D.C. Court Strikes Down Obamacare Birth Control Mandate

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Judge Janice Brown

The D.C. Court of Appeals, led by George W. Bush appointee, Judge Janice Rogers Brown, sided with business owners on Nov. 1, ruling that the birth control mandate included in the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is “self-defeating” and a “cognizant burden” on employers’ religious freedoms.

In a scathing opinion, Brown, who has vehemently opposed mandatory contraception coverage since her days on the California Supreme Court, said that the government’s rationale in insisting on the mandate is not “compelling.”

“…unconvincing is the government’s assertion that the mandate averts ‘negative health consequences for both the and the developing fetus.’ ” opined Brown.” From the outset, we note the science is debatable and may actually undermine the government’s cause. For the potential mother, as one amicus notes, the World Health Organization classifies certain oral contraceptives as carcinogens, marked by an increased risk for breast, cervical, and liver cancers. Br. of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, at 8–9. On the other hand, the contraceptives at issue have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, supported by research touting their benefits. See Op. of Edwards, J., at 30. This tug-of-war gives us pause because the government has neither acknowledged nor resolved these contradictory claims.

Judge Brown also compares the birth control mandate to “government coercion of moral agency.”

The Framers of the Constitution clearly embraced the philosophical insight that government coercion of moral agency is odious. Penalties are impertinent, according to Locke, if they are used to compel men “to quit the light of their own reason, and oppose the dictates of their own consciences.” JOHN LOCKE, A LETTER CONCERNING TOLERATION 13–14 (J. Brook ed., 1792) (1689)

Unsurprisingly, the conservative judge is known for her stance against progression legislation.

Read more about her from Think Progress:

Prior to her nomination to the D.C. Circuit, Brown labeled the New Deal a “socialist revolution,” and she likened Social Security to a kind of intergenerational cannibalism — “[t]oday’s senior citizens blithely cannibalize their grandchildren because they have a right to get as much ‘free’ stuff as the political system will permit them to extract.” Since joining the federal bench, she authored a concurring opinion suggesting that all labor, business or Wall Street regulation is constitutionally suspect.

Friday’s ruling centered on two Catholic brothers, Francis and Philip Gilardi, who refused to provide contraception coverage for employees of their Ohio-based produce company despite facing a $14 mllion fine, reports The Hill.

Read the D.C. Court of Appeals entire ruling by clicking here.

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