|Hobby Lobby wins Supreme Court abortion pill case|
|Written by Christine D. Johnson|
|Monday, 30 June 2014 10:50 AM America/New_York|
“Americans don’t surrender their freedom by opening a family business,” said
Conestoga Wood Specialties President and CEO Anthony Hahn was thankful for the outcome.
“We in the Hahn family want to thank everyone who supported us during this lawsuit,” Hahn said. “We wholeheartedly affirm what the Supreme Court made clear today—that Americans don’t have to surrender their freedom when they open a family business. All Americans, including family business owners, must be free to live and work according to their beliefs without fear of government punishment. As I said at the beginning of this lawsuit, this effort wasn’t just for Conestoga. We took this stand for others as well. The administration has gone too far in disrespecting the freedom of Americans to live out their convictions. For our family and others like us, that means it must respect our freedom not to participate in the distribution of drugs and devices that can cause an abortion.”
The ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby Stores came with a close 5-4 vote, a decision for religious liberty that means businesses do not have to provide insurance for certain forms of contraception that violate the owners’ faith-based convictions.
The Affordable Care Act—known as Obamacare—directs businesses to provide contraceptive coverage for their employees. Faith-based businesses, religious schools and churches are exempt, but the mandate does not allow secular businesses owned by Christians whose religious beliefs conflict with the mandate to decline providing coverage.
“Hobby Lobby took a bold step for all Christian-owned businesses in America and emerged victorious,” said Tim Wildmon, president of American Family Association (AFA, afa.net). “From the start, this case was about whether the government could blatantly ignore the constitutionally-protected right to the free exercise of religion and force people of faith to violate their deeply held religious convictions. The government requirement that businesses provide contraception coverage never had a constitutional leg to stand on, and yet the government continued to claim power it doesn’t have and to target people of faith. Today’s decision confirms what’s been true all along: business owners do not need to check their faith at their company doors.
“We applaud the Supreme Court justices who thoughtfully considered this case and ruled on the side of freedom, as well as the attorneys who spent so much time and displayed so much passion defending religious liberty. Finally, we thank the Green family who so heroically fought for their constitutionally protected rights and the rights of others.”
Hobby Lobby is a craft store chain owned by David Green and his family. The Greens provided 16 of the 20 FDA-approved contraceptives required under the Health and Human Services mandate at no additional cost to employees under the chain’s self-insured health plan, but disapproved four of the mandate’s birth control methods that were considered abortion-inducing drugs.
“Business owners shouldn’t have to give up their faith to operate a business, and they should be free to live and work according to their beliefs without fear of government punishment,” said Curtis Riskey, CBA president. “Americans don’t surrender their freedom when they open a family business.”
The head of the Christian retail group is pleased with the ruling that favors Christian-owned and -operated businesses.
“This ruling supports many businesses owned by Christians who are active in their communities, support local charity and welfare agencies, and are a vital part of the community fabric,” Riskey said.
Social media response also is coming quickly.
Ed Stetzer of LifeWay Research tweeted: “The government cannot require people of faith to violate their sincerely-held beliefs.”
Former Senator Rick Santorum’s tweet reads: “SCOTUS restored a vital piece our Constitution today. It’s a great day for all Americans!”
FOX News’ Todd Starnes, author of God Less America (FrontLine/Charisma House), tweeted: “Obama's plan to force Christians to fund abortions is thwarted!”
Filmmaker Phil Cooke tweeted: “Congratulations to the Green family and the #HobbyLobby legal team! Thanks for representing so many small companies in America.”
Click here to watch a post-decision video with ADF on the Supreme Court steps.
Editor's note: This story has been updated since its original publication.