Wheaton wins temporary injunction against HHS requirements

Meredith Flynn —  July 4, 2014

NEWS | The U.S. Supreme Court has issued additional protection to Wheaton College as it fights a mandate in the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to cover drugs like the morning-after pill in their employee health plans.

Wheaton, a Christian college in a western Chicago suburb, already qualified for an exemption from the Affordable Care Act offered to faith-based non-profit organizations. But many have said the government’s plan – to let non-profits sign a form allowing insurers to pay for the drugs, rather than the organization itself – isn’t enough. As the Associated Press reported July 3, “Wheaton and dozens of other non-profits have sued over the form, which they say violates their religious beliefs because it forces them to participate in a system to subsidize and distribute the contraception.”
The Supreme Court’s unsigned opinion July 3 says that during its court case, Wheaton doesn’t have to sign the form but can write a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services explaining its objection to the requirements.

The Court’s three female justices – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor – disagreed with the temporary injunction. Sotomayor wrote that the Court’s action “undermines confidence in this institution.”

On June 30, the justices ruled 5-4 that “closely held,” for-profit businesses Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties don’t have to cover abortion-inducing drugs in their employee plans. ChristianityToday.com has a helpful infographic from The Becket Fund forecasting next steps in court cases against the mandate.

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.