(Photo courtesy TMLC)
A district court judge gave the founder of Domino's Pizza a last minute injunction from having to provide the abortion pill in accordance with the controversial preventive services mandate.
Thomas Monaghan, who presently oversees the Domino's Farms Corporation of Michigan, was granted an injunction on Sunday by Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff of the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division.
"The harm of delaying the implementation of a statute that may later be deemed constitutional is outweighed by the risk of substantially burdening the free exercise of religion," wrote Zatkoff.
"Moreover, the harm of carving out, at least temporarily, an additional exemption for an organization with less than 100 employees can hardly be considered a significant or 'irreparable' harm to the Government."
Monaghan filed suit against the government over the HHS mandate in December. Monaghan and Domino's Farms are represented by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC).
Erin Mersino, attorney for TMLC, told The Christian Post that her organization was "very pleased" with the injunction decision.
"The Thomas More Law Center is very pleased that the Court decided to protect our client's right to conscience and religious freedom guaranteed by our nation's Constitution," said Mersino. "Our ultimate goal is to have the HHS Mandate ruled unconstitutional. Our next step is to move for the Court to turn the temporary restraining order into protection from the mandate that is of more permanence."
Along with his brother, Monaghan founded the Domino's Pizza chain in 1960 in Ypsilanti, Mich. In 1998, Monaghan sold Domino's Pizza, ending his affiliation with the fast food company.
A devout Roman Catholic, Monaghan has donated considerable amounts of money to pro-life groups, including the controversial Operation Rescue.
His much touted financial contributions to pro-life organizations over the years led Domino's Pizza to issue a statement that the pizza chain itself was not directly connected to these ideological efforts.
"Domino's Pizza LLC has never supported organizations on either side of the reproductive rights issue. The corporation and its 1,825 independent franchise owners across the world have one goal: to sell pizzas and grow our market share," read the statement in part.
Tim McIntyre, vice president of Communications for Domino's Pizza LLC, declined to comment to The Christian Post regarding the injunction, saying that the pizza chain is neither affiliated with Monaghan nor is involved in the suit over the abortion pill mandate.
Monaghan's lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services over the preventive services mandate is one of dozens of similar cases making their way through the courts in the United States.
"Earlier court cases have held it is not a constitutional right to have a free abortion or free contraception. Religious freedom, however, is a constitutional right protected by the First Amendment," said Mersino. "We are not dealing with competing constitutional rights. We are dealing with the right to religious freedom versus the perceived entitlement to contraception and abortifacients."