Hobby Lobby Faces Millions In Fines Over Abortion Drug
When the Obama Administration issued the mandate requiring companies to provide insurance coverage including contraception and abortion drugs, it included an extremely narrow religious exemption. Opponents of the exemption pointed out that Jesus himself would not qualify, since one of the requirements to get the exemption is that you couldn't serve people outside of your religion.
Most of the fight over the mandate has come from religious organizations -- schools, hospitals and other charities -- that view the requirement to provide contraception and abortion drugs as a serious violation of religious liberty.
But the mandate provides absolutely no exemptions for business owners who can't in good conscience provide life-ending drugs to employees.
Take the Green family of Oklahoma. They own the large Hobby Lobby chain. They are confessed Christians who give employees Sundays off and put out full-page ads each year proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. The family directs its profits for a variety of charitable causes, including Christian higher education and the acquisition and development of the largest private collection of biblical antiquities in the world.
If they don't provide coverage for abortion drugs in their employee health plan, they face fines of $1.3 million each day. This being a rather serious burden for practicing Christians such as the Greens, they petitioned the Supreme Court to intervene and provide temporary relief from the the fines until the case was decided by the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said "nice try." From CNN:
Wednesday evening, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who handles emergency appeals from the 10th Circuit Court, said the company failed to meet "the demanding standard for the extraordinary relief," and that it could continue to pursue its challenge in lower courts and return to the higher court, if necessary, after a final judgment.
Why, $1.3 million a day to run roughshod over someone's religious liberty is a win-win in some people's world.
For its part, Hobby Lobby says it will continue its fight. Those of us who care about liberty, including religious liberty, should commend those companies that are on the front lines battling and facing the costs of a tyrannical government that loves the destruction of life more than its flourishing.