Christian Family-Owned Gun Parts Firm Wins Reprieve From HHS Mandate

August 14, 2013 - 2:57 PM

Drug Stores Roll Out Plan B, Put Policies in Place for Employees Who Morally Object to Abortifacients

(CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – A federal judge in the District of Columbia issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday that was requested by a Michigan gun parts manufacturer seeking an exemption to the Obama administration's Health and Human Services (HHS) contraceptive mandate.

Noting that there was a similar case pending before the D.C. Court of Appeals, the Department of Justice decided last week not to defend the administration against the lawsuit filed August 5th by Trijicon, Inc., a Christian family-owned firm that manufactures high-quality optical gun sights for the military and law enforcement.

(See TrijiconPImotion.pdf)

The company has 257 full-time employees.

“Without an injunction, plaintiffs will imminently be forced to include abortion-inducing items in their health insurance plan in violation of their religious beliefs, thereby suffering irreparable harm to their constitutional and statutory rights to freely exercise their religion, ” attorneys for Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the company in its legal battle against the mandate, successfully argued in their motion for the preliminary injunction.

“For right now, the government is enjoined from enforcing the mandate against our client, so it’s a tremendous victory for Trijicon,” Alliance attorney Jeremy Tedesco told CNSNews.com.

“The company’s new health plan starts Sept. 1st. Without this injunction, our clients would be facing exorbitant fines or be forced to pay for abortifacients and not be able to exercise their religious beliefs according to their consciences.”

The HHS mandate would have triggered a $100 penalty for each employee per day if Trijicon refused to cover abortifacients in its employee health insurance plan.

“Trijicon and its owners hold the sincere religious belief that life begins at conception/fertilization, and that any method that functions to prevent or disrupt implantation of a fertilized human embryo is morally wrong and results in the wrongful taking of a human life,” the lawsuit noted.

“Accordingly, for many years Trijicon has instructed its health insurance provider to not include coverage for the voluntary termination of pregnancies in its health insurance plan for employees….Trijicon believed that this exclusion covered abortifacient items like Plan B, ella, and others.”

Trijicon president and CEO Stephen Binden, who owns the company with his five siblings, said that his father, Glyn Bindon, “began this business with the intent of treating our employees and customers in a way that represented his strong Christian faith….We are simply trying to retain the culture and values we’ve always promoted here at Trijicon.”

And since the mandate “violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,”  the company’s attorneys argued, “Trijicon is likely to succeed on the merits...

"The most striking obstacle to Defendants’ assertion of a compelling interest is that the government itself has voluntarily omitted tens of millions of women from the Mandate….But Defendants still refuse to exempt Trijicon," the lawsuit pointed out.

Alliance attorney Matt Bowman  told LifeSiteNews that the Obama administration has become increasingly reluctant to defend the HHS mandate in court since July 19th, when the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals granted Hobby Lobby a temporary injunction against its enforcement.

“The [Trijicon] suit joins an ever-growing number of legal challenges to the mandate, a component of Obamacare that forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and devices, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties. It is currently losing in court nationwide.” Bowman said in a statement.

In 26 of 32 cases directly considering requests to block the mandate, "courts have issued orders protecting religious freedom, sometimes even without government objection,” he said.