After the Hobby Lobby ruling last year, the Obama administration devised a new solution to address religious objections to contraception among religious charities and nonprofits. Instead of filling out a form that notifies the insurance company of any religious objections, organizations in writing would notify the government of their objections. The government will then notify the insurance company or a third-party administrator to provide contraception coverage, paid for by the federal government.
A federal appeals court will not give Wheaton College a preliminary injunction in connection with its civil suit to be free from one key Obamacare requirement.
So for now, the college is required to notify the government of its objection to providing emergency contraception through the college’s health insurance plan.
When notification takes place, it triggers a program to provide free contraception coverage for health plan participants. The college considers the use of FDA-approved, morning-after pills (Plan B, ella) and intrauterine devices (IUDs) immoral since such contraception may work after fertilization.
But the US District Court of Appeals (Seventh Circuit) on July 1 denied the preliminary injunction. “[Notification] is hardly a burdensome requirement; nor does it leave the provider—the opt out—with any residual involvement in the coverage of drugs or devices of which it sincerely disapproves on religious grounds,” wrote Judge Richard Posner.
The court said it was denying the injunction for two reasons.
“[Wheaton College] has failed to show that delaying a judgment in its favor to the conclusion of proceedings in the district court would do the college any harm…The college has also failed to match the relief it seeks to the illegalities it alleges…the government isn’t using the college’s health plans, as we have explained at perhaps excessive length.”
The court noted that Wheaton’s Community Covenant does not mention contraception. But the court said the college’s covenant implies that a human being begins at conception, “which means contraception after intercourse, is forbidden on religious grounds if it can destroy a fertilized ovum.” The college does not oppose contraception that prevents fertilization.
“Wheaton College is disappointed by the court’s denial of our request for preliminary relief,” said Philip Ryken, Wheaton College president, “but we remain hopeful for a time when the government will allow us to provide healthcare for our employees and their families in full accordance with our common faith.