The recent religious-freedom victory, handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 30, gave pro-family advocates something to celebrate.
Yet, it also gave supporters of the ObamaCare abortion and contraceptive mandate another opportunity to portray the issue as part of a manufactured “War on Women.”
Opponents of the ruling, which affirms the religious-freedom rights of two privately held family businesses, want Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties to provide employees with possible-abortion causing drugs and devices, an action that would violate the employers deeply held religious beliefs.
As a result, half-truths, misconceptions and media spin continue to misrepresent the ruling in the public debate.
Since you’ve come to rely on Focus on the Family for its sound, biblical analysis on public policy issues, we want to set the record straight regarding five myths being circulated about the Hobby Lobby case. Then you can, in turn, educate others and engage the culture for Christ!
Myth #1: Women will have no access to contraceptives due to this ruling.
FACT #1: According to Forbes, nearly 90 percent of U.S. employers covered contraception without limitations. For those companies that do limit coverage, women are free to purchase contraceptives on their own. Additionally, there are sources (such as taxpayer-supported Planned Parenthood®) who distribute free or low cost contraception.
Myth #2: The U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) mandated drugs and devises are so important to women’s health that all employer-provided medical coverage must include it.
FACT #2: Wrong. In fact the Obama Administration has already exempted employer plans covering more than 100 million Americans from complying with the HHS mandate. This proves two things: the government’s interest in providing “free” contraceptives is not the “compelling interest” it claims; and contraceptives are readily available, regardless of the government mandate.
Myth #3: Any company with religious objections can now stop providing contraceptives in their health plans.
FACT #3: Wrong. The decision only applies to Hobby Lobby, Mardel Christian Bookstores and Conestoga Wood Specialties. If and until the Administration changes the HHS contraceptive mandate, it will be up to any business that’s subject to the mandate to seek protection in federal court by filing a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) lawsuit of its own.
Myth #4: The Hobby Lobby decision will allow any closely held corporation to opt out of any health-care requirements they dislike on religious grounds, including immunizations and blood transfusions; or allow them to discriminate on the basis of race.
FACT #4: Untrue. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, in his opinion for the majority of the Court, specifically stated that this decision was limited to the contraceptive mandate, and religious objections to other medications or procedures may be subject to a different analysis with a different outcome.
Myth #5: NPR reports that 9 out of every 10 businesses in America qualifies as a “closely held” company, implying there could be an avalanche of companies “opting out” of various things required of employers by law, simply by claiming a religious objection.
FACT #5: False. RFRA has been around for more 20 years and nothing of the sort has occurred up to this point. Every religious objection made by a family owned corporation or individual is subject to the same balancing test that RFRA has always required, and each must be tested in court. The “avalanche” claim is merely hyperbole and totally contrary to the actual history of RFRA since 1993.
Please continue to pray for—and support—the Green (Hobby Lobby and Mardel Christian bookstores) and Hahn (Conestoga Wood Specialties) families, as they live out their faith in the marketplace. And, we encourage you to share this information with others, as we endeavor to protect religious freedom in our nation.
Next In This Series: The Religious Freedom Restoration Act