Obamacare Contraception Mandate Does Not Violate Religious Freedom, Federal Judge Rules

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 03:  Democratic presidential candidate, U.S. President Barack Obama smiles during the Presidential Debat
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 03: Democratic presidential candidate, U.S. President Barack Obama smiles during the Presidential Debate at the University of Denver on October 3, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The first of four debates for the 2012 Election, three Presidential and one Vice Presidential, is moderated by PBS's Jim Lehrer and focuses on domestic issues: the economy, health care, and the role of government. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Obamacare doesn't violate the religious freedom of employers that don't want to cover contraceptives, a federal judge in Missouri has ruled.

Frank O'Brien, the owner of O'Brien Industrial Holdings, filed a lawsuit in March claiming that Obamacare violated his religious freedom by mandating that his company's health insurance cover employees' contraceptive use, according to Courthouse News Service. But U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson ruled on Friday that this Obamacare provision indeed is constitutional.

"This Court rejects the proposition that requiring indirect financial support of a practice, from which plaintiff himself abstains according to his religious principles, constitutes a substantial burden on plaintiff's religious exercise," Jackson wrote in the decision. She noted that "plaintiffs remain free to exercise their religion, by not using contraceptives and by discouraging employees from using contraceptives."

O'Brien Industrial Holdings claims on its website that it follows the Ten Commandments and that "we will not discriminate based on anyone's personal belief system."

Obamacare's mandate that employers' health insurance should cover contraceptives has has now caused multiple controversies. Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma City-based crafts retail chain, filed a lawsuit last month claiming that the provision violated the company's religious freedom by making it cover the morning-after pill. The lawsuit sparked a backlash with more than 70,000 signing a petition to boycott the chain.

Other lawsuits against the provision have failed to get off the ground. A similar lawsuit filed by several Republican attorneys general was dismissed by a federal judge in Nebraska in July. Other similar lawsuits also have been dismissed by federal judges.



Legal Battle Over Health Care Law