Conflicting Ruling in Health Care Mandate

A federal judge denied Hobby Lobby’s request for an injunction against the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate last week, ruling that the arts-and-crafts giant must cover emergency contraceptives in its insurance policies even though it believes the pills cause abortions.

U.S. district judge Joe Heaton rejected both First Amendment and Religious Freedom Restoration Act claims by Hobby Lobby and its well-known evangelical owners, the Green family. Heaton ruled that “secular, for-profit corporations do not have free exercise rights.”

Just three days earlier a D.C. circuit court ruled in favor of Tyndale House Publishers saying “the beliefs of a closely-held corporation and its owners are inseparable, the corporation should be deemed the alter-ego of its owners for religious purposes.” A preliminary injunction was granted.