The Hidden War on Women: Brief in HHS Case Exposes Ignored Contraceptive Health Risks

By including contraceptive and abortifacient drugs as "preventive" healthcare under the HHS Mandate, the Government ignored research showing that these drugs significantly increase risks of cancers, stroke, and a host of other serious diseases.
BDF and LLDF represent Women Speak for Themselves
BDF and LLDF represent Women Speak for Themselves
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O Brien


Arizona - US

Nov. 30, 2012 - PRLog -- A federal appeals court has granted an interim injunction blocking the enforcement of the Obamacare HHS Mandate against O'Brien Industrial Holdings, a St. Louis, Missouri, company and its Catholic owner Frank O'Brien.

The ruling means that while the appeal is pending, O'Brien can't be coerced by the Government to provide no-cost coverage of contraceptive and abortifacient drugs in violation the business owners’ religious beliefs.

Representing "Women Speak for Themselves," Bioethics Defense Fund (BDF) and Life Legal Defense Foundation attorneys filed a key amicus brief in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the Catholic business owner.

The amicus brief informs the Court that contrary to the Government's claim that the mandated drugs promote women's "preventive" healthcare, a large body of research shows that hormonal contraceptives significantly increase risks of breast cancer, cervical cancer, heart attack, stroke, and a host of other serious diseases, including a nearly doubled increased risk of contracting HIV for users of the hormonal injection Depo-Provera.

"Yet the Government, and the Institute of Medicine report on which it relied, completely failed to address this evidence -- not even mentioning that the World Health Organization classifies combined oral contraceptives as 'Group 1: Carcinogenic to Humans,' "states the brief.

BDF senior counsel Dorinda C. Bordlee, lead counsel on the amicus brief, explained "the HHS Mandate fails the most basic test of preventive medicine, namely that hormonal contraceptives and abortifacients significantly increase risk of disease instead of decreasing it."

According to Bordlee,  "Mandating free access to drugs that are classified as 'carcinogens' by the World Health Organization is the ultimate war on women," said Bordlee,  "and forcing employers to provide free access to abortifacient drugs is the ultimate war on conscience."

BDF president Nikolas Nikas said the amicus brief presents the argument that the Mandate should be considered invalid under the Administrative Procedure Act, especialy in light of case law explaining that an agency rule is "arbitrary and capricious" if it "entirely failed to consider an important aspect of the problem."

In addition, said Nikas, the brief explains that "The disregard of this highly relevant medical evidence also shows that the Government cannot meet its burden under the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act of demonstrating that application of the HHS Mandate to a religiously objecting employer 'is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest' – particularly its asserted interests of promoting women’s health."

“WSFT has no interest in changing the law regarding the legal availability of contraception. Rather, we want to show how HHS has failed to make a medical case for its current mandate,” said WSFT co-founder Helen Alvaré.

“We started Women Speak for Themselves (WSFT) with two messages,” said WSFT co-founder Kim Daniels. “First, women, just like men, care about religious freedom. Second, the 'preventive services' mandate does not advance women’s freedom or equality. This brief showcases some of the most prominent empirical data supporting our second message.”

● Read the amicus brief ( outlining the increased health risks of hormonal contraceptives ignored by the HHS Mandate.

Bioethics Defense Fund ( is a non-profit legal and educational organization that puts law in the service of life.  

Contact:  Dorinda C. Bordlee,, 504-231-7234
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Tags:Hhs, Obamacare, Contraceptive, Mandate, O Brien
Industry:Health, Government
Location:Arizona - United States
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