Cutting Through The Conservative Lies About The Hobby Lobby Ruling


The idiom “scratch the surface” generally means just beginning to find out about something, or only superficially examining what could be a very complex issue. The complexities of the Hobby Lobby decision are far deeper than just giving a corporation religious freedom, or allowing religious corporation to withhold contraceptives from their organization’s healthcare prescription plans. Those two issues alone will have a devastating affect on any religious business or corporation’s employees, but after doing a cursory reading of the Hobby Lobby et al complaint, the High Court decision will immediately affect more than just their employees.

Throughout the Hobby Lobby case, Americans heard ad nauseum that the artificial legal entity’s religious objection was about including contraception in their employees health insurance prescription plans. By now, most Americans are aware that the Green family insisted that their female employees, and male employees with wives, must pay separately for their own contraceptives even though they are already paying for their own contraceptives through their health insurance prescription coverage.

However, Hobby Lobby was not only objecting to prescription plans that covered contraceptives, they and their co-petitioners vehemently objected to health insurance plans that cover “related education and counseling for contraception.” In other words, the religious corporations appealed to the Supreme Court for constitutional authority to do precisely what Republicans lied about what the ACA would do; get between a doctor and their patient.

Of course the ACA does no such thing. But Hobby Lobby, other religious corporations, and private businesses can insert their corporate selves in a doctor’s examination room, right between a doctor and their patient, and prohibit physicians from giving routine reproductive medical counseling during office visits to their patients employed by Hobby Lobby or any other religious business, corporate or otherwise.

According to Hobby Lobby et al’s complaint, their religion objects to health care plans and issuers that provide education and counseling for all women beneficiaries with reproductive capacity. They also complained that a physician “counseling and educating women on reproductive health is incompatible and irreconcilable with Plaintiffs’ express messages and speech.” What that means is that Hobby Lobby will not tolerate being contradicted regarding the use, prescribing, or counseling women about their reproductive health choices and the High Court agreed. After the Hobby Lobby decision, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a statement and warned “the decision allowed employers to interfere in the doctor-patient relationship by limiting what discussions and options patients would be presented with.” But that was the express intent in including the gag order in the lawsuit. It is, not only infringing on a physicians freedom of speech, it also infringes on their ability to render their professional judgment and practice medicine.

Perusing the Hobby Lobby complaint exposes another fallacy from pundits on the right who claim that if a woman or man with a wife works for Hobby Lobby and seeks a doctor’s advice, and prescription for contraceptives, all they have to do is ask for it and then pay for it out of their own pocket. That is incompatible with Hobby Lobby’s religious liberty and they won the right to disallow women from using their own health benefit compensation package to make reproductive health choices. For the religious conservatives that scream it is no burden for women to spend only $9 a month for their own birth control, the cost for a prescription not covered in a group prescription plan is closer to $390 annually (IUD’s can cost over $900). It is true employees can opt out of religious corporations’ health plans, but purchasing healthcare on the open individual market can cost over 3 times more than a group plan.

Another unreported fallacy about Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit was that they claimed emergency contraceptives like Plan B and Ella were “abortifacients; that is patently false. They said they were abortion because in their religious minds, Plan B, Ella, and certain IUDs cause the death of the embryo. Their complaint said, “The use of artificial means to prevent the implantation of a human embryo in
the wall of the uterus constitutes an “abortion” as that term is used in federal law.

According to all known medical science, and an amicus brief filed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and several other medical associations; “there is no scientific evidence that emergency contraceptives available in the United States and approved by the FDA affect an existing pregnancy. Instead, they prevent ovulation, so there is no egg to fertilize, and no egg, like no implantation, means no pregnancy and no abortion.” The High Court ruled that it does not matter what medical science says, Hobby Lobby said emergency contraceptives are abortion and because that is their ‘deeply-held religious belief,” then contraceptives are abortion, their word is law, and medical science be damned.

Essentially, because Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood were successful, they won the right to refuse coverage for doctor’s visits that include medical advice about contraception generally discussed during routine general gynecological appointments or annual checkups. Now, if a woman, or gynecologist as much as acknowledges birth control during that appointment, the doctor must render the visit ineligible for coverage by the woman’s health care plan and the employee not only pays for full cost the prescription out of pocket, they have to pay for the entire doctor visit out of pocket in addition to their cost of being enrolled in the company health plan.

The real travesty is that the conservatives on the Court did not deny that the contraception mandate, or doctor’s giving reproductive medical advice, did not meet a “compelling need for women’s healthcare;” they admitted that it did. But still ruled it was unconstitutional simple because Hobby Lobby did not like it. There have been suggestions that a viable option is a providing a religious health plan that expressly excludes contraceptive coverage, or a doctor speaking about reproductive health, without imposing “any cost-sharing requirements on the eligible organization or the group health plan.”

The attorney for Hobby Lobby has said she and the Greens have not even considered whether they would find that accommodation acceptable. It is highly likely they will not find it acceptable because other church-based organizations have already received this kind offer and are still going forward with contraception lawsuits. The reason is the idea of employees, or students in religious colleges, having access to reproductive healthcare, even if it is of no cost to the organization, is unacceptable.

The more one looks into what Hobby Lobby, and their substantial list of co-plaintiffs, demanded and won according to their religious liberty, the more it appears that there is no end to the damage they will impose on Americans. It was unfathomable they had the temerity, and the Court agreed, that their corporate religious liberty allows them to control their employees reproductive health choices, but the concept of prohibiting doctors from counseling their patients is beyond the pale. The tragedy is that the ruling affects much more than just Hobby Lobby’s employees, or physicians, because the ruling gives every “religious” business authority over their employees healthcare decisions and medical providers’ ability to do their jobs, and one just shudders at what else evangelical fanatics’ religious liberty has in the offing. One thing is clear; it is not going to end well for any American and it is just the beginning.


29 Replies to “Cutting Through The Conservative Lies About The Hobby Lobby Ruling”

  1. The Roberts court will be known as the worst in US history. I shudder to contemplate the destruction ahead, as they re-write the Constitution from bow to stern. It’s clear that any opening on the court must be filled by a liberal, to pull the country back from the right-wing hellhole we’re becoming.

  2. Dark days are ahead my friends. As our nefarious opponents plot and plan for their pseudo-religious ideal society, so too we must galvanize our resolve to turn them back.

    We have to approach this with the attitude of no surrender, no retreat, and no prisoners. A total all out battle against these tyrants. They are vampires that have to be dragged out into the light. Exposed and vanquished.

    This is a war that can be won despite the odds. No surrender, no retreat.

  3. As long a this court can jigger a “right” in for the oligarchs, we will continue on the road to serfdom.

    The “rights” of a few with money outweigh the actual rights of a bunch of people because the few own, I mean employ the many.

  4. In a historical list of bad decisions by the Supreme Court, this will rank pretty high up there.

    The Court has indeed opened the flood gates and we will ALL pay the price – religious, non-religious, doesn’t matter.

    We now have less freedom than a corporation. Anyone who thinks this is just about “free birth control” is kidding themselves. This goes way beyond that. (And by the way, no one was asking for free birth control to begin with.)

  5. Most employees pay a portion of their health insurance. If Hobby Lobby only pays 70 or 80% of the premium and the employee pays the rest, then the employee has a vested interest in the plan and should not have their individual rights removed from them. In other words, their percentage could be regarded as payment of the contraceptives inclusion and not the part of what Hobby Lobby pays. Groups like this are giving Christianity a bad rap. Corporations are being given total control over our lives. I don’t remember voting for a corporation to make laws or interpret them on my behalf.

  6. The employer doesn’t pay anything.
    The huge health-care subsidy everyone is ignoring
    But perhaps the most consequential subsidy is rarely mentioned or even noticed: Government for decades has directly subsidized individuals’ costs of employer-based health care, to the tune of roughly $250 billion every year – sums far greater than the annual costs of the subsidized insurance coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

  7. Not to place blame on any one person, but where the hell are all the democrat organizations lining up for supreme court hearings on one thing or another, instead the asshats like hobby Lobby always getting their way with this conflict of interest corrupt supreme court that works for the corporations, they work very hard AGAINST any law that was laid out in the constitution, just to destroy our country not the corporations country.
    What part don’t you idiots understand about the division of church and State, you should not sit on the supreme court, you are a disgrace.

  8. What really gets to me is; the very people who won this unequal decision for the corporations, that will benefit by this ruling.(Hobby Lobby) has investments in the very contraception’s they object too.
    How’s that for lying deception?
    These people not only want to control contraception for their employees, but the whole population of this country. They want (all) contraception disallowed.

  9. Yes, the conservatives on SCOTUS have now put the government between the a patient and doctor relationship, something the Republicans feared, was done by five of their own.
    Did the SCOTUS by accepting HL argument on Plan B and IUDs, basically say life begins at conception?

  10. You cant make this up. The immoral catholic mafia has opened up a new can of worms

    Guantanamo Bay Lawyers Invoke Hobby Lobby
    The detainees’ lawyers said courts have previously concluded that Guantanamo detainees do not have “religious free exercise rights” because they are not “persons within the scope of the RFRA.”
    But the detainees’ lawyers say the Hobby Lobby decision changes that.

  11. I read the entire ruling, and none of this is true. The ruling said that they could claim religious exempt from birth control under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which is limited to religious places like churches who are non-profit, not for profit corporations. Under the RFRA they are allowed to deny birth control coverage, but the government picks up the tab by having it covered under the ACA – no charge to the women, which is what the women will be covered under who work for these places. Now instead of the insurance paying for it, all Americans are from their taxes.
    The danger in this ruling is that every for profit corporation can now sue to exempt something from their health care plan when it is “morally or religiously objectionable”. Which we know will happen.

  12. It doesn’t matter “exactly” what the ruling said. As Justice Ginsburg noted, the conservatives gave “artificial legal entities” the exact same rights as natural persons (individuals) under RFRA. So, in the same way a first responder can refuse to treat a gay person based on religious objections, any “closely-held” business has the same rights; that is over 90% of all businesses in America.

    There are no provisional limitations in RFRA except taxes. A pharmacist can refuse to fill a prescription for contraception if they think it is wrong for an unmarried woman to engage in sex before marriage, and emergency room medical professionals can refuse to be involved in treating gays.

    It is why this “precedent” is dangerous. If the conservatives didn’t cite RFRA, it may be a different story. But now that any organization can claim religious exemption under RFRA, there are no limitations. Period. It is the ultimate “religious conscience clause;” and we are in trouble.

  13. It doesn’t matter “exactly” what the ruling said. As Justice Ginsburg noted, the conservatives gave “artificial legal entities” the exact same rights as natural persons (individuals) under RFRA. So, in the same way a first responder can refuse to treat a gay person based on religious objections, any “closely-held” business has the same rights; that is over 90% of all businesses in America.

    There are no provisional limitations in RFRA except taxes. A pharmacist can refuse to fill a prescription for contraception if they think it is wrong for an unmarried woman to engage in sex before marriage, and emergency room medical professionals can refuse to be involved in treating gays.

    It is why this “precedent” is dangerous. If the conservatives didn’t cite RFRA, it may be a different story. But now that any organization can claim religious exemption under RFRA, there are no limitations. Period. It is the ultimate “religious conscience clause;” and we are in trouble.

  14. The only way to have an impact is for all of us to stop spending our money at these establishments. Hobby Lobby is a bunch of crap all made in China (great American company). This whole thing is political, against Obama and the ACA. Hit them where it hurts the most in their profits.

  15. There is a major point that most everyone is missing. The HL case was not about religious freedom. it is the opening salvo in the corporate world’s war against laws and regulation. The door has been opened on allowing a corporate to choose what parts of a law they wish to follow. Since the corporatists own the federal government and many state houses and local lawmakers, it is only a matter of time until there are no laws that corporations have to follow.

  16. All Americans need to wake up to the very real danger that the American Taliban made legal by the supreme court funded by the corporate, pose to our future.

  17. It is all too obvious that Hobby Lobby has declared war on all women. I guess they don’t appreciate the fact that women were their best customers. Not any more. I am boycotting them, along with all other self-respecting women. I will not provide one dime to that institution again. There are friendlier places for women to shop. These nitwits showed how they dislike us, well I dislike them right back, and with my purse.


  18. …but did you know that Viagra for the “men” is specifically covered???
    …that’s right ladies, now that you can’t protect yourself from pregnancy, they add insult to injury by arming all those ‘men’ with hard-ons and orders to get you all pregnant whether you like it or not!!!
    {Yes, the above contains snark…}

  19. Hobby Lobby Ruling Prompts Federal Judge To Tell Supreme Court To ‘STFU’

    To most people, the decision looks stupid ’cause corporations are not persons, all the legal mumbo jumbo notwithstanding. The decision looks misogynist because the majority were all men. It looks partisan because all were appointed by a Republican. The decision looks religiously motivated because each member of the majority belongs to the Catholic church, and that religious organization is opposed to contraception.

  20. This is merely another in a long series of extreme conservative punitive measures to get back at people who voted Obama into office twice. Big money exerting its stranglehold on average working people. I agree with those who say HL was never about religious freedom in the first place. This is a judicial malpractice that will wind up harming many people. The Church and Hobby Lobby could care less about harm done– just about the hubris of winning.

  21. Just take a look at the owners. Never Smile at a Crocodile comes to min. They wear this mask of religion when it has nothing to do with it. It all boils down to money and power. This is how they start. They are into some religious programs they want in public schools. They have no right to control women’s reproductive and sexual rights. It’s as if you would go to a stranger and ask how many children you should have and when to have them. Our Supreme Court Justices that voted for this are insane and should be kicked out. Too many personal opinions and Kock money in their pockets. Alito looked like a fool when he shook his head at the Presidents words at the State of the Union2 years ago. This is his twisted way of getting even. Him and Thomas aren’t the brightest bulbs in that court.

  22. As usual, right wingers are spreading disinformation to deliberately mislead the public about this theocratic, tyrannical ruling.

  23. Since the majority of employees at Hobby Lobby are women and Hobby Lobby pays almost double the minimum wage, it would be hard for me to feel that they are waging a war against women.

  24. Maybe so. But are you considering that this decisions opens up the landscape for all corporations to do what they want in the name of relgion? Or do you think this is just about Hobby Lobby and 4 birth control methods?

  25. I don’t know where you live, I don’t know why you keep bringing up “gay” people but no one in the medical field is allowed to treat patients based on gender preference, color, religion or the ability to pay – from first responders to emergency rooms if it is an emergency. If they do – they will lose a multi-million dollar lawsuit. I would know this since I am in the medical field. Spreading mis information is dangerous. And the last time I went to pick up a prescription I did not have a sit down interview with the pharmacist on my morals.

    It does matter what it say, because of people spreading agendas instead of correct information. Now corporations have an open book to write based on “religious or moral values”.

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