• Regina Coeli

The firm's freedom out of respect for religion

2012-07-30 L’Osservatore Romano

Washington, 30.  A company managed by a Catholic family cannot be forced to violate its religious beliefs in the area of private insurance schemes. This was recently established in the United States by a Colorado court sentence involving health care insurance policies that provide, in particular, for minimum obligatory services. These services include abortion which employers – with  The directors of Hercules Industriescertain specific exceptions that involve institutions or religious organizations – are also bound to guarantee to their employees on pain of a heavy fine.  The case in question concerns Hercules Industries, a manufacturing firm managed by a family of practising Catholics. Hercules has appealed against the recent injunctions issued by the Government (HHS mandate), which impose, precisely, the provision of such services to be included in insurance schemes. District  Judge John Kane established that the application of the directive would be “a possible infringement upon [the Newland family's] constitutional and statutory rights” and upon the company's regulations. As has been mentioned, the fine for failing to observe the directives is a heavy one: the business would in fact have been obliged to pay about $ 100  a day for each employee, and, for the company (which has 300 employees) this would have meant a disbursement of several million dollars a year.  Moreover, the judge referred to a sentence of the US  Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals which affirmed the principle that “these interests are countered, and indeed, outweighed, by the public interest in the free exercise of religion”.