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Wheaton College Appeals Judge's Decision in HHS Suit

Wheaton College appeals federal judge's decision to dismiss a lawsuit against the HHS mandate, requiring the college to provide the morning-after pill.

Wheaton College has appealed a federal . The mandate requires Wheaton to cover the morning-after and week-after pills or face $1.4 million in fines each year, according to a statement the college released Thursday.

According to the statement, the government rewrote the mandate in response to Wheaton’s lawsuit, giving Wheaton until August 2013 to comply. Because Wheaton's medical policies are renewed each calendar year, implementation would be effective January 1, 2014. The judge therefore ruled Wheaton’s present lawsuit was premature.

“Wheaton will keep fighting for its religious freedom,” Kyle Duncan, counsel for the college, from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty said in the statement. “The government has granted Wheaton a temporary reprieve—but has not addressed its core concerns.”

Wheaton’s religious convictions prevent it from providing its employees with access to abortion-causing drugs as mandated by the federal government. The College’s lawsuit seeks to preserve its right to offer health insurance to employees that aligns with its beliefs.

“We’re appealing because we continue to believe that our case should be considered on its merits,” Wheaton College President Philip Ryken said in a statement. “While we are pleased that our lawsuit has compelled the government to delay enforcement, waiting another year will not change the fact that the mandate violates our religious liberty and puts our ability to offer our employees health insurance at risk.”

There are now 26 separate lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate, which is a regulation under the Affordable Care Act.

More information regarding the College’s lawsuit is available via its July 18 news release, and its Frequently Asked Questions. A Case Summary, Frequently Asked Questions about legal challenges to the HHS mandate, and a Media Information Sheet are available on the Becket Fund website.

Information courtesy of Wheaton College.

Readers responded to this story in :

  • SHay said: "Why don't they offer it, but let the individual's own beliefs guide them? Prohibition is a mandate."
  • ag said: "A private institutuon should be free to make its own policy. If you don't like it than go somewhere else. It's that simple."
  • Lisa said: "Yes, let the individual person decide. Once again a man making decisions for women!"
  • Mister Heche said: "It is heartening to see so many new voices emerging to challenge the myth that the sexual revolution and contraception have been a good thing for society."
  • Andrew said: "Is Wheaton college SOLEY a "religious organization" or are they ALSO an educational institution? If the first, stop taking government funds (accounting for at least 50% of revenue. If the second, follow the regulations. I would think that once a religious organization crosses the line into the secular world (world is a bad word choice but I can't think of an alternate) they should do so with the understanding that they have to play by the secular world's rules."
  • Mom From Illinois said: "Birth control pills actually have other uses than for contraception. Women are prescribed pills for medical reasons ie controlling heavy menstrual periods, decreased risk for anemia, and controlling endometrisis growth and pain. Instead women could undergo risky surgery for all of these conditions which only would increase medical costs in the long run for the college. I certainly hope the college would not cover any other sexually related drug ie Viagra for men to keep the playing field level."

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New York Kathy September 29, 2012 at 03:29 AM
This country was built on "freedom of religion" not "freedom to worship in private." Stop discriminating against Catholic groups that simply want to retain their Catholic identity in public. What this mandate seeks is to kick religion out of public life. No longer could Catholic charities educate children, run food pantries, help victims of sex trafficking, provide health clinics or counseling services, shelter the homeless and orphans or hundreds of other charity acts. Why? Because by definition once they violate their religion they are no longer a Catholic organization. People of good will should not be forced to decide between their charity and their religion. Amazing that people think this topic is about birth control and abortion. This issue is about self-identity in public and the freedom of religion in public. End this bigoted HHS mandate that seeks to remove religious groups from public life!

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