According to the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Court upheld a district court’s 2014 decision to halt enforcement of the Obama administration’s HHS mandate against Dordt College, as well as Cornerstone University in Michigan.
In its opinion in Dordt College v. Burwell, the 8th Circuit wrote, “…we conclude that by coercing Dordt and Cornerstone to participate in the contraceptive mandate and accommodation process under threat of severe monetary penalty, the government has substantially burdened Dordt and Cornerstone’s exercise of religion” and “that, even assuming that the government’s interests in safeguarding public health and ensuring equal access to health care for women are compelling, the contraceptive mandate and accommodation process likely are not the least restrictive means of furthering those interests.”
The Department of Health and Human Services mandate would have forced the colleges, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide access, through their health insurance plans, to pills and procedures that many Christians oppose.
In May of last year, a federal district court suspended enforcement of the mandate against the two schools. The administration appealed that decision to the 8th Circuit, which ruled in favor of Dordt College and Cornerstone University in Thursday’s decision.