Wheaton College has appealed a federal judge's decision to dismiss its lawsuit against the Obama administration for requiring the evangelical Christian college to offer health insurance that covers the cost of contraception, including the morning-after pill, for employees.
The judge's ruling, which called the lawsuit premature, came just two weeks after the west suburban college was granted an additional year to comply with the mandate. Previously, Wheaton did not qualify for a one-year "safe harbor" from the mandate because it covered emergency contraceptive drugs in its insurance plans after the Feb. 1 cutoff date. The government altered its guidelines last month, giving Wheaton an additional year to meet the requirement.
But lawyers for the college argue that the government has only granted Wheaton a temporary reprieve without addressing the concern that the mandate violates the college's religious beliefs. The mandate would require Wheaton to provide health insurance to employees that would cover the cost of drugs that they believe cause abortions.
"We're appealing because we continue to believe that our case should be considered on its merits," Wheaton College President Philip Ryken said in a statement. "While we are pleased that our lawsuit has compelled the government to delay enforcement, waiting another year will not change the fact that the mandate violates our religious liberty and puts our ability to offer our employees health insurance at risk."
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