Updated at 12:10 p.m. to add a statement from Ashley McGuire.
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 19, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A federal court has granted a preliminary injunction allowing Hobby Lobby not to comply with the HHS mandate requiring the business to furnish the morning-after pill and other abortifacient means of emergency contraception to its female employees with no co-pay.
The decision comes shortly after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court's ruling against Hobby Lobby in a 5-3 decision and remanded the case to a lower court. That court had denied the Christian-owned arts and crafts chain a temporary injunction against the HHS mandate.
Previous objections to the HHS mandate had been dismissed on the grounds that the final rule had not yet been promulgated, and thus the cases lacked “ripeness.” Since the Obama administration issued the final rule on June 28, the court recognized that significant issues of religious freedom came into play.
“There is a substantial public interest in ensuring that no individual or corporation has their legs cut out from under them while these difficult issues are resolved,” the court ruled.
“The tide has turned against the HHS mandate,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the lead attorney in the Hobby Lobby case.
Others hailed the decision as a triumph for religious freedom and individual rights. “Today the abortion-pill mandate took another blow,” said Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow with The Catholic Association. “The courts have once again ruled that family business owners like the Green family of Hobby Lobby do not have to violate their consciences to enter the marketplace.”
There are now 62 other lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate. Many Protestant universities, including Wheaton College, East Texas Baptist University, Houston Baptist University, and Colorado Christian University have sued.
But Hobby Lobby is the largest and only non-Catholic privately owned business to file a lawsuit against the HHS mandate.
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“It is by God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured,” said David Green, founder and CEO. “Therefore we seek to honor God by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.”
Green said under the mandate “our family is being forced to choose between following the laws of the country that we love or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful and have supported our family and thousands of our employees and their families.”
Hobby Lobby risked being fined $1.3 million a day while fighting the measure.
“We hope that other courts follow suit and restore religious liberty to all employers,” said McGuire. “And we hope that the Obama administration finally gets the message that the abortion-pill mandate is a blatant infringement on First Amendment rights and religious freedom.”