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Federal government says Hobby Lobby cannot raise religious objections to insurance requirements

The federal government is asking a judge to rule against Hobby Lobby, which does not want to provide employees insurance coverage for “abortion-causing drugs and devices” because of the owners' religious beliefs.
by Nolan Clay Published: October 25, 2012
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The Green family also owns Mardel Inc., a Christian-themed bookstore and education company.

The Greens complain in the lawsuit about the “morning-after pill,” the “week-after pill” and certain intrauterine devices that “can cause the death of the embryo.”

The government responded that the Greens want to block regulations intended to give women access at no cost to approved contraceptive methods “that medical experts have deemed necessary for women's health and well-being.”

“The Greens' theory boils down to the claim that what's done to the company (or the group health plans sponsored by the company) is also done to its owners. But, as a legal matter, that is simply not so,” the attorneys said.

The attorneys also suggested that many employees do not share the Greens' religious beliefs. “Those employees should not be denied the benefits of receiving a plan through their employer that covers recommended contraceptive services.”

An attorney for the Green family criticized the government's position.

“The government repeats its old line: you give up your religious freedom when you go into business. That's a startling and disturbing claim for our government to make,” Lori Windham said.

“The Green family is asking to continue to live their faith by not paying for drugs that might cause abortions,” said Windham, senior counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

“They're not objecting to all forms of birth control, and they want to continue to provide good health care and good wages for their employees,” she said. “But that's not enough for the federal government. ... The government has already handed out exemptions for other health plans, plans that cover 100 million Americans. So why must it force a family-owned business to violate that family's faith?”

by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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