By Lisa Hymas
2 Jul 2014
Just because a company is organic doesn’t mean it’s progressive. Exhibit A: Eden Foods.
Like Hobby Lobby, Eden Foods sued the Obama administration to try to get out of providing contraceptive coverage for its employees. Eden Foods is a Michigan-based business that bills itself as “the oldest natural and organic food company in North America.” It is solely owned by Michael Potter, a Catholic who refers to birth control pills as “lifestyle drugs” and likes to whine about “unconstitutional government overreach.” (More crazy quotes from him below.)
In Eden Foods Inc. v. Kathleen Sebelius, filed in federal court in March of 2013, the company claimed its religious freedom was being violated by the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that employee health insurance cover birth control. The suit argued that “contraception or abortifacients … almost always involve immoral and unnatural practices.” In October, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided against Eden Foods, ruling that a for-profit company cannot exercise religion.
But then, on June 30, the Supreme Court ruled in the Hobby Lobby case that family-owned, “closely held” companies can use religion as an excuse to flout the birth control mandate. Eden Foods is one of a few dozen “closely held” for-profit companies that have filed suit over the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. On July 1, the Supreme Court ordered the 6th Circuit Court to reconsider its decision against Eden Foods and another plaintiff with a similar case.
On its website, Eden Foods talks up its commitment to organic and local farming, social responsibility, and even the LEED green-building standards. “One of our founding principles is sustainability,” says the company’s marketing director, Sue Becker. “It guides us today.” But it’s a sad, desiccated version of sustainability that would deny women the ability to decide how many children to have, or whether to have children at all.
In April of last year, Potter made a bizarrely inept attempt to explain the reasoning behind his company’s suit to Salon reporter Irin Carmon. From her article: