Big Victory for Small Business Against HHS Mandate

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A federal appeals court issued an injunction on Wednesday that temporarily blocks President Obama's Health and Human Services from implementing the contraception mandate on a St. Louis, Mo. Company.

The Obamacare mandate would have forced the small company to pay for health insurance including coverage for contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs -- all in violation of the owner's religious beliefs.

The Missouri business owner and practicing Catholic, Frank O'Brien, employs 87 people.  O'Brien Industrial Holdings runs a number of businesses that explore, mine and process refractory and ceramic raw materials.

 The American Center for Law and Justice has been representing the company in this suit. Cece Heil, senior counsel for the ACLJ, has more on what's next in the case.

On its website, the company states its mission as "to make our labor a pleasing offering to the Lord while enriching our families and society."

In October, a federal district court judge granted Obama's motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The American Center for Law and Justice immediately filed an appeal, and the higher court today granted the motion for an injunction.

The ACLJ, on behalf of O'Brien, held that the mandate unconstitutionally infringed on the company's religious beliefs.

"By granting our motion, the appeals court blocks the implementation of the HHS mandate and clears the way for our lawsuit to continue - a significant victory for our client," said Francis Manion, senior counsel of the ACLJ.

"The order sends a message that the religious beliefs of employers must be respected by the government. We have argued from the beginning that employers like Frank O'Brien must be able to operate their business in a manner consistent with their moral values, not the values of the government."

The order from a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the first from the appellate level among the dozens of cases challenging the Obamacare mandate.

District judges in Colorado, Michigan and Chicago have issued similar rulings to protect companies in those locations while they fight what they describe as a blatant violation of the owners' religious rights.

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