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. John

    Just the opposite. The judge's ruling creates an establishment of religion, because the government then forces the employer's religion down the employees' throats. Thereby it reduces religious freedom, rather than protecting it.

    January 1, 2013 at 1:58 am |
    • Rational Humanist


      January 1, 2013 at 2:02 am |

    3.8% of the sales price you get selling your home is the tax you must pay under Obamacare to the USA.

    For Obama voters I'll explain. Sell your house for 200K and you pay another 7600 bucks on top of the capital gains tax if any.

    The Pandora's Box of Obamacare is loaded with little dirty surprises.

    January 1, 2013 at 1:54 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      You don't know how taxes work, do you?
      Don't worry, they have a simplified 1040EZ tax form for people like you.
      And you can always get some tax-form business to do your taxes for you, so no worries for you now.
      Relax. You will never understand so don't try. Just pretend that Obama is really white and go about your business. lol

      January 1, 2013 at 1:59 am |
    • Kuratai

      This 3.8% sales tax myth is just that a made up myth that people with low IQ are falling for and believing. There is no provision in the healthcare mandate that would do this. Kindly know the facts before you post nonsense.

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

      Someone on fox news said it, must be true

      January 1, 2013 at 2:11 am |
    • Asai

      FOX news which we all know means False Or eXagerated content.

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

    Hey Mr. Bill no more dominos for me, thank you, p.s. you should be taxed double for being a righteous religious right-winged closed minded thug, with a manicure.

    January 1, 2013 at 1:51 am |
    • Bill Richardson

      Go for it! You see how well that worked with Chik fil A.

      January 1, 2013 at 2:00 am |
    • Charles

      If the vultures who want to eat Tom's carcass would get off their high horse and READ the article! Nothing worse than a misinformed thug raring to do something rash-like punish a company with whom the subject of the story has nothing to do with anymore.

      January 1, 2013 at 2:03 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      Give it up, Charles. You are defending a sleazeball and so must be a sleazeball yourself.
      You are just digging yourself in deeper by trying to pretend his 7 percent stake in the company doesn't exist.

      January 1, 2013 at 2:36 am |

    Good ruling and good start. Obamacare ruling by Roberts has opened a Pandora's Box. Next thing you know the government will want us to buy life insurance naming the Treasury of the U.S. as owner beneficiary with a double indemnity provision in case we die accidentally. That way when we are dead and finally free of taxes, the insurance company will make up for their losses.

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

      I have extra tin foil if you need it for your hat?

      January 1, 2013 at 1:54 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Your comment convinces me that you're far too stupid to appreciate the well-thought out and reasonable reply that would demonstrate the complete retardedness of your position. Carry on.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:56 am |
    • Asai

      I post this little advice for you and the ohers to numerous to list that fella you need to change your foil more often. As THE Liberal in charge of the "liberal conspiracy" the mind control beams I broadcast from space will wear down the resistance properties of the aluminum from which your cap is made. It is also part of MY "Liberal Conspiracy" to force this upon you as i have interest in aluminum companies so you can continue to fund my mind control schemes si i get you either way. I specially developed the foil to be suceptable to break down with continued exposure my mind control beam from space requiring a periodic change of the foil as a way to limit your intelligence as noted by you delusional rambling on this web site. I only offer this advice to you so that you perhaps will change your foil and avoid future embarassment to yourself in regards to your post to which i am replying.

      The Liberal in charge of the Liberal Conspiracy.

      January 1, 2013 at 2:11 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      LOL I head Asai also changes the polarity often enough so all the beams get through even when you're underground.

      January 1, 2013 at 2:12 am |
  5. nate

    what the hell does this thing work

    January 1, 2013 at 1:48 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      YOU DID IT

      January 1, 2013 at 1:49 am |
    • Helpful Hints


      Are your posts not appearing? Do you need the auto filter word list?

      January 1, 2013 at 1:50 am |
    • Rational Humanist


      January 1, 2013 at 1:53 am |
  6. VelveteenLady

    Monaghan is NOT stating his intent to prevent his employees from obtaining scripts for contraception or the "morning after pill," (which is lumped in with other forms of contraception). He is simply stating that his company will not pay for it.

    While I do not agree with forcing one's beliefs on others, I do support the right of a business owner to run his business according to whatever beliefs he chooses and to make business decisions, based upon those beliefs. He is the sole shareholder and I am sure that when folks apply for jobs with his company, they are well-aware of the fact that his moral compass guides the company. We have several such companies in my city and folks know what is expected, if they become employed by these companies.

    With a new law come challenges. It should be interesting to watch the nature and the legal adjudication of such challenges.

    January 1, 2013 at 1:47 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      This under the table 'you work there, should know what to expect' has to stop, though, Equal coverage for all; unless your religion is stated in your company mission statement, guess they have to suck it up.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:48 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      Considering how the law is written, Mr Dipwad Pizzaguy should have sued the insurance company he deals with instead of the gov't. He has no legal standing and his case makes no sense whatsoever.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:55 am |
    • Sarah

      Once again. Businesses are not religious. I don't know about you but I've never ordered a Domino's pizza with the intention of praying over it. A business shouldn't be able to take on a religion. They can't be members of a church and therefore shouldn't be able to take on a religion. If Domino's doesn't want to pay for contraception like every other business should have to the simple way to do that would be to only hire catholic employees. As for me. I'm never buying another Domino's pizza or buy anything from Hobby Lobby or any other business that takes up one of these lawsuits ever again. If they're going to insinuate that I have fewer morals than they do because I use birth control then they can continue to look down their noses at me and I'll take my money elsewhere.

      January 1, 2013 at 2:14 am |
  7. George

    Now lets hope all buisnesses and individuals will have it dropped from them also. And freedom will be restored to America by the grace of God. Sincerely ;

    January 1, 2013 at 1:43 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      I agree, all buisnesses should have it dropped. All businesses will keep it, though. Sincerely who, George?

      January 1, 2013 at 1:47 am |
  8. Jonas

    I can see that the far right wants America to turn into a theocracy, first they tell us that we can't wear contraception, next they will tell us what we can read, oh wait they already do that, (check out list of books that are banned in some counties nationwide on American Library Association). Pretty soon they will ban listening to music they deem non Christian, no more Beatles or Led Zeppelin. And wait cant see any Kung Fu movies its not Christian. Yet these same people are the ones who scream Freedom, Liberty and Democracy.

    January 1, 2013 at 1:39 am |

    Well, I guess I can add another business I won't be frequenting. Like Papa Johns, Chic-Fil-a and others like them will no longer get my business. Its sad to becaues I really liked Dominos but I can do without it from now on. I don't care if he owns it or not, just like him its the principle of the thing. These people are ridiculous.

    January 1, 2013 at 1:37 am |
    • Charles

      hey snappa, did you REALLY read the story before spouting your canned response of boycotting Dominos? Thought note. Typical. Idiot.

      January 1, 2013 at 2:06 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 8:33 pm |
  10. kevininjc

    Yet to see where providing these features of health care stomps on their religious rights. These businesses are not religious organizations and (im assuming here) that there's no religious requirement for employment at these companies. Very simplle, end of store. If these people had the power, they would want to strip away any requirement for healthcare completely.

    January 1, 2013 at 1:32 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      Dude no longer even has a dog in the fight, he's just a crazy old man.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:34 am |
  11. Frederick Wolfe

    Let all the self-centered rich sobs be boycotted and let all workers unite against their worship of greed!!

    January 1, 2013 at 1:21 am |
  12. Lisa

    I understand opposition to abortion (I am pro-choice but I understand and respect their pro-life stance) but calling contraception "causing death" is beyond ridiculous.

    January 1, 2013 at 1:21 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      Yeah...especially since the bible doesn't even support that view.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:31 am |
  13. allen

    alpa chinos dad should have practiced some good ol fashioned contraceptive and made him a stain on the mattress instead of the weak excuse of a troll he is today.

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

      I'm sorry your parents didn't raise a kid smart enough to find the 'reply' link. It'll be ok, allen. Does your mom know you're on the computer this late? She might have to come whack your pee pee.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:28 am |
    • frank

      Yep. Writes like a dumbfvck, too.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:31 am |
    • Rational Humanist


      January 1, 2013 at 1:34 am |
  14. pattysboi

    @jjjj, when Monaghan owned Domino's crappy "pizza", women at the corporate HQ were NOT allowed to ever wear pants, even in the winter. He no longer owns Domino's, but it's still a horrible product.

    Needless to say, a LOT of women boycotted his "pizza".

    January 1, 2013 at 1:12 am |
  15. gatorgirl

    So wait, he doesn't want others beliefs pushed on him, but yet he is making a decision based on his beliefs that will affect every employee? Kind of like when the Quakers left their area, settled in a new one and pushed their beliefs on other people.

    If the contraception is offered, it does not mean that you have to take it. It is just included in the plan. If you feel strong about it, then don't use it. But don't prohibit others from doing it. That right there is pushing your issues on to someone else.

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

      What these employers should do is just have faith that their employees won't use it because all they employ is good people. Maybe they can pray on it. There, all fixed.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:21 am |
    • rtrauben

      well said. i could not agree more. there is no limit to "justifying" ANY bias or prejudice based on the "freedom" of religion
      argument. there is a major difference between belief by an individual and reinforcement of that belief onto others.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:23 am |
    • MashaSobaka


      January 1, 2013 at 1:39 am |
    • Larry

      Or maybe if the employee disagrees with the employer, they can find a new job. The person that Owns the company gets to choose, not the employee. Boycotting the company only hurts the hard working people there, not the rich guy who can survive without the company.

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

      Letting enough companies get away with shit like this lets them make all kinds of rules to squeeze the secular folks out. Sound ok to you?

      January 1, 2013 at 2:02 am |
  16. mike

    take your religion and go back to europe

    January 1, 2013 at 1:08 am |
  17. 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 1:04 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, look. Another dimwit pipes up. It's THEIR god. Not THERE god.

      Go back to 6th grade and try to stay awake this time.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:07 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      Posting it twice makes you look twice as dumb...which I know for you is an improvement, maybe.

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

      You seem to be quite ignorant about how health insurance works, which makes me believe you are unemployed. I pay for my health insurance coverage, along with my employer. It's not just handed to me free of charge. DId you think it was? Most, if not all, employees pay premiums for health insurance.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:09 am |
    • woodie

      Actually you got that backwards. It's the conservatives want to enforce religious beliefs with government mandates. They want you to get pregnant whether you want to or not.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:09 am |
    • pattysboi

      So then when YOUR kid falls out of a tree and breaks his arm, it'll just be hunky dory when YOU have to pay $3500.00 instead of $50 for an ER visit, right?

      In short, get a clue, and grow UP.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:09 am |
    • allen

      pattysboi, im on tricare, Ill never have to pay a dime.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:12 am |
    • Jodi

      sheila, small problem. Have you ever tried to buy insurance? Wait until you are in your 40's with a pre-existing condition. You will not get insurance OR it will cost so much you cannot afford it.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:15 am |
  18. TNPatriot

    crazyvermont... you do realize that it the radical religious right/tea party/GOP that is trying to turn this country into England of Old....forcing their religious beliefs on everyone? That my friend is a violation of out first amendment.

    January 1, 2013 at 1:03 am |
    • mike

      you are correct!

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

      Victorian England sounds like some party, though...I mean, even the legs of tables had to be covered to be decent. WILD TIMES.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:09 am |
  19. Your Belief Does Not Equal Your Employees Belief's or Rights...

    I suppose we should now also reinstate segregation because racist idiots are offended by having to sell outside of their race of choice and start forcing victimized unmarried women to marry their rapists after he pays their father 50 sheckles as is the law in the Bible because we don't want to offend someone's religious/personal opinions!

    I've never bought Dominoes, but I'm going to make sure everyone else I know doesn't either. :/ The employees will suffer, but maybe it'll also send a message to the guys at top as well.

    If anything I think it's in the best interest of everyone involved to prevent unwanted or unplanned pregnancies. You'd be amazed what the availability of adequate birth control does to lower abortion rates as well as government spending to care for the children.

    January 1, 2013 at 1:01 am |
    • mike

      My dog can make better pizzas then domin-ho's

      January 1, 2013 at 1:10 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      They wouldn't be nitpicking this at all if that dark guy wasn't in office.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:10 am |
    • Your Belief Does Not Equal Your Employees Belief's or Rights...

      Agreed and agreed to the first two repliers to my comment...

      I may also note that I've been on birth control off and on out of my own pocket due to actual health issues with endometrial issues that I've had since I've been sixteen. I've been working consistently since the age of 18 and haven't received any government assistance. I work for a place now that basically buys the insurance from Blue Cross Blue Shield and then resales it to us for a portion of our paycheck.

      The prescription program is separate from our other health insurance and has a ridiculous set up... I've went for 5 years without any control of my endometrial issues because of their lack of offering birth control through that plan.

      The result?

      Nearly 11 months out of this year of consistent and painful cramps because I have bills to pay, college classes I'm paying for out of my own pocket as I take them, and elderly parents who need what I can spare more than I do. I've been bleeding constantly since July of last year.

      It's just become the norm for me... But it would be nice to have some recognition of that as well. I'm more concerned about children being born into households that are not ready. It would definitely prevent a lot of the abuse and neglect that occurs and I've witnessed on my mother's side of the family. :/

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

      The folks crying about this portion of the law don't think of that, ever. They just think it's all about UNCLEAN WIMMINS unable to keep their legs together, WANTON SLATTERNS. It's more fun to jump to insane conclusions and pound a drum for a way of thinking based on a book that never actually mentions or cares about contraception.

      No, that's ok. It's religious freedom, after all, and that's a great excuse for anything.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:38 am |
    • MashaSobaka

      You're very right. Birth control is by leaps and bounds less of a financial burden on insurance companies (and by extension those who buy their insurance) than pregnancies, childbirths, and children. Not to mention its uses beyond preventing birth: controlling ovarian cysts (which can and do lead to ovarian cancer), controlling irregular menstrual bleeding, treating endometriosis (and therefore treating infertility), and dozens of other female reproductive problems ranging from menstrual discomfort to reproductive cancers. These people want to ban cancer preventing medicines because it conflicts with their archaic dogmatic codes, and the fact that they're getting away with it is just plain disgusting. I am so sick of this quasi-theocracy that we've got going on in the US. Time for religious freedom for ALL. NO ONE should be denied access to basic healthcare on account of someone else's dogma.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:46 am |
    • Argle Bargle

      Not only do I agree with these posts concerning this smug, self-righteous pr!ck of a person, but 10 points goes to Alpa Chino for his name, (brilliant!) and an extra 10 for his use of "slattern." I haven't seen that word in YEARS, LMAO!

      January 1, 2013 at 2:01 am |
    • Alpa Chino

      LOL I only trot that one out for special occasions

      January 1, 2013 at 2:03 am |
  20. jjjj

    We rarely buy this brand, but have a LOT less interest now. Oddly, I'd guess more guys buy pizzas, and more women would be upset with this company. Not sure how well a boycott would work, but I'll surely do my part! What an ass!

    January 1, 2013 at 1:00 am |
    • Jim

      Boycott Dominos because of this article? Did you not read that he sold his share in 1998? He has nothing to do with the company now other than that's how he got rich. Typical reporting linked him to his former interest, Dominos, more than what he is currently interested in, all in the name of a catchy headline. Suckered you right in too.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:21 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 8:35 pm |
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About this blog

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.