Baptist universities weigh next step on HHS mandate

NEW ORLEANS (BP) — Houston Baptist University (HBU) and East Texas Baptist University (ETBU) in Marshall, Texas, are among seven faith-based institutions weighing their options in challenging the Obamacare mandate to provide insurance coverage encompassing abortion-inducing drugs.

HBU, ETBU and the other institutions in conjunction with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty are weighing an appeal to the full U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans or to the Supreme Court following a ruling by a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court that the mandate did not and, likely, would not “substantially burden their religious exercise.”

Two other Baptist entities — GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention and Truett-McConnell College in Georgia — are involved in a separate challenge (GuideStone v. Sebelius), joined by Reaching Souls International, an Oklahoma-based missions organization. A federal district judge’s injunction blocking enforcement of the mandate against the three plaintiffs is in force.

In all, 56 cases involving 140 nonprofit plaintiffs have been filed against the mandate, according to the Becket Fund.

Also in June, the Affordable Care Act prevailed a second time at the Supreme Court after its landmark 5–4 win three years ago. On June 25 in a 6–3 ruling, the court affirmed tax subsidies for insurance purchased in 34 states where the federal government operates healthcare exchanges under Obamacare.

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About thealabamabaptist

State Baptist newspaper serving Baptists in Alabama, providing information, inspiration and interpretation as well as challenging readers to serve and find opportunities for ministry that further the kingdom of God.
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