In July State Representative Paul Wieland says he was faced with a difficult choice: Enroll in an "immoral" health-care plan that covers birth control or cancel his health insurance for his family all together.
He went with a third option: Sue the federal government.
"My wife and I take our faith very seriously," Wieland, a Republican from Imperial, tells Daily RFT. "I have to take a stand.... As long as we're fighting it, I'm at peace with myself."
The idea for a lawsuit -- which echoes the ongoing fights in Missouri regarding contraception coverage -- came to Wieland when he was notified in July by the Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan that, starting in August, he would no longer be able to receive health coverage that is free of "gravely immoral practices."
See also: - Our Lady's Inn, GOP Pressure Chris Koster to Appeal Contraception Decision - Missouri Legislature Overturns Nixon's Veto on Anti-Contraception Bill - Attorney General to Republicans: Enough "Foolishness" on Contraception Coverage
Wieland says he had specifically enrolled in a program that did not cover specific items -- "abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and birth control" -- which he and his family "consider objectionable."
He tells us he conferred with a friend who works in the health-insurance industry and realized there was no insurance plan accessible to him that excludes coverage of these practices.
"Do I cancel my health insurance and put my family at risk?" he says. "Or do I do something about it?"
After some discussion, he and his wife decided that a lawsuit was the best way to move forward, he says, adding, "I can sleep at night."
"If I lose the lawsuit," he says, "then I'm back at the moral conundrum."
The defendants in the suit are U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Seth Harris.
This suit is the latest attack from Missouri on Obamacare, specifically regarding the federal mandate of birth control coverage. In March, a federal judge struck down a new state law that allowed employers to deny coverage of birth control if it violated their religious or moral beliefs. The law in question was proposed and passed by Republican legislators -- who successfully overrode the veto of Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat. Attorney General Chris Koster, also a Democrat, decided in April not to appeal the federal ruling, arguing that "Republicans' attempt to deny contraceptive coverage to women in Missouri is just plain foolishness."
While legal challenges to Obamacare have cropped up around the country, Wieland's suit is somewhat unique in that he is making the argument as an employee that he has a legal right to access a plan that does not cover birth control.
Continue for a copy of the lawsuit and more of our interview with Paul Wieland.
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