Employees Paying the Price for Obama Admin’s HHS Mandate

Opinion   |   Wesley J. Smith   |   Dec 28, 2012   |   2:53PM   |   Washington, DC

The Obama Administration is seeking to impose its moral views on the owners of all businesses in the context of Obamacare’s Free Birth Control Rule. Religious business owners opposing contraception, sterilization, and the morning after pill because of their faith have sued to free themselves from the requirements of the rule, citing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act–passed by Congress to ensure a broad application of religious liberty.

Hobby Lobby is a large chain of arts and crafts stores, owned by devout Christian family members, who refuse to be complicit in abortion (not birth control). Federal courts–and now, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor–have refused to protect the company with an injunction against enforcement of the rule, this even though other similarly situated companies and business owners have been so protected pending trials.

Now the company intends to risk $1.3 million a day in fines rather than acquiesce. From the AP story:

An attorney for Hobby Lobby Stores said Thursday that the arts and crafts chain plans to defy a federal mandate requiring it to offer employees health coverage that includes access to the morning-after pill, despite risking potential fines of up to $1.3 million per day. Hobby Lobby and religious book-seller Mardel Inc., which are owned by the same conservative Christian family, are suing to block part of the federal health care law that requires employee health-care plans to provide insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar emergency contraception pills.

The companies claim the mandate violates the religious beliefs of their owners. They say the morning-after pill is tantamount to abortion because it can prevent a fertilized egg from becoming implanted in a woman’s womb. On Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied the companies’ request for an injunction while their lawsuit is pending, saying the stores failed to satisfy the demanding legal standard for blocking the requirement on an emergency basis. She said the companies may still challenge the regulations in the lower courts.

Big of her. We have come to a pretty pass that the government is coercing its citizens to violate their religious beliefs as the cost of doing business.



And here’s the ultimate irony: Truly religious people will often sacrifice their own wellbeing rather than violate their faith. That means the administration could drive Hobby Lobby out of business, or force the owners to sell off the company, if they refuse to bow their knees.

If that happens, the owners won’t be the only ones hurt, a matter that the cultural hegemonists might cheer. Rather, employees will pay the ultimate price by losing their jobs–the very people supposedly protected by this unnecessary and anti-American naked application of raw governmental power.

LifeNews.com Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture. He writes at his blog, Secondhand Smoke.