I’ll keep this brief.
Since the Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby could not be forced to provide contraceptives to its employees based on the company’s religious affiliations, everyone has been championing the company as a bastion of morality and Christian values.
I’m sorry to burst that bubble, but that is simply not the truth.
Back in December 2012, three months after Hobby Lobby filed the lawsuit, Molly Redden of Mother Jones publicized documents from the Department of Labor showing that Hobby Lobby’s retirement portoflio has $73 million invested in various companies that produce, “emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions”.
Here’s an excerpt from that piece which lists all of the companies and their products:
“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 of Cytotec 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.”
Critics point out that a lot of Hobby Lobby’s investments are in managed mutual funds, arguing that Hobby Lobby couldn’t possibly know everything they’re investing in.
But these investments involved 3/4 of Hobby Lobby’s 401(k) investments, according to Forbes, so “not knowing” is a terrible excuse, and would make Hobby Lobby’s executives pretty irresponsible.
Also, there are a number of mutual funds created specifically for Christian investors. Redden points out that,
“The Timothy Plan and the Ave Maria Fund, for example, screen for companies that manufacture abortion drugs, support Planned Parenthood, or engage in embryonic stem cell research.”
Some people argue that investing in a contraceptive company as part of a company retirement plan is different than directly providing contraceptives to employees.
They’re right, it is different: it’s directly supporting these companies as opposed to indirectly supporting them by giving Hobby Lobby employees access to their products.
To me, directly investing in these contraceptive companies is the much bigger evil if you really believe that birth control is morally reprehensible or against your religious tenants.
But this isn’t about morals or religious views. This is about money. Those companies are doing well and Hobby Lobby’s wants a piece of that success.
I have no problem with them doing that from a business standpoint. Whatever gives their employees the most money for retirement is cool with me.
But I do have a problem with them trying to generate positive publicity by taking advantage of the emotions of Christians and pro-life activists, pretending that they really care about the pro-life cause while investing in the companies whose products they villify.
No matter how you feel about the Supreme Court decision, this type of corporate hypocrisy should piss all of us off.