College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis said the College has filed a brief in the United States Supreme Court urging the court to find that the contraceptive mandate included in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations imposes a substantial burden on the college’s religious beliefs.
“The mandate effectively requires the college to pay for abortifacient drugs under its health plan in violation of its sincere religious beliefs or face draconian fines,” Davis said. “This sort of bullying by our own government has no place in a country that respects religious liberty. One might expect such an approach in North Korea but certainly not in the United States.
“The government has never questioned the college’s sincerity of beliefs. If the government thinks such an HHS provision is such a compelling need, there are other ways to accomplish its goal without forcing religious organizations to be complicit. So far, the so-called ‘accommodations’ by HHS are tantamount to fantasy logic if not outright deceit.
“The real issue here is religious liberty. If we lose this, we’ve lost what the founders envisioned. The college strongly supports the objections of Little Sisters of the Poor and others in challenging what it feels is the government’s attempt to force submission to acts we consider to be morally reprehensible. Our brief asks the court to reverse the judgments of the Court of Appeals.”
College of the Ozarks, located in Point Lookout, Missouri (near Branson), filed suit in federal court in early 2015. Its case is being held in abeyance pending action by the Supreme Court. A ruling is expected this summer.