Court says Catholic businessman can fight contraception mandate

ST. LOUIS — A federal appeals court on Wednesday (Nov. 28) temporarily blocked the enforcement of the Obama administration’s contraception … Continued

ST. LOUIS — A federal appeals court on Wednesday (Nov. 28) temporarily blocked the enforcement of the Obama administration’s contraception mandate while a Catholic business owner appeals a lower court’s ruling that tossed out his suit.

Opponents of the law said that it was the first time that an appeals court had weighed in on the issue, which has spawned multiple suits across the country, and called it a “significant victory.”

“The order sends a message that the religious beliefs of employers must be respected by the government,” said Francis Manion, senior counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, one of the lawyers representing Frank O’Brien.

In a two-sentence order issued Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to grant O’Brien’s company a delay while the appeal is heard.

O’Brien Industrial Holdings and O’Brien, a devout Catholic, sued the federal government in March, alleging the contraception mandate that’s part of the 2010 health care reform law would force him to choose between his moral and religious beliefs and possibly face stiff fines.

The law requires coverage of prescription birth control pills and implants in all private health insurance policies, starting in 2013.

A lower court ruled in late September that the health care law does “not impose a’substantial burden’ on either Frank O’Brien” or his company, or violate their rights.

At the time, the law’s opponents said the lower court ruling was the first on the law’s merits among 30 similar suits.

After O’Brien’s suit was tossed out by a lower court, his lawyers asked for an expedited appeal.

O’Brien’s company includes several businesses that process ceramic materials, and the charitable St. Nicholas Fund.

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  • cricket44

    So the employer can discriminate against the religious liberties of his employees at will. Revolting.

  • Liann

    What is being said is that ONLY THE MOST EXPENSIVE OPTION (That is having a baby and birthing the baby) should be covered and subsidized by all rate-payers in the insurance policy pool. The LEAST COST OPTION (not having a baby, not giving birth) is not allowed to be in the policy pool for choosing by the employee.

    Insurance policies are paid by SOMEBODY. That somebody is the usually the person whose name is on the policy. The policy may be paid by WAGES, which the employer has no say-so over, as CASH MONEY is the SOLE PRIVATE PROPERTY OF THE EMPLOYEE, or paid by a combination of WAGES AND BENEFITS.

    The BENEFITS are also WAGES in a slightly different form. They are cash wages deferred and devoted to specific incentives for employees to work for the employer. They are still private property of the employee, in exchange for SWEAT OFF OF HER BROW. Wages are not any form of employer property once paid.

    In no sense can wages, or wages & benefits, be considered property of the employer. The labors of the employee have been transferred to the employer and the employee receives PRIVATE PROPERTY of wages and benefits transferred to the employee in return. EMPLOYERS cannot dictate how the cash portion can be spent. Employers cannot dictate how the benefits options can be spent either — it is NOT THEIR PROPERTY.

    An insurance policy has a name on it whom is the beneficial owner of the private property.

    Employers may be churches in rare circumstances, but if they are engaged in MAMMON, in selling services or products, then they are not churches. MAMMON is not recognized as a dodge to avoid laws that apply to “businesses” whom are organized as “businesses”, whom are taxed as “businesses”, whom are regulated as “businesses” and whom re licensed under the BUSINESS LAW CODE.

    If an entity is licensed as a business under the business law code then it is NOT A CHURCH. It cannot commit a crime of fraud by impersonating a church. All Americans may utilize the business (sit and eat at lunch counters, for example) with discrimination. All citizens can be hired without fear of religious discrimination in hiring. Employers cannot impose their private moral code or religious beliefs on employees.

    The anti-discrimination protections which apply to hiring also apply to wages and benefits. Employers cannot pressure employees to follow particular religious beliefs or practices.

    There is a CHURCH EXEMPTION to certain laws, but businesses licensed to do business under business laws cannot commit fraud an impersonate churches for the purposes of evading laws prohibiting religious discrimination in hiring.

    Requiring the LOWEST COST OPTION of not having a baby with all the pre and post birth medical expenses and 26 years the child could be on the parent’s policy is withing govt power.

    It is an OPTION of freewill choice. No person is obligated to choose the option. The MAMMON offering the business of insurance is required to offer the option.

  • Bob S.

    What’s up with the random capitalization? That’s kinda freaky.

    Anyway, while I’m with you on the coverage of birth control being wise public policy, you’ve misstated the facts at issue here. Nobody’s actually denying the employees coverage for birth control, you just have employers who refuse to provide it as part of the basic work-benefit coverage.

    I think that the Catholic Church and other opponents of mandatory coverage made a tremendous error by withdrawing from rational debate on the subject, and instead sticking out their tongues and saying, “Good luck suckers, your stupid rules don’t apply to us!”

    I suspect they’d have been better-served by engaging in a discussion about whether mandatory “no co-pay” coverage was a necessary and desirable public health outcome. But whatever. For the time being that ship has sailed, and they’re embroiled in an entirely different fight.