Hobby Lobby plans to defy a federal mandate requiring it to offer employees health coverage that includes access to the morning-after and week-after pill, according to an attorney for the Oklahoma City-based company.
The 525-store arts and crafts chain will face a $1.3 million-a-day fine beginning Jan. 1 for noncompliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to CNN's Belief Blog.
There is a Hobby Lobby inside the Northampton Crossings shopping center in Lower Nazareth Township. The next-closest store to the Lehigh Valley is in South Plainfield, N.J.
The Huffington Post reports:
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.
At issue for CEO and Founder David Green and his family are Plan B One-Step and ella©.
According to www.planbonestep.com, Plan B One-Step is intended to prevent pregnancy after known or suspected contraceptive failure or unprotected sex. ella© works to help prevent pregnancy by delaying ovulation for five days and may also work by preventing attachment to the uterus, according to www.ella-rx.com.
A statement from The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a law firm representing Hobby Lobby, explains that "covering these drugs, as the government is forcing them to do under the threat of $1.3 million penalty per day, would violate [the Green family's] most deeply held religious belief that life begins at conception, when an egg is fertilized."
The statement adds that Hobby Lobby has "no moral objection to the use of preventive contraceptives and will continue its longstanding practice of covering these preventive contraceptives for its employees."
On the social media front, Hobby Lobby's Facebook page is filled with mixed messages, including "BOO! You have seen your last dime from me!" and "Thank you for choosing to stand for something more employers should have! Thank you thank you thank you! It is good to see the government can't dictate all."
Hobby Lobby has remained mum on the subject on its social media sites, consistently posting coupons and pictures of new products. Green, however, is not shy about his religious beliefs. The store is closed on Sundays to give employees a day of rest and, according to the company's website, "the foundation of our business has been, and will continue to be strong values, and honoring the Lord in a manner consistent with Biblical principles."
Do you agree with Hobby Lobby and the Green family? Tell us in the comments section below.