Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo is one of 11 Republican congressmen that have signed onto friend-of-the-court briefs supporting Hobby Lobby Stores’ health insurance battle.
Hobby Lobby is challenging the federal government’s requirement that employers offer health insurance coverage for services such as abortion-inducing drugs that conflict with their religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby, based in Oklahoma City, has its lone Idaho store in Meridian.
The case is before a federal Court of Appeals. A hearing could take place as early as this spring.
In addition to Crapo, the congressional brief was signed by Sens. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah; Daniel R. Coats, R-Ind.; Thad Cochran, R-Miss.; Charles Grassley, R-Iowa; James M. Inhofe, R-Okla.; Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Pat Roberts, R-Kan; Richard Shelby, R-Ala.; and U.S. Reps. Lamar Smith, R-Texas; and Frank Wolf, R-Va.
“The brief leaves no doubt that Congress intended to protect the religious freedom of those like Hobby Lobby and its founder, David Green, against federal attempts to force them to insure abortion-inducing drugs,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
The lawmakers’ brief cites a 1993 law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Crapo, then in the House of Representatives, was one of 170 co-sponsors of the law, which had bi-partisan support. The brief claims the mandate that businesses provide health insurance violates the 1993. It argues that employers with sincere religious objections should be exempted from providing buying insurance plans that include covering contraceptives.
Crapo’s spokesman Lindsay Nothern said in an email that Crapo continues to support the 1993 law, which he says is based on the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion.