Christian colleges prevail over Obamacare in federal court

Sandor Farkas

Sandor Farkas Collegiate Network Fellow
  • After a legal battle lasting nearly six years, a federal judge has ruled in favor of two Christian colleges that sought to be exempted from the Obamacare provision mandating contraceptive coverage for employees.
  • The colleges argued that President Obama’s 2012 “compromise” solution was inadequate, because it still required them to offer employee health plans that provided free contraception, including abortifacient drugs.
  • Although President Trump sought to overturn the mandate in 2017, judges have prevented those regulations from taking effect while they consider legal challenges to their validity.

After a lengthy legal battle, two Christian colleges have won a lawsuit seeking to obtain a religious exemption from the Obamacare contraception mandate.

Last week, a federal district court ruled in favor of the schools, represented by religious liberty law firm Alliance Defending Freedom, barring the federal government from enforcing the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandate requiring employers to provide health care plans that cover contraceptives, including emergency contraceptives.

“Defendants now agree that enforcement of the rules regarding the contraceptive mandate against employers with sincerely held religious objections would violate the RFRA.”   

While the mandate technically exempted religious organizations, it was commonly criticized for narrowly defining the term, thereby excluding many faith-based colleges and universities from the list.

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Grace College and Seminary in Indiana and Biola University in California are both Christian institutions of higher education and subscribe to the biblical view that God created man in His image, meaning that human life is sacred.

Likewise, both institutions see abortion as violating this sanctity, arguing that their faith prohibits them from paying for drugs that may act as abortifacients.

Although the government offered faith-based schools a compromise in 2012, whereby contraceptive coverage would be paid for by third-parties, Grace and Biola deemed that solution inadequate and filed an amended complaint against the government in 2013, the ruling noted.

While the Trump administration issued new regulations in 2017 that would have resolved the issue, the court documents note that judges have ordered preliminary injunctions against them over procedural issues, preventing them from taking effect…. more at