Ohio businessmen sue over health care requirement

A lawsuit challenging part of the federal health care overhaul on behalf of two Catholic business owners in Ohio argues a requirement for contraception coverage contradicts their religious beliefs and violates their constitutional rights.
Associated Press
Jan 25, 2013


The American Center for Law and Justice, an anti-abortion legal group, sued the federal Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury departments and their leaders Thursday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Francis Gilardi Jr. and Philip Gilardi. The brothers run produce processing and transportation businesses in the western Ohio city of Sidney and have about 400 employees between their companies, Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics.

The brothers have excluded contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs from their company health insurance for the past decade but would be required to provide that coverage starting this spring or face crippling fines and penalties — totaling more than $14 million annually — under the health care rule, the ACLJ said.

"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," ACLJ senior counsel Edward White said Friday.

Officials in President Barack Obama's administration have said their goal is giving women access to important care, not limiting religious freedom. The Department of Justice said Friday it had no comment on the Gilardis' case.

The brothers are seeking a ruling that the mandate is unconstitutional and an injunction blocking the mandate from applying to them.

The ACLJ said the case is the fourth similar challenge it has filed to the health care law, in addition to filing support for others' challenges, in the hope that one of the cases will eventually lead to a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the issue.

In one challenge, Ohio's attorney general was among seven who filed a lawsuit seeking to block the contraception coverage requirement on the argument that it violated the rights of employers who object to the use of contraceptives. A federal judge dismissed that case last year, saying they didn't have standing to file it and noting that Obama's administration agreed to work with religious groups to try to address concerns.



The Big Dog's back

Religious beliefs are not part of the Constitution.


First Amendment to U.S. Constitution

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances

I do think that the amendments are still a part of the constitutuon

Pterocarya frax...

So clearly you are referring to the part about prohibiting the free exercise thereof (religion). If I am not mistaken, it is a violation of Catholic doctrine to use birth control. Therefore these business owners should not use birth control, because I am sure they follow all other tenets of Catholic teaching.

The question becomes whether they should be able to withhold contraceptives from their employees. Perhaps we should look to the bible for answers. After all, in Genesis chapter 4, after Cain killed his brother, comes this passage:

"And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?"

That is the real question here. Most biblical "experts" would say that Jesus would answer that question with a yes, and quote the Matthew verse about "I was hungry...you fed me...blah, blah blah, and probably a few other verses as well.

But from what I see, most conservatives these days do not want to follow those principles, except when they think they can score some points against the Kenyan in the White House.


Kinda confusing the Cain & Abel story and Jesus with Robin Hood ain't ya?

"Pterocarya fraxinifolia is a species of tree in the Juglandaceae family. It is commonly known as the Caucasian wingnut"

Pterocarya frax...

I am not the least bit confused, but apparently many Republicans are. I am simply pointing out the hypocrisy of "Christian" conservatives.


Reads more like you're "pointing out" the lunacy of using the beneficent message of Christianity in order to justify Marxist authoritarianism.


anthras...so what happens to all those who are NOT of the catholic faith who work for this company. Are they only to abide by the catholic doctrine? Should this company not think of their rights as well? Would it not be better to allow the benefits and let those who want to use them to use them and those who do not, not use them. To each his own choice? I see this this as more of a "save the money" idea than anything else.


Why should a company be forced to provide birth control at no cost when the employee can get the pill for about $9.00 per month? Birth control is not needed to live however my pill that I need to take daily for my heart cost me a co pay of $41.00 for a 90 day supply. Also I did spend $3,000.00 for my hearing aids why not mandate that employers provide hearing coverage??

I guess if the person really needs the pill with no co pay then they should find employment that does provide that as many companies do provide divergent coverages.

If you are a full time employee with health coverage at Lowe's and either you or your spouse needs open heart surgery and you would wish to have it at the Cleveland Clinic as their reputation is one of the best then no matter which Lowe's you are employed at maybe in Texas Lowe's or any other Lowe's in the country then Lowe's would pay the cost for transportation for the employee and the employee's spouse to the Clinic, pay for a room for the spouse and provide transportation back home. To me it would be a far greater benefit than a $9.00 per month pill.

I feel sure that other employers provide unique benefits to attract good employees.

Erie County Resident

Forced health care isn't in the Constitution either puppy so what's your point?

2cents's picture

Neither is the pill, maybe free Viagra too?


In addition to the birth control and Viagra maybe the insurance company should also pay for the motel room


Hey Big Dog,

Neither is Welfare, SS, and Medicade but you don't have a problem with those.


Neither is welfare, SS, and medicade but you like those


Not if Progressives get their way. The Bill of Rights stands firmly in the path of their Socialist agenda.


What I want to know....If Obamacare wants to make it easier for women to receive care why doesn't the GOVERNMENT themselves cover it.....no insurance no, questions, no worries. I also wish they could call it something else...not everone takes it for BIRTH CONTROL. It also controls hormones that mess with ALL Kinds of things....acne, pms, excessive bleeding, anemia, migraines, etc.


double post

Don S

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


You can push Nina turner out of your bed now. Even her own contituents think she is a kook.


Boy, sounds like you have a lot of anger in your heart. What makes someone a "pig" just because they don't agree with your views?


The owners call themselves Catholics, but are their employees catholic as well? If not how can they say what their empoyees can or cannot do with their own bodies?


The same way an employer can say that a person cannot use drugs. An employer doesn't have to pay for alcohol or any other harmful thing that a person wants to do to their body. If someone wants to use birth control, or get an abortion, let them pay for it. Maybe before it's all over, the taxpayers will be paying for people to get tattoo's (because they WANT one) or maybe we can start paying for piercings, etc. I can see paying for something if it affects your health, but not just because you don't want to be "bothered" and want "free sex".


They are not saying what thier employees can or cannot do with thier bodies. They are saying contraceptives are against thier beliefs and should not be forced to pay for it


@jamo. What many people don't understand is they ARE NOT TELLING ANYONE WHAT THEY CAN OR CAN'T DO WITH THEIR BODY. There, did I say it loud enough. They are not saying they CAN"T take BC. What they are saying is their insurance WONT cover it based on their religious background and practice, which being the owner of a business, they should have EVERY RIGHT to do so. Thats it, nothing more, nothing less.


What I want to know is: When's Pres. BHO gonna demand that the Amish pay Social Sec., Medicare and ObamaCare taxes???

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."


I agree, the fact that they aren't forced to means that the US is sponsoring a religion. Why the special treatment of the Amish?


From what I understand (and I am no expert), the Amish do not pay into SS or healthcare because they don't use it. I have HEARD that they take nothing from the government. No unemployment, no free healthcare, no SS, nothing. The community takes care of all their people. You might want to check these facts out, but that is what I have heard.


That is what I was always taught and understood also. They do not pay in, they do not take out.


Last time I checked, the Amish use our roads. Who pays for that?


@ grandmasgirl:

So why is not the same "courtesy" extended by our govt. to other religious denominations or individuals?

What makes the Amish so "special"?

Pterocarya frax...

This is pretty amusing since Amish are the only religion anymore that seem to really follow christian principles and take care of their fellow man.

If you are so desperate to not pay taxes, then go join the Amish religion.


Answer the question:

Why shouldn't the Amish be forced to pay Soc. Security, Medicare and ObamaCare taxes?

"For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." (2 THESS 3:10)

Pterocarya frax...

Re: "Answer the question". Your corporatist fascism is showing through.

It's okay, though. I don't blame you for being bitter and angry. You were working at the corporate headquarters in Chicago, and they demoted you to Youngstown....and then again all the way to Norwalk. I would be bitter too.

But hey, things might be looking up. I hear your company may be opening a new office in Lorain! Maybe you can snag that plum assignment.

And you always have that extra income from FreedomWorks for all the crap you make up on newspaper blogs.


@ Pterocarya fraxinifolia:

Read up on the subject: http://amishreligiousfreedom.org...

So why shouldn't they be forced to pay it?

"Pterocarya fraxinifolia is a species of tree in the Juglandaceae family. It is commonly known as the Caucasian wingnut,"


"contango" is nothing more than a market ....... as in Wall St. SCAM. A legal one at that!

Erie County Resident

Hey frax it is obvious you know absolutely nothing about the Amish to make a statement like that.
Your pretty funny.


@Pterocarya.......Big difference between the Amish and Americans. Every Amish person works!


If they pay income taxes, then they pay.


The key is in the part of the First Amendment that says (concerning freedom of religion) the government cannot prohibit the free exercise thereof. NONE of these employers in any of the suits filed is attempting to prohibit anybody from following their own beliefs and using birth control or not. They are objecting to being forced against their beliefs to PROVIDE that birth control.

I am in no way opposed to contraception. In fact, I promote the he11 out of it! But forcing a devout Catholic to provide birth control, or those who stand against abortion from a religious viewpoint to pay for abortions (which Obamacare does), is a clear violation of freedom of religion.

I do agree that there's a good sized grey area here as is pointed out by ladydye_5. There are other and perfectly legitimate medical reasons that someone might be prescribed birth control pills having nothing to do with contraception whatsoever.

Don S, for the record, yes, I object to paying for somebody else's Viagra in the same way I'd object to paying for somebody else's plastic surgery. Is it nice? Yes. Is it necessary? No.

Obamacare — the "one size fits all" that everybody has to pay for — wasn't and isn't the answer. Insurance reform? Yes. Healthcare reform? Yes. (Ironically, insurance and healthcare problems are caused by the other.) The elimination of Medicare/Medicaid fraud? Yes. But the problem with "one size fits all" is that it doesn't. And don't even get me started on the boatload of "exceptions" already granted by the feds to various and sundry companies and groups...! Including, by the way, members of Congress. Interesting, that, eh?


@ SA:

Employer paid health ins. makes about as much sense as employer paid auto or home owners ins. or theoretical grocery ins.

Employer paid health ins. is one of the unintended consequences of FDR's wage and price freeze programs.

A "perfect" instance where more govt. incompetence is needed to correct previous govt. incompetence.

(Employer paid auto and home owners ins. products were tried in the private sector and failed.)

The Big Dog's back

wiinie, so glad you are for single payer! :)


@ Dog:

So you'd be all for single payer auto, home owner ins.?

The Big Dog's back

Yes! So you agree with Single Payer, alright winnie.


Good that you acknowledge that you're a Marxist.


@jamo...they are only saying they won't cover the financial cost of birth control, sterilization, and abortion inducing drugs; due to their belief system. If you don't ascribe to those beliefs, you don't have to work there. No one is forcing you or anyone else.

How about the govt. saying Muslims have to serve pork in all their schools, mosques, and office buildings. How do ya' think that would go over? Same difference as far as I'm concerned.

The Big Dog's back

AHHH people, this was already decided by the Supreme Court. America, Love it or Leave it righties.


@ Dog:

SCJ Roberts wrote that it was a tax. Taxes are a purview of Congress. And Congress likes to mess with taxes.

ACA is a complicated boondoggle that'll collapse in its implementation.

The Big Dog's back

Insurance, of any kind, Socialism at it's best!

Yellow Snow

It should be like tooth paste. I brush my teeth, I buy my own toothpaste. It's called responsibility for preventable results.


Insurance companies are starting to charge more for smokers.
I can't wait for them to start charging more for overweight people.

My wag: Two thirds of the comments on here will be against that puppy.


BMI is below 25 here.

My latest physical showed only a Vitamin D deficiency. OTC supplemental tablet is taking care of that.

I once heard the Prez of Cleveland Clinic say that three things caused 70% of the health problems in the U.S.:

Obesity and
Lack of exercise.

FYI: 5% of the population is responsible for almost 50% the health care costs in the U.S.

Did Obama's ComradeKare provide for the funding of the building of crematoriums for use by the death panels?


Winnie, now if only you could get a job.


Eventually all the employers are going to put everyone at 30 hours or less so they don't have to pay a persons insurance, just watch and see


Socialism has always been a derisive label used by Republicans to denigrate new ideas brought forth by Progressives. Republican lawmakers fought vehemently against Social Security and Medicare when they were first introduced by Democrats, calling both Socialist ideas. Time, of course, has proven that both were pretty good ideas, and I don't hear any Republicans in 2013 refusing to accept their Social Security checks or Medicare benefits.

Perhaps we just need to admit that Socialism isn't a bad thing, and that it a lot of people find it to be a better philosophy than runaway capitalism/greed, in which a select few get filthy rich at the expense of the (99%) rest of us. Just read that 49% of Americans age 18-29 have a favorable view of Socialism, while 46% have a favorable view of Capitalism. So, you have a majority of young Americans who have turned their nose up at the economic policies the GOP espouses.

Bobby Jindal got it right when he said that the Republican Party is the party of Stupid.


Socialism hasn't ever worked. Every country has went belly up and quick.


@ coasterfan:

The early 20th Century Progressives understood that it was Fabian Socialism.

Always enjoyed the use of Bolshevik "word magic."

So did Obama's ComradeKare fund for more prisons and work camps to deal with the "malcontents"?

So what are you a "retired teacher" of?

BTW: Been payin' attention to IL? The public union employees may have to eventually sue for their benefits - should be interesting.

The IL Dems own this cow pie, lock, stock and barrel.



49% is a majority??? Poll their parents or the working youth!!! I too was a liberal in college until I started working!!!

The Big Dog's back

So you are mathematically challenge huh goof? 49% to 46%, a majority.


If my religious beliefs include child labor as an important part of the teaching process, does that mean I should be exempt from child labor laws? I don't think so. Unfortunately, the kooky activist GOP Judges on the Supreme Court may see it differently when requiring employers to provide their employees health care. Of course, the conservative GOP judges would never substitute their judgment for the judgment of the people in Congress who were actually elected to make such decisions. That would be judicial activism and we all know the GOP is opposed to that unless it's something they don't like. What a bunch of conservative hypocrites.


jas writes:

"...the kooky activist GOP Judges on the Supreme Court may see it differently when requiring employers to provide their employees health care."

Why aren't employers required to provide auto, home owners, life, short-term disability and grocery ins. to their employees?

The Big Dog's back

I dunno know, why not?


Simple answer for the ignorant. Because Congress has not passed a law on any of those issues like it has on health care.


An "anti-abortion legal group" is suing because they don't want to pay for contraception. The makes sense. WTF?

The Big Dog's back

Crazy isn't it.


They believe that life begins at conception, except in this case.

It's human life when there is the possibility of more future tithing members, but, not when it stands to cost them money.


The employees who want birth control have the right to pay for it themselves. If the company was firing them for using birth control, THAT would be wrong. If they don't like the fact that thier insurance doesn't cover contraceptives, they can find a job with benefits that better fit thier needs. It's that simple folks!

Swamp Fox

All employers should mandate birth control for Obama supporters, do we really want them to multiple?

"The Amish take nothing from the goverment." Obama supporters more than make up for them...


I wonder who pays for that street the horse and buggy travels on!

The General

.....chicks dig my "mooseknuckle"


Okay, problem solved: Employers will simply stop offering health benefits to all employees. Period. You're all on your own. That's the only way employers will be able to adhere to their own religious principles in some instances, and maintain financial health in pretty much ALL instances. Meanwhile, who's going to suffer? As usual, it's the working man.

And now the idiots in Washington want to offer up yet ANOTHER amnesty program that will see over 11 million illegal aliens be eligible for various and sundry benefits! The only good news there is that the sooner Obamacare crashes and burns, the sooner it'll be proved unworkable and we can move on. The bad news? 11 million illegals given amnesty, and an economy that will take YEARS to recover from the nightmare that is a business-curbing, wealth-hating, entitlement-happy Obama administration.

Just freakin' awesome...

The Big Dog's back

Gee, if we had single payer none of this would be a problem.


We DO have single payer, at least for some segments of the population. It's called "Medicaid" and "Medicare." Both are mismanaged, inefficient, and bankrupt. Next bright idea?

The Big Dog's back

What? Where's your proof. And no, right wing sites are not proof.


Try googling "medicare fraud." I did, and got over 5 million hits. As for solvency and sustainability, maybe you should ask the state of California about that... Estimates on a NATIONAL level suggest the program will be bankrupt sometime between 2016 and 2024. Depends on who you ask, but that's the range provided by studies including those conducted by the government.


The last I read, the estimated waste, fraud and abuse associated with Medicare and Medicaid was $60B annually.

Just raise taxes to cover the gap. :)

The Big Dog's back

Oh and sam, remember that thingy called an election in November? People want Medicare and Medicaid.


It's say people want Medicare and Medicaid regardless of the election results. Same's true for Social Security. That doesn't mean they don't need to be reformed, fraud minimized, etc.

thinkagain's picture

No personal or fiscal accountability is the liberal mantra.


Most fraud in the Medicare and Medicaid programs is committed by the medical professionals in the system, not the recipients of medical services. Stop blaming the poor for fraud and place it on the professionals who actually do most of it.


@ jas:

So your answer is what?

Hire thousands more highly compensated bureaucratic paper pushers to watch the thousands of other highly compensated bureaucratic paper pushers?

Study Deming – the system is corrupt.

2cents's picture

That thingy that anyone can vote in, even if you do not pay any taxes to fund it! That thingy?

Quotation: "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."


Heard this one of Frederic Bastiat's repeated by RT's Max Keiser the other day:

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."




Bestiat also said something else that's just as appropriate here:

"Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone." Or, in this case, the half of us that actually pay taxes.

I sure wish some people (most notably those in government) would remember what Margaret Thatcher said: "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." Yup. And sooner rather than later if more people decide it's not worth their while to actually work when nobody HAS to.


Thanks for all the laughter here! Watched as many in buSINess took handouts...er tax abatements, write-offs, subsidies, etc. Oh that's capitalism. Watched as they had healthcare but had nothing for the employess doing the physical work. Nice.


Let the workers get a job where this is provided for them. They new full well that these things were not provided when they took their jobs. Furthermore, we are not hearing any negativity from the workers. They understand full well that if the employers are forced to provide what ios in the Health care Bill they are the ones who will ultimately pay. We are passing these costs on to the workers or 30 hour work weeks or closing our doors are about our only options.
The Amish have become low class individualy with many hidden problems in their communities. They pay no taxes, social security, property or probably a few taxes I missed. Thjey are a complete drain on us. As if thius isn't enough, they don't serve in the Military, they use our roads, hospitals, police protection, court system, then; they have expanded outside of their community to take construction jobs form union workers. They make about all the aluminum boats and trailers. Sylvan, Starcraft, and I think Lund Boats and more. Haulmark, US Cargo, Wells Cargo or Fargo trailers and about all the aluminum boat trailers. Amish cheese and food products is a huge business.
Does anyone realize the trickle-down effect of any cost to a company or corporation? Charge them, fine them, tax them, who is ultimately going to pay? It's either the workers pay or the companies close their doors; China and Mexico are waiting, they just love us!


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against employees or job applicants on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin. Title VII allows churches and religious organizations to discriminate on the basis of religion.

According to the SR article, with Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics employing ~400, and given both businesses are "for profit" businesses, they cannot hire or fire personnel based on religious beliefs. As an example, if a current Freshway employee was found to be divorced and without a marriage annulment, or if an employee was found to be in a long-term relationship with a same-sex partner, Freshway could not terminate said employee because of their either being legally divorced, but not annulled, or with a same-sex partner.

I'm not a lawyer. Not even close, *BUT*, as I ponder Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, I'm struggling to understand how Freshway hasn't challenged Title VII yet is challenging the ACA (Affordable Care Act). Maybe is the issue that they will offer health insurance but simply don't want to have birth control as an option in the coverage?

Perhaps one option to make all of this a moot point would be for insurance companies to offer a defined-policy option to employers that does not include birth control. Of course if insurance companies would do this, it would open up the Pandora's box of insurance companies having to develop customized plans, which would not give insurance companies yet another excuse to raise rates, but would give all sorts of fits to the insurance company actuaries.


OSU, how would they do that when oral contraceptives are sometimes prescribed for medical treatment instead of for birth control? Many women and teenage girls take them for irregular periods, heavy bleeding, severe cramping, PMS, acne, etc.


out of pocket....they are really cheap.


Too bad campaign funds have a "no return" policy. :)

"Labor Unions Finally Read Obamacare Fine Print, Realize Costs Set To Spike, 'Turn Sour' On Obama"


The Big Dog's back

Get a job.