Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Bonus content

May 23, 2013

Birth control coverage up for federal appeal

DENVER (AP) — In the most prominent challenge of its kind, Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. is asking a federal appeals court Thursday for an exemption from part of the federal health care law that requires it to offer employees health coverage that includes access to the morning-after pill.

The Oklahoma City-based arts-and-crafts chain argues that businesses — not just the currently exempted religious groups — should be allowed to seek exception from that part of the health law if it violates their religious beliefs.

"They ought to be able — just like a church, just like a charity — to have the right to opt out of a provision that infringes on their religious beliefs," said Kyle Duncan, who will argue before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of the Green family, the founders of Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and a sister company, Christian booksellers Mardel Inc.

The Greens contend that emergency contraception is tantamount to abortion because it can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb. They also object to providing coverage for certain kinds of intrauterine devices.

Lower courts have rejected Hobby Lobby's claim, saying that for-profit businesses aren't covered by an exemption added to the law for religious organizations. That exemption applies to churches themselves, but not to affiliated nonprofit corporations, like hospitals, that do not rely primarily on members of the faith as employees.

In a decision issued late last year, a federal judge concluded simply, "Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations."

But U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton in Oklahoma City also wrote that "the court is not unsympathetic" to Hobby Lobby's dilemma and that the question of compelling employer health coverage for certain procedures "involves largely uncharted waters."

Other businesses in multiple states are challenging the contraception mandate, too. Hobby Lobby is the most prominent company making the claim, and it is the first to be heard by a federal appeals court. The U.S. Justice Department will argue for the government that the contraception mandate should stay.

The 10th Circuit opted to hear the case before all nine judges, not the typical three-judge panel, indicating the case's importance.

In December, the 10th Circuit denied Hobby Lobby's request for an injunction to prevent it being subject to fines while its argument was on appeal. The U.S. Supreme Court also denied an injunction, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor writing that it was not "indisputably clear" that Hobby Lobby needed immediate protection.

In response, the company restructured its health insurance, Duncan said. But Hobby Lobby, which is self-insured, will face fines by July 1 if it does not provide the coverage, he said.

Hobby Lobby calls itself a "biblically founded business" and is closed on Sundays. Founded in 1972, the company now operates more than 500 stores in 41 states and employs more than 13,000 full-time employees who are eligible for health insurance.

The Hobby Lobby case has attracted broad interest from health groups and religious groups. A panel including reproductive rights organizations and the American Public Health Association banded together last year to ask the court to reject Hobby Lobby's claim. The groups argued it would be dangerous precedent to allow for-profit private businesses to use religious beliefs to deny coverage.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Bonus content
  • George Harrison Tree-Beetles-6 [Duplicate] [Duplicate] George Harrison memorial tree killed by beetles LOS ANGELES (AP) — A tree planted in Los Angeles to honor former Beatle George Harrison has been killed — by beetles. Councilman Tom LaBonge says the pine grew to more than 12 feet tall before succumbing to a bark beetle infestation. The tree was rem

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Complaint ends teacher prayer in western Indiana school district TERRE HAUTE (AP) — A western Indiana school district is telling teachers and other employees they can't lead prayers during school-sponsored event. The decision by the Vigo County School Corp. in Terre Haute follows a complaint made to the Freedom fr

    July 23, 2014

  • Aging America Roommates-18 [Duplicate] Seniors use roommate-finding agencies to cut costs NEW YORK (AP) — It's not exactly "The Golden Girls," but for Marcia Rosenfeld, it'll do. Rosenfeld is among thousands of aging Americans taking part in home-sharing programs around the country that allow seniors to stay in their homes and save money

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Digital Life Review Amazon Phone-9 [Duplicate] Review: Amazon Fire offers new ways to use phones NEW YORK (AP) — What I find fascinating about Amazon's Fire phone isn't the gizmos such as the 3-D imagery or the camera scanner that helps you get more information about products. Rather, I like that Amazon is thinking a lot about how phones ought t

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ODD Brooklyn Bridge Mystery Flags-12 [Duplicate] Mysterious white flags appear atop Brooklyn Bridge NEW YORK (AP) — Someone has replaced two American flags on the Brooklyn Bridge with mysterious white flags. The white flags — international symbols of surrender — fluttered Tuesday from poles on the stone supports that hold cables above the bridge co

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Federal appeals court deals blow to health law WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has delivered a serious setback to President Barack Obama's health care law, potentially derailing subsidies for many low- and middle-income people who have bought policies. If upheld, the decision could mean

    July 22, 2014

  • Music-Shawn Mendes-3 [Duplicate] Vine star Mendes finds breakthrough on pop charts NEW YORK (AP) — Six seconds isn't a long time, but Vine superstar Shawn Mendes made the time count when posting cover songs on the social media platform. The teen singer says he would pick the hits he would cover — and the sections of the tracks — an

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Schizophrenia Genome [Duplicate] Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists have linked more than 100 spots in our DNA to the risk of developing schizophrenia, casting light on the mystery of what makes the disease tick. Such work could eventually point to new treatments, although they are many y

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Boston Marathon Suspects Friends [Duplicate] Marathon suspect's friend guilty of impeding probe BOSTON (AP) — A college friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted Monday of impeding the investigation into the bombing. Azamat Tazhayakov was charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy, with prosecutors saying

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hopkins to pay $190M after doc taped pelvic exams BALTIMORE (AP) — Johns Hopkins Health System will pay $190 million to more than 8,000 women whose bodies may have been videotaped or photographed by a gynecologist using a pen-like camera during pelvic exams. Dr. Nikita Levy was fired in February 201

    July 21, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Bodies of Malaysia Jet Victims Leave Ukraine Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller