Obamacare contraceptive mandate challenged in federal court - KMSP-TV

Obamacare contraceptive mandate challenged in federal court in Minnesota

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

A federal judge in Minnesota heard arguments Thursday from a Christian-owned medical device company that wants an exemption from the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

The lawsuit says the federal mandate "illegally and unconstitutionally forces Annex Medical, Inc. to abandon the percepts of the Catholic faith in order to offer group health insurance."

"Annex medical is making a business decision to obtain the injunction just for itself -- it's not challenging the whole law," said Erick Kaardal, attorney for Annex Medical.

"Because it doesn't want to pay the fine and it doesn't want to have to be in a position where it doesn't offer catastrophic coverage. And that's the reason it's bringing the claim. It's not to help any other business, not to bring down the law. Not to bring down the Affordable Care Act."

There was no decision by the court on Thursday. It is likely that the court will hold off until it hears whether the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a nearly identical freedom of religion case filed by the owners of the Hobby Lobby store chain.

The Obama administration allowed churches and other houses of worship to opt out of the contraceptive coverage requirement, but not affiliated groups such as hospitals and universities.

The White House offered another accommodation for those with religious objections: Religious employers do not have to offer, or foot the bill for, contraceptive coverage. Instead, their insurance companies are required have to cover the cost of birth control.

Along with the contraception, the mandate also covers mammograms, pap smears, domestic violence screenings and HIV screenings for an estimated 20 million women.

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