No to Four Kinds of Contraception for Employees of Hobby Lobby's 15 Houston Stores [Updated]

Categories: Courts

hobbylobby.jpg
Photo by Nicholas Eckhart

This story was updated to include a statement from Governor Rick Perry and to shed some light on exactly what kind of contraceptives we're talking about here.

Hobby Lobby has 15 stores in the Greater Houston Area, and none of them will have to offer insurance coverage for birth control methods the company equates to abortion.

The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 protects corporations with a limited number of shareholders from providing insurance coverage for such contraception under the Affordable Care Act.

"Today, the nation's highest court has reaffirmed the vital importance of religious liberty as one of our country's founding principles," Hobby Lobby co-founder Barbara Green said in a USA Today story. "The court's decision is a victory, not just for our family business, but for all who seek to live out their faith."

Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma-based corporation, was joined in the suit by Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., a Pennsylvania cabinet manufacturer.

Under the Affordable Care Act, companies with over 50 employees face fines of $100 per day per employee for not providing coverage. USA Today reported that could've cost Hobby Lobby $475 million per year for its 13,000 employees had the Supreme Court not ruled in its favor and the company continued to not supply coverage for contraception.

Texas Governor Rick Perry voiced his thoughts on the matter in a statement his office released today.

"Today's decision is further proof that Obamacare represents one of the greatest governmental overreaches in our nation's history," Perry said. "Religious freedom is an intrinsic part of being American, and the Supreme Court's decision reaffirms that the government cannot mandate that anyone operate in a fashion counter to their most deeply-felt principles."

As Vox.com pointed out, the ruling applies only to contraception. For example, Christian Scientists do not believe in chemotherapy, but a corporation owned by Christian Scientists would still, by law, be forced to provide the coverage for it.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote as such in the majority opinion:

This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates, e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions, must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer's religious beliefs.

The Atlantic breaks down some of the specifics about exactly what these Hobby Lobby employees won't have covered:

This case centers around specific religious objections to contraceptives that prevent an egg from implanting in a woman's uterus, which plaintiffs believe are tantamount to abortion. Out of the 20 Food and Drug Adminstration-approved birth control methods, the two companies involved in the case--Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood--object to four: two kinds of emergency contraceptive or "morning after" pills, and two types of intrauterine devices, or IUDs.

The morning-after pills work in a couple of ways. They may just prevent ovulation so the egg is never released from the ovary, they may prevent fertilization of the egg, or they may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. It's that last one that's the problem. IUDs are a little more confusing--as my colleague Olga Khazan wrote, though they typically prevent the sperm from reaching the egg, they can also be used as emergency contraception, if they're implanted up to five days after unprotected sex.


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41 comments
krikeyfriedman
krikeyfriedman

5 kinds if you count donkey punch. 


This is what happens to your brain on politics.

Lisa Berthelsen Ragsdale
Lisa Berthelsen Ragsdale

Hobby Lobby pays higher than minimum wage - $14.00 full time and $9.50 part time. That was as of April 2013.

Andrew Hernandez
Andrew Hernandez

Houston Press is an opinion based paper, reading it for actual news is like depending on the onion for reliable news stories.

Jesse Cole Penick
Jesse Cole Penick

So what? Don't get mad at hobby lobby because they do provide coverage and have higher than normal wages. If the government didn't think it could make people/companies pay for things then this wouldn't be a problem. If you want them to pay then they have a right to use their money as they see fit!

Pac Houstonian
Pac Houstonian

SCOTUS said ruling applies to all forms of birth control. Change your head.

Pac Houstonian
Pac Houstonian

SCOTUS just clarified that ruling applies to ALL forms of birth control. So, corporations can "exempt" themselves from ALL birth control coverage.

Pac Houstonian
Pac Houstonian

"But you people want it for free" When did working a JOB for a benefit mean "for free?" You can't see past your own ideology.

Jesse Cole Penick
Jesse Cole Penick

They provide contraception coverage for 16 of 20 types... Change your headline

Mathew Burnstein
Mathew Burnstein

You can get an exemption from the law based on your religious beliefs? What is this BS?

NealVanDuyle
NealVanDuyle

However, yes to 16 .. Hobby Lobby’s health planpays for 16 different kinds of contraceptives for its female employees-

1.Male condoms

2.Female condoms

3.Diaphragms with spermicide

4.Sponges with spermicide

5.Cervical caps with spermicide

6.Spermicide alone

7.Birth-control pills with estrogen and progestin (“Combined Pill)

8.Birth-control pills with progestin alone (“The Mini Pill)

9.Birth control pills (extended/continuous use)

10. Contraceptive patches

11. Contraceptive rings

12. Progestin injections

13. Implantable rods

14. Vasectomies

15.Female sterilization surgeries

16.Female sterilization implants

Jerise Harris-Henson
Jerise Harris-Henson

No, the employer can decide what benefits the employee earns via their labor the same way they decide how much you earn. And again, they are not denying you the coverage. They are asking to not be held financially responsible for it. If you work for hobby lobby you can still get a IUD from your doctor, you just have to pay the total cost of the IUD. If you don't like that, quit and find an employer that will pay for it. Many of them. But you people want it for free because Obama told you you shouldn't have to pay ANYTHING for birth control. You have to pay for all types of medications with co-pays but for some reason controversial birth control methods are getting all this attention. If you don't want to live in America because of this ruling you must not know how hard women have it elsewhere. Good luck.

Pac Houstonian
Pac Houstonian

No, the employee earns their compensation with their labor, of which part of their compensation is healthcare coverage. HL is restricting the level of benefit that the employee can revived base on the owners religious beliefs and contrary to the law of the land. And substituting religious law over secular law is a what Sharia Law does. This ruling basically does the same thing, so I will not stop comparing it to Sharia Law. And telling me to move to the ME with a vagina is hilarious since this ruling makes me not want to live in America with a vagina. Thanks for proving my point.

Jerise Harris-Henson
Jerise Harris-Henson

You still don't get it. Hobby Lobby PAYS insurance companies to provide benefits to their employees. They would be PAYING for contraception methods that strictly go against their beliefs. Stop saying it is "Sharia Law", the feminists keep making that argument as if this is anything close to living under Islamic law. It is not. Not even close. Please go live in the Middle East with a vagina and come back and tell us how similar not getting free morning after pills is to living as a woman in the Middle East.

Pac Houstonian
Pac Houstonian

No one is asking Hobby Lobby to pay for it. They are saying they should have to offer insurance, as part of the employees compensation, that pays for it. Big difference. No one is forcing Hobby Lobby's owners to buy or use any form of contraception. This is the Christian version of Sharia Law.

Teddy Williams
Teddy Williams

ah hobby lobby..perhaps it should stop importing goods from China..where 7.9 million abortions are performed annually..then it might be fair to believe they are upholding their "christian values"

Amanda Michelle Galvan
Amanda Michelle Galvan

The headline is wrong. Research before you start spreading information to the masses.

Hazard Buck-Jacobs
Hazard Buck-Jacobs

The HL ruling specifically addresses emergency contraception and IUDs. It's disingenuous to say that this is not a matter of health. Emergency contraception (which, by the way, has been scientifically demonstrated NOT to prevent implantation of an egg) is the only way to prevent pregnancy in the event of rape or primary birth control failure. Unplanned pregnancy can be catastrophic from a health perspective. IUDs are the safest and most effective method of birth control during breastfeeding -- much more reliable and safer than barrier methods or hormonal methods (most hormonal methods affect milk production). These two modes of contraception -- emergency contraception and IUDs -- are also unique in that they are both extremely expensive (Plan B costs around $50 per dose; an IUD can cost $1000 or more out of pocket) and, in the case of EC, time-sensitive. Requiring women to pay out of pocket during vulnerable circumstances such as post-rape or postpartum is actively injurious and controlling of women and their bodies.

Matthew Louis von Krosigk
Matthew Louis von Krosigk

But IUDs ARE used for medical purposes other than pregnancy prevention. There is no reason to disallow the coverage for them.

Matthew Louis von Krosigk
Matthew Louis von Krosigk

I don't think you know what obamacare is nor how it works. Your doctor won't know if you do or don't have it since it's an agreement between insurance provider and the government to reimburse the individual for premiums. But thanks for your wrong knowledge.

Andrew Sauseda
Andrew Sauseda

Dumb.. abstinence is also contraception. They aren't against that. The military have birth control glasses. Because they are ugly. They aren't against that. No one is saying you can't do something. They just won't pay for it. Surely the government will fill in the gap. This whole thing is about as constructive as watching the kardashians.

Dennis Vawter
Dennis Vawter

Saying that women have the freedom to pay for it themselves ignores the fact that some people don't have that option. Birth control is also used for medical purposes. Doctors should be the ones deciding who is taking what medicine. What if an employer believes that prayer is the only viable medicine and refuses to pay for any health coverage?

Sarah Minette Kelly
Sarah Minette Kelly

Actually, it's a form of long term contraception and generally is a lot stronger than other methods. It can be especially helpful for women with endometriosis and other similar issues. "Birth control" is used for many other reasons.

Jerise Harris-Henson
Jerise Harris-Henson

They are against post-conception contraception. They are not removing your ability to choose it, they just don't want to pay for it. If you need post-conception birth you can either pay for it yourself or find an employer who has no problem paying for abortifacients.

Philip Moore
Philip Moore

I don't like the ruling but honest reporting is a must

Jonathan Alonzo
Jonathan Alonzo

Well to be fair...the Houston Press doesn't have any real reporters...it's more like a Houston version of The Onion

Pac Houstonian
Pac Houstonian

So, because my employer doesn't like IUD's they can remove coverage from my health insurance plan? Based on what? Their religious belief? So I can't get the insurance coverage I want because my company's owners say I can't? No one is forcing any of those owners to use an IUD. What religious belief are they protecting? The right to prevent someone else from getting coverage for a medical product they oppose? How is that different from Sharia Law?

Vanessa Grandy
Vanessa Grandy

Why is the media lying? Whats the need for it? The contraception just wont be paid for by HL, instead the govt will pay. No loss of anything for anyone, just freedom of choice for Hobby Lobby. Why the deliberate misleading?

Jerise Harris-Henson
Jerise Harris-Henson

Don't they pay a wage? Use that to pay for your IUDs and morning after pills.

Mark Heineman
Mark Heineman

16 kinds of birth control, buy condoms, oh and not having sex is an option. I make $2.13 per hour plus tips. I have no health care. My doctors dont take dictator care whoops i mean obamacare and guess what i pay my doctor bills. But they want it free.

Nick Anders
Nick Anders

what she said. nobody knows what the hell is really going on.

CamByars
CamByars

This case was not over ALL birth control, only emergency contraceptives Plan B and ella, as well as two IUDs... Just wanted to share with others who may have been mis-informed.

Becci1
Becci1

Mark, Doctors don't "take" Obamacare. The ACA is legislation, not insurance. Your doctor probably does still take insurance. Maybe he/she doesn't take medicaid but that's their own ethical quandry. You don't have insurance because you're too dirt dumb to take advantage of an opportunity offered you to stay healthy. One day you won't be young and healthy. Or, you may come down with cancer or a rare disorder. Pay out of your $2.13/hr plus tips then. Also, I hope you enjoy all the kids you'll be having by relying on condoms only. Start practicing your big surprised face.

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