A federal district court enjoined the application of the HHS contraceptive mandate to the Houston Baptist University yesterday. I spoke to a reporter about the case from the Chronicle. Here are my comments:
The Obama administration exempted churches from the mandate, but not affiliated organizations like religious schools and hospitals.
Josh Blackman, an assistant professor at South Texas College of Law, wasn’t surprised that Rosenthal’s decision came down in favor of HBU and East Texas Baptist University in Marshall.
“The issue is, these are Christian universities and their faith is very integral to their mission,” Blackman said.
The legal scholar said he is certain the Obama administration will appeal Rosenthal’s decision but doubts an appellate court would overturn the injunction against enforcing the mandate.
“They’ll just maintain the status quo,” he said.
In early 2014, the Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in a similar case involving the Hobby Lobby craft store chain, whose owners contend that forcing them to provide contraceptive services violates their religious beliefs, as well.
A decision in that case could settle the matter altogether, experts said.
“If Hobby Lobby wins and they win everything, then it becomes easier for a church or a religious hospital to make this argument,” Blackman said.