ST. LOUIS, MO, October 4, 2012, (—Last week, a federal district judge in Missouri dismissed a case against the HHS mandate, ruling that forcing Catholics to pay for contraception and abortion-inducing drugs does not violate their faith, because they remain “free to exercise their religion, by not using contraceptives.”

In her ruling, Judge Carol E. Jackson contended that the mandate does not prohibit a business owner’s religious worship or personal decision not to use contraceptives, echoing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ contention that the new mandate does not “affect an individual woman’s freedom to decide not to use birth control.”


“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,” she wrote.

Judge Jackson’s opinion correlates with the Obama administration’s separation of “freedom of worship” vs. “freedom of religion,” alleging that as long as the owner can go to church, there is no Constitutional violation.

Frank R. O’Brien, who employs 87 people at O’Brien Industrial Holdings in St. Louis, filed the lawsuit out of concern that the federal regulation will force him to either violate his conscience or watch his business wither under the weight of fines the Obama administration promises to levy for his non-compliance.

O’Brien’s is one of more than 30 federal lawsuits against the health care act’s most controversial provision, which requires virtually all employers to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs as part of their insurance plans.

O’Brien’s attorneys are expressing optimism in the face of the court decision, expecting the Court of Appeals to deliver a more favorable ruling for their suit.

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Francis J. Manion, senior counsel with the American Center for Law and Justice, told the press the position is so extreme that “it’s a position the government itself doesn’t take.”

The mandate itself provides exemptions for religious institutions, but businesses that are owned and operated by religious people do not fall under that exemption.

Some have questioned, if Judge Jackson is correct and the mandate does not violate anyone’s conscience, why there is a religious exemption at all.  

The mandate was promulgated by Sebelius, a Catholic who has been repeatedly under fire for supporting abortion and contraception in contradiction to Church teaching.