Jun 23, 2014 02:08 AM EDT
Contraceptives Will Not Be Sold At CCU: Federal Judge
Colorado State University does not have to provide castration and contraceptive services to its employees and students after winning a case that had put their religious conscience in jeopardy.
Judge Robert E. Blackburn said that the Department of Health and Human Services conception mandate requires the University to include drugs like Plan B (the "morning after" pill) and ella (the "week after" pill) in its health care plan, which violates the school's freedom of religion.
Failure to comply with the coverage would have resulted in huge financial penalties for the University, Town Hall reports. The federal judge in Denver said that this pressure would infringe the University's religious beliefs and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
"We're extremely grateful for the District Court's affirmation of our religious freedom," said William Armstrong, President of CCU. "Teaching sanctity of life from the moment of conception is an important part of the University's mission and a core value shared by its employees and students."
Explaining how offering contraceptives will infringe their religious freedom, CCU said that the coverage involves the administration of drugs, devices, procedures, education and counselling. These services "may destroy human life after fertilization of the egg of a mother and either before or after the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus of its mother."
The University officials claim that any such involvement would put a burden on free exercise of its religious beliefs and breach its rights under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) 3.
Eric Baxter, an attorney representing the college, said that the verdict now upholds the importance of religious liberty.
"A university like CCU, whose employees and students share its religious convictions concerning the sanctity of life, should not be forced against its beliefs to distribute drugs that it deems to be morally wrong," Baxter said, Denver Post reports.
If the judge had not made the decision in their favour, the school would have had to pay millions of dollars annually in fines starting July 1 for declining to abide by the mandate. The University can now retain its money as well as its religious integrity.
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