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Court rules that HHS mandate trumps state conscience-protection law

March 20, 2013

A federal district court judge has ruled that a Missouri conscience-protection measure is invalid because it conflicts with the HHS mandate.

Missouri’s legislature, overriding the governor’s veto, had passed a law allowing employers not to provide insurance covering contraceptives if “the use or provision of such contraceptives is contrary to the [employer’s] moral, ethical or religious beliefs or tenets.” The law also allowed individual employees to opt out of insurance that covers contraceptives.

The Missouri statute, however, required insurers to “allow enrollees in a health benefit plan that excludes coverage for contraceptives . . . to purchase a health benefit plan that includes coverage for contraceptives" if the enrollees requested it.

Judge Audrey Fleissig, an Obama appointee, said she took “no position on the merits of the conflicting laws,” but merely ruled that the federal health-insurance law and its accompanying mandate took precedence over the state law.


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  • Posted by: kwonbbl1 - Mar. 21, 2013 2:54 AM ET USA

    Actually the argument should be the other way. Freedom of conscience should trump HHS mandate, unless the State trumps our God-given conscience of free human being. Does this tell USA is finally becoming Orwellian with the judiciary system brown-nosing to the leftist Democratic party and their president, Obama?

  • Posted by: unum - Mar. 20, 2013 6:41 PM ET USA

    So, a federal judge believes that an unconstitutional federal law trumps a state law that is consistent with the Constitution. Justice Scalia should have a field day with that one!

  • Posted by: dagbat - Mar. 20, 2013 11:40 AM ET USA

    It is not going to be long before states are going to realize that they have the constitutional right to just say NO to these anti-religious anti-liberty power infringements by the federal government and its surrogate judiciary. States are going to conclude that they are better off going it alone. That they do not need nor do they want a domineering central government that is trying to impose its will against the lawful rights of its citizens.