Dear @HobbyLobbyStore — Yes, I am boycotting you right now. | #HobbyLobby

June 30, 2014

boycott-hobby-lobby

Hi, Hobby Lobby. It’s me, Jenn.

I heard you won a pretty big court case today, one that established your constitutional right as a corporate conglomerate-person to infringe on my rights as an actual person-person. I heard you congratulating yourselves in what you dubbed a major blow in defense of the free practice of your religion (centered around cheaper healthcare costs?) and free expression of your political beliefs (centered around being a jerk?), both of which apparently involve limiting the reproductive rights of the women who work for (within?) you.

Well, I have the freedom of expression, too. And, I think this decision is stupid.

 

reprodutive-rights-protest

I think this decision is stupid because you claim to disagree with contraceptive care on religious grounds, yet Mother Jones recently revealed that a substantial portion of your 401(K) investments are in large pharmaceutical companies that make the very drugs and IUDs you disagree with. I think this decision is stupid because you claim to be a progressive employer who boasts a minimum wage nearly 90% higher than the national average (which is great); yet, you expect that female employees should use some of those extra wages to cover basic healthcare services that you should actually be providing them. I think this decision is stupid because I can’t fathom how denying your female employees access to contraceptive care — which empowers them to make family planning choices that help keep them in your workforce — even makes sense for your fiscal bottom line. I think decision is stupid because you object to the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that you provide reproductive healthcare coverage for your female employees, but you have no such qualms about covering reproductive and contraceptive services for your male employees.

I think this decision is stupid because I believe — as a woman — that unobstructed access to reproductive healthcare is an individual right, a matter of personal privacy, and a political necessity for both men and women.

Finally, I think this decision is stupid because for at least 15% of adult women (and as many as 60%, as reported in another study), oral contraceptives are taken for non-contraceptive purposes. They take hormone pills to regulate their monthly cycles; the consequences of not doing so can be dangerous and — in extreme cases — life-threatening. When I was a teenager, I was one of those women. I think this decision is stupid because your political stance against oral contraceptives will endanger the health — and perhaps even life — of at least a handful of your female employees.

Yes, I think this is complete and utter stupidity. Earlier today, I ended my first post with a yearning to do something. Petition-signing. Protesting. Anything.

So, as of this minute, I am boycotting you.

Here’s the deal. I’m not much of a crafty-crafty person. It’s true, I’m an artist who buys the occasional sketch book and drawing pencil. I draw. I paint. I’ve dabbled in cross-stich and knitting. I love glitter. But, last year, I spent maybe $20 (total) at my local arts & crafts super store — Michael’s. So, my boycott of you won’t exactly break your bank, right? Twenty bucks ain’t nothin’.

But then again…

See, last year, you also opened a brand new Hobby Lobby location no more than 5 miles from my house. Right now, it is literally the closest arts & crafts store to where I am currently sitting, and it’s even on my daily commute to boot. I remember when you opened this newest branch; I made a note on my mental to-do list to check you out. This year, I might’ve re-upped my art supplies in your newest Connecticut branch.

Well, as of now, I will not be checking you out. This year, I will not be spending my annual $20 art supplies budget in your store. Instead, I just donated my $20 to the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) — an amazing national Asian American womens’ rights group who has been tirelessly supporting reproductive rights for all women.

Hobby Lobby, you just lost my $20, and you just lost it because of your unabashed opposition to the reproductive rights of your female employees and customers.

This could've been yours, Hobby Lobby.
This could’ve been yours, Hobby Lobby.

It also occurs to me: if the Supreme Court wants to defend the power of your First Amendment rights as a corporate conglomerate to force your political beliefs onto your employees, imagine the power of the combined speech of thousands of angry customers expressing their free speech rights against you.

Dear Reader, I’m asking you to join me in boycotting Hobby Lobby.

Here’s all you have to do:

  1. Click the Tweet button below (at the bottom of this post) to tweet at Hobby Lobby (@HobbyLobbyStore), committing that you are now boycotting their company.
  2. (Recommended but optional) Donate the money you would’ve spent at Hobby Lobby this year to an advocacy group that fights to defend reproductive rights for women instead. I chose NAPAWF, you can also choose Planned Parenthood.
  3. Share this post with your friends.

Hobby Lobby losing my $20 ain’t nothing. But let’s just say we could (hypothetically speaking) get 100,000 people around the country to commit to buying their crochet and crochet-related accessories elsewhere this year.

Hobby Lobby just lost $2 million dollars in potential revenue thanks to their anti-woman corporate policies. And they would know it.

Yeah. Let’s see if we can make that happen.

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  • EL

    Forget about religion, I just don’t understand why people think companies should pay for any kind of birth control, period. Someone in your picture there is holding up a “Not my Boss’s business” sign. I don’t understand that kind of thinking at all to the point it makes me a bit angry at whatever moron came up with it. In both senses of the language – First of all, it is in fact THEIR privately owned business and secondly, surely if you expect THEM to provide the additional funding for it, they are entitled to know what it is for! What am I missing here? I’m not meaning to be obtuse and gl with your protest, etc but I genuinely don’t understand the reasoning behind the mass outrage.

    The “life threatening condition and so on and so on” excuse frankly seems gross and alarmist. There are surely better ways of ensuring people get the medication they need to save their lives, especially at the same time as this whole raising the minimum wage by 50% issue is being pushed for. Most of the opposition to the decision just sounds to me like a cover for this victim mentality entitlement culture.

  • EL

    surely if you expect THEM to provide the additional funding for it, they are entitled to know what it is for!

    Employers are certainly entitled to know what is generally covered by the employee health plans they purchase, as they must ensure that those plans encompass all services that they are federally required to cover. But this protest sign is referring to the rightful assertion that a woman’s decision to go onto birth control pills is a matter between herself and her doctor, and should not be interfered with by her employer. We are talking about the difference between knowing that your plan covers X number of services, and asserting that as an employer you have the right to deny your employees access to a service you don’t think she really needs. It is not an employer’s business to know that the health plan his company offers is paying for birth control, any more than you would expect to notify your employer that the health insurance plan he or she has purchased that covers you as an employee is paying for your colonoscopy next week. It is your boss’ business to ensure that the plan he or she purchases meets federal guidelines; it is not your boss’ business to interfere with the specific services that you choose to pursue under that plan — that is between you and your doctor. Your boss’ moral qualms with your health decisions are inconsequential.

    The “life threatening condition and so on and so on” excuse frankly seems gross and alarmist.

    It is absolutely not alarmist, and I apologize if it is “gross” to you. I’m sorry if it makes you uncomfortable, but this is a facet of the conversation that is simply being overlooked; and in so doing, has permitted opponents to label those in favour of the ACA covering contraceptives as being “slutty” or seeking “free sex”. In fact, for many women, birth control pills are a misnomer — they are actually being used to control the symptoms of monthly menstruation, either to regulate the cycle so that it occurs every month and/or because the symptoms of PMS are actually disruptive enough to interfere with daily life. Both are actually quite common. I wrote in my post that I am one of those women: as a teenager, I suffered irregular and missed periods, such that when I did menstruate I suffered painful PMS symptoms that could leave me bed-ridden for a day, and I was also at risk for excessive blood loss that could threaten my life. On the advice of my doctor, I was prescribed hormone pills to induce monthly menstruation.

    Thankfully, as an adult, my cycle normalized so that while my PMS symptoms are still often disruptive, I no longer need pills to regulate things. But, to say that this doesn’t happen is “gross” and “alarmist” is, frankly, insulting to my lived experience. If I still needed these pills as an adult — which happens for other women — I would absolutely endanger my health and my life if I were denied access to them.

    There are surely better ways of ensuring people get the medication they need to save their lives, especially at the same time as this whole raising the minimum wage by 50% issue is being pushed for.

    So, while viagra and vasectomies — neither of which are used for non-contraceptive reasons — should be covered by health insurance plans, birth control pills and IUDs (the former of which is used by between 15% – 60% of women for non-contraceptive reasons in a manner that does preserve health and life) should be paid for out-of-pocket? Does that really seem fair to you?

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