Judge denies Missouri lawmaker's suit over contraceptive coverage

2013-11-11T15:00:00Z 2014-01-15T16:53:06Z Judge denies Missouri lawmaker's suit over contraceptive coverageBy Robert Patrick rpatrick@post-dispatch.com 314-621-5154 stltoday.com

ST. LOUIS • A federal judge has thrown out a Missouri lawmaker's suit seeking an exemption from contraceptive coverage under the new Affordable Care Act.

Rep. Paul Wieland and his wife, Teresa, sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Labor and Treasury Departments in August, saying that the coverage violated their First Amendment freedom of religion.

Wieland, R-Imperial, told the Post-Dispatch at the time that the couple was simply seeking a personal exemption from the contraception requirement, saying “I see abortion-inducing drugs as intrinsically evil, and I cannot in good conscience preach one thing to my kids and then just go with the flow on our insurance.”

He said that they had been able to opt out in the past, but were told that it was now a requirement in the state health plan, which he qualifies for as a legislator.

U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton granted defense motions to dismiss the case Oct. 16. On Oct. 29, she rejected an emergency injunction that would have prohibited enforcement of the contraceptive mandate while Wieland appealed.

Robert Patrick covers federal courts and federal law enforcement for the Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter: @rxpatrick.

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