A case filed by a Missouri lawmaker challenging the requirement that his state-sponsored insurance plan provide birth control coverage has been heard in a federal appeals court in St. Louis.
Timothy Belz is an attorney for the Thomas Moore Society, a public interest law firm in Chicago, and represents Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, and his wife Teresa. Belz says Wieland and his wife used to opt out of contraceptive coverage. Belz says under the federal health care reform plan, contraceptive coverage must be provided, so the state’s health insurance company quit allowing people to opt out.
Belz says the decision by the Supreme Court this summer that private companies such as Hobby Lobby that have religious objections can opt out of the contraceptive requirement of federal health care law bolsters the Wielands’ argument.
“If, as in Hobby Lobby, a for-profit, commercial enterprise does not have to provide contraceptive coverage for its employees, then certainly mom and dad don’t have to provide it for their daughters,” says Belz. “Mom and dad are to Hobby Lobby like their girls are to Hobby Lobby’s employees. That’s the parallel.”
The Wielands have three daughters, ages 13, 19 and 20.
A federal district judge in November dismissed the Wieland’s lawsuit saying that the couple lacked standing to bring it.
The three-judge panel that heard the case on Monday could issue a ruling at any time.