Federal court allows company to ignore birth-control mandate

A federal court said Friday that a Colorado-based company does not have to comply with the Obama administration’s birth-control mandate because of the employer’s religious beliefs.

Several businesses and religious groups have sued over the policy, which requires most employers to provide contraception coverage in their healthcare plans. Friday’s temporary injunction is the first time a court has ruled against the policy.

Judge John Kane emphasized that his ruling only applies to the specific company whose lawsuit he considered — Colorado-based Hercules Industries.

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The company, like many others, said the contraception order violates the religious beliefs of its owner. Most of the lawsuits have been filed by Catholic groups who say they should not have to provide coverage that violates their religious opposition to contraception.

“Every American, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith. For the time being, Hercules Industries will be able to do just that,” attorney Matt Bowman said in a statement.

The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the ruling.

“This is not religious freedom, this is discrimination,” said Sarah Lipton-Lubet, policy counsel for the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Real religious liberty gives everyone the right to make their own decisions about their own health, including whether and when to use birth control. It doesn’t give anyone the right to impose their beliefs on others.”