Guest / Limited Access /
Government Backs Down on Contraceptive Mandate
American Life League
Government Backs Down on Contraceptive Mandate

On Tuesday, Wheaton College and Belmont Abbey College won a legal round against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contraceptive mandate—not only for themselves, but also for dozens of fellow religious employers that have filed similar suits.

"We are grateful that the Circuit Court's ruling—which is substantially a victory for Wheaton College—makes it clear that the original judge was wrong to dismiss our case and that we are suffering real harm as a result of the HHS mandate," said Wheaton College president Philip Ryken.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the HHS must not enforce the mandate for employer-provided contraceptives as currently outlined in the Affordable Care Act. In addition, the government must make good on a previous promise to establish a new rule regarding enforcement of the mandate for religious employers by March 2013.

Kyle Duncan, general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty who argued the case, says this is a significant victory for religious plaintiffs (including schools with similar lawsuits, like Biola University, Liberty University, and Tyndale House Publishers).

"At least one of the judges kept coming back to the point: This is about the First Amendment. This is about religious freedom," he said.

But Carl Esbeck, a church-state law expert at the University of Missouri, says the colleges did not get the relief that they wanted—and that the government won the day overall.

"The result of the three-judge panel's opinion is that the colleges will continue to have to wait … and there's no promise that the new rule will take care of Wheaton or Belmont Abbey," he said. "The only promise is that the existing rule won't ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueWhen God’s Mercy Sounds Like Bad News
Subscriber Access Only
When God’s Mercy Sounds Like Bad News
The patience of the Lord can be a heavy burden.
RecommendedSouthern Baptists Back Away from Backing Mosques
Southern Baptists Back Away from Backing Mosques
Trustee scuffle over ‘unholy alliance’ leads IMB to leave ERLC’s side on religious freedom fights.
TrendingAll 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
More than 3,000 employees in 36 states will be laid off in the liquidation of one of the world’s largest Christian retailers.
Editor's PickLent Is Here to Throw Us Off Again
Lent Is Here to Throw Us Off Again
Finding healing in repetition, community, and art.
Christianity Today
Government Backs Down on Contraceptive Mandate
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

December 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.