Paul and Henry Griesedieck, owners of American Pulverizer Company of St. Louis and pro-life Christians, made a stand against the Health and Human Services Mandate and won, for now. The HHS mandate requires employers and health insurers to provide employees with health insurance that includes coverage of contraceptives and abortifacient drugs which terminate early pregnancies. According to LifeNews, “[t]he U.S. District Court for Western Missouri issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting enforcement of the law.”
In their lawsuit, the Griesediecks contend that compliance with the Obamacare mandate would force them to violate their religious and moral beliefs. In their lawsuit, the Griesediecks state that “it would be sinful for us to pay for services that have a significant risk of causing the death of embryonic lives.”
U.S. District Judge Richard Dorr ruled that the plaintiffs were likely to be able to prove that Obamacare “substantially burdens their exercise of religion…Plaintiffs must either pay for a health plan that includes drugs and services to which they religiously object or incur fines.”
Judge Dorr noted that the federal government contends that the Griesedieck Companies are secular entities, and thus cannot “exercise religion.” Judge Dorr responded by saying: “There are many entities under which an individual can run a business…Does an individual’s choice to run his business as one of these entities strip that individual of his right to exercise his religious beliefs?”
In addition to concluding that under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act the mandate and its penalties would substantially burden plaintiffs’ free exercise rights, the court held that for 1st Amendment purposes, the mandate is not a neutral law of general applicability.
The court wrote: “Plaintiffs have shown to the court’s satisfaction for the purposes of these initial proceedings, that the [Affordable Care Act] mandate is not generally applicable because it does not apply to grandfathered health plans, religious employers, or employers with fewer than fifty employees. Specifically, plaintiffs argue that the ACA mandate’s exemptions clearly prefer secular purposes over religious purposes and some religious purposes over other religious purposes. Burdens cannot be selectively imposed only on conduct motivated by religious belief.”
Read the full article here.