USA Squeamish About UN Guidelines

Elisabeth Garber-Paul

Looks like the US is once again living up to it's Puritan roots.

Looks like the US is once again living up to it’s Puritan
roots. According to a report in the New York Times yesterday, the UN is putting together international sexual education guidelines-offering information about bodies, relationships, and sex-to children as young as 5. Apparently, the American right is still worried that teaching kids how AIDS is transmitted-and
that legal abortion by a medical professional in a clean environment is safe-will turn them into sex-crazed adults.

"The guidelines, scheduled to be released by UNESCO in a new draft next week, would be distributed to education ministries, school systems and teachers around the world to help guide teachers in what to teach young people about their bodies, sex, relationships and sexually transmitted diseases," the New York Times reported. "They would address four different age groups."

Not surprisingly, Fox had a different take. But one criticism in particular seems most ludicrous: "The
U.N. insists the program is ‘age appropriate,’ but critics say it’s exposing kids to sex far too early, and offers up abstract ideas – like ‘transphobia’ – they might not even understand." I’m sorry, what was that? How is transphobia
any different from other abstract ideas that we teach children? Like racism, or sexism? Or math?

Looking over a June draft, it seems that the worst that
could happen is these kids would grow up to be healthy, educated adults in functional relationships. Acutally, I could see how this might be a problem for the GOP.

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Analysis Abortion

An Abortion Access Crisis Behind East Texas’ ‘Pine Curtain’

Andrea Grimes

There isn't a looming reproductive health-care crisis in the South. It has already arrived.

On the evening of March 5, Texans gathered to mark the closure of abortion clinics in two Texas cities—one a public vigil, another a private gathering, both befitting the particular politics of two Texas communities that, for the first time since Roe v. Wade, are without a legal abortion provider.

The Whole Woman’s Health clinic in McAllen had been the last operating abortion clinic in the sprawling and largely rural Rio Grande Valley, while in Beaumont, another Whole Woman’s clinic served East Texas and an area known as the “Golden Triangle,” a swath of Gulf-bordering land where about 20 percent of the population lives below the federal poverty line.

At Whole Woman’s Health in McAllen, bordering Reynosa, Mexico, clinic owner Amy Hagstrom Miller hosted a candlelight vigil for her employees and their supporters. They took turns reading, often through tears, snippets of stories from the thousands of Whole Woman’s patients treated over the years.

“This is very similar to my actual story,” read one young woman, quoting her anonymous patient: “I am 23 years old. I live in McAllen. I’m a single mother, with one child.” Another: “I’m from Mercedes, I’m 33 years old, a mother of two, and I’m living with my parents.” And another: “I just turned 18 years old. I am unemployed and a full-time college student. I cannot afford to have a child.”

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But in Beaumont, about an hour east of Houston and a world away from its snarled traffic and high-rise towers, Hagstrom Miller decided to do something more private, inviting her employees there to gather at their clinic behind closed doors.

Abortion just isn’t something folks in East Texas talk about with company—let alone gather in public to support. If abortion makes a public appearance at all, it’s in the form of the sun-faded anti-choice billboards that dot the landscape between clusters of pine trees and rolling farm and ranchland, featuring toddlers in biker gear who are “Born to Ride!” Others show grinning infants excited about heartbeats that began either at 18 or 24 days after conception—the consensus seems to vary from one two-lane highway to another.

And so Hagstrom Miller’s Beaumont staffers joined their McAllen colleagues and supporters at a virtual vigil, linking in by video conference, their voices broken both by tears and an occasionally spotty Internet connection.

“Personally, I’m simply devastated,” said Marva Sadler, surrounded by a handful of her former Beaumont colleagues as the crowd in McAllen shaded their eyes from the setting sun to see their East Texas counterparts on a projection screen.

“I am so very worried about the women and their families in Beaumont, the Golden Triangle, and the southwest region of Louisiana,” she continued.

The stories of East Texans who seek abortion care—many of whom call the Lilith Fund, a hotline that provides financial assistance for Texans who need help funding their procedures—are as varied as the folks who live there: there’s the woman left “high and dry” by an ex who “didn’t really care” about her pregnancy, the newly pregnant woman already raising a 10-month-old, the woman whose partner “disappeared as soon as she told him about the pregnancy,” the woman who went in for a prenatal check-up only to find her baby had no cranial structure.

And the one refrain that seems to tie them together: “This was the best decision she could make for her and her family.”

And so the number of legal abortion providers in Texas dropped once again in the wake of the passage of Texas’ omnibus anti-abortion law, HB 2. Its four provisions—restricting medication abortions, banning abortion after 20 weeks, requiring doctors who provide abortions to obtain hospital admitting privileges, and mandating that abortion clinics operate as ambulatory surgical centers—are expected to eventually leave Texas with just six legal abortion providers come September.

The Valley’s clinic mourners closed their vigil with a somber candlelight walk, their chants of “We will not forget!” echoing off the buildings of downtown McAllen as a handful of anti-choice protesters stood on a nearby street corner, praying in celebration.

In Beaumont, the closure was similarly marked with candlelight, but quietly—no public mourning or protests—with a handful of clinic workers gathered in just one small room in a small Texas town where residents have been left without safe, legal abortion care for the first time in 40 years.

Behind the Pine Curtain

Cross an unfamiliar threshold in East Texas—anywhere in the 200-mile or so stretch from the eastern borders of Dallas, Waco, and Houston all the way to the Louisiana state line—and you won’t know whether to expect the warmest reception of your life, or the coolest. I once spent an hour and a half trying to strike up idle conversation over Jell-O shots and tallboys at a Beaumont dive, to no avail, but have also met gas station attendants who wanted to tell me their life stories—and hear mine—before handing over the bathroom keys.

My parents, and their people going back five or maybe even six generations, hail from the smattering of tiny towns between Dallas and Texarkana and Shreveport—towns charmingly twanged and, in some cases, aspirationally named: Annona (Ann-OWN-uh), Avery (EH-v’ry), Detroit (DEE-trawt), Paris (Pairse). Northeast Texas tends to be more white and Hispanic; southeast Texas has more Black folks, especially out toward southern Louisiana.

It is a geographically beautiful place, as anyone who has seen the “pine curtain” first-hand will attest. It is a place where neighbors get together to fry frog legs and eat hundreds of pounds of crawfish on Sunday afternoons. A place where a stranded motorist can depend on the next passing car to pull over with a helping hand, where folks poking down backroads on tractors never fail to give a wave or a tip of their hats.

A lot of East Texans work in the oil fields out in the Gulf of Mexico. A lot of people work farms and ranches. And a lot of people can’t find decent-paying work at all—especially not when the plant and factory jobs dry up. People drink. People make, deal, and use a fair amount of methamphetamine. Sometimes even the police chief gets in on the drug game.

One East Texan I talked to described their experience spending 30 minutes trying to work—at a state-funded institution—while a fellow employee “laid hands” on them, praying to Jesus Christ for the swift recovery of their sick parent. Unpaved beer-joint parking lots—usually set off to the sides of the two-lane blue highways that snake through East Texas farmland and into the piney woods—quickly get full up with oversized trucks and gargling motorcycles come 7 p.m.

Dallas and Houston, the westernmost metropolitan gateways to northeast and southeast Texas, tend to lean blue—both cities have, for example, non-discrimination ordinances that protect people on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

But outside of these urban loops, things get redder. Much redder. The kind of red where gay couples are called “f*gs” by restaurant employees. The kind of red where a woman can lose her substitute teaching job because she is transgender. The kind of red where it’s weirder if a roadside stand selling sweet tea, decrepit lawnmowers, and “We Don’t Dial 911” signs doesn’t have a prominently displayed confederate flag on the premises.

And indeed, race relations in East Texas are particularly complicated; the area is home to Jasper, where in 1998 three white men dragged a Black man named James Byrd to his death, behind a pick-up truck. Last fall, in nearby Hemphill, a Black man named Alfred Wright was found dead in a field after local law enforcement leaders—all white men—appeared to delay an investigation into his disappearance, bringing up simmering tensions between a Black community hoping to have, at last, a serious conversation about racism, and a white community that would rather pretend those tensions didn’t exist in the first place.

And somewhere on the road between Beaumont and Orange, Texas, this last spring, a Ford F-250 gunned past me on a two-lane highway, boasting an “I <3 BIG OIL” bumper sticker on its back window.

Red.

While the Rio Grande Valley has seen national and international coverage of the impact of Texas’ new abortion restrictions and family planning budget cuts there, a similarly serious situation exists in East Texas—though its manifestation differs somewhat from the reproductive health-care crisis unfolding in the blue-tinted Valley.

Cultural taboos around having sex—and around talking about sex—are especially strong in rural and suburban East Texas, and the extreme right-wing Tea Party has a firm—and strengthening—hold on voters and public officials in an already deeply socially, politically, and fiscally conservative area. A decade ago, redistricting turned East Texas’ once-Democratic First Congressional District into an easy-win playground for native son Rep. Louie Gohmert, a now five-time congressman who believes the Obama administration is teeming with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and that terrorists are birthing babies on U.S. soil to create a secret army of future spies. East Texas is also home to Texas A&M University, a proudly conservative stronghold in the Texas public university system.

Budget cuts championed by conservative state legislators have forced Planned Parenthood to shutter three East Texas clinics, none of which provided abortion care, in 2013. That reproductive health-care organization has been able to keep only one of its East Texas clinics, in Tyler, open thanks to a federal Title X grant that also helped it re-open a facility in the Rio Grande Valley last fall. (Full disclosure: I have a friendly relationship with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, which operates clinics in Southeast Texas and Louisiana, and have spoken at the group’s annual Roe v. Wade anniversary luncheon.)

Abortion providers in Waco, Bryan, and Beaumont—two Planned Parenthood locations, and that Whole Woman’s Health clinic—have all either shuttered or ended abortion care in the last year. Today, East Texans must travel hundreds of miles roundtrip to Houston, Dallas, or Shreveport for legal abortion care. And unlike in the Rio Grande Valley, where health-care professionals worry about pregnant people crossing the border to and from Mexico to buy the abortion-inducing drugs that can be purchased over-the-counter at pharmacies there, there is no easy access to the drugs that, while illegal, may be the safest, and one of the most common, methods that Texans choose to self-induce abortions when they cannot access a legal provider hundreds of miles away.

Marva Sadler at Whole Woman’s Health estimated that their Beaumont clinic alone saw about 3,000 patients per year. She now works at the Whole Woman’s Health in Fort Worth, which will close in September along with all but six of Texas’ existing abortion providers. Then Texans will need to travel to one clinic in San Antonio, one in Fort Worth, one in Dallas, one in Austin, or two clinics in Houston for legal abortion care inside state lines. But some of them are already heading to Louisiana, because as one anonymous Dallas abortion provider wrote in Women’s eNews in May, providers in Texas are “swamped,” often working through the night to see desperate patients.


Abortion access in East Texas and western Louisiana. Red pins represent a shuttered site, green pins are sites that remain open for now, and the orange pin represents a reproductive health clinic that is open but does not provide abortion care.

“We are getting calls from [Texas] women who can’t get into any of the available clinics without a waiting period,” said Kathaleen Pittman at the Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport. At Hope, Pittman can get clients in the next day for patients early in their pregnancies. In Dallas and Houston, patients now often have to wait a week or more for their first appointment—the one that precedes Texas’ mandated 24-hour waiting period unless a patient can prove they live more than 100 miles from any legal abortion provider—and many Texas providers have stopped prescribing medication abortions altogether due to the provision of HB 2 that mandates patients visit the clinic four separate times to take two abortion-inducing pills.

For now, at least, Hope can see patients quickly, though they still must obey a mandated 24-hour waiting period law, just as Texas providers must. And soon, Hope’s abortion providers—indeed, all Louisiana abortion providers—will be forced to obtain hospital admitting privileges, thanks to a Texas-style omnibus anti-abortion access bill that passed the Louisiana legislature 88-5 in late May. When that law goes into effect, Hope is expected to become one of two remaining legal abortion providers in Louisiana, with the other located just a few miles away in nearby Bossier City—300 miles from New Orleans. The last abortion clinic in Mississippi, in Jackson, is 200 miles from Shreveport and New Orleans.

There isn’t a looming reproductive health-care crisis in the South. It has already arrived.

“We Don’t Even Talk About Good Sex Here”

2010: “The sexually transmitted disease syphilis is on the rise in East Texas.”

2012: “Houston’s health department reported a near doubling in the number of new infectious syphilis cases during the first eight months of 2012 compared to the same period last year.”

2013: “Worst syphilis outbreak in 60 years.”

2014: Primary and secondary syphilis “concentrated primarily along the I-35 corridor and eastward.”

In terms of common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis, Texas is the eighth most infected state in the country, with its highest concentration of STD outbreaks located in East Texas. Neighboring Louisiana ranks number one. Trailing Louisiana: Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama.

Sex education for public school students is wholly optional in Texas, where the vast majority of districts choose abstinence-only programs; in Louisiana, sex education is also optional, but when it is included in curricula, it must be abstinence-only, and it may not be provided by any abortion-affiliated person or group. In May, Louisiana legislators also rejected a proposal that would have let the state’s Department of Education ask students questions about “risk behavior associated with chronic health conditions, including those related to sexual health.”

It’s no wonder, then, that along the porous border between rural East Texas and western Louisiana, folks really don’t like talking about abortion.

“If there wasn’t a stigma attached to abortion, people here could talk about it all day long,” joked Kathaleen Pittman when I met with her and her colleagues at Hope Medical Group in Shreveport this May. Folks in her neck of the woods can talk—and talk, and talk—but they get quiet when the subject of reproductive health care comes up.

Hoping to speak with supporters of women’s health care in East Texas, I reached out to the Temple Foundation, a philanthropic organization that in 2006 made a “generous lead donation” to a new $1.5 million Planned Parenthood facility in Lufkin, a two-hour drive northeast of Houston. Previously, the Planned Parenthood facility there had been operating out of a Junior League-provided location since 1977.

Today, that $1.5 million facility has shuttered, and Lufkin’s Junior League declined to talk to me about their involvement with Planned Parenthood. The Temple Foundation eventually began hanging up on my calls when I telephoned hoping for an interview with its leadership. Other private citizens who’ve done fundraising and reproductive health-care outreach in East Texas backed off of interview asks—one demurring because their spouse is a public official in a rural county, and they feared it would have negative political repercussions.

So I turned to East Texans and Louisianans who talk about taboos for a living. People like Brooke King, the director of programs and services at the Women’s Center of East Texas, a domestic violence shelter and rape crisis center with several locations in the area.

“We don’t even talk about good sex here,” she cracked, laughing in her cozy, dimly lit office in the back of a Tyler strip mall. Bad sex? Negative consequences of sex? Rape? Out of the question.

King says she especially walks a fine line when she does healthy relationship education in schools, because parents are especially wary of outsiders giving their children “permission” to have sex outside of marriage.

“Our parents aren’t talking to their kids about it,” she told me. “It’s this idea that if we talk to our kids about it, it’s only giving them permission. We only believe in abstinence. Which is fine! And abstinence is the safest way to be, hands down. We get that. But we also get that when we have, continuously have, 13-year-olds who are in school who are pregnant, abstinence is not something you can force.”

But in particular spaces, like university classrooms, abortion clinics, and King’s domestic violence shelters, the walls come down—for East Texans of all ages.

King says she often works with her shelter clients who are especially burdened by religious mandates to obey their spouses and partners, who feel as though they cannot, biblically, say no to sex or say yes to planning their families.

“Religion.” King sighed.

“God love religion. It serves such a great purpose, but it’s twisted so much. It makes it really easy for abusers to get their point of view across.”

King keeps a special book in her office, a kind of Bible study guide to help battered women better understand the scriptures that are so often used to keep them silent and submissive. Rarely, said King, does she meet women who have been explicitly told not to take birth control, or whose husbands have outright taken it away from them. Instead, the pressure to bear children, and to submit to coerced sex, is more subtle.

“We see reproductive coercion,” said King, but she says it’s frequently “masked” by religion. “People don’t recognize it as such,” she said, until they get to talking with someone like her, usually in the aftermath of a domestic violence call or visit to a SANE—Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.

Before the Whole Woman’s Health clinic in Beaumont closed, Marva Sadler told me, they were the unofficial health-care “navigators” for the Golden Triangle area. When Sadler would work on clinic scheduling, she would always make sure to block out extra phone time for callers—once they got on the phone with a Whole Woman’s receptionist, they would unburden themselves of their entire back-stories, or explain complicated health situations that might have had nothing to do with abortion, but which they hoped Whole Woman’s could provide answers to.

“When [clients] called on the phone, from the moment they call and make their appointment, you nine times out of ten know their life story,” remembered Sadler. “You have to allot extra time on the phone, because she is going to tell you everything from the moment she got pregnant. You develop that relationship from the beginning.”

“If I close my eyes,” said Sadler, “I still remember their faces.”

When people couldn’t get information about sex and contraception from their families—”If you get pregnant or you’re having sex and you need contraceptives, you ask grandma, and if she can’t tell you, you just don’t get it,” said Sadler—they turned to Whole Woman’s Health.

And low-income East Texans also once turned to the now-shuttered Planned Parenthood facilities in Lufkin, Huntsville, and Bryan. Today, those Texans must wait weeks, or sometimes months, for Pap smear and contraception appointments at county health clinics when they find themselves uninsured. And about half of working-age, low-income adults in East Texas are uninsured.

Now that East Texans have lost so many of the resources that were available to them in recent years, some residents are particularly trying to open up conversations about health and sex that start before that phone call to Planned Parenthood or Whole Woman’s Health. Often, those conversations start on college campuses.

[slideshow_deploy id=’40369′]
“I Feel Like I’m on Another Planet Sometimes”

“It’s almost like it’s the 1950s out here,” Savannah Anderson-Bledsoe, a student at Lamar University in Beaumont and one of the founders of the school’s nascent feminist club, told me. Driving through the campus to meet her, I pass a crisis pregnancy center adjacent to a sand volleyball court filled with undergraduates in tank tops and bikinis.

One of the very first things that Anderson-Bledsoe explains is that “the gender norms down here are so rigid.” That’s not something she’s necessarily used to.

A Georgia native and child of a single mother who spent her high school years in Austin, 20-year-old Anderson-Bledsoe said she loves Beaumont, and she loves her college, but “coming from Austin, I feel like I’m on another planet sometimes.”

With her group, Feminists of Lamar, she says she’s trying to “change things one day at a time” by starting small conversations with her fellow students—students who, she says, feel immense pressure to find a spouse in college, and to marry soon after, if not during, the course of their schooling. Her club’s hosted screenings of Miss Representation, the documentary that examines the objectification of women in popular media, have hosted clothing drives for local women’s shelters, and they’re hoping this year to work with young teens in middle school on a self-empowerment project.

Anderson-Bledsoe told me she hates to see her fellow students—many of them, like her, “Black women who are empowered, strong”—put such an emphasis on finding a (heterosexual) relationship to avoid single motherhood, and she feels for the men in her community who she says are pressured to fulfill an unattainable version of masculinity, unable to hug their brothers or cry when they are upset.

“Women, a lot of them out here feel like they should want to take care of a man and a family,” explained Anderson-Bledsoe, from a booth in the comfortable, cool-toned common room of her campus dorm. And the guys? “The men out here are helpless,” she jokes.

But what really gets her, she says, is her fellow students’ difficulty separating the sin from the sinner when it comes to topics like premarital sex and abortion.

Almost everyone I talked to in East Texas stressed the importance of Christianity in their and their neighbors’ lives—for better and for worse. Church is inextricably entwined with a broader, socially enforced mandate to avoid premarital sex—or at least avoid letting anyone know you’re having it—to marry early, and to, ideally, settle down to have children, with “Dad” going to work and “Mom” staying home with the kids, in the same town you grew up in.

And of course all of this is drowned in mandated heteronormativity and traditional gender roles, within a social system that is set up not for prevention, but for punishment.

“When someone has an abortion, it’s an abomination,” said Anderson-Bledsoe. But if you don’t have an abortion, and you’re a single mom working to support your family, “you’re judged.”

Anderson-Bledsoe’s fellow Feminists of Lamar founder, Shelby Murphy, echoed her classmate’s concerns. A 20-year-old who’s lived her entire life in her parents’ home in Beaumont, Murphy said that while East Texans her age are especially taking “baby steps” toward more open-minded thinking, “it’s hard.”

Murphy said she was “scared” when she heard that the Beaumont Whole Woman’s Health clinic had closed, though as she was growing up, she didn’t even know Beaumont had an abortion clinic at all. It simply wasn’t discussed. Now, she worries that in a community that can be as tight-lipped about social issues as Beaumont can be, “they won’t see the after-effects” of diminishing access to abortion care.

Talking to these norm-defying college feminists, the thing that stuck with me the most was a casual joke that Anderson-Bledsoe made near the end of our chat.

“When it’s 2020 in the rest of the world, in Beaumont it’ll be 1992.”

Planned Parenthood: Texas’ Only Abortion Provider?

But willful blindness and ignorance to the consequences of bad health policy is certainly not unique to East Texas—it’s a statewide affliction, particularly among the conservative, Republican, and anti-choice Democrat legislators who have spent the past several years finding new ways to restrict abortion and to cut family planning funds.

The particular target of their ire has been Planned Parenthood, an organization which they have relentlessly tried to force out of the state. But Texas’ restrictive abortion laws may have had an unforeseen side effect—at least one unforeseen by the state lawmakers who have been saying for years that they hope to regulate the provider out of business. It’s a side effect that has to do with the choice within a choice—or perhaps, that very limited choice within a very limited choice: where Texans can go for their legal abortion care.

When the ambulatory surgical center provision of HB 2 is put into effect on September 1, half of the six remaining abortion providers in Texas will be Planned Parenthood facilities. If Planned Parenthood is able to open another projected San Antonio ambulatory surgical center by that deadline, it will then run four of the state’s seven existing legal abortion providers.

Instead of ushering Planned Parenthood out the door, conservative and anti-choice lawmakers have ensured that patients who seek legal abortion care are more likely than ever to get it—if they can make it to a legal provider at all—at Planned Parenthood. And it’s important to remember that legislators simultaneously slashed family planning funds and dismantled, then relaunched, a low-income contraception program—now called the Texas Women’s Health program—that today sees a fraction of the clients it served at its peak.

The bright new Planned Parenthood Center for Choice ambulatory surgical center in Houston will likely become the de facto destination for East Texans who might otherwise have chosen care at a smaller, more local provider like Whole Woman’s Health. Depending on the legislative situation in Louisiana, and whether doctors there are able to secure admitting privileges in their home communities, it may also become the only option for pregnant folks from Baton Rouge and Lake Charles who would otherwise have chosen Whole Woman’s Beaumont, or even Hope Medical, with their hot tea service in recovery rooms and clinic-style procedure facilities.

Because while the Planned Parenthood Center for Choice is a beautiful medical facility, it feels like a hospital—just as ambulatory surgical centers are meant to be. The hallways are wide enough for two large gurneys, and procedure rooms must be maintained for temperature and humidity at all times, making them chilly and also hard to regulate with the Texas sun pouring through the former bank building’s windows.

Before their procedures, says Tram Nguyen, the director of the Center for Choice ASC, “Patients stop in the doorways. ‘I thought you told me it was minor,’ she says they tell her. ‘This is an operating room.’”

Nguyen has worked at Planned Parenthood for years, the most tenured member of the staff in Houston. She told me that she complies with the ASC regulations because, legally, she has to—but she, and a number of mainstream medical professionals and organizations, see the ASC regulations as totally medically unnecessary. She fondly recalls days in Planned Parenthood’s smaller, homier abortion clinic, but is dedicated to defying legislators’ efforts to shut down legal abortion care in Texas.

“We’re not going anywhere,” she said, after walking me through the facility, peppering her tour with stories: the patient from the South Texas oyster fields who traveled hundreds of miles for her procedure, the sobbing, screaming patients she couldn’t help after Texas passed its 20-week abortion ban, the woman who drove all night from Mississippi and slept in the parking lot.

“We’ll figure it out,” Nguyen told me. They have to. “It’s kind of a kick to prove that to the state.”

But while Planned Parenthood in Houston—and other urban-area abortion providers who can afford to rent or build ambulatory surgical centers—may have the resources to keep their doors open in the coming months, a larger question looms: whether any but the wealthiest abortion-seeking Texans, with access to cars and time off work and child care for the children they already have, will be able to walk through those few remaining doors.

Commentary Law and Policy

Eighteen For-Profit Companies Fighting to Eliminate the Birth Control Benefit

Jodi Jacobson

Eighteen for-profit companies have filed lawsuits to overturn the birth control benefit in the Affordable Care Act, which requires that all insurance policies cover birth control without a co-pay as part of preventive care. These companies argue that including insurance coverage for birth control "violates their religious freedom." Here's a brief introduction to those companies and their cases.

Eighteen for-profit companies have filed lawsuits to avoid complying with the the birth control benefit in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires that all insurance policies cover birth control without a co-pay as part of preventive care. Often misleadingly characterized as mandating “free birth control,” the ACA, otherwise known as Obamacare, requires that all insurance policies cover all forms of basic preventive care without a co-pay, including well-woman, well-baby, and well-child visits, as well as other basic prevention care for men and women. This coverage is intended to save costs and promote public health.

Basic preventive reproductive and sexual health-care services, including contraception, are therefore also covered without a co-pay; as part of the mandate, all insurance plans must provide coverage without a co-pay for all methods of contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Employees earn their salaries and their benefits, and many pay for all or a portion of their health-care premiums out of their salaries. As such, none of this coverage is “free,” but is rather covered by the policies they are earning or for which they are paying.

Nonetheless, the 18 companies that have sued to overturn the birth control benefit are doing so based on several misleading claims. One is that providing insurance policies that cover birth control violates the “religious freedom” of the companies’ owners. It is difficult to see how a critical public health intervention accessed through an employee’s health plan violates the religious freedom of the owner of the company. In fact, the reverse seems to be true; not allowing an employee to access coverage he or she has earned would appear to violate the employee’s freedoms, first and foremost. 

The owners of these companies share the belief that a woman is pregnant as soon as there is a fertilized egg (the medical definition of pregnancy is successful implantation of an embryo in the uterine wall) and that a fertilized egg has the same rights as a born person. They also claim that the ACA forces them to cover “abortifacients,” with most pointing to emergency contraception methods such as Plan B to make their case. Emergency contraception, however, is just that: Contraception. It prevents ovulation, and therefore fertilization, and does not work after an egg has been fertilized.   

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These lawsuits, now in various phases of litigation, are posing a critical challenge not only to the Affordable Care Act, but ultimately to the ability of all people to make the most profoundly personal decisions about whether, when, and under what circumstances to have a child and build a family.

Below is a list of these companies and the status of their cases. And Planned Parenthood Federation of America has launched a campaign enabling you to tell these companies what you think.

1. Tyndale House

Summary: An Illinois publishing company focusing on Christian books (and Bibles). The founder’s argument is that he shouldn’t have to provide his 260 employees with contraceptives he equates with abortion.

Status: U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton of the district court granted a preliminary injunction.

Tyndale House President and Chief Executive Mark D. Taylor.

Tyndale House President and Chief Executive Mark D. Taylor.

President and Chief Executive: Mark D. Taylor

Taylor sees ACA birth control mandate as a test of God’s law vs. Man’s law. “I’ve always thought—in a theoretical way—that I might someday face a situation where the government was asking or telling me to do something that was counter to God’s law as I understood it. If such a situation arose, I hoped I would have the backbone to stand tall and disobey the government mandate. Well, that day seems to have come.” (World Magazine; October 2012)

Taylor equates Plan B and intrauterine devices (IUDs) with abortions because they prevent implantation. “As a Protestant, I don’t have a moral objection to contraceptives per se. But [the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)] defines contraception to include abortifacients such as Plan B (the morning-after pill), Ella (the week-after pill), and intrauterine devices. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admits that one purpose of these drugs and devices is to keep the fertilized egg from “implantation” onto the wall of the uterus. In other words, their purpose is to cause an early abortion of a human being that is made in the image of God.” (World Magazine; October 2012)

Taylor feels he has biblical confirmation that his lawsuit is protecting the word of God. “The day after we filed the lawsuit, the daily reading from The One Year Bible included the first chapter of Jeremiah and these verses:

The LORD gave me this message: ‘I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations’ (Jeremiah 1:4-5, NLT).

How’s that for biblical confirmation that the unborn baby is important in the eyes of God! After reading that passage, I felt confirmed in my responsibility to stand up against a government that is trampling on my religious liberty. May God be merciful to all of us.” (World Magazine; October 2012)

2. Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics

Summary: The produce processing and packing companies are Ohio-based but serve 23 states and employ about 400 people. “The government is requiring them to enter into a contract and to pay for things that they find morally objectionable, and they just want to be able to continue what they’ve been doing,” one of their lawyers argued. They’ve excluded contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs from their company health insurance for the past decade. Co-founders are two Catholic brothers.

The produce processing and packing companies are Ohio-based but serve 23 states and employ about 400 people.

The produce processing and packing companies are Ohio-based but serve 23 states and employ about 400 people.

Status: Complaint filed. In response to plaintiffs’ contention that their case is sufficiently related to the Tyndale case, the district court ordered plaintiffs to demonstrate as much by February 8.

Co-founder and CEO: Frank Gilardi

Co-founder and President: Phil Gilardi

“Freshway Foods trucks bear signs stating, ‘It’s not a choice, it’s a child,’ as a way to promote the owners’ anti-abortion views to the public, according to [a] legal complaint.” (Journal News; January 2013)

Freshway Foods has deliberately excluded contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs from its company health coverage for 10 years. “’Our clients believe that having to pay for contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization will cause them to violate their religious beliefs and moral values,’ said Edward White, Senior Counsel of the [American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ)]. ‘They have specifically excluded such things from their company’s health insurance plan for the past ten years. The HHS mandate, however, will require them to pay for such drugs and services on April 1st. They have filed this lawsuit seeking an injunction against the mandate so they can continue to run their business in accordance with their religious beliefs and moral values.’” (ACLJ; January 2013)

3. Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation

Norman Hahn.

Norman Hahn.

Summary: A Pennsylvania-based wood cabinet and specialty products manufacturer run by Mennonites who think some birth-control products such as Plan B are “sinful and immoral” and “an intrinsic evil and a sin against God.” The company employs 950 people.

Status: The court dismissed a motion for preliminary injunction, but the plaintiffs appealed to the Third Circuit last month.

Owners: Norman Hahn, Elizabeth Hahn, Norman Lamar Hahn, Anthony N. Hahn, and Kevin Hahn 

The owners argue they are acting in accordance with their faith by not covering contraception, and being forced to cover it is “un-American.” “‘People of faith should not be punished for making decisions according to the deepest convictions of that faith,’ said Attorney Charles W. Proctor, III, who is representing the Hahn family. ‘When government grows so invasive to force persons to violate their conscience, government is out of control and clearly outside the bounds of our Constitutions’ Bill of Rights .… The Health and Human Services abortion pill mandate would unconstitutionally force the Hahn family, owners and operators of Conestoga Wood Specialties, to do something offensive to their conscience—under threat of onerously large fines and penalties,’ he continued. ‘This is un-American.’” (Christian News; December 2012) 

They argue that Plan B is equivalent to an abortion, and call it “intrinsic evil.” “‘The Mennonite Church teaches that taking of life, which includes anything that terminates a fertilized embryo, is intrinsic evil, and a sin against God to which they are held accountable,’ said the lawsuit brought by Norman Hahn, Norman Lemar Hahn and Anthony H. Hahn. Both abortion and any abortifacient contraception that may cause an abortion are ‘equally objectionable,’ they said.” (Washington Times; December 2012) 

They have said mandating that they offer contraception is “sinful and immoral.” “Conestoga Wood in December had sued the U.S. Secretaries of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury, alleging it would be ‘sinful and immoral’ to make the company comply with the law by paying for or supporting certain forms of contraception.” (Lancaster Online; January 2013) 

4. Hercules Industries, Inc.

Summary: A Colorado corporation that manufactures heating, ventilation, and air conditioning products and employs 303 staffers. 

James Newland, Paul Newland, William Newland, Andrew Newland

James Newland, Paul Newland, William Newland, Andrew Newland

Status: The district court granted an injunction. The government has appealed to the Tenth Circuit.

Founders and Owners: James Newland, Paul Newland, William Newland, and Andrew Newland

Number of children: The Newlands are five sibling-owners of Hercules Industries. The number of children they each have is unknown. 

Hercules is a for-profit, secular employer, but is incorporating Catholicism into its “corporate culture.”  “Although Hercules is a for-profit, secular employer, the Newlands [founders] adhere to the Catholic denomination of the Christian faith. According to the Newlands, ‘they seek to run Hercules in a manner that reflects their sincerely held religious beliefs.’ Thus, for the past year and a half the Newlands have implemented within Hercules a program designed to build their corporate culture based on Catholic principles.” (Court files; July 2012)

Hercules Industries’ previous health insurance plan intentionally left out contraceptive coverage because of the Newlands’ Catholic beliefs. “According to Plaintiffs, Hercules maintains a self-insured group plan for its employees ‘[a]s part of fulfilling their organizational mission and Catholic beliefs and commitments.’ Significantly, because the Catholic Church condemns the use of contraception, Hercules self-insured plan does not cover abortifacent drugs, contraception, or sterilization.” (Court files; July 2012)

Ironically, Hercules Industries was going to be awarded a Good Citizenship Award for a number of features, including its health-care coverage. The award was taken away when the company won its court injunction. “Hercules Industries, a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning manufacturer that employs 300 workers and has been in business in the Mile-High City for 50 years, was to be honored with a ‘Good Citizenship Award.’ The laurel was in recognition of contributions to the community, including the historic restoration of company headquarters and, ironically, its ‘generous employee health care coverage.’” (Fox News; August 2012)

5. Hobby Lobby

Summary: A national craft supply chain based in Oklahoma City that employs over 13,000 people across the country. 

David Green.

David Green.

Status: The district court denied the preliminary injunction, but Hobby Lobby appealed to the Tenth Circuit, which denied separate injunctive relief but has not yet decided whether to grant the preliminary injunction. The plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court for the separate relief, but the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

Founder: David Green

Green argues that his religious beliefs support his thousands of employees and their families. “’Our family is now being forced to choose … between following the laws of the land that we love or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful and supported our family and thousands of our employees and their families,’ Green said … during a conference call. ‘We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.'” (The Oklahoman; September 2012)

Green says the foundation of his business is “honoring the Lord in a manner consistent with biblical principles.” “‘The foundation of our business has been, and will continue to be strong values, and honoring the Lord in a manner consistent with biblical principles,’ a statement on the Hobby Lobby website reads, adding that one outgrowth of that is the store is closed on Sundays to give its employees a day of rest.” (CNN; January 2013)

6. Sioux Chief Manufacturing

Summary: A Missouri plumbing products company that employs 370 people.

Status: Complaint filed.

Joe Ismert.

Joe Ismert.

CEO: Joe Ismert

The Ismert family alleges that the contraception mandate interferes with their desire to embody the moral teachings of the Catholic Church in their business. “‘The Mandate illegally and unconstitutionally coerces Plaintiffs to violate their sincerely held Catholic beliefs under threat of heavy fines and penalties,’ reads the suit in part. ‘The Mandate also forces Plaintiffs to fund government-dictated speech that is directly at odds with the religious ethics derived from their deeply held religious beliefs and the moral teachings of the Catholic Church that they strive to embody in their business.'” (Christian Post; January 2013)

The Ismerts’ lawyer has called the contraception mandate “unprecedented, unnecessary, and unconstitutional.”  “‘Americans should be free to honor God and live according to their consciences wherever they are,’ said [lawyer Jonathan R.] Whitehead. ‘They have the God-given freedom to live and transact business according to their faith, and the First Amendment has always protected that. Forcing Americans to ignore their faith just to earn a living is unprecedented, unnecessary, and unconstitutional.'” (Christian Post; January 2013)

7. Domino’s Farms

Summary: The Michigan-based property management company owned by Tom Monaghan, the same man who founded Domino’s Pizza. Forty-five full-time and 44 part-time employees work there.

Status: The district court granted a temporary restraining order. Court heard motion preliminary injunction on January 31.

Tom Monaghan.

Tom Monaghan.

Owner: Tom Monaghan

Monaghan’s case refers to contraception as “a grave sin” and likens Plan B to abortion. “The lawsuit, filed in federal court, claims that the new law ‘attacks and desecrates a foremost tenet of the Catholic Church,’ which considers contraception ‘a grave sin.’ It adds that the mandate compels insurance issuers to cover the morning-after pill, ‘despite their known abortifacient mechanisms of action.’” (AOL; December 2012)

Before the ACA rule, Monaghan specifically crafted an insurance plan that did not include contraceptives or sterilization. “Before Obamacare, however, Monaghan had been able to ‘engineer’ an insurance policy through Blue Cross and Blue Shield that had exemptions for contraceptives and sterilization, according to [Thomas More Law Center President and Chief Counsel Richard] Thompson.” (AOL; December 2012)

Monaghan once countered the idea that contraceptive coverage extends equal opportunity to women in the workforce by citing that his lead counsel, Erin Mersino, won their case’s first victory while more than seven months pregnant. “‘The federal government says we need this law so that women have an equal opportunity in the workforce, so they can choose if and when they have children,’ said Thompson. But Mersino managed that legal victory, he points out, while seven-and-a-half months pregnant.” (AOL; December 2012)

8. Autocam Corporation

Summary: A West-Michigan-based company that makes parts for transportation and medical equipment and employs 680 people across the United States. CEO John Kennedy and family are Catholic.

Status: The district court denied preliminary injunction. Plaintiffs appealed to the Sixth Circuit, which denied injunction and motion to reconsider.

John Kennedy.

John Kennedy.

CEO: John Kennedy

Kennedy made this video in association with CatholicVote.org to explain his opposition to the ACA mandate. In it, he likens Plan B and IUDs to abortion. “The Affordable Care Act forces me to pay for things that violate my deeply held beliefs, such as abortion-inducing drugs, and makes it difficult for us to offer these great benefits to our associates. I can’t in good conscience choose between violating my beliefs and meeting my associates’ needs,” he says in the video.

Again, Kennedy has likened Plan B and IUDs to abortion. “‘Why is the Obama administration prioritizing life- ending drugs over lifesaving drugs?’ said Kennedy, who filed the lawsuit with the support of the Catholic Vote Legal Defense Fund and the Thomas More Society of Chicago.” (MLive.com; October 2012)

9. O’Brien Industrial Holdings

Summary: A Missouri company that processes ceramic materials and employs 87 people.

Status: After the district court granted motion to dismiss, the plaintiffs appealed to the Eighth Circuit. Last November, the Eighth Circuit issued a stay pending the appeal, over the dissent of one judge.

Frank R. O'Brien.

Frank R. O’Brien.

Owner: Frank R. O’Brien

The company website says, “Our conduct is guided by the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments. We will not discriminate based on anyone’s personal belief system.” Mission: Our mission is to make our labor a pleasing offering to the Lord while enriching our families and society …. Integrity: Our conduct is guided by the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments. We will not discriminate based on anyone’s personal belief system …. People: We are an organization that will attract and keep outstanding personnel. Mean spirited behavior will not be tolerated.” (O’Brien Industrial Holdings)

O’Brien’s lawyer has argued that businesses should be governed by moral values, not government. “‘We have argued from the beginning that employers like Frank O’Brien must be able to operate their business in a manner consistent with their moral values, not the values of the government,'” said attorney Francis Manion. (Associated Press; November 2012)

10. American Pulverizer Company

Summary: Owned by founders Paul and Henry Griesedieck, who have controlling interest in four Missouri-based companies involved in the business of wholesale scrap metal recycling. Their companies employ about 150 people.

Status: The district court granted a preliminary injunction in part because of the O’Brien stay precedent.

Paul and Henry Griesedieck.

Paul and Henry Griesedieck.

Founders: Paul and Henry Griesedieck

The Griesediecks have argued that “it would be sinful for us to pay for services that have a significant risk of causing the death of embryonic lives.” “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.’” (Life News; January 2013)

The Griesedieck brothers have likened Plan B to abortion. “The owners, who are Evangelical Christians, contend that the HHS mandate requiring coverage for abortion-inducing drugs—including the ‘morning-after pill’—violates their religious beliefs.” (ACLJ; October 2012)

11. Sharpe Holdings, Inc.

Summary: A Missouri corporation that is involved in the farming, dairy, creamery, and cheese-making industries and employs at least 100 people.

Charles N. Sharpe.

Charles N. Sharpe.

Status: The district court granted a temporary restraining order that’s in effect until the court rules on further injunctive relief.

Founder and CEO: Charles N. Sharpe

Sharpe has likened Plan B and IUDs to abortion. “Rather, the focus of their claims for injunctive relief is the ability of these devices to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the wall of the uterus, thereby leading to the ejection of the fertilized egg from the woman’s body, in other words, the abortion of the live fetus.” (Court files; December 2012)

Sharpe believes that Plan B and IUDs are “abortion on demand.” “In accordance with their sincerely held religious beliefs and practices, the individual plaintiffs oppose the use, funding, provision, or support of abortion on demand and believe that the use of Plan B, Ella, and copper IUDs constitutes abortion on demand.” (Court files; December 2012)

12. Annex Medical, Inc.

Summary: Plaintiffs Stuart Lind and Thomas Janas are Minnesota business owners, the former of whom owns and operates Annex Medical and Sacred Heart Medical, companies that design, manufacture, and sell medical devices and employ 16 full-time and two part-time workers. Janas is an entrepreneur who has owned several dairy businesses in the past and intends to purchase another in 2013. He currently operates Habile Holdings and Venture North Properties, companies that lease commercial properties but currently have no employees.

medicalannex

Annex Medical and Sacred Heart Medical, companies that design, manufacture, and sell medical devices and employ 16 full-time and two part-time workers

Status: The district court denied preliminary injunction, but the plaintiffs appealed to the Eighth Circuit in January and got an injunction pending appeal, relying on the O’Brien order.

Owners: Stuart Lind and Thomas Janas

Lind and Janas believe insurance plans covering contraception are “sinful” and “immoral.” “Lind and Janas believe that paying for a group health insurance plan that complies with Defendants’ Mandate is sinful and immoral because it requires them and/or the businesses they control to pay for contraception, sterilization, abortifacient drugs and related education and counseling in violation of their sincere and deeply-held religious beliefs and the teachings of the Catholic Church.” (Court files; November 2012)

Lind and Janas believe that any action intended to prevent procreation is forbidden, whether before, during, or after intercourse. “Plaintiffs Stuart Lind and Tom Janas are devout Catholics who are steadfastly committed to biblical principles and the teachings of the Catholic Church, including the belief that life involves the creative action of God, and is therefore sacred. Lind and Janas therefore believe that any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation is an evil forbidden by God.” (Court files; November 2012)

Lind and Janas have likened Plan B to abortion. “Among the products the Mandate requires Plaintiffs’ group plans to fund are Plan B (the ‘morning after pill’) and Ella (the ‘week after pill’), drugs that are designed to destroy early human life shortly after conception.” (Court files; November 2012)

13. Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc.

Summary: An Illinois-based full-service construction contractor that employs about 90 workers. The Kortes “are adherents of the Catholic faith” and “wish to conduct business in a manner that does not violate their religious faith,” according to the suit.

Status: The district court denied preliminary injunction, but the plaintiffs appealed to the Seventh Circuit, which issued an order granting the emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal over the strong dissent of one judge.

Cyril "Pete" Korte.

Cyril “Pete” Korte.

Owners: Cyril “Pete” Korte and Jane Korte

President: Cyril “Pete” Korte

Secretary: Jane Korte

The majority of the company’s employees choose to take coverage from their unions, rather than the company. “They employ about 90 full-time employees, about 70 of whom belong to and receive health insurance coverage from unions. The other 20 non-union employees receive coverage under a group plan provided by the Kortes’ company, according to their complaint.” (Madison-St. Clair Record; October 2012) 

The Kortes take issue with Plan B, likening it to abortion. “Complying with the mandate would require the Kortes to violate their religious beliefs because it requires them to pay for, provide or otherwise support contraception, sterilization and abortion, the suit states, specifically noting the ‘morning-after pill.’” (Madison-St. Clair Record; October 2012)

14. Triune Health Group

Summary: A secular Illinois corporation that specializes in facilitating the re-entry of injured workers into the workforce. The health group employs 95 people.

Status: The district court granted a preliminary injunction.

Christopher and Mary Anne Yep.

Christopher and Mary Anne Yep.

Founders: Christopher and Mary Anne Yep

The Yeps have likened Plan B to abortion. “The Yeps embrace a belief which is embedded in Triune’s mission statement that each individual be ‘treated with the human dignity and respect that God intended.’ They say the Obamacare contraceptive mandate, administered by HHS and the other federal agencies named in the lawsuit, as well as the Illinois insurance contraceptive mandate, administered by Illinois’ Department of Insurance, require the Triune to provide and pay for abortion-related and contraceptive coverage for its employees and their families.” (Life News; January 2013)

The Yeps have said that the contraceptive mandate imposes a “gravely oppressive burden” on their religious beliefs. “‘The federal and state governments are coercing our clients to violate their conscientious convictions in a fashion that is completely at odds with the resounding declarations of our Founding Fathers and our modern Supreme Court jurisprudence,’ said Samuel B. Casey, Managing Director and General Counsel for the Jubilee Campaign’s Law of Life Project.” (Life News; January 2013)

Ironically, Triune Health Group was recently awarded “Best Workplace for Women” by Crain’s Chicago Business. “In Crain’s survey, Triune employees said it’s not the company’s written policies or benefits that stand out—in fact, some even expressed a desire for more than three weeks’ vacation. But workers seemed to value the flexible approach that management takes with each employee’s needs. For years, the company has posted a 95 percent employee retention rate. Most employees work out of their homes and are given flex-time, part-time and telecommuting options.” (Crain’s Chicago Business; May 2012)

15. Grote Industries

Summary: An Indiana-based privately held manufacturer of vehicle safety systems. The family-owned company has 1,448 full-time employees. The Grote family is Roman Catholic.

William "Bill" Grote.

William “Bill” Grote.

Status: The district court denied a preliminary injunction. Plaintiffs appealed to the Seventh Circuit, which consolidated the case with Korte (#8) and granted Grote Industries a temporary injunction pending appeal, over the strong dissent of one judge.

Owner: William “Bill” Grote

Before the ACA, Grote Industries did not offer contraception in its company health insurance plan, citing the family’s Catholic beliefs. “The [Grotes] are Catholic and claim to operate their business according to the ‘precepts of their faith.’ This includes adhering to the Catholic Church’s teachings regarding ‘the moral wrongfulness of abortifacient drugs, contraception, and sterilization’ and denying their employees contraception coverage in the company’s plan.” (Rewire; February 2013)

16. Weingartz Supply Company

Summary: A secular Michigan company that sells outdoor power equipment and employees 170 people. Owner Daniel Weingartz is Roman Catholic.

Daniel Weingartz.

Daniel Weingartz.

Status: The district court granted a preliminary injunction for plaintiff Daniel Weingartz and Weingartz Supply Company, but not Legatus, a non-profit organization comprising more than 4,000 Catholic business owners and organizations that also got involved with the case. Defendants appealed to the Sixth Circuit in January. The government has filed a cross-appeal.

President: Daniel Weingartz

Weingartz has deliberately excluded contraceptive coverage in his company’s health-care plan. “Mr. Weingartz, a Roman Catholic, said he had devised a health plan that, in keeping with his religious beliefs, excluded coverage of contraceptives.” (New York Times; November 2012) 

 17. Infrastructure Alternatives, Inc.

Dredging.

Dredging.

Summary: A Michigan contractor in the fields of environmental dredging, contaminated sediment remediation, geotextile tube installation, and water treatment operations.

Status: Complaint filed. 

 

 18. Tonn and Blank Construction, LLC

construction

Indiana Construction company launches suit.

Summary: An Indiana construction company. The suit hasn’t gotten any publicity.

Status: Awaiting responses to motion for preliminary injunction, motion to dismiss, and motion to consolidate with Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

 

 

Sign the petition and read about the Birth Control Bosses here: http://ow.ly/iKVko

Sign the petition and read about the Birth Control Bosses here.

See our other coverage of these cases:

Tyndale:
The Sliding Scale of Sin: Tyndale Publishers and Contraception Without a Co-Pay
What’s Next In The Litigation Over The Obamacare Contraception Mandate?

Freshway:
Legal Wrap: Personhood, Statutory Rape, and the Second-Class Legal Status of Women

Conestoga:
Mennonite Business Latest To Challenge Contraception Mandate

Hercules Industries:

Federal Judge In Michigan Rules Against Birth Control Benefit in Favor of Business Owner
Will the Religious Right Succeed? An Examination of the Hercules Ruling on the Birth Control Benefit

Hobby Lobby:
Vajazzling for Jesus: Hobby Lobby Aims a Glue Gun at the Birth Control Benefit

Sotomayor Is Right: Hobby Lobby’s Legal Claims Are Not “Indisputably Clear”

Hobby Lobby Appeals Contraception Ruling

Bush Appointee Rejects Hobby Lobby Arguments Against Birth Control Benefit

In Hobby Lobby Case, Federal Court Weighs Whether Secular Employers Can Exercise Religious Rights

DOJ Makes The Case For Dismissing Hobby Lobby Suit Against Birth Control Benefit

Religious and Activist Groups Petition Hobby Lobby to Stop Birth Control Lawsuit

Domino’s:
Domino’s Pizza Founder Latest To Try And Block Contraception Mandate

Dominos Pizza Founder Wont Have To Comply With Contraception Mandate, Judge Rules 

O’Brien:
The O’Brien Decision: A Gift to the Obama Administration From a Bush Appointee 

Sharpe: Missouri Cheesemaker Wins Temporary Injunction Against ACA Birth Control Benefit

Korte: 7th Circuit Blocks Contraception Mandate, Suggests Expansion of “Religious Liberty” for Corporations

Grote: Latest Seventh Circuit Decision on Birth Control Benefit Paves Another Path To SCOTUS 
Weingartz: Federal Judge In Michigan Rules Against Birth Control Benefit in Favor of Business Owner