Hobby Lobby invests millions of dollars in birth control and abortion drugs—over $73 million to be exact, and the company has also angered some Christian groups with what they call the “hypocrisy” of the retail giant. The focus of Christian dissent against the company this week is the fact that many of Hobby Lobby’s products are made in China, a country that has a poor human rights record, especially as it pertains to workers’ rights. Christian columnist John Merritt wrote that Hobby Lobby cannot call itself Christian because the majority of the company’s products come from China, where workers are often subjected to long hours and frequent abuse.
Critics of the retail chain have also pointed out the fact that Hobby Lobby ignored China’s large abortion rate—over 330 million abortions have taken place there—in order to purchase inexpensive wares to be resold to American customers. Christian groups have been angered over what they view as Hobby Lobby’s hypocrisy at least since 2013, when The Christian Post published a piece criticizing the company for doing business with a country like China, a country that “goes against” Christian values.
In addition to the criticisms over China, there have been numerous news reports out about Hobby Lobby’s investments in birth control measures like the morning after pill and in other drugs that cause abortions; investments that pay the 401K plans of Hobby Lobby employees. Mother Jones initially broke the story, but it quickly got picked up by CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield, who said that Hobby Lobby should “put its money where its mouth is” if company representatives are so concerned with upholding their religious beliefs that they would sue to prevent women from having access to the same types of birth control that feed the company’s bottom line. Banfield states that Hobby Lobby ought to find investments that better reflect the company’s values.
The initial Mother Jones article includes a long list of contraceptives and abortion drugs as Hobby Lobby investments. The story has been independently verified by CNN as well as Forbes, and the holdings in birth control and abortion drugs are reported to comprise the majority of the company’s investments.
Since the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby earlier this week, debate has been plentiful and heated among news commentators as well as among the general public. Hobby Lobby has remained largely silent since the ruling, which has inflamed women’s rights groups yet marked a major victory for conservative Christians. The company has made no statement pertaining to its investments at this time.
One of the main objections that critics point to is the fact that birth control is often used in many types of health conditions that are not related to family planning. Polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis and prevention of cancer for women with a family history are just some of the reasons women might be prescribed birth control medication. Without coverage for contraception, critics say, some women might be at risk from life altering or even life threatening diseases.
Hobby Lobby has angered some Christians with what they call the hypocrisy of the company as it is deeply involved with China as well as investments in birth control and abortion medication. Proponents of the Supreme Court decision say the end result helps to cement what they view as religious freedom. As the debate rages on, some are claiming that the “slippery slope” Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote about in her dissent paper has already begun. Additional companies have started dropping birth control coverage for employees, and yesterday, the Supreme Court extended its decision to include all forms of birth control, not just the abortive types it had stated the decision would cover. In addition, several religious groups have already filed to become exempt from the ban on discriminating against LGBT job applicants in the aftermath of the Hobby Lobby ruling.
By: Rebecca Savastio