Hobby Lobby to Defy Affordable Health Care Act Mandate

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Sandra Sotomayer denied Hobby Lobby’s injunction. Image courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court

After Supreme Court Justice Sandra Sotomayer refused to grant an injunction to exempt Hobby Lobby and its sister company, Mardel Inc., from the requirement to provide certain drugs under mandated under the Affordable Care Act, the owners of the companies remain defiant.

They say they will not pay for the drugs they object to on religious grounds and beginning January 1, they will face millions of dollars in fines.

Hobby Lobby and the Religious Beliefs of Its Owners

What eventually became ‘Hobby Lobby‘ was founded by David Green in 1972 and Green initially ran the business out of his Oklahoma City garage. Today, the company, an arts and crafts retailer, has 500 stores throughout the United States and employs over 13,000 people.

Mardel, Inc. sells Christian-themed books and has 35 stores and 372 full time employees. Both companies provide health insurance to their employees through self-administered plans.

The companies are now owned and operated by Green and four members of his family. The Greens have strong religious beliefs that includes the belief life begins at conception. They view any drug that destroys a fertilized egg as constituting the abortion of a fetus.

Under the Affordable Health Care Act, employees must be covered for women’s preventative health care services, and it is illegal for the employer to require the employee to share in the cost. Under the Act’s regulations, all drugs, contraceptive measures, sterilization procedures, and related patient education and counseling must be provided free of charge to the employee. All drugs that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration must be covered.

The Greens do not oppose birth control as such, but are opposed to drugs such as the morning-after or week-after pill. These drugs either destroy the fertilized egg or prevent it from attaching to the uterine wall. According to the family, since life begins at conception, these drugs destroy that life.

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