Wheaton College sues over HHS preventative services mandate

Wheaton joins Catholic University of America and other colleges that say the preventative services mandate under the Affordable Care Act forces them to violate their religious beliefs

July 18, 2012

Wheaton College announced Wednesday that they have joined other religious universities in suing the Department of Health and Human Services over health care regulations. 

President Barack Obama's health care law, the Affordable Care Act, includes a preventative care mandate that requires employers to cover services like contraception for their female employees. Wheaton College President Philip Ryken said the law violates their beliefs. 

"We should not be coerced to provide these services," Ryken said on a conference call Wednesday.

Ryken said the mandate forces them to provide emergency contraception, like the morning-after pill, which is against their beliefs. Most Evangelicals do support the use of contraceptives, which separates them from most of the other Roman Catholic colleges who have also filed lawsuits. 

President Barack Obama announced last February that his administration would be amending the policy to allow religious institutions a one-year grace period from any fines associated with the mandate.

According to Ryken, that won't be enough. 

"It does not address the fundamental issues at all. It only in effect says we’ll give you a year to change your religious convictions or get over your religious convictions, and then this will be enforced," Ryken said. 

The Department of Health and Human Services declined to comment on the pending litigation.