Hobby Lobby Fighting Federal Mandate To Provide Birth Control To Employees

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A prominent retail chain has made a request in federal court that it be exempted from the section of the new federal health care law that requires businesses to offer employees health coverage which includes access to the morning-after pill.

Hobby Lobby Stores is arguing that businesses should be allowed to seek exception from that piece of the health law if it violates their religious beliefs. Certain religious groups have already been exempted.

The Green family, which founded the Oklahoma City-based arts-and-crafts chain, says that emergency contraception measures like the morning-after pill are the same as abortion because they can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb, Fox News reported.

The family is also bolstering their case by pointing out that they founded another company, Christian booksellers Mardel Inc. The stores are a "profit-making company, yes, but also a ministry," argued their lawyer Kyle Duncan.

Duncan pointed out that corporations have constitutional protections. "We don't say, well, a corporation can't exercise a right because it's in corporate form," Duncan said. "Is religion the kind of right can only be exercised by a natural person? Well, the question nearly answers itself. ... It's not a purely personal right."

Alisa Klein, who represented the government's in a similar contraceptives case compared Hobby Lobby’s claim to arguments from pacifists that they shouldn't owe taxes. "This is much more like a taxpayer saying, 'I don't want to pay into the general treasury because I can identify a subset of government spending that violates my religious belief,'" Klein said.

Hobby Lobby operates more than 500 stores in 41 states and employs more than 13,000 full-time employees who are eligible for health insurance.

Sources: Fox News, The Huffington Post