Colorado Christian University v. Sebelius (2011)

Colorado Christian University is the first interdenominational Christian college to challenge in federal court a new Obamacare mandate that requires private employers to pay for abortifacients in their group health plans.  Colorado Christian joined the monks at Belmont Abbey College pushing back against government intrusion into personal religious convictions that is unprecedented in the health care realm.  The Becket Fund represents both colleges in their separate lawsuits.

The Health and Human Services regulation mandates that all group health insurance plans must provide FDA-approved contraceptives at no charge to consumers, including the abortifacients Plan B (morning-after pill) and ella (week-after pill), and sterilization services.

Many Evangelical Christians do not share Catholics’ objection to contraception and sterilization, but most—including Colorado Christian—strongly oppose abortion, including abortifacient drugs.

For almost a century, Colorado Christian University has offered an education that develops students intellectually, professionally, and spiritually.  Faith is central to the educational mission of Colorado Christian, which is to cultivate knowledge and love of God in a Christ-centered community, with an enduring commitment to spiritual formation, and engagement with the world.  Based near Denver with satellite campuses around Colorado, the college is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and has 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students.

Colorado Christian’s lawsuit was filed on December 21, 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.  The lawsuit challenges the HHS regulations as violations of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedures Act.


For more information, or to arrange an interview with one of the attorneys, please contact Emily Hardman, Communications Director, at or call 202.349.7224.


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August, 2011 – Federal government issues a regulation requiring that all group health plans must cover “[FDA-]approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.” The mandate, a provision of the “Affordable Care Act,” (aka “Obamacare”) would take effect August 1, 2012.

December 21, 2011 – The Becket Fund files a suit against the federal government on behalf of Colorado Christian University over the Affordable Care Act,” that forces the College to violate its deeply-held religious beliefs or pay a severe fine.

January 20, 2012 – The Obama administration refuses to change the controversial rule that requires religious institutions to pay for contraceptive drugs. Instead, the administration merely delayed the effective date of the rule by one year.

US evangelical college seizes contraception fight with gusto, Reuters (February 24, 2012)

Obama’s contraception compromise rings hollow, Vincent Carroll, The Denver Post (February 15, 2012)

Another School Taking Stand For Religious Liberty, Bob Kellogg, OneNewsNow (January 3, 2012)

RADIO: Two-parts: Colorado Christian University Stands With Monks in Fight Against Unconstitutional Government Mandate, Whats Up Radio (December 29, 2011)

Christian, Jewish Groups Seek Exemption From Contraceptives Mandate, Bruce Walker, The New American (December 28, 2011)

Evangelicals ratchet up pressure on President Obama to expand the healthcare law’s conscience clause, Emily Belz, World Magazine (December 26, 2011)

RADIO: Radio Interview with Hannah Smith, Steve Coleman, AP (December 23, 2011)

HHS Mandate No Longer Just a Catholic Fight, Patrick J. Reilly, First Things (December 23, 2011)

Evangelical, Jewish leaders unite against Obama birth control mandate, Kathleen Gilbert,  Life Site News (December 23, 2011)

Christian College Sues Over Health Care Mandate To Cover Contraceptives and Sterilization, Religion Clause (December 23, 2011)

Christian College Sues Over Abortion Pill Mandate, Paige Winfield Cunningham, Washington Times (December 22, 2011)

Christian school sues administration over healthcare contraception mandate, Julian Pecquet, The Hill (December 22, 2011)

Colorado Christian University Files Lawsuit Over Obamacare, Brittany Smith, Christian Post (December 22, 2011)

“The happy warriors for religious liberty“, Rick Garnett, Mirror of Justice (December 22, 2011)




1-3-2012, Colorado Christian University Takes Federal Government To Court, CBS News Denver (linked on Drudge Report)