The U.S. asked a federal judge to dismiss a St. Louis business owner’s lawsuit challenging a requirement that businesses offer employees contraception coverage through health-care insurance.

Catholic businessman Frank O’Brien and his St. Louis-based O’Brien Industrial Holdings LLC sued the U.S. in March, arguing the mandate unconstitutionally violates his religious beliefs and the principals he applies to his company.

Lawyers for the government, in papers filed yesterday with U.S. District Judge Carol E. Jackson in St. Louis, said O’Brien failed to allege the mandate “substantially” burdened his religious freedom.

“Even if there is a substantial burden, the preventive services coverage regulations serve a compelling governmental interest,” according to the U.S., and “are the least restrictive means to achieve that interest.”

Forty-three Catholic organizations, including the archdioceses of New York and Washington, as well as the University of Notre Dame and the Catholic University of America, filed 12 lawsuits yesterday in courts across the country, also arguing the mandate violates the freedom of religion guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

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