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Family business asks full 3rd Circuit to protect religious freedom from Obama mandate

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, allied attorneys represent Pa. wood business

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a Pennsylvania family and its woodworking business have asked the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit to hear its lawsuit against the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate. A divided three-judge panel declined to halt enforcement of the mandate against Conestoga Wood Specialties last week.

“Every American, including family business owners like the Hahns, should be free to live and do business according to their faith,” said Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “The cost of religious freedom for this family, as with other job creators across the country, could result in massive fines that would cripple family businesses and threaten jobs if the government ultimately has its way.”

Bowman is co-counsel in the case, Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius, together with attorneys Charles Proctor and Randall Wenger, two of nearly 2,300 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom.

“The government shouldn’t punish people of faith for making decisions in accordance with their faith,” said Wenger, chief counsel of the Independence Law Center. “Every American should know that a government with the power to do this to this family can do this--and worse--to anyone. This case is ultimately not just about one family’s religious liberty. Allowing the government to have this kind of power threatens all who love freedom in America.”

The mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services if the mandate’s requirements aren’t met.

Conestoga Wood Specialties owners Norman Hahn, Elizabeth Hahn, Norman Lemar Hahn, Anthony H. Hahn, and Kevin Hahn are a practicing and believing Mennonite family. They desire to run the company, a wholesale manufacturer of custom wood kitchen cabinet parts, in a manner that reflects their sincerely held religious beliefs, including their belief that God requires respect for the sanctity of human life.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys are also litigating 10 other lawsuits against the mandate. The lawsuits represent a large cross-section of Protestants and Catholics who object to the mandate.

  • Pronunciation guide: Bowman (BOH’-min), Wenger (WENG’-ur)


Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.


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