Wheaton College was the first prominent evangelical school to join the conservative Catholic crusade against the Obamacare provision that requires employer-based insurers to cover birth control without co-pays. Despite the fact that Wheaton’s student health plan already covered contraception before the health care reform became law, the conservative college claimed the birth control requirement violated their religious liberty.
However, Wheaton’s case against Obamacare is entirely without merit. Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle threw out Wheaton’s case, citing the college’s lack of sufficient evidence that it had actually suffered religious discrimination under Obamacare — especially since the health care reform does not fully go into effect until 2013. This marks the third religious lawsuit against Obamacare that has been dismissed on these grounds.
“Wheaton only tilts at windmills when it protests that it will not be satisfied with whatever amendments defendants ultimately make,” Huvelle wrote, pointing out that Obamacare already provides an exemption for religious institutions that object to covering birth control.
Ultimately, the growing number of conservative Catholic and evangelical universities filing suit against Obamacare are all tilting at these windmills. Just like Wheaton, many large Catholic institutions like Georgetown University provided contraception coverage before Obamacare required them to do so, and are only now concerned about the implications of being compelled to provide birth control to their students or employees. Furthermore, the religious institutions objecting to birth control are in an increasingly small minority, even among people of faith. The majority of Catholics are not actually morally opposed to contraception.