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Supreme Court Sides With Christian College in Contraception Dispute

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Wheaton College, at least for now, does not have to fill out a federal form that the Illinois college says violates its religious beliefs, the Associated Press and The New York Times report.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration’s health-care overhaul, faith-based nonprofit organizations are allowed to fill out a form that transfers the cost of contraceptive insurance coverage to a separate policy, thereby costing them nothing.

Wheaton, a Christian college, and other religious institutions have sued over the form requirement, saying it forces them to take part in a system that violates their religious beliefs. The cases have not been resolved.

In a decision on Monday, the Supreme Court said some corporations cannot be required to provide contraceptives in their insurance coverage for employees, a ruling that appeared to indicate the justices believe the form requirement for nonprofit groups was acceptable.

Thursday’s decision contradicted that perception, three justices wrote in a dissent. “Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they can take us at our word,” wrote Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor. “Not so today.”

The court ruled that Wheaton may, instead of submitting the form, write to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and object to emergency contraception as a religious nonprofit organization.

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