WASHINGTON A three-judge U.S. District Court panel has sided with Belmont Abbey College in its case against the Obama administration over the requirement in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that employers must provide free contraceptives in employee insurance plans.
In a decision announced Tuesday, the judges ordered administration officials to rewrite the law, so it will not force religious institutions to offer contraceptives.
Belmont Abbey College, a Roman Catholic institution in Gaston County, had sued the Obama administration over the health care mandate. College officials said it would require the school to act in a manner contradictory to church teachings.
In the decision, the judges noted that attorneys from the Department of Health and Human Services said the Obama administration would not require religious institutions to comply with the mandate and said the government would develop “a different rule” for employers such as Belmont Abbey.
The judges said they will hold the government “at its word” to make such a change in the law. The court did not overturn the requirement that free contraceptives be provided in health insurance plans, but it ordered the administration to provide exemptions for religious organizations.
The government has until March 31 to rewrite the law, judges said.
As per the article, Belmont Abbey College President William Thierfelder was quoted in a statement as saying that, for the college, “Christmas came early this year.” Indeed.