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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 • Faith Now

soundoff (1,866 Responses)
  1. amy

    Just another reason to buy FRESH pizza from your local pizzaria instead of chains like Dominos or Papa John's.

    December 31, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Addison

      First if you read. or can read amy.. you will note he does not have a controlling interest in Domino's pizza, and is not suing on behalf of Domino's but another company he controls. Intelligence and reading comprehension is not your forte is it?

      December 31, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      @Addison
      You idiot, it doesn't matter what company he is suing with, his suit is frivolous in the extreme. He should be fined for wasting everyone's time and imprisoned for bribing legislators and other government workers.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:31 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 8:45 pm |
    • nah carpuss

      nah – that dude still owns like 7% of Dominos. Plus there might be some property sharing thing going on. Their still bed buddies.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
  2. Betsy

    Guy would be better off thinking up ways to improve his disgusting pizza.

    December 31, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  3. Seyedibar

    There are a dozen pizza joints that deliver to my door. It's not as if Domino's offers a unique product, so quite it's easy for me to stop spending my money with companies like Chick-fil-A or Hobby Lobby. Their pizza is barely distinguishable from the container it comes in anyway.

    December 31, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  4. Reggie from LA

    I guess everyone has a price...

    December 31, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  5. JT

    if I'm Jehovah's Witness and blood transfusions are against my religion, can I deny you one if you work for me?

    December 31, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  6. konrad_k_kay

    Here is the absurdity of this: since abortion was legalized, black women have had 16 MILLION abortions so just imagine how many black pregnancies have been avoided with birth control!!

    So Mr. Monanghan, how would you like to be writing 16 million more welfare checks not to mention how much more crappy rap music and stupid fashions we would have to endure.

    FREE CONTRACEPTIVES and for that matter FREE ABORTIONS TOO!

    December 31, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • DNC

      Some things are more important than money. Right to life is one. I forget, were you adopted or aborted? Which would you rather be?

      December 31, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Reggie from LA

      Non-sequitur...so just what music is fine enough to satisfy YOUR palate "komrad"?

      December 31, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • julnor

      There's no such thing as free, there's just things that other people pay for. So, who should pay for YOUR birth control or YOUR abortion?

      December 31, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • isolate

      Those 16 million unwanted children that were never born may account for the drop in crime rates, especially violent crime and murders.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • seamusmeboy

      So.....You're only worried about Black pregnancies???? I could read so many things into your comments, however, i'll just leave it with you're an idiot!

      December 31, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • What!!! What!!!! What!!!!!!

      Your remark makes it sound like on Black women get abortion. Sounds a little mean spirited.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  7. Brian Radke

    Fair and just ruling by the judge......government and employees do not have any business dictating religious values. Your loss of business is okay with the company as I am sure they have already taken this into account...go Domino's!!

    December 31, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      The government is NOT the one "dictating religious values," the business owner is the one doing that. Get is straight. The government just thinks that the medical professionals should keep doing their job as best they can for the individual and that the insurance should just keep paying for what they've been paying for for more than two decades.

      The religious freakoids are the ones wanting to tell people what they can and can't do. Talk about "dictating!"

      December 31, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Addison

      Moby the courts are not agreeing with you are they?

      December 31, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You've not read about Hobby Lobby have you? LOL!!

      December 31, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • pedgies

      @ Moby
      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.

      Hobby Lobby is not done.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Agreed, the Hobby Lobby case is not "done" and the ruling here will be overturned unless the law wants to see several million employers claim to be Christian Scientist to get out of paying for any and all health insurance-–as a ruling in favor here would set the precedent for.

      My comment was to the stupid fvcktard, Addison, who thinks anecdote that will probably change in the coming days is somehow better than a reasonable argument.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:09 am |
    • S1N

      The courts aren't agreeing with anyone at the moment. The temporary injunction is not an endorsement. It simply postpones enforcement until the court case is decided. Injunctions are relatively commonplace during court proceedings. The real surprise is that the Hobby Lobby case did not receive one, which seems to

      January 1, 2013 at 12:17 am |
  8. TDHawkes

    I have never agreed with his POV on contraception and abortion. I haven't bought his pizzas since the mid 1990s, and now, I never will.

    December 31, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  9. Emilio

    He looks like a smug POS sitting there like he's discovered the secrets to life. How long will it be before this religion-running-riot nutcase starts to backpedal when customers no longer find his brand of artery-clogging gunk unappealing?

    December 31, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  10. PtBarnumBoy

    Round one.

    December 31, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  11. lawrencewinkler

    What about the religious rights of those employees who need and want contraceptives? At what point does a business have a religion? At what point can a business dictate religion to their employees, and at what point does the religion of the boss dictate who and the religious practices of their employees?

    December 31, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • pedgies

      They are not saying their employees can't use abortion or the morning after pill. They are just saying that they will not pay for it. You do realize that health insurance premiums are subsidized by the employer. Most of the time 75% of the cost.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • SomethingProfound

      If a person needs/wants alcohol, they go out and buy some. If they need/want cigarettes, they go out and buy some. If they need/want a movie, they go out and rent one. So, if they need/want contraceptives, go out and buy some. It's simple logic. Otherwise, figure out how not to have a baby. That too is simple logic...although heavy with risk. Life is tough.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      those items haven't been considered medical care and covered by insurance companies for more than two decades, idiot.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • What!!! What!!!! What!!!!!!

      @ pedgies: The employee is paying a portion of the premium so maybe the employee is using her share to obtain birth control. Under your frame of mind, if she she is not having relations in the missionary style, her employer can say she can't have relations unless she conforms to his/her idea? Sounds like forcing of someone's religious belief on another.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:06 am |
  12. Old White Guy Business Owner

    WHAT THE FVCK IS GOING ON IN MY EMPLOYEE'S V/\GINAS?!?!?

    OH, HELL NO!!! I'M NOT GONNA STAND FOR THAT!!! I'D RATHER PAY THIRTY GRAND TO MEDICALLY INSURE THE CHILD FOR EIGHTEEN YEARS THAN PAY TEN BUCKS FOR A LITTLE PINK PILL!! GAWD D/\MN IT!!

    thank you jesus for all you have given me and the right to tell other people how to live for your glory, amen.

    December 31, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  13. pedgies

    They are not arguing against Birth Control Pills. Look at it this way: I own a quick stop I decide to offer my employees insurance(which I subsidize) that incudes birth control pills. However, I believe that Abortion or the morning after pill are murder which is against my religous beliefs. If I offer my employees these options I would be going against everything I believe and against my God. Now tell me if the government forces me to do so whose rights are then being violated?

    Since I am a small business I would just decide not to offer any insurance. Then my employees would be required to pay 100% of their insurance cost. Now who loses?

    December 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Certainly not your rights. You're paying a third party; that third party is paying for what you don't like. It's just like if you paid the employee and then they went and did something you didn't approve of. Simple, ain't it?

      December 31, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • pedgies

      @Moby. If am subsiding the insuance premium I am paying for it. Where do you think the insurance company gets the money to pay for the service?

      December 31, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • JT

      How about if I'm Jehovah's Witness and blood transfusions are against my religion. Can I deny you one if you work for me?

      December 31, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • ToldUso

      What if those services don't conflict with your employee's religious views? Then you are forcing your religion on them. That's not right.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • pedgies

      @Moby. As I also stated being a small business I do not have to offer my employees any insurance at all!

      December 31, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Where is the employee getting the money from for her birth control, moron? You're paying a third party, both ways; either the insurance company or the employee. Pull your head out of your azz and look around in the sunshine. Logic is your friend. Birth control has been a part of medically covered insurance for more than two decades. It's considered healthcare. Don't be a dovche and let the insurance company pay for what the medical professional says your employee needs for medical care.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • isolate

      You're obviously unable to separate your personal values from those of your employees. Render unto Caesar: follow the federal law and allow your employees to make their own decisions regarding birth control. It's what Jesus would have done.That way you satisfy the law without taking responsibility for the outcome. Inflicting your beliefs on your employees may make you feel like the Church Militant, but you won't want to hear what your female employees say about you behind your back. And do you really believe paying for pregnancy benefits and nearly two decades of a child's medical care is cheaper than birth control?

      December 31, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • pedgies

      Birth control pills are healthcare. I firmly believe that but abortion is not healthcare.

      By the way not all health insurance companys cover birth control pills. Mine does not. I pay for those out of my pocket. Cost me about $15 a month!

      December 31, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • What!!! What!!!! What!!!!!!

      That is your right. Just like most small business already do not offer insurance coverage to their employees. This guy is not a small business owner. So your action would be just like the rest of small business owners. No money out of your pocket.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:11 am |
  14. Justin

    How is preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg murder? What about the employees rihgts NOT to have their employers religous beliefs forced upon THEM? Would anyone be cheering if he were a Muslim and demanded his employees not eat pork? Whats next? A boss who claims it is against his religion to pay overtime?

    December 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • pedgies

      They are not arguing against birth control pills They are arguing against abortion and the morning after pill.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • barry

      and why would someone argue about the morning after pill??? it's not killing anything more than *possibly* a fertilized egg, right?

      December 31, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • pedgies

      @ Barry. Most religions believe that life begins at conception. When the sperm meets the egg. Thus they believe the morning after pill could kill a life. I am not a biologist so I don't argue that point.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Addison

      Justin... are you and your friends really this stuuuuupid? Using your example, you tell your boss who is muslim that they must buy you hams for all holidays. Now that is a better comparison. What you do with your money is your business, and no one is telling you that you cannot get an abortion or get the morning after pill, it is just that your boss is not going to pay for it just like he should not have to buy your pork for you either.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Boy, Addison, you are DUMB!!!

      Your analogy fails so hard it's pathetic. The government simply wants the medical professionals to continue to make the best possible decisions for their patients and for the insurance companies to continue to cover what they've been covering for more than two decades. Gee, how unreasonable is that! Oh my!

      December 31, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Addison

      Moby, first let me say with great confidence that you are not in my league intellectually. I flushed more intelligence today than you will ever exercise. When the employee pays 100 percent of their insurance then the employer should have no right to say what the employee gets, but when the employer subsidizes this then it is their right to choose what they provide. My momma used to tell me you can't have your cake and eat it too, but it seems many today seem to think they have a right to not pay for things but then demand what they want to get.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      No, it's fairly obvious that you're not in my league intellectually. I thought it was so obvious that I wasn't going to bring it up.

      When ham is covered by medical insurance for about thirty years, you're stupid as fvck analogy will mean something. When stupidity and lies amount to a reasonable argument, you'll have me beat. when the employer pays taxes for the employee, does the employer get to decide that killing is against his religion, so he's not going to pay those portions of his taxes for his employee? No. Same thing here. The employer is paying a third party to do a service that is currently required by law. The employer has no business taking part in what that third party decides to do in their professional capacity for their patient who also happens to be the employee.

      Your stupidity is absolutely astounding. Until you can handle basic logic, go back to playing with what you found in mommies underwear drawer.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:06 am |
    • What!!! What!!!! What!!!!!!

      @ Justin: So when is the employer paying 100%? The employee is paying a portion and should have a say in how her portion is used.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:16 am |
  15. Volntyr

    I dont know why this is such a big deal. Instead of making employers pay for contraceptives for their workers, simply implement a General Health care fund that can be used for anything the employee might need. Extra money for prescriptions, they have the money. The employer would be in compliance and the employee would get what they might need

    December 31, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  16. Jt_flyer

    That $30. A month for generic will bankrupt you. I have some advise... Focus on improving your awful pizza.

    December 31, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • spent

      How do you know they are awful unless have participated?

      December 31, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Jt_flyer

      College days. That's where you go after high school.... Never mind. You wouldn't understand. Go Jesus.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
  17. iceload

    Just another reason not to like Dominoes pizza. The quality of the pizza I'd still number one.

    December 31, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • 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 8:47 pm |
  18. marc

    I think its time to order Papa Gino's pizza.

    December 31, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  19. MagicPanties

    ok, no longer ordering dominos

    December 31, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • 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 8:47 pm |
  20. amy

    Unless I get to tell YOU what you can do, my religious freedom has been violated. :(

    December 31, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Addison

      Oh Amy grow up. I am pro choice but face it, health care is just that, about health, about illness and birth control is not about fighting a disease or a broken bone. I don't think I should pay for someones viagara or their birth control either. In fact Viagara is treating a health problem so maybe I am wrong there, but what "problem" is birth control solving?

      December 31, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Addison, birth control pills are used to treat medical problems as well as for birth control. YOU need to grow up and realize that insurance companies have been paying for birth control as a medical issue for more than two decades. Why? Because it's a heck of a lot cheaper than paying for a birth and a child for eighteen years. What's your problem with a women getting the medical care she needs and has been provided by insurance companies since the mid 80's?

      December 31, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • julnor

      MobySchtick, does the govt mandate that companies provide high blood pressure medicine for free? It's true that birth control pills are used for other things, but in that case they are like any other medication that may or may not be covered in full or in part by an insurance plan. The issue is that now the govt is mandating that companies provide this medicine, which is usually totally optional, for FREE. That's a govt that is overstepping its bounds. And I totally reject the "if you don't pay for this you'll have to pay for that" argument. People should be acting responsibly and they should be held responsible for when they don't act in that manner. I know it sounds great that someone will give you something but just face it that there is no right to have someone else pay for your birth control.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @julnor

      As I understand it, yes, the new law would require that most medications typically covered by insurance companies continue to be covered. The idea is simple; the medical professional knows what is best for the patient, not the employer who specializes in making foam packing.

      It has NOTHING to do with the employer. These dovchebags are just being azzholes in order to show up baby jesus. The insurance company is a third party. The employer pays a portion of the cost of the insurance for health care; the employee is not directly paying for any medical procedure at all. The employers who act all high and mighty are just being stupid for the sake of getting a few minutes of fame or strokes from their religious buddies or whatever.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • What!!! What!!!! What!!!!!!

      @ Addison: Some women use contraceptives to help with a hormonal imbalance. So, yes contraceptives are used for the health of a woman.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:21 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.