Supreme Court allows for evangelical challenge to federal birth control mandate
The U.S. Supreme Court allowed an evangelical college on Monday to move forward with a lawsuit challenging two provisions in the Affordable Care Act.
According to CNN, the court’s ruling means the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals must revisit a suit by Liberty University in which the university said the health care mandate violates religious freedoms by allowing tax money to be used to fund birth control and abortions.
However, the ACA — more commonly known as “Obamacare” — does not actually require anyone to pay for abortion coverage if they do not want it. The Hyde Amendment also prevents federal funds from being used for abortions.
The school, founded by evangelist Jerry Falwell, argued that religious objections are sufficient grounds for not following the ACA’s requirements that U.S. residents purchase health care by 2014 to avoid financial penalties, and that employers are responsible for providing care if they have more than 50 people on the payroll.
Earlier this year, the court upheld the individual mandate in the law, but held the door open for individual challenges like Liberty’s.
“The Fourth Circuit had not ruled on either of those claims, because it ruled that Liberty was barred by the Federal Anti-Injunction Act from suing to stop those mandates,” Lyle Denniston wrote in SCOTUS Blog Monday. “That is one of the issues the Circuit Court will have to reconsider when the case is returned there.”
[Image via Agence France-Presse]