A federal court denied Thursday a request to temporarily stop enforcement of the abortion pill mandate, which will force the Christian-owned-and-operated Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., to provide the “morning-after pill” and “week-after pill” in its health insurance plan, or face crippling fines up to $1.3 million per day.
“The Green family is disappointed with this ruling,” said Kyle Duncan, General Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “They simply asked for a temporary halt to the mandate while their appeal goes forward, and now they must seek relief from the United States Supreme Court.
“The Greens will continue to make their case on appeal that this unconstitutional mandate infringes their right to earn a living while remaining true to their faith,” Duncan added.
The 10th Circuit judges denied the motion, calling the religious burden to the Green family “indirect and attenuated.”
Founded in an Oklahoma City garage in 1972, the Green family has grown Hobby Lobby from one 300-square-foot retail space into more than 500 stores in 41 states. “It is by God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured,” said David Green, founder and CEO. “Therefore we seek to honor God by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.”
Hobby Lobby is the largest and only non-Catholic-owned business to file a lawsuit against the HHS mandate. The Green family has no moral objection to the use of preventive contraceptives and will continue covering preventive contraceptives for its employees. However, the Green family’s religious convictions prohibit them from providing or paying for the abortion-inducing drugs, the “morning-after” and “week-after” pills, which would violate their most deeply held religious belief that life begins at conception.
The business’s lawsuit acts to preserve its right to carry out its mission free from government coercion.
There are now 42 separate lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate, which is a regulation under the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). The Becket Fund led the charge against the unconstitutional HHS mandate, and along with Hobby Lobby represents: Wheaton College, East Texas Baptist University, Houston Baptist University, Belmont Abbey College, Colorado Christian University, the Eternal Word Television Network and Ave Maria University.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions—from Anglicans to Zoroastrians. For 18 years its attorneys have been recognized as experts in the field of church-state law. The Becket Fund recently won a 9-0 victory in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, which The Wall Street Journal called one of “the most important religious liberty cases in a half century.”