Karen Mersino, one of 14 female owners of for-profit companies challenging the HHS Mandate, is finally free to continue offering health insurance to her employees that does not cover contraceptives and abortion causing drugs. Reacting to the 6th Circuit Court’s order, she commented, “It’s a real win for religious freedom.”
The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which represents Karen Mersino, her husband Rod, and their business, Mersino Management Company, announced that yesterday the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, issued aninjunction halting enforcement of the HHS Mandate. The 6th Circuit acted in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby and without opposition from the Department of Justice.
Erin Mersino, TMLC Senior Trial Counsel, stated, “In the aftermath of the Hobby Lobby decision, we were able to gain concurrence for immediate relief from the illegal aims of the HHS Mandate that violate our clients’ sincerely held religious beliefs.”
The initial challenge to the HHS Mandate, which forced employers to provide health insurance which included co-pay free coverage for abortion causing drugs and devices or pay cripplingIRS fines, was filed by TMLC in March 2013. In all, TMLC represents 10 for-profit companies totaling 30 plaintiffs in challenges to the HHS Mandate. TMLC is also challenging the HHS Mandate on behalf of 6 non-profit entities.
The Mersinos provide their employees with health care coverage which is superior to coverage generally available in the Michigan market. Based on their deeply held religious beliefs, however, the Mersinos have never offered insurance which included coverage for contraception, sterilization, abortion, or abortion causing drugs and devices. They believe, in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church, that these procedures involve gravely immoral practices and the intentional destruction of innocent human life.
All of the Mersinos’ corporate offices display a document that reflects their core value: “Honor God in all we do by serving our customers and employees with honesty and integrity.”
TMLC’s Erin Mersino, reflected, “It has been an honor to represent Karen and Rod Mersino- two individuals who truly live out their faith everyday through the integrity with which they treat others, through their numerous charitable works, and through their overwhelmingly selfless devotion to their community and Church.”