"It is by God's grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured," said David Green, founder and CEO. "Therefore we seek to honor God by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles."
The company, which is self-insured, provides preventive contraceptives, but the Green family objects to providing or paying for the “morning after” and “week after” pills, citing their religious belief that life begins at conception.
The morning-after pill works by preventing ovulation or fertilization. In medical terms, pregnancy begins when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of the uterus. If taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, it can reduce a woman's chances of pregnancy by as much as 89 percent.
Critics of contraception say it is the equivalent of an abortion pill because it can prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. The Hobby Lobby lawsuit also alleges that certain kinds of intrauterine devices can destroy an embryo by preventing it from implanting in a woman's uterus.
At a hearing earlier this month, a government lawyer said the drugs do not cause abortions and that the U.S. has a compelling interest in mandating insurance coverage for them, according to the Associated Press.
Heaton wrote that he was not "unsympathetic" to the concerns raised by the Greens and stated the mandate raises issues that for-profit companies haven't faced before.
"The question of whether the Greens can establish a free-exercise constitutional violation by reason of restrictions or requirements imposed on general business corporations they own or control involves largely uncharted waters," Heaton wrote. "However, the court concludes it is unnecessary, as to the constitutional claims, to resolve those questions here as the challenged statutory scheme and regulations are substantially likely to survive constitutional scrutiny in any event."
Contributing: Associated Press
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