Hobby Lobby Case – A Rebuttal. Or, If You’d Like, Setting Things Straight.

I’ve been seeing a lot of pieces written about the Hobby Lobby ruling on emergency contraceptives, by both proponents and opponents. One particular one I came across (found here )seems to think that any opposition to the ruling is simply illogical. Ironically, the whole post is illogical. Let’s take a look at the author’s two premises:

First, the author claims that terminology regarding the beginning of pregnancy is, “nothing but semantics (read: poppycock, malarkey, rubbish, hooey, baloney, bunk, drivel, BS).”

Uhh…. not exactly. He also makes it seem like the beginning of pregnancy is controversial among the medical community when, really, it’s not. The author cites a Reuters article about a study that found that 57/100 doctors said pregnancy begins at conception while 28/100 said it begins at implantation. Smoking gun, right? WRONG. The problem here lies in differing definitions between the lay public and the scientific/medical community. Definitions in science often mean something different than they do for the lay public, leading to confusion. Examples of this can be seen with “theory” or “law” or, indeed, “conception.” From a scientific standpoint, conception is does not necessarily mean “at fertilization.” It can also mean at implantation. This makes sense given that the medical definition of pregnancy, according to both the American Medical Association and the British Medical Association, indicates that it begins, or concepts, at implantation of the zygote. So asking a doctor whether pregnancy begins at “implantation” or “conception” is a null question. To a medical doctor, those two words are interchangeable. The Reuters article even mentions that this is a weakness in the study (along with the fact that only 100 doctors were surveyed). The author either didn’t actually read the Reuters article or intentionally left that bit out. 

He also asks, regarding Plan B, “Does it kill the blastocyst (the little clump of great-grandbaby cells from the fertilized zygote)? Absolutely. And that’s what Hobby Lobby objects to.” He then goes on to say that abortion isn’t the proper term, but rather “murder, manslaughter, butchery, carnage, homicide, infanticide, massacre, extermination, slaughter or annihilation.” Basically, he’s just playing on emotionally charged words to sway an uninformed audience. That’s a pretty typical tactic when you have no real argument. The fact of the matter is that Hobby Lobby won’t cover Plan B as well as IUDs, the latter of which happens to be one of the most effective forms of contraception.

Implying that the pre-implanted blastocyst is a “person” and preventing implantation is “murder” is like saying bricks are a hospital and that not using the brick is malicious destruction of a hospital. It’s just ridiculous, and stems from a misunderstanding of science, particularly developmental biology.

So, unfortunately, the author has made no point at all. He basically said what Hobby Lobby said; “We think X does this, regardless of what the medical/scientific community says, so we shouldn’t have to do it.”Man, I wish that worked for me. “Officer, I define speeding at going at least 15mph over. It doesn’t matter what the legal system defines speeding as, because I think it means at least 15mph over. So I shouldn’t have to pay a ticket.”

On to point 2:

Essentially, the author uses a myriad of strange metaphors and emotionally charged wording to say that Hobby Lobby doesn’t have to provide emergency contraceptives (of which, IUDs are not even classified, so it doesn’t even concern them) because they don’t provide “free food, water, gas, or clothes” either. Sorry, but last time I checked, the healthcare laws didn’t require an employer to provide those. The statement is just a bunch of Red Herrings used to make a point that they don’t support. The laws do, however, require companies with > 50 full time employees to provide health insurance, including contraceptive coverage. He continues on talking about how Hobby Lobby pays its employees great and yadda yadda yadda and gives some inappropriate metaphor about a law requiring assault rifles to be given to employees. All of it is really pretty irrelevant. Basically,a ll that matters is that Hobby Lobby is required by law to provide health insurance, including contraceptives. Their only argument is that they think, or believe, we will put it, that pregnancy begins when sperm meets egg, which flies in the face of the medical and scientific communities’ definitions. Ultimately, what you believe something does should not trump what the experts define it as. Especially when it affects 28,000 people. Your belief should not trump the science, sorry. 

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