Geneva College challenges rule that requires insurance companies to provide contraception

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 9:29am

Pennsylvania's Geneva College has filed a lawsuit Tuesday over government mandated birth control coverage.

'It's about the government requiring us and other religious organizations to provide services against which we have a religion based moral conviction,' explained Geneva president Ken Smith.

The federal lawsuit is the first of its kind against the Obama administration's contraception plan.

Smith says they want insurance, but not if it covers things they don't believe in.

'I'm really proud of that. I think that it shows strong beliefs, strong convictions- we practice what we preach.... and I couldn't be more proud of my college today,' said student Micah Jarger.

President Obama recently modified the government mandate, shifting the burden to insurance companies.

The Alliance Defense Fund filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh on behalf of Geneva College.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

An HHS spokeswoman tells the Associated Press the department doesn't comment on litigation and referred them to a 23 page agency document that states reasons for the regulations.

The document states: 'The Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion is not violated by a law that is not specifically targeted at religiously motivated conduct and that applies equally to conduct without regard to whether it is religiously motivated -- a so-called neutral law of general applicability.'

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