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Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell

Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell

Won U.S. Supreme Court
Last Updated 8/9/2022

What's at stake

The freedom to operate a business according to your deeply held beliefs without the fear of being punished by the government.

Christian businesses being forced to pay for abortion-inducing drugs in violation of their religious, pro-life beliefs.

Summary

The Hahns are a practicing Mennonite Christian family who have sought to run their company, Conestoga Wood Specialties, which manufactures custom wood products, in a manner that reflects their sincerely held religious beliefs, including their belief in the sanctity of human life. Their ability to do so was challenged when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a mandate requiring businesses to pay for insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and devices. Businesses that refused would be subjected to crippling fines. 

With allied attorneys Chuck Proctor and Randy Wenger and the help of Alliance Defending Freedom, Conestoga Woods Specialties and the Hahn family filed a lawsuit challenging the abortion pill mandate. (The case was litigated in parallel with Hobby Lobby Stores v. Burwell, which had similar facts.) While the district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled against the Hahns, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed in a landmark ruling and said that families do not have to surrender their religious freedom in order to be in business.

This ruling set an important precedent that protects Conestoga Wood Specialties, Hobby Lobby, and other businesses and ministries that object to being forced to pay for abortion-inducing drugs. 

Our role in this case

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys Chuck Proctor and Randall Wenger represented Conestoga Wood Specialties and the Hahns at their U.S. Supreme Court case challenging the abortion pill mandate. Proctor and Wenger filed the initial case with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom.

Legal Documents

Court
Title
Date
Trial Court
1/23/2015
Trial Court
10/2/2014
Trial Court
8/14/2014
U.S. Supreme Court
6/30/2014
U.S. Supreme Court
1/28/2014
U.S. Supreme Court
1/28/2014
U.S. Supreme Court
1/28/2014
U.S. Supreme Court
1/28/2014
U.S. Supreme Court
1/28/2014
U.S. Supreme Court
1/28/2014
U.S. Supreme Court
1/28/2014
U.S. Supreme Court
1/28/2014
U.S. Supreme Court
1/28/2014
U.S. Supreme Court
1/28/2014
U.S. Supreme Court
1/28/2014
U.S. Supreme Court
1/28/2014
U.S. Supreme Court
1/28/2014
U.S. Supreme Court
1/28/2014
U.S. Supreme Court
9/19/2013
Appellate Court
8/15/2013
Appellate Court
7/31/2013
Appellate Court
4/30/2013
Appellate Court
3/15/2013
Trial Court
1/9/2013

Additional Resources

 

Matt Bowman: Hobby Lobby ruling applies to more than just abortifacients (National Review, 2014-07-01)

Matt Bowman: Conestoga and Hobby Lobby—the aftermath begins (National Review, 2014-07-01)

David Cortman: A victory for integrity, not just Hobby Lobby (USA Today, 2014-06-30)

Matt Bowman: You will join the freedom of religion witch hunt...or else (Washington Examiner, 2014-06-02)

Joseph La Rue: Conestoga, Hobby Lobby, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act explained (Jurist, 2014-04-24)

Matt Bowman: How the coercion coalition is imposing the new “freedom” in America (Washington Examiner, 2014-03-27)

David Cortman: Abortion pill mandate, Hobby Lobby and why the Supreme Court should honor faith (Washington Times, 2014-03-25)

Matt Bowman: Religion is your business (National Review, 2014-03-21)

Matt Bowman: If a company can be African American, can’t it be religious? (Public Discourse, 2014-03-21)

Matt Bowman: Arms control and those Obamacare contraception mandates (Washington Examiner, 2014-02-12)

Kerri Kupec: Obama’s selective entrepreneurial praise (Townhall.com, 2014-02-03)

Matt Bowman: Defending religious freedom from Obamacare (Washington Times, 2013-12-01)

Matt Bowman: With Obamacare, business doesn’t have a prayer (Washington Times, 2013-09-05)

Video: Rep. Joseph R. Pitts (R-Pa.) on Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius and the abortion pill mandate (2014-03-24) (4:20)

Video news release and raw footage: Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell.

Video: ObamaCare mandate is worse than you think (approx. 2:00)

Bio: Randall Wenger