College sues U.S. gov’t over contraception mandate

November 21, 2011

Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C., is suing the U.S. federal government over a new regulation that requires employer health insurance plans to provide free coverage of contraceptives and sterilization, even if it may be contrary to their religious beliefs.

In its lawsuit, Belmont Abbey College argues that the contraception regulation forces it to violate its religious beliefs or pay a severe fine.

“A monk at Belmont Abbey may preach on Sunday that pre-marital sex, contraception and abortions are immoral, but on Monday, the government would force the same monk to pay for students to receive the very drugs and procedures he denounces,” said Hannah Smith, senior legal counsel at the Becket Fund, in a statement issued Nov. 10.

The new contraception mandate is part of implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, which sets up new preventive health care coverage specifically for women at no cost.