December 27th, 2012
07:20 PM ET
Hobby Lobby faces millions in fines for bucking Obamacare
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
Washington (CNN)– Craft store giant Hobby Lobby is bracing for a $1.3 million a day fine beginning January 1 for noncompliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare.
The company opposes providing some contraceptives to employees through its company health care plan on religious grounds, saying some contraceptive products, like the morning after pill, equate to abortion.
After failing to receive temporary relief from the fines from the Supreme Court, Hobby Lobby announced late Thursday through its attorneys that it "will continue to provide health insurance to all qualified employees. To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs."
In September, Hobby Lobby and affiliate Mardel, a Christian bookstore chain, sued the federal government for violating their owners' religious freedom and ability to freely exercise their religion.
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"All they're asking for is a narrow exemption from the law that says they don't have to provide drugs they believe cause abortions," Hobby Lobby attorney Kyle Duncan, a general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, told CNN affiliate KFOR in November. "Our basic point is the government can't put a corporation in the position of choosing between its faith and following the law."
The lawsuit says the companies' religious beliefs prohibit them from providing insurance coverage for abortion inducing drugs. As of August 2012, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires employer-provided health care plans to provide "all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity," according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Churches and houses of worship are exempt from the regulation and a narrow exemption was added for nonprofit religious employers whose employees "primarily share its religious tenets" and who "primarily serve persons who share its religious tenets."
In the face of that opposition, the Department of Health and Human Services tweaked its original rule in February to require health insurers, not employers, to cover the cost of contraception coverage, reasoning that would prevent religious groups from having to finance such coverage. Critics have argued that exemption for nonprofits is far too narrow and a host of nonprofit religious groups have sued the administration over the regulations.
The Internal Revenue Service regulations now say that a group health care plan that "fails to comply" with the Affordable Care Act is subject to an "excise tax" of "$100 per day per individual for each day the plan does not comply with the requirement." It remains unclear how the IRS would implement and collect the excise tax.
The Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, based Hobby Lobby chain has more than 500 stores that employ 13,000 employees across 42 states, and takes in $2.6 billion in sales. The company's attorneys say January begins a new health care plan year for Hobby Lobby and that excise tax from the IRS would amount to $1.3 million a day.
Hobby Lobby is owned by CEO and founder David Green and members of his family. "The foundation of our business has been, and will continue to be strong values, and honoring the Lord in a manner consistent with biblical principles," a statement on the Hobby Lobby website reads, adding that one outgrowth of that is the store is closed on Sundays to give its employees a day of rest. Each year the company also takes out full-page ads in numerous newspapers proclaiming its faith at Christmastime and on Independence Day.
The store is not formally connected to any denomination, but the Green family supports numerous Christian ministries and is behind the Green Collection, one of the largest private collections of biblical antiquities in the world. The family plans to permanently house the collection in Washington at a museum set to open in 2016.
On Friday, attorneys for Hobby Lobby petitioned the Supreme Court to intervene and provide temporary relief from the the fines until the case was decided by the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
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Wednesday evening, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who handles emergency appeals from the 10th Circuit Court, said the company failed to meet "the demanding standard for the extraordinary relief," and that it could continue to pursue its challenge in lower courts and return to the higher court, if necessary, after a final judgment.
"Hobby Lobby will continue their appeal before the 10th Circuit. The Supreme Court merely decided not to get involved in the case at this time," Duncan said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment on the high court's move.
White House officials have long said they believe they have struck an appropriate compromise between religious exemptions and women's health. The White House has not commented specifically on the Hobby Lobby case.
"It's just so sad that Hobby Lobby is facing this choice. What company, even a successful family owned business like Hobby Lobby, how can they afford the government $1.3 million in fines every day? It's just really absurd that government is not giving on this," said Maureen Ferguson, a senior policy adviser for the Catholic Association. Religious liberty groups like hers are watching the Hobby Lobby case closely.
"I am optimistic that these cases will eventually snake their way back up to the Supreme Court and given a full hearing on the merits of the case, I am confident that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of religious liberty," Ferguson said. "But in the meantime there is serious damage being done to businesses like Hobby Lobby and nonprofit charitable organizations."
The Hobby Lobby case is just one of many before the courts over the religious exemption aspects of the law. The case represents by far the biggest for-profit group challenging the health care mandate.
After this piece of the law went into effect in August, religious nonprofits were given "safe harbor" of one year from implementing the law. "In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences," Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, said in January when the administration announced the move.
Dolan's New York Archdiocese won a victory this month in its legal battle against the administration and the mandate. In May it sued the government in federal court in Brooklyn over the mandate, saying it "unconstitutionally attempts to define the nature of the church's religious ministry and would force religious employers to violate their consciences."
The government moved to have the case dismissed. On December 4, Judge Brian M. Cogan denied the government's motion to dismiss the case, saying the government's promise of changes to how it will implement the law were not enough to merit dismissal. "There is no, 'Trust us, changes are coming' clause in the Constitution," Cogan wrote in in his decision to let the case proceed.
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
I just love how these religious organizations NEVER say exactly which birth control methods are causing these so-called "abortions".
The truth of the matter is this – these organizations just don't want to pay for birth control, period.
Fine, provided that these organizations be the first ones to pay for all these unwanted pregnancies. I think it is called "practicing what one preaches".
US corporations don't want to pay for employees at all. They just want slaves. That's why US corporations abolished the tariffs that once protected our economy from the slave labor that is made available in countries such as China. If we could get our tariffs back, then we all wouldn't be begging our employers just to pay us in the first place. The birth control issue would be moot.
Dear Hobby Lobby:
Your employees do not necessarily practice the same religion as your founders. You need to compensate them for their work according to the law.
"According to the Law". The law causes them to violate a higher law... God's! Christians we are at war... stand and fight or be placed into the closet.
For John....That would be the same closit where most of the gay GOP leadership is hiding.
The law causes them to violate a higher law... God's!
Oh grow up and join the real world, please.
You're missing a key point – as an employer, they don't "need" to provide you with anything outside of an hourly / weekly wage. Anything outside of that is a "benefit" which is why they are called salary and benefits. There's no "need" in any of it. If they choose to not provide health insurance at all, then that is their choice. They are simply saying that if you want the company to pay for it then this is what will be / will not be covered. Otherwise you are free to go purchase your own health insurance with no company restrictions on what you can / cannot do.
That is incorrect. There is a new law in place.
So why doesn't Hobby Lobby drop the insurance for their employees over this issue? Isn't that what jesus would do?
They don't "need" to be in business, either, do they? Well, that one was easy. Next.
this information is useful because I would avoid any of these stores
excellent point – if you don't agree with their business practices of their employment practices then you carry the biggest negotiation stick of all – the dollar. If you disagree with any of their practices then show it with where and how you spend your money.
@that guy, does it also hold true that an employee that doesn't agree with the employment practices of his or her employer should show it by finding a different job?
Since when is it any of my employers business what I do with my body? This is ridiculous that this company is denying coverage simply because they think they should be controlling their female employees' bodies ...!
They are not trying to regulate what you do with your body – they are saying that if you want them to pay for it then they will not support it or pay for it. You are free to purchase your own health insurance.
They object to murder.
It isnt what you do to your body that is the issue, it's what you do to the newly conceived child.
@Chad the fvcktard liar
It's already been explained to you more than once, liar. '
1. It's not abortion for very obvious, basic reasons. .
2. The fetus IS part of the mother's body
3. An employer can't decide to disobey the law because a few top people there have a certain religious viewpoint--a business isn't a church.
Restraint of trade, eh?
Anyone is free to believe what they choose to believe – but not to force their own crackpot religious beliefs on anyone else including their employees. You don't want to use the morning after pill DONT USE IT – but you have NO right to force your views on your employees!
mrmew55, what about a doobie with breakfast?
These people think it is wrong stop the birth process. They too have rights to uphold their beliefs. The humanists are destroying those rights for the sake of their agenda to remove God from society. The simple either do not see what is happening or do not care. They just want their abortion pills... next their abortions.
1. The morning after pill prevents a newly conceived child from being implanted in the uterus.
2. An unborn child is separate and distinct from it's mother in ever respect except it's physical location. Under current law it is legal to murder an unborn child ONLY before the age of "viability", the point at which the unborn child can survive outside the womb.
3. Hobby Lobby is seeking an exemption to the law, which is within it's legal rights.
You're a liar, so you lie. It's what you do because it's what you are. I expected lies and it's what you've given and will continue to give. Your turn now. Lie, baby, lie.
At the end of the day it's their business and they have every right to run it as they see fit. They can always simply close the doors and put their people out of work. I'm sure they've made enough money to live well for the next several generations.
So a business run by Scientologists shouldn't have to provide any insurance at all? Because that's what you're arguing.
Scientologists object to doctors?
I mean christian scientists. So Chad, are you a hypocrite or would you be arguing that Christian Scientists shouldn't have to provide health care to their employees?
I dont believe a business should be forced to fund abortions.
Of course you would; you're a proven liar and a complete moron who chooses to ignore facts and logic every single time they're presented to you. You're doing a fabulous job at what you do, by the way-–making christians look absolutely braindead retarded. Keep up the great work.
Sure. The bookstore should close its doors because it's mad about not being able to control female bodies. Then another bookstore could take its place, and those females could work there and get fairly compensated. That would be better.
thatguy_78 wrote: "At the end of the day it's their business and they have every right to run it as they see fit."
That's right! Next thing you know, the government will be telling them that they have to serve black people and even let them use the same restrooms as whites.
Hobby Lobby is hurting themselves! The are pushing their own views on their employees and refusing to allow them to have health plans that have contraceptives. Let's look at this logically. Forget this religion nonsense. If the company is against contraceptives, fine, then the heads of the company should not use them. But if an employee wants to, and hobby lobby is denying them that, then who is really the victim here? Also Hobby Lobby pays for health plans. What business of there's is it if the health plan includes contraceptives? A lot of the "war on religion" is being caused by the religious people themselves. People are waking up and using their minds instead of being brainwashed by preaches, and that has a lot of people mad! As we enter 2013, I feel like we are still in 1713 when it comes to some of this religious nonsense!
What I want to know is this- Do these same employer groups, including Hobby Lobby, allow benefits for Viagra?????? Susan
You could always run an ad in the paper
Fine them into submission. Ediots.
I'll be buying more goods from Hobby Lobby. I support them! You mad?
So, would you equally support a business run by Scientologists who say that all health care is against their religion and will not provide any to their employees? Or are you a hypocrite?
There is always some evil f- like you who will support businesses that behave unethically.
Perhaps some business owned by a Christian fundamentalist will start denying coverage for prenatal and obstetrical care for unmarried female employees who get pregnant. Maybe they can exclude coverage for treatment of any STD contracted outside of marriage.
I guess you think a business owned by a Jehovah's Witness should be allowed to deny coverage for blood transfusions or polio vaccinations in their company health insurance plan.
You'd support a ‘Followers of Christ Church’ business owner who offered health insurance that paid only for faith healing.
People like you are why the federal government needs to set standards that all companies must adhere to.
I'm going to go shopping at Hobby Lobby. Good for them and their incredible commitment to their values.
And their total commitment to the BOTTOM line !
I am going to go to work for Hobby Lobby and FORCE them to pay my wages, accept my opinion on contraception, and get them to provide contraception to me; I am not a person of faith and they are not a church, they are a profit making business, and have no right to interfere in my healthcare!
What values? The belief that they should control what other people do with their bodies? What if a woman is on contraceptives because she has three kids at home and would endanger her health if she were to get pregnant with a fourth? What kind of "values" are those to want to have that kind of invasive control over your employees?
The Handmaiden's Tale by Margaret Atwood all over ....
If they get an exemption, I think you will a lot more companies claiming to be "christian". It is all about the $$$.
If they get an exemption, you'll have a lot more companies claiming to be scientologists and they won't have to offer any health insurance. Oh, how the christards would love that one.
I think you mean Christian Scientists. I think that Scientologists are ok with health care, just not psychiatry.
Nobody thought of using RICO laws against the AMA for restraint of trade in limiting the supply of doctors Wonder why?
yeah, thanks I wonder.
Lol??, if you don't want to use contraceptives, don't.
You don't get to dictate who else does, however.
And you have absolutely no idea what RICO is about; if you did, there would be a much larger push to tax the biggest racketeers of all: organized religion.
You have RICO laws and Anti-trust laws mixed up. The AMA is not a monopoly per se, but it could be viewed as one in some ways. RICO statutes are about organized crime, much more relevant in going after religious people who often support criminal organizations operating behind the name of religion.
Right akira, our PUblic Servants dictate with bills they pass even when they don't read em
I will take Hobby Lobby seriously the day that 95% of the stuff they sell in their store isn't cheap garbage that came from China.
Funny how they don't complain about receiving cheap Chinese goods made by atheist Chinese people.
They are directly supporting the non-Christian Chinese government, yet they love the money too much, don't they?
It's all about the money. Their religion is not the real reason they complain. It's about the money.
They want to squeeze every penny they can out of the poor, especially their workers. Moneymoneymoney.
Don't cross a princeling, dave You'll lose
Fat people, smokers, drinkers, diabetics and the rest are all complaining they have to pay for someone else's contraception yet we have to pay for THEIR habits. Get over it.
We all pay, one way or the other, for the bad health of others. Remember that shooting? Bad healthcare.
What price does anyone put on health? It is a thing without a price, but that doesn't stop ppl from gouging the hell out of sick ppl.
You parents must had a bad habit ... trying to make YOU 😉
Contraception and abortion are not "deseases" they are not Health Care. Cntraceptives are very bad for the woman and will cause Health Care costs to significantly increase as they cause cancer and many other serious side effects. Abortifacients are not health care either, much on the contrary, they are Death Care, they simply cause the death of an unborn child and again, cause serious side effects to the woman's health. Now the government is steam rolling the religious rights of their citizens and creating a dictatorship of moral decadence in the country. Next: forced abortions to control the population like in China. God help us.
I agree rational humanist. My point is I don't understand how all those people are saying they don't want to pay for others... how do I say this without CNN blocking my post?... nighttime activities, Yet they don't give a heck about how much their own poor choices affects others on their insurance plans. I wonder how many of these people who are posting that they don't want to have to pay for it, are smoking/drinking/eating sweets or fatty foods, as they are typing?
You are kidding right Mario? Show me the studies that say contraceptives cause cancer. Actually, providing contraceptives will lower healthcare costs as pregnancies are a LARGE factor in the cost of a health insurance plan. It is why a company with a population with a lot of women of child bearing years has higher insurance costs than one that is primarily made up of men. So eliminating unintended pregnancies will lower the costs of insurance plans.
And how is Hobby Lobby NOT trying to steamroll the religious will of their employees? What you are complaining the government is doing, is exactly what the owners of Hobby Lobby are trying.
HobbieLobbie Corporate Policy: there shall be no separation whatsoever of the Comapny and ur bedroom 😉
This is why there should be a single payer system in place, taking healthcare completely out of the hands and pocketbooks of employers. Let them do what they do best, sell hobby cra p or whatever the business does.
So if I have a business and my religion teaches that war and weapons of war are immoral....My business doesn't have to pay taxes because some of those taxes will be used to buy weapons or to support the war in Afghanistan???
Just because they do not like Obama, they are crying foul. This is stupidity.
Religions are FILLED with self-righteous, stupid people. God must be banging his head against a wall in frustration!
This has nothing to do with liking Obama. Don't dodge the real problem here: the violation of someone's conscience to support something strictly evil and that has nothing to do with "health care": contraception and worst-abortion.
This isn't about "someone's conscience," this is about a company that must abide by the law. The company isn't a church or a person; the company doesn't have a religion or personal values. It's a business organization and they have to follow the laws set forth for business organizations. Would you feel the same way about a company run by jehovah's witnesses denying their employees insurance that covers blood transfusions, or are you a hypocrite?
HobbySloppy has the right NOT to pay for abortion pill IF they PAY their employees for the efforts of making babies while at work 😉
Saying I truly believe that God want's me to have your money, is no excuse for robbing a bank.
Hoby Loby, go under you !d!ots. I know where I won't be buying my hobby supplies.
The crux of Hobby Lobby's argument is flawed. They say they don't want to pay for the morning after pill because "they believe it causes abortions."
No, it doesn't. And just because you "believe" it does, doesn't make it true. The morning after pill prevents a pregnancy from ever occurring. It will not terminate an existing pregnancy.
I think you just don't understand their position. The morning after pill prevents a fertilized egg from implanting on the uterus...it does not prevent the egg from being fertilized. For people who believe that life begins at conception, that means that life begins when the egg is fertilized, not when it attaches to the uterus wall.
You'd think you'd have a better handle on the issue before you made fun of someone else for having a "flawed argument".
Hell, I'm an atheist and I get it...what's your problem?
You are making too much sense. Religious people do not respect sense. They will ignore your words, guaranteed.
And right there JR you show why it should fall flat. Not all religions believe life begins at fertilization, some put it later, otherwise there are also issues of even internal to religions there are debates as to when life begins. Atheists do not necessarily believe life begins until viability.
So again we are back to ones religion dictating for others how they should lead their life rather than giving them the choice to follow their own belief for their own life.
My reply was for Katrina. "JRBrown" is not a real sharp stick here. I also have doubts about the claim of being an atheist. Atheism has nothing to do with this issue at all and it makes no sense to even mention it.
I don't support abortion, but from what I've read, the "morning after pill" actually prevents an egg from being fertilized, thereby preventing a pregnancy in the first place.
A New York Times article states:
"Studies have not established that emergency contraceptive pills prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb, leading scientists say. Rather, the pills delay ovulation, the release of eggs from ovaries that occurs before eggs are fertilized, and some pills also thicken cervical mucus so sperm have trouble swimming.
It turns out that the politically charged debate over morning-after pills and abortion, a divisive issue in this election year, is probably rooted in outdated or incorrect scientific guesses about how the pills work. Because they block creation of fertilized eggs, they would not meet abortion opponents’ definition of abortion-inducing drugs. In contrast, RU-486, a medication prescribed for terminating pregnancies, destroys implanted embryos."
www . nytimes . com/2012/06/06/health/research/morning-after-pills-dont-block-implantation-science-suggests.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Kind of does rational because the reason for the complaint is over religious beliefs. Him posting as an atheist then suggests that how he sees things is not dictated by a religion, and his beliefs have been determined from life observations, educational background.
At this point I cannot say for certain, but the ethos of saying some one is athiest tends to be that they are more likely to believe life begins around viability, and there is less issues/concerns in dealing with abortion and contraception. Thats not a global reality, but that is the general feel people have for an atheist.
If they make a profit on their organization, they do not have a stand on not paying for meds based on their religious beliefs.
They are a business.
They need to get over it, or pay the consequences.
They are NOT a religious organization; they are a retail business.
I have never seen anyone, atheist or not, assume that the religion or lack of one instantly mean that they are for "viability" or anything else along those lines.
Atheism is simply the lack of a belief. It has no tenets, no dogma, no written rules. It does not inform anyone on any political or religious position. Just being an atheist doesn't mean I subscribe to someone's idea of what life is and when it "starts" and whether a fetus is a baby or not. Those are not issues related to being an atheist. It is a lack of belief, not a rulebook.
Again it isn't suggesting that it actually does for any one individual. In debates such as this though when it breaks across religious lines though. The thought of atheism for many would make them lean towards thinking that they would be more likely to lean towards conception not being the start of life.
Like I said it tends to be a significant generalization that for individual break downs doesn't hold too much like any gross generalizations that occur. Its more about the feeling it tends to elicit initially for most people (again not all), which is why I can't say for him specifically what he thinks yet from his post.
Atheists say that any argument backed by a religious person is flawed, because.they hate religion irrationally. Even if the argument is valid or scientifically support, such as when human life begins. It is at conception, period. This is when a new human DNA and new human individuAl is formed. Atheists with reason will support that. Atheists that want to pervert the truth to support abortion, will not, but that does not change the fact that the fertilized egg is neither an egg, nor a sperm anyMore, it is a new human being. Does not belong to the woman's body or the man's (father) body. It is its own new tiny body.
J R BROWN
You are WRONG!
The morning after pill has nothing to do with any attachment to the uterus or anything else. What the morning after pill actually does is prevent ovulation for 5-days. Hence, the 3-4 day average life span of sperm in the uterus, may wander around as much as they like, however, they will never reach the any egg to fertilize it!
Therefore, no fertilized egg and no "unborn child" – you are an idiot – are aborted, because the 2 never meet!
Actually no scientists don't hold life as beginning at conception. Indeed science manipulates mass of human DNA all the time that does not mean that the mass of human DNA is life. In fact science in studying he development of the blastoid, through to the fetus have noted that there are many vestigial elements they believe are signs of evolution, such as the early tail that is present and things such as that.
Indeed one of the basic litmus questions for life that is often held by science is self sustainability, which at conception does not hold. Even then science hasn't 100% settled on defining when life begins and there are still on going debates on that subject.
Jean you should reread JR's post. He isn't posting his belief he pointing out that it is the belief of the Hobby Lobby CEOs on how the morning after pill works. JR is right that is indeed what Hobby Lobby has stated as their belief (right or wrong).
"tiny body" LOL
It's a bit of organic matter without even a brain or nervous system until a certain amount of time has passed.
Using your "logic", my d1ck should get the right to vote separately from my balls and the rest of me. You might think with yours, but I don't with mine.
And an egg, fertilized or not, is part of a woman's body, not a man's, so it should be up to the woman concerned and NO ONE ELSE!
You seek to violate their privacy and other rights, including their rights to do what they want with their own body.
Busybodies like you should have been aborted anywhere along the line, including right now.
Other people's contraception, procreation, pregnancy, birth, life, death, and anything else is NONE OF YER DAMN BUSINESS!!