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No Relief for Hobby Lobby in Birth Control Mandate Appeal

By Robyn Hagan Cain on December 21, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Unless there’s some kind of Christmas miracle in the next 10 days, Hobby Lobby will not get an injunction as a gift from Santa the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals this year.

Hobby Lobby doesn’t want to comply with the Affordable Care Act birth control mandate, which becomes effective January 1. It asked the appellate court to enjoin the law. Thursday, the Tenth Circuit denied the crafty chain’s motion for a preliminary injunction, finding that Hobby Lobby failed to demonstrate “entitlement to such relief.”

Hobby Lobby is a Oklahoma-based, family-owned retailer. The company currently operates over 500 stores in over 40 states with over 13,000 full-time employees. The Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, sued to challenge the Affordable Care Act's birth control mandate because it conflicts with the family's religious beliefs.

The Greens describe themselves as "evangelical Christians," and stated in their petition that they believe they are "obligated to run their businesses in accordance with their faith." The birth control mandate, however, would force business owners like the Greens "to violate their faith under threat of millions of dollars in fines." The Greens want to be exempted from providing the "morning after" and "week after" pills on religious grounds, arguing this would violate their Christian belief that abortion is wrong, Reuters reports.

And if they don't cover birth control? Hobby Lobby says the fines could add up to $1.3 million a day, Fox News reports.

To obtain a preliminary injunction, Hobby Lobby had to show:

  1. Substantial likelihood of success on the merits,
  2. Irreparable injury will result if the injunction does not issue,
  3. The threatened injury outweighs any damage the injunction may cause the opposing party, and
  4. The injunction would not be adverse to the public interest.

The appellate court's analysis started and ended with the first prong, as the court found that the Greens failed to demonstrate that the birth control mandate "substantially burdened [their] exercise of religion."

No surprise -- the Greens are not happy with this decision. They say they will appeal to the Supreme Court, Fox News reports.

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