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A federal judge will hear arguments on Thursday to consider whether to halt enforcement of the HHS mandate, which forces Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned-and-operated business, to provide the abortion-inducing drugs, the “morning-after pill” and “week-after pill.”
The abortion pill mandate violates Hobby Lobby's deeply held religious beliefs. But if the retailer does not comply it faces crippling fines up to $1.3 million per day.
“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,” David Green, founder and CEO of the arts and craft store company. “We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.”
Kyle Duncan, chief counsel for the Becket Fund, said the Green family is not against contraceptives—and will continue to cover birth control for their employees—but they are against abortion-inducing drugs.
Although some scientists have tried to prove that these pills do not cause abortion, Duncan argues that, “The FDA's own birth control guide published by the federal government says the morning-after and week-after pill may act by stopping implantation of a fertilized egg. The government itself recognizes it.”
The HHS mandate took effect on Aug. 1, which means businesses have until their insurance plan year after that to comply. For Hobby Lobby, that is Jan. 1—less than four months away. The company is seeking an injunction so it will not have to comply to the mandate while its case is in litigation.
“Hobby Lobby should never be put in the position of choosing their faith over their business,” Duncan noted. “Putting Hobby Lobby in that position violates their rights. We're asking the court to halt that so Hobby Lobby does not have to make that choice.”
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