Author’s note: As per usual for this time of year, the Supreme Court issued a slew of consequential rulings recently on a bevy of hot-button issues. This is the third in a three-part series exploring a few of them.
Whilst hacking through the dense underbrush of emotional court battles, it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees. This has proven especially true in the wake of the June 30 Supreme Court decision in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.
At issue were the religious objections of the Oklahoma City-based craft store chain’s founder David Green and his family to Affordable Care Act-mandated employee coverage of emergency contraception (including Plan B and ella) and intrauterine devices (including ParaGard, Mirena and Skyla.) They believe them to be tantamount to abortion.
For starters, this assertion is flat-out medically incorrect. These methods variously interfere with ovulation, sperm movement, fertilization and implantation. They are not abortifacients.
“Because emergency contraception helps women avoid getting pregnant when they are not ready or able to have children, it can reduce the need for abortion,” states the website of the Office of Population Research at Princeton University and the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals.
Setting aside Hobby Lobby’s willful scientific misapprehension, they aren’t even consistent with the application of their own professed principles.
“Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012 … show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions,” reported Molly Redden of Mother Jones on April 1. “[These] companies … manufacture the specific drugs and devices that the Green family … is fighting to keep out of Hobby Lobby’s health care policies.”