OKLAHOMA CITY — The federal government is urging a federal judge to deny a Hobby Lobby Stores request to block enforcement of a new health care law that requires employers to cover insurance costs for morning-after pill and the week-after pill.

The retail chain filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court last month, alleging the mandate is unconstitutional and will force the company's owners "to violate their deeply held religious beliefs under threat of heavy fines, penalties and lawsuits." Failure to cover the drugs in Hobby Lobby's health insurance plan could lead to hefty fines, the company said.

The chain requested an injunction to prohibit the law's enforcement. Government attorneys claim Hobby Lobby cannot claim to exercise religion to avoid laws designed to regulate commercial activity.

— Associated Press