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Contraceptive Mandate Challenge Thrown Out by Federal Judge

A lawsuit challenging a requirement that businesses offer employees contraception coverage through health-care insurance was thrown out by a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Carol E. Jackson in St. Louis dismissed the lawsuit filed earlier this year by Frank O’Brien and his O’Brien Industrial Holdings LLC, which alleged the mandate unconstitutionally violated his religious beliefs and the Catholic philosophy he applied in running his business.

“This court rejects the proposition that requiring indirect financial support of a practice, from which the plaintiff himself abstains according to his religious principles, constitutes a substantial burden on plaintiff’s religious exercise,” Jackson said in her 29-page ruling on Sept. 28.

The contraception requirement is part of President Barack Obama’s 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, intended to create almost-universal health-care insurance coverage. Attorneys for O’Brien and his business today filed notice of their intent to appeal the judge’s decision.

The case is O’Brien v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 12-cv-476, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis).

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