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Supreme Court of the United States

Sioux Chief Manufacturing Company v. Burwell

Last Updated: 5/29/2020

Overview

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 business being forced to pay for abortion-inducing drugs in violation of the owner’s religious, pro-life beliefs

Summary

Sioux Chief Manufacturing is a leading manufacturer and wholesaler of plumbing products and supplies. The company is owned and operated by the Ismert family, devout Catholics who seek to operate their family business in accordance with their religious values. But when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a mandate requiring businesses to offer insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception, the Ismert family faced an unavoidable dilemma. They must either violate their religious beliefs by providing the objectionable items, or they must pay heavy fines and penalties that would bring the business to its knees. With the help of Alliance Defending Freedom and allied attorney Jonathan Whitehead, Sioux Chief Manufacturing and the Ismert family filed a lawsuit challenging the abortion pill mandate.

The district court issued a court order that relieved Sioux Chief and the Ismert family from the requirement to pay for objectionable abortion-inducing drugs. The court then put the case on hold (preserving the victory for Sioux Chief) until the 8th Circuit decides one of the several other challenges to the mandate currently before the court.

Alliance Defending Freedom is still fighting for Sioux Chief and several other businesses who object to being forced to pay for abortion-inducing drugs. The U.S. Supreme Court has taken up one of our client's cases—Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp.—and Alliance Defending Freedom will be there to advocate on behalf of every Christian business owner who simply wants the freedom to operate their business according to their faith.

Our role in this case

Alliance Defending Freedom represents Sioux Chief and the Ismert family, and is defending their freedom to operate their business according to their deeply held religious beliefs. 

Resources

Legal Documents

Court
Title
Date
{"docs": [{"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Complaint", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/sioux-chief-manufacturing-company-v.-burwell/sioux-chief-manufacturing-company-inc-v-burwell---complaint.pdf", "Date": "1/14/2013 8:57:04 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Permanent injunction", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/sioux-chief-manufacturing-company-v.-burwell/sioux-chief-manufacturing-company-inc-v-burwell---permanent-injunction.pdf", "Date": "11/12/2014 8:57:04 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Preliminary injunction and stay order", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/sioux-chief-manufacturing-company-v.-burwell/sioux-chief-manufacturing-company-inc-v-burwell---preliminary-injunction-and-stay-order.pdf", "Date": "2/28/2013 8:57:04 PM"}]}

Biographies

Kevin Theriot

Senior Counsel, Vice President of Center for Life

Kevin Theriot serves as senior counsel and vice president of the Center for Life with Alliance Defending Freedom


Additional Resources

 

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

Website: Sioux Chief Manufacturing

Bio: Jonathan R. Whitehead

 
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