16 States File Support for Obamacare Lawsuit
Three Christian universities are embroiled in a lawsuit against the federal government, trying to gain exemptions from Obamacare mandates on contraceptives. Houston Baptist University, East Texas Baptist University, and Westminster Theological Seminary want the Supreme Court to exempt them from the HHS mandate forcing them to provide insurance coverage for contraceptive options that violate their faith. Now these schools have major support in the form of 16 state governments.
Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Arizona are among the states that have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in support of the three universities.
“This strong show of support for HBU and ETBU (and Westminster Theological Seminary) demonstrates just how important it is that the Supreme Court address the impact of the HHS mandate, particularly on religious groups,” said plaintiff’s lawyers. “It is especially significant that the 16 state governments are supporting HBU and ETBU at the Supreme Court.”
The case addresses a decision by the 5th Circuit Court that ruled the schools must abide by the mandate. The schools hope that the Supreme Court will take up the case in the next session, providing them with the same exemptions afforded to a number of private businesses. If they do not receive the exemptions, say their lawyers, they would be subject to millions in IRS fines.
At issue are two intrauterine devices and two birth control products that prevent pregnancy after the fact. Opponents to these contraceptives claim they induce a reaction indistinguishable from abortion, putting them at odds with their religious beliefs. Businesses, churches, and schools led by people of faith insist there is no way to provide insurance coverage for these products without violating these beliefs.
HHS, which is the organization responsible for enforcing the insurance mandate, argues that these products should be covered because they have been federally approved. This is a nonsensical reason, but that’s what they have. They also argue, of course, that women should have access to all forms of birth control on the market. Which is also nonsensical, because women are perfectly capable of buying insurance independent of their employer.
Hopefully, more states will file support for these universities. One of the hidden downsides of Obamacare turned out to be its heavy-handed infringement on religious freedom. The Supreme Court has already given limited protection to certain businesses, but it is time to make sure every business owner, school, and church enjoys the same protection. And until Obama can find The Right to Abortion Coverage in the Constitution, the judicial way forward is clear.