KENTWOOD, Michigan - The owners of the Michigan-based Autocam Corporation are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court over the Department of Health and Human Services' mandate that the company owners ignore their religious beliefs and provide contraception, abortifacients and sterilization in their company health benefits.
Chicago-based Thomas More Society, which represents the Kennedy family, says their clients believe their Catholic faith must inform the way they do business in operating the Autocam companies. The owners provide their employees with "generous and award-winning employee benefits," a Thomas More statement said. However, with the newly-imposed HHS mandate, refusing to offer health care benefits that include birth control coverage could cost the Kennedys $16 million per year. Such a fine would "effectively cripple and destroy their business."
The U.S. 9th District Court of Appeals dismissed the Kennedy's case earlier this week.
“We mean to take this case directly up to the U.S. Supreme Court, as the U.S. Courts of Appeal are now sharply divided on these critical issues,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society.
“The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was enacted in order to protect people of faith against government mandates that impose a substantial burden on believers’ efforts to freely exercise their religious convictions, unless the government has really compelling reasons for doing so, and even then only if the means used are the least restrictive and burdensome among possible alternatives."
Brejcha said he hopes the Supreme Court will agree to hear the case so that the Kennedys and other business owners who practice as well as profess their religious faith can keep on doing so without having to "bet the company" and thereby risk their employees’ jobs as well as their own livelihood.