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Organic food company files suit against HHS mandate

Catholic World News - April 25, 2013

Eden Foods, which describes itself as “the oldest natural and organic food company in North America and the largest independent manufacturer of dry grocery organic foods,” has filed suit against the HHS mandate—prompting a backlash from some of its customer base.

“We’ve had thoughtful comments, hateful comments, intelligent comments, and ludicrous comments,” said the company’s president, Michael Potter, who is Catholic. “The threads out there on social media have been particularly bad… It’s been a lightning rod for a lot of vitriol and a lot of unpleasantness, and I must say I’m disappointed in it.”

He added:

We had to object to the blatant government overreach that we saw happening. The government is just walking on the rights of companies and individuals who are trying to exercise their lives consistent with their conscience.

The affront to the exercise of religious practices is quite obvious, there’s obviously some conflict there. We felt that the safe thing to do would have been to be an ostrich and stick our head in the sand, but we decided not to do that …

An obvious question that this overreach of government gives rise to is what’s next? OK, now birth control, then the counseling that encourages abortion and sterilization, and contraceptives, I have to pay for this? What’s next? I have to buy your raincoat? Your spare tires? Your weed killers?

“We believe in a woman's right to decide, and have access to, all aspects of their health care and reproductive management,” Potter added in a statement. “This lawsuit does not block, or intend to block, anyone's access to health care or reproductive management. This lawsuit is about protecting religious freedom and stopping the government from forcing citizens to violate their conscience. We object to the HHS mandate and its government overreach.”

The statement continued:

It is discriminatory that not all employers have to comply with the HHS mandate. Millions of people and thousands of companies are exempt. The exemptions under the Act are illogical, inconsistent, and contributing factors to our lawsuit. For instance, McDonald's Inc. and 166 unions are exempt. Small employers are exempt. Individuals who practice certain faiths are exempt, while individuals who practice other faiths are not. Federal employees are exempt, and this is hypocritical. There is no exemption for the religious freedoms of employers.

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