A federal court judge in Missouri ruled that the President's Affordable Care Act does not restrict individuals' religious freedom. Even though employers must provide certain coverage that may interfere with a person's religious beliefs, apparently, that does not impeded a person's religious liberty.
The lawsuit was filed this past march by Frank O'Brien, owner of O'Brien Industrial Holdings, and claimed that the president's health care law, commonly referred to as Obamacare, violated his religious freedom. The law forced his company to provide health insurance to cover employees' contraceptive use, according to Courthouse News Service.
In her decision, United States District Judge Carol Jackson ruled the mandate requiring companies to provide coverage for contraception did not "constitute a substantial burden on plaintiff's religious exercise."
According to the lawsuit, O'Brien operated his business in a manner that reflected his religious beliefs and claimed that the requirement which was mandated in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act violated his constitutional First Amendment rights.
Contained within legal documents attorneys for O'Brien insisted that their client was forced to choose between "complying with [the ACA's] requirements in violation of their religious beliefs, or paying ruinous fines that would have a crippling impact on their ability to survive economically."
Several lawsuits are pending in various states around the country.
Judge Carol wrote in her decision that by although employers must give certain coverage to employees which may conflict with religious beliefs, that coverage does not directly link to the employer's religious freedoms. Therefore, employers must comply with the law.
"The challenged regulations do not demand that plaintiffs alter their behavior in a manner that will directly and inevitably prevent plaintiffs from acting in accordance with their religious beliefs … Instead, plaintiffs remain free to exercise their religion, by not using contraceptives and by discouraging employees from using contraceptives," Judge Carol wrote.
"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 added.