Hobby Lobby Sues over HHS Mandate
Faithful to its Biblical founding, store demands relief from providing “morning after” and “week after” pill
(Updated September 19, 2012, 6:18pm)
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a privately held retail chain with more than 500 arts and crafts stores in 41 states, filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, opposing the Health and Human Services mandate, which forces the Christian-owned-and-operated business to provide, without co-pay, the “morning after pill” and “week after pill” in their health insurance plan, or face crippling fines up to 1.3 million dollars per day.
“By being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow,” said David Green, Hobby Lobby CEO and founder. “We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.”
Hobby Lobby is the largest and only non-Catholic-owned business to file a lawsuit against the HHS mandate, focusing sharp criticism on the administration’s regulation that forces all companies, regardless of religious conviction, to cover abortion-inducing drugs (the “morning after pill” and “week after pill”).
“Washington politicians cannot force families to abandon their faith just to earn a living,” said Lori Windham, Senior Counsel, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “Every American, including family business owners like the Greens, should be free to live and do business according to their religious beliefs.”
Founded in an Oklahoma City garage in 1972, the Green family has grown Hobby Lobby from one 300-square-foot retail space into more than 500 stores in 41 states.
“It is by God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured,” said Green. “Therefore we seek to honor God by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles. The conflict for me is that our family is being forced to choose between following the laws of the country that we love or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful and have supported our family and thousands of our employees and their families.”
The business’s lawsuit acts to preserve its right to carry out its mission free from government coercion.
There are now 28 separate lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate, which is a regulation under the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). These HHS challenges were not affected by the Supreme Court’s June 28th ruling on the constitutionality of the “individual mandate.”
The Becket Fund led the charge against the unconstitutional HHS mandate, and along with Hobby Lobby represents: Wheaton College, Belmont Abbey College, Colorado Christian University, the Eternal Word Television Network, and Ave Maria University.
(UPDATE: September 19, 2012, 6:18pm)
The Green family has no moral objection to the use of preventive contraceptives and will continue its longstanding practice of covering these preventive contraceptives for its employees. However, the Green family cannot provide or pay for two specific abortion-inducing drugs. These drugs are Plan B and Ella, the so-called morning-after pill and the week-after pill. Covering these drugs, as the government is forcing them to do under the threat of $1.3 million penalty per day, would violate their most deeply held religious belief that life begins at conception, when an egg is fertilized. The FDA-approved government birth control guide clearly states that these two drugs, the morning-after pill and the week-after pill, may prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb, thus aborting the fertilized egg.
The Green family respects the religious convictions of all Americans, including those who do not agree with them. All they are asking is for the government to give them the same respect by not forcing them to violate their religious beliefs.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions—from Anglicans to Zoroastrians. For 18 years its attorneys are recognized as experts in the field of church-state law, and they recently won a 9-0 victory in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, which The Wall Street Journal called one of “the most important religious liberty cases in a half century.”
For more information, or to arrange an interview with one of the attorneys, please contact Emily Hardman, Communications Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202.349.7224.
Complaint (September 12, 2012)
Request for Preliminary Injunction (September 12, 2012)
HHS Information Central (all 28 HHS mandate cases, legal documents, resources, and interactive map)
David Green’s Press Statement (September 12, 2012)
Recording of Press Call (September 12, 2012, 11:30am EST with David Green and Kyle Duncan)