Christian College Files Lawsuit Over HHS Mandate to Provide Contraceptives
For the record: this is not a debate on whether God exists or any of that stuff. That is essentially irrelevant here. The question is, can the government force a private, religious institution to cover contraceptives, including things such as the "morning after" pill to their employees and students.
An evangelical college is joining Catholic groups in suing the Obama administration over the so-called contraception mandate.
Illinois-based Wheaton College announced Wednesday morning that it had joined The Catholic University of America in filing suit before District of Columbia federal court.
The wave of lawsuits has so far been dominated by Catholic organizations. After the Supreme Court upheld most of the federal health care overhaul last month, those groups vowed to continue their legal challenge against the requirement that employers provide access to contraceptive care.
The announcement Wednesday marks the first time an evangelical group has joined that effort.
"In this case, we recognize we have common cause with the Catholic University of America and other Catholic institutions in defending religious liberty," Wheaton College President Philip Graham Ryken said on a conference call.
Wheaton, a protestant institution, is objecting to the Department Health and Human Services rule on slightly different grounds than the Catholic institutions. While those institutions are opposed to the requirement regarding all contraceptive coverage, Wheaton objected only to the possibility that they would have to provide access to coverage for "abortion-inducing drugs."
"We're very clear on the sanctity of life, and this insurance mandate goes against our conscience," Ryken said. He said the fact that Catholic groups are teaming up with an evangelical college in this lawsuit should signal that "something really significant in terms of religious liberty is at stake."
In May, dozens of Catholic groups filed a dozen separate but related federal lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the requirement. Among the organizations were the University of Notre Dame, the Archdiocese of New York and The Catholic University of America.
The Obama administration several months ago softened its position on the mandate, but some religious organizations complain the administration did not go far enough to ensure the rule would not compel them to violate their religious beliefs.
Ryken accused the administration of creating "two classes" of religious institutions by providing an exemption for churches but not religious-affiliated colleges.
The lawsuit filing came a day after a federal judge in Nebraska dismissed a suit over the HHS rule filed by seven states.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing Wheaton College, claims the ruling will not affect their case.
I am not sure how I feel about it, and I don't know enough about the situation. I believe people should practice sex in a safe way, use contraceptives, etc. However, this school believes that premarital sex is immoral, and that morning-after drugs are a form of abortion. If they take these stances in accordance with their religion, can the government force them to do otherwise? I also don't see why it should be the school or insurance company's job to provide contraceptives. Shouldn't that be on people's own dime, considering it simply deals with their own personal life decisions?
I actually went to this college and thus it sparked my interest. I no longer hold to their religious beliefs, but I thought this was an interesting topic. I will also attest that this is a very well respected institution, and the administration there are very good people. They are not extremists, and Wheaton College was named the "Harvard of Christian Schools" by the Princeton Review a few years ago. I only say this to stress that this isn't some whacked out fringe group. Please don't make this a god debate or a thread about how much Fox News sucks. I hate Fox news too, but that isn't the topic here.