Hobby Lobby is Not Being Repressed
The retail chain Hobby Lobby has challenged the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, on First Amendment grounds. From Wikipedia:
In September 2012, Hobby Lobby filed a lawsuit against the United States over new regulations requiring health insurance provided by employers to cover emergency contraceptives, stating that, "(t)he Green family's religious beliefs forbid them from participating in, providing access to, paying for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting abortion-causing drugs and devices."
Let's leave aside the claim that the contraceptives in question cause abortion or the the concept of corporate personhood that would say a corporation can have religious beliefs. I want to focus on the claim that Obamacare violates Hobby Lobby's religious beliefs by requiring it to provide health insurance plans to its employees that include coverage for certain contraceptives.

If a woman chooses to have an abortion, it's her choice, not Hobby Lobby's. Hobby Lobby is making the case that because the insurance plans they are required to pay for cover certain contraception then, I guess, that means there is a small chance they will be providing support for what they see as an abortion. Notice that the law is not requiring Hobby Lobby to pay for contraception. Health insurance companies will be the parties paying for abortions. At best Hobby Lobby's case is that they are at the beginning of a chain of events that will lead to an abortion.

Here's the problem with all of that. Hobby Lobby is required by law to pay its employees a wage. According to healthcare.gov health insurance plans are required to pay for:
  • Ambulatory patient services (outpatient care you get without being admitted to a hospital)
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization (such as surgery)
  • Maternity and newborn care (care before and after your baby is born)
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment (this includes counseling and psychotherapy)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices (services and devices to help people with injuries, disabilities, or chronic conditions gain or recover mental and physical skills)
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services
I believe the "prescription drugs" bullet covers contraception. On the other hand wages, aka money, cover:
  • Everything that health insurance covers (including contraception)
  • Practically anything else you can think of
You can straight up buy an abortion with money. If my employer deposits a check into my bank account and then I go out and buy meth, it doesn't mean my employer is "participating in, providing access to, paying for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting" methamphetamine use. I am doing those things. My employer is paying me for my labor. Hobby Lobby is already required by law to provide you with the means to purchase contraception, whether you earn it from wages or a health insurance benefit is irrelevant. The challenge to Obamacare based on the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment falls apart because of this.

It's interesting that news came out that Hobby Lobby is invested in companies that make contraceptives. These investments go toward employee retirement plans, a benefit. While paying for health insurance, a benefit, is required by law, a retirement plan is not. Furthermore, mutual funds that invest in these plans are not the only plans available.
Similar options exist for companies that want to practice what's sometimes called faith-based investing. To avoid supporting companies that manufacture abortion drugs—or products such as alcohol or pornography—religious investors can turn to a cottage industry of mutual funds that screen out stocks that religious people might consider morally objectionable. The Timothy Plan and the Ave Maria Fund, for example, screen for companies that manufacture abortion drugs, support Planned Parenthood, or engage in embryonic stem cell research. Dan Hardt, a Kentucky financial planner who specializes in faith-based investing, says the performances of these funds are about the same as if they had not been screened. But Hobby Lobby's managers either were not aware of these options or chose not to invest in them.
At best Hobby Lobby's retirement benefit is not supporting the use of contraceptives in the same way that their health insurance benefit is not. In both cases the company is not paying for contraceptive use. At worst, when it came to an issue of return on investment, they failed to completely research where their money was going so as to rule out violating their faith. In both cases it paints their complaint in a disingenuous light.
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