Hobby Lobby and Bullshit Science


This is to serve as both a trigger warning and a warning about NSFW language and/or images.

I was intending on writing a lovely post to extol the virtues of my new favorite lube, however, I came home from my vacation to this shit. This post is going to be about the SCOTUS decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

Now, the overall takeaway for this is that Hobby Lobby WILL COVER all of the following forms of birth control:

  • Male condoms
  • Female condoms
  • Diaphragms with spermicide
  • Sponges with spermicide
  • Cervical caps with spermicide
  • Spermicide alone
  • Birth-control pills with estrogen and progestin (“Combined Pill)
  • Birth-control pills with progestin alone (“The Mini Pill)
  • Birth control pills (extended/continuous use)
  • Contraceptive patches
  • Contraceptive rings
  • Progestin injections
  • Implantable rods
  • Vasectomies
  • Female sterilization surgeries
  • Female sterilization implants

Unfortunately Hobby Lobby WILL NOT COVER the following:

  • Plan B (progestin only emergency contraception- Over the counter)
  • Ella (antiprogestin emergency contraception- prescription only)
  • Copper Intrauterine Device
  • Intrauterine Device with Progestin

Why won’t they cover these you may ask? Because there are those that believe that these forms of birth control can cause or are the same as an abortion. Obviously there are some fucking misconceptions running around about how birth control works.

Let’s discuss Plan B and Ella first. These are medications that are used to prevent fertilization by inhibiting ovulation. That means that it prevents fertilization of the egg by stopping ovulation from happening. It does not end a pregnancy once it is started. It works for most women, but is not designed to be used regularly to prevent pregnancy. Hence the emergency part of Emergency Contraceptive. Plan B and Ella are not, and should not be confused with RU486 (mifepristone), which is the pill that is used to cause a medical abortion*. It is important to note that mifepristone in low doses can be used as an emergency contraception as well as an abortifacient. Mifepristone as an emergency contraception is in doses like 10mg-25mg and as an abortifacient is in doses like 200mg-600mg. It’s like the difference between taking two ibuprofen for a headache as opposed to two bottles of ibuprofen. Simultaneously, having access to these medications is in the event of an emergency to keep someone from needing an abortion. Similarly, having access to ibuprofen for a headache as opposed to letting them wait it out until they need to go to the hospital for a migraine.

Next up, let’s chat about Intrauterine Devices (IUDs). In both the copper and hormonal IUDs, they work by affecting the sperms motility to keep it from joining with an egg and preventing pregnancy. Some IUDs can also prevent ovulation and keep from allowing an egg to leave the ovary. Hormonal IUDs also thins the uterine lining and a woman’s cervical mucus, which blocks sperm and keeps it from joining with an egg. Which, coincidentally is exactly the same way birth control pills work.

Now, I know what you’re saying… Maybe it’s just a price issue? Maybe it’s just too expensive to cover these IUDs.

I took the highest and lowest recorded costs of birth control pills in this article, and then averaged them all together to get the mean value to estimate the cost of birth control without insurance (and thus, how much insurance pays for birth control). The mean cost for a month of birth control pills per month is $62.73 without insurance. Similarly, the mean cost of an IUD and insertion without insurance is $600. The IUD lasts for a minimum of 5 years. Even on the high end of the financial spectrum for the IUD, insurance companies would only be paying for $1500 up front, but would be able to spread those costs over a 5 year period. Paying for birth control each month over 5 years is a whopping $3763.80. Insurance companies- and thus corporations-would save approximately $2263.80 per person who opted for an IUD as opposed to birth control, and that’s not even beginning to count the money saved on those who do not administer their birth control pills properly and then become pregnant.

Now there are all sorts of posts talking about how Hobby Lobby pays their full time employees $15/hour, and how amazing it is that now these sluts can buy their own abortion pills (which we’ve now discussed is incorrect). Unfortunately, that doesn’t quite work out so easily. Let’s for a moment assume that we have a hypothetical Hobby Lobby employee called Melissa. Melissa is a 25 year old single woman who works full time at a Hobby Lobby in Virginia. She has no children and does not want any, but unfortunately doctors will not offer her a tubal ligation because of her age. She has a boyfriend of a year and has no other sexual partners. Her periods are heavy and painful, and often come with mood swings and acne. Her doctor has suggested that she get a copper IUD.

Melissa makes $1820.17 per month after taxes. Taking the average cost of rent and utilities from Richmond, VA we can guess that she pays $850 for her rent, $300 for her student loans, and $300 for her car payment, and $250 for her car and renters insurance costs. She’s left with $120.17 for the month, and that is only if she has no other bills to speak of. It’s important to note that we are assuming that she makes $15 an hour AFTER the cost of health insurance comes out. Let’s also assume that she can eat for an entire month on $60. This means that in order for her to receive an IUD, she must either save for ten months or pay off the bill over ten months. If it is suggested that she saves for ten months to pay for the IUD, we are making the assumption that her birth control is currently working, that she will be comfortable not putting money into savings, and that there will be no crisis that requires her to have money immediately on hand. Not to mention, that an entire year of saving may deter many people from even accepting the best medical course of action for their bodies. Not to mention, of course, the possibility that if she saves the money to pay it up front, that there is a chance that she could become pregnant over those ten months before she’s financially able to care for a child.

The IUD is arguably the best form of birth control on the market in terms of effectiveness, cost effectiveness, ease of use, and lack of side effects. The decision to deny the IUD and the emergency contraception on the basis that it is an abortifacient is scientifically inaccurate and offensive when you consider that the company does in fact invest money in companies that create these medications. In addition, the decision to deny effective medical care to women while still offering to cover vasectomies, spermicides, pumps, and erectile dysfunction medication is sexist on the basis that long term solutions that exists to improve the sexual health of men without risk of reproduction is approved, but long term solutions for those same purposes in women is denied.

Finally, the SCOTUS decision to allow Hobby Lobby to deny their employees certain procedures and medications on the basis of religious freedom (with COMPLETE disregard to science) sets a legal precedent for other employers of various faiths to deny their employees specific procedures and medications. In theory, due to this decision, Jehovah’s Witness employers could be within their right to deny coverage for blood transfusions, on the basis that it is against their religious freedom and beliefs, regardless of what a doctor has decided is the best course of action for their patient. So I have to ask myself, why is it that Hobby Lobby is so vehemently against covering these options for their employees when the science and finances do not back up their claims?

Until Next Time!
-The Frisky Fairy

* I firmly believe that access to safe abortion care is absolutely necessary, and that includes access to medical/chemical abortions.

P.S. Sorry that this post was so wordy, and I appreciate you hanging in there. Now that you made it to the bottom, have a picture of a pug.

Look at this face!