October 26, 2012 — Federal attorneys said a judge should deny a request from retail chain Hobby Lobby for an injunction blocking enforcement of the federal contraceptive coverage rules, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Talley, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 10/24).
Hobby Lobby filed a lawsuit in September arguing that providing contraceptive coverage for its employees would violate the freedom of speech and religious beliefs of founder and CEO David Green and his family. The suit also claims that certain contraceptives -- including emergency contraceptives and intrauterine devices -- can prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus, which the family considers to be an abortion (Women's Health Policy Report, 9/13).
Government attorneys told a federal judge that Hobby Lobby cannot avoid laws regulating commercial activity by claiming to exercise religion.
"Hobby Lobby is a for-profit, secular employer, and a secular entity by definition does not exercise religion," the attorneys said. They added that the owners cannot impose their religious beliefs on the company and its employees because a corporation and its owners are separate entities.
Granting an injunction "would permit for-profit, secular corporations and their owners to become laws unto themselves," the government argued.
An attorney representing Hobby Lobby said the government's arguments "are legally very weak" (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 10/24).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership