March 29th, 2014

“Some” contraception

This piece by Margaret Carlson is disingenuous and/or purposely misleading in so many ways it’s hard to choose one to highlight, but I’ll deal with one of the simplest: it discusses the Hobby Lobby case without once mentioning that the forms of contraception the plaintiffs are objecting to being forced to help provide funds for could at least arguably be called abortificants, and that this is in fact the basis of their argument. They have no problem with other forms of contraception coverage required by the law.

You can take either side of the Hobby Lobby case and still write a piece that states the facts correctly without omitting one of the most important ones. In her article, Carlson refers to “contraception” and “some contraception,” and the casual reader would be led to believe that Hobby Lobby is objecting to contraception itself.

But two of the types of contraception Hobby Lobby objects to are the morning-after pill (“Plan B”) and the IUD. The left would argue that the preponderance of evidence at this point is that neither are actually abortificants, and there is certainly evidence to that effect. But the truth is that we really don’t yet know their mechanism in all cases, and that Hobby Lobby’s contention that they are abortificants is not the least bit frivolous:

The exact mechanism by which Plan B prevents pregnancies has been in question for decades and is not likely to be cleared up soon, says Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

“How you ask the question determines what kind of answer you get,” she said. “What you don’t have is a lot of funding for research that says, ‘Does this drug affect the embryo?’ “

There is a similar case that can be made to consider the IUD a form of abortificant (at least in some unknown number of cases), if a person believes that personhood begins the moment an egg and sperm unite [emphasis mine]:

IUDs primarily work by preventing fertilization. The progestogen released from the hormonal IUDs prevents ovulation from occurring so an egg is never released. The hormone also thickens the cervical mucus so that sperm cannot reach the fallopian tubes. The copper IUDs contain no hormones, but the copper ions in the cervical mucus are toxic to sperm. They also cause the uterus and fallopian tubes to produce a fluid that contains white blood cells, copper ions, enzymes, and prostaglandins, a combination that is also toxic to sperm. The very high effectiveness of copper-releasing IUDs as emergency contraceptives implies they may also act by preventing implantation of the blastocyst.

It’s that “blastocyst” (i.e. newly fertilized egg), and its failure to implant in some cases as a result of an IUD, that is the issue (see also this). That’s the basis of Hobby Lobby’s objection, and to call it a refusal to provide contraception is an attempt to portray Hobby Lobby as more extreme than they are.

19 Responses to ““Some” contraception”

  1. Ann Says:

    It’s the same playbook they used for stem cell research, never making the distinction between using embryonic lines and adult cells.

  2. OdTexan Says:

    Folks, David Green, the founder and patriarch of Hobby Lobby is one of the smartest men I have ever met. I started working for him at TG&Y stores in 1971 when he was a young 27 year old manager in charge of the 2nd largest store in the chain. I left to go to grad school and returned to TG&Y to work for him because he was an incredible leader who was fun to work for and I respected him. Neither David nor his wife Barbara were college educated, she took college music courses later in life, but he has a very sound grounding in math and he has the ability to make sound decisions always working within the requirements of the Christian faith.

    In 1975 David hired me away from an manager position at TG&Y to work for Hobby Lobby when we had five employees and I was given minority ownership in the picture frame business which became the wholesale part Crafts, Etc. In all I had 15 years with the company watching the current family executives grow up and move into management. I bailed in 1986 for greener pastures but I have remained very good friends with all of the family over all the years.

    Having worked side by side, shared meals and trips with the Greens for years I will tell everyone that these folks are very devout Christians who are totally dedicated to the scriptures in the Bible. I have not always agreed with them but I do know that they are very smart, sincere people who have lived, every day, in every way a Christian life and they can not and will not ever compromise their beliefs.

    I had a discussion recently with one of my favorite in-laws who is a well educated liberal I have known for almost 50 years we discussed the Hobby Lobby situation. When I asked her if she thought it was right for the Green’s to put their eternal souls in peril to accommodate Obamacare, as they see it and was that a reasonable thing for our government to force on them, she paused because it had not occurred to her at all that people might have beliefs this strong.

    The Green’s now have their backs to wall on this spiritual issue and they may be forced to shut their company down if they are forced into compliance which, from their point of view seems to be the only option. Of course, the fact that they have no debt as a closely held company, they pay a full time starting wage over $13.50 and try to raise employees to $15.00 per hour as soon as possible does not seem to matter to the government. Employees for Hobby Lobby do not work on Sunday and they go home at 8:00 pm at night. When I had a meal with David about a year ago he was proud of the fact that parents could get home in time to tuck their children into bed. David and I worked some hard retail schedules in the 1970′s and for him families do come first.

    This family gives millions of dollars in charity every year and some years ago when Oral Roberts University in Tulsa OK was going bankrupt due to some poor judgement on the part of the Robert’s family they stepped in and bought all of the debt of the University and then gave it all back to the regents with the one stipulation that one member of the Green family would sit on the board of directors to oversee fiscal responsibility.

    So it will be interesting to see what this administration does taking on a Christian family that live its faith everyday in every way. In all of my over forty years of knowing this family I have never been aware of any of them ever having any doubts about what they are charged to do as they practice their faith. I do know that if they were transported back about 2,000 years they would be singing and praising the Lord if they were selected to be fed to the lions for the amusement of the Romans.

  3. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “That’s the basis of Hobby Lobby’s objection, and to call it a refusal to provide contraception is an attempt to portray Hobby Lobby as more extreme than they are.”

    To paraphrase Socrates; ‘When the argument cannot be won honestly, the ideologue, having already sacrificed truth upon their ideology’s altar, resorts to slander.’

  4. Matt_SE Says:

    “The left would argue that the preponderance of evidence at this point is that neither are actually abortificants…”

    The left also argues that abortion isn’t a matter of convenience, but “health.”

  5. J.J. Says:

    It’s not amazing to me that the progressives ignore a simple fact. Hobby Lobby’s owners and other Christians are not trying to keep people from using birth control. What they are objecting to is paying for forms of birth control that they consider to be against their faith as they practice it. IMO, that is a clear point that should be plain and unobjectionable under the freedom of religion that our Constitution affords us. Obamacare is, in fact, ordering Christians to pay for birth control practices that go against their beliefs. The administration has produced waivers of the law for other groups on other objections, it is totally repugnant that they try to cram this down the throats of the faithful.

  6. A_Nonny_Mouse Says:

    J.J. says “…The administration has produced waivers of the law for other groups on other objections, it is totally repugnant that they try to cram this down the throats of the faithful.”

    Knowing that President “Make It As Painful As Possible” could -but refuses to- offer a waiver, one can only assume that “cram it down their throats” is PRECISELY the point.

    I would tell you what I really think of the Usurper, but that might get our gracious hostess’ blog black-listed.

  7. rickl Says:

    Great comment, OldTexan. As I’ve said before, this is what I love about blogs. No matter the topic, there will be someone with actual personal knowledge of the situation, which is vastly superior to abstract, disembodied “news” articles.

  8. Lee Says:

    I looked up one of the ons (and it is only four out of twenty Obamacare/HHS is forcing people to cover) to which the Greens object, ella. (The pharmaceutical company clearly has archie working in its branding department.) It’s fifty bucks for a course of treatment. It’s a morning after pill. I just cannot see even a smidgen of a penumbra of an emanation of the government’s compelling interest includes forcing devout Christians to pay for this.

  9. Lee Says:

    Oops! It’s “archy” and not “archie.” Sorry for any confusion.

  10. IGotBupkis, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." Says:

    }}} to call it a refusal to provide contraception is an attempt to portray Hobby Lobby as more extreme than they are.

    Not really, in the sense that they consider anyone who is anti-abortion to be an extremist anyway.

    No, there is no “spectrum” of “extremists” (and technically, this is as it should be, but it’s not, in the manner the word is used colloquially).

    To the lefty, as you well know, there are only two shades — black, and white — with them or against them.

    There is no “respected opposition” middle ground to the mind of the PostModern Liberal twit. So all who oppose them are “extremists”. Since they are frothingly pro “right to choose” pretty much to the last moment before labor itself occurs, anyone who disagrees is an “anti-choice extremist”.

  11. Ymarsakar Says:

    Since they are frothingly pro “right to choose” pretty much to the last moment before labor itself occurs

    They stepped beyond the line now.

    People like Hussein support post birth abortions. If a baby is born due to an abortion that failed, they agree that it should be reprocessed. Reprocessed into what? Firewood for some hospitals, food in some other nations.

    The Left’s definition of “choice” is merely the power to decide whether you are born and how you will die. That has little to nothing to do with individual liberty.

  12. jvermeer Says:

    Several years ago, abortion providers testified before Congress about partial birth abortion and lied about the total numbers. When they were caught, Margaret Carlson authored a column titled, “I Lie, You Lie, We all Lie”. As John Candy’s character said in “Splash”, “when I find something that works, I stick with it.”

  13. stu Says:

    The description of the Browns strength of faith reminded me of the history of Rabbi Akiva, whom the Romans tortured by flaying his skin when he refused to give up the teaching of his faith. Must they likewise be martyrs?

  14. FOAF Says:

    “No matter the topic, there will be someone with actual personal knowledge of the situation”

    rickl, there is an old saying “Everything you read in the newspaper is true except for those things you have personal knowledge of”.

  15. FOAF Says:

    I’m shocked, shocked to find out that leftists lie and smear.

  16. Ymarsakar Says:

    Only Republicans lie, because their rules say there is a difference between honesty and lies.

  17. Nick Says:

    This is trivial, but I couldn’t help notice it:

    “Loath to be seen as anti-religion, Congress went to work before the ink was dry on Scalia’s opinion. Three years after the decision, it passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which President Bill Clinton duly signed.”

    It took three years for the ink to dry? I guess so; otherwise, it could mean that Congress carefully considered the legislation rather than kowtowing to crazed evangelicals.

  18. Julien Offray Says:

    I’m pretty close with my dad and talk to him on the phone at least three times a week. We often debate political matters, which I generally enjoy because we’re both political junkies and both like trying to best one another’s politics. Abortion is the exception to the rule. He’s a pro-choice feminist who thinks ‘compulsory pregnancy’ is a kind of slavery and I consider abortion to be in utero infanticide. (I’m guessing your probably in the ‘safe, legal & rare’ camp.)

    Anyway, when we were talking about Hobby Lobby arguing it’s case before the SCOTUS, I was shocked that he was convinced that the case was about objecting to birth control of all kinds. I figured he dropped the ball and only talked about it with friends or got something misleading from The Nation or MSNBC.

    In fact, he’d read columns from two nationally syndicated columnists. I got him to read me one. Like Carlson’s, it carefully omitted facts to mislead without technically lying. These are writers he trusts. They go on Diane Rehm :)

    I’d bet that if someone went back and looked through all the columns and editorials about this, that they’d find there was a LOT of this sort of artful omission.

  19. Julien Offray Says:

    PS: Part of the problem may be something more than just biased reporting – there’s a controversy about when pregnancy begins (conception or implantation) which makes some people say that something that’s preventing implantation is abortifacient, and others insisting it’s only contraceptive. Technically, both are incorrect. It’s really contragestive, but hardly anyone uses that term. Also, FWIW, I’m convinced that Plan B isn’t contragestive. IUDs aren’t when they’re used normally for prevention (ie, insertion preceding sexual activity), but they are when used as ‘emergency contraception.’ The big problem is with Ella. It’s too new to have been sufficiently tested and there’s reason to believe that it probably does act contragestively. I’d definitely give Hobby Lobby a waiver for Ella.

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