New York -- Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday challenging the mandate in the health care overhaul law that requires employers to provide coverage for the morning-after pill and similar drugs. Hobby Lobby calls itself a "biblically founded business" and its stores are closed on Sundays.
According to the lawsuit, the mandate forces the owners of Hobby Lobby “to violate their deeply help religious beliefs under threat of heavy fines, penalties and lawsuits.” There are about 27 lawsuits challenging the mandate, and Hobby Lobby is the largest for-profit business to do so.
"By being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow," David Green, CEO and founder, Hobby Lobby, said in a statement. "We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate."
In a conference call with reporters, Green said the company opposes having to provide “abortion causing drugs” that go against his family faith.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City, alleges the Health and Human Services mandate is unconstitutional and requests an injunction to prohibit it from being enforced. The privately held Hobby Lobby is self-insured and will be required to comply with the mandate by Jan. 1, the start of its health insurance plan year. Hobby Lobby would face significant fines if it does not comply.
The mandate went into effect Aug. 1, but Hobby Lobby won't be impacted until Jan. 1, when the new insurance year for its employees begins.