Hobby Lobby, Federal Government Battle In Court Over Health Care Mandate

Thursday, November 1st 2012, 1:49 pm

Hobby Lobby took its fight against President Barack Obama's health care law to federal court. Attorneys from both sides argued their case in front of a federal judge on Thursday morning.

At issue is an Affordable Care Act mandate that requires companies to provide the morning-after pill and week-after pill as part of their insurance coverage.

Lawyers made their arguments in front of a federal judge for about two and a half hours Thursday morning.

The showdown would come down to a battle on religious freedom, women's health, and the definition of abortion.

In a case that could have nationwide repercussions, Hobby Lobby claims this is about of the government forcing the company to go against its religious beliefs and provide abortion inducing drugs.  

The Green family who owns Hobby Lobby is asking for an exemption from the part of the Federal Health Reform Act that requires it to provide health insurance coverage for emergency conception.

9/12/2012 Related Story: Oklahoma Hobby Lobby Files Suit Against Government Over Health Care Act

"We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate," Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green said when the suit was filed.

The attorney representing the Federal Government argues the drugs would decrease unplanned pregnancies that can lead to health issues for women and their future children. 

"It's the government's position that they do not terminate pregnancy," government lawyer Michelle Bennett argued.

Attorneys for Hobby Lobby however say millions of American's including their client would disagree.

"The implications of this decision could be very important because it would recognize a person's religious liberty to resist the government from forcing them to cover drugs or other services against their consciousness," said Kyle Duncan, an attorney representing the Green family in the case. 

The judge in the case calls all this uncharted territory but promises a decision soon.

"We wanted to appear in court and have serious consideration and we were delighted with how things went," said Duncan.

Attorneys for Hobby Lobby want a decision before January 1 when the law goes into effect.