Thomas More Society Victory Solidified as Department of Justice Affirms Court Decision

Legislator’s Abortion-Free Health Coverage Now Available to All Missourians

Tom Brejcha , Thomas More Society President and Chief Counsel and Missouri State Senator Paul Wieland celebrate their victory in Federal Court.

In 2016, the Thomas More Society won a great victory over Obamacare’s abortion pill mandate for Missouri State Senator Paul Wieland. That victory was reconfirmed on November 16, 2017, when the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the government’s motion to dismiss its appeal of that judgment, so the Thomas More Society’s victory will stand. As part of the Thomas More Society’s success in Paul Joseph Wieland et al. v. United States Department of Health and Human Services et al., the legislator and his family were granted permanent protection from the federal mandate that required the health insurance plans of individuals, businesses, and even religious organizations to include coverage for abortions, contraceptives, and sterilizations.

Following Wieland’s victory for religious freedom, the State of Missouri extended to all other state employees the freedom to enroll in a state-sponsored health plan that does not cover abortion, sterilization, or contraception if those things are contrary to the employees’ religious beliefs or moral convictions.

The Thomas More Society’s victory came in the only case in the nation filed to challenge the morally objectionable mandate on behalf of a private citizen. The case was won on the same legal principles upheld in the United States Supreme Court’s opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby: that religious rights cannot be trampled by the government under the guise of the Affordable Care Act.

Thomas More Society Special Counsel Tim Belz explained, “This case represented an unusual angle in that a family has earned a victory against the mandate, preserving their right to religious liberty. The idea that families could be made to pay to participate in insurance plans that provide for services that conflict with their sincerely held religious beliefs is morally reprehensible. This is indeed a victory for families everywhere and for those who value the religious freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.”

“We were proven to be right in what we were thinking and we’re just delighted,” said Wieland about the court’s affirmation of the victory with his case. “Not only have we secured the religious rights of my family, but we’ve done so for all Missouri state employees.”

Read more about the Thomas More Society’s role in defending the Wieland family’s religious liberty here.