Wins Victory Against Abortion Drug Edict
The federal judiciary has granted a second Missouri business owner a reprieve from the Obama Administration's contraceptive and abortion drug mandate. The U.S. District Court for Western Missouri issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting enforcement of the law against American Pulverizer Company of St. Louis.
The firm is owned by Paul and Henry Griesedieck. Members of the Griesedieck family are evangelical Christians who are strongly committed to the sanctity of human life. The Griesediecks contend that compliance with the Obamacare mandate would force them to violate their religious and moral beliefs. In their lawsuit, the Griesediecks state that "it would be sinful for us to pay for services that have a significant risk of causing the death of embryonic lives."
U.S. District Judge Richard Dorr ruled that the plaintiffs were likely to be able to prove that the Affordable Care Act [commonly known as Obamacare] "substantially burdens their exercise of religion...Plaintiffs must either pay for a health plan that includes drugs and services to which they religiously object or incur fines."
Judge Dorr noted that the federal government contends that the Griesedieck Companies are secular entities, and thus cannot "exercise religion." Judge Dorr responded by saying: "There are many entities under which an individual can run a business...Does an individual's choice to run his business as one of these entities strip that individual of his right to exercise his religious beliefs?"
The Griesediecks are represented by the American Center for Law and Justice. ACLJ welcomed news of the injunction, saying, "Paul and Henry Griesedieck face a stark and unavoidable choice: abandon their beliefs to stay in business, or abandon their businesses in order to stay true to their beliefs. That is a choice that the federal government, bound by the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, may not impose."
The U.S. District court ruling comes on the heels of a major decision by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over federal legal proceedings in the state of Missouri. The 8th Circuit issued a temporary injunction halting enforcement of the abortion drug mandate against O'Brien Industrial Holdings of St. Louis, citing religious freedom concerns as well.
The contraceptive and abortion drug edict was issued by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. It requires that every health insurance plan issued in the United States by an insurer must include coverage at no cost for all "contraceptives" approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration. That includes abortifacient drugs such as Ella and Plan B, often referred to as "emergency contraceptives" or the "morning-after pill."
Decisions rendered in other federal judicial circuits have not been as favorable. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the Hobby Lobby corporation must comply with the abortion drug coverage mandate. In that ruling, the court stated that for-profit corporations do not have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotamayor refused Hobby Lobby's request for emergency action to block enforcement of the 10th Circuit decision.
Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow with the Catholic Association, blasted the decision. "The 10th Circuit ruling is an utter rebuke of religious freedom. This is a dereliction of duty on the part of the courts to protect citizens from bureaucratic bullies who care little for the First Amendment."
David Green, chief executive officer of the Hobby Lobby craft store chain, says the company will not comply with the HHS mandate. Green is a well-known leading evangelical Christian who operates his business according to Biblical principles. Hobby Lobby faces fines of $1.3 million a day for failing to comply with the abortion drug dictate.
Columnist Michelle Malkin praised the company's fortitude. "God bless this company. It's incumbent on every American who believes in freedom of religion and freedom of conscience to support those businesses that are standing up and taking the slings and arrows of this discriminatory Administration."
Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham also derided the Hobby Lobby ruling. "It turns out that the 'religious exemption' to the contraceptive mandate is so narrow as to be meaningless. Unless you employ and serve only those of your religious faith, you don't receive an exemption. Under that standard, Jesus Himself would not qualify."
In the meantime, legal challenges to the contraceptive and abortion drug mandate continue to mount. One of the latest to file suit is Catholic businessman Tom Monaghan, the founder and former owner of the Domino's Pizza chain. Monaghan challenged the mandate on behalf of a development firm he owns, Domino Farms. Many people may not know that Monaghan founded two Catholic higher education institutions, Ave Maria University and Ave Maria Law School.
Pro-life attorney Wesley Smith commended Monaghan for refusing to finance life-destroying drugs, a practice Monaghan calls "gravely immoral." "This isn't about birth control. It's about the power of the government to bulldoze freedom of religion to mean nothing more than freedom of worship. Regardless of one's faith or lack thereof, all who believe in American liberty should wish Monaghan well."
We encourage you to be praying for men like Tom Monaghan, David Green, and the Griesediecks for demonstrating the courage of their Christian convictions in standing firm for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We also suggest you send messages of support.
You can contact the Griesediecks at American Pulverizer by e-mailing email@example.com
You can contact Hobby Lobby by using this link:
Hobby Lobby Customer Service
You can contact Tom Monaghan by calling him at (734) 930-4425.