Judge Grants Colorado Christian University Injunction From Birth Control Mandate
A private academic institution based in Colorado was granted an injunction from the Department of Health and Human Services' birth control mandate.
Colorado Christian University will not have to pay a fee for refusing to provide certain types of birth control effective July 1, ruled a Denver federal judge.
Filed last Friday, District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn concluded that Colorado Christian University could be unnecessarily burdened by the HHS mandate of the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," and that CCU will likely win its suit against the Obama administration.
"I conclude that there is a substantial likelihood that CCU can show that the ACA and the regulations constitute a substantial burden on the exercise of its religion," wrote Blackburn.
"Obversely, the government has not shown that this substantial burden is permissible under the [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] because the Mandate is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest."
Colorado Christian University is being represented by the Washington, D.C.-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is overseeing dozens of lawsuits against the HHS mandate.
In a statement, Becket Fund senior counsel Eric Baxter called Blackburn's decision "an important win for religious liberty."
"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," said Baxter.
In December 2011, Colorado Christian University filed suit against HHS over their mandate for businesses and institutions to provide contraceptives, including those believed to terminate en utero life.
An interdenominational academic institution, Colorado Christian University specifically took issue with the FDA-approved drugs like Plan B ("morning after pill") and Ella One ("week after pill").
Last year, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado dismissed their case, pending the completion of the HHS rules regarding religious exemptions from the mandate.
Last August, with the rules finalized earlier that summer, Colorado Christian University renewed its lawsuit against HHS over the mandate.
"The bureaucrats' proposed solution does not solve anything," said Baxter in a statement last August, adding that "CCU is still forced to participate in the government's scheme to provide free access to abortion-causing drugs and devices."
Judge Blackburn's injunction comes as the United States Supreme Court is expected to soon issue a decision in a lawsuit over the mandate filed by two family businesses, Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby and the Pennsylvania-based Conestoga Woods Specialties, whose lawsuits were combined into one. A decision is expected any day this week.