Hobby Lobby, IUDs, and the facts




Out of the frying pan, into the fire. If an IUD vanquishes the heroic sperm before it can reach the passive vessel of the egg, that would mean women could have power over men. That cannot be.


Setting aside the absurd question of whether a corporation can have a religion... why is so much of this science treated as a matter of opinion? Just like climate change is a matter of opinion or, who knows, maybe heliocentrism is next.

My son learned the difference between fact and opinion in third grade. But I suppose a third-grade education is a liberal plot to murder babies so they can't go to third grade. Or something.


What really gets me is the recent McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission ruling.

Apparently the federal government has no right to put limits on how an individual citizen spends the money they earn, and yet is set to grant companies the right to do just that.

face palm


If they can have free speech and religious beliefs they sure as hell better have proscribed lifespans and be subject to capital punishment.


But I suppose a third-grade education is a liberal plot to murder babies so they can't go to third grade.

...and that is why South Park is still funny


Exactly. This is about defining reality as whatever's convenient at the moment, like any manipulative sociopath. A company could declare that there is no such thing as extinction, based on some religious belief. They could even hire their own guru to run the marketing department. Why not declare that their homeopathic essence cures cancer? And then they can give duffle bags of small bills to the FDA and declare that's "protected free speech."


I can't tell you how science will inform the Supreme Court's decision, but I can tell you to what degree science will inform the decision. Approximately 44.4%.


Maggie, thanks very much for an excellent article! I'd only quibble with one final bit towards the end of the article when you write:

If you go by the scientific definition, where pregnancy begins at implantation, then IUDs definitely don’t work by causing abortions. If your religious beliefs lead you to think pregnancy begins at fertilization, well, the data suggests that, sometimes, rarely, IUDs used as birth control might abort a fertilized egg

It sounds here like you're drawing a contrast between the "scientific" and "religious" definitions of when pregnancy begins. To say the obvious, while some persons believe that pregnancy begins at fertilization for purely religious reasons, there also exists a secular scientific (i.e., non-religious) argument that pregnancy begins at fertilization. If you'd like to read some literature on the topic (that is, for the non-religious argument that pregnancy begins at fertilization), I'd recommend Robert George (of Princeton) and Chris Tollefsen (of USC's) book "Embryo: A Defense of Human Life". (The book's main topic concerns the morality of embryonic stem cell research, but chapters 2 and 8 [if memory serves correct!] present the scientific argument for the claim that pregnancy begins at fertilization).

I don't know how strongly you intended to draw the contrast, but if George and Tollefsen are right then it's not the "religious" definition of pregnancy vs. the "scientific" definition of pregnancy - there are scientific arguments both for the belief that pregnancy begins at implantation and for the belief that pregnancy begins at fertilization. But since you were discussing the Hobby Lobby case (and its litigious context), religious beliefs certainly did come into play in this instance, although they need not have.

That quibble aside, though, I really appreciated your article - there's a lot more heat than light on this topic and I think your efforts will help rebalance that ratio in the direction it needs to go. So thanks for your hard work and I hope you have a good day! smile

Yours Sincerely,
~Benjamin Keil


For a corporation to have religious beliefs it would have to have a soul, wouldn't it? After all, a thing that does not have a soul cannot believe in God or an afterlife. If it has a soul, it cannot be owned for that would be slavery. Now isn't that a heckuva can of worms!


Fertilization? Eggs are routinely fertilized in a test tube. We could fertilize an egg without a nucleus or an egg which has been treated so that its chromosomes can't divide. Why not? Surely it was not a human when it was haploid and I don't think most people would sanctify a gamete.

In either event, my question about the idea of a human soul being at stake from the fertilization is this - what about identical twins? Only after fertilization it becomes two people. So where does the second soul come from? Do the twins each get one soul? OK, when? Or do they each get half a soul? Or does one have no soul?

And in the case of parasitic twin, the identical twin did not fully form. Does the thing with no head have a soul? Should the child be forced to carry it around their whole life for ideological reasons? If we cut if off, should we make heroic efforts to keep it alive? Does it need a Social Security card?

How about this extra pair of legs? does it have a soul?


Their entire these still rests on the non-scientific judgement that the embryo becomes a "person" or "a human" as soon as it has its own set of genes.


This company's investment holdings are deeply into medical stocks that produce IUDs and birth control pills. They, like many Christianists, are hypocrites.


It's 2014. Religion should not be part of this or any other important discussion regarding politics, sexual rights, or civil rights. Period. This is fucking ridiculous. I'm tired of OTHER PEOPLE'S religions effecting me. This shouldn't even be discussed! We shouldn't even allow the discussion to happen. "Sorry. Not relevant to us." Done and done.

It just astounds me that we are still talking about this shit.


The question isn't "Can the government or employees force a corporation to go against it's religious beliefs?" as the conservatives are framing it. A corporation can't have beliefs, it isn't capable of any sort of thought or emotion, yet another problem from pretending that corporations are humans. sighs

The real question is "Can a few religious people at the head of a corporation force their religious beliefs onto all of their employees that might not share the same beliefs?" Do the desires of a few rich, outweigh the needs of the many lesser rich under their employ? I think when it comes to healthcare, working hours, working conditions, and other aspects that are governed by law for a reason, then no, they do not. They can't force their employees to pray every day at work, why should they be able to impose their religious beliefs onto which aspects of healthcare they receive?

What if the people at the head of this company were Christian Scientists? Would they be able to refuse ALL health care for their employees? No of course not. This entire discussion is silly and I'm surprised we are even having it in the modern era. This is the backwaters of previous era. Crazy.


" Why not? Surely it was not a human when it was haploid and I don't think most people would sanctify a gamete. "

Eeeeeveeeeerrrrrryyyy sperm is sacred, every sperm is good....

Don't forget, sometimes there are the same folks that argue that masturbation is a sin, and the whole sin of Onan thing...

If you want to fully control a population, you've got to convince them that they need to obey you in every respect, right down to their core sexuality and reproductive (or not reproductive) behaviors. Logical arguments and science don't matter.


No, no, no- You misunderstand.

Those medical stocks generate money, so Jesus is okay with them.

Birth control costs money, so clearly it's unconstitutional and will lead to abortion, devil worship and lesbianism.


If corporations are allowed to have freedom of speech and religion, then I believe we should be able to draft, imprison, and execute them.


They mated the rats, and then killed and dissected them at 1, 2, 5, and 10 days after mating.

Wow... barely enough time for the afterglow to fade.


Excellent article, thank you. I have just one very small quibble. Near the end, you said:

People like the owners of Hobby Lobby believe that IUDs mostly work by preventing implantation, which is, to them, an abortion.

I can't claim to speak for them, but I think that's a mischaracterization of their beliefs. I don't think they believe it "mostly works by preventing implantation." I think they believe that it can work by preventing implantation, and any chance that it may be causing an abortion is too much chance for their conscience.