Despite the fact that it could result in fines of up to $1.3 million per day, an attorney for Hobby Lobby Stores announced Thursday the company's plan to ignore a federal mandate requiring all employers provide employees with health coverage that includes access to the morning-after pill.
“Hobby Lobby and religious book-seller Mardel Inc., which are owned by the same conservative Christian family, are suing to block part of the federal health care law that requires employee health-care plans to provide insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar emergency contraception pills,” the Associated Press notes.
“The companies claim the mandate violates the religious beliefs of their owners. They say the morning-after pill is tantamount to abortion because it can prevent a fertilized egg from becoming implanted in a woman's womb,” the report adds.
And although Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor “denied the companies' request for an injunction while their lawsuit is pending,” as the AP notes, she explained that the companies may challenge the new health regulation in lower courts.
Hobby Lobby is being represented by Kyle Duncan of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
“Hobby Lobby doesn't intend to offer its employees insurance that would cover the drug while its lawsuit is pending,” Duncan said in a statement.
“The company will continue to provide health insurance to all qualified employees," Duncan said. "To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs."
U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton last month in a ruling against the companies said churches and religious groups are protected from the birth-control provisions but that "Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations."
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