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By Dr. Frederick Liewehr

12/31/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

The entire issue is an unnecessary attack on all people of faith

In a time of economic distress, with the lowest labor participation rate in 35 years, the Obama government has decided to force Hobby Lobby to provide contraceptive coverage for its employees that include drugs that are abortion-inducing, including the morning-after pill and week-after pill, or close its doors. Hobby Lobby has filed a suit against the HHS mandate, which claims that "The Green family's religious beliefs forbid them from participating in, providing access to, paying for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting abortion-causing drugs and devices."


By Dr. Frederick Liewehr

Catholic Online (

12/31/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Hobby Lobby, Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, contraceptive mandate, Supreme Court, David Green, Green family, Pro-Life, Dr. Frederick Liewehr

RICHMOND,VA (Catholic Online) - Hobby Lobby is one of the nation's largest arts and crafts retailers, with more than 500 locations in 41 states. David Green and his family started the company over 40 years ago, and have run it on Christian principles ever since. What are those principles and what makes Hobby Lobby one of the "good guys" in today's corporate world? In an op ed piece in the September 12, 2012 edition of USA Today, Green explained:

I've always said that the first two goals of our business are 1) to run our business in harmony with God's laws, and 2) to focus on people more than money. And that's what we've tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week's biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. We believe that it is by God's grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We've not only added jobs in a weak economy, we've also raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.

In a time of economic distress, with the lowest labor participation rate in 35 years, the Obama government has decided to force Hobby Lobby to provide contraceptive coverage for its employees that include drugs that are abortion-inducing, including the morning-after pill and week-after pill, or close its doors. Hobby Lobby has filed a suit against the HHS mandate, which claims that "The Green family's religious beliefs forbid them from participating in, providing access to, paying for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting abortion-causing drugs and devices."

The lawsuit says the family also has "a sincere religious objection" to providing coverage for certain kinds of intrauterine devices (IUD's) and alleges they can cause the death of an embryo by preventing it from implanting in the wall of a woman's uterus. It also objects to the so-called "morning-after pill" which supposedly acts as an after the fact preventative measure (huh?) supposedly by preventing ovulation or fertilization, but often by preventing implantation, where the already fertilized egg tries to attach itself to the uterus. Thus, the "morning after pill" is in effect a chemical abortifacient. 

Let us briefly consider what is currently available in chemical "birth control". The first is the French "abortion pill" RU-486, which is a steroid hormone similar to progesterone called mifepristone. The purpose of this drug is to abort a pregnancy. American pro-life groups lobbied so effectively against its importation that the French company handed over the manufacturing rights to an American company formed to produce it called Danco Laboratories, who markets it as Mifeprex. It is used to produce abortion within 7 weeks after sex, although it has been used up to 9 weeks.

The other chemical "birth control" is the so-called "morning after pill" which is not a single drug but rather a cocktail of oral contraceptives with a higher dose of hormones. The dosage and frequency of administration vary, but all are to be taken some time after a woman has sex. The drugs are called Plan B and Levonelle, otherwise known as "the morning-after pill" and "the week-after pill." In some cases these pills may prevent ovulation, but in other cases they, like a mechanical IUD, inhibit implantation of the embryo. In cases in which the embryo cannot implant, it dies, and the drug acts as a chemical abortifacient. Many pharmaceutical companies prefer to euphemistically call this method of birth control as "emergency contraception" instead of the Morning-After Pill.

Hobby Lobby is right. The government demands that it provide abortion services to its employees that it correctly believes are immoral and against the law of God. If it does not comply, it will face fines of $1.3 million PER DAY, and will be forced to close the doors of its 400 stores, putting thousands of people out of work. I guess this is how Obama creates jobs.

The health care reform law includes a "religious conscience" clause that allows certain "recognized religious sects" an exemption to the individual mandate. This has been so narrowly interpreted that although a Catholic (or other religious denominated) parish may receive an exemption, a Catholic hospital, for example, may not. There is thus no consideration for anyone who wishes to actually practice during the week the beliefs he professes on Sunday. This seems to be the trend for the Obama crowd - give lip service to Constitutional rights but make sure they are not actually practiced. You may have religious beliefs, but make sure they don't leave your church building.

The amazing thing is that this issue need never have arisen. Obamacare was billed as "affordable health insurance" for everyone. What is overlooked is what health insurance really is.

Insurance is best exemplified by homeowners who are afraid that their houses might burn down and leave them homeless. The chance of that happening is not very good, but if it did, it would be devastating. So, since saving money for the loss would be financially impossible for most people, they pool their money instead, and if a fire should occur, that pool of money is used to rebuild the lost home. The amount they must pay for this insurance is calculated by actuarial tables that consider the likelihood of the occurrence, plus the operating expenses and profit of the insurance company that underwrites it.

Health insurance is similar. Paying for a catastrophic illness or accident is beyond the financial capability of most people, so using similar actuarial tables that consider the likelihood of the occurrence, a premium is set that reflects the cost of insurance. That premium varies according to the services covered and the likelihood of the person needing these services.

What has happened is that the health insurance industry has grown tremendously in America primarily because it was treated favorably in the tax law, both for employers and for employees. It was cheaper for employers and for employees to receive this as a benefit than to get an actual raise because it was treated favorably by the IRS. As a result of these third-party payers, the cost of medical care has also skyrocketed, as have consumer demands on the quantity and quality of health care they receive, since the insured have little or no incentive to restrict their use of the system when someone else is paying for it.

"Insurance" that covers something like birth control or dental hygiene appointments is absurd. From an actuarial standpoint, everyone needs to have their teeth cleaned twice a year. That is 100% utilization. To pay an insurance company to cover that means that the insurance company must pay out the cost plus its administrative cost and profit. Thus, the overall cost will be higher than if the patient simply pays the dentist for the cleaning. The only reason we have this absurd situation is that a third party is paying, not the patient himself.

The HHS mandate is similar. There is no reason for Obama's "health insurance" to cover contraception. For those morally inclined to use it, it is a 100% incidence. It is not like hospitalization for a car accident or a heart attack that occurs only to a small number in the insured pool; it has a 100% incidence and is not really insurance at all. Of course, whether contraception is "health care" also begs the question. The White House said on Tuesday that it believes a requirement on contraceptives is "lawful and essential to women's health".

Huh? I don't see women who are not using contraceptives dropping dead all around me. In fact, research is now showing that contraceptive use may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, increase the risk of cancer, and lead to increased risk of atherosclerotic plaque formation, which can produce clots that can cause serious injury and death if they travel to the heart, lungs or brain. This hardly sounds like something that is "essential to women's health" to me. But then, in pro-abort Newspeak, Planned Parenthood insists that abortions are part of "women's health", too.

Thus, the entire issue is an unnecessary attack on all people of faith. Birth control can be accomplished at no cost, and morally, through Natural Family Planning, and for those so inclined, mechanical means are available at very low cost at any drugstore. There is absolutely no need to include it in Obamacare. The issue is simply being pushed by the government as a control issue, another example of the trampling of our most precious liberties in yet another power play by the Administration.

The Hobby Lobby case is before the Supreme Court.  It is now up to this body, the same one that erroneously defined Obamacare as a "tax" and thus legitimate, instead of the unconstitutional forcing of the citizenry to purchase something they do not want to purchase that it actually is, to decide whether this mandate is Constitutional. The Supreme Court already opted not to take up a case challenging the Obamacare requirement brought by Liberty University, an evangelical protestant college in Virginia, instead opting to leave in place an appeals court's ruling striking down their lawsuit. This does not bode well for Hobby Lobby, and in this season of the Holy Family, they need our prayers.

---------- Dr. Frederick Liewehr is an endodontist who teaches and works in private practice. He converted from Protestantism to Catholicism in 1983, having been drawn ineluctably to Christ's Church by the light of Truth. He is a member of St. Benedict parish in Richmond, a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and a Cooperator of Opus Dei.


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