Hobby Lobby will not be fined for pursuing liberty of conscience contraception case.

Good news for the craft store chain:

In a health care decision giving hope to opponents of the federal birth-control coverage mandate, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Hobby Lobby stores won’t have to start paying millions of dollars in fines next week for not complying with the requirement.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver decided the Oklahoma City-based arts and crafts chain can proceed with its case and won’t be subject to fines in the meantime.

The reprieve gives Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. more time to argue in a lower court that for-profit businesses — not just currently exempted religious groups — should be allowed to seek an exception if the law violates their religious beliefs.

Background here: basically, for “birth-control” read “‘morning-after’ and ‘week-after’ pill,” both of which are abortifacients in the opinion of the owners* and thus anathema.  Hobby Lobby, which is not a franchise, is looking at hefty fines for this position; the company has been adamant about not paying for what they consider to be state-sanctioned murder**, and now that they don’t have to worry about a deadline before they’d be forced to pay an estimated $1.3 million/a day while fighting this ruling they’ll likely be litigating this case all the way to the Supreme Court.

If I might offer some unsolicited advice to the Obama administration? Forcing companies to cover morning-after pills is a bridge too far. This will end badly for the White House, particularly since these are no longer those halcyon days when it seemed that there was nothing at all between Barack Obama’s desires, and their immediate fulfillment.  It’s very hard to bully a group that puts more moral weight in a position than you do; and I don’t really think that this is an issue that Obama wants to spend suddenly-precious political capital on.  Especially since it’s only going to get erased anyway as soon as the next President takes office.

But what do I know? I’m just this guy on the Internet.

Moe Lane

*Apropos of nothing, the Roman Catholic Church has very precise and very specific criteria as to when the morning-after pill actually may be morally administered. I mention this only because I was slightly misunderstanding the Church’s stance on the issue; which means that other people might be, too.

**Note, by the way, that the “company does provide preventive contraceptives through its insurance plan.”


1 Comment

  • acat says:

    I’m slightly – very slightly – concerned about this opinion* .. and thrilled with it at the same time, and for the same reason.
    IF I understood it – I am not a lawyer – it sounds like the angle that Hobby Lobby et al** – are pursuing is establishing the “religious views of a corporate-personhood”.
    It sounds like Hobby Lobby et al** are claiming that a company, which is a person for certain legal purposes, can be protected as well as an individual under the Religious Freedoms Restoration Act.
    While I remember the RFRA, I mostly remember it as being in defense of pharmacists who didn’t want to fill scrips for the morning-after pill…
    It’s a very interesting question, because if corporate persons can have legal opinions and entitlements to legal exemptions, that .. is going to have some huge ramifications, especially around publicly traded shares where the majority is held by members of the same religious group …
    It has the potential to create a .. strong desire .. for companies to see that a majority of their shares are tied up in various Mormon, Baptist, etc. trusts, just as companies once sought to be held by CALPERS.
    Strange days.

    * (http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/06/contraceptive-mandate-ruling/)
    ** There are far more companies than just Hobby Lobby involved here…

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