By Michelle Bauman
A businesswoman who has filed the most recent lawsuit against the federal contraception mandate believes that the government must respect her identity as a Catholic woman as well as a business owner.
“I’m a total integrated person,” said Mary Anne Yep, co-founder and vice president of Triune Health Group.
Yep told CNA on Aug. 23 that she cannot separate her identity as a woman, abusiness owner and a Catholic. The government cannot expect her to “carve out a portion” of herself during working hours, she said.
Yep helped found Triune Health Group in 1990, along with her husband, Christopher, who serves as the company’s president and CEO.
The company was recently named the Best Place to Work for Women in the Chicago metro area by Crain’s Chicago Business.
Yep said that the award, based on an anonymous employee survey, is a testimony that her employees are happy.
“They feel cared about,” she said. “They know their dignity is respected.”
The Yeps and their business are suing both the federal government and the state of Illinois for infringing upon their religious freedom in their businessdecisions.
An Aug. 23 statement announcing the lawsuit explained that the Yeps “viewbusiness as a form of religious stewardship and an integral part of their lives as faithful Roman Catholics.”
However, they feel that their ability to live out their faith in their business is compromised by a controversial mandate that requires employers to offerhealth insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and early abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so violates their consciences.
The mandate has been challenged by nearly 60 plaintiffs, including dioceses, religious charities and for-profit businesses.
While certain religious organizations have been granted a one-year “safe harbor” from the regulation, for-profit businesses do not qualify for the temporary exemption and are required to comply with the mandate as soon as they begin or renew their health insurance policy.
The Yeps and Triune are being represented in their case by the Chicago-based Thomas More Society and Jubilee Campaign’s Law of Life Project. Read more.