Hobby Lobby sues over morning-after pill coverage requirement in health reform law

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Christian-oriented Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday challenging a mandate in the nation’s health care overhaul law that requires employers to provide coverage for the morning-after pill and similar drugs.


The lawsuit by the Oklahoma City-based chain claims the government mandate is forcing the company’s owners “to violate their deeply held religious beliefs under threat of heavy fines, penalties and lawsuits.” Failure to provide the drugs in the company’s health insurance plan could lead to fines of up to $1.3 million a day, the company said.

“By being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow,” David Green, Hobby Lobby CEO and founder, said in a statement. “We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.”

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City, alleges the Health and Human Services mandate is unconstitutional and requests an injunction to prohibit it from being enforced. Hobby Lobby is self-insured and will be required to comply with the mandate by Jan. 1, the start of its health insurance plan year.

“We are confident that the court will act quickly,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in Washington, which represents Hobby Lobby. Duncan said 27 other lawsuits have been filed nationwide over the mandate, mostly by nonprofit groups.

“This mandate violates the religious liberty of millions of Americans,” Duncan said. “The government has turned a deaf ear to the rights of business owners.”

Duncan said the lawsuit does not challenge rules regarding a variety of other birth-control measures.

Charles Miller, spokesman for the civil division of the Department of Justice, said the agency had no comment on the lawsuit.

Written By: Associated Press
continue to source article at washingtonpost.com

29 COMMENTS

  1. Another classic case of playing the victim.  They want to force their religious beliefs on their employees while claiming they are being oppressed.

    No one is making them take any form of contraception.   A small point, but I think a valid one that isn’t being raised in the press.

  2. This is another good reason to adopt national health insurance as other first world countries have.  Then no employers will have to choose which “poison pill”  to swallow. It will also allow female employees to follow their own consciences, a choice that has been given short shrift in all the uproar over the mandate.

  3. Some of you may remember the comic routine of the great American comedian, Jack Benny. In a skit,
    where a holdup man pointed a gun at him and demanded “Your money, or your life”, he replied, “I’m
    thinking, I’m thinking”…….

    Women’s sexual and reproductive issues are far, far, too empirically integrated with women’s
    health issues. 

    To pretend otherwise is ludicrous; to insist that an entire Nation remain in that ludicrous, comatose,
    bubble of a mindset is now both unconscionable and beyond ludicrous.

    It’s  high time to cede control of these issues to the individual plan participant.

    Let’s hope the U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City  helps ” poor Mr. Green” to do some of his obviously undone critical thinking. 

     

  4. “Christian-oriented Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday challenging a mandate in the nation’s health care overhaul law that requires employers to provide coverage for the morning-after pill and similar drugs”.

    I quite agree, it’s no ones business what you do the morning after or indeed the night before …

  5. There is nothing religions like more than to create the perspective that they are a persecuted minority. Early persecution by the Romans was largely because Xtians would not follow the law of the empire and give due divine ritualistic  deference to the (god) Emperor. While I find nothing wrong with the requirement for companies to provide health care inclusively rather than dodge it by applying it only to the “deserving”, I think this will only give the religious effective ammunition. I’d also bet that when it comes to a choice between salvation and profit, profit will win, but these people want the profit and the discretion to discriminate.

  6.  A right to other people’s money?? Someone owns the company! How do you loose your human  rights by making and owning a company that empoys people? How do you gain new “human rights” by being employed? This has little to do with a religion. It is just a class war policy, that won’t have any of the intended consequences. You guys just abandon reason, when you come across religion. Ironic, isn’t it.

  7. One thing I’ve never completely understood is why more business people in the US aren’t for universal healthcare. If the US had the same kind of government healthcare system as Canada, UK, and most of the industrialized world, it would significantly reduce the costs to employers, they would no longer have to provide healthcare benefits. I suspect some of the better companies would still do it for highly valued employees (technical people, executives) but in general it seems like a no brainer for most employers.

    I have two theories as to why they don’t want it 1) they are just completely brain washed by the idea that government healthcare = socialism and as we all know socialism = fascism (yes that’s a joke) or 2) they’ve actually done some HR studies and feel that even though it would reduce their costs the advantage they get from having people worry about living with no healthcare if they get fired is worth the cost. 

  8. Hobby Lobby is trying to FORCE its religious beliefs on the employees. Blocking use of the morning after pill is even more of an imposition than demanding they take communion.  Surely Britain offers freedom of religion and protects employees from such meddling by employers.

    It is not as though the medical plan forces the use of the morning after pill on anyone. It just opens up the possibility of using it, perhaps just for rape, or when the fetus might have been seriously harmed by exposure to some dangerous drug.

    I don’t think Hobby Lobby has thought about how much of an outrageous busy body it is being. All they are thinking about is their selfish, and I hope illegal, desire to control others.

    If some other group imposted its religious beliefs of them, they would be the first to squawk.

  9. “A right to other people’s money?? Someone owns the company! How do you loose (sic) your human  rights by making and owning a company that empoys (sic) people? How do you gain new ‘human rights’ by being employed? This has little to do with a religion. It is just a class war policy, that won’t have any of the intended consequences. You guys just abandon reason, when you come across religion. Ironic, isn’t it.”
    {Gets popcorn, settles down}
    Steve

  10. “ By being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow,” David Green, Hobby Lobby CEO and founder, said in a statement. “We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate. ” 

    So I guess that means it’s payday? Or is profit just a little more important than your desire to force your beliefs on others?

  11. luka_qnice
     A right to other people’s money?? Someone owns the company! How do you loose your human  rights by making and owning a company that employs people?

    You don’t!  But you do gain some responsibilities as an employer. In the company owners personal lives they can choose what services they want for themselves. This is quite different to the company’s legal responsibilities to employees.

    I have lost none of MY human rights, by having shares in various companies.

    How do you gain new “human rights” by being employed?

    You don’t, (unless you count the right to earn a living or have them in a written contract)  but you can have some of your existing ones taken away by a bad employer, if your government allows this!

    This has little to do with a religion.

     

    It has everything to do with abuse of managerial power to impose religious bigotry!

    It is just a class war policy, that won’t
    have any of the intended consequences.

    There is a class-war of the right-wing big-money interests against the ordinary citizens in the US, which does not happen to the same extent in civilized parts of  Europe.

    That is why without a universal coverage national system of health insurance, US citizens have been paying more than twice the cost in most developed countries for a much poorer medical service  – (to line the pockets of commercial providers – who think THEY have “a right to other people’s money”).

      Cost of Health Care by Country | National Geographic 

    http://thesocietypages.org/gra… 

      

    You will see that the US and Mexico are the only countries on the comparison graph, which do NOT have universal coverage for their citizens.

    You guys just abandon reason,
    when you come across religion. Ironic, isn’t it.

    Ha! ha! ha! Religion is involved in reason????  Nope it extols unthinking dogmatic “faith” and is steeped in bigoted ignorance! 
    It also seem to think it is above the law!

    Health insurance is for the needs of the patient, not the bigotry of the employing company owners or directors. 

    Let the company get on with its own business, and the  directors keep their  noses out of employees private medical matters.

    Many US citizen are so used to being fed garbage for information by their media news, that they do not know how bad and uncaring their services are!

  12. @Sjoerd_Westenborg:disqus

      @OP:disqus
      “ By being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow,” David Green, Hobby Lobby CEO and founder, said in a statement.
    “We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate. ”

    Then I guess they’ll just have to sell the company to people with decent employment standards in order to pay the fines!

  13. For my vacation, coming up in a few weeks, I was planning on stopping at a Hobby Lobby to pick up art supplies; I will now need to find a
    different option.

    Thank you for this article.  For those of you not in the US, depending on the company’s agreement with the insurance agency, basically the company pays a portion of your medical bills. I can understand their dilemma, but their views are not taking an employee’s well-being into consideration. Yes, this is a good reason for national healthcare.

  14. Religious holidays force me to go against my deeply held beliefs about religion. I guess Hobby Lobby would back my not allowing employees to take them. I simply cannot abandon my beliefs about religion to comply with allowing religious holidays. No more Christmas.

  15. Ah that wonderful old chestnut ‘deeply held religious beliefs’ as opposed to those religious people who are not offended by this.  The usual whinging garbage from religious nutters who think that their invisible friend allows them to dictate to other people.

  16. @rdfrs-41a18ddee3e9688b753c1da19644e745:disqus   Replying to Alan4discussion

    Look, universal coverage national system of health insurance is not a thing that keeps costs low. You’ll see this in a few years.

    Did you actually read the OECD graph I linked????  National systems have kept costs lower for decades!

    It keeps costs low over the service as a whole, and for the ordinary citizen, although a very few of the ultra-rich may be better off paying for their own insurance rather than through taxation or premiums.

    Costs in the USA are roughly DOUBLE for a poorer service compared to most other developed countries!

    “Morning after” pills are not needed very frequently anyway, and as you say – do not cost much.

  17. ..i suppose next they’ll be refusing to pay their taxes because they don’t want their money paying for a military that kills babies in the process of bombing villages……..naaahh.

  18.  

      Alan, how did you get all those fancy features in your comment? I suck at using codes.

    The mods seem to keep changing the settings, so sometimes I can’t highlight with bold or italic, but if you simply want an inset quote -  type:  <blockxquote> at the beginning and </blockxquote> at the end – but miss out the “x”s I have added to prevent the system hiding these words.   Doubling them doubles the inset – to quote quotes.

     “@” followed by a name can identify the person, but if they are not on the drop-down list, if may misname them by default.

  19. Where I live they cost about 25 dollars and you can get it
    at the pharmacy. If you can’t afford that, you go to your family doctor, emergency
    rooms, or Family planning to get it for free.

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