The U.S. Supreme has agreed to hear a pair of cases that challenge the federal government's authority to force business owners morally opposed to abortion and contraception to provide contraceptives — including those that can cause abortion — to their employees. The most high-profile of the cases is the one filed by the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby and its sister company Mardel. The other case involves the pro-life Mennonite owners of the Pennsylvania-based Conestoga Wood Specialties. In both cases the companies face millions of dollars in fines for refusing to make available abortion-inducing contraceptive drugs to their employees — one of the requirements of the “Affordable Care Act” now being imposed by the Obama administration.
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that Obama administration officials “believe this requirement is lawful and essential to women's health and are confident the Supreme Court will agree.”
By contrast, Kyle Duncan, general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the Green family and Hobby Lobby/Mardel, expressed confidence that the High Court would rule for religious liberty, allowing his clients — and other religious-minded business owners — to refuse ObamaCare's notorious contraception mandate. “This is a major step for the Greens and their family businesses in an important fight for Americans’ religious liberty,” said Duncan. “We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will clarify once and for all that religious freedom in our country should be protected for family business owners like the Greens.”
In September 2012 Hobby Lobby/Mardel's CEO, David Green, filed a lawsuit to halt implementation of the mandate. Two-months later, a two-judge panel of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the company's request for a temporary injunction against the mandate as litigation in the case proceeded. That ruling prompted Green to announce that his companies, which have a combined total of over 14,000 employees, would defy the mandate, an action that could cost them an estimated $1.3 million in federal fines per day. “The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law,” explained Green. “I say that's a choice no American and no American business should have to make.”
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