In its challenge to the “contraception mandate” of the Affordable Care Act, Hobby Lobby claims
that certain forms of birth control—Plan B, “ella,” and IUDs—induce abortion and therefore go against the owners’ religious beliefs. The government’s response is that none of these contraceptives ends a pregnancy. Rather, they prevent implantation in the uterine lining.
The rejoinder, from supporters of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, is that this doesn’t matter. “Although the government has made statements that terminating a fertilized embryo before it implants in the uterus is not an abortion,” writes Bart Stupak and Democrats for Life in an amicus brief
filed in support of Hobby Lobby, “the relevant matter for claim of conscience … is plaintiffs’ belief that a distinct human life begins at fertilization. It is no salve … to be told that the government defines abortion differently.”
There’s no doubt that this belief is sincere. But what’s fascinating is the extent to which, for conservative evangelicals, it’s new
. So new, in fact, that when Hobby Lobby’s president, Steve Green, was a child in the 1960s, it was the minority view among American evangelical Protestants.