ETBU Challenging Obamacare at the Supreme Court
ETBU has joined with Houston Baptist University and Westminster Theological Seminary
in front of the country's highest court in an effort to reverse a decision that requires them to provide contraceptive coverage in employee health benefits under the Affordable Care Act. The plaintiffs claim it violates the protection of religious freedom.
"It's unfair, unjust and we are not being treated equitably. We as an institution hold to God's truth, and we are free, under the constitution, to follow our beliefs," said ETBU President Blair Blackburn.
The group also objected to an alternative that would allow them to opt out by shifting the cost of the coverage to insurance companies and the government.
Blackburn told the Longview News Journal in February, "We are still responsible through a third party, which makes us complicit in providing abortifacients. That is an undue burden, and we shouldn't have to be complicit in providing what amounts to abortion related medicines. We provide these services through our third-party insurance, and we
subsidize the costs for our employees, which is a conflict for us and our beliefs as a
With the seat formerly occupied by the late Antonin Scalia, the court is on the verge of a 4-4 tie with their decision.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy has questioned whether the alternative is making groups "complicit in a moral wrong" forcing this part of Obamacare. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said the government's approach was "an unprecedented threat to religious liberty in this country."
This is the fourth instance the Affordable Care Act has come under fire for this mandate. In 2014, Burwell v Hobby Lobby Stores said that requiring a family owned business to pay for contraception coverage violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act
Another alternative to the mandate is that the government offers non profit groups,
schools or hospitals with religious ties to be able to avoid fines if they let insurance companies and the government that seek exemption from the coverage.
Many religious groups have rejected the accommodation because it violates their faith
and by following their faith, would subject them to fines in the tens of millions of dollars if they don't follow the Affordable Care Act.
The Supreme Court is considering the objections under the Religious Freedom
Restoration Act stating if the government places a burden on religious practices,
then the law is subject to judicial scrutiny.