Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a privately held retail chain with more than 500 arts and crafts stores in 41 states, filed a lawsuit today against the Obama administration over its HHS mandate.
The company says it would face $1.3 million in fines on a daily basis starting in January if it fails to comply with the mandate, which requires religious employers to pay for or refer women for abortion-cause drugs that violate their conscience or religious beliefs.
The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma and the business says it is opposing the Health and Human Services “preventive services” mandate, which it says forces the Christian-owned-and-operated business to provide, without co-pay, the “morning after pill” and “week after pill” in their health insurance plan, or face crippling fines up to 1.3 million dollars 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,” said David Green, Hobby Lobby CEO and founder. “We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.”
Hobby Lobby is the largest and only non-Catholic-owned business to file a lawsuit against the HHS mandate, focusing sharp criticism on the administration’s regulation that forces all companies, regardless of religious conviction, to cover abortion-inducing drugs.
“Washington politicians cannot force families to abandon their faith just to earn a living,” said Lori Windham, Senior Counsel, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is handling the lawsuit for Hobby Lobby. “Every American, including family business owners like the Greens, should be free to live and do business according to their religious beliefs.”
Founded in an Oklahoma City garage in 1972, the Green family has grown Hobby Lobby from one 300-square-foot retail space into more than 500 stores in 41 states.
“It is by God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured,” said Green. “Therefore we seek to honor God by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles. The conflict for me is that our family is being forced to choose between following the laws of the country 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.”
The business’s lawsuit acts to preserve its right to carry out its mission free from government coercion.
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There are now 28 separate lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate, which is a regulation under the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). These HHS challenges were not affected by the Supreme Court’s June 28th ruling on the constitutionality of the “individual mandate.”
The Becket Fund led the charge against the unconstitutional HHS mandate, and along with Hobby Lobby represents: Wheaton College, Belmont Abbey College, Colorado Christian University, the Eternal Word Television Network, and Ave Maria University.