A Christian college in eastern Pennsylvania has filed suit in federal court, fighting the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that it provide access to a third-party administrator, which could offer services including the “Plan B” morning-after pill to their employees, according to The Mercury News.
Valley Forge Christian College, located in Phoenixville, filed the suit stating that it objected to being compelled to participate, “indirectly with, or transferring any legal or moral authority by which a third party might enable the provision of such services to the employees of Valley Forge Christian College.”
The college’s objection stems from the “accommodation” provision of the ACA, which allows non-profits to opt out of providing contraceptives by employing a third-party administrator or insurer.
According to the lawsuit, “Valley Forge Christian College has no objection to providing coverage for contraceptive drugs which truly — and only — prevent conception and do not interfere with the continued survival of a human embryo.”
At issue for the small college affiliated with the conservative Assemblies of God, is what it considers “abortion-related drugs and procedures,” including Plan B.
The claims are similar to ones made in the recent Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision, where the plaintiffs called Plan B an “abortion-causing drug.”
Critics have pointed out that Plan B is not an abortifacient, citing the FDA’s description: “Plan B One-Step will not stop a pregnancy when a woman is already pregnant and there is no medical evidence that the product will harm a developing fetus.”
With the lawsuit, Valley Forge is using the same argument used in Hobby Lobby: their belief that the drug is used for abortions.
Should Valley Forge fail to provide access to a third party administrator it would face fines of $100 per day per beneficiary under provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
“In its recent ‘Hobby Lobby’ decision, the Supreme Court of the United States made clear that citizens cannot be forced to choose between violating their faith and being punished by the government for following their faith,” explained Jeff Mateer, general counsel for Liberty Institute, which filed the suit along with a local law firm.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, named in the suit, referred all questions to the U.S. Department of Justice, which has yet to respond to the Friday filing.