- (Photo: Hobby Lobby)
An attorney with a religious freedom organization representing a retail chain against the federal government over the controversial "preventive services" mandate has stated that the case is about religious freedom and not women's health.
Kyle Duncan, attorney with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead counsel for Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., was the featured speaker at a conference call press briefing held Monday afternoon.
The briefing was in regards to Hobby Lobby's suit against the Department of Health and Human Services over the "preventive services" mandate, which compels businesses to cover various forms of contraceptives in employee health insurance.
Duncan told The Christian Post that contrary to how some critics of Hobby Lobby might state the case, which will be argued before the United States Supreme Court in March, it is not an issue about women's health.
"The federal government has exempted millions of people, millions of insurance plans from having the cover any contraceptives in any women's preventive services," said Duncan.
"The government itself has put all sorts of exceptions into this law, but even more than that, the Greens and Hobby Lobby have generous health benefits for women and for men."
During the press briefing, Duncan gave an overview of the Hobby Lobby case and provided arguments in favor of the Green family, who own and oversee the Oklahoma-based business.
"The Greens do not object to covering 16 out of 20 FDA-approved contraceptives. In fact, their company's generous health plan covers all mandated services for women, with the exception of only four contraceptive methods that can terminate human life in the womb," said Duncan.
The briefing came on the day that the Becket Fund filed its brief in the Hobby Lobby case, which was also sent out to media, including CP.
"On the merits, this is one of the most straightforward violations of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act this Court is likely to see," reads the brief in part.
"Respondents' religious beliefs prohibit them from providing health coverage for contraceptive drugs and devices that end human life after conception. Yet, the government mandate at issue here compels them to do just that, or face crippling fines, private lawsuits, and government enforcement."
Since the highest court in the U.S. agreed to hear the Hobby Lobby lawsuit, several amicus briefs were filed both for and against the plaintiffs.
One amicus brief filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation argued that Hobby Lobby was trying to impose a "radical redefinition" of the concept of religious freedom.
"This case is particularly important to FFRF, as its two principal founders, Anne and Annie Laurie Gaylor, formed the organization partly in response to unwarranted governmental and religious intrusion into a woman's reproductive health decision," reads the FFRF brief in part.
"Thus, FFRF was organized in part to fight what it believes to be some of the root causes of women's oppression – patriarchal religion and its incursions upon our secular laws."
Hobby Lobby's case will be heard in conjunction with a similar appeal brought by Conestoga Wood Specialties.