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January 31, 2013 Print

Take Action: Court Halts HHS Mandate for Indiana Auto Lighting Business

by Bethany Monk

A Catholic-owned company in Madison was granted temporary relief Wednesday from a government mandate requiring it to offer potential abortion-inducing drugs in its employee health plan.

Grote Industries, a family-run business that manufactures vehicle lighting and safety system products, is the 10th to receive a preliminary injunction against the mandate. Founded in 1901, the company also operates in Mexico, Canada and Germany, and employs 464 people. 

“We are pleased that the court delivered the Obama administration a reminder of this foundational truth,” said Matt Bowman, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). “We are confident that this unconstitutional mandate’s days are numbered.”

The government gave most businesses until Aug. 1, 2012, to comply with the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate. Some faith-based organizations, including Catholic hospitals and dioceses were granted a “safe-harbor,” meaning they have until August to comply.

More than 40 lawsuits — representing hospitals, universities, dioceses, businesses and schools — are in play. To date, courts have granted 10 injunctions; four of the requests were denied.

ADF filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Grote family in October 2012, because the mandate violates their “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

A district court rejected Grote’s request in December, prompting the family to appeal the decision to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate court found that the family “will suffer irreparable harm absent an injunction pending appeal, and the balance of harms tips in their favor.”

And the lawsuits keep coming in.

Last week, two Catholic-owned businesses in Ohio filed the latest lawsuit against the mandate. Brothers Francis A. Gilardi and Philip M. Gilardi, who own and operate Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics, want to “run their business in accordance with their religious beliefs and moral values,” said Edward White, senior counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, representing the Whites.

“Americans have the God-given freedom to live and do business according to their faith,” Bowman explained. “Forcing employers to surrender their faith in order to earn a living is unprecedented, unnecessary, and unconstitutional. Honoring God is important every day, in all areas of life, including in our work. Freedom is not the government’s to give and take away when it pleases.”

Take Action for Religious Freedom                    
Urge President Obama to stop the Health and Human Services (HHS) Mandate requiring businesses to provide contraceptives and possible abortion-inducing drugs to their employees under their insurance plans.

Read the court’s order in Grote Industries v. Sebelius.

Visit the Becket Fund’s HHS Information Central to learn more about other cases.