Pizza Chain Founder Sues Government for Requiring Him to Pay for Employee Birth Control

The devoutly Roman Catholic founder of Domino’s Pizza is suing the federal government over the mandatory contraception coverage in Obamacare. Tom Monaghan says that the health care law violates his rights to practice his religion, which does not allow the use of hormonal birth control.

Once intricately involved in day-to-day operations, Monaghan sold Domino’s for $1 billion in 1998, and has devoted much of his time and money since to Catholic causes. He has said, “I want to die broke.”

Currently, Domino's Pizza offers a health care plan to its eligible employees that excludes contraceptives and abortions. That isn't to say that they don't hire women that choose to use it or that have had abortions -- that would be discrimination. The company is simply not willing to pay for other people’s lifestyle choices.


One of the most controversial parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama in 2010, and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012, is the mandate that requires employers providing health insurance to their employees include contraception coverage. This has sparked a backlash from various religious communities, which see the requirement as a violation to their religious freedoms.

Domino’s Pizza is just one of the many companies nationwide taking action as the full implementation of Obamacare barrels down on us. Papa John’s Pizza CEO John Schnattar has said that employers may have to cut employee hours to part-time status to avoid overwhelming costs. Applebee’s put a hiring freeze in place to deal with the expected consequences of rising health care costs and penalties and fees.

So far, Obamacare supporters have argued that those opposing the law just don’t understand that rich people have bottomless pockets and should feel honored to cut into their profits to provide “free” health insurance to the fry cooks rather than invest in new business to create new jobs and opportunities. But what about when it stops being about money and starts being about religion?

What’s more important in this Domino’s case? An American’s right to practice his religion as he sees fit? Or a woman’s ‘right’ to have her employer provide her with a health service that directly violates that religion? Our country needs to have a serious discussion on what constitutes rights because once we start saying it’s someone’s ‘right’ to have another person pay for their stuff, what else can our government do?

Do you think birth control coverage should be mandatory, regardless of religious violations?

Image via janetmck/Flickr

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