MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

October 24, 2012

US argues that judge must deny Hobby Lobby birth-control case


Associated Press

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The U.S. government is urging a federal judge to deny a request by Hobby Lobby Stores to block the enforcement of a new health care law that requires employers to give staff insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar drugs.

The arts and crafts supply chain filed a lawsuit last month in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City that alleges the mandate is unconstitutional. The Oklahoma City company wants an injunction to prohibit the law's enforcement. It says the mandate will force its owners to violate deeply held religious beliefs under threat of heavy fines.

Government attorneys say Hobby Lobby cannot claim to exercise religion in an effort to avoid laws designed to regulate commercial activity.

A hearing is set for Nov. 1 before U.S District Judge Joe Heaton.