TribLIVE

| State


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Judge rejects Pa. firm's health care law challenge

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, 9:42 p.m.
 

PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge has rejected the argument of the Mennonite owners of a central Pennsylvania furniture manufacturing company that new health care requirements that they pay for employees' contraceptive services violate their free speech and religion rights.

U.S. District Judge Mitchell Goldberg on Friday rejected a preliminary injunction sought by the owners of Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., saying Norman Hahn and his family were unlikely to prevail in their case. He said they had not proven that complying with the new health care law amounted to a “substantial burden” on their religious rights.

Attorney Charles W. Proctor III told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the Hahns plan to appeal.

“We think it's well thought out,” attorney Charles W. Proctor III said of the decision. “We just don't agree with it.”

Conestoga's health plan excludes coverage for contraceptives and drugs used to abort a pregnancy, citing Mennonite Church teaching that terminating a fertilized embryo “is an intrinsic evil and a sin against God.” They said complying with the health care law's requirement to pay for contraceptive services and especially abortifacients would violate their religion, and disobeying it would subject them to crippling fines.

The judge ruled the company did not qualify for an exception as a religious employer, since it is a for-profit company with no formal ties to a church or other religious group. He said he found no “historical support for the proposition that a secular, for-profit corporation possesses the right to free exercise of religion,” and declined to make what he called “the significant leap” that the plaintiffs were seeking “without clear guidance from Congress or the Supreme Court.”

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Pennsylvania

  1. ‘We are’ chant now a permanent fixture on Penn State campus
  2. State cites Greene County mine after fatality, checking ventilation doors
  3. 2 from Western Pennsylvania charged with insurance fraud
  4. Donora-Webster bridge plunges into Mon River after 107 years
  5. New trial sought in 1977 Washington County murder case
  6. Pa. spared earthquakes from deep-shale drilling
  7. Lehigh Valley woman pleads guilty in knife-throwing death
  8. Pa. could ease restrictions on fireworks, reaping big bang in taxes
  9. Presque Isle Downs cancels thoroughbred races because of running deer
  10. Jailed Philadelphia priest could get papal visit
  11. FBI questions Allentown mayor, seizes contract documents