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Pizza magnate wins temporary ruling on contraception coverage dispute
Thomas Monaghan, the multimillionaire founder of Domino's Pizza, pictured at the University of Ava Maria, which he founded September 27, 2007.
December 31st, 2012
05:35 PM ET

Pizza magnate wins temporary ruling on contraception coverage dispute

By Bill Mears, CNN

(CNN)– The billionaire founder of Domino's Pizza has won a temporary court victory, with a federal judge blocking enforcement of part of the health care reform bill requiring most employers to provide a range of contraception and reproductive health services.

Some business owners and their staff see that as a violation of their religious rights.

Federal Judge Lawrence Zatkoff issued his order late Sunday, saying Thomas Monaghan had "shown that abiding by the mandate will substantially burden his exercise of religion."

"The (federal) government has failed to satisfy its burden of showing that its actions were narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest," said Zatkoff, a 1986 Reagan appointee. "Therefore, the court finds that plaintiffs have established at least some likelihood of succeeding on the merits" of their claim.

Monaghan filed the emergency petition this month, on behalf of himself and Domino's Farms Corp., a Michigan property management firm he operates, not directly related to the pizza-chain empire. Monaghan sold his majority interest in the pizza company in 1998.

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The case will continue to be heard in the federal courts while the stay remains in effect. The Obama administration has the option of appealing the order.

The judge's opinion comes just days after two federal appeals courts in Chicago and St. Louis became the first to rule against enforcement for businesses of the contraceptives mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The policy was set to go into effect Tuesday for many companies whose new insurance year begins on January 1st.

At issue is whether secular, for-profit enterprises– owned and operated by those of a strong religious or personal faith– are exempt from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The separate health care law - dubbed Obamacare - provides such exceptions for religious institutions such as the Catholic Church, of which Monaghan is a member. He argues individually that contraception or abortion does not constitute "health care" and involves immoral practices that destroy "innocent human life."

"Causing death can never be considered a form of medical treatment," said Monaghan in court papers.
Other religious-affiliated groups like parochial schools and church-run hospitals are also temporarily exempted until new final rules are written in coming months.

That followed complaints from a variety of entities over who exactly was covered under the mandates, and who could bring legal objections in court.

The Justice Department, on behalf of the Obama administration, said the 2010 law - upheld this year by the Supreme Court - was designed to provide a range of preventive health services through expanded coverage and lower costs.

Federal lawyers - backed by a range of medical and abortion-rights groups - said economically disadvantaged women in particular need affordable access to reproductive health services contained in the law, which it said was a "compelling governmental interest."

Hobby Lobby faces millions in fines for bucking Obamacare

Under the law, companies with at least 50 employees must provide their female employees of child-bearing age insurance coverage for pregnancy-prevention care, including doctor visits and medicine.

Those firms face daily fines and tax penalties for failure to comply.

Other federal courts - including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor last week– have allowed the new mandates to go into effect. Sotomayor in an order December 26 said the Supreme Court has never ruled on whether individuals or companies can rightfully claim federal mandates under their constitutional rights of religious freedom.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

That case involved Hobby Lobby Inc., and Mardel, Inc. and five family members involved in ownership and control of the corporations, who had protested the requirement.

Those separate companies said they would be required "to provide insurance coverage for certain drugs and devices that the applicants believe can cause abortions," which would be against their religious beliefs.
The petitioners said they would face irreparable harm if forced to choose between paying fines and complying with the requirement.

But Sotomayor - who handles emergency appeals from the 10th Circuit - said the applicants failed to meet "the demanding standard for the extraordinary relief," and that they could continue to pursue their challenge in lower courts and return to the higher court, if necessary, following a final judgment.

There was no indication when or if the high court would ultimately decide the religious freedom question. Several dozen separate lawsuits are pending in various lower federal courts.

The Michigan case is Monaghan v. Sebelius (12-15488).

CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Faith & Health

soundoff (1,866 Responses)
  1. Robert

    This is really a fight over principle, not health coverage costs. "the Pill" and other forms of contraceptives are not all that expensive in their generic forms. The Obama administration is trying to score a win for their philosophy by picking a fight with religion. As it stands, women can get contraceptives through other means if they want or need them. Trying to force this down the throats of the public is just bullying, and I thought we were trying to stop bullying.

    January 1, 2013 at 12:58 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      Uh...this is trying to give equal coverage to everyone across the board. None of this was a problem till idiots like this started nitpicking nonissues.

      Grandstanding BS.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:03 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why should women HAVE to get something as basic as birth control? Women spend 75% of their reproductive years trying NOT to get pregnant. Research has shown that unplanned pregnancies result in lower birth weight babies and more birth defects. It has also shown that when oral contraceptives are readily available and lower in cost or free, the number of unplanned pregnancies AND the number of abortions drop dramatically. There is NO REASON to deny women coverage for something as basic and beneficial as contraception. And it's the law. Suck it up, buttercup.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:04 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Robert, nobody is forcing YOU to take the pill. It's too bad there isn't one for people like you–maybe there wouldn't be so many dolts born as result.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:05 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      I still say we put it in the water supply.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:06 am |
  2. captnavenger

    Again, I have to question the existence of CNN's "Belief Blog." It seems to be nothing more than a means for the biggest nutjobs in the blogosphere to get press and/or ride the coattails of whatever clout CNN has left as a news organization.

    Get rid of this joke of a page, already, and stick to actual, factual news.

    January 1, 2013 at 12:58 am |
    • hal 9001

      If the Belief Blog went away, "captnavenger", my subscribers would be most upset. Some of them have already expressed dissatisfaction with the tone of your post.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:08 am |
  3. allen

    pay for your own damn contraception its not his responsibility....maybe if youre working at a dead end job like dominoes you shouldnt be concentrating on reproducing, just sayin.

    January 1, 2013 at 12:57 am |
    • Shelia

      Companies shouldn't even be paying Health Insurance every company should drop it all together ... If you want INSURANCE buy it your self...This is what happens when liberal throw there god (the government) on to other people........

      January 1, 2013 at 1:02 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      Sheila – they're/there/their is still a problem for you...no one needs your opinion. Don't breed, use lots of contraceptives, please.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:04 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      Allen, sorry we can't pay for your viagra anymore I guess. I hear putting something stiff up your peehole will make it seem like you can still get it up

      January 1, 2013 at 1:05 am |
    • allen

      amen

      January 1, 2013 at 1:06 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      I'm glad I could help, allen

      January 1, 2013 at 1:07 am |
    • allen

      alpa what is this, third grade? that was pretty pathetic.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:08 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Duh, allen, if you don't want people who work at Domino's reproducing, you should be supporting birth control for them. DId your momma drop you by accident or on purpose?

      January 1, 2013 at 1:11 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      allen, talk to your doc. It might all just be performance anxiety.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:17 am |
  4. Sheryl Mexic

    Why does he have the right to sue when he's not associated with the restaurant anymore? He sold out.

    January 1, 2013 at 12:57 am |
  5. Ken

    So far we have three federal courts ruling against the mandate in Obamacare that businesses must provide contraceptives under their insurance plans. They only one seeming to support things is the Obama appointee in the Supreme court, Sotomayor. But she can't stop the tide. With three such federal cases, now likely to be appealed on up the ladder, the Supreme court will have to judge on this likely next year. And it's not looking good for old Obama on this case.

    January 1, 2013 at 12:55 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      I disagree. Providing equal coverage across the board ultimately trumps the wiggling of conservatives who will sooner or later get caught with their pants down. In a gay bar.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:57 am |
  6. Stephen

    I can show you the numbers that prove that providing contraception to people is helpful to reproductive health, the healthcare system, and the economy on a whole, but you want me to ignore that because you believe an invisible man in the sky will not approve? Is that invisible man stupid?

    January 1, 2013 at 12:53 am |
    • allen

      handouts do not and never have strengthened an economy.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:59 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      Allen thinks insurance coverage is handouts

      That's so cute

      January 1, 2013 at 1:06 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      Direct stimulus just happens to boost the economy very efficiently, too.
      allan must have brain damage. I feel sorry for people who cannot think very well.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:27 am |
  7. Contraception for all!

    His smug smile says it all. He's a self-righteous idiot. Not that I was buying his pizza before, but I surely never will now. At least we liberals have the satisfaction of knowing that he and his kind are gradually dying off.

    January 1, 2013 at 12:52 am |
  8. brich22

    I prefer Little Caesars pizza anyway!

    January 1, 2013 at 12:50 am |
  9. barnababaruch

    Mr. Monaghan then what as a company, and the Catholic and every other church, and you individually what programs and what amount of money are you going to give or use to promote the number of facilities it will take to house the number of neglected children who will be pouring through the system. I agree abortion does kill but it is the lesser of two evils. We all sin, but in my book making a decision of not wanting a child and having an abortion is much kinder that having a child and neglecting them and knowing they are unwanted. Now I would prefer they all were born but until the community is willing to take care of those children in all ways then we are creating our future murders, rapists, thieves, and crime wave. How are you and everyone who believes like you going to take are care of these children. I have yet to hear a single church or a person like you who does this have a 20 year plan in place. It is the most hideous hidden abuse their is that Christians do to each other.

    January 1, 2013 at 12:50 am |
    • Robert

      Sorry, but I read your post and just had to reply. With your viewpoint, I guess you would prefer to just prefer to bludgeon a newborn to death and dump it in a dumpster than risk that baby being neglected or abused? There is not much difference between that viewpoint and the one you expressed except that a newborn verses a unborn child is a person? I stated earlier that this is a fight not over the cost of contraception, because contraception is cheap. Rather this is a fight over principle. The principle of the pro-abortion crowd against the pro-life crowd. If contraception is excluded from insurance policies, the birth rate will not go up.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:48 am |
  10. B-

    We do not live in a sociailist or communist state. We are supposed to be a democracy! In a democracy people and companies can choose to support or deny services. Who is the goverment to force these values upon anyone? If you work for this company and wish to have the services that they will not provide, then go to another service. There are other avenues. How about Planned Parenthood for instance. Where is it in the last 20 years that Americans have chosen to not be responsible for their own actions? Stop blaming everyone else for shortcomings in life and find the solution yourself. The more you allow government to think for you the more rights you lose yourself. Keep this up and in 20 more years the huge government you people chose to allowed to exist will be telling you who can and cannot breed!!!!! Keep it up Liberals, your on your way to a Brave New World....

    January 1, 2013 at 12:48 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sure! Why not allow companies to hire 10-year-olds! Let's not worry about making sure there are safety procedures in our factories! Who says we have to pay minimum wage?

      Idiots, every one of you.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:51 am |
    • Tia

      Unless the company is paying 100% of the insurance premium (and I would love you to provide proof of even ONE company that does), what gives that company the right to decide that what will and will not be covered under the insurance that THE EMPLOYEES are paying for? Heaven forbid the nut cases keep their own religious beliefs out of everyone else's lives.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:56 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      We're a republic, actually...back to school.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:58 am |
  11. Voltairine

    Well, I'm never buying Dominos again. Drop dead Bill.

    January 1, 2013 at 12:45 am |
    • carpe diem

      Earlier this week, news stories came out that Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan had filed suit against the federal government regarding healthcare. Since that time, the story has been widely misreported to indicate Domino’s was involved in this action, which is completely untrue. Tom Monaghan sold Domino’s Pizza in 1998 and today has NO active affiliation with our company. The media often neglect to note this fact. His views are not our views, nor are his actions in any way related to our actions. Domino's Pizza has made no public statements about health care, as we are still waiting to see how the final rules will affect our network of small business owners. Domino's is not a political company; it is not a religious company – we are a pizza company........From Dominos Pizzas Facebook page

      January 1, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
  12. GLP

    Their pizza suck who cares

    January 1, 2013 at 12:43 am |
  13. PAGURU

    Yes, Mr. Monaghan, as a devout Catholic you should exercise your religious beliefs how you see fit. I'm sure you would not feel differently if every user of contraceptive devices or products elects to boycott your cardboard, tasteless pizza.

    January 1, 2013 at 12:43 am |
    • MarkinFL

      I started boycotting them based on quality more than 2 decades ago....

      January 1, 2013 at 12:45 am |
    • Saraswati

      Same here...I think it's been at least 20 years since I tasted Dominos pizza...no loss to my life.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:54 am |
    • carpe diem

      Earlier this week, news stories came out that Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan had filed suit against the federal government regarding healthcare. Since that time, the story has been widely misreported to indicate Domino’s was involved in this action, which is completely untrue. Tom Monaghan sold Domino’s Pizza in 1998 and today has NO active affiliation with our company. The media often neglect to note this fact. His views are not our views, nor are his actions in any way related to our actions. Domino's Pizza has made no public statements about health care, as we are still waiting to see how the final rules will affect our network of small business owners. Domino's is not a political company; it is not a religious company – we are a pizza company........From Dominos Pizzas Facebook page

      January 1, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
  14. Mrs. Pepperpot

    The whole thing boils down to this: no company, unless they are truly a church/non profit organization, is exempt from this new law; they have to be held to the same standard AND LAWS as every other company operating in this country.
    This pud has no problem taking money from every citizen in this country who may not share his specific beliefs; yet he wants to force his beliefs down the throat of his employees?
    I truly despise people like him.

    January 1, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      All they get right now is more idiot free advertising for looking old and out of touch. Let them conservatives eat all the Domino's and Chik-Fil-A they like, and do hobbies, and die fat and young, and leave the planet to smarter folks.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:42 am |
    • So what..

      No time is more ripe than now to start ignoring laws and implement widespread civil disobedience. I HAVE ZERO respect for this government.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:44 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      'So what' typed that from his couch where his 400lb mouthy BS self is stuck

      January 1, 2013 at 12:45 am |
    • So what..

      Nope. Don't eat Dominoes. Never have. And, I am pro-abortion, and pro-Eugenics. Just don't recognize the authority of the derlicts in DC to mandate anything.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:49 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      Oops. Nice try. No such thing as 'pro abortion', you dickweed.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:59 am |
  15. RogueDiplomat

    As I New Yorker, Dominoes isn't even pizza. Never eat, and now never will...

    January 1, 2013 at 12:37 am |
    • So what..

      I wish you, as a New Yorker, would have been on the 100th floor.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:45 am |
    • goodfor you

      ill be sure to order 2 pizza's from them next time to make up for yours

      January 1, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      Oh 'so what', how much unemployment have you been on lately? Internet tough guy. Roll your lard ass down the nearest hill.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • So what..

      Alpa,

      Never took unemployment in my life. Enjoy your anonymity, you k-unt.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:51 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      I'll never be as big a cunt as you, bitch – you just told a NYer you wished they died on 9-11 because you disagree with them.

      Fuck you.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:00 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      OMG! Two trolls fighting on the internet! I am just stunned to see it! I've never seen it before! Wow! /s

      January 1, 2013 at 1:09 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      Sure, but one of us can get around the filter.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:18 am |
  16. GBfromOhio

    We're still talking about contraception in the 21st century on a planet with 7 billion people??? Just goes to show you can be a billionaire AND an idiot at the same time.

    January 1, 2013 at 12:30 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      These old conservatives aren't dying off fast enough.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:39 am |
  17. ted

    I'm sorry but IMHO since business' have the same rights as a person. Then The business must be affiliateed with a particular religion in and of itself and not of the owners nor the management since they can change over time. If a business was founded on religious base then it must also be included in the charter. And if said business is founded on those principles then it must also be a non profit.

    January 1, 2013 at 12:30 am |
  18. noillusion

    Shove your pizza up your tight ass.

    January 1, 2013 at 12:30 am |
    • carpe diem

      Earlier this week, news stories came out that Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan had filed suit against the federal government regarding healthcare. Since that time, the story has been widely misreported to indicate Domino’s was involved in this action, which is completely untrue. Tom Monaghan sold Domino’s Pizza in 1998 and today has NO active affiliation with our company. The media often neglect to note this fact. His views are not our views, nor are his actions in any way related to our actions. Domino's Pizza has made no public statements about health care, as we are still waiting to see how the final rules will affect our network of small business owners. Domino's is not a political company; it is not a religious company – we are a pizza company........From Dominos Pizzas Facebook page

      January 1, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
  19. us_1776

    Well, no more Domino's pizza for this family.

    .

    January 1, 2013 at 12:27 am |
    • crazyvermont

      I'll buy two in your honor daily even ifd I just dump i garbage. Its about time people started taking a stand against what is becoming to look like England of old.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:34 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      vermont...you made no sense.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • tallulah13

      Hence the name "crazy".

      January 1, 2013 at 12:41 am |
    • carpe diem

      Earlier this week, news stories came out that Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan had filed suit against the federal government regarding healthcare. Since that time, the story has been widely misreported to indicate Domino’s was involved in this action, which is completely untrue. Tom Monaghan sold Domino’s Pizza in 1998 and today has NO active affiliation with our company. The media often neglect to note this fact. His views are not our views, nor are his actions in any way related to our actions. Domino's Pizza has made no public statements about health care, as we are still waiting to see how the final rules will affect our network of small business owners. Domino's is not a political company; it is not a religious company – we are a pizza company........From Dominos Pizzas Facebook page

      January 1, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
  20. What!!! What!!!! What!!!!!!

    @ julnor: Yes, some medications are "free" under certain plans. There are a group of medications free for me if I order through the pharmacy under my insurance plan.

    January 1, 2013 at 12:26 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.