Mennonite Company Asks Supreme Court to Stop HHS Mandate

By:  Raven Clabough
Mennonite Company Asks Supreme Court to Stop HHS Mandate

A Pennsylvania Mennonite-run company asks the Supreme Court to end ObamaCare’s mandate that owners provide employees with abortion-causing drugs.

In an opening brief filed January 10, a Mennonite family-run business based in Pennsylvania asks the U.S. Supreme Court to put an end to the “unjust” ObamaCare mandate that requires company owners — despite their religious objections — to pay for birth control and abortion-causing drugs for their employees.

The challenge has been brought by the Hahn family, owners of the Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation. The 50-year-old company, which manufactures doors for the kitchen cabinet industry, has 950 employees in plants in Pennsylvania, Washington State, Utah, and North Carolina.

When their challenge was heard last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third District, the court decided 2-1 that Conestoga Corporation must comply with the mandate. Circuit Judge Robert Cowen wrote last year's decision, stating:

Church and other religious groups, would cost Conestoga up to $100 daily fines per employee.

Founded in 1964, Conestoga Wood Specialties employs 950 manufacturing doors and wood components for the kitchen cabinet industry at Pennsylvania plants in Beavertown, Beaver Springs, and East Earl; and at Kenly, NC, Kent, WA and Tooele, UT.

- See more at: a 2-1 decision last July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled against the Hahns' business, asserting that the Mennonite faith of the company’s owners may not exempt them from complying with the mandate“Since Conestoga is distinct from the Hahns, the Mandate does not actually require the Hahns to do anything,” wrote Judge Robert Cowen. “All responsibility for complying with the Mandate falls on Conestoga … It is Conestoga that must provide the funds to comply with the Mandate — not the Hahns.”

Our decision here is in no way intended to marginalize the Hahns’ commitment to the Mennonite faith. We accept that the Hahns sincerely believe that the termination of a fertilized embryo constitutes an intrinsic evil and a sin against God to which they are held accountable, and that it would be a sin to pay for or contribute to the use of contraceptives which may have such a result. We simply conclude that the law has long recognized the distinction between the owners of a corporation and the corporation itself.

The majority opinion also determined that Conestoga Corporation cannot be protected as a “person” under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. “Since Conestoga cannot exercise religion, it cannot assert an RFRA claim,” the court concluded.

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