A Missouri state lawmaker suing the federal government over Obamacare’s birth control mandate says that the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision strengthens his case.
State Rep. Paul Wieland (R, pictured) believes that the state insurance plan his family is on violates his Catholic beliefs by covering birth control, and he wants an exemption so that his plan will not pay for birth control for his three daughters.
Wieland sued the federal government in 2013, asking for a personal exemption from the mandate.
A Missouri court dismissed Wieland’s case because he lacked legal standing to sue the government. Now, Wieland is asking an appeals court to reinstate his case.
The appeals court heard arguments on Monday, and Wieland’s lawyer Timothy Belz argued that the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters Wieland’s case.
“The employees are to Hobby Lobby what the daughters are to Paul and Teresa Wieland,” Belz told the panel of judges, according to MSNBC.
He told the judges that the state health plan covering birth control could be compared to forcing Mormon parents to “stock unlocked liquor cabinets” for their children when the parents aren’t home, the Kansas City Star reported.
According to the Kansas City Star, one of the appellate justices, James Loken, seemed skeptical of Belz’s reasoning in the case.
“There’s much greater control by a parent than an employer,” Loken said. “All the parents have to do is say, ‘We expect you to abide by our religious tenet.’ That’s a non-event.”
According to St. Louis Public Radio, Belz said in an interview that Wieland could seek medical insurance through his business that did not cover contraception, but it would be more expensive.
Wieland was not present at the appeals court oral arguments because he was campaigning for his bid for a seat in the state senate.