Hobby Lobby: Contraceptives are bad for employees, but good for business

By David Ferguson
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 9:09 EDT
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Woman with birth control pills via Shutterstock
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Hobby Lobby’s retirement fund invests in makers of contraceptives and the so-called ‘morning after’ pill, even though the company’s chief executives claim they are morally opposed to such drugs.

Mother Jones magazine reported Tuesday that Hobby Lobby held more than $73 million in “mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions.”

This news will come as a revelation to anyone following the current Supreme Court Case in which the crafts store insists that to provide female employees with insurance coverage for contraception amounts to an unconscionable breach of their spiritual principles.

Documents filed with the Department of Labor in December of 2012 show that the company’s 401(k) employee retirement fund is invested in firms that manufacture the very drugs that Hobby Lobby’s founding family, the Greens, are trying to keep out of their employees’ hands.

According to Mother Jones‘ Molly Redden:

These companies include Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which makes Plan B and ParaGard, a copper IUD, and Actavis, which makes a generic version of Plan B and distributes Ella. Other holdings in the mutual funds selected by Hobby Lobby include Pfizer, the maker ofCytotec and Prostin E2, which are used to induce abortions; Bayer, which manufactures the hormonal IUDs Skyla and Mirena; AstraZeneca, which has an Indian subsidiary that manufactures Prostodin, Cerviprime, and Partocin, three drugs commonly used in abortions; and Forest Laboratories, which makes Cervidil, a drug used to induce abortions. Several funds in the Hobby Lobby retirement plan also invested in Aetna and Humana, two health insurance companies that cover surgical abortions, abortion drugs, and emergency contraception in many of the health care policies they sell.

The Affordable Care Act — also known as “Obamacare” — mandates that employers provide such coverage, particularly given that not all women take birth control pills specifically for contraception, but for a host of other medical conditions, including cystic acne, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and to decrease the risk of certain cancers.

The Guttmacher Institute reported in 2011 that 52 percent of U.S. women who take the pill are doing so for non-contraceptive reasons.

[image of woman holding birth control pills via Shutterstock.com]

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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