A Christian-owned business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has filed suit against the Obama administration in an effort to challenge a provision in the new healthcare law that requires employers to cover the contraceptive costs of their staff.
Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation in East Earl is being represented in the case of Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, which was filed this week. The business, run by the Hahn family, says that it has never provided coverage for medications that induce abortions, and doesn’t plan to start doing so. It has locations in Arkansas, Maryland, Utah, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, and creates a variety of wood products for kitchens, baths and other areas of the home.
Because Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate goes into effect on January 1st, and carries severe penalties for non-compliance, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation believes that it has no other choice but to implore a federal court to intervene. It has asked the Independence Law Center in Lancaster to assist with defending their religious liberty in the legal system.
“People of faith should not be punished for making decisions according to the deepest convictions of that faith,” said Attorney Charles W. Proctor, III, who is representing the Hahn family. “When government grows so invasive to force persons to violate their conscience, government is out of control and clearly outside the bounds of our Constitutions’ Bill of Rights.”
“The Health and Human Services abortion pill mandate would unconstitutionally force the Hahn family, owners and operators of Conestoga Wood Specialties, to do something offensive to their conscience—under threat of onerously large fines and penalties,” he continued. “This is un-American.”
“Americans should be free to honor God in the way they see fit whether at work or at home or at church,” added co-counsel Randall Wenger. “To ask us to do otherwise would show extreme disrespect to our freedom of conscience.”
Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation becomes the second Christian business to challenge Obamacare in court. As previously reported, the national craft chain Hobby Lobby became the first evangelical business to sue the Obama administration when it filed in September. However, last month, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton released a 28-page ruling against the craft store, opining that Hobby Lobby and its bookstore chain Mardel are not entitled to an exemption because “Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations.”
Other federal circuits, on the other hand, have granted injunctions to other groups, making the matter highly controversial and divided among the courts. Just days prior to the Hobby Lobby ruling, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton issued a temporary injunction in favor of Tyndale House Publishers of Carol Stream, Illinois, stating that Obamacare’s contraceptive requirement “substantially burdens” the company’s free exercise of religion.
“[The abortion pill mandate] places substantial pressure on the plaintiffs to violate their beliefs,” Walton wrote. “It places the plaintiffs in the untenable position of choosing either to violate their religious beliefs by providing coverage of the contraceptives at issue or to subject their business to the continual risk of the imposition of enormous penalties for its noncompliance.”
Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation is likewise seeking an emergency injunction, which if granted, will be issued in before the end of the month.