As devout, peaceful Mennonites, the Hahns never imagined they would one day be fighting legal battles for the right to operate their business according to their faith.
Norman Hahn and his brothers started building kitchen cabinets out of their garage nearly 50 years ago, founding Conestoga Wood Specialties. His children took over the company, and today, the family has built a successful American business that employs around a thousand people.
Giving back to their community, taking care of their employees, and environmental stewardship are very important to the Hahns. Conestoga has helped many communities by sponsoring activities that include tree plantings, revitalization of ponds, providing financial support for summer camp programs, supplying books to school libraries about trees and conservation, and much more.
As a result of the HHS Mandate, the Hahns would be required to fund abortion-inducing drugs through their employees’ insurance. This violates their conscience, and the faith that has guided their business from the beginning. The family-owned company would be subject to staggering fines of $100 per day, per employee if they don’t obey the mandate.
Alliance Defending Freedom defended the Hahns all the way to the highest court of the nation. The Supreme Court heard the Hahn’s case, along with the Green family of Hobby Lobby, in the spring of 2014. On June 30, 2014, the Supreme Court granted victory to the Hahns in a landmark decision ruling that families do not have to surrender their religious freedom in order to remain in business.
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Conestoga Wood Specialties
Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell
What's at stake
- The freedom to operate a business according to your deeply held beliefs without the fear of being punished by the government.
- Christian businesses being forced to pay for abortion-inducing drugs in violation of their religious, pro-life beliefs.
The Hahns are a practicing Mennonite Christian family who have sought to run their company, Conestoga Wood Specialties, which manufactures custom wood products, in a manner that reflects their sincerely held religious beliefs, including their belief in the sanctity of human life. Their ability to do so was challenged when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a mandate requiring businesses to pay for insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and devices. Businesses that refused would be subjected to crippling fines.
With allied attorneys Chuck Proctor and Randy Wenger and the help of Alliance Defending Freedom, Conestoga Woods Specialties and the Hahn family filed a lawsuit challenging the abortion pill mandate. (The case was litigated in parallel with Hobby Lobby Stores v. Burwell, which had similar facts.) While the district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled against the Hahns, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed in a landmark ruling and said that families do not have to surrender their religious freedom in order to be in business.
This ruling set an important precedent that protects Conestoga Wood Specialties, Hobby Lobby, and other businesses and ministries that object to being forced to pay for abortion-inducing drugs.
Our role in this case
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys Chuck Proctor and Randall Wenger represented Conestoga Wood Specialties and the Hahns at their U.S. Supreme Court case challenging the abortion pill mandate. Proctor and Wenger filed the initial case with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom.