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Four Christian universities in Oklahoma challenge federal contraceptive coverage requirement

Four Christian universities in Oklahoma are suing the Obama administration, claiming a federal mandate that requires employee insurance plans to cover contraceptives violates their religious freedom.
by Silas Allen Modified: September 24, 2013 at 4:00 pm •  Published: September 23, 2013
/articleid/3885942/1/pictures/2220010">Photo - OBU: Raley Chapel on campus of Oklahoma Baptist University  Monday, September 17, 2007.  .   By Jim Beckel,  The Oklahoman.  ORG XMIT: KOD
OBU: Raley Chapel on campus of Oklahoma Baptist University Monday, September 17, 2007. . By Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. ORG XMIT: KOD

Alliance Defending Freedom is representing parties in 13 other cases involving the Affordable Care Act. In one of those cases, Geneva College, a Christian school in western Pennsylvania, received a temporary injunction against the requirements.

“The track record so far is pretty good,” Baylor said.

In a statement, OBU President David Whitlock said the university could face fines of millions of dollars per year if it chose not to comply with the Department of Health and Human Services mandate.

"We did not enter into this action lightly, but believe the federal government has given us no alternative,” Whitlock said. "The HHS mandate requires every employer, including Christian educational institutions like OBU, to provide insurance coverage for items we believe violate our religious beliefs.”

The universities aren't the only Oklahoma institutions challenging the mandate. Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. filed a similar lawsuit last year. At the time, David Green, the company's founder and CEO, said the new mandate forced his family to choose between following federal law and maintaining their religious convictions.

Earlier this year, the company won a preliminary injunction that allowed the company to avoid paying millions of dollars in fines for refusing to cover the cost of some contraceptives for its employees.

by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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