ACLU joins federal lawsuit against Clinton’s Eden Foods

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CLINTON — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Fund of Michigan has joined with the United States government in opposition to a claim filed in federal court by Eden Foods. Eden Foods and owner Michael Potter feel the company should be excused from providing contraceptive coverage in employee health insurance required by new mandates of the Affordable Health Care Act.

According to the complaint, Eden Foods has never provided insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs, identified as lifestyle drugs by the company’s Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plan, because such care goes against Michael Potter’s religious beliefs. Potter, a Roman Catholic, is the chairman, president and the sole stockholder of Eden Foods, a natural food company started in the 1960s.

The ACLU was granted a motion to file an amicus brief by Judge Denise Page Hood at the hearing in federal district court in Detroit on Friday, May 10. Attorney Michael Steinberg filed the brief for the ACLU, which stated Eden Foods and Potter are using religion as a justification to discriminate against women.

The brief made the comparison of religion to justify racial discrimination and unequal pay for women at different times in the past. Free access to contraception, according to the ACLU, will promote equality between men and women in society.

Future hearings in this case are not scheduled. Hood took under advisement a motion by Eden Foods for a temporary restraining order to the contraceptive insurance requirement, but did not state when she would provide a ruling.

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