Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hobby Lobby and Plan B

Hobby Lobby, a Christian owned company, is refusing to provide insurance plans that covers emergency contraception such as Plan B (commonly known as the morning after pill) because they believe emergency contraception causes an abortion.

Plan B or emergency contraception is completely separate from the "abortion pill," known as RU-486 or Mifepristone, which must be prescribed by a physician. Emergency contraception primarily works by inhibiting ovulation. It can also prevent implantation of an egg that has been fertilized by a sperm.

Pregnancy is defined by both the National Institutes of Health and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as beginning when the fertilized egg implants in the lining of a woman's uterus. Implantation begins five to seven days after sperm fertilized the egg. RU-486 (the abortion pill) induces an abortion once a fertilized egg has been implanted in the uterus. 

Regardless of your religious beliefs, the morning after pill is not an abortion-inducing drug. I understand that some people will say "any potential whatsoever to 'destroy' a fertilized egg is abortion." However if you use that logic, then it's not just emergency contraception that's abortion inducing, but also regular hormonal birth control pills and IUDs. A tertiary way in which hormonal birth control works is by thinning the lining of the uterus which reduces the likelihood that a fertilized egg will implant in the uterus wall. An IUD also prevents implantation of a fertilized egg.

I am somewhat sympathetic to argument that a business shouldn't have to provide insurance plans that cover drugs or procedures that are not in line with their religious beliefs. But my question is, where does it stop?  

It's starting with women's reproductive health because it's easy to vilify and shame women who don't wait until marriage to have sex and only have sex with their husbands for the sole purpose of procreating. Lots of people are standing behind Hobby Lobby on this because, freedom.

But I wonder what will happen when some company says they don't want their health insurance plan to cover diabetes medication because gluttony is against their religious beliefs.

I wonder what will happen when some company says they don't want their health insurance plan to cover prenatal care or hospital birthing expenses to unmarried women because premartial sex is against their religious beliefs.

I wonder what will happen when some company says they don't want their health insurance plan to cover hospital expenses related to pancreatitis or hypertension because they're primarily caused by drinking, and drinking is against their religious beliefs.

It's a little more than ironic to me that our country seems to value and highly regard the rights of fertilized eggs, but often has so little regard for the many men, women, and children who live in poverty and would like access to healthcare.

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