Judge Rejects Legislator’s Lawsuit: You Must Comply With HHS Abortion Mandate

State   |   Joe Ortwerth   |   Nov 5, 2013   |   12:21PM   |   Jefferson City, MO

A federal district judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Missouri legislator which challenged the Obama Administration’s contraceptive and abortion drug mandate.

U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton rejected the legal challenge filed by State Representative Paul Wieland of Imperial, and his wife Theresa.

Wieland contended that the abortion drug mandate violated his religious freedom, forcing him and his wife to accept health care coverage which is “directly at odds with their religious beliefs and practices.”

The Wielands further argued that the mandate interfered with his right to raise his daughters according to “Catholic principles.”

That mandate, ordered by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, requires that every health insurance policy issued in the United States must cover any and all “contraceptives” approved by the Food and Drug Administration.  That includes so-called “morning-after pills” such as Ella and Plan B, which function as abortifacients.

Wieland filed the suit after he learned that his legislative health insurance policy with the Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan (MCHP) would now include contraceptive and abortion drug coverage.

Judge Hamilton ruled that Wieland and his wife lacked standing to bring the lawsuit, and thus had no basis for seeking a temporary restraining order.

Hamilton said that Wieland’s “injuries are linked with the independent discretionary actions of the State and MCHP, who were not parties to the lawsuit.”  She further stated that there was “only indirect causation between the Mandate and their alleged injuries.”

These statements by Judge Hamilton are either deliberately fallacious, or reflect a judge who lacks the intellect to understand the unmistakable contours of the Sebelius edict.  The mandate is a mandatory component of the “essential benefits package” of every health insurance plan.

The State of Missouri and the Missouri Consolidated Health Plan have no discretion in the matter, and have no independence to deviate from its enforcement.

In related news, yet another federal appeals court has ruled that the contraceptive and abortion drug mandate violates religious liberty.  The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting enforcement of the mandate against Francis and Philip Gilardi of Sidney, Ohio.

The Gilardis own Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics.  As devout Catholics, they argued that the mandate infringes on their right to the free exercise of religion.

A panel of the D.C Circuit ruled 2-1 that the Gilardis were entitled to relief from the mandate.  “They can either abide by the sacred tenets of their faith, pay a penalty of over $14 million, and cripple the companies they have spent a lifetime building, or they become complicit in a grave moral wrong,” wrote Judge Janice Rogers Brown.

In early October a three-judge panel of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals also enjoined enforcement of the mandate against a Colorado-based firm.

The Tenth Circuit ruled in favor of Hercules Industries, an HVAC manufacturer in Denver.  The company is owned by the Newland Family, who also are committed Catholics.

The HHS mandate continues to falter in the eyes of the federal judiciary. According to the Alliance Defending Freedom, there have now been a total of thirty-three federal court decisions suspending enforcement of the mandate against aggrieved parties.  Only five federal court decisions have been rendered upholding the mandate.



One of those, the Conestoga Wood case, has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Third Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that the Pennsylvania cabinet maker must comply with the mandate.  Conestoga Wood is owned by members of the Mennonite faith.

The Obama Administration has also appealed a previous Tenth Circuit ruling in favor of the craft store chain Hobby Lobby.

Legal observers expect that the Supreme Court will agree to hear these cases, and render an ultimate judgment on the constitutionality of the Sebelius edict.

LifeNews.com Note:  Joe Ortwerth writes for the Missouri Family Policy Council.