Hobby Lobby Gains Ground In Suit Opposing Obamacare Contraception Mandate

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Hobby Lobby, the 550-store, 13,000-employee Christian-owned arts and crafts retail chain at the center of a legal fight over a contraception mandate within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, won a temporary victory over the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week after a court issued a preliminary injunction permitting the company to omit birth control from its employee  health plan.

U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton read his decision from the bench, saying there exists “a substantial public interest in ensuring that no individual or corporation has their legs cut out from under them while these difficult issues are resolved.”

Without a court order in place to keep Federal penalties at bay while the company’s lawsuit against HHS moves forward, Hobby Lobby’s owners faced a possible $1.3 million in daily fines.

The ruling doesn’t address the merits of the case, but it does move the suit one step closer to a definitive and potentially far-reaching resolution, as the Obama Administration considers an early petition before the U.S. Supreme Court in the hope of obtaining a ruling that forces company owners to extend “preventive” coverage for contraception in violation of their religious beliefs.

The injunction, which also applies to the affiliated chain of Mardel Christian bookstores, has the additional effect of demonstrating that a Court can regard a privately held company as a “person” in affirming the application of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Nationwide, there are more than 60 other companies challenging the HHS contraception mandate.

Because the injunction doesn’t set a definitive precedent and serves only to relieve an undue burden during ongoing litigation in this case alone, it doesn’t excuse those companies from applying the mandate or from facing fines; rather, each would have to win a similar court-ordered injunction separately or simply wait for the mandate to be declared unConstitutional.

Heaton delayed the case until October, which allows the Obama Administration time to weigh whether to mount an appeal.

Hobby Lobby’s owners have stated publicly that providing coverage for contraception that includes morning-after pregnancy-ending pills conflicts with their religion-based moral convictions.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • Bill

    If someone wants birth control, let them pay for it themselves. It is not very expensive

    • Dave

      neither is Viagra but thats covered…

      • JimH

        But is anyone forcing someone to provide Viagra, against their religious beliefs?
        They are with birth control.(despite the 1rst amendment)

        • Dave

          Yes, they are by virtue of its covered…Conservatives are in twist at the idea of offering as “forcing” you to get contraception.

          • JimH

            You are of the misconception of people being forced to “get” contraception.
            The issue is “forcing” people to have to “offer” something that goes against their religious belief.
            The next issue. Does the Viagra go against anyone’s religious beliefs? Is anyone forced to offer Viagra, doing it against their religion?
            That is the real issue.
            Plus that freedom to worship thing.

          • Dave

            Companies are not allowed to discriminate based on religion, race, gender or sexual orientation. So that means they need to offer contraception as an option.
            If you don’t like it, don’t get it. Its just that simple. Not everyone is a hardcore Evangelical or the like.

          • JimH

            You still don;t get it.

            Forcing someone to do something that goes against their religious belief violates their First Amendment rights.
            If YOU don’t like it don’t work for the employer that doesn’t offer it.
            How can anyone have the audacity to tell someone to go against their religious belief because you think they should.
            The Bill of rights is about individual freedoms.
            If that person owns the company it is up to the OWNER what to cover.
            If YOU don’t like it, take a hike and work somewhere else.
            YOU went to that business owner asking for a job, you weren’t sold into slavery. If what they “offer” isn’t good enough you are free to leave.
            The old “if you don’t like it don’t get it” line isn’t what the issue is about.
            No one is forcing anyone to “get” anything. People are being forced to go against their beliefs to provide someone else with something that goes against their morals.
            Is there something you find morally wrong, that you would object to having to participate in, if it was FORCED upon you?

          • Dave

            Jim,

            No, you don’t get it. When you start a business, you enter into the public realm. A business is not like a private club. Depending on where you live, you may have limitations on what employers you have to choose from. If catering to the needs of all different types of employees is that upsetting to you. Don’t open your own business. You have to provide certain services… You must meet regulations around safety, pay, hours, discrimination etc. That is your responsibility. Since in this country, companies pay for much of the insurance, they are in the space where they need to meet standards, also their responsibility. I have to question a firms “morality” when they don’t object to Viagra (male benefit) and object to contraception (mostly for females). But I guess when you want to keep females under the male’s thumb, you do crap like what Hobby Lobby does.

          • JimH

            If I don’t believe what is going on is moral , I just don’t get to be in business. Okaaaaay. If YOU say so.
            I can’t help if the job market is insufficient in some areas. A business is there to make money, not cater to the employee. If you need to leave because of relatively inexpensive contraception isn’t provided you are free to leave, or use some of your pay to buy it.

            That still doesn’t give the employee the right to tell the boss what he has to do.
            If we use your philosophy there will be less jobs because someone took your advice and got out of the business instead of sacrificing their principles.
            No one is saying women CAN’T have contraception. They are just saying they won’t provide it. So don’t give me that women under my thumb, crap.
            What if it was the other way around. Say no one would provide Viagra, but all the contraception women wanted. Would that be an attack on manhood?( I don’t expect an answer, because your lack of answers from other posts)
            There are regulations set on businesses, But that doesn’t mean that it is moral.
            Remember, freedom to worship is supposed to be protected by the Bill of Rights, no mention of contraception. If you don’t like it YOU can move.( I learned that philosophy from you, like it?)(just don’t be in business)

            The difference between Viagra and contraception is.
            Viagra doesn’t go against (most?) religious belief.
            Apples and oranges. I*f it was they have the right to NOT provide it also.

          • Dave

            I answer more questions from conservatives than they answer from me..
            To answer your question, the firm should provide coverage for Viagra too.
            Moral? Is it moral to have multiudes of unwanted children only to have them placed in adoption (tougher to get adopted if you are not white), go into the foster care system or be disadvantaged finaicially? Because I don’t.
            Religion was started by men and if you notice there is never a daughter of god, you know this to be true. We create religion to explain the unexplainable and to keep others in line. In the case here, making it harder for low wage women to abtain BC (Hobby Lobby mostly employes low wage women if you have ever been in such a store.)
            You can worship all you wish, just keep fairy tales out of my Gov. Fair?

          • JimH

            Leave YOUR government out of our religion. Fair?

            You talk about contraception like it is a right. It isn’t.

            You talk about health care like it is a right. It isn’t.

            Health care is a business.

            Mary is the MOTHER of Gods Son. More important than daughter.

            The firm isn’t morally obligated to provide anything but a wage. All other Benefits are there at the owners pleasure, to keep good help.
            Is it fair to have unwanted children in foster care or up for adoption? Many will be sent to a good home.
            Is it immoral? No.

          • Dave

            “Leave YOUR government out of our religion. Fair?”

            Sure, when religions start paying taxes on their business… The Christian religion is so persecuted in America isn’t it? They only have 3-7 full time TV networks to spew their propaganda. Have a Month long holiday season called Christmas which is not even Jesus christ’s birthday. They dominate this society and cry like little babies when the Gov rightly gets their religious symbols off public buildings

            “You talk about contraception like it is a right. It isn’t.”

            “You talk about health care like it is a right. It isn’t.”

            “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, *****promote the general Welfare*****, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, doordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

            *****Health care helps to promote the Gen Welfare******

            And that “business” of HC is the 2 leading cause of personal bankruptcy. And for that… we have the 31ft ranked HC system in the world. We need to change the model.

            Mary was the vessel…. not the leader. There is a difference so what I said still stands as true.

            “The firm isn’t morally obligated to provide anything but a wage. All other Benefits are there at the owners pleasure, to keep good help.”

            And thats why corporatism is bad. they have no loyalty to the United States of America and people like you are just happy to let them make the laws and ship your job to China. Well Done.

            “Is it fair to have unwanted children in foster care or up for adoption? Many will be sent to a good home.
            Is it immoral? No.”
            How many children have you adopted? I have adopted 2 and have seen the “system”. If the child is white, you are correct. They get adopted because white families are the ones with $20-30K to pay for an adoption. That is also a “business”. If you are black, or another color… not so much…. I guess we will have to agree to disagree on the morality of the “system”. I find it completely immoral.

          • JimH

            Forcing people to provide contraception against their religious belief is to “promote the general welfare”? Nice try.
            Health care still isn’t a right, no matter how you try to rationalize it.
            Forcing someone to provide contraception, especially if it goes against the provider’s religion, isn’t a right.
            The freedom to worship is a right, that no one has a right to interfere with.(see the first amendment of the Bill of Rights)

            People’s faith and religious beliefs are a powerful part of many peoples lives. Contraception is a very minor part of health care.

            Infringing on someones religion is way more serious than having someone pay for their own contraception.
            I don’t write the tax laws,but “Keep your government out of my religion.” Especially if you want to mandate laws that violate that belief.

            Just because you don’t believe Churches pay enough taxes to suit you, doesn’t give them the right to mandate that we commit a sin against God.
            If you don’t know how payroll works, the employer pays wages and benefits. What goes to pay for benefits is taken from wage.The employer pays more wage and less benefits, or some of that wage goes to more benefits. It’s all cost to the employer. they payout a wage they can afford. If the government wasn’t taxing and regulating business so hard that they leave for a more friendly business environment, they wouldn’t be outsourcing to China. My attitude didn’t have anything to do with it.
            You are right about the adoption system. More people would be willing to adopt if the cost wasn’t so high. some of that 20 grand would be better spent helping to raise the child.Work on changing that.

            Just because the adoption system needs to be reworked, it doesn’t give government the right to mandate providing contraception.

          • Dave

            .Again, more contraception, less abortion… isn’t that a good thing?

            I give to adoption awareness groups and participate in their events to way ahead of you there. Support adoption awareness by giving to RESOLVE. Its a great organization.

            Churches pay NO taxes. That is wrong. they are a business just like anything else. The wealthiest land owners in the world are the catholic church… they have been bamboozling people for centuries.

            As far as HC goes, were you paying attention to testimony in Congress over the last day? Small business owners came out in SUPPORT of Obamacare because their premiums came down. Inconvenient truth there. But some will continue to use bumpersticker politics to try and lie and same the ACA is the worst thing since the holocaust. Decent HC, education is a right. That is all part of the general welfare of society and your opinion does not change that.
            We have some of the LOWEST taxes that companies actually pay in the world. You think we have too much regulation? China has little regulation and is not answerable to the people when it comes to the environment. Try living in Shanghai, or Beijing. See how you enjoy the extreme pollution… or the working conditions in FoxxConn.
            Corporations created the trade policy that got our jobs shipped overseas because all a firm cares about is more profit for those at the top at the expense of the workers. They have no loyalty to the United States of America yet many conservatives and corporatists defend them. Not me.

          • JimH

            The main point is this mandate is forcing people to do something that goes against their religion.

            The freedom to worship is in the Bill of Rights.

            That mandate violates the Constitution.

            All the other things you bring up are irrelevant.

            The Church pays no taxes. Is your protection provided by The Bill of Rights determined by how much tax you pay? No.

            A Church is the members of their Congregation. All the members of that church, pay their taxes. The business owners of that church, pay their taxes. So even if taxation was the bases for the Bill of Rights,(it isn’t) the individuals are tax payers.

            These businesses aren’t saying anyone can’t have birth control, they are just saying because of religious beliefs, they won’t provide it. So it is a case of,”keep your government out of our religion and not the other way around.
            Adoptions cost alot. Irrelevant. Speaking of taxation though. You deduct that child on tour income tax. By time they’re 10 years old you recouped that money.
            You don’t even have to give up any rights because you didn’t pay all your money to the IRS.
            Businesses are out sourcing. Irrelevant.
            You can get Viagra. Irrelevant.
            Freedom to worship is a right.

            Contraception isn’t.

  • Dave

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57526550/study-free-birth-control-leads-to-way-fewer-abortions/

    So Ben, I thought conservatives hated abortion?

    So Viagra pills are ok, BC pills are not. How long have you hated women Ben?

    • The Snarf

      Are you referring to the same women that the left seems determined to reduce to reproductive systems with legs, who, like ‘Julia’, lack the intelligence or ability to care for themselves, and therefore need an ever-expanding government to protect and care for them for life? And how long have you thought so little of women Dave?

      • Dave

        So you equate the two huh? Wow….

        • The Snarf

          And how does allowing for freedom of conscience and a right to one’s own beliefs equate, in your mind, to hating women? I’m merely pointing out the hypocrisy of the demeaning, misogynistic liberals that are among you.

          • Dave

            Baron,
            Companies are not allowed to discriminate based on religion, race, gender or sexual orientation. So that means they need to offer contraception as an option.
            If you don’t like it, don’t get it. Its just that simple. Not everyone is a hardcore Evangelical or the like.

  • billybob

    Wow “You will obey my orders or I will put you out of business” That is Obama’s new mantra. Shove it down our throats and like it. Kiss off the fact that you are religiously against it. The State comes first. You are no longer a free citizen to make you own choices. The state will make them for you. I guess this is that job creation that Obama is now going across the country selling. We will have thousands of new jobs coming up as we sue the private companies that are opposed to our new laws. Well yes they will go under, but we will get all of their assests to sell to those who go along with our law! So we will have new jobs.?

  • Christeen

    If someone wants birth control (even “emergency contraception” which I consider early abortion), they can get it for free from clinics, or very cheap… There is NO REASON to force a company to provide it in their insurance policies… ESPECIALLY when it is against their religious beliefs to do so. If the government is so concerned about “separation of church and state” they need to get their noses out of people’s religious decisions and rights.