Birth control requirement for Biola postponed

Birth control requirement for Biola postponed by district judge.

Katie Nelson, Writer

United States district courts granted Biola, along with several other religiously-affiliated schools, a temporary reprieve on enforcing the contraception requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This means students and staff receiving healthcare from Biola will not see birth control options the university considers to be abortifacients — such as the morning-after pill — included in their coverage.

The decision was released Friday, four days before the law officially went into effect on January 1, 2014, according to an article by The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Also impacted by the reprieve is Grace College and Theological Seminary, which co-sued the federal government alongside Biola on Aug. 23, 2012, as previously reported by the Chimes. In addition, several Catholic institutions were allowed the same exception. The extension is implemented until the courts can make a final ruling in the lawsuit, according to The Journal Gazette.

Biola released a statement in a press release on Dec. 27 in response to the decision becoming public.

“This case is about whether the government can force Biola University — under penalty of severe fines — to violate its deeply held religious convictions about the sanctity of human life. Biola applauds the court for taking this initial step as the university seeks to protect its constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom,” the statement read.

This most recent step comes nearly one year after the Department of Health and Human Services offered a compromise on the birth control mandate to religious organizations that feel the requirement runs counter to their beliefs about abortion. Under the new law, employees and students covered by their institution’s healthcare plan will have several contraception options — such as diaphragms and intrauterine devices — covered by their monthly premiums.

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