POLITICS

Contraception mandate unites Protestants and Catholics in new lawsuit

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Wheaton College, an evangelical Christian school in Illinois, joined a lawsuit filed by The Catholic University of America against President Obama’s mandate that insurance policies provide free contraception.

“This mandate is not just a Catholic issue—it threatens people of all faiths,” said Kyle Duncan, a spokesman for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing Wheaton. “Wheaton’s historic decision to join the fight alongside a Catholic institution shows the broad consensus that the mandate endangers everyone’s religious liberty.”

In its initial formulation, the contraception mandate required even religiously-affiliated entities — hospitals, schools, etc., — to provide free contraception to people on their plan. President Obama promised to expand the exemption, but religious groups say that even the expanded policy will require them to pay for something contrary to their religious beliefs.

“We still find ourselves in a very tough spot, and we’re still going to continue to express what we believe is just not a religious point of view but a constitutional point of view that America’s at her best when the government doesn’t force a citizen or a group of citizens in a religious creed to violate their deepest held moral convictions,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan told CBS on Easter Sunday.

The Wheaton lawsuit comes on the same day that a federal judge dismissed several lawsuits filed against the mandate by individual states and other religious entities. “In short, the individual plaintiffs have not shown that their current health plans will be required to cover contraception-related services under the rule, and therefore their claims must be dismissed,” U.S. District Judge Warren K. Urbom, a Nixon appointee, said in his ruling.

 

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