Dordt College, located in Sioux Center, Iowa, has been granted an injunction that will allow it to continue with its current health care policies until a court ruling is obtained regarding the U.S. government’s Affordable Care Act mandate.
College president Dr. Erik Hoekstra explained that the mandate requires all organizations with more than 150 employees to include certain prescription drugs in their health plans, several of which some Christian organizations object to. “While the government has allowed churches an exemption from this mandate, Christian colleges were not part of this exemption,” he said. The college contends that it is a religious institution and would like to be viewed in that way. "We believe that religious institutions such as Dordt College should have the right to refuse coverage that runs counter to their religious convictions. While our health-care plan does cover birth control our board was concerned that the mandate also required coverage of ‘morning after’ and ‘week after’ pills that have a potential to work as abortifacients.”
In October 2013, the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Health and Human Services on behalf of the college and in May the injunction was granted.
Hoekstra hopes that the steps taken will effectively communicate what Dordt stands for and how those beliefs are central to its identity. “We hope that our objection to this mandate communicates that what we believe is central to who we are and what we do,” he said. “We are a religious educational institution with a mission to equip students, alumni, and the broader community to work effectively for Christ-centered renewal in all areas of life. Further, we hope the government will see that religious convictions and obedience to God’s norms for human life extend beyond the door of the church into every area of life.”