Is the Hobby Lobby case about contraceptives?

Despite what we have heard in the media, it is not. Hobby Lobby’s health insurance plan offered to employees has long covered many contraceptives. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as interpreted by the Department of Health and Human Services, requires all health insurance offered by business to include twenty drugs under the rubric of contraception. Four of these drugs are really abortifacients, drugs designed to prevent conception and, if unsuccessful, to induce abortion. In other words, if life begins at conception, as Hobby Lobby believes, then these drugs, after conception, can destroy embryos, which all of us were very early in our life. Hobby Lobby explains its position quite clearly on its own website.

So why have the media not made this clear?

We believe this is not an accident. We recall that during a 2012 Presidential debate among Republicans contending for the nomination, they were asked about contraception out of the blue by George Stephanopoulos. The candidates, notably Mitt Romney, were flummoxed by the strange question. Later it turned out that the Obama campaign’s most important strategy was a phony War on Women theme, supposedly engaged by evil Republicans and their fellow travelers like Hobby Lobby. That Stephanopoulos, a former official in the Clinton White House, should have shot the first salvo is not surprising. Given the public’s rather strong belief that government should not force abortion down peoples’ throats, by using tax dollars or by regulation, proponents have to manipulate vocabulary. Much of our political life has degenerated into an Alice-in-Wonderland, deconstructionist spectacle of words being twisted and mangled to score political points. Thus journalists have portrayed the Southern Baptist owners of Hobby Lobby as something like an arm of the Vatican opposed to any form of contraception. As the truth started to spread we then heard that Hobby Lobby was opposed to “certain forms of contraception.” This led to puzzlement as television viewers wondered why a Hobby Lobby spokesman would talk about “the sanctity of human life” when the issue was really contraception.

The linguistic deception serves several purposes. It prevents a powerful objection to Obamacare from emerging. Supporters hope that Obamacare will be the last step before realization of their true goal, socialized, federally controlled medicine. If this is successful, then the next step, mandatory abortion coverage might become acceptable to a tired and manipulable public. It also supports the ‘narrative’ that conservatives really do hate women, wishing to trap them in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.

Proponents of a living Constitution would not have a leg to stand on were it not for toleration of linguistic footwork enabling plain words to mean whatever liberal jurists say they do or should mean. We live in a strange world in which people, especially athletes, who noisily proclaim their homosexual proclivities are lauded as brave and courageous, while objections to abortion are clouded under a linguistic shroud and opponents of abortion see their character slandered as bigoted, controlling of others, and morally wrong.

For more information:

See Constitutional scholar Joshua Hawley’s talk about the case here. The first fifteen minutes provide a great many unreported details about Hobby Lobby and will cause many to stand up and cheer the Greens, the owners of Hobby Lobby.

Another view here about linguistic travesties in the current court cases surrounding the legal issues of illegal insurance subsidies to people in states without state-run health care exchanges.

Further discussion about this here and about twenty-six minutes into Professor Hawley’s talk linked above. One wag has suggested that the Obama administration’s motto should be: “We never mean a word we say.”

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