- Associated Press - Thursday, April 3, 2014

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming Catholic College is temporarily exempt from providing contraceptive coverage in its employee health plans while it fights the mandate in court, according to officials with the college in Lander.

The college’s health insurance provider, Christian Brothers Services, is the same carrier that insures a group of Colorado nuns challenging the free birth control mandate in a federal appeals court in Denver.

The nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor, were granted temporary relief from complying with the mandate in December and again in February by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wyoming Catholic College President Kevin Roberts said the exemption for the nuns applies to his college as well because the health insurance provider in question is the same for both.

That means as long as the nuns’ case is unresolved, Wyoming Catholic College cannot face fines for not complying with the mandate, Jonathan Tonkowich, the college’s vice president of external affairs, told the Casper Star-Tribune (https://bit.ly/Ofd4zs).

In the meantime, the college has not been complying with the contraceptive mandate, which became effective Jan. 1.

“We have no intention of ever complying with (the mandate) because it goes against our faith,” Tonkowich said.

Wyoming Catholic College was one of several Catholic organizations in Wyoming that sued the Department of Health and Human Services and its head, Kathleen Sebelius, in January. The suit contends that the contraceptive mandate contradicts the groups’ religious teachings prohibiting contraceptives and infringes on their First Amendment religious freedoms.

The abortion and a contraception mandate in President Barack Obama’s health care law is under review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Under the law, contraception must be included in health plans’ preventive services for women.


Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, https://www.trib.com



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