WASHINGTON (BP) – Southern Baptist-affiliated institutions are maintaining their stand against the Obama administration’s abortion/contraception mandate while they continue to wait for a satisfactory legal resolution.
GuideStone Financial Resources and four Baptist universities – East Texas Baptist, Houston Baptist, Oklahoma Baptist and Truett McConnell – are among 92 nonprofit religious organizations awaiting what they hope will be an agreement with the federal government that protects their freedom of conscience.
As they have for years, the Southern Baptist-affiliated institutions object to a rule implementing the 2010 health-care law that requires employers to provide their workers with coverage for contraceptives with mechanisms that can potentially induce abortions. They filed suit in opposition to what they consider to be the administration’s unsatisfactory accommodation of that objection.
The U.S. Supreme Court gave hope to the religious objectors in mid-May when it nullified multiple, unfavorable federal appeals court decisions and blocked the administration from imposing fines on the institutions. The justices told the appeals courts involved to give the parties an opportunity to reach a solution “that accommodates petitioners’ religious exercise while at the same time ensuring that women covered by petitioners’ health plans receive full and equal health coverage, including contraceptive coverage.”
Initial discussions have occurred between the administration and the religious objectors, but there are no developments to report, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which represents Oklahoma Baptist University and other institutions.