Tonawanda News

Columns

April 2, 2014

DUVALL: Hobby Lobby argument is built on sand

Tonawanda News — By now if you’re any kind of a newspaper reader (and if you’re reading this I presume you are) you’ve heard about the Hobby Lobby case recently argued before the Supreme Court.

Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma-based retailer with locations across the country including in Western New York, has sued the Obama administration over its mandate in the president’s health care overhaul requiring private employers to provide health plans that include free access to birth control for women.

This is not a controversial subject for an overwhelming number of Americans. More than 90 percent of women say they are presently or have used some form of birth control. Previous to the Obamacare overhaul it was part of the reason insurers charged women more for health insurance than men — as if women were the sole participants in getting (or preventing getting) pregnant.

That’s illegal now and that’s a good thing.

But pump the brakes, Hobby Lobby says. They’re a private company whose owners have a religious objection to birth control. They argued, persuasively according to court-watchers who track this kind of thing, the federal government is treading on their right to religious freedom by requiring them to provide health plans that pay for birth control, including the morning-after pill.

Tuesday, the liberal media outlet Mother Jones — you may remember them for breaking the Mitt Romney 47 percent story during the 2012 campaign — thought to do something every national media outlet should be slapping their foreheads at failing to track down.

Mother Jones took a look at the employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement plan Hobby Lobby provides to 13,400 of its employees. Want to hear something funny? Those 401(k) plans — which the Hobby Lobby website boasts the company paid $3.8 million into in 2012 — include some 40 mutual fund options. Many of those funds include several large drug companies that manufacture ... wait for it ... the very birth control products Hobby Lobby argued before the Supreme Court they have a religious duty to oppose.

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