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Hobby Lobby to defy law on contraception insurance coverage

The craft stores chain, after a failed Supreme Court appeal, says it won't offer employees insurance for the 'morning-after' pill, which it says is abortion-inducing.

January 01, 2013|By Shan Li, Los Angeles Times
  • Craft stores chain Hobby Lobby says it will defy a federal healthcare mandate requiring employers to provide their workers with insurance that covers emergency contraceptives. Above, a store in Little Rock, Ark.
Craft stores chain Hobby Lobby says it will defy a federal healthcare mandate… (Danny Johnston, Associated…)

After losing a last-minute appeal to the Supreme Court, craft stores chain Hobby Lobby said it would defy a federal healthcare mandate requiring employers to provide their workers with insurance that covers emergency contraceptives.

The Oklahoma City-based chain, owned by a conservative Christian family, had applied to the high court to block a part of the federal healthcare law ordering companies to offer insurance that covers contraceptive drugs, including the so-called morning-after pill.

After the court refused to block the mandate, a lawyer for Hobby Lobby said the Green family, which also has holdings in Mardel Inc., a seller of religious books, would nonetheless refuse to provide health coverage for contraception it considers to be abortion-inducing.

Hobby Lobby and Mardel could be fined as much as $1.3 million a day starting Tuesday.

"They're not going to comply with the mandate," said Kyle Duncan, general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents Hobby Lobby. "They're not going to offer coverage for abortion-inducing drugs in the insurance plan."

His comments were issued in a statement.

In the lawsuit, the Green family said certain types of contraception, such as the morning-after pill and the week-after pill, violated family members' religious beliefs against abortion.

The morning-after pill has spurred heated debate, especially among politicians, on whether using it constitutes abortion. The National Institutes of Health says on its website that the pills most likely work by preventing pregnancy "in the same way as regular birth control pills."

shan.li@latimes.com

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