Wheaton College joined a suit in July filed by the Catholic University of America in D.C. federal court to protect themselves from the HHS mandate that goes into effect today, August 1. Today the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing Wheaton, filed for a preliminary injunction on the Evangelical college’s behalf.
We saw the first injunction granted by a Carter-appointed federal judge on Friday for the Newland family, who own a HVAC company in Denver. The Newlands are Catholic and have never covered and can’t in good conscience cover abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization for their employees. The Newlands needed the injunction quickly because their health-insurance plan-year begins in November. Wheaton, likewise, is asking today for a decision by September 30, a month before open enrollment starts for its 2013 insurance plans.
I interviewed the president of Wheaton College about the lawsuit the school filed here.
“Remember August 1, 2012. Today begins a violation of American conscience like we have never seen before in our country, and Wheaton College personifies it,” Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund, says in a statement about the injunction filing. “Everyone knows Wheaton is a school that lives out its faith. But today our government is telling Wheaton it is not ‘religious enough’ to have a conscience, and so can be forced to participate in abortions or face heavy fines. Wheaton’s only recourse is to ask the federal courts for emergency relief.”
Duncan adds: “Wheaton has always provided generous employee benefits, but now the government is forcing it to choose between caring for its employees and honoring its faith. The government should never be able to put anyone in that position.”