On 30 June 2014, the large family-owned corporation Hobby Lobby won a Supreme Court case allowing the company to no longer provide four forms of contraceptive to its nearly 28,000 employees. Citing that the company’s religion believed that the four of the prescribed contraceptives set forth by the Affordable Care Act (ACA)was abortion, not a contraceptive. In this paper, I will discuss the following. One person’s religious views should not hinder other views, contraceptives keep employees at work along with longevity, and determining what to stand up for exemplifies ethics.
The major corporation Hobby Lobby believed that the ACA was infringing on their religious rights when told to supply female employees with contraceptives. The company had six contraceptives to chose from but believed four of the six were more abortion then contraceptive and declined to pay for such contraceptives. The problem was Hobby Lobby had simply imposed its religious view on the employees of the company. Religion seems to do this a lot and hides behind the freedom of religion in the 1st amendment. People practice religion, and this is not a fight on religion this a fight on taking away a personal right under the ACA because of your beliefs. “Hobby Lobby decided that two versions of the “morning-after pill” and two kinds of intrauterine devices (IUDs)—are “abortifacients.” In other words, the owners of Hobby Lobby think these contraceptives end pregnancies rather than prevent them. And they believe that is tantamount to ending a life.” (Gunter, 2014) If a woman wants to use an IUD, then why should her employer decide a contraceptive, is it because the CEO’s ethics don’t align directly with the employees? Ethics and morals are based on an individual, not on a mass, not everyone is the same morally or ethically.
Hobby lobby employs around 28,000 employees. (Burell V, Hobby Lobby, Landmark Supreme Court Case, n.d.) When the decision came to stop certain contraceptives not all, it could be more from a business standpoint than an ethical standpoint. Hobby Lobby does not offer a maternity leave program, so if a long-time employee becomes pregnant this allows the corporation to hire a new employee or a temporary employee at a lower starting wage. The retail world is a revolving door of employed young people and those young people have sex, providing employees with contraceptives allows less time training new employees and more time gaining their trust that a company will take care of them, boosting longevity and employee satisfaction in their job. ‘After all, if you want your workers pregnant, certainly you’d be willing to join the rest of the industrialized world by paying for the mother’s eight or so weeks with her newborn. Certainly, Hobby Lobby CEO and founder David Green whose net worth is north of $5 billion could afford to offer paid maternity leave.’ (Show, 2014) From a business standpoint this choice by the CEO is ethical but from a human aspect this should be deemed unethical, as a Christian based company, employees should be more important than money.
Ethics is defined as “moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity” If a person’s personal morals tell them what they are doing is right then a person will be hard pressed to waiver. The CEO of Hobby Lobby decided that he was going to fight for what he thought was ethically right. By taking what was thought to be trivial by some corporations Hobby Lobby stood by their ethics all the way to the Supreme Court. CEO David Green was not looking to abolish all contraceptives from employees, just the ones that were considered abortion more than contraceptive, such as the Plan B pill. Hobby Lobby would still offer standard birth control pills and even vasectomies for male employees under ACA. Hobby Lobby could have decided that dropping the ACA and paying the fine to the government but that too put Green into an Ethical dilemma, if the court would have forced him to drop the ACA then the care that Green shows for his employees would have faltered. Hobby Lobby feels committed to care for their employees and live out their faith in their business. In any event, it’s strange that anyone would argue that Hobby Lobby’s employees would be better off by losing their generous health care benefits, which already cover most drugs and devices mandated by the ACA. (Burell V, Hobby Lobby, Landmark Supreme Court Case, n.d.)
In conclusion, I actually understand what Hobby Lobby did, from a business and an ethical standpoint it made sense. Contraceptives are still covered under the ACA, just not all six. If a person wants additional contraceptives, they still have a job and need to prioritize if they really need an additional contraceptive. Although the CEO chose his ethics over some employees, he is still the CEO and still afforded employees contraceptives. Although Hobby Lobby has no paid Maternity leave, employees are allowed to return to work after 12 weeks, so knowing that a job is waiting after giving birth is nice, employees relies that if a CEO will stand up to the government about contraceptives then perhaps the company is family oriented, they just have different ethics. CEO David Green stood up for what he believed in and won, against the supreme court, though I could not find a number on what his lawyer fees were, I would guess they are hefty. I don’t believe the money mattered to Green, he was doing what thought best for his employees and his personal morals.
- Burell V, Hobby Lobby, Landmark Supreme Court Case. (n.d.). Retrieved from hobbylobbycase.com/faq: http://hobbylobbycase.com/faq/
- Gunter, J. (2014, July 06). The Medical Facts About Birth Control and Hobby Lobby—From an OB/GYN. Retrieved from newrepublic.com: https://newrepublic.com/article/118547/facts-about-birth-control-and-hobby-lobby-ob-gyn
- Show, D. (2014, June 24). Busted! Hobby Lobby Doesn’t Offer Paid Maternity Leave. Retrieved from davidfeldmanshow: https://davidfeldmanshow.com/busted-hobby-lobby-doesnt-offer-paid-maternity-leave-employees-even-though-hobby-lobby-wont-pay-contraception/