What do air conditioning, wood, crafts supplies, and car lights have to do with each other?
But the families behind these industries have joined more than 200 other plaintiffs to fight the government for their freedoms after Obamacare was passed four years ago.
They’re suing the Obama administration over its mandate that forces the family-owned business to offer coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception in their insurance plans—coverage that violates their beliefs.
Today Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood will take center-stage as they argue before the Supreme Court for freedom from the mandate.
We wanted to highlight two other families here.
This is Christy Ketterhagen (Newland), Paul Newland, Jim Newland, Bill Newland, Erika Donnelly, John Newland, Patrick Newland, and Andy Newland:
They’re the leadership team at Hercules Industries, an HVAC manufacturing company that provides a full line of products for heating and air conditioning systems to contractors throughout the Western United States.
They have 265 full-time employees. And offer a self-insured employee health plan to all of them.
Since its founding in 1962, the Newlands’ have sought to run their company in accordance with their belief of the dignity of every human life. Here’s a line from their public mission statement on their website:
We will nurture and maintain the culture of a family owned business in which our employees grow financially, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.
But the government argues that mandating free abortion pills and birth control for private employees is a “compelling government interest” and that forcing Hercules Industries to violate their beliefs and company mission “does not impose a substantial burden on any exercise of religion by Hercules Industries or the Newlands.”
Another family fighting Obamacare’s HHS mandate is the Grotes:
You’ve probably never heard of them, but their innovative vehicle lighting products and safety systems benefit millions of people throughout the world.
Grote Industries began in 1901 by William D. Grote and is still run by the family today.
Their business, based in Madison, Indiana now employs about 1,200 people worldwide. They’re one of the largest employers in Madison and the surrounding regions—providing jobs to approximately 800 people.
The importance of community remains an integral part of the Grote culture:
That relatively large number, however, does not keep Grote leaders distant from workers. As Bill Grote walks through his family’s factory in Madison, employees wave as they drive by on forklifts. Others stop to chat with the man they have worked with for decades.
But Bill Grote now worries for the future of his company and employees. Companies who don’t comply with the HHS mandate could be severely fined. He told The Archdiocese of Indianapolis Online:
If you added it up for our situation here, it would run somewhere between $18 to $22 million per year, depending on how many people we have [insured]. That is an onerous penalty and fine. That would destroy this business.
Like the Newlands, the Grotes feel their freedom as business owners is threatened by the HHS mandate in Obamacare. Bill Grotes argues that:
The intrusion upon the freedom for us to practice our beliefs was too much, such that we said if there is a way to voice loudly that this is wrong, then let’s do it.”
Learn more about the fight for religious freedom here.