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Hobby Lobby sues government over contraceptive coverage


OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby is suing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over the new heath care law.

The specific issue is with the morning after and week after pills. 

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) law requires employers to provide both pills as options in insurance plans under contraceptive care.

Hobby Lobby said it doesn’t object to birth control and even offers coverage in its insurance plan.

However the company is against what they call “abortion-causing drugs” like those pills.

The company said the mandate would force them to pay $1.3 million a day in fines if they don’t comply.

During a conference call, the CEO and legal counsel said suing is the only option to protect its religious rights. 

“It is with a heavy heart that anyone needs to go to court to sue their own government,” Kyle Duncan said, with Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

Duncan is representing Hobby Lobby in the suit.

“The government has turned a deaf ear to the rights of business owners,” Duncan said. “They have not offered a delay; they have not offered any accommodations and therefore Hobby Lobby has been forced to file this lawsuit.”

CEO and Founder David Green said, “Our family is now being forced to choose between following the laws of the land that we love or maintain the religious beliefs that have made our business successful.”

 Dana Orwig, Vice Chair for the Oklahoma Democratic Party, said she believes the company should follow the law or pay the cost of doing business.

“I certainly respect Hobby Lobby’s business and everything they’ve done for Oklahoma City,” Orwig said. “I’m a big fan of civil disobedience. If you disagree with the law and want it changed then you should stand up for that and say I disagree with this law. But part of civil disobedience is accepting any penalties that may come.” 

Twenty-seven other companies have filed similar lawsuits against HHS.

The law took effect Aug. 1, 2012 but companies can wait to update their coverage when their new plan starts.

As the Jan. 1 deadline looms, Hobby Lobby is hoping to get the same injunction granted to a Colorado-based company, which would buy them more time.

Hobby Lobby officials haven’t said what the company will do if the government doesn’t grant them an injunction.

They said they certainly don’t want to have to choose between their faith and paying millions in fines.