Colorado Christian University scored a victory for religious liberty last week, winning a preliminary injunction from a Denver federal judge against the government’s contraceptive mandate. The ruling prevents the Department of Health and Human Services from enforcing provisions of Obamacare that require the school to offer contraceptives that could induce abortions.
“It’s a terrific victory,” said school President William Armstrong. “It’s a huge victory for us, but more importantly, it’s a victory for the cause for religious freedom.”
The judge determined the mandate, which required the school to provide Plan B (the so-called “morning after” pill) and Ella (the “week after” pill), infringed on the private university’s freedom of religion, noting that if CCU either did not provide health insurance to its employees, or “did not include the coverages required by the mandate, CCU would be subject to significant—if not ruinous—financial penalties.”
The penalties would have amounted to millions of dollars in annual fines, beginning July 1.
The judge concluded that the pressure to violate the school’s religious beliefs violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, according to the Beckett Fund, which supported CCU’s case.
“We are rejoicing,” Armstrong said. “We’re praising the Lord and thanking the Beckett Fund and thankful that we live in a country where the courts can protect us against these kind of things.”
Armstrong noted that while a final injunction may be waiting on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, which he “earnestly hoped” turned out in the Christian-owned craft chain’s favor, he fully expected to receive the injunction either way. CCU’s case is significantly different from Hobby Lobby’s, because it is a religious institution while Hobby Lobby is a for-profit business. The high court is expected to rule on the Hobby Lobby case tomorrow, or Monday at the latest.
“This is an important win for religious liberty,” said Beckett Fund attorney Eric Baxter, who represents CCU in its case. “A university like CCU, whose employees and students share its religious convictions concerning the sanctity of life, should not be forced against its beliefs to distribute drugs that it deems to be morally wrong.”