Hobby Lobby loses Obamacare contraception appeal

The arts-and-crafts chain's owners say providing 'morning after' and 'week after' pills violates their religious beliefs.

By Jason Notte Dec 21, 2012 4:18PM

Image: Medical doctor (tetra images/Getty Images/Getty Images)The religious principles of an arts-and-crafts chain's owners don't exempt the business from providing emergency contraception to employees, according to a U.S. federal appeals court.

As Reuters reported, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver has ruled against the Green family, which owns the $3 billion Hobby Lobby chain and the smaller Christian bookstore chain Mardel, after it asserted that the company shouldn't have to provide "morning after" and "week after" pills to employees. The medication is a requirement under President Barack Obama's health care reforms.

It's just one of 42 such complaints filed over the issue, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a nonprofit law firm in Washington, D.C. that is helping the Green family with the case. The Greens and Hobby Lobby have already pledged to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, as the lower courts have been less than receptive. On Nov. 19, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton in Oklahoma ruled that the Greens' privately-owned companies are secular, for-profit businesses that lack the same religious rights as individual family members.

The family runs more than 500 Hobby Lobby stores in 41 states and employs more than 13,000 workers. The company helped build the $4.5 billion fortune of patriarch David Green, who is ranked 79th on Forbes' list of the 400 richest Americans, but has a culture inextricably tied to the Greens' beliefs. Hobby Lobby plays Christian music throughout its stores, closes early during the week "so our employees can see their families at night" and on Sundays "so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest."

When the Green family launched its suit back in September, David Green wrote an opinion piece for USA Today blasting the mandate requiring Hobby Lobby's health insurance to provide "what I believe are abortion-causing drugs" because "we believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception." The medications in question, Plan B and Levonelle, are classified as emergency contraceptives by the Food and Drug Administration.

"Being Christians, we don't pay for drugs that might cause abortions," Green wrote. "Which means that we don't cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill."

As a result, Hobby Lobby faces fines of up to $1.3 million a day if it disobeys the mandate. While an appeal to the Supreme Court is still possible, the health care mandate goes into effect Jan. 1 and fines could be implemented from that day forward.


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Jan 9, 2013 5:04PM

Obamacare not only affects the employers, but also hospitals. Check out this link.  . It states that obama care is keeping physician owned hospitals from expanding or being opened up. Is this what people want, free but crappy health care? JUST SAYING!!!!

Dec 26, 2012 9:34AM
NO employer should ever dictate your personal life.

I'm thankful that our Constitution protects us from religious, right-wing Fascism.

Dec 26, 2012 8:15AM
I believe in America and the freedoms we have, or should have.  Our country was build on the freedom and liberty of GOD.  Our Nation was molded and created with GOD fearing people.  The government should heed the Bibical warning and never force companies and citizens to commit murder by offering this "pill".  How quickly everyone has forgotten that the Lord new us before we were born.  Why would you think this "pill" is acceptable to the Lord.  I hope and pray that the Lord will guide Hobby Lobby through this difficult situation and ask that we all pray for companies that are willing to continue to fear the Lord.  God Bless you
Dec 25, 2012 9:23AM
I think the Greens should do like the Hostess company. Shut down the stores and let the people live on obama care.
Dec 25, 2012 4:00AM

The government is trying to force people to pay for other people's mistakes.  Where has personal accountability gone?



Dec 24, 2012 10:27PM
this is another fine example of why we need separation of church and state....keep your religious beliefs out of the country's laws and everyone will be happy...try being a real christian and keep your beliefs to yourself...just share the love
Dec 24, 2012 8:04PM
If it happend on your time it's paid for by your dime!
Dec 24, 2012 8:04PM
Why should any company be forced to pay for the morning after pill. they had no input on what happened the night before.
Dec 24, 2012 1:16PM
Its like Papa johns pizza he is another big business man who thinks he is bigger than the federal government ! ITS THE LAW People ! And they are not a profit free church !! They are NOT EXEMPT ! When the SCOTUS rules that they have no claim i hope this is the end of this ! Screw these business owners ! Their religion has no place in my PIZZA...All the right wing nuts that want to inject their religion into my life can screw yourselves...I'm sick of the right wing idiots ranting about their religion ! If you don't like it ?? LEAVE the USA....
Dec 24, 2012 12:25PM
We now have Freedom of religion except when it clashes with Obama's beliefs.
Dec 24, 2012 2:28AM
Can I claim it is against my religion to pay social security and medicare taxes for my employees?
Dec 24, 2012 2:27AM

Effectively imposing your religious beliefs on your employees is against the US constitution.

Dec 23, 2012 2:12PM

NEXT  THESE  COMPANIES.....Will say It's against their Religion to pay SS or any other taxes...


Hide behind the Shield of God, or thy shall be smoot.

Dec 23, 2012 5:41AM
I side with Hobby Lobby.  FWIW,  I also want to pass along this link...www.watchtowerresearch.com...it is worth checking out as I know the people starting it are very smart.
Dec 21, 2012 7:52PM
What's a Hobby Lobby and after this, why would anyone want to work there? Ship what it sells back to China and evict the Board Directors off our shores.
Dec 21, 2012 7:42PM

He should just cut his employees hours and make them all part-timers that way the welfare healthcare law will not apply.


He could also send the jobs overseas so he doesn’t have to deal with the issue.

Dec 21, 2012 6:42PM
This is the consequence of o'bama's handiwork at its best! I hope the whole company decides to shut down and live off the federal dole like so many of his supporters. How much more of this nonsense does he expect the country to take! My heart goes out to Hobby Lobby and all the other decent organizations so coerced by our new communistic government.
Dec 21, 2012 6:16PM

Here is other food for thought... what if the Green's decided that flogging employees was OK, regardless of what the law says? What if they decide only they have the right to choose whom and if the employees can marry, how many kids the will be forced to have, what religion they are going to prescribe to? What about if they decide what medical procedures an employee if allowed to have? What if they just don;t think you really need that stent or chemo treatment?


This is why people are people (with right to free choices) and corporations are profit making enterprises only. Corporations do not have personal rights, cannot be drafted into the Army, cannot be arrested and serve time in jail, cannot sit on a jury, does not have a legal age to drink or to drive....etc.


On the job, keep it professional and keep your personal opinions and business separate.

Dec 21, 2012 6:10PM
We are not supposed to be talking about what the Green's believe. This is about a company (a business) complying with the law. The Green's can refuse to use contraceptive themselves but they do not have the right to tell workers what they can and cannot do. Corporations are not people (I don't care what Citizens United believes) and they do not have personal opinions. They are not "persons".
Dec 21, 2012 5:15PM
They should not have be forced to pay for what they don't believe in,do christians force unbelievers to pay a tithe that belongs to the Lord? 
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