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Misinformation clouds Hobby Lobby ruling — do your research before forming an opinion

July 2, 2014
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T he Internet is a forum flowing with opinions, interactions and opportunity. It is also fraught with hateful comments, bullying, and aggravating inaccuracies.

A recent court ruling has opened the cyber-floodgates.

On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against the HHS mandate of the Affordable Care Act and in favor of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., and Mardel. The decision was based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

Under the HHS mandate, for-profit companies had to provide employees with abortifacients, or abortion-inducing drugs. These included morning-after pills and intrauterine devices (IUDs).

The company owners opposed he mandate on religious grounds based on their Christian faith.

Many angry bloggers and social media users spun the Court ruling into a doomsday prophecy. Others resorted to making profanity-laced terrorist threats.

“Our Supreme court is a f***ing joke,”  one person tweeted. “F*** you  #HobbyLobby and anyone else who supports that evil company. Burn it to the f***ing ground.”

Another person sarcastically tweeted that the Christian thing to do following the Court decision is to burn crosses in the Hobby Lobby parking lot.

While these Twitter users chose to champion hype over facts, you are empowered to form your own opinions based on real information about the case.

First, a distinction must be made between abortifacients and contraceptives. An abortifacient affects the fertilized egg, while a contraceptive prevents that egg from becoming fertilized in the first place.

This is not a case about contraceptive coverage. It is a case about drugs that cause early abortions and whether or not company owners must act against their religious beliefs to provide these drugs to their employees.

Hobby Lobby covers the expenses of condoms, most birth control pills, and other contraceptives for its employees. The company also pays its employees enough to purchase abortifacients on their own.

At Hobby Lobby, full-time employees make a minimum wage of $14 an hour, and part-time employees make an hourly wage of at least $9.50.

Additionally, the Supreme Court ruling only applies to closely-held corporations. According to the Internal Revenue S ervice , a closely-held corporation is one in which more than 50 percent of the company is controlled by a maximum of five people.

Many have expressed outrage over this court decision, and I find this outrage to be poorly-founded. Employees are not entitled to bosses who will fund their beliefs. They are entitled, however, to a fair paycheck, which they can spend as they wish.

There are many facets of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that deserve further explanation and research. I encourage readers to seek these answers before voicing unfounded opinions on the Internet.

Melanie Brender is a communications and social relations and policy senior. Reach her at brenderm@msu.edu.

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