For Immediate Release: June 20th, 2014
Media Contact: Emily Hardman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.349.7224
Washington D.C. – Colorado Christian University (CCU) scored a victory for religious liberty today when a federal judge in Denver ruled that the Christian-based institution does not have to facilitate access for its employees and students to potentially life-terminating drugs.
“This is an important win for religious liberty,” said Eric Baxter, Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who represents CCU in this case. “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.”
In a carefully reasoned opinion, the court ruled that the Health and Human Services Mandate, which would have forced CCU to include drugs like Plan B (the “morning after” pill) and ella (the “week after” pill) in its health care plan, infringes the University’s freedom of religion. The court noted that “[i]f CCU refused to provide health insurance coverage for its employees,” or “did not include the coverages required by the Mandate, CCU would be subject to significant – if not ruinous – financial penalties.” The court then concluded that this pressure on CCU to violate its religious beliefs violates 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.”
Before the Court issued its order, CCU faced millions of dollars in annual fines beginning July 1 for refusing to include the objectionable drugs in its healthcare plan.
For almost a century, Colorado Christian University has offered an education that develops students intellectually, professionally, and spiritually. Faith is central to the CCU’s educational mission, which is to cultivate knowledge and love of God in a Christ-centered community, with an enduring commitment to spiritual formation and engagement with the world. Based near Denver with satellite campuses around Colorado, the University has 5,500 undergraduate and graduate students.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions. The Becket Fund has a 19-year history of defending religious liberty for people of all faiths. Its attorneys are recognized as experts in the field of church-state law. They recently won a 9-0 victory against the federal government at the U.S. Supreme Court in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC.