Court Blocks Abortion-Pill Mandate for Family-Run Auto Lighting Company

Grote Industries
A Grote Industries employee works in a lab

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday that blocks enforcement of the Obama administration’s abortion-pill mandate against family-run Grote Industries, an Indiana-based vehicle lighting manufacturer that filed suit in October of last year.

“Americans have the God-given freedom to live and do business according to their faith,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “Forcing employers to surrender their faith in order to earn a living is unprecedented, unnecessary and unconstitutional. Honoring God is important every day, in all areas of life, including in our work. Freedom is not the government’s to give and take away when it pleases.”

“We are pleased that the court delivered the Obama administration a reminder of this foundational truth, and we are confident that this unconstitutional mandate’s days are numbered,” Bowman said.

“Americans should be free to honor God at work, at home and at church,” said Indianapolis attorney Mike Wilkins, one of nearly 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom. “The administration’s attacks on faith and business prove that it doesn’t respect either one.”

Wilkins represents Grote Industries together with allied attorney Michael Cork, also of Indianapolis. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are co-counsel in the case, Grote Industries v. Sebelius.

The mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception under threat of heavy penalties. A district court had denied an injunction against the mandate for Grote Industries, but the 7th Circuit agreed to issue one while the case is on appeal.

In its order, the 7th Circuit concluded that “the Grote family and Grote Industries have established a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of their RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] claim. We also conclude that they will suffer irreparable harm absent an injunction pending appeal, and the balance of harms tips in their favor. … In all important respects, this case is identical to Korte; our analysis there applies with equal force here. If anything, the Grote family and Grote Industries have a more compelling case for an injunction pending appeal.”

Grote Industries, based in Madison, Ind., and founded in 1901 by William Grote, is a leading manufacturer and marketer of vehicle lighting and safety systems and operates in multiple countries in North America, Europe and Asia.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys are also litigating seven other lawsuits against the mandate. The lawsuits represent a large cross-section of Protestants and Catholics who object to the mandate.

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