Hobby Lobby Still Covers Vasectomies, and The Huffington Post Still Fails at Science

In response to yesterday’s 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby, an article from The Huffington Post is going viral. The article, entitled, “Hobby Lobby Still Covers Vasectomies and Viagra,” not-so-subtly accuses the Green family of moral inconsistency and misogyny.

From the article:

“Evangelical Christians have long argued that life begins at conception, and therefore that medical procedures that disrupt the first stages of pregnancy amount to murder. In the case of Hobby Lobby, this extends to a woman taking pills such as Plan B, Next Choice or Ella, any of which would prevent her ovaries from releasing an egg that could be fertilized after unprotected sex.”

Hobby Lobby objected to covering Plan B, Ella, and the 2 IUD’s in question because the owners believe these can interfere with implantation – not because they interfere with the ovaries releasing an egg, as this article states. This is an extremely important distinction. (One can debate the scientific evidence for this belief. But that actually misses the point. Their religious convictions should still be protected, even if they think these specific forms of birth control are immoral because they’re cursed by Zeus.)


Intrauterine Device

Since a fertilized egg is, biologically speaking, a human organism…and since an unfertilized egg & sperm are not human organisms…there’s no inconsistency in the owners of Hobby Lobby covering vasectomies, viagra, (most) OCP’s, condoms, or any of the other 16 of the 20 FDA approved forms of contraception that they already cover.

The article continues:

“Perhaps taking a note from Catholic Church’s opposition to sterilization, Hobby Lobby also objected to long-term birth control methods such as IUDs, which can cost women up to $1,000. But that does not explain why Hobby Lobby doesn’t object to covering the cost of its male employees’ vasectomies.”

Sterilization and long-term methods of birth control are not the same thing. So this comparison is head-scratching. The owners of Hobby Lobby don’t object to IUD’s because they prevent pregnancy (or even because they prevent pregnancy “for a long time”), but because they believe these devices can cause the death of a human organism by preventing implantation of the blastocyst. Vasectomies work exclusively by preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg.

If the Huffington Post wishes to use smear tactics, they’re free to do so. This article, however, relies not only on a gross misunderstanding of the Green family’s moral stance, but on an embarrassing ignorance of human biology.


12 thoughts on “Hobby Lobby Still Covers Vasectomies, and The Huffington Post Still Fails at Science

  1. I agree. The comparisons are apples to oranges and should have never even been mentioned. The root of this decision is that it has opened a Pandora’s box for corporations to deny health care based on “religious beliefs” and therefore unconstitutional.

  2. Not for the first time, it strikes me that one side seems a lot worse at understanding the other side’s point of view than vice versa. (How can they disagree with us if they haven’t even understood what they’re claiming to disagree with?)

    “Evangelical Christians have long argued that life begins at conception . . . .”

    Right, or Evangelicals, Catholics, and just about all other Christians. Or, just “science”. Does the author of the Huffington Post post think the child is dead at conception? Or maybe he* is just saying it’s not human life. Maybe it’s a fish at conception?

    * I also notice that it’s definitely “he”. RT if you think it sounds pretty weird for a bunch of male commentators (in this case, Alexander Kaufman, Andi Zeisler, and Mark Takano) loudly to express their opinion that the male Supreme Court justices have no right to have an opinion on the subject?

  3. I’m in agreement with the previous commenter, but I thank you for linking to the HuffPo article, which I had not read. The troubling trend in this kind of ruling is an increase in the rights of a commerce/trade associative group (corporations) and a reduction in individual protections.

    In the specific case of Hobby Lobby, there are other hypocrisies to note. Most of their merchandise is of Chinese manufacture. They want to be able to restrict aspects of the sex and reproductive habits of their 13k employees, while simultaneously financially supporting China. The US rate of abortion is 19 per 1000 women. The rate in China is 28 per 1000 women.

    • Corporation: a company or group of people authorized to act as a single entity (legally a person) and recognized as such in law. At what point, in your view, do people lose their constitutional rights when they form groups recognized by law?

      You said, “most of their merchandise is of Chinese manufacture”. I don’t suppose you have any proof of that? And if so, could you provide us the steps in logic that get you from believing that the purchase of products made in a given country is the same as supporting said country’s stance on abortion.

      You also said, “they want to be able to restrict aspects of the sex and reproductive habits of their 13k employees…”. Seriously? You think this ruling restricts what type of sex their employees can have? Or how and whether they reproduce? C’mon man. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt here. Maybe you just missed the part where they still provide 16 of the 20 FDA approved forms of contraception.

    • “The US rate of abortion is 19 per 1000 women. The rate in China is 28 per 1000 women.”

      So Hobby Lobby shouldn’t sell anything made either in the USA or China?

  4. Very well said. I saw that article too. The headline alone is a head-scratcher. The sad part is how many are sharing it thinking they make a terrific point.

    • Sorry for my delayed response. I work on-call. I wasn’t aware it’s necessary to offer evidence in a comment in order to make an uncontested assertion – that what’s on the shelves at Hobby Lobby says “Made in China”. Don’t believe it if you don’t want to, or go in one and look. It’s not news to most, and was widely covered. They aren’t trying to mislead anyone or obscure it. They buy Chinese to increase profit, because the goods are cheap. Here’s one of the thousands of articles on the topic, just as an example:

      Next, I suppose you will impeach US News and World Report for publishing it…

      My point is stating the abortion ratios is that it is obviously hypocritical to buy from a country that supports abortion far more than this country does IF that is their true motive for objecting to part of the contraceptive mandate in the PPACA. The logic comes under the phrase “putting your money where your mouth is”.

      I believe Hobby Lobby’s objection is not actually religious, but based on profit motive – they want to find a way, ANY way, to not have to pay. They want to weasel out and make the rest of us pay, so they can go back to selling plastic crap from China.

    • No problem on the response. I didn’t think it was late. But that is a terrific over reaction to a simple request. Hahaha. I don’t shop at Hobby Lobby so all you really had to say was “I shop there.” Don’t worry, no plans to impeach a news organization, but thanks for hammering that one home. Lol.

      You still have not proven that purchasing a product made in a country that supports abortion is itself a form of supporting of abortion. Look at it in the form of a proposition-conclusion argument: P1; Company A purchases zippers from company B at a price they like, P2; company B resides in a country which has a legal drinking age of 16, Conclusion; Company A supports a legal drinking age of 16. Do you see how those propositions don’t support the conclusion? The decision to purchase a product from a company in another Courtney has nothing to do with said country’s social policy. It’s a non-sequitur. It just doesn’t make sense.

      Finally, Hobby Lobby risks more bad press, lost customers and boycotts that would lead to lost revenue than they could ever hope to recoop by refusing to pay for a couple forms of birth control. Keep in mind, they’re still paying for 80% of all FDA approved contraceptives available.

  5. No one goes out and gets a vasectomy so they can have a one-night stand. Hobby Lobby and other Christian-oriented organizations should not be forced to finance what their faith may teach is soul devaluing sexuality whether or not it leads to reproduction. Our society, sexually speaking, is under a conditioned spell cast by certain industries to approach sex like cocaine study rats approach the next dose in the laboratory. It has become about that clinical and pays about as well (no mutual life help, work, or even a modest castle follow — just an empty bed, room, house, apartment, etc.).

    Here’s an idea. Just as the class action suits against the tobacco industry made Big Tobacco pay states hundreds of billions (way too little) in lost health care and other monies for the morbidity and mortality of smoking, so maybe it’s time for businesses that profit from promoting sex that risks unwanted conceptions to pay arrears to the taxpayers who have so long financed contraception, divorce courts, abortions, social workers, and more, necessitated by that conditioning.

  6. “…and since an unfertilized egg & sperm are not human organisms…”

    Always with the prejudice against the haploid stage of the human life cycle. I’ve seen all your posts on why you say a fertilized egg is a human, and I agree, but it’s ridiculous to say that there is a stage of the human life cycle in which we are human and then become not human and then become human again by virtue of chromosome number. And it’s all to support the notion that simply being human entitles one to the right not to be killed, even for “just” causes (like defense of home and country, or “justice” by death penalty). It’s a bad scientific argument used as a poor attempt to support a bad moral argument.

    “(One can debate the scientific evidence for this belief. But that actually misses the point. Their religious convictions should still be protected, even if they think these specific forms of birth control are immoral because they’re cursed by Zeus.)”

    Retitle this post to “In which I unwittingly make the case for moral relativism…”

    #1 – The content of the belief matters, which is why the supreme court emphasized the narrow interpretation of this ruling. Nobody relevant in this country will support a religion that supports the ritualistic cannibalism of babies. Jehovah’s witnesses still have to pay for insurance that covers blood transfusions. Orthodox Jews still have to pay for insurance that covers heparin, and I have to pay for insurance that covers protamine, even though my religion says it’s nasty to put fish sperm in your blood. Which brings me to:

    #2 – It makes absolutely no sense for a group of people who are anti-abortion to oppose LARC methods of contraception, which have a proven decrease in unplanned pregnancy and abortion rates in head-to-head trials vs other methods of birth control. To put it in terms of your previous article, “Why do conservatives oppose evidence-based alternatives to abortion?” (Is this a tongue-in-cheek argument? Of course, just like the previous article’s title was)

  7. Pingback: Supreme Court Gets One Right in Hobby Lobby, Stops HHS Mandate | Enjoyment and Contemplation

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