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. crimsoninok

    I know you liberals cannot comprehend anything that you do not agree with, but lets try this again.. BIRTH CONTROL IS NOT A RIGHT........ IT IS A PRODUCT... Use your freedom and pursuit of happiness and go buy some if you want.. YOU DO NOT HAVE A RIGHT TO FREE BIRTH CONTROL.

    December 31, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • sally

      Uh – yes we do – under the plan. It's a right. It's a FACT.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • retphxfire

      When you use the same argument to stop tax money from paying for your erections, then you will have some credibility. Besides, oral contraceptives are used for other medical reasons besides birth control, you really like the idea of causing further harm to women? There are NO other medical reasons for the blue pill or the vacuum tubes other than to get an erection.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Why do you have the right to healthcare then?

      December 31, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  2. Liz the First

    How sad that people go to court for the right to screw their employees! I'm a firm believer in separation of church and business. this creep is trying to keep contraception away from his employees. Papa John's is cutting employees' hours to keep from having to provide health care. where are people who care about fairness and employees' well being going to get a decent pizza if we have to boycott all the pizza chains? i'd like to see a listing of businesses that treat their employees decently.

    December 31, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • crimsoninok

      Stop being a cheapskate and go buy your own Condoms.. Birth Control is NOT your right..

      December 31, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Logan

      Why don't you take all of your savings and open a pizza chain? Invest all of your time and money like these folks have and then give it all back to your employees. That is a great business model. People that work for other people do so because they are not smart enough, or work hard enough, to own their own business.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Katrina

      We are going to be seeing more and more of this as the "Obamacare" law goes into effect. It is a given in this country that if I want to open a business and found it on Biblical principles I can. My main objection to the reproductive rights caveat in the legislation is that I as a small business owner have to provide abortion "insurance" for my workers. I do not believe in abortion and should not have to foot the bill for this. If a woman wants to have an abortion it is her right but that does not mean that I have to provide the means for her to be able to have it done. I do not judge a woman on her need or want to have this procedure done but she and her partner, if there is one, need to fund it themselves. It is wrong to expect me to pay higher premiums and in essence pay for a portion of her decision. Contraception is cheaper and in my eyes not wrong to fund, this also is something that many insurances already provide. The new health legislation is just another vehicle in creating a socialist republic in America and I am not blaming this completely on Obama, but he is complicit with many others in this dastardly deed.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Katrina, If your employer had a different religion to you, say Jehovah's Witness, would you be so agreeable to find that your health insurance did not cover procedures that your employer's religion opposed, say blood transfusions and organ transplants? Or if your employer were a fitness freak and would not cover anything pertaining to activities that he/she disapproved of, say smoking or alcohol or even weight issues ?

      December 31, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      crimson, This guy is just an opportunist. During the presidential election campaign he was blaming the ACA for his desire to fire staff – saying it would cost x amount per pizza all the time giving more than the total amount away in pizza promotion.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • John

      Don't people see the real issue. It is the socialist drive that is occuring. The more that we dictate the less freedom you actually have. If you don't like a company or their benefits don't work for them. There are thousands of other companies out there. In the end, all this is going to do is drive up cost for companies, that will result in lower wages. In the end everyone pays for it, that is is the socialist way. As for bocotting, if you actually followed through not buying from a company that does not align to your beliefs you will quickly find that you better learn to live off the land because you won't be shopping in any stores.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  3. Dear Kenyan Leader

    Read the Declaration of Independence. It contains the remedy to Obamacare. Secession.

    December 31, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • B'bye

      Don't let the door hit you on the way out. It's the GOP's version of "I'm taking my ball and going home", which most of us outgrew in, oh, about the 4th grade.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      I'll bet you're in a state like Mississippi which receives more from the governement than it pays to the government and have the chutzpah to complain about "big government". Good riddance.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  4. Logan

    Anything, anyone, that goes against the dirtbag obama is great! Obama should be impeached and I hope he is before is full term is finished!

    December 31, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Liz the First

      What alternate universe do you call home? If anything the 'right' spewed about Obama was true, i wouldn't like him, either. bet you call yourself a 'christian,' Logan. bet you think you could do the toughest job in the world better than this decent, intelligent, caring man who's working his butt off to clean up the mess YOUR president made of this country.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Cmhreader

      Americans voted him in....twice. So back off.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Logan

      I don't call myself anything. I am smarter than that, just because you are too stupid to realize that obama is not a decent, hard working man the better off you will be in your life. obama knew what the job entailed before he ran the first time, It is not my fault that he is too arrogant to admit that he does not know what he is doing.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Impeached on what grounds? There were reasons to impeach Bush/Cheney and Congress wouldn't go for it. There was plenty of contemporaneous evidence showing that Iraq were not associated with Al Queda, were not involved in 9/11, and did not have WMD.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  5. Reality

    No doubt the issue will be settled by the US Supreme Court who will probably allow the states to decide the proper course of action.

    December 31, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • crimsoninok

      Hopefully, because most will boot Obamacare... To the tune of 30 states at least..

      December 31, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      SCOTUS would be wrong to do so.

      "To promote the general welfare" means everyone equally under the 14th Amendment, and as it is applied equally, no religious exceptions can reasonably be inferred or permitted by this country.

      But watch Scalia slobber all over himself and smear everything the way he loves to do so often.
      I know how the law is supposed to work, but our current SCOTUS has members who should have been disbarred before birth from serving in any government post.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  6. Skeptic

    I'll bet a whole lot of greedy businessmen will suddenly declare themselves to be Christian Scientists, and that therefore any requirement to provide health care for their employees is against their religion. How convenient.

    December 31, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Logan

      When you become smart enough to own your own business then you can give other people advice about running theirs. In the mean time STFU!

      December 31, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Usaretired

      You're another idiot! Why should any company have to pay for an employee's choice to prevent a pregnancy or kill a baby once the woman becomes pregnant? What ever happened to individual responsibility?

      December 31, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Skeptic

      Individual responsibility is important. Employers have an individual responsibility not to harm their employees in the name of "religious" beliefs. (And in this case, the employer appears to be motivated by money and/or politics, not sincere belief.)

      December 31, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Romnesia

      Logan, owning a business does not make one smart. it didn't for you, now did it?

      December 31, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
  7. domiNO more!

    I suspect his bank account is the motivator for resisting, not his religious beliefs. I don't care which it is, i'll vote with my own money and boycott Domino's from now on. It's not as if I'd be missing anything resembling good pizza, so, win-win (for me)!

    December 31, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Logan

      Why don't you do America a favor and self-deport like piers morgan?

      December 31, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Usaretired

      You're so darned stupid that you couldn't find a job that pays enough to purchase a Domino's pizza anyway. So, what is the loss for Dominos?

      December 31, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  8. WP_Joe

    I won't eat at Domino's ever again.

    December 31, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • truebob

      Makes two of us.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • retphxfire

      Agree, if he wants to deny his employees their rights (no one is telling him he has to use any medical product in opposition with his beliefs), there a better pizzas that can be delivered by other companies. His victory will be short-lived, higher courts have ruled that by providing insurance for a specific purpose doesn't impact their rights. If that were the case, no Christian Scientist run business would offer ANY medical insurance.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • MC

      Same here. I wish it were because of this, but in fact of the 4 places that deliver pizza to where I live, Dominos is easily the worst.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Dot

      I will no longer purchase their pizzas.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Logan

      Just because you are too poor to pay for a pizza without the government's help?

      December 31, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Scott

      Rights? Where does it say anywhere that you have a right to free birth control? We have got to understand what is a right and what is not. I am sick and tired of people using the denying your rights statement when it makes no sense.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • crimsoninok

      Youre not hurting him.. HE SOLD THE COMPANY... Youre really a genius... kinda remind me of Obama, you know, just talking alot but not really making any sense..

      December 31, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Usaretired

      Good! I love Domino's pizzas. The less you buy (if you could afford it in the first place) the more I can buy. Oh, and once Obama has finished destroying our economy and Dominos passes out free pizzas, make sure I don't see your dumb azz in line waiting to grab a slice.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • retphxfire

      Scott, you give the federal government's paying for your male enhancement drugs/devices a pass and you'll have credibility. Don't see any of you extremists offering to give up the guy things.

      All of you continuing to blame Obama for the recession, etc., get a clue, the recession started before he was even elected. It was your guy, the one who started a war without a plan, without sufficient resources for the troops he sent into harms way and who lied to everyone about WMD/NBC warfare in Iraq, who spent us into one of the worse deficits ever...how do you all remain so ignorant, even when its by choice? Why do you LIKE being so ignorant and looking so foolish? Serious questions..

      December 31, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  9. Vermont

    Why should his employees be affected because he is a believer in the world's largest cult? The production and sale of pizza is not primarily a religious endeavor. What sort of healthcare will he or the next zealot object to?

    December 31, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Usaretired

      You're an idiot! Why should any company have to pay for an employee's choice to prevent a pregnancy or kill a baby once the woman becomes pregnant? What ever happened to individual responsibility?

      December 31, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • crimsoninok

      So youre telling me, that because he believes in God, that is stopping you from taking money out of your wallet and buying some condoms? I think youre the one with the problem, not him..

      December 31, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • John

      People don't want to take responsiblity for their own actions. That is why this country is facing such huge problems.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  10. MrManhattan

    A Reagan appointee? What a surprise, I guess there are a few old white men left.

    December 31, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Usaretired

      Translation...I guess there are some men of common sense left in this world. I wonder if you would rather stand in line for a free domino's pizza or free contraception.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  11. thestewman3

    Didn't Jesus Provide free health care by curing the sick at no cost?

    December 31, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Ed

      If you actually read the Bible or actually knew what you were talking about you would understand that Jesus never performed an abortion or provided birth control to "cure the sick". The oposite is true – Jesus preached all life was sacred from contraception to birth to death.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  12. ted

    What about the Christian woman who want contraception?

    December 31, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • lol??

      What about the man that wants beer? Did the Socialists disguised as Christians in the WCTU care?

      December 31, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Ed

      They do the same they do for plastic surgery or any other elective medicine or medical procedure – they pay for it. If they don't have the money – liberals can start a charity that will provide it if they wish. The government should force no one to provide coverage against their religious beliefs. If you seperation of Church and State – then you should demand that the government does not mandate against religious beliefs.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  13. bill davis

    Got to love him and his wife Cindy,

    December 31, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • retphxfire

      How about his position on 'male enhancement'? If God wanted you to have an erection....Pizza is a gluttony food, isn't that one of the deadly sins? Isn't he contributing to another's sin? Isn't it easier for a rich man to go through the eye of a needle than to get into heaven? Isn't greed and the obsession with making money a sin (he has billions, more than 'enough')? Oral contraceptives are given to women for medical reasons other than birth control, does he believe helping critically ill women, such as cancer, is a sin? Last...is he going to use some of his billions to feed, care, clothe and house a child whose mother died in childbirth? Maybe he can build a nursery for all these children at his university, you know, the one where he is training 'the right kind' of priests and nuns, getting the right kind of Catholics to marry and have thousands of children and hundreds of thousands grandchildren in order to move the country towards charismatic Catholicism.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • retphxfire

      BTW...his wife's name isn't Cindy, it's Marjorie (?), definitely not Cindy.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Usaretired

      Come on Ret... the sin of glutony is an individual choice. He is not being compelled to provide pizza to everyone who wants one but he is being forced to provide contraception to everyone who wants it. Big difference. And why is it his responsibility to care for the poor? Again, isn't that an individual responsibility? If you can't afford to live the life you want, quit pumping out babies and start making smart choices to improve your lot in life. Don't tell me it can't be done, because millions of Americans have done it without expecting hand outs.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
  14. woman

    These Republicans/Evangelicals/whatever want to stop birth control and abortion, but then they want nothing to do with helping the child or mother after it's born. Arrogant, smug hypocrites!

    December 31, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • lol??

      Did you clear that comment with your hubby?

      December 31, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  15. Katrina

    It seems funny to me that everyone is so riled up over this man exercising his American right to freedom of choice and how he conducts his business. Is this not what you all are clamoring for is more freedom? More choice? But when someone's views run opposite yours you have to use hate speech to condemn them. It is also funny to me that not a one of you that is ranting against him has read the whole article apparently. All of you who say you are not going to buy another Domino's pizza need to pay closer attention to what you are reading and not just skim the article. Mr. Monaghan sold his controlling interest in the pizza company in 1998, he filed this order on behalf of a different company not directly linked to the pizza chain. Chew on that while I eat my Domino's pizza.

    December 31, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • sally

      Well – it's not the pizza company?? Well, – OK we're doing the boycott anyway just because they make crappy pizza. BOYCOTT DOMINOS!!!!!!!

      December 31, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Outtascope

      If he wants to run a religious organization, then let him found a religious organization. Then he would be exempted. So what happens when you have a heart attack on a Sunday and must die because all these religious wack jobs refuse to work on the sabbath? What about the freedom of religion of the employees working for this twit? Must they now submit to Catholic rule? What about his customers? Do they not have a right to know that by patronizing his businesses that they are violating their own religious beliefs by covertly funding the heretical Catholic church? This is a baptist country god damn it!

      December 31, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Katrina

      Boycotting because of crappy pizza is your right as an American, as is your right to know what the organization that is making your crappy pizza stands for. Let's just be real and plain about why you want to boycott and under what terms you are attempting to make your boycott real. Boycotting Domino's pizza because of this legal action Mr. Monaghan has taken is moot because it does not involve the pizza company and he no longer holds a controlling interest in the pizza company, so he has no right to file any legal claims for the pizza company. In this day and age of misinformation it is ever more important to know truly what you stand for and to do research into what exactly are the facts before you take action against a perceived injustice.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:39 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 8:57 pm |
  16. PS

    I'm for reformed health care, but in my book, forcing a business to provide contraception is wrong. It's not like women can't get it from somewhere else if their employer won't provide it. Does that make me some old fashioned fuddy duddy? Perhaps... and I'm okay with that. Especially if the consequence is forcing a business to pay millions in fines every day because they won't supply the Pill. That to me is insanity.

    December 31, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  17. crimsoninok

    Lets see now,, he is a billionaire and you live in your mama's basement.. yeah.. tough one but i think i'll just keep on respecting him.. He built his fortune from the ground up selling pizzas..

    December 31, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Stephen in VA

      Right, because wealth is such a great indicator of personal morals and integrity. Just as Mother Teresa.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  18. DB

    Is success in business, belief in yourself, belief in your prinicples, and in your God, a bad thing? Does anyone here want to give up hard work, success and all you have saved just becasue of some ill concevied legislation out of the most worthless Congress in history. Is it right that this same Congress has come up with some way to force through legislation that says those that have will support those that don't have no matter what? What does this remind you of, Communism perhaps? Is the Russian statements of the 1960's coming true that we will crumble from within? Do we really need laws like this on the book which rewards those that do nothing, contribute nothing, and have done nothing to deserve this aid? Why not just cut off the Foreign Aid programs and use that saved money to support these programs or is that to much to ask becasue the kickbacks to this corrupt Congress would stop? Washington is full of Lawyers and crooks, to bad they are one in the same.

    December 31, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  19. crimsoninok

    finally some judicial sanity..

    December 31, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Anti-Plutocracy

      If he believes good for him but he should NOT force his Religious views on the entire company to save a buck or three or did you REALLY think this was just about Religion?

      December 31, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Nah

      anti: "If he believes good for him but he should NOT force his Religious views on the entire company to save a buck or three or did you REALLY think this was just about Religion?"

      But instead the government can force its own views onto him and force him to act contrary to his religious beliefs. Right?

      The absurd irony in your post is astounding.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
  20. lol??

    You idiots called the wrong number for Italian food. You called Domino's Farms Petting Farm. They delivered. You ate.

    December 31, 2012 at 9:01 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.