Hobby Lobby Win Injunction Against Birth Control Mandate
After receiving a temporary injunction from US District Judge Joe Heaton last week, Hobby Lobby will now be exempted from the Affordable Care Act stipulation that requires employer-based insurance plans to cover various birth control methods at no extra cost to employees until October 1, 2013.
In September of last year, the evangelical-owned Hobby Lobby and sister company Mardel Inc. filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama Administration over the mandate requiring employers to provide coverage for the morning-after pill and other contraceptives. Under the new mandate, companies who do not provide coverage for contraception can face fines of up to $1.3 million daily.
In June, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, saying that the company had the right to uphold its religious beliefs and deny contraceptive coverage. The federal government has until October 1, 2013 to file an appeal with the US Supreme Court.
The company's conservative owners, the Green family, object to specific forms of birth control like emergency contraceptives and intrauterine devices based on their belief that life begins at conception. The company covers 16 forms of birth control through the employee insurance plan. Although emergency contraceptives have been specifically included in the ACA's list of covered prescriptions, the company's CEO maintained that "To offer prescriptions that take life is not an option for us."
Hobby Lobby Stores Inc et al v. Sebelius et al, U.S. District Court is one of 63 lawsuits around the nation that have been filed against the ACA's mandate of comprehensive birth control coverage.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .