Ann Arbor, Michigan – The founder of the popular pizza chain Domino’s Pizza, now real estate mogul, has obtained an injunction against the abortion pill mandate in Obamacare, just before the requirement went into effect today.
Thomas Monaghan, a Roman Catholic, had filed suit in federal court last month on behalf of himself and his property management company, Domino’s Farms Corporation, contending that the contraception mandate in Obamacare violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“Causing death can never be considered a form of medical treatment,” his legal challenge outlined.
On Sunday, Judge Lawrence Zatkoff ruled in favor of Monaghan, exempting him from the mandate while his case proceeds in court. He opined that Monaghan had sufficiently demonstrated that the requirement will “substantially burden his exercise of religion.”
“The government has failed to satisfy its burden of showing that its actions were narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest,” Zatkoff wrote. “Therefore, the court finds that plaintiffs have established at least some likelihood of succeeding on the merits.”
Monaghan, who sold most of his stake in Domino’s Pizza to Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital in 1998, obtained the exact opposite outcome than that of the Oklahoma-based craft chain Hobby Lobby. As previously reported, David Green, president of Hobby Lobby and the bookstore chain Mardel, has decided to defy the abortion pill mandate in Obamacare and risk $1.3 million in fines per day while his case moves forward after being denied an injunction against the requirement.
The company announced its decision through a statement issued by its attorney, Kyle Duncan of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
“To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs,” he explained. “Hobby Lobby will continue their appeal before the Tenth Circuit. The Supreme Court merely decided not to get involved in the case at this time. It left open the possibility of review after their appeal is completed in the Tenth Circuit.”
“The company will continue to provide health insurance to all qualified employees,” Duncan added.
While Hobby Lobby states that it has been covering, and will continue to cover, birth control for its over 13,000 employees nationwide, it refuses to pay for two pills that are included in Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate: the morning-after pill and the week-after pill.
“These abortion-causing drugs go against our faith, and our family is now being forced to choose between following the laws of the land that we love or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful and have supported our family and thousands of our employees and their families,” Green wrote in a statement earlier this year. “We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate. … By being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow.”
The company had taken its request for an injunction all the way to the Supreme Court.
The fact that opposite conclusions have been reached in the cases of Domino’s Farms Corporation and Hobby Lobby demonstrate that the courts continue to be split on whether businesses have a right to be exempt from the contraceptive mandate in Obamacare. While the Obama administration recently agreed to re-write the requirement so that it excludes religious educational institutions, it contends that secular businesses, even if owned by religious persons, are not entitled to an exemption.
The requirement went into effect today with the start of the new year.