Grace College and Biola University have lost their challenge to contraception provisions of federal health care reform, otherwise known as Obamacare. A news release from Courthouse News Service details the decision in the Seventh Circuit. A portion of the story appears below. Click here for the complete article.
Christian Schools Lose Obamacare Appeal
CHICAGO (CN) – An Indiana seminary and a California school for evangelical Christians lost their Seventh Circuit challenge to contraception provisions of federal health care reform.
Indiana’s Grace College and Seminary brought the challenge with California’s Biola University to a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that requires employers to include contraception and sterilization procedures as part of the health insurance policies they must offer.
Upon announcing the suit in 2013, Biola President Barry Corey wrote: “The Obama administration’s mandate forces us to act against our own doctrinal statement, which upholds the sanctity of human life. It unjustly intrudes on our religious liberty as protected under the U.S. Constitution and makes a mockery of our attempts to live our lives according to our faith convictions, time-honored and long protected.”
Though the government voluntarily exempted churches from this mandate, the Supreme Court indicated in Hobby Lobby that some closely held corporations might qualify for exemption as well, prompting a federal judge to grant Grace College and Biola a preliminary injunction.
Their relief came into question earlier this year, however, when the Seventh Circuit ruled against challenges brought by Notre Dame and Wheaton College, both Christian schools with the same objection to the so-called contraception mandate.
Followed its own precedent, the federal appeals court ruled 2-1 against Biola University and Grace College on Friday.
The majority opinion notes that the record in Notre Dame’s case “contained no evidence to support a conduit theory.”
“Nor is it within our usual practice to enjoin non-parties such as Notre Dame’s insurer and third-party administrator,” Judge Illana Rovner wrote for the majority. “We also rejected Notre Dame’s claim that the regulation requiring employers to provide Form 700 to its insurers was the cause of the provision of contraceptive services; rather the services are provided because federal law requires the insurers to provide them.”
“Obamacare” grants an accommodation to religious entities seeking to avoid the mandate by letting them offer insurance that does not include contraception, as long as they send in a form to register their objection with the Department of Health and Human Services.
In such cases, the insurer will be compelled to pay for such services itself, which will still allow employees access to contraception.
Click here for the complete article.