MISSOURI RIGHT TO LIFE, Press Release

For Immediate Release For Information – 573-635-5110 / 314-966-3889

June 30, 2014

The following statement can be attributed to Pam Fichter, President:

Today the Supreme Court upheld the fundamental right of the American people to exercise their religious freedom. The 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby confirms the principles on which our country was founded. The Court’s ruling acknowledges that privately owned businesses like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods cannot be forced to violate their principles by providing abortifacient drugs through their company’s insurance plans.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the Obama Administration ordered U.S. businesses, including Hobby Lobby, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs as part of their employee health plans. The Green’s, owners of Hobby Lobby, refused on pro-life grounds: they are devout Christians and could not in good conscience participate in the taking of innocent human life. The Obama Administration threatened fines of $1.3 million a day if Hobby Lobby doesn’t comply with the mandate.

Hobby Lobby asked the courts to put an end to the administration’s radical attempt to impose a pro-abortion agenda on every business in America. Today, the Court did.

The Court’s ruling means that Americans of every religious background are free to take their faith with them into the workplace, and free to make their religious beliefs a part of how they run their businesses.

Our Constitution protects the right to live our faith peaceably-at church, at home, and in the workplace. The American people won a great victory today.

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BREAKING: Supreme Court Declares HHS Mandate
for Closely Held For-Profit Corporations Unlawful

In a 5 to 4 decision the US Supreme Court declared this morning that the HHS Mandate which imposes the contraceptive mandate on closely held for-profit corporations violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

Justice Alito writing the majority opinion stated:

“We hold that the regulations that impose this obligation violate RFRA, which prohibits the Federal Government from taking any action that substan­tially burdens the exercise of religion unless that action constitutes the least restrictive means of serving a compelling government interest.

In holding that the HHS mandate is unlawful, we reject HHS’s argument that the owners of the companies forfeited all RFRA protection when they decided to organize their businesses as corporations rather than sole proprietorships or general partnerships. The plain terms of RFRA make it perfectly clear that Congress did not discriminate in this way against men and women who wish to run their businesses as for-profit corporations in the ma­nner required by their religious beliefs.”

Thomas More Law Center News Alert
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The Day After Hobby Lobby Decision,
Supreme Court Rules For Another Corporation Challenging the HHS Mandate

The day after its ruling in Hobby Lobby, the US Supreme Court granted review of the Thomas More Law Center’s petition on behalf of Eden Foods and its president Michael Potter, vacated the judgment, and remanded the case back to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals for further consideration in light of the Hobby Lobby decision.

Click Here for Supreme Court Order

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, MI, filed Eden Food’s initial challenge to the HHS Mandate in March 2013. After being denied a temporary injunction preventing enforcement of the HHS Mandate by a federal district court and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, TMLC filed a petition for review with the Supreme Court.  That petition had been held in abeyance pending the decision in the Hobby Lobby case.

Eden Foods, co-founded by Potter in the late 1960s, is the oldest natural food company in North America and the largest independent manufacturer of dry grocery organic foods.  In 2009, Eden Foods was selected as the best food company in the world by Better World Shopping Guide, which also acknowledged the company’s outstanding record in social and environmental responsibility. The company employs 128 employees.For years, Michael Potter, a Roman Catholic, President and sole shareholder of Eden Foods Corporation, for religious reasons, had arranged for the Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance coverage he designed for his employees to specifically exclude coverage for contraception and abortifacients.  In accordance with his Catholic faith, Potter believes that any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation, whether as an end or means”—including abortifacients and contraception—is wrong.

The HHS Mandate forced Potter to make a choice between violating a foremost tenet of his faith or face fines up to $4.5 million per year.

Potter brought the lawsuit because he cannot compartmentalize his faith and his business practices.

Mr. Potter said in a statement, “We are grateful for the Hobby Lobby decision and look forward to further developments.”

Erin Mersino, TMLC’s Senior Trial Counsel who is handling the Eden Foods case commented on yesterday’s Supreme Court order, “The Supreme Court’s ruling in Hobby Lobby preserves the religious freedom we are guaranteed under the Constitution.  The HHS mandate required business owners to directly violate their faith.  The Supreme Court relied upon the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which was signed into law by President Clinton and passed in a bipartisan effort to protect our First Amendment rights, to strike down the mandate.  Under RFRA, the government has to establish a basis for substantially burdening one’s religious faith.  Here, the government failed to do so.”

Mersino continued, “Justice Ginsburg’s dissent and proposed parade of horribles has no basis in reality.  No flood gates have been opened.  The truth is that the Supreme Court struck down an unjust law.”

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