A father who felt President Barack Obama's health care law's contraception mandate violated his religious beliefs just won a court fight that could allow him to deny his adult daughters birth control coverage, report ThinkProgress and Modern Healthcare.
Rep. Paul Joseph Wieland of Missouri was so strongly opposed to his daughters’ health plans covering birth control that he and his wife decided to sue the Obama administration. The lawsuit was quickly rejected, reports ThinkProgress.
Yet, thanks to a panel of three appellate judges, Wieland’s case has been reinstated recently. Wieland v. Department of Health and Human Services hopes to garner a similar result as the controversial case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby did.
The Hobby Lobby ruling allows private businesses to ignore the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate if the business’ owners have religious objections to birth control. Similarly, the Wielands argue that they “cannot provide, fund or in any way be a participant in the provision of health care coverage ... without violating their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
The parents are seeking to bring back a contraceptive-free plan that Missouri used to offer before the Affordable Care Act became law. Although their case was previously dismissed, the couple and their legal counsel are optimistic
“I think we have a very good chance of prevailing,” Tom Brejcha, president of the firm representing the Wielands, told Modern Healthcare. “If they have a right to opt out, I think that would be a blow to the HHS mandate. People would be able to opt out as they always could before the Obamacare law went into effect with that mandate.”
Two of Wieland’s three daughters are already adults. In response to a judge asking Wieland why he simply does not tell his daughters to follow religious rules and not use birth control, Wieland’s lawyer Timothy Belz explained, “Well, we all have high hopes for our kids, that is true. We all expect and want them to obey us, they don’t always.” The lawyer said he likened the current mandate to “an edict that said that parents must provide a stocked, unlocked liquor cabinet in their house whenever they’re away for their minor and adult daughters to use,” reports Slate.
If the Wielands prevail in the lawsuit, insurance companies would have to devise a way to keep track of lengthy records to appease their customers’ religious and moral views.