The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on behalf of a private business owner from Missouri who claims that the HHS contraception mandate is in violation of his First Amendment-protected religious liberties. The lawsuit is the first filed by a private citizen against HHS regarding the contraception mandate that requires employers to purchase health insurance coverage, for their employees, that includes free contraceptives, sterilization procedures, and abortion-inducing drugs. To date, six lawsuits have been brought against HHS by religious schools and institutions that are challenging the mandate.
Frank R. O’Brien, a Catholic, is the chairman of O’Brien Industrial Holdings, LLC, the parent company of the Christy family of companies that explores, mines, and processes refractory and ceramic raw materials. According to Mr. O’Brien, the philosophical foundation of his businesses are his religious beliefs, as evidenced by the statement on his company’s website which announces that its mission is “to make our labor a pleasing offering to the Lord while enriching our families and society.”
On behalf of his client, Francis J. Manion of ACLJ stated:
The HHS contraception mandate tells people like Frank O’Brien that they have to choose between conducting their business in a manner consistent with their moral values, or conducting their business in a manner consistent with the government’s values. The constitution does not allow the government to impose such a choice.
Attorney Manion observed that, while the state of Missouri has a contraception mandate, it allows exemptions for those with religious objections.
The lawsuit requests that the court declare that the HHS mandate violates the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.