WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has filed an appeal to the United States Supreme Court in an effort to force the popular craft chain Hobby Lobby to comply with the abortion pill mandate in Obamacare.
The 251-page petition was filed on Thursday by U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verilli, and bears the name of other government attorneys. The Obama administration is asking the court to overturn a preliminary injunction that was granted to the company this past July.
As previously reported, Hoby Lobby first began its fight last year, seeking to obtain an exemption from covering two contraceptives that its owners believe cause abortions: the morning-after and week-after pill. The company currently provides birth control coverage to its employees and takes no issue with contraceptives in general.
“These abortion-causing drugs go against our faith, and our family is now being forced to choose between following the laws of the land that we love or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful and have supported our family and thousands of our employees and their families,” CEO David Green wrote in a statement last year. “We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate. … By being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow.”
Ater a long battle in the court system of continuous denials, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the rejection of the injunction in June, ruling that Hobby Lobby’s status as a business does not disqualify its owners from living out their faith.
“A religious individual may enter the for-profit realm intending to demonstrate to the marketplace that a corporation can succeed financially while adhering to religious values,” the three-judge panel wrote. “As a court, we do not see how we can distinguish this form of evangelism from any other.”
It then remanded the matter back to the district court for further review, and U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton subsequently issued the injunction to the company and its owners. However, he stayed the case until October 1st in order to give the Obama administration time to consider an appeal.
“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,” Heaton declared.
The Obama administration had argued that if the injunction is granted, Hobby Lobby would in essence be forcing its religious beliefs on its 13,000 employees.
“If you make an exemption for the employer, it comes at the expense of the employee,” Alisa Klein, who represented the U.S. Department of Justice, told the 10th Circuit.
“The United States government is taking the remarkable position that private individuals lose their religious freedom when they make a living,” Kyle Duncan of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has been representing Hobby Lobby in the courts, wrote in a news release on Thursday. “We’re confident that the Supreme Court will reject the government’s extreme position and hold that religious liberty is for everyone—including people who run a business.”