Arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby says it is willing to pay fines of $1.3 million per day to follow its owners’ religious beliefs, which conflict with the federal mandate that requires coverage of abortion-inducing drugs.
“The company will continue to provide health insurance to all qualified
employees,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for The Becket Fund for
Religious Liberty, which is representing Hobby Lobby in the case.
“To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs,” he explained.
Hobby Lobby’s founder and CEO, David Green, has said that his family –
which has owned the company since its 1972 founding – will continue
seeking to serve God through their business decisions.
In addition to making significant charitable donations, the company
closes all of its stores on Sundays so that its employees can have time
to worship and rest with their families.
However, the Greens’ ability to run their company in accordance with
their religious beliefs is being threatened by the contraception
mandate, which was finalized by the Department of Health and Human
Services in Jan. 2012.
The mandate requires employers, regardless of their religious
convictions, to provide health insurance plans that cover sterilization
and contraception, including some drugs that can cause early abortions.
As Christians, the Greens are opposed to facilitating any type of
abortion, including those caused by “morning after” and “week after”
Hobby Lobby is one of more than 100 plaintiffs that have sued over the
mandate, arguing that it violates the First Amendment’s religious
The federal government has argued that the owners of “secular,
for-profit” companies cannot exercise freedom of religion in their
Both a district court and the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied
Hobby Lobby’s request for an injunction to block the mandate from
taking effect while the lawsuit works its way through the court system.
The company then made an emergency injunction appeal to the Supreme Court.
On Dec. 26, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor – who is responsible
for hearing emergency requests from the 10th Circuit – denied the
appeal, saying that the case did not meet the extreme standard necessary
for the nation’s highest court to intervene.
The Greens can now continue their appeal before the federal appellate
However, because they were not granted an injunction, they are
subject to fines of more than $1 million per day – beginning Jan. 1 – so
that they can follow their consciences while their case is being
Duncan emphasized that the case is not over.
“The Supreme Court merely decided not to get involved in the case at
this time,” he said. “It left open the possibility of review after their
appeal is completed in the Tenth Circuit.”