Two Texas universities launched a lawsuit Tuesday against the Health and Human Services’ contraception mandate, the Becket Fund announced.
East Texas Baptist University and Houston Baptist University joined a growing number of religious institutions objecting to Obamacare’s mandates, bringing the number of suits against the mandate up to 33.
The announcement says:
ETBU’s and HBU’s religious convictions prevent them from providing their employees with access to abortion-causing drugs. The Universities’ lawsuit aims to preserve their religious liberty and the right to carry out their missions free from government coercion.
Many of the suits have been launched by Catholic institutions, which oppose contraception of any kind. Protestants do not oppose all forms of contraception, but consider morning-after and week-after contraceptives to be abortion-inducing drugs, and thus contrary to their tenets.
The institutions appealed to their tradition of religious liberty in the statement:
“Baptists have always advocated religious liberty, and religious liberty is what is at stake in this situation,” says Dr. Samuel Oliver, President, East Texas Baptist University. “As the famous Baptist preacher, George W. Truett once remarked, ‘A Baptist would rise at midnight to plead for absolute religious liberty for his Catholic neighbor, and for his Jewish neighbor, and for everybody else.’ We are rising today to ensure that religious liberty, the first freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, is protected and preserved.”
According to the statement, the two institutions face stiff fines of over $10 million each, per year, if they do not comply with the HHS mandate.
It is not just religious nonprofits, like universities and charities, that have objected to the contraception mandate. The for-profit business Hobby Lobby launched a suit last month against the mandate.