Arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby and sister retailer Mardel do not plan to carry insurance that covers abortion pills, said an attorney for the Green family, who owns the Oklahoma-based companies.
“Hobby Lobby will continue their appeal before the Tenth Circuit,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel, for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing Hobby Lobby. “The Supreme Court merely decided not to get involved in the case at this time. It left open the possibility of review after their appeal is completed in the Tenth Circuit. The company will continue to provide health insurance to all qualified employees. To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs.”
Defying the federal mandate that requires companies to offer employees health coverage that includes the “morning after” and “week after” pills means the chains are risking potential fines of up to $1.3 million per day.
On Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied their request for an injunction while the case is pending, saying the stores did not meet the legal standard for blocking the requirement on an emergency basis. However, she said, the companies may still challenge the regulations in the lower courts.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton said that although churches and other religious organizations have been granted constitutional protection from the abortion mandate, “Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations."