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Hobby Lobby challenges federal mandate to provide 'morning-after' pills to employees

The owners of Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday claiming that the Health and Human Services “preventive services” mandate violates their rights of religious freedom and free speech.
by Don Mecoy Modified: September 12, 2012 at 5:43 pm •  Published: September 12, 2012

Duncan said the Greens are not opposed to all forms of birth control, only emergency contraception such as the “morning-after” or “week-after” pills. The lawsuit refers to contraception methods such as Plan B, Ella and some intrauterine devices as “abortion-causing drugs and devices.”

Duncan said 27 lawsuits have been filed against the federal mandate, but Hobby Lobby is the largest, and first non-Catholic owned business to challenge the mandate. One Colorado company has obtained an injunction preventing it from being penalized while its case is heard, he said.

The lawsuit states that the family's “commitment to Jesus Christ and to Biblical principles is what gives their business endeavors meaning and purpose.”

“The Green family's religious beliefs forbid them from participating in, providing access to, paying for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting abortion-causing drugs and devices,” the lawsuit said. “The administrative rule at issue in this case runs roughshod over the Green family's religious beliefs, and the beliefs of millions of other Americans, by forcing them to provide health insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and devices, as well as related education and counseling.”

Hobby Lobby employs more than 15,000 people in more than 500 stores in 41 states. Mardel operates 35 stores in seven states and has 372 full-time employees.

The suit names three federal agencies and their cabinet-level leaders as defendants: the Department of Health and Human Services and Kathleen Sebelius; the Labor Department and Hilda Solis; and the Treasury Department and Timothy Geithner. The petition was filed in federal court in Oklahoma City.

by Don Mecoy
Business Editor
Business Editor Don Mecoy has covered business news for more than a decade after earlier working on The Oklahoman's city, state and metro news desks, including a stint as city editor. He has won state and regional journalism awards for business,...
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