Associated Press, Published September 27 2012
Pastors protest Hobby Lobby on morning-after pillOKLAHOMA CITY — Liberal Christian groups attempted Thursday to deliver a petition to Hobby Lobby criticizing its challenge to a portion of the new federal health care law, but guards at the company's headquarters turned them away.
“I thought they'd let me drop off the package,” said the Rev. Lance Schmitz, pastor of the Capitol Hill Church of the Nazarene in Oklahoma City.
Schmitz said more than 80,000 people had signed copies of a petition circulated nationwide by Faithful America, an online Christian group, and UltraViolet, which promotes women's rights.
Lawyers representing Hobby Lobby this month sued the federal government claiming it should not be forced to provide workers with health insurance that covers the morning-after and week-after pills. Some say the drug's ability to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman's womb is tantamount to abortion.
Hobby Lobby operates 500 arts and crafts stores in 41 states. Its owners allege in the lawsuit that providing coverage for certain medications violates its Christian owners’ “deeply held religious beliefs.”
An attorney for the company, Kyle Duncan, said the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, respects the religious convictions of others, “including those who do not agree with them.”
“All they are asking is for the government to give them the same respect by not forcing them to violate their religious beliefs,” Duncan said.
But Schmitz said the drugs are contraceptives and that women have a right to make their own medical decisions.
“Access to contraceptive care is a very good thing,” Schmitz said. “This isn't about abortion. These pills do not cause abortion. It's contraception.”
The petitions say Hobby Lobby's owners shouldn't use their beliefs to deny women access to birth control, a charge that Duncan denied.
“It's not true,” Duncan said. "Hobby Lobby covers the vast majority of contraceptives, will continue to do so.
“The only people's rights that are being trampled on here are the Green family and the companies they operate,” he said.
Schmitz said he intends to mail the petition to the company.
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