Let’s Keep the Crafts Out of It: Hobby Lobby Sues Over Birth Control

Because apparently even craft stores can’t keep their politics off of women’s bodies, Hobby Lobby is suing Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services over the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. Now where am I going to go to find ten aisles of color-coordinated Christmas ornaments?!

I think we’re all used to the song and dance put on by the Catholic church and various Catholic businesses over the ACA’s birth control provisions, but this is the first timewe’ve seen a major public business flip over it. Anyone who’s been inside a Hobby Lobby can tell that it is an undoubtedly Christian outfit. In fact, they are an Evangelical Christian outfit, which we haven’t really heard from in the birth control debate. Pick any aisle and chances are you’ll run into a cross, a piece of Scripture, an angel, or all three. The aforementioned ten aisles of Christmas ornaments are only part the Christmas consumer wonderland the store transforms into every winter (or autumn, as it seems to come out earlier every year). There are Bible-themed breath mints at the checkout counters and, like the infamous Chick-Fil-A, the store is closed on Sundays. Aside from alienating those who are of other religions or who are not religious at all, which may not really be the best business practice, there isn’t an issue with any of this. They can choose what they sell and consumers can choose whether to shop there. However, just because they’re an admittedly Christian business doesn’t mean that they get to make contraceptive decisions for their female-bodied employees.

Like other opponent of the mandate, Hobby Lobby and its founder David Green’s objections are based on the idea that life begins at conception. Some forms of birth control, such as IUDs and the morning after pill, keep a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus, so opponents consider these methods to be abortifacients. Yes, any birth control which could possibly keep a fertilized egg from wandering over to the uterine walls is regarded the same as an abortion would be. And honestly, if someone personally believes that even in the face of science and logic, that’s fine. They can make their own choices for their own bodies based on that. It’s why I’m pro-choice. But the other reason I’m pro-choice is because I don’t allow for others to make that decision for any body that they do not inhabit.

David Green might take the same line as some of his partners in thought and insist that his employees can take whatever birth control they want, but he won’t pay for it. Requiring insurance provided by your employer as a condition of your job to cover women’s healthcare is not an outrageous request, first of all. Even if we’re going to play that game, it’s way more advantageous for a business to cover the comparatively small amount of birth control than to cover the huge cost of pregnancy, maternal healthcare, and healthcare for a child. I know if I were a greedy businesswoman, I’d much rather the insurance I offered my employers cover a $1,200 IUD that lasts for years than cover a $6,000 birth, but I’m a baby-killing feminazi who hates Jesus or something. The biggest issue here is that Hobby Lobby generally employs low-wage workers, albeit not as low as many similar retailers. And my guess is those workers are mostly women. Those women are probably worried about paying for rent and car insurance and utilities and maybe student loans. The $40 a month for birth control pills that so many conservatives think is insignificant may not be there for those women. I don’t even want to mention that many women, myself included, use birth control for health conditions such as endometriosis, poly cystic ovarian syndrome, irregular periods, and acne, because it shouldn’t matter if we’re using them to avoid pregnancy, treat health problems, or both (me again).

I have a feeling that this isn’t the last popular business we’ll see jumping into the political sphere, despite it not being the best business practice to alienate your consumers. One of the biggest fights in social justice right now revolves around battling businesses over personal beliefs, which is so absurd in this day and age. I guess that’s part of the Citizens United fallout, this having to fight corporations over basic human rights. Until that fight is over, at least I know where not to buy my glitter.

By Elfity

Elfity, so named for her tendency to be a bit uppity and her elf-like appearance, is a graduate student and professional Scary Feminist of Rage. She has a propensity for social justice, cheese, and Doctor Who. Favorite activities include making strange noises, napping with puppies and/or kitties, and engaging in political and philosophical debates.

16 replies on “Let’s Keep the Crafts Out of It: Hobby Lobby Sues Over Birth Control”

“I don’t even want to mention that many women, myself included, use birth control for health conditions such as endometriosis, poly cystic ovarian syndrome, irregular periods, and acne, because it shouldn’t matter if we’re using them to avoid pregnancy, treat health problems, or both (me again).”

Thank you so much for saying this. A lot of times when I’m reading op-eds or academic articles about bans on birth control, whenever the author says “but not everyone uses it for sex!” it almost sounds like “I’m not like them! I don’t have sex! I’m different!” even though I’m sure that’s not what they’re trying to say, it always comes across that way to me.

I’ve only been in a Hobby Lobby once, when I lived in Georgia. I felt so inundated with over-the-top religious stuff that I didn’t even buy anything. Luckily there was a Michaels nearby. I know someone said they have ties to Bain but I didn’t know that at the time.

Son of a fuck. Hobby Lobby JUST opened near me two weeks ago. I had only heard tales of it’s wonder before then, and I went on opening day and was like a pig in shit because it is 60,000 sq. ft. of crafty goodness, for goodness sakes. Oh well. Boycott is on. Such a bummer.

The thing is, these people are so wrapped up in themselves and what they believe that they are’t looking at the bigger picture.  This could be very detrimental to them.  First, they’re discriminating against women based on gender, which is a gimme, but they’re also discriminating against their employees who might not be of that particular faith.  Then that brings in ADA  because of women with conditions like epilepsy and bipolar disorder and things like depression and anxiety who may need to be on the pill because they don’t want to be pregnant yet since the medications could harm the fetus.  This has potential to make a lot of organizations like Planned Parenthood ally against companies Hobby Lobby and the whole thing could blow up in their face.  And this is a huge issue over how much a business you work for can encroach into your personal life and personal health decisions.

Keep in mind if this were a store owned by a Muslim who insisted that women were headscarves and veils during work, there would be a big hue and cry against this from guess who?  Evangelical Christians.

So I decided to go check up on Michaels, because who needs Hobby Lobby when there’s a Michael’s just down the street?

*sigh* Ignorance was bliss. Guess who shares controlling stock of Michael’s? Bain Capital!!

But on the bright side, the only bad thing I can find about Jo-Ann’s is their store policy that restrooms are employee only. And their after holiday sales are fucking awesome.

I’m not sure; the only negative things I saw on Google were two different accounts of being denied a bathroom, and those who complained were simply told it’s store policy. I’ve not had that situation at Jo-Ann’s before, so no clue if the ones in my town use that policy.

Gyah, WHY.

Well, more reason to go for Joann’s for any generic crafty needs (which is my inclination anyway), in part because Fella goes for sewing stuff, which they have more of at Joann’s, and I go for generic/cheap yarn, which they have a better selection of at Joann’s. The Michaels has mostly acrylic yarn and quilting scraps, plus they’re part of Bain, so I’m not their ideal customer anyway.

You know, when it was a church saying this, I had an easier time swallowing it.  (Not that it was EASY, just easi-ER.)  With a corporation, the Board of Directors is required to make decisions that are best for the COMPANY, not decisions that are based on morality.  In other words, the choice that is best for the bottom line.  Birth control is typically cheaper than pregnancy, birth, and after-birth care.  So I don’t think they have a case here.  There is no “separation of church and state” argument to be made here.  They are a corporation registered with the state.  Ergo, they must follow state and federal law.  It blows my mind that they think they can do this.

Great, article, I totally wasn’t aware of this, but I will definitely be urging my American friends who craft to vote with their dollars. Here, I think,  is yet another logic fail on the part of Hobby Lobby (other than what you pointed out) aren’t all bc pills technically somewhat abortive? I remember hearing from my doctor when I first started the pill, that they actually alter the state of your cervical mucus to prevent implantation too- so shouldn’t HL not cover anything? Except, here’s the thing, at least in Canada (I am uncertain of what the exact climate is like in the US) evangelicals do use the pill, generally in the context of marriage but it is still definitely in use- all of my church friends from when I was young went on the pill when they got married. So perhaps HL knows their market? Generally, I find this sort of moralistic cherry picking totally irritating. Also, two of my closest friends have endometriosis and IUDs have given both of them so much freedom: from anemia, from bleeding all the time, from generally feeling gravely ill. It makes me so ANGRY that HL would rather have female employees who are really ill with something totally curable for the sake of a moral stance. Except, how is ignoring the health of your employees the moral, christian choice?!?!?!

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