Belmont Abbey College v. HHS

Belmont Abbey is a picturesque college that my be seen off of Hwy 85 South in the mountains of North Carolina my adopted state. They are doing what larger Universities like Notre Dame does not. They are standing up for the Faith.

Belmont Abbey College, a Benedictine college in western North Carolina, has sued the federal government in an effort to prevent the implementation of a mandate requiring private health insurance plans to cover contraception and sterilization.

“A monk at Belmont Abbey may preach on Sunday that pre-marital sex, contraception, and abortions are immoral, but on Monday, the government would force the same monk to pay for students to receive the very drugs and procedures he denounces,” said Hannah Smith, senior legal counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “This is much worse than an unfunded mandate; it is a monk-funded mandate.”

According to the Becket Fund, Belmont Abbey College will face a $140,000 fine if it chooses to drop health insurance coverage for its employees.

Media presentation:

 Belmont Abbey is a small Catholic liberal arts college located in Belmont, North Carolina. Founded in 1876 by Benedictine monks, Belmont Abbey’s mission is to “educate students in the liberal arts and sciences so that in all things God may be glorified.”

 As a Catholic college, Belmont Abbey teaches that contraception, sterilization, and abortion are against God’s law.

 On August 1, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a regulation requiring that group health plans include “[a]ll Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.” FDA-approved contraceptives include a number of drugs Belmont Abbey, and many scientists, consider to be abortifacients—most notably Plan B and Ella.

 Belmont Abbey believes it will not be excluded from the requirements of the government mandate under the religious employer exemption. The exemption is extremely narrow, covering only certain religious employers whose purpose is to inculcate religious values and which employ and serve those of their same faith. As a result, many religious colleges and universities, social service organizations, and hospitals will not qualify for the exemption.

 Because of the government mandate, Belmont Abbey is forced to provide free contraception, sterilization, abortifacients, and related education and counseling against its Church’s teachings, or pay a substantial fine and terminate its health insurance for employees and students.

 The Becket Fund filed suit on behalf of Belmont Abbey College on November 10, 2011, to protect Belmont Abbey’s First Amendment and federal statutory rights to be free from this government-imposed substantial burden on its religious freedom.

Quotes attributable to Becket Fund attorney, Hannah Smith, Senior Legal Counsel, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty:

“A monk at Belmont Abbey may preach on Sunday that pre-marital sex, contraception, and abortions are immoral, but on Monday, the government forces him to pay for students to receive the very drugs and procedures he denounced.”

 “The Government refuses to give the same accommodations to groups exercising their fundamental First Amendment freedoms as they do to corporations such as McDonald’s and teachers’ unions.”

Belmont Abbey College v.Department of Health and Human Services

 “No employer, particularly in this economy, should be forced to make the choice between violating their deeply held religious beliefs or paying a heavy fine and terminating their health insurance plans for employees.”

 “The mandate, which forces Belmont Abbey College to fund government-dictated speech that is directly at odds with its religious teachings, is un-American, unprecedented, and flagrantly unconstitutional.”

 “Freedom of conscience is a ‘first freedom.’ If government can demand that private organizations abandon their conscientious objections as a condition of serving their employees or the public, what can’t government do?”

A demonstrator in 2009, hold her placard, simplifying the truth for Pro-abortion Katholyks


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