Hobby Lobby and the morning after pill: Supreme Court verdict due
The Supreme Court is due to deliver its verdict on the controversial Hobby Lobby case today.
One of the biggest arts and crafts chains in the US, Hobby Lobby is embroiled in a lawsuit to gain exemption from a clause of the Obamacare legislation which requires employers to provide the morning after and week after pills as part of their health insurance plans.
A committed Christian, owner David Green has thus far refused to enforce this mandate at his company, risking fines of up to $1.3 million a day - $100 per employee.
The company does provide other contraceptives under its healthcare plan, but has refused to be complicit in what it sees as potential abortions, citing religious objection.
"These abortion-causing drugs go against our faith, and our family is now being forced to choose between following the laws of the land that we love or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful and have supported our family and thousands of our employees and their families," said Green in a statement last year.
"We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate."
Rick Warren, pastor and author of 'The purpose driven life', has spoken out in support of the Green family, declaring that "Every American who loves freedom should shudder at the precedent the government is trying to establish by denying Hobby Lobby the full protection of the First Amendment.
"This case is nothing less than a landmark battle for America's first freedom, the freedom of religion and the freedom from government intervention in matters of conscience.
"This is not only a subversion of the Constitution, it is nonsense," he continued. "Any religion that cannot be lived out...at home and work, is nothing but a meaningless ritual."
The Obama administration, however, contends that birth control must be included in insurance plans as a fundamental aspect of women's rights.
After a lengthy legal battle, justices will meet today to announce the court's final decision in the landmark case.
Hannah Smith, senior counsel for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents Hobby Lobby, told Fox News that she is "very confident...that we will prevail in this case".
Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra, however, told the station that Hobby Lobby is guilty of discrimination, and will thus likely lose its battle today.
"I believe that the Supreme Court will find that no business ... should be allowed to [discriminate] against women," he insisted.
"The owner has a right to his or her religious beliefs, but that doesn't mean you get to discriminate against women if [they] have different beliefs than what the owner has."