Federal court orders Hobby Lobby to comply with Obamacare contraception mandate
On Thursday, a federal appeals court struck down an attempt by the company Hobby Lobby to gain exemption from a key provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare.” According to Reuters, the Court of Appeals in Denver, CO against the arts-and-crafts store chain’s contention that the Christian fundamentalist beliefs of its owners should exempt them from covering “morning after” and “week after” anti-conception medications as part of their employees’ health insurance coverage, as mandated under the ACA.
The Green family, who own the chain, have vowed to contest the ruling before the U.S. Supreme Court. Their case is being represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a Christian legal group.
“The Green family is disappointed with this ruling,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for Beckett. “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.”
The medications at issue are listed as emergency contraceptives under the provisions of the ACA. Hobby Lobby calls the medications ‘abortion drugs’ even though emergency contraception works by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg and therefore pregnancy.
Forty-one other legal actions have been filed over this provision of the ACA, according to the Washington, DC-based Beckett Fund.
Should Hobby Lobby continue to defy the mandate, it faces up to $1.3 million in fines daily beginning January 1.
UPDATE: Hobby Lobby is officially asking the Supreme Court to issue a temporary injunction so that the company will not have to comply with the contraception mandate, reported Politico. A Supreme Court injunction would allow the company to evade the mandate while it appeals the most recent decision to a lower court.
[image of birth control pills, courtesy of Flickr/brains the head, Creative Commons licensed]