Christian college from Chester County sues over birth control mandate
A Chester County Christian college is suing the Obama Administration over demands that it offer health insurance that covers birth control.
In the so-called Hobby Lobby case the U.S. Supreme Court decided that for-profit businesses can refuse — on religious grounds — to pay for certain types of contraception.
Valley Forge Christian College, a nonprofit school in Phoenixville, wants the same exemption.
"We are not interested in frivolous controversy with the federal government," said college president Don Meyer.
He said paying for some birth control options would violate the school's religious beliefs.
"There are four — that according to the packaging — the FDA considers them to prohibit implantation of a fertilized egg," Meyer said.
Valley Forge has about 100 workers and is affiliated with the Assemblies of God church — a protestant denomination that Meyer said is "evangelical" and "charismatic."
The Liberty Institute from Texas filed the lawsuit on behalf of Valley Forge Christian College.
Attorney Jeff Mateer said some of the drugs and devices on the government's health coverage list including Plan B some intrauterine devices "have the potential to terminate human life."
Mateer said the government's current rules giving exemptions to some institutions are too narrow and wrongly define some ministries as not "religious enough."
"The administration had drawn a line that says that some religious entities are exempt — churches, seminaries — but maybe you are not as religious, in the view of the administration, then you don't get the exemption," Mateer said.
Valley Forge College is set to renew its health insurance plan in October of this year.
If the school does not comply with the current Affordable Care Act rules, Valley Forge could face fines of $100 per day per employee.
Supporters for the religious exemptions say they don't prevent women from buying any birth control they want — using their own money.
Debasri Ghosh, director of Education and Communications for the Philadelphia group Women's Way, says all people are deserving of health care, and that's just begun to be codified in the Affordable Care Act
"To have that kind of stripped away and turned back on the health care consumer, to say: 'Well if want certain kinds of health care you should buy it but these other kinds of health care are covered by your employer,' It's just contradictory and pretty hypocritical."