Worth Knowing: Hobby Lobby has a place in history
You may have heard that Hobby Lobby opened in Claremont on Washington Street on Monday, September 4. (Read DailyUV post.) What you may not know is that Hobby Lobby earned a place in history when it brought and won a lawsuit claiming that providing contraceptives to its employees violated the company's religious beliefs. After the Affordable Health Care Act was passed in 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") issued regulations requiring employers to provide some forms of birth control to employees. The plaintiff believed that life began at conception and that providing health insurance coverage to its female employees that included certain contraceptives basically amounted to providing them with the tools of abortion. Basically anyway.
In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Hobby Lobby, ruling that the HHS has not shown that requiring companies to provide contraceptives was "the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling interest". Specifically, HHS had not demonstrated that requiring the government to assume the cost of contraceptives was not viable - and that would have been less restrictive. So Hobby Lobby won.
It was the first time that the Supreme Court had permitted a closely-held for-profit corporation to be exempt from a regulation its owners religiously object to - if there is a less restrictive means of furthering the law's interest.
Hobby Lobby is an arts and crafts company founded by David Green, a self-made billionaire. At the time of the lawsuit, Hobby Lobby had approximately 21,000 employees across the U.S. It provided health insurance that included coverage of 2 contraceptives until it dropped its coverage in 2012 and filed the lawsuit. The Hobby Lobby case also involved Mardel Christian and Educational Supply, companies owned by Green's son.
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