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Blumenthal Calls On Hobby Lobby To Abide By Connecticut’s Birth Control Laws

by Hugh McQuaid | Jul 14, 2014 2:42pm
(33) Comments | Commenting has expired

Hugh McQuaid Photo

Hobby Lobby sign in Manchester

Christian-owned craft store Hobby Lobby won the right to limit the birth control coverage it offers its employees in a Supreme Court decision, but U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal asked the chain Monday to voluntarily offer full coverage in Connecticut.

Blumenthal wrote Monday to David Green, the company’s CEO, asking the company to honor Connecticut’s health insurance laws for employees in this state. Hobby Lobby was a plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 30 ruling that found some businesses can, because of their religious beliefs, choose not to comply with the federal health care law’s requirement that contraception coverage be provided to workers.

Hobby Lobby has a limited presence in Connecticut. It currently operates a store in East Haven and will be opening another in Manchester. Blumenthal held a press conference Monday in a parking lot outside the building being renovated to house the craft store.

“I’m here to call on them to do the right thing and respect Connecticut law, history, and policy by offering all of its employees full contraceptive coverage approved by the [Food and Drug Administration],” he said.

Blumenthal called the Supreme Court decision “immensely misguided.” He pointed to a state statute requiring all group and individual health insurance plans to provide coverage for prescription contraception. However, he said the company was not legally required to comply with the state law.

Hugh McQuaid Photo “There’s no question that there are technical legal reasons that enable Hobby Lobby to, in effect, flout the Connecticut law,” he said. “That’s our state mandate. It applies to all the corporations in this mall, all the corporations that employ people across the state of Connecticut. Hobby Lobby can be the outlier but we hope it won’t be.”

State Healthcare Advocate Vicki Veltri said the decision undercuts medical findings that the full range of contraception should be available to women.

“The decision … really puts the employer between a consumer—the patient—and the patient’s provider. We’ve argued for years that the decisions made between a patient and a provider need to be respected. This decision really undoes that protection,” she said.

Blumenthal has co-sponsored legislation to reverse the court decision, but the bill is unlikely to pass through Congress. In the meantime, the senator declined to call for a consumer boycott of the supply store.

“I’m not going to tell consumers what to do. They’re smart enough to make their own decisions,” he said.

Susan Yolen, a vice president for public policy and advocacy at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, also declined to call for a boycott.

“We’d like to see people use their own judgment. I think most of the people who probably walk in the doors of Hobby Lobby are women and so I think they are the most likely to be affected by this decision,” she said.

Calls for comment to a public relations firm representing Hobby Lobby were directed to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented the company in the case. A spokeswoman for Becket Fund did not immediately issue a statement.

Hugh McQuaid Photo A lone protester attended the Manchester press conference and opposed Blumenthal’s comments. Nicole Stacy, a Hartford resident and member of the Family Institute of Connecticut, said she finds it offensive when people assume women “toe the party line on birth control.”

“I’m a Catholic woman, I hold to the official teachings of the church. If I were to want to run a business like Hobby Lobby, I wouldn’t want the government coercing me to go against my conscience, to violate my most dearly-held beliefs,” she said.

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(33) Comments

posted by: dano860 | July 14, 2014  3:04pm

Blumie and his dower looking band of dowagers and spinsters are true supporters of government incrementalism. They really need to stay out of thinking they know best for all.
If any of them ever really had to run a business I wonder how they would appreciate a bunch of “know nothing’s” that have never run a business getting in their face?

posted by: GBear423 | July 14, 2014  3:11pm

GBear423

Bravo Nicole Stacy! Brave and principled woman!

posted by: UConnHoop | July 14, 2014  3:15pm

It’s incredible to me, that Blumenthal, who is allegedly an attorney, continues to mislead the public regarding the Hobby Lobby decision.  It did not state that employers are not required to offer health plans which include contraception, it said that employers are not required to offer health plans which cover drugs which induce abortions.  Big difference but don’t let the facts get in the way of trying to gin up Democratic votes in a very difficult election year.

posted by: JamesBronsdon | July 14, 2014  3:21pm

Kudos to Nicole Stacy. Very brave.

posted by: DirtyJobsGUy | July 14, 2014  3:29pm

Hmm a company that pays twice minimum wage, funded health insurance premiums before obamacare, is closed on sundays is a bad thing?  I guess our august consumer reporter senator can do nothing but harass this firm to buy free stuff for employees.  Perhaps we should ask our Senator to actually be a Senator so we can have some adult representation in that august body!  After all there are lots of critical issues worldwide that are being ignored in the Upper House.

posted by: ABC | July 14, 2014  3:37pm

To me this isn’t primarily about religious freedom. This is about government intrusion (Obamacare) and forcing companies to pay for their employees’ personal choices.

Women should absolutely have the right to make their reproductive choices.  Keep the religious zealots out of our business. 

But at the same time, women should stay out of Hobby Lobby’s business as well! 

Whether a woman wants an abortion or a condom, they (and their spouses/partners)should stop expecting their employers to get invovlved with (pay for) their personal decisions involving their personal sex lives. (Yuck!)

posted by: NoNonsense2014 | July 14, 2014  6:30pm

@UConnHoop: Hobby Lobby appealed the mandate to provide contraceptive care insofar as it included drugs or devices that “induce abortions” (for lack of a better phrase). Hobby Lobby apparently did not object to providing contraceptive coverage that prevented conception. However, the Supreme Court’s ruling concerned the “contraceptive mandate”, saying that it violated the Religious Freedom Act. For Hobby Lobby, that means they don’t need to cover the four disputed drugs/devices. However, since the “contraceptive mandate” includes everything, some other company could, as far as I’m concerned, refuse to cover all contraceptives on religious grounds.

Now, as for our esteemed Senator Blumenthal: a Supreme Court ruling is hardly a “technical legal reason to flout Connecticut’s law”. Perhaps he needs to go back to law school.

posted by: Linda12 | July 14, 2014  9:11pm

Will Hobby Lobby cover prescriptions for Viagra and other drugs to help men get an erection?

posted by: Jeanene | July 14, 2014  11:59pm

So all women who want to make their own decision about their bodies and health are a bunch of spinsters and dowagers? It truly takes a hateful moron to make a comment like that!  The Supreme Court’s decision was a bad one (voted on by all of the men and none of the women). It allows companies into our beds!  The ruling allows for companies to refuse IUDs which is one of the most reliable forms of contraception that does NOT cause abortion—that is a myth.  It is the first step in infringing on our rights.  What will come next? Denying coverage to same-sex couples? What about denying AIDS patients coverage?  I don’t care how great Hobby Lobby seems to be as a business and employer.  What has happened is dangerous and discriminatory!  You should all fear this decision because it may affect you or a family member down the line.

posted by: justsayin | July 15, 2014  5:37am

Nicole well done.

posted by: CitizenCT | July 15, 2014  6:14am

How big was the crowd?

posted by: dano860 | July 15, 2014  6:27am

@Linda12, does the ACA mandate that business’s provide those items? I don’t think so.
As I see it the “plan B” pills allow a woman to be more promiscuous and not have to become an irresponsible mommy, probably a single one at that.
Is that too broad a brush stroke? Then enlighten me please.

posted by: dano860 | July 15, 2014  9:44am

Jeanine, moron?
Nobody is stopping women from making decisions about their own body or their health. They can go purchase these items on their own, out of their pay received from their employer, even from Hobby Lobby.
If the know everything, have done nothing, intelligent dower appearing threesome in that photo want to dig into their pockets(Dickies are pretty deep too) then that’s fine, go for it.
Otherwise live with the SCOTUS decision as we all have to with their pathetic support of the ACA in their last years session.

posted by: Michele | July 15, 2014  9:55am

Dano860, I think Blumenthal is misguided and obviously ignorant of the reasoning behind the SCOTUS decision. Your name-calling and misogynistic references to the women accompanying Blumenthal indicates a tendency in you to show derision toward women who disagree with you, calling them names that make reference to male rejection. Makes me wonder a bit about what the women in your life might be like. Are they not allowed to voice their opinions without being labeled something that indicates that, to you at least, women gain their significance from male approval? They might be wrong, they might be right, but they have every right in the world to stand up for what they believe is important. You reveal something deeply disturbing about your attitude toward women by your name-calling.

posted by: Linda12 | July 15, 2014  10:26am

Oh Dano….you show your true colors, so will the promiscuous irresponsible Mommy become impregnated by a saintly responsible Boy Scout?  It’s just the women who cause this, eh?

posted by: Jesterr72 | July 15, 2014  10:31am

Jeanene: You said “The Supreme Court’s decision was a bad one (voted on by all of the men and none of the women)...” That ‘s funny - I didn’t hear you or any of your Progressive/Liberal buddies say that about Roe v. Wade.  Come to think of it, you (and Blumie) only call SCOTUS decisions “misguided” or “technicalities” when they don’t fall in line with your Lib narrative.  Newsflash:  Lots of people think the entire ObamaCare decision was a disaster and completely misguided, too.  We’ll fix that soon after the next couple of elections, too.

posted by: GBear423 | July 15, 2014  12:06pm

GBear423

I think the primary argument here for the abortive options is in the case of rape or incest. though with the politicians’ pandering to ” denying women’s health” it draws a bigger crowd of support. its an attention grabber headline/soundbite.

If there is such an emergency where conception occurs in a non-consensual encounter, then there is a very solid argument that Insurance should cover the costs of Plan-B types of treatment.

I think it still pushes the boundaries of those who have a religious objection, and thus support the scotus ruling. It is the respect of our Rights to practice Faith that the foundation of our Nation is built upon.

posted by: Joebigjoe | July 15, 2014  3:05pm

If you want every single thing paid for as it relates to the possible result of the relationship between a man and a woman, realize its a free country. You don’t have to work for a closely held corporations that you would know before you took the job is religiously focused in some way. The number of people employed by firms covered under this ruling and the associated act is miniscule.

If you think going to work for Sisters of the Poor should give you abortion pills you really have an issue that I can’t help you with.

posted by: QuestionMark | July 15, 2014  4:36pm

Blumenthal charged The Supreme Court as “immensely misguided.”  Only our political grandstanding Sen. Richard Blumenthal is himself essentially “immensely misguided.”  He is effectively avoiding our many national problems by making a publicity stunt out of Hobby Lobby. He excels at being a master of deception.

posted by: dano860 | July 15, 2014  5:21pm

Ladies, I didn’t call the ‘names’ anymore than Jeanene called me a name. I placed them in the category that I believe they belong in, as she apparently place me in one she believes I belong in. It’s called the 1st amendment ya know? Those are not derogatory nor demeaning , they look as though they could appear on Downton Abby as the dowager matriarch. Now, one could think being referred to as a ‘moron’ may even be P.C.
As a majority of todays social issue seem to stem from an abundance of single mothers and there gang enthralled children I would tend to believe that the ACA tried to mandate the dispensing of those drugs in an attempt to slow that process. I know that response will fluff your feathers so….bring it on.
This is something that Dickie and the girls need to stay out of as bad as we need employers in this blue bonnet State.

posted by: JamesBronsdon | July 15, 2014  10:37pm

Dano, priceless.  Laugh out loud funny.  Sadly, your foils are humorless.

posted by: shinningstars122 | July 16, 2014  5:53am

shinningstars122

Hey guys! News flash your male enhancement drugs will no longer be covered by your health insurance.

I mean sex that is not for procreation, or GASP!!!... MASTUBATION, is a sin so why do you all need to take it so much?

I am quite sure Ms. Stacey would be protesting those facts if you all fessed up?

Either way I am going to be be one happy camper after election day in November when more women will come to the polls than men and slap down this war on women.

You wait dudes you will be crying in your beers for years.

posted by: dano860 | July 16, 2014  6:11am

J.B., at least you get it. There is no humor in such a serious matter.
Dickie needs to get with it and help make this State affordable and thriving again.
Social issues are personal, like religion, and should be enjoyed by the individual and not foisted upon others.

posted by: Michele | July 16, 2014  7:15am

dano860, you state that “As a majority of todays social issue seem to stem from an abundance of single mothers and there gang enthralled children I would tend to believe that the ACA tried to mandate the dispensing of those drugs in an attempt to slow that process.”

What characterizes a single mother? Let me see. There is no father living in the home. This would indicate to me a serious problem with the male portion of the population, not the female. I believe too many women have bought into the lie that they derive value from the attentions and affections of men. Obviously, this is fundamentally wrong, and the key to a strong future America is to empower young women to stand up for themselves, take control of their lives, and if they have the strength to say, “No!” to rutting men who refuse to take responsibility for the consequences of their sexual behavior. Women have no choice but to take responsibility whether it be to have an abortion, carry a child and offer him or her up for adoption, or raise that child as a single mother. If you are suggesting that if women would only embrace sexual morals that you prescribe the social ills of our day would vaporize, I believe that you need to go back to watching Downton Abbey and leave the real world to real people who understand the real issues that women are facing.

As far as the ACA contraceptive mandate, I have mixed feelings. I do believe it finally puts more of the responsibility for contraception on a larger part of the male population instead of women carrying the lion’s share of the cost. I am, however, completely baffled as to why the ACA doesn’t provide free contraception for men. If we are to embrace an egalitarian society, it needs to truly be egalitarian.

posted by: QuestionMark | July 16, 2014  7:49am

Dickie compounded this into A mushrooming problem—as he ignores dealing with immigration, unemployment and other pressing issues. Blumenthal propels Congress to an under 10%
job approval rating. However, “he is laughing all the way to the bank.”
He should follow the lead of Nicole Stacy to try to regain his lost moral fiber.

posted by: JeffHall | July 16, 2014  5:54pm

Did we elect this man to be our Senator or our High Priest?  Why is he using his government position to tell private citizens what religious beliefs they should or shouldn’t have?

posted by: dano860 | July 17, 2014  6:59am

Michele, sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I do believe I can represent the ‘real people’ and do understand women.
The single mothers I refer to are the ones like my acquaintance that has 6 children with 5 different fathers. They range in age from 13 to 3, two are on SSDI to the tune of $2400.00/ mo. each, she has her rent covered by the State and is on WIC and SNAP, she has a car but can’t work because of the young ones. I also know another single mom from eastern Ct , a regular contributor to this site, that does none of that, she works hard!
Sorry to cut this short but I will be taking four professional women and their spouses out on Sebago Lake for a day of pontoon boating and well earned vacationing.
Enjoy your day and write your Senator and Congressman to get busy on IMPORTANT security issues like the illegal aliens flooding the country. While I’m at it, let me thank Dannel for rejecting them from our State. That may be the only time he will get one from me.

posted by: QuestionMark | July 17, 2014  1:40pm

dano860: Despite Malloy’s intense love of Pres. Obama, he had to say no when Obama tried to pick his pocket, or realistically the pockets of all Connecticut taxpayers. Malloy would have been in deep trouble with Connecicut voters if he acquiesced to Obama’s request.

posted by: whatsprogressiveaboutprogressives? | July 17, 2014  6:45pm

@Jeanene: “...infringing on our rights.” I do not profess to be a constitutional expert, but I’m pretty sure there is no mention of iud’s,birth control pills, or other womens “healthcare” related items in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights,the articles to the constitution,the Federalist Papers,etc.
@shiningstar - enough of the tomfoolery related to the media catch phrase “the war on women”. The war currently in play by non other than our Commander in Thief , is the war on America.

posted by: Joebigjoe | July 18, 2014  10:44am

If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government intrusion, while not working is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing and free cell phones, you live in a country run by idiots.

If the government’s plan for getting people back to work is to incentivize NOT working, with 99 weeks of unemployment checks and no requirement to prove they applied but can’t find work, you live in a country run by idiots.

posted by: QuestionMark | July 18, 2014  11:28am

Joebigjoe:  Although I disagreed with your comments yesterday, I wholeheartedly agree with you today. We do live in a country run by idiots, but we are at fault as our careless voting majority elected them to office.  We question the mentality of people who are purchasing firearms, but perhaps we should also determine the mental status of voters before they are allowed to vote. Or, do we have tooo many people in this country with brain damage?

posted by: Joebigjoe | July 18, 2014  4:38pm

Lots of brain damage. I will frighten you though.

I spent the last two weeks with a number of people from around the country. These were highly educated very professional people, but many of them were clueless. They were clueless not so much that we disagreed and they were left leaning, but that the number of times I would make my point using facts from the news and their response was they don’t follow the news much so they were unaware or hadn’t heard that, just frightened me.

The thing is this would not be an epiphany for people in power. They know the number of idiots keeps growing and they also know that they can make a speech and use words with more than one meaning and fool most of the audience.

posted by: QuestionMark | July 20, 2014  11:48am

Blumenthal and Murphy are the experts of deception in making a speech and fool most of the audience. They did it masterfully to get elected but all it boils down to is “hog-wash,”
Look at all their continual press releases that are slanted to make idiots out of their constituents. Murphy should stay out of the Ukraine because after he left there a disaster followed. Yet he ignores the problems at home facing the people he can but won’t even try to help.
At least Blumenthal is smart enough to stay out of the Israel-Palestine war zone, probably for the purpose of self-preservation. He stays home “to mince his political words.”  Instead, he is going to the Mexican border so he can assess the illegal immigrant problem and report to Gov. Malloy about his findings. Why isn’t he reporting to Pres. Obama, who declined to go there and settled for Democratic Party national campaign fund raising north of the border. What a country we live in.