Giant crafteteria Hobby Lobby has hot glue gun and feathered itself a cool, make-at-home lawsuit that is so easy to put together, even kids can do it. In it, the giant store chain's owners, who are evangelical Christians, claim that the Affordable Care Act's "insurance has to cover birth control, sry" provision violates their religious belief that emergency contraception causes abortion and abortion is wrong. This is a logical craftastrophe on multiple levels — first, people's bosses shouldn't dictate what medical care they can purchase from plans into which they pay premiums. Second, emergency contraception is a totally different thing than abortion. Third, Michael's is a better craft supply store, anyway.
Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby employs over 13,000 people across the country, and its owners, the Green family, claim in their lawsuit against the government that Obamacare is an affront to their religious beliefs, because emergency contraception is the same as abortion. Like fellow Christian business that didn't protest the war in Iraq Chick-fil-A, Hobby Lobby is closed on Sundays.
"Our family is now being forced to choose to between following the laws of the land that we love or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful and supported our family and thousands of our employees and their families," Green said Wednesday during a conference call. "We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate."
Whew. Try puff painting that on a child-size tee shirt.
As we've pointed out here, again and again (and as other increasingly exhausted people have pointed out, again and again), emergency contraception is not abortion. It works exactly the same way that a birth control pill works, but in a higher dose (in fact, certain birth control pills work exactly like emergency contraception if you take several at once). Like birth control, EC impairs the movement of sperm and prevents the release of an egg. Doctors aren't able to prove that it could possibly interfere with the implantation of a fertilized egg. It is a medical fact that emergency contraception is not the same thing as abortion.
But that hasn't prevented the Green family from crafting their own medical facts, and indeed their own religious beliefs using only Bible pages and forming them into a circular logic wreath (perfect for the holidays!). It goes something like this: Abortion is bad because the parts of the Bible that I choose to believe sort of imply that abortion is bad (but that's me taking some liberties with the interpretation), and emergency contraception is abortion because my popsicle stick mind-machine says it is. Even though it's not. Therefore, employees of my company shouldn't be allowed to use insurance coverage that they help pay for to buy emergency contraception.
Other religious-run organizations have filed lawsuits against the government as well, but with mixed results. A private heating and cooling supply company in Colorado was granted an exemption from the birth control mandate after filing suit, but others, like Illinois' Wheaton College, sued to be exempted from the mandate only to discover that they "inadvertently" already covered emergency contraception. And before Obamacare was even A Thing, 28 states already required that private employers cover contraception in their health care plans.
Ok, I understand that religion is a thing that gives many people strength and helps some people form a sense of "do it or you'll go to hell" morality. But you don't just get to "believe," against available scientific facts that you have the right to interfere with other people's medical choices. I'm tired of having to roll out the red carpet for beliefs that are contrary to readily available, widely known science. I mean, go in your bedroom and play with your dinosaurs n' cavemen Creationism play set as much as your heart desires, but don't say your religion guarantees your right to keep me from exercising my belief that I should use all available medical advancements to make sure that I do not get pregnant right now.
But that's the rub, right? This debate over letting employees use their insurance plans to buy birth control (or, as Sean Hannity would rephrase it, "MAKING THE TAXPAYERS PAY FOR YOUR ABORSHUNS!") isn't about any real Bible-based beliefs on abortion at all. It's based on the notion that women having and enjoying sex is wrong, unless they're married and constantly open to pregnancy. It's just easier to file a lawsuit based on a deliberate conflation of medical facts (ABORTION) than it is to admit you find sex icky.