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Fed Judge Dismisses Catholic-Owned Company's Lawsuit Against Obama's Contraceptive Mandate


The debate over the Obama administration's controversial contraception mandate forges on, as individual cases are being waged in courtrooms across America. As TheBlaze reported in July, Catholic-owned employer Hercules Industries won a temporary halt of enforcement against the controversial mandate. While this is the case, a separate company has now lost a similar -- and arguably -- a more pronounced battle against the Obama administration.

On Friday, a decision was granted in a Missouri federal court that will do anything but excite religious conservatives. Judge Carol E. Jackson, who was appointed by President George H. W. Bush, found that the requirement that all employers provide contraception free-of-charge doesn't infringe upon O'Brien Industrial Holdings, the business at the center of the court battle, and its rights to religious exercise.

The lawsuit unsuccessfully argued that the company was being forced to either violate conscience or refrain from participating and face crippling fines. The Associated Press has more about the case, which is one of nearly three dozen being waged against the federal government (read the ruling in its entirety here):

The lawsuit filed on behalf of Frank O'Brien and his company, O'Brien Industrial Holdings LLC of St. Louis, challenges the constitutionality of regulations in the health care law. Among other things, O'Brien, a devout Catholic, claimed the requirement that workplace health plans cover birth control infringes on his religious beliefs.

U.S. District Judge Carole Jackson, in a ruling late Friday, disagreed.

"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.

On Monday, an appeal was filed by Frank Manion of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). While a new court heating may be granted, the implications of this decision could be grand, especially considering that this case differs greatly from the Hercules Industries undertaking.

In the aforementioned case, the injunction was temporary and the federal government has appealed -- the future of which is still unknown. In the new case waged by O'Brien Industrial Holdings LLC, the judge upheld the mandate indefinitely (this, of course, could change upon appeal).

Interestingly, Hobby Lobby, the popular craft-store chain, made similar arguments in a lawsuit the company filed against the contraceptive mandate last month. Rather than taking issue with birth control, Hobby Lobby's main concern is with the morning after pill and related drugs. The store chain filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

(H/T: Religion Clause)



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