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.

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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. JohnS

    Congratulations! There are still a few men willing to fight for our culture. The pathetic attacks here are so evidently the grasps of a culture gone mad, people actually fighting to keep the disordered mess around us. Sure! Birth control and liberation have given us nothing but millions of dissatisfied and medicated women – Not to mention breast cancer rates unnaturally high as a result of their fight for freedom to prevent conception and to murder the child in their wombs. Way to go!

    January 1, 2013 at 8:32 am |
  2. James

    Like all these people who say paying compromises their rights. Does not forcing your beliefs on someone else not violate their rights? I think it dies....

    If you do not believe in it no one is forcing you to take it, but I think women should have the coverage if they so choose.

    January 1, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • Bernard Webb

      Some people "protect their freedoms" by denying freedom to others. Those people are called conservatives.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:37 am |
  3. babooph

    Now I know what Howdy Doody looks like as an adult.....

    January 1, 2013 at 8:28 am |
  4. Jon

    Just limit employees work to under 30 hours to week or only hire temps. Both are good ways for businesses to get around Obamacare.

    January 1, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • Robert

      Thank God I don't work for you.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • Bernard Webb

      Is the main goal of businesses to "get out of" treating their employees properly then?

      January 1, 2013 at 8:38 am |
  5. JHB

    I went to the Dominos HQ back when this guy still owned the place. It's December in Ann Arbor, as you drive up the whole place was full of xmas lights in religious icons, Angels, and baby Jesus. It was exactly what you would expect to see at a Catholic Church, not a Pizza HQ. It was 13 degrees and 12 inches of snow, but as a woman, I had to wear skirt suit, and the skirt had to go below my knees. I had to wear nylons (not that I wouldn't in 13 flippin' degrees but these are the Melrose Place days). I would not be allowed to enter if my knees showed. Men had to wear jackets and ties all day. No putting that jacket on the back of the chair during a meeting, it must be on. In the restroom, the first thing you found was a giant scale, yet in the cafeteria it was all pizza. As someone who went to company headquarters for a living, I found that place CREEPY. This is definitely the kind of guy who covers Viagra but not Birth Control.

    January 1, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • OvernOut

      They dropped the light show when he sold his stake in the pizza company. It was free to drive through it, there was pizza available at the end (not free, but very cheap). He sold the Detroit Tigers to the Little Caesars Pizza family–glad he did that, too.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • Bernard Webb

      I would NEVER patronize any business that did that. It sounds really creepy to me.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • OvernOut

      You should check out what his plans are for the town he is building called Ave Maria, Florida. He is building an entire town run just like the corporate headquarters you described.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:59 am |
  6. The Fladaboscan

    What I don't believe in blood pressure medicine? Aspirin? Blood transfusions (many Americans believe this is a sin)? Can I block paying for those? What about breast reduction surgery? Half of American employers would be against that! Can I not pay for allergy medicine? Cirrhosis? Acne?

    January 1, 2013 at 8:23 am |
    • Jean

      Killing babies is on a whole nother level, IMO. Forcing someone to pay to kill your baby is making them complicit to the notion that life is not sacred. It breaks a sacrament. This is the issue. It is about funding procedures that do not have anything to do with health issues. It is about killing an unborn baby for the convenience of the mother. Planned Parenthood does that. They are designed to use government money to provide free abortions.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • pluscachange

      @Jean – no gov't money has gone to Planned parenthood for abortions since 1995 – other than that I am not clear on whether this is a separation of church and state issue, your thoughts/ Finally, it is not clear to me that all contraceptive measures can be considered abortifaciants – ie the pill, or even the morning after pill – again, would appreciate your input – facts, not generalizations, if at all possible, thank you

      January 1, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • Bernard Webb

      @Jean: You have been badly misled on this issue, presumably by the conservative media that I am sure you are blindly loyal to. I wish people like you would check the facts before relaying right-wing nonsense to us.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:40 am |
  7. liz

    Hey Domino's I am a woman who uses birth control and given your refusal to provide family planning health care to your employees I can't buy your pizza.

    January 1, 2013 at 8:22 am |
    • The Fladaboscan

      It's not pizza, silly! It's factory made cardboard with manufactured cheese food product.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:24 am |
    • Mrs Time

      This woman will no longer buy his pizza. Disgusting pig.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:27 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 8:24 pm |
  8. Elliot Carlin

    When is someone going to pay for my ammo? Its my right after all.

    January 1, 2013 at 8:22 am |
  9. redbaron120288

    but what the question really is, does his voice speek for all 100% of his employees? this is what I cant stand about religious people. they insist on pushing there belief onto Everyone Else.

    January 1, 2013 at 8:21 am |
    • Elliot Carlin

      I think its also called private enterprise. Make some pizza worth eating and you can support abortion all you like

      January 1, 2013 at 8:22 am |
  10. Leamu

    The last time I ate Dominos I got sick due to cheap ingredients used ti make that plastic food. However, l have a question, so him and others like him are willing to pay for prenatal insurance and give the new parents paid time off to recover from the delivery and bond with the child? If the answer is no then this move is only cut expenses not related to religious beliefs.

    January 1, 2013 at 8:11 am |
  11. Citizen

    So he is going to impose his morals and beliefs on all of his employees? Sounds like a dictatorship rather than an employer.

    January 1, 2013 at 8:11 am |
    • Basher

      Clearly a student of higher learning, you are. Dictatorships do not allow people to leave. Not only do employees have the ability to simply leave their employers in these beautiful United States, they do not have to apply to work for any particular employer.

      Bet you didn't know that little tidbit of information. Your college professor left that side of the equation out when he or she railed against corporations while lauding the Soviet Union of yesteryear.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • ginger315

      No, it's called I OWN the company and if you don't like to be employed here, quit and move on.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:33 am |
  12. michiganandy

    If men got pregnant, there would be drive-thru abortion clinics and birth control dispensers right next to the gumball machines. Time for laws that prevent men from making laws that affect women, men have failed when it comes to the treatment of women in this culture. Plus it has been prophesized by many indigenous North American nations that women will take over leading this species, and I can see why that needs to happen.

    January 1, 2013 at 8:05 am |
    • Basher

      Agreed. By the same token, time to stop allowing women to have babies out of wedlock which men have to support for 18-22+ years. If the woman 'gets to choose' whether to have a baby or not then men get to choose whether to support said child. It's only fair after all.

      All women should support this since choice is so important to them.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:14 am |
    • Jean

      The issue here is not the treatment of women. It's about the forced treatment of unborn babies. If a business owner holds dearly, in their personal life, that the killing of an unborn baby is morally and ethically wrong, then why should he or she be legally required to pay for it? This is the argument. It is the government's erosion of personal freedom. The argument is not whether or not the woman should be allowed to kill her unborn baby. The argument is whether or not she should be required to pay for it herself. To understand the issue more clearly, folks, why don't you flip the argument. Suppose the government puts the opposite law into Obamacare. Suppose the government would have written the law to forbid business owners from providing contraception or abortion services to their employees. The argument is not just about abortion. It is about forcing a business to provide it. It is about blatant disregard for human life as part of the rule of law for the entire nation.This is not about women's rights at all. Poor women can go to planned parenthood for an abortion. The right to have an abortion is not part of this argument. Who pays for it is. I think business owners should have the right to say they do not want to be morally and ethically responsible for funding abortion. That money kills babies. If a person doesn't want their money to go toward killing babies, than the only recourse is to file a lawsuit against the very government that is forcing them to do it.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:28 am |
  13. Bob

    Put your pitchforks down people. He has had no involvement with Domino's Pizza since 1998.

    January 1, 2013 at 8:01 am |
    • KatelvmWhy

      So then why does he even care?

      January 1, 2013 at 8:18 am |
    • Acoustic

      Bob I may agree with you but : Monaghan sold his majority interest in the pizza company in 1998. May just mean he isn't a MAJORITY holder. I have to believe (and may be wrong) if you have a company called Dominos Farm Corp., you MAY just have an "interest" (financial) in the brand and some stock holdings and that means the name, however it may be used.

      No pitchfork here but seems like a lot of hay around the Domino Farm.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:28 am |
  14. HNIC

    Silly white men ! Micheal Moore is always right!

    January 1, 2013 at 7:58 am |
  15. JD

    That's the end of Dumbino's for me!

    January 1, 2013 at 7:49 am |
    • Bob L

      How many religious holidays does Dominoes observe?

      January 1, 2013 at 7:57 am |
    • Bob

      He has nothing to do with Domino's Pizza anymore. Your reading comprehension is amazing.

      January 1, 2013 at 7:58 am |
    • Jt_flyer

      The poor quality of their pizza wasn't enough?

      January 1, 2013 at 8:09 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 8:25 pm |
  16. Sun

    I already cut both Papa John's and Dominos off my pizza list. Now we only eat at locally owned places, or make it ourselves.

    January 1, 2013 at 7:48 am |
    • Scott f.

      That's the best way to go anyway. This is only about control of women and "putting them in their place", misogynistic and archaic.

      January 1, 2013 at 7:59 am |
    • Jim O

      You'll probably live longer for it.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:03 am |
  17. JayHobeSound

    A christian extremist says that allowing female employees to be covered for reproductive medicine will put a burden on his practice of religion.

    Monaghan is not being forced to take birth control pills.

    He is using religion as a way to deny female employees the right to make their own medical decisions.

    Bring back the lions.

    January 1, 2013 at 7:48 am |
  18. Deeann M

    Just make sure that the Viagra is also not covered...Otherwise, I'll have the non-denominational. Papa John, are you okay with birth control? If so, send a pizza to my house.

    January 1, 2013 at 7:44 am |
    • mique

      you can knock them off your list , too. He would have to raise the price of his pizza eleven cents, so providing healthcare options is not feasible.

      January 1, 2013 at 7:51 am |
  19. ggirl

    will never order Dominos again..

    January 1, 2013 at 7:42 am |
    • liberal disease

      will order 10 today to watch the games!! love Dominoes!!! hate Obama!

      January 1, 2013 at 7:52 am |
    • ggirl

      I'm so cool to say I'll NEVER order Dominos again. I live to feel relevant by standing up for my beliefs ! I know I picked a risky cause to believe in, but I did. Obamacare must be implemented fully ! On second thought, I feel like a loser. That's because I am

      January 1, 2013 at 7:57 am |
    • John

      For the Record Dominos is no longer owned by the guy that filed the suite, he sold his interest a while ago. That being said Papa Johns and Dominos's should be avoided not only because of their ludicrous politics but because their hi sodium laden preservative packed pizzas taste the xxit and are not in any way healthy at all, also and most importantly If "corporations are people" then it should be decided by the supreme court if those "people" have ANY religious affiliation or not, i.e. if a company is a sole proprietorship owned and conrolled by a catholic for example then thieir "reglious rights" should be recognized, but if the business is formed into a corporation with all of the protections afforded a business then the corporation should be reognized as a person just not a religiously affiliated one.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:08 am |
  20. mique

    One more comment and I am done. Why is this on the belief page? Seems more like a health page issue.

    January 1, 2013 at 7:40 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Why then are you here? It's obvious you failed to read the article or you'd comprehend why it is here.

      January 1, 2013 at 7:44 am |
    • captain america

      Since it is an American issue what is liar prefails doing here, the undermining of America by a foreign commie pinko slug is of no value to US. There's your sign.

      January 1, 2013 at 7:46 am |
    • mique

      Dear Truth, Health issues and belief issues do not belong together, is my point. Health issues are real, We all have them. Belief systems are man made and variable to the point where they should not interfere with factual issues. Whose beliefs shall prevail? There are hundreds of belief systems, each varying from the others and I do not know of any believers that think they belong to the wrong religion. That makes for a whole lot of confusion when it comes to making decisons for a large complex society.Don't want an abortion? Don't get one. Hormone imbalance threatening your lively hood? your beliefs do not interest me at that point. Contraception will allow our family to stay afloat? Your religous beliefs are not impressive.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:07 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      CA: Once again ole delusional one...CNN is international.

      Mique: This idiot is using his personal belief in his personal god to say whether or not the employee health care plan should have to cover birth control...so yes they do belong together in this sense. He has no right to impose his belief on his employee's.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • Jacob

      Hi Mique, Boy, folks sure antogonistic, aren't they? I suppose it's the nature of writing a comment in one's own living room, far away from those that read it. Anyway, I do understand your position but there was one comment you made that prompted me to chime in. You said in your follow-up reply, in so many words, that there are (sic) 'so many religions and that none of the individuals in each of those religions think that they are in the wrong religion'...basically, I got the feeling from your comment that you are implying that because there are so many religions that this fact in itself serves as some degree of proof that religion is indeed a falsehood – that if only all people shared a common belief in religion then they have some hope of being correct.

      It is a common point that those who do not have Christ in their life choose to bring up when bashing religious people, and one that shows a gross misunderstanding of the true nature of the Christian religion. Again, don't take this comment as a personal attack. Jesus himself said that he 'did not come for everyone'. You may well be one of those people that he was talking about. That's not my call.

      In fact, the Bible says that there will come a day when no person will educate another person about God, and Jesus – that each person will know Jesus personally. This is a fairly radical statement, as it brings into question that whole purpose of organized religion, etc. But without going into all of that, what is being said here is that as the kingdom of Jesus Christ becomes established here amongst the human race that each individual will develop their own special relationship – or religion, if you will – with Jesus. So, in effect, if you want to claim a proper understanding of Christianity you should say that there are not enough religions at this point of mankind, but instead you state that there are too many. I just wanted to point that out because you need to properly understand what you don't believe in. If not, you might be making the incorrect decision, and even if you never want to b e a Christian, if you want to have respect from those your argue against Christianity about, it helps to have a correct understanding of what is stated in the Bible.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:57 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.