May 10, 2013 Print

Court Reinstates Geneva College’s HHS Mandate Case

by Bethany Monk

A federal court on Wednesday reinstated a Pennsylvania Christian college’s lawsuit challenging a government mandate requiring that it offer potential abortion-inducing drugs in its employee health plans.

“All Americans, including job creators and providers, should be free to live according to their faith rather than be forced into violating their own consciences. That’s no different for Geneva College, a Christian-run college that simply wants to abide by the very faith it espouses and teaches,” said Gregory S. Baylor, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), representing the school.

The Obama administration required most businesses to comply with the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate by August of last year. Some faith-based organizations — including some hospitals — have a so-called safe harbor until August of this year.

Geneva College, a Presbyterian school in Beaver Falls, filed a lawsuit with Seneca Hardwood Lumber Company against the mandate in May 2012. The court had decided, however, that it was too early for the school to challenge the mandate because it qualifies for the “safe harbor.”

A federal court last month granted temporary reprieve from the mandate for the family-run lumber company, also in Pennsylvania.

“The court has done the right thing in allowing Geneva College to remain in this lawsuit together with Seneca Hardwood Lumber Co.,” Baylor explained. “(This will) ensure that the government doesn’t punish people of faith for making decisions consistent with that faith.”

Read the complaint in Geneva v. Sebelius.

Read the court’s order to reinstate the case.