Christian retailer Hobby Lobby has won its second legal decision in a month in its ongoing battle against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contraception mandate, which requires employers to provide their employees with health insurance that includes free contraception — including drugs that can cause abortion.
On July 19 a federal judge in Oklahoma City granted the retailer and its sister business, the Mardel Christian book chain, a preliminary injunction preventing the federal government from enforcing the mandate against the businesses. The ruling follows on the heels of a landmark decision by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled June 27 that Hobby Lobby's owners are free to follow their religious convictions under the First Amendment, and are likely to win their case against the mandate.
Hobby Lobby's owners, led by company founder and CEO David Green, filed suit to stop the mandate in September 2011, arguing that forcing them to provide their thousands of employees with contraceptives like the RU-486 “abortion pill” would cause them to violate their convictions that life begins at conception. The company faced as much as $1.3 million in fines per day for their refusal to knuckle under to the mandate.
“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 as the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the company in the case, announced the suit last year. “We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.”
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