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Friday, July 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Businessman Fights Contraceptive Coverage

ST. LOUIS (CN) - A businessman asked a federal judge to prevent Uncle Sam from implementing contraceptive mandate of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, claiming it violates his Catholic beliefs.

"Specifically, plaintiffs ask the court for declaratory and injunctive relief from the operation of the final rule confirmed and promulgated by the defendants on February 15, 2012, mandating that group health plans include coverage, without cost sharing, for 'all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity' in plan years beginning on or after August 1, 2012," the complaint states.

Frank O'Brien and O'Brien Industrial Holdings sued U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.

He claims the mandate forces him to choose between running his business in accordance with his religious beliefs or facing ruinous fines.

"O'Brien has concluded that complying with the mandate would require him to violate his religious beliefs because it would require him and/or the corporations he controls to pay for, not only contraception and sterilization, but also abortion, because certain drugs and devices such as the 'morning-after pill,' 'Plan B,' and 'Ella' come within the mandate's and HRSA's definition of 'Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods' despite their known abortifacient mechanisms of action," the complaint states.

"O'Brien contends that by requiring him to choose between conducting his business in a manner consistent with his religion, or paying ruinous fines and penalties, the mandate violates his rights under the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and violates the Administrative Procedure Act."

O'Brien is represented by Francis Manion, with the American Center for Law & Justice, of New Hope, Ky.

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