Contraception mandate violates religious liberty, Oklahoma Christian University administrator tells House panel
Allison Garrett, Oklahoma Christian University’s senior vice president for academic affairs, defended faith-based universities’ religious liberty in testimony before a House panel last week.
Garrett told the committee that Oklahoma Christian, which is associated with Churches of Christ, believes strongly in its right to practice its faith without government interference.
“Covering abortion-causing drugs is objectionable to many employers and plan participants,” Garrett said (full text of her prepared remarks). “We have no concerns about allowing our plan to cover contraception. Rather, our concerns deal with the coverage of abortion-inducing drugs.”
She also said: “While our views differ from those of our Catholic friends regarding what our plans should cover, our views are exactly the same on whether the government should be able to require individuals or institutions to violate their religious beliefs.”
The Oklahoman’s Washington Bureau reported on Garrett’s appearance:
WASHINGTON — Oklahoma Christian University would have to violate its religious dictates and provide emergency contraceptives under a federal rule requiring most health plans to cover contraception, an administrator from the school told a House committee on Thursday.
Allison Dabbs Garrett, Oklahoma Christian’s vice president for academic affairs, said the Obama administration had offered no practical way for religion-based universities to avoid the coming mandate, even though reasonable alternatives exist.
“We respectfully ask that you not force institutions like Oklahoma Christian to choose between following our sincerely held religious beliefs or violating federal law,” Garrett told the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Garrett was one of several witnesses at the hearing to complain that the mandate on contraceptive coverage violated the religious liberty of faith-based institutions like hospitals and universities. The hearing offered no opposing views, and Democrats claimed it was a sham aimed at scoring political points against President Barack Obama.
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See other media coverage of Garrett’s testimony.
Find a link to Oklahoma Christian’s news release.