Wheaton College, a private Christian university in Wheaton, Ill., asked a federal court on Monday for emergency relief from a government mandate requiring it to offer contraceptives and potential abortion-inducing drugs under its insurance plan.
As of Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate required businesses to offer the insurance when their next enrollment begins. Some faith-based groups have until August 2013 to find a way to comply, but Wheaton does not qualify for the extension.
Becket Fund for Religious Liberty General Counsel Kyle Duncan said the government is telling Wheaton it is not “religious enough” to have a conscience, “so (Wheaton) can be forced to participate in abortions or face heavy fines.”
The university is asking the court for a decision by Sept. 30, a month before open enrollment starts for its 2013 health insurance plans.
Meanwhile, Priests for Life declared this week it simply will not comply with the mandate — a move which is likely to spawn future lawsuits.
“We exist in order to fight abortion, and now they want to tell our employees they are covered for the very practices we are against,” National Director Frank Pavone told CitizenLink. “They want us to be counter-witnesses to ourselves.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read Father Frank Pavone’s letter to the Priests for Life staff.