"I read the news today, oh boy" John Lennon sang, and I'm singing along with him. Because I read the news today, and oh, boy.
I started my day this morning reading Twitter in bed, like one does. Well, like I do. Checking to see if my conversation from the night before had continued, I noted someone else talking about the same topic: Hobby Lobby. Curious, I clicked through.
As I read, I began to experience the Five Stages of Hobby Lobby Grief.
Hobby Lobby Grief Stage 1 is Denial: I can't believe it. This is unbelievable. This business is suing the federal government so that they will not be forced to offer insurance coverage which includes access to birth control and emergency contraception pills, known as the "Morning After" pill or "Plan B". They sued and LOST - In ruling against the company, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton said churches and other religious organizations which have been granted constitutional protection from the birth-control provisions do exist, but that "Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations."
Hobby Lobby Grief Stage 2 is Anger: This company went to the Supreme Court seeking an "emergency injunction" which would allow them to violate federal law while their lawsuit continues. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied the companies' request for an injunction while their lawsuit is pending, saying the stores failed to satisfy the demanding legal standard for blocking the requirement on an emergency basis. She said the companies may still challenge the regulations in the lower courts.
Hobby Lobby Grief Stage 3 is Bargaining: I used to shop at Hobby Lobby. I'm a knitter. I make jewelry from time to time. I like cartoony ceramic owls. Mostly, though, I buy yarn - and lots of it. The project currently on my needles required 12 skeins of yarn - a pretty hefty purchase. I make yarn purchases like that all the time, because my local Hobby Lobby has offered yarn and more to me at pretty great prices. What I didn't know is that every time I gave them my moneydollars in exchange for yarn I was exchanging not just money - I was bargaining with my dignity and my values. For Red Heart yarn, y'all. Worth it? No. I want to feel guilty about this, but I keep reminding myself about a well-known Maya Angelou quote: “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” I know better now, Hobby Lobby.
Hobby Lobby Grief Stage 4 is Depression: Here's a company who is willing to defy federal law rather than provide comprehensive reproductive care for their female employees. This company can and will face fines of up to $1.3 million dollars per day for each day they break the law, and they're willing to let let that ride. Let's think about this for a minute. Hobby Lobby is willing to pay 1.3 million dollars in fines each and every day. If they gave Monday's 1.3 million to Harvest Hope Food Bank, Harvest Hope would turn that into 6.5 million pounds of food for Hungry Americans. Tuesday's 1.3 million could buy 130,000 mosquito nets and save some of the 1440 children who die from malaria every year. Wednesday's 1.3 million could go to the Wounded Warrior Project to help our nation's armed services veterans. You get the idea. If Hobby Lobby is willing to throw away millions of dollars on fines for breaking the law, why not use some of those dollars for good instead of evil? Hobby Lobby? Are you listening? No? Of course not. It's so depressing.
Hobby Lobby Grief Stage 5 is Acceptance: I understand that this is America and we all have a right to our beliefs and our opinions. I believe in and support the First Amendment, which protects my right to tell you what I think and protects Hobby Lobby's right to tell you what they think. What I do not accept is an employer having any control over my reproductive health care decisions, or yours. I do not accept a craft store expecting the same exemptions as a church or religious organization. I do not accept Hobby Lobby's law-violating discrimination against women and families, and I will put my money where my yarn is. So to speak.
Goodbye, Hobby Lobby, and good riddance. You won't pay those fines with my yarn money.
Jennifer Bailey Bergen is the Client Relations Manager and Social Media Consultant for an IT consulting firm, with over a decade of experience helping people translate ideas into technology.