LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — A legal brief was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the appeal of Conestoga Wood Specialties and its owners, the Hahn family, in a case that is being closely watched nationally, along with the case of Hobby Lobby, because of its implications for religious freedom.
Conestoga, a wood cabinet business, and the Hahns, a Lancaster County Mennonite family, brought suit seeking an exemption from the federal mandate under Obamacare requiring Conestoga to provide abortion-inducing drugs to its roughly 1,000 employees through its healthcare plan. The Hahns have argued that the mandate violates their religious conscience.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled against the Hahns in January and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit again ruled against the Hahns in July. Both times the courts concluded that the Hahns’ religious liberty was not violated when they were forced, against their conscience, to use their corporation to provide abortion-causing drugs and that the corporation itself lacked religious liberties.
“The stakes are high because if government can force us to violate our deepest convictions, there is no stopping the liberties that the government can take from any one of us,” said Randall Wenger, chief counsel for the Independence Law Center, which is assisting Conestoga in this case.
“Americans should be free to live out their faith in all areas of life—including the way they run their business,” said Wenger.
“We’re hopeful that the Supreme Court will now recognize that the Hahns’ religious liberties are at stake and that it will reiterate that corporations themselves possess such rights,” said Charles W. Proctor, III, who argued the case.
The legal team representing the Hahns and Conestoga Wood includes Wenger, Proctor, and attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom.
The Independence Law Center is a pro-bono, non-profit law center in Pennsylvania focused on protecting religious liberty.