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0 Friday, November 30, 2012

Hobby Lobby fights health care reform

by Kelly Ferguson

The Obama administration said on Nov. 1 that Hobby Lobby must comply with the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring businesses to provide certain drugs that can cause abortion, according to Life News.

The case began in September when Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. filed suit against the HHS mandate. Hobby Lobby went to court on Nov. 1.

Hobby Lobby is the first corporation to sue for the HHS mandate and is joined by 22 nonprofit organizations filing suit. Hobby Lobby has employed a nonprofit law firm, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, to make their case. According to Kyle Duncan, general counsel of the Becket Fund, Hobby Lobby is the largest company to sue the Department of Health and Human Services over the mandate.

Duncan explained the importance of the case in an interview with Life News.

“When a company this prominent feels compelled to sue its own government, something significant has happened,” Duncan said. “The lawsuit raises important questions about whether government can force religious believers to give up their faith as a cost of doing business. If government can do that, it would be profoundly disturbing.”

According to the Becket Fund, the two drugs that founder and CEO David Green is against providing are Plan B and Ella, drugs that abort fertilized eggs. Green is against these drugs based on his belief that life begins at conception. If Hobby Lobby does not cooperate with the HHS mandate they will face up to $1.3 million in fines.

“…Our faith is being challenged by the federal government,” Green said in a press statement. “The Health and Human Services ‘preventative services’ mandate forces businesses to provide the ‘morning-after’ and the ‘week-after’ pills in our health insurance plans. These abortion-causing drugs go against our faith, and our family is now being forced to choose between following the laws of the land 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.”

In the press statement, released by the Becket Fund, Green also said he couldn’t neglect his beliefs in order to meet the requirements of the HHS mandate.

The case article states that the Green family is not opposed to preventative contraception methods and currently covers these for their employees. The Green family has asked that the government respect their religious beliefs, as they have respected religious beliefs of all other Americans.

“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,” Green said in the Life News article.

Senior Kandyce Moore shared her thoughts on the case.

“I don’t think that it should be a federal mandate [to cover these drugs],” Moore said. “If a company doesn’t believe in killing unborn children, they shouldn’t have to foot the bill. I think that religious beliefs should be taken into account before the government forces something on a company. I don’t think it’s fair that [the government] would fine them daily.”

While Moore said she disagrees with the mandate, she addressed a complication of making religious exceptions.

“One of the problems with allowing certain groups to opt-out of a mandate is that it opens up a new can of worms, allowing potentially dangerous parties to be excused from other laws,” Moore said.

Moore said she thinks that Hobby Lobby is a wonderful company that stands for everything she believes in.

According to the Hobby Lobby media and information fact sheet by the Becket Fund, Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. offers an on-site clinic. The clinic is open for all of their employees and employees’ family members covered under company insurance. Hobby Lobby does not charge employees any co-pay for visiting the company clinic.

The Green family has stated multiple times during this case that they honor God by running their company in line with Biblical principles. Former Hobby Lobby employee, junior Clayton Ramick explained that for some of their employees, these principles are what they admire about the company.

“I really liked how [Hobby Lobby] reflected Christian values,” Ramick said. “They put a lot of emphasis on the family; that’s why they close at 8 p.m. and are closed on holidays to allow their employees that time to spend with their families; that is something they were always respectful of.”

Ramick said that he has only heard great things about Green and his values for the company.

Photo by: Nick Conley

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