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January 25, 2013 Print

Freshway Foods Challenges HHS Mandate

by Bethany Monk

Two Catholic-owned businesses in Ohio that package and transport fresh produce filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Obama administration’s mandate requiring them to provide contraceptives and possible abortion-inducing drugs in their insurance plans.

Brothers Francis A. Gilardi and Philip M. Gilardi own and operate Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics. The businesses employ nearly 400.

“Our clients believe that having to pay for contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization will cause them to violate their religious beliefs and moral values,” said Edward White, senior counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, who is representing the brothers.

The Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate required most businesses to begin offering the drugs in their insurance plans on or after Aug. 1, 2012. Some faith-based organizations, including Catholic hospitals and dioceses, have a so-called safe harbor and must comply by August of this year.

Francis and Philip Gilardi have excluded such drugs from their health insurance plan.

“The HHS mandate, however, will require them to pay for such drugs and services on April 1st,” White said. “They have filed this lawsuit seeking an injunction against the mandate so they can continue to run their business in accordance with their religious beliefs and moral values.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read the complaint in Gilardi v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.



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