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.
*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.”