Hobby Lobby is asking the Supreme Court to take up its case about the birth control mandate. The company filed a lawsuit against the federal healthcare law’s requirement for coverage to include access to the morning after pill.
Lawyers for the craft store chain and its sister company, Mardel Christian bookstore, asked the United States’ highest court to take the case, because other courts already gave conflicting decisions about religious freedom.
In the most recent ruling, ABC News reports that US District Judge Joe Heaton ruled in Hobby Lobby’s favor, giving the two companies a temporary exemption from the requirement that it offer its workers with insurance coverage for the controversial morning after pill.
However, the US Department of Health and Human Services filed a notice in federal court last month, saying it will seek a repeal of the decision. Heaton’s decision saved the companies from fines of up to $1.3 million per day for not offering the birth control methods.
The Washington Post notes that, in response to the department’s appeal notice, Hobby Lobby’s lawyers wrote a 51-page filing with the Supreme Court, explaining:
“As the federal government embarks on an unprecedented foray into health care replete with multiple overlapping mandates, few issues are more important than the extent to which the government must recognize and accommodate the religious exercise of those it regulates… Thus, Respondents agree with the government that this Court should grant the petition.”
The Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby and Mardel Christian bookstores, is Christian and believes life begins at conception. Because of this, lawyers for the Greens say following the birth control mandate would either violate the family’s religious beliefs or cost them millions of dollars in fines.
The company’s insurance plans do offer 16 other forms of birth control, which are mentioned in the federal healthcare act. However, they do not offer the morning after pills or an intrauterine device, because these methods prevent an egg from attaching to the uterine wall, even if it is fertilized.
Heaton initially rejected Hobby Lobby’s request to block the birth control mandate. However, he reversed the decision after the 10th IS Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the companies would likely succeed in their case. It isn’t known when the Supreme Court will respond to Hobby Lobby’s request to hear the case.