MU law professor represents Hobby Lobby

MU professor involved in Hobby Lobby case

COLUMBIA, Mo. - If you own your own business, do you have religious freedom? Can the government make you pay for abortions if it's something you don't believe in?

Those are questions at the heart of the "Hobby Lobby" case, which involves Hobby Lobby owners, the Greens, and the U.S. government.

Arguments were heard Monday by the supreme court, as the government defends it's case by saying companies aren't following the Affordable Care Act
if they don't comply.

The case has been two years in the making and has made it all the way to Washington.

An MU law professor from Columbia finds himself in the midst of the case, representing Hobby Lobby.

"The question is, can the government make them pay for those four forms of contraception when the government has alternative means to make those four forms of contraception available to women who want them," said MU law professor Josh Hawley.

The Green family, who owns Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby, pays for 16 kinds of contraception but refuses to pay for four.

Those four dispose of an egg, which, in their view, is an abortion. They said that's against their religious belief.

So does the private, for-profit company have religious rights like a person, or will Hobby Lobby have to follow the Affordable Care Act that states
companies have to offer contraception free of charge?

The Green family said their private company shouldn't have to.

"We want to live out our faith and our way of doing business," said Hobby Lobby owner Barbara Green.

But the government and supporters said even privately owned American companies should fall in line with government health care.

"Millions of women and their right to preventative care, and right to birth control, is trumped by a handful of CEO's who have their own personal
opinions about birth control."

Hawley told ABC 17 News that the real question in this case is can the government make religious objectors pay for the drugs when they have the program that already makes them available to women.

Hawley said he believes the justices could have a decision in the case as early as June. 

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