Wandschneider: Religious foundations should factor into birth control controversy in corporations


Tiffany Herring/Iowa State Daily

Currently, Hobby Lobby is being attacked for not wanting to provide certain forms of birth control that the Affordable Care Act requires to be a part of an employee’s health insurance plan. 

Jamie Wandschneider

One of my favorite nonretail stores to shop at is the well-known craft store, Hobby Lobby. Every type of craft project is available — from arts to sewing, Hobby Lobby is sure to have something to jumpstart that project. It is calm and quiet, the perfect place to gain inspiration.

As a store, Hobby Lobby operates under Christian values. This should come as no surprise to consumers, for the business is not open on Sunday in respect to the Sabbath and to allow employees to spend time with their families. Currently, Hobby Lobby is being attacked for not wanting to provide certain forms of birth control that the Affordable Care Act requires to be a part of an employee’s health insurance plan. 

The business’s owners, the Greens, are fighting back, and this issue is to be brought to the Supreme Court. There is plenty of time until the decision will be made, but making Hobby Lobby do this is just plain wrong.

First, it is not that Hobby Lobby does not want to cover birth control. It is that it refuses to provide emergency contraceptives such as Plan B pills, commonly referred to as morning after pills or week after pills. This is supported by the owners’ belief that at the moment of conception, there is life. Not every time will there be conception — but there is still a possibility, which conflicts with the Green’s beliefs.

Since this belief is a religious viewpoint, it is violating the freedom of religion by not being able to practice the values which have been established in the creation of Hobby Lobby. These beliefs have been in place since the beginning and have never been a problem until the government decided to make this a requirement, regardless of any religious values upheld by a business. Not respecting a company’s wishes in this situation is violating that part of the Constitution.

Hobby Lobby has been operating under these views since the beginning. Who is to decide that it needs to change them? Certainly not the shareholders because Hobby Lobby is a not publicly traded, so it does not have shareholders to influence its decisions. Having employees decide how a business is run is not a good idea either. There are way too many personal opinions that can prevent a consensus on any type of idea.

That leaves the corporation or the government. America was founded under the ideals of letting the people decide what is best when it comes to things that are not detailed by the government. Having the government tell a private business what it must supply on its health insurance plan is intrusive. This is the government taking away Hobby Lobby’s freedom, not Hobby Lobby taking advantage of its freedom.

If not supplying coverage for these types of birth control is such a big deal for a prospective employee, then that person should not apply. If that is the sole reason that someone won’t apply at Hobby Lobby, however, then some priorities need to be straightened out. A job is a job, and the employee should be thankful that he or she has a job and is provided a health insurance plan. If I were an employee, I would want to pay more attention to how much coverage I would get on major things and not whether or not Hobby Lobby will help me cover the cost for the morning after pill. Also, if this is such a concern, an employee has an option to opt out of the offered insurance. An employee is able to buy his or her own insurance or be covered under someone else’s.

Even though this issue is based on the religious beliefs of the company, Hobby Lobby is not forcing its beliefs on its employees. There would be a problem if Hobby Lobby started forcing employees to practice its religious beliefs, but this is not the case.

Not allowing a business to make decisions based on the values of the corporation is an intrusion by the government. Hobby Lobby has not offered emergency contraceptives since the beginning, and such decisions need to be respected. When it comes to personal issues, it should be up to the business rather than the government. We live in the land of the free and are able to express our values. Forcing Hobby Lobby to supply coverage for emergency contraceptives contradicts just that.