A federal judge granted Hobby Lobby temporary exemption from the HHS abortion pill mandate on Friday, July 19. The provision, along with a steep non-compliance penalty, requires Hobby Lobby to have insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar birth control.
“The tide has turned against the HHS mandate,” said Kyle Duncan, General Counsel with The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead attorney for Hobby Lobby. The abortion pill mandate has a losing record of 6-23 in court.
“This victory comes less than a month after a landmark decision by the full 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled 5-3 that Hobby Lobby can exercise religion under the First Amendment and is likely to win its case against the mandate,” the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty said today in a statement.
“Every American, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith. We commend the court’s ruling which is a victory for religious freedom and freedom of conscience,” said Matt Bowman, Senior Legal Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom.
“The Obama administration claims ‘unwavering’ support for religious freedom, but the only thing unwavering is the administration’s tenacious opposition to that freedom,” Bowman added.
U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton issued a preliminary injunction after hearing brief arguments on Friday.
“There is a substantial public interest in ensuring that no individual or corporation has their legs cut out from under them while these difficult issues are resolved,” the court said.
The judge stayed the case until Oct. 1 to give the federal government time to consider an appeal.
“This is a major victory for not only Hobby Lobby, but the religious liberty of all for-profit businesses,” added the Becket Fund.
Steve Green, the owner of Hobby Lobby, believes that providing every form of birth control would violate his deeply rooted Christian values. “It’s God’s. It’s not ours,” he says. “We’re just stewards of what God has given to us.”
And Hobby Lobby is not the only one to challenge the controversial HHS mandate.
There are now 63 separate lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate, according to the Becket Fund.
The Becket Fund currently represents Hobby Lobby, Wheaton College, East Texas Baptist University, Houston Baptist University, Colorado Christian University, the Eternal Word Television Network, Ave Maria University, and Belmont Abbey College.