Tuesday, September 09, 2014

8th Circuit Hears Oral Arguments In Individuals' Religious Challenge To Contraceptive Coverage Mandate

The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday heard oral arguments (recording of full arguments) in Wieland v. Department of Health and Human Services. In the case, a Missouri federal district court denied a temporary restraining order to a Missouri state employee and his wife who claim that the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate forces them to violate their religious opposition to contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients by requiring their group health insurance policy to make these services available to their daughters who are covered by the policy.  The trial court held that plaintiffs lack standing to sue. (See prior posting.) The Kansas City Star reports on yesterday's arguments in which appellants rely on the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision. Appellants argued that the mandate is equivalent to requiring Mormon parents, whose religion forbids alcohol use, to stock unlocked liquor cabinets for their children’s use when parents are not home.