|A Federal district court in St. Louis issued a ruling this week in favor of religious liberty in a case involving contraceptive insurance coverage brought by Missouri State Senator Paul Wieland. Prior to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, Missouri state employees could opt out of having contraceptive coverage in their health plans.
After the passage of the Affordable Care Act, however, the state health plan for government employees no longer permitted covered employees to opt out. Senator Wieland sued, claiming that denying him the ability to opt out violated his religious beliefs. Wieland did not want to have to pay for and participate in such a health plan, which covered himself, his wife, and his three daughters.
The U.S. District court for the Eastern District of Missouri this week ruled in Wieland’s favor. The court ruled that forcing Wieland to participate violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The court found that the state had other means of insuring access to contraceptives for state employees and that it could not force Wieland to participate.