The founder of the Domino's Pizza chain filed a lawsuit on Friday in an effort to prevent his employees from accessing free contraception through the company's health insurance provider.
Tom Monaghan, a billionaire who founded Domino's Pizza but has since resigned and now owns the company's office complex, is a devout Catholic and believes that using contraception is "gravely immoral," according to his court filing. The suit adds that prior to the Affordable Care Act's passage, the company specifically sought out insurance that does not cover contraception.
One of the regulations implemented after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law requires that all health insurance plans cover preventative care -- which includes regular cancer and STD screenings, annual checkups and contraception for both men and women -- free of charge. Employers that are morally opposed to providing contraception are allowed a religious exception that places the financial burden entirely upon the insurer.
In his lawsuit, however, Monaghan insists that his religious freedom is being infringed upon by the coverage mandate. The billionaire argues that he's actually paying for "abortions" by way of supplying workers with access to emergency contraception like "Plan B" and "ella," which the lawsuit calls "abortifacients."
These drugs do not actually cause an abortion, but do prevent pregnancy by either delaying ovulation or preventing a fertilized egg cell from implanting in the lining of the uterus.
Confusing emergency contraception and abortion is a common mistake many anti-abortion activists make, and one that may actually work against their goal of reducing the abortion rate.
Research by The Guttmacher Institute shows that prescription-only access to emergency contraception prevented about 51,000 abortions in the year 2000. A four year study published by the scientific journal Obstetrics & Gynecology in October also found that giving lower-income women in St. Louis free access to contraception cut the rate of abortions roughly in half. Researchers also observed that teen girls in the program had about one-fifth as many pregnancies as the national average.
Additionally, the Affordable Care Act prohibits public funds from being used for abortions. It also specifies that policies purchased through government health insurance exchanges must carry higher premiums that the customer pays separately if abortion is covered.
A copy of Monaghan's lawsuit follows below.
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(H/T: RH Reality Check)