Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

July 12, 2014

Fact Check: Hobby Lobby unaware of what birth control previously offered

By PunditFact

Hobby Lobby’s Supreme Court victory over the federal government’s contraception rule set off a fast-breaking wave of punditry on national TV. CNN brought in liberal pundit and contributor Sally Kohn, who panned the court’s 5-4 decision as disastrous and Hobby Lobby’s intentions as disingenuous.

“Hobby Lobby provided this coverage before they decided to drop it to file suit, which was politically motivated,” she said.

We can’t determine if politics motivated the company, but we did wonder whether Hobby Lobby covered the types of birth control at issue in its lawsuit but dropped the coverage before filing its complaint.

The short answer: Yes.

The Green family, which founded Hobby Lobby in Oklahoma City in 1972, said as much in its original complaint.

The Greens re-examined the company’s health insurance policy back in 2012, shortly before filing the lawsuit. A Wall Street Journal story says they looked into their plan after being approached by an attorney from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty about possible legal action over the federal government’s contraceptives requirement.

That was when, according to the company’s complaint, they were surprised to learn their prescription drug policy included two drugs, Plan B and ella, which are emergency contraceptive pills that reduce the chance of pregnancy in the days after unprotected sex. The government does not consider morning-after pills as abortifacients because they are used to prevent eggs from being fertilized (not to induce abortions once a woman is pregnant). This is not, however, what the Green family believes, which is that life begins at conception and these drugs impede the survival of fertilized eggs.

At any rate, Hobby Lobby stopped covering those drugs in its plan and took the health care contraceptive mandate to court, represented by the Becket Fund.

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