Court: No injunction for Hobby Lobby on birth control mandate

Hobby Lobby is the largest business of some 40 lawsuits over Obamacare’s mandate that employers provide birth control and morning-after pills without copay as part of health insurance. Hobby Lobby is a craft store chain owned by a Christian family whose religious conscience is violated by the rule. They had hoped to get an injunction while their case is making it through the courts. No such luck:

A federal appeals court denied Hobby Lobby’s request for a preliminary injunction against President Obama’s birth control coverage rules.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the Christian-run arts-and-crafts chain must comply with the policy as its case proceeds…

U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton ruled last month that Hobby Lobby must comply in spite of its belief that the “morning-after pill” induces abortion.

On Thursday, the appeals court agreed that the mandate did not appear to substantially burden religious exercise in the case.

The panel quoted a portion of Heaton’s opinion to deny Hobby Lobby’s motion for an injunction.

Please enjoy this quote about how religious freedom does not include the freedom to be not be compelled to buy other people stuff that violates your religion as a condition of owning a business. Have a blessed Christmas season, America!

“The particular burden of which plaintiffs complain is that funds, which plaintiffs will contribute to a group health plan, might, after a series of independent decisions by healthcare providers and patients covered by [the corporate] plan, subsidize someone else’s participation in an activity that is condemned by plaintiff[s’] religion. Such an indirect and attenuated relationship appears unlikely to establish the necessary ‘substantial burden,'” Heaton wrote.

Via Shannon Bream of Fox News:

[Hobby Lobby] is the largest employer challenging the mandate, and says it will now appeal to SCOTUS. Keep in mind, even if SCOTUS took up the injunction request – it would only be deciding whether to give HL a temporary reprieve – not the full merits of the HHS mandate itself.

If [Hobby Lobby] is not granted an injunction, it does not plan to comply with the mandate. The company says that would cost it $1.3M a day in fines.

“The family operates 514 Hobby Lobby stores in 41 states and employ 13,240 people.” But for how long?

Hobby Lobby has the size and resources to survive this fight for at least a while. Here’s what might happen to those who don’t.

The Little Sisters of the Poor take care of elderly patients in 31 countries, but on Dec. 16 a representative told the congregation of Saint Raymond of Peñafort Church in Springfield, Va., that her order could conceivably be forced to pull out of the United States if paying fines and penalties is the only alternative to compromising on the doctrines of their religion…

“[I]f we were to stop offering health insurance rather than comply with the mandate,” she told the National Catholic Register in October, “we would have to pay a $2,000 penalty per employee. This penalty aside, it just does not seem right to us to stop providing health insurance to our employees.”

“If we chose to offer insurance without the objectionable services,” she continued, “we would honor our consciences, but we’d have to pay $100 per day per employee. … [F]or an organization with 50 employees, that would mean almost $2 million per year.”