Colorado Christian University has won an important case against the Department of Health and Human Services contraception mandate. Instead of CCU being forced to provide employees and students abortifacients, a federal judge in Denver has ruled that the school can retain its religious freedom. It's a significant decision, and one that the Supreme Court will surely keep in mind as it prepares to decide on the high profile Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius case.
The Becket Fund, a non-profit, public interest law firm who represented CCU in its lawsuit, emailed LifeNews the good news:
In a carefully reasoned opinion, the court ruled that the Health and Human Services Mandate, which would have forced CCU to include drugs like Plan B (the “morning after” pill) and ella (the “week after” pill) in its health care plan, infringes the University’s freedom of religion. The court noted that “[i]f CCU refused to provide health insurance coverage for its employees,” or “did not include the coverages required by the Mandate, CCU would be subject to significant – if not ruinous – financial penalties.” The court then concluded that this pressure on CCU to violate its religious beliefs violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
As to why offering employees and students contraception would violate their religious freedom, CCU explained it best:
Specifically, CCU challenges the requirement that the group health plans for employees of CCU and for CCU students or, in the alternative, another entity, provide cover age for drugs, devices, procedures, or related education and counseling that may destroy human life after fertilization of the egg of a mother and either before or after the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus of its mother. CCU contends that any participation by them in the implementation of this required coverage imposes a substantial burden on the exercise of its religious beliefs and violates its rights under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) 3.
Had CCU lost the case, the school would have been fined millions of dollars annually starting July 1 for refusing to comply with the mandate. Instead, the university can keep its money - and its religious conscience
Maybe, just maybe, CCU's victory is a preface to Hobby Lobby's happy ending.