Well Being

Hobby Lobby Would Rather Be Fined Millions Daily Than Cover Emergency Contraception

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Hobby Lobby storeWho knew one of the great bastions of self-victimizing, reactionary religious wingnuttery in corporate America was the discount craft-goods emporium known as Hobby Lobby? The retailer has announced it will stick it to heathen health-care law proponents by refusing to cover emergency contraception in employee health plans.

Like many social and religious conservatives, the folks behind Hobby Lobby erroneously believe that emergency contraception (aka “Plan B” or the morning-after pill) causes abortions.

The Oklahoma-based chain appealed to the Supreme Court to block the part of the federal healthcare law that requires employer-sponsored insurance plans to cover contraception, including Plan B; the court refused. Now Hobby Lobby — which says it still will not comply with the mandate — could be fined as much as $1.3 million a day starting today, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Hobby Lobby claims this is an issue of religious liberty. Kyle Duncan, general counsel of the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents Hobby Lobby, said the company will not “offer coverage for abortion-inducing drugs,” as this violates its owners' Christian beliefs.

But Hobby Lobby's religious liberties claim falls short on two fronts: 1) The “abortion-inducing” drugs it doesn't wish to cover don't actually induce abortions, and 2) They could get around the whole thing by not offering health insurance.

Conservative groups like to paint religious employers as victims of a fascist or unreasonable government requirement that violates their beliefs, but no one's requiring religious employers to pay for Plan B — or psoriasis drugs or neo-natal vitamins or Lipitor or any type of medical treatment or procedure. They can avoid tacitly endorsing any healthcare that violates religious beliefs by stepping out of the health care game altogether. They just can't stay in the business of providing health insurance but refuse to follow the rules every other U.S. employer must follow.