Attorney sound bite: Matt Bowman
CHICAGO — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit issued a strongly worded decision Friday that found the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate to be in violation of federal religious liberty protections. The court called the administration’s argument that religious freedom disappears when doing business “unsound and extraordinary.”
The mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and devices, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties.
“All Americans, including job creators, should be free to honor God and live according to their faith,” said Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman, who argued before the 7th Circuit in May. “The court’s decision joins the majority of other rulings on the mandate, which have found it to excessively conflict with our nation’s guarantee of religious freedom to all Americans. The decision rightly foresees the dangers of allowing government to have this kind of power. If the government can force family business owners to act contrary to their deepest convictions under the threat of fining them out of business, it is a danger to everybody.”
The decision suspends the mandate for two job creators, including a family-run auto lighting manufacturer represented by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys. In January, the 7th Circuit issued an order in Grote Industries v. Sebelius that temporarily stopped enforcement of the mandate until appeals could be resolved.
“We hold that the plaintiffs--the business owners and their companies--may challenge the mandate. We further hold that compelling them to cover these services substantially burdens their religious exercise rights…,” the 7th Circuit’s decision states. “On the government’s understanding of religious liberty, a Jewish restaurant operating for profit could be denied the right to observe Kosher dietary restrictions. That cannot be right. There is nothing inherently incompatible between religious exercise and profit-seeking.”
Grote Industries, based in Madison, Ind. and founded in 1901 by William Grote, is a leading manufacturer and marketer of vehicle lighting and safety systems and operates in multiple countries in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Mike Wilkins, one of nearly 2,300 attorneys allied with Alliance Defending Freedom, represents Grote Industries together with allied attorney Michael Cork, also of Indianapolis. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are co-counsel in the case. Allied attorney Bryan Beauman is local counsel.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys are litigating 14 other lawsuits against the mandate. The lawsuits represent a large cross-section of Protestants and Catholics who object to the mandate.
- Pronunciation guide: Grote (GROW’-tee), Bowman (BOH’-min), Beauman (BOH’-min)
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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