Hobby Lobby has joined dozens of groups suing the Obama administration over its embattled contraception mandate, becoming the largest business yet to legally challenge part of the requirement that employers provide their workers with birth control coverage.
David Green, CEO of the chain of more than 500 arts and crafts stores, says he’ll have to pay as much as $1.3 million in daily fines if he doesn’t pay for types of contraception he and other evangelicals morally oppose, including the so-called “morning after” pill.
Mr. Green is the first non-Catholic business owner to sue over the requirement, which the administration spelled out earlier this year as part of President Obama’s health care law. As of August, most large employers must provide health coverage that includes preventive services like cancer screenings, flu shots — and contraception — without charging a co-pay.
Major Catholic dioceses and a slew of other Catholic and evangelical-led businesses, colleges and universities have sued over the mandate, saying it violates their religious freedom. Hobby Lobby is suing only over the requirement to provide the types of contraception believed by some to cause abortions, while the Catholic-led lawsuits go further, asking the whole contraception mandate to be overturned.
Hobby Lobby has filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. None of its stores are open on Sundays and the business is founded on “honoring the Lord in a manner consistent with biblical principles,” according to its website.