Court refuses to grant injunction. School cancels student health insurance plan due to “morally objectionable” contraception.
Update (July 16): This coming academic year, Wheaton College will not offer a student health insurance plan (SHIP) due to the federal requirement under Obamacare that the plan offer “morally objectionable” products and services—abortifacient drugs and intrauterine devices (IUDs).
“Although the college will continue to seek relief in the courts, the college has been forced to quickly make difficult choices,” the school said in announcing the decision on its website. Schools are not required to provide a SHIP benefit to students, but many colleges and universities do so.
Secondly, Wheaton contracts with Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Illinois to insure faculty, staff, and others. Recently, the insurer informed participants that it, not the college, would cover birth control services, including emergency contraception and IUDs, with no cost sharing or other cost to any one who is covered. This means the college has “opted out” as allowed under the now final Obamacare contraception mandate rules.
Some two weeks after Wheaton lost its appeal concerning contraception, similar appeal went down to defeat. On July 14, the 10th Circuit Appeals Court in Denver ruled that Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic order that cares for the elderly, would also be required to provide contraception or opt out. “Today the 10th Circuit ruled that government can force the Little Sisters to either violate their faith or pay massive IRS penalties,” lead attorney Mark Rienzi with the Becket Fund said in a statement. “We’re disappointed in today’s decision.” Little Sisters were the lead plaintiffs for about 400 other organizations. A decision on appeal to the US Supreme Court is pending.
In its ruling, the appeals court said Little Sisters and the other plaintiffs did not “demonstrate they will suffer irreparable injury if an injunction is denied.” Becket attorneys argued that the opt-out accommodation still was a violation of the constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.
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SOURCE: Christianity Today
Timothy C. Morgan and Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra