Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mennonite Company Wins HHS Injunction

Lancaster Intelligencer Journal

By BRIAN WALLACE

An East Earl-based cabinetmaker that sued the federal government, alleging the Affordable Care Act violates its constitutional rights, has won a two-week reprieve from complying with the law.

Conestoga Wood Specialties in December 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 contraception.

The company's owners, who are Mennonites, objected to the mandate that they provide health insurance that covers birth-control products such as Plan B, the "morning after" pill.

U.S. District Judge Mitchell Goldberg last week imposed a temporary stay, effective Jan. 1, giving the company a two-week reprieve from complying with the law while the case proceeds through his court.

Companies that refuse to follow the law face fines of up to $100 a day per employee -- about $95,000 a day for Conestoga Wood Specialties.

Attorneys for the company and the federal government are scheduled to return to court Friday to argue the case.

Chuck Proctor, an attorney representing Conestoga Wood Specialties, said he expects a preliminary ruling on the case sometime next week.

His client's lawsuit is one of about 40 that have been filed across the country by companies and other employers objecting to the contraception provisions of the Affordable Care Act, Proctor said.

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