The Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare" requires employers to pay for "all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity as prescribed by a provider” (http://1.usa.gov/Tk2CWY).
Hobby Lobby is owned and operated by the Greens a Christian family from Oklahoma. Providing or paying for contraceptives and especially abortion inducing drugs and sterilization procedures violates their Christian beliefs. It also is a violation of the Constitutionally protected freedom of religion.
The 1st Amendment of the Constituion reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Common sense would dictate that if the Federal government issues edicts that force individuals or companies to follow practices that violate their religious beliefs, that the government is therefore "prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
On Dec. 26, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who hears emergency appeals for the U.S. 10th Circuit, refused to block those provisions of the law (http://1.usa.gov/Tk2CWY). In her opinion, she called these contraceptive and abortion drugs "preventive health services." She then claimed that "whatever the ultimate merits of the applicants’ claims, their entitlementto relief is not “indisputably clear.” Meaning that despite what the First Amendment claims, the fact that Obamacare forces these Christians to pay for abortions is not a clear violation of the free exercise of their religion. Sotomayor denied the injunction to block Obamacare's mandates on Hobby Lobby.
That means that until the case is finally resolved, Hobby Lobby can face fines that total $1.3 million a day.
David Green, President and CEO of Hobby Lobby, in a letter first published in USA Today stated "We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money" (http://bit.ly/VESTLM).
He went on to say "a new government healthcare mandate says that our family business must provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions. Which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million per day in government fines. (http://bit.ly/VESTLM).
Doesn't the First Amendment specifically and the Constitution in general exist for this explicit purpose - to protect American citizens from an all-powerful Federal government? This is out of control big government. Congress and the President pass a law that no one had read to be implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services that violate the people's Constitutional freedoms that is upheld by the Supreme Court and has crushing fines imposed and enforced by the IRS.
Hobby Lobby, with 500 stores and 13,000 employees is the largest company to file suit against Obamacare. This case is being watched closely by other companies as a likely percursor of how similar cases will be ruled on in the future.
If the Supreme Court can rule that the government can pass a mandate that forces Christians to pay for abortions in violation of their religion and the "free exercise thereof" then the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights have lost all their meaning.