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Auto lighting company challenges ObamaCare's dim view of freedom

Indiana-based company’s suit is latest against abortion pill mandate

Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012

Attorney sound bite:  Matt Bowman

NEW ALBANY, Ind. — An Indiana-based vehicle lighting manufacturer is the latest company to challenge the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate in court.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys filed a federal lawsuit Monday on behalf of Grote Industries against the mandate, which 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.

“Americans should be free to honor God at work, at home, and at church,” said Indianapolis attorney Mike Wilkins, one of nearly 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom. “They have the God-given freedom to live and do business according to their faith. Forcing them to surrender their faith in order to earn a living is unprecedented, unnecessary, and unconstitutional. The administration’s attacks on faith and business prove that it doesn’t respect either one.”

Wilkins represents Grote Industries together with allied attorney Michael Cork, also of Indianapolis. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are co-counsel in the case, Grote Industries v. Sebelius.

“The government has no business deciding what faith is, who the faithful are, and when and where their faith may be lived out,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “Washington politicians can’t confine our faith to our homes and our churches. Honoring God is important every day, in all areas of life, including in our work. Freedom is God-given, not government-driven.”

Grote Industries, based in Madison and founded in 1901 by William Grote, is a leading manufacturer and marketer of vehicle lighting and safety systems and operates in multiple countries in North America, Europe, and Asia. The company’s website states, “We still hold firm to the family values and work ethics set forth by our founder all those years ago.” Those values include the Catholic faith of the company’s owners.

“The Grote Family seeks to run Grote Industries in a manner that reflects their sincerely held religious beliefs,” the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, states.

On July 27, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys obtained the first-ever court order against the Obama administration’s mandate on behalf of Colorado’s Hercules Industries and the Catholic family that owns it. That order temporarily suspends the mandate against Hercules Industries while its lawsuit goes forward in court. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are seeking a similar order for Tyndale House Publishers, the world’s largest independent publisher of Bibles and other Christian materials.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are also litigating three other lawsuits against the mandate: one in Indiana on behalf of Indiana’s Grace College and Seminary and California’s Biola University; one in Pennsylvania on behalf of Geneva College and The Seneca Hardwood Lumber Company and its owners, the Hepler family; and one in Louisiana on behalf of Louisiana College. The lawsuits represent a large cross-section of Protestants and Catholics who object to the mandate.
  • Photos: Grote Industries
  • Pronunciation guide: Grote (GROW’-tee), Bowman (BOH’-min)
Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund) is an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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