A federal judge in Texas has ruled that mandating free coverage of HIV preventative medication like PrEP violates the religious beliefs of a Christian-owned company.
PrEP, is a preventative medication for those who are more at risk of contracting HIV through sex or injection drug use, and helps reduces the chances of a person contracting the virus.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor’s ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by Jonathan Mitchell on behalf of Braidwood Management Inc and other Christian employers and employees. The 2020 lawsuit challenged the Affordable Care Act mandate that required free coverage of the HIV drugs commonly known as PrEP. The plaintiffs in the case claimed their religious rights would be violated because they would have to pay for PrEP, which they say is a medication that “enable[s and encourages] homosexual behavior.”
“The PrEP mandate violates Braidwood’s rights under [Religious Freedom Restoration Act],” O’Connor wrote in a 42-page ruling. He added that the U.S. government “outline[s] a generalized policy to combat the spread of HIV, but they provide no evidence connecting that policy to employers such as Braidwood.” He also highlighted that because of that “defendants have not carried their burden to show that the PrEP mandate furthers a compelling governmental interest.”