Petition against Obama birth control rules reaches the Supreme Court

A Christian-run arts and crafts chain has filed for an emergency injunction with the Supreme Court to block President Obama's birth control coverage rules.

Hobby Lobby and its founders, the Green family, filed the petition Friday after an appeals court rejected their motion for relief this week.

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"Petitioners have been driven to seek such extraordinary relief three days before Christmas because the federal government has refused to acknowledge [their] sincerely held religious beliefs," the petition reads.

At issue is the Affordable Care Act's requirement that most employers cover a full range of birth control methods in their health plans without copay.

The list includes emergency contraception, which abortion-rights opponents say can terminate a pregnancy. Medical authorities challenge this view.

The Obama policy exempts churches and houses of worship, and employees of religiously affiliated organizations will be able to receive birth control directly from their insurance company, still without a copay.

But neither accommodation applies to employers who are personally religious and feel their employee health plans should not provide for certain forms of birth control.

Hobby Lobby is not the only private business represented in the 42 suits now pending against the mandate.

Other for-profit plaintiffs include the religious owners of ceramic materials business (O'Brien vs. HHS), a wholesale scrap metal recycling business (Griesedieck vs. Sebelius) and a company that manufactures automotive and medical components (Autocam Corp v. Sebelius).

Four plaintiffs have been granted injunctions under the mandate, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing Hobby Lobby and several others.

The group said it expects to get a response by Jan. 1, when fines for non-compliance with the rules kick in. 

Supporters of the policy say birth control is an essential component of most women's healthcare and should be covered by insurance to make it as affordable as possible.

Read more about Hobby Lobby's case at Healthwatch.