First they said they had a problem with anything that would alter an embryo after implantation. Then when that didn’t get them what they wanted, they moved the goal posts to say that their real concern is generally fertilized eggs, even if they haven’t been implanted yet. That didn’t work either, so now they are worried about a woman’s egg and what might happen to it. What “can” happen to it.
The egg, sans sperm, is considered by conservatives to be a human life with more rights than the woman it belongs to.
It’s Hobby Lobby V Science/Reality/Sanity. It’s the conservative argument against birth control, which they claim they have not been making, but have in fact been making for some time — as the GOP platform containing a Personhood directive (fertilized eggs as people) indicates.
So it is that Hobby Lobby finds itself arguing, against science, that three forms of emergency contraception are actually abortifacients (substances which will cause a miscarriage). At issue is emergency contraception, specifically Plan B, Ella and IUDs (IUDs are also used for other medical purposes). Hobby Lobby argues that their “religious beliefs prohibit them from providing health coverage for contraceptive drugs and devices that end human life after conception.”
Reality says no. Daily Beast explained:
“You don’t have a pregnant woman until the egg implants in a woman and sticks,” said Susan F. Wood, a former director of the women’s health office at the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and now a professor at George Washington University. “That’s what the medical world has long considered pregnancy. That’s what the FDA thinks of as pregnancy. And that’s what our society thinks of as pregnancy.”
So now Hobby Lobby is not only arguing to be exempt from the law based on their religion, but also to change the definition of pregnancy under federal law. This is where the term “perpetually pregnant” comes from, because if this is passed, women will be seen as perpetually in a possible state of pregnancy.
It turns out that after moving the goal posts at least three times to get to a place where Hobby Lobby could finally rest its silly Obama hate on “pro life”, they landed at calling the three forms of emergency contraception something that can be (not are) used as abortifacients.
In reality, they work by blocking the creation of fertilized eggs. So there is not even a fertilized egg to debate here.
The New York Times discovered that abortion opponents based their new argument that these “can” be used as abortifacients on outdated FDA labels that used old language from the birth control pill. But even on this front, they’ve been caught out because science exists and these pills delay ovulation. This occurs before an egg is even fertilized.
But an examination by The New York Times has found that the federally approved labels and medical Web sites do not reflect what the science shows. Studies have not established that emergency contraceptive pills prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb, leading scientists say. Rather, the pills delay ovulation, the release of eggs from ovaries that occurs before eggs are fertilized, and some pills also thicken cervical mucus so sperm have trouble swimming.
In point of fact, “These medications are there to prevent or delay ovulation,” Dr. Petra M. Casey, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Mayo, told the New York Times. “They don’t act after fertilization.”
We are now debating unfertilized eggs, which I’ll note are equal to sperm on the leading-to-life scale.
Sure, Hobby Lobby’s insurance carried two of these (Plan B and Ella) prior to Obamacare, but now suddenly they have a problem with it, because President Obama exists (so Christian and patriotic). Apparently their religious beliefs didn’t compel them to care about this specific issue previously — a fact the court should weigh heavily, given that these alleged beliefs are the entire premise of their faulty, Constitution-violating suit.
The premise that a corporation is allowed to circumvent the law based on their religious beliefs is insanely bad precedent that would be discriminatory against women; corporations can refuse to follow the law only when it comes to women’s health issues? Way to end that Republican War on Women. Or are they going to set a precedent for every religious corporation to exempt themselves from various laws?
Here’s some bad news for Hobby Lobby types who claim to love the Constitution and all things USA until they don’t. Roe V Wade was based in part on the 14th Amendment, which guarantees that federal rights shall be applied equally to all persons born in the United States. Yes, women are entitled to privacy, including the right to bodily integrity. This is an issue of basic liberty for women. You cannot be against women’s right to basic liberty, you cannot fight against their right to privacy, and claim you care about freedom.
Conservatives seek to take this liberty away from women due to some entitlement they feel over the majority of the country. Furthermore, even the guise of this horror show is inaccurate. According to a study by Guttmacher, the abortion rate fell by 13% under Obama.
You want to know what actually reduces abortions? Two things: Sex education/family planning and access to affordable birth control – the two things that Republicans are against and have defunded. They don’t get to call themselves “pro-life” when they don’t really care about actually reducing abortion. This is all about Obama hate. It’s driving them so mad that they are now in court arguing to take ownership of the majority of this country’s unfertilized eggs.
If Hobby Lobby is successful, the scores of women unable to afford emergency contraception will impact their male partners as well, whose lives will also be changed forever because of Hobby Lobby’s alleged religious beliefs and willful misunderstanding of science and reality.
Image: OMPOW Facebook
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.