National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

Federal Government Urges Judge To Reject Hobby Lobby's Contraceptive Coverage Case

Federal Government Urges Judge To Reject Hobby Lobby's Contraceptive Coverage Case

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).