The Norman Transcript

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September 20, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court asked to decide Hobby Lobby case

OKLAHOMA CITY — The federal government asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to decide whether Hobby Lobby and Mardel Christian bookstore have to provide a wide range of birth control options for workers as part of the federal health care law.

The 251-page appeal was filed Thursday by U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli and other government attorneys.

The Oklahoma businesses have operated under a court order that allows them to avoid fines while they challenge a portion of the new law requiring them to provide the coverage.

Company attorneys object to offering such plans based on religious grounds.

U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton in July granted the Hobby Lobby craft store chain and Mardel Christian bookstore a temporary exemption from a requirement that it provide insurance coverage for morning-after pills, similar emergency birth control methods and intrauterine devices.

Lawyers for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services filed a notice in federal court saying it would appeal, and Heaton had given the government an Oct. 1 deadline.

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