A federal appeals court in Washington joined other courts on Friday by ruling for an employer who raised religious objections to a provision of the 2010 U.S. healthcare law requiring companies to provide insurance that covers birth control.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled on a 2-1 vote in favor of Catholic brothers Francis and Philip Gilardi, owners of Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics, who do not want to provide insurance coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion.
The legal question of whether employers can exercise their religious rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to avoid complying with the so-called “contraception mandate” is almost certain to eventually be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In Friday’s ruling, the court said the corporations did not have First Amendment rights to press a claim but that the two brothers, as shareholders, did.
The appeals court reversed a lower court ruling that denied the brothers a preliminary injunction.