time Magazine report quoted likely 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:
“It’s very troubling that a sales clerk at Hobby Lobby who needs contraception, which is pretty expensive, is not going to get that service through her employer’s health care plan because her employer doesn’t think she should be using contraception. We’re always going to argue about abortion. It’s controversial. And that’s why I’m pro-choice, because I want people to be able to make their own choices.”
So, what entails “pretty expensive?” According to costhelper.com, the typical cost of a morning after pill for an uninsured person ranges from $10 to $70.
What’s more – and liberals don’t like to acknowledge this point – Hobby Lobby pays its employees considerably above the minimum wage that is standard in comparable retail stores. In fact, full time Hobby Lobby employees start at $14 per hour – almost double the current federal minimum wage. Even part time employees start at $9.50 per hour – still considerably above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. This should allow the average employee (assuming even a minimal level of financial responsibility) at least enough discretionary income for a $10 pill.
Of course, we may need to concede that level of financial responsibility may be unreasonable to expect from those who make the decision to have unprotected sex after declining to use one of the 16 contraception methods mandated to be provided at no cost to them by the ACA that were not at issue in this case – all of which Hobby Lobby’s insurance will pay for.
Hobby Lobby had a much easier fix for this had they chosen it. They could have done what other employers who employ low-skilled workers (you know, the companies that are paying them minimum wage) are doing. Hobby Lobby could have simply lowered the majority of their work force to below 30 hours and told them to go buy their own insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. Fortunately for those who depend on the income and health insurance, Hobby Lobby owners apparently didn’t consider that in keeping with their Christian principles, either.
All that said, the bigger issue at stake in the Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby, Inc. case has nothing to do with contraception, or even abortion. The bigger issue at stake was whether business owners should be required to cast aside their religious beliefs simply because they opened a business and committed the crime of creating jobs. By deciding in favor of Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court got this one right – even if only narrowly.