Judge rejects lawsuit over birth control law
OKLAHOMA CITY — A federal judge on Monday rejected a request by Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. to block part of the federal health care law that requires it to provide the morning-after and week-after birth control pills.
In a 28-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton denied a request by Hobby Lobby to prevent the government from enforcing portions of the health care law that will require it to include contraceptives the company considers objectionable in its health insurance plan.
The Oklahoma City-based arts and craft supply company and a sister company, Mardel Inc., sued the government in September claiming that the companies' Christian owners believe use of the morning-after and week-after birth control pills are tantamount to abortion because they prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman's womb. The company's owners object to providing coverage for certain kinds of intrauterine devices.
At a hearing this month, a government lawyer said the drugs do not cause abortions and that the United States has a compelling interest in mandating insurance coverage for them.
In his ruling denying Hobby Lobby's request for an injunction, Heaton noted churches and other religious organizations or religious corporations have been granted constitutional protection from provisions of the law regarding the birth-control measures.
“However, Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations,” the ruling states. “Plaintiffs have not cited, and the court has not found, any case concluding that secular, for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby and Mardel have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.”
Hobby Lobby's attorney said the companies' owners, the Green family, plan to appeal.
“Every American, including family business owners like the Greens, should be free to live and do business according to their religious beliefs,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Doctors push end-of-life care talks
- Boston police officer improving after surgery to remove bullet near ear
- Despite high gas costs, Northeast resistant to pipelines
- 2 bodies found at site of gas explosion in NYC apartments
- Drownings in Rio Grande spike as enforcement surges
- Pence: ‘Not going to change’ religious freedom law
- Before leak, NSA mulled ending phone program
- Homeland Security official improperly helped foreign investors in visa cases, inspector general says
- Mining for tourists? A dubious economic savior in Appalachia
- Global warming is slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences
- GOP budget proposal guts federal spending, health care