Courts Says Individuals Can Sue to Stop Obama Admin From Forcing Them to Obey HHS Mandate

National   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Jul 22, 2015   |   9:42AM   |   Washington, DC

In Missouri, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided in a unanimous decision that the lawsuit against Obamacare’s HHS abortion-pill mandate can move forward. Missouri State Senator Paul Wieland filed the lawsuit with his wife Teresa contending that the mandate infringes on their religious liberty.

As LifeNews previously reported, in 2013 federal district judge, Jean Hamilton dismissed their lawsuit.

The HHS mandate requires that all health insurance plans cover contraception, including Plan B and the Morning After Pill. The Wieland’s lawsuit claimed that the mandate caused their family to lose their previous health insurance; caused injury by violating their religious beliefs; and violated a portion of the Missouri Revised Statues, which states every employee . . . has the right to decline or refuse coverage for contraception” if such coverage is “contrary to an employee’s religious beliefs.”

The Thomas More Society, the law firm representing the Wielands, responded to the court’s ruling in a press release.

President and Chief Council, Tom Brejcha, said, “Today’s ruling is a huge victory for religious liberty. Last year, for profit business owners prevailed against the HHS mandate imposed by Obamacare when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby. Now, individuals and families may also sue to win protection from the Obamacare Mandate, when they have conscientious objections based on sincerely held religious beliefs. As the case has been remanded to the federal district court where our clients’ religious liberty claims will be evaluated in light of the governing Hobby Lobby precedent, we hope to prevail in the end.”

Additionally, special council for the Thomas More Society, Tim Belz, commented on the Eighth Circuit’s decision.

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He said, “We are grateful that the Eighth Circuit has recognized that parents such as Paul and Teresa Wieland deserve to sue for protection of their religious freedom. We believe that their exercise of religious faith is substantially burdened when the government forces them to provide religiously objectionable insurance coverage for their family.”

In 2012, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed Senate Bill 749, which stated that no employee or employer can be forced to purchase health insurance coverage which includes abortion, contraception, or sterilization, if those items or procedures are contrary to their “religious beliefs or moral convictions.” The bill provided that no governmental entity can penalize an employee or employer for declining or refusing to purchase or provide such coverage.

However, Missouri’s pro-life legislature later overrode Nixon’s veto.