PHILADELPHIA — A Mennonite manufacturing company headquartered in Pennsylvania has been granted a permanent injunction against what has been called the abortion pill mandate in Obamacare following its win in the U.S. Supreme Court.
As previously reported, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation, which has 950 employees at its Arkansas, Maryland, Utah, North Carolina and Pennsylvania locations, filed suit in December 2012 against the mandate, stating that it has never provided insurance coverage for medications that induce abortions, and doesn’t plan on doing so. It explained that terminating a life after conception violates its sincerely-held Mennonite beliefs, stating that it “is an intrinsic evil and a sin against God.”
In October 2012, the board of directors for Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation, which is owned by Norman Hahn and run by his wife and five sons, composed “The Hahn Family Statement on the Sanctity of Human Life.”
“[H]uman life begins at conception (at the point where an egg and sperm unite), and that it is a sacred gift from God, and only God has the right to terminate human life,” the statement outlined.
Its current health care plan specifically excludes “contraceptive prescription drugs” and “any drugs used to abort a pregnancy.”
In January 2013, U.S. District Judge Mitchell Goldberg ruled against the Hahn family, opining that its manufacturing company was not entitled to an exemption under Obamacare because for-profit businesses that are secular in nature cannot be considered religious entities.
“It would be entirely inconsistent to allow the Hahns to enjoy the benefits of incorporation, while simultaneously piercing the corporate veil for the limited purpose of challenging these regulations,” he wrote.
The case was then appealed to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, but in a 2 to 1 decision, Goldberg’s denial was upheld. Therefore, attorneys for Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation filed a petition with the nation’s highest court, asserting that the district court and appeals court were out of step with other circuits across the country. Attorney generals for eighteen states also filed briefs to urge the court to accept the appeal.
In June of this year, while also upholding the right of the popular craft chain Hobby Lobby to decline to pay for certain contraceptives that it considers to be abortifacients, the U.S. Supreme Court also ruled in favor of Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation. While the case was not as high profile as Hobby Lobby, it was nonetheless considered a win for religious rights nationwide.
On Thursday, in light of the Supreme Court ruling, Judge Goldberg granted the Hahn family a permanent injunction against the abortion pill mandate in Obamacare.
“[I]t is hereby ordered that Defendants are permanently enjoined from enforcing against Plaintiffs, their group health plan, and the group health insurance coverage provided in connection with that plan, the statute and regulations that require Plaintiffs to provide their employees coverage for ‘[a]ll Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity,'” his order read in part.
“All Americans should oppose unjust laws that allow the government to force people to give up their constitutionally protected freedom to live and work according to their beliefs,” Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman, who represented Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation in court, wrote in a statement on Monday.
“In light of this federal court order and the Supreme Court’s ruling that upheld that principle, we hope other courts currently considering similar cases will issue their own orders upholding the right of family-owned businesses to be free from this type of government coercion,” he said.