Hobby Lobby Wins Stay Against Birth Control Mandate

A federal judge has granted a temporarily stay on behalf of Hobby Lobby Inc.

This injunction will keep the Christian-run, Oklahoma City-based arts-and-crafts chain from having to adhere to the birth control mandate.

The clause is also referred to as the contraceptive mandate.

The birth control mandate is a provision that requires health insurers, or employers providing health insurance, to include contraception in their plans.

This means insured females, for example, would be given coverage for the morning-after pill (plan B) and birth control. Otherwise, the companies face potential fines.

In January 2012, representative for the Health and Human Services Department announced that the mandate would require all health plans to provide coverage for all contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Emergency contraceptives, condoms, and oral birth control would be provided at no cost. Meaning birth control seeking patients would not have to cover the cost of deductibles and co-payments.

The mandate also requires coverage for sterilizations, and longer-term preventative devices like Copper IUDs.

The provision was announced as part of preventive health services for women.

Many companies, however, find the mandate a violation of their beliefs.

For instance, businesses owned and operated by Christian and Catholic groups – who oppose contraception based on religion.

The Christian owners of Hobby Lobby argued that their religious beliefs are so deeply rooted that having to provide birth control would violate their conscience.

According to CBS News, Hobby Lobby also argued that businesses – not just the currently exempt religious groups – should be allowed to seek exception from that part of the health law.

Lower courts initially rejected Hobby Lobby’s violation claim, saying that for-profit businesses wouldn’t be exempt as they were not considered a religious organization.

After hearing arguments Friday, US District Judge Joe Heaton issued a preliminary injunction on behalf of Hobby Lobby. The case will be stayed until October 1, in order to give the federal government time to consider an appeal.

How do you feel about the birth control mandate? Do you think insurers/businesses should provide contraceptive coverage?

[Image via Shutterstock]