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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • And Then There's The Truth: Freedom, health plans, and abortion pills

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  • Rarely does a Supreme Court decision become as misunderstood as the recent case brought by Hobby Lobby. The retailer’s owners say they have strong objections, based on their Christian faith, to providing coverage for certain types of contraception that they believe cause abortion.
    The Mennonite owners of Conestoga Wood Specialties agreed and joined the suit.
    ObamaCare's individual mandate required companies to provide coverage for drugs that can cause abortions in their employer-sponsored health plans. This would have forced Hobby Lobby’s owners to decide between violating their religious beliefs or dropping healthcare coverage for all employees, moving them to the Obamacare exchanges, and paying large fines.
    Last Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hobby Lobby’s favor and said that the government must exempt privately held companies from a mandate that requires businesses to pay for certain types of birth control, if they have religious objections.  
    As expected, the decision evoked partisan reaction. Some on the left called the ruling an attack on women’s rights and a blow against equality. They argued that businesses shouldn’t be able to pick and choose which contraception methods to cover and that tens of thousands of women would now be without their birth control. Comments on CNN’s website said of Hobby Lobby, “Sharia Law Tea Party Style.”
    Hillary Clinton added, “It’s very troubling that a salesclerk 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.”
    The Washington Post analyzed her statement, found it to be untrue, and gave it “Two Pinocchios.”
    The problem with those arguments is that Hobby Lobby never argued against the ability for women to access contraceptives. They don’t believe, however, that they should be forced by the federal government to pay for the ones they feel cause abortion. The owners of Hobby Lobby had no moral objection to the use of 16 of the 20 preventive contraceptives required in the mandate. They still plan to cover those methods. They only objected to the 4 that they felt were the equivalent of abortion.
    Their employees are still free to obtain them, the company just won’t pay for them.
    Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin says the U.S. Supreme Court's decision protects "religious liberty" and defends citizens from an "overreaching, overbearing federal government." I agree but I think it goes a step farther than that. I think the real issue here is about the freedom to run your business as you see fit.
    If a company wants to cover all types of contraceptives in their health plan then they should.
    Page 2 of 2 - If they don’t then they shouldn’t. If a company wants to pay its workers in rocks or give them a pair of shoes with every paycheck then it’s no one’s choice but theirs. Workers aren’t slaves. They can leave and go work elsewhere if they don’t agree with a company’s policies. Healthcare benefits, as part of a salary, are used to attract good employees. They are not an entitlement owed by an employer to an employee.
    The forgotten point here is that those that support Hobby Lobby can continue to shop and work there. Those that oppose their policies can go elsewhere.
    Let people vote with their wallets. Companies that make smart decisions will do well and those that don’t will fall by the wayside. Some have called for a boycott of the retailer. Others praise it for standing up for freedom. When the dust settles, Hobby Lobby’s sales likely won’t really be affected. Most boycotters don’t shop at Hobby Lobby anyway and most of their employees appear satisfied. According to the company’s owners, it sets “a positive environment that happens to be based on biblical principles.”
    It has over 13,000 workers and it pays full-time employees a minimum of $15 an hour with benefits. Most revealing about the owners is that they donate 10% of their profits to charity.
    This ruling is a victory for everyone who believes in limited government and religious freedom. Since the Revolutionary War it’s been freedom that we valued over everything else. Shouldn’t we insist that our laws encourage free people to stick to their moral convictions?
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