Justices rule for college in contraception fight

The Supreme Court said Thursday that an evangelical college in Illinois will not have to fill out a form that would enable third parties to pay for birth control coverage under the healthcare law. 

In a split vote, the court offered injunctive relief to Wheaton College while its case is pending, and said that instead of filling out the form, it could declare itself a religious nonprofit organization to the Department of Health and Human Services. 

ADVERTISEMENT
“To meet the condition for injunction pending appeal, the applicant need not use the form prescribed by the government, EBSA Form 700, and need not send copies to health insurance issuers or third-party administrators,” a majority of the justices wrote in the order.  

Liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented and said they would have denied the college’s request.

Wheaton said filling out the reform to allow third-parties to pay for the contraception coverage would have violated its constitutional rights.

The decision comes days after the Supreme Court ruled ObamaCare's mandate that employers include contraception coverage in their health plans violated federal law. 

On Wednesday, the Justice Department wrote to the justices urging that it require Wheaton to fill out the form.  It argued that under this week's earlier ruling on the mandate, the Hobby Lobby v. Burwell case, Wheaton College falls under the “accommodation” category.

The category would enable people employed by groups that oppose the contraception mandate to receive coverage through a third-party insurer.

The order on Thursday made it clear that it wouldn’t prevent employees at the college from receiving free birth control. 

“Nothing in this interim order affects the ability of the applicant’s employees and students to obtain, without cost, the full range of FDA approved contraceptives,” the justices said.