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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. diane allaway

    No boycotting...makes no sense. However, if he does not believe in abortions or contraception, he need not get one or use the other. I hate when others try to put their beliefs on others UNTIL IT HAPPENS TO THEM. Let their 12-year old get pregnant and see how fast they will be at Planned Parenthood...Just sayin'.

    January 1, 2013 at 3:41 am |
    • kuhrt luczynski

      instead of pushing free birth control and abortions, why dont we spend the money to promote abstinence and then your precious 12 year old angel wont be pregnant.

      January 1, 2013 at 4:20 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      kuhurt, you seem to be a khunt.

      January 1, 2013 at 4:46 am |
  2. anonymous

    so how would this affect the jehovah's witnesses? they don't accept blood transfusions, life or death. so does that mean they can pull out all blood transfusions from whatever health insurance packages they have? that's ludicrous

    January 1, 2013 at 3:39 am |
  3. lulz

    Eh, same old. I like thier pizza's and will still eat there, no need to wreck local businesses. But as to his religious views, i call bs. If he was a true christian he would not be paying his workers slave labor wages. Religion is a tool used to control people, sadly most people around the world are too dumb to understand that.

    January 1, 2013 at 3:31 am |
    • Dippy

      Their, not thier.
      Pizzas, not pizza's.

      January 1, 2013 at 3:46 am |
  4. Steve

    I think the big picture is Domino's is not part of the United States and feels free to separate itself from us. Well we as citizens can deny Domino's of making any money in the U.S.A. So kiss my butt. DOMINO'S

    January 1, 2013 at 3:23 am |
    • cinemarama

      The guy sold Domino's in 1998. CNN buried that a couple of paragraphs into the article. Read first, comment later. In any event, this type of behavior makes me wonder what happened to the social contract? Everyone seems to feel they can opt out regardless of the impact on their neighbors. Happy New Year everyone. May we all find a bit more kindness In our hearts in 2013.

      January 1, 2013 at 3:41 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      The guy still has a 7 percent stake in the company and sold it to Bain Capital, who came in like vultures with his blessing.

      January 1, 2013 at 3:45 am |
    • cinemarama

      Rational Humanist-Thanks for sharing that info about his remaining financial interest. Boycott away!

      January 1, 2013 at 3:57 am |
  5. Jaime

    These guys offer rotten jobs at terrible pay. I am so sick of old, rich, white guys trying to make my decisions. Especially ones who pay well below a living wage to the vast majority of their employees. So now I kneed to know what my employer's religious beliefs are in order to get a job too?

    January 1, 2013 at 3:17 am |
  6. Guest

    Can't wait till the abortion argument comes up here. It's not murder right because it isn't human yet? I guess it must be an animal, no wait its an alien, no wait its a carrot, no wait its just a a piece of blob, seriously its a HUMAN BEING... DUH! Oh well what can you do someone will comment along the lines of its my body, leave it up to people to decide, it's a personal choice... Blah.. Blah.. Moral depravity

    January 1, 2013 at 3:12 am |
    • Imjesayin

      Just where ARE you from? If you are an expert on morality, then you must have heard of moral relativism? It means your morals are not necessarily shared by everyone else. So stop imposing your Christian Sharia law on others!

      January 1, 2013 at 3:20 am |
    • mr. butters

      Actually It's closer to a parasite. It feeds off the mothers body draining nutrients. Providing no benefit to the host. For quite a while the cells are no different than common bacteria.

      January 1, 2013 at 3:26 am |
  7. coderjones

    of course, the billionaire gets what he wants
    everything is about money and religion – not human health

    January 1, 2013 at 3:08 am |
    • jay in Florida

      that "money" is earned by his company, and should not serve someone else's political agenda if he does not wish so.

      January 1, 2013 at 3:19 am |
  8. Guest

    Look, you have options go work somewhere where they don't care. Best contraception ever... Keep it in your pants or keep your legs closed.

    January 1, 2013 at 3:04 am |
    • tallulah13

      So married couples aren't supposed to have se.x? I'm guessing that you aren't married.

      January 1, 2013 at 3:06 am |
    • Imjesayin

      Wow are you stupid. Does that argument work outside of the Deep South?

      January 1, 2013 at 3:17 am |
  9. TheNewsFix

    I guess I can add Domino's Pizza to the list of businesses I won't be patronizing again. That's okay. I liked their pizza better before they started adding maggots to the pizza sauce.

    January 1, 2013 at 3:01 am |
    • Anonymous

      you realize that this dude doesn't even own domino's anymore right?

      January 1, 2013 at 3:27 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      He owns 7 percent. How is that not owning part of it?
      It's a place where we can refuse to do business with him for being a D-Bag.
      You got a problem with that, "Anonymous"? Too bad. Feel free to eat as much Dominos Shizza as you want.
      You can have my share, but you'll have to pay for it yourself. lol

      January 1, 2013 at 3:54 am |
  10. Thatguy371

    These clowns are surrounded by so many yes men and women that they don't even have a clue what they're doing to their biz. Only so much the ultra righties can do to keep a biz afloat. I will never eat Dominoes again, and I am certain I am one of many many people who feel the same. Like Alpa Chino said, obese (and for that matter smokers) cause alot more insurance expense to employers. Papa John's lost alotta moolah after saying they'd have to charge a dime or so more for each pizza to finance Obamacare for their employees. The tide is turning. People are fed up with employers trying to avoid taking care of their employees.

    January 1, 2013 at 2:49 am |
    • Polopoint

      You're ridiculous.
      Then don't buy and Domino's pizza and buy your own contraceptives.

      January 1, 2013 at 3:02 am |
    • Thatguy371

      Polopoint, how bout you buy your own heart meds. There are people against anything keeping you alive... afterall, it's God's will if people croak right?

      January 1, 2013 at 3:05 am |
    • Ken

      So this man earned Billions of Dollars for himself, and according to you he doesn't have a clue what he's doing to his business? Hmmm .. He earned Billions running it his way, and you probably work in a Dominoes complaining about the rich folks and customers with complex orders. Honestly, he knows WAY more about running a business than you ever will.

      January 1, 2013 at 3:14 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      Who cares if he knows how to run a business into the ground? Because that's what he did.

      January 1, 2013 at 3:51 am |
  11. Teresa

    So it's okay for these same insurance companies to pay for Viagra but not for contraceptives. We can't have prayers in schools because the atheists are offended, they are trying to take away the pledge of allegiance cause it offends some but we can have companies not pay for contraceptives because of the CEO's religious beliefs which offends me, so how do they get away with this? I hope someone investigates this guy and sees how religious he really is or is this a ploy to save money for the shareholders????

    January 1, 2013 at 2:48 am |
    • Jdevil1735

      NO ONE blocked your right to contraction – so how does it infringe on your rights?

      January 1, 2013 at 2:50 am |
    • Thatguy371

      Obviously it is a ploy to save the company money and nothing more, but the reason there's no prayer in schools is we have to have separation of church and state to insure religious freedom. So that's something you have to learn to accept.

      January 1, 2013 at 2:51 am |
    • Jdevil1735

      BTW – your viagra argument also holds no water – because the federal government is NOT requiring companies to provide viagra like it is contraception. The federal government has SEVERELY overstepped its bounds with this whole Obamacare nonsense.

      January 1, 2013 at 2:52 am |
    • Polopoint

      You fail to understand one is for fixing a physical problem, the other is a choice.

      January 1, 2013 at 3:03 am |
    • ropo

      polopoint- YOU fail to understand that some women take birth control to treat things like migraine headaches. Birth control pills and other contraceptives are often used for hormonal treatment, so it's completely unfair to make a blanket statement about everyone who uses them. Ignorance is destroying this country.

      January 1, 2013 at 3:38 am |
  12. monte

    its funny how these bosses care about god and the bible all of a sudden, they curse at workers, cheat workers out of overtime pay, have no problem firing people for little or no reason. but now they suddenly care about the unborne child of the pesents they look down on. their just like rebulicans, they only care about relegion when they can use it to make money or to control others to conform to to there personel agenda.

    January 1, 2013 at 2:46 am |
  13. Oneula

    To each his own. I wouldn't eat one of those so called Pizza's anyway.

    January 1, 2013 at 2:42 am |
  14. Rob

    I wish dominoes pizza didn't suck so I could boycott it, but since I already do....

    January 1, 2013 at 2:22 am |
  15. Kelcy

    Won`t be spending my money on Domino's after this.

    January 1, 2013 at 2:17 am |
    • SkepticalOne

      Did you guys all miss the part of the article that said he sold his majority interest in Domino's Pizza years ago. He does not run that company.

      January 1, 2013 at 2:52 am |
    • Ken

      Stop pointing out facts to liberals. You'll only hurt them requiring them to think. It's a painful process for them you know.

      January 1, 2013 at 3:16 am |
    • Anonymous

      ken's absolutely right here. liberals only read what they want to hear. 90% of the posters here don't seem to understand that this dude doesn't even run domino's anymore lol.

      January 1, 2013 at 3:29 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      Too bad NASCAR doesn't have a New Years Eve 500.
      This guy owns 7 percent because that gets him down below SEC reporting requirements.
      I have no problem hitting this D-Bag in that 7 percent whether he runs it or not.
      He threw his company to the wolves who turn out crap for pizza.
      Who cares about them? They deserve being boycotted too.

      January 1, 2013 at 3:49 am |
    • cinemarama

      Doesn't apply here since the guy doesn't own Domino's now, but it's interesting that somehow voting with your pocketbook is considered liberal by many posters here. No, that's my right as a consumer to spend my hard-EARNED money where I like.

      January 1, 2013 at 3:51 am |
  16. v Kirwan

    Boycott Domino's Pizza a biz They do not respect women's rights.

    January 1, 2013 at 2:16 am |
    • Polopoint

      how's that?

      January 1, 2013 at 3:05 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 8:31 pm |
  17. RayJacksonMS

    This idiot should ask Papa John what happens to pizza peddler that try to stiff their employees on health care. Wasn't it about 33% of their business Papa John's lost?

    January 1, 2013 at 2:16 am |
    • cinemarama

      This guy sold his financial interest in in Domino's in 1998, so unfortunately a boycott won't hurt him a bit.

      January 1, 2013 at 3:35 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 8:31 pm |
  18. Depressed

    So what about the rights of the employees ? The religious views of a corporation CEO out ways the needs of underpaid staff just because they might have a different religious view.

    We need to separate religion from politics or we will continue to have irrational people controlling the lives of others.

    January 1, 2013 at 2:16 am |
    • Thatguy371

      Worst part is, this will be the same company who will fire the employee for being pregnant, or won't allow time off for pregnancy, thereby taking away any medical benefits they may have had coming.

      January 1, 2013 at 2:54 am |
  19. Bunk Moreland

    Terrible pizza

    January 1, 2013 at 2:08 am |
  20. snowdogg

    I don't believe that my employees should be eat fattening foods, therefore I won't pay for any Domino's pizza they eat.

    January 1, 2013 at 2:02 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      And you won't send them on free vacations to Hawaii, either? Or be their sex slave?
      Gosh, that's too bad for them, eh? They reap what you sow, is that it?
      Everyday must be opposite day in your world. Better shoot 'em if they talk back to you. Don't let 'em get uppity now.

      January 1, 2013 at 2:08 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      Fatties create a lot more monetary problems for employers. And gluttony is a mortal sin. No insurance for them!

      January 1, 2013 at 2:10 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.