Geneva College v. Azar
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Description: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration on behalf of Geneva College and the Seneca Hardwood Lumber Co. The lawsuit challenges the administration’s mandate that religious employers provide abortifacients (along with sterilization and contraception) at no cost to employees regardless of religious or moral objections.
Court orders end to abortion-pill mandate for Pennsylvania Christian college
Attorney sound bite: Gregory S. Baylor
The Obama-era mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception through their health plans under threat of heavy penalties. The Department of Justice, under the Trump administration, abandoned its defense of the flawed mandate, which the Department of Health and Human Services implemented during the previous administration.
“Religious organizations have the freedom to operate peacefully according to their beliefs without the threat of punishment by the government. Today’s order fully affirms that freedom and provides permanent protection from the mandate,” said ADF Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor.
“Geneva College no longer has to fear being forced to pay fines for simply abiding by the Christian beliefs it teaches and espouses, and it is no longer required to fill out forms authorizing coverage for abortion-inducing drugs,” Baylor explained. “The government has many other ways to ensure access to these drugs without forcing people of faith to violate their deepest convictions.”
In its order in Geneva College v. Azar, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania ordered the federal government to cease enforcing the mandate and declared “that defendants—the United States Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor, along with their respective Secretaries—violated Geneva College’s rights under RFRA….”
In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court sent the case, consolidated with several other similar cases, back to the lower courts for potential resolution by the parties. ADF attorneys and allied attorneys continue to litigate numerous other lawsuits against the mandate.
Brad Tupi, one of more than 3,200 attorneys allied with ADF, served as local counsel for Geneva College in the case.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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Gregory S. Baylor serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he is the director of the Center for Religious Schools and senior counsel for government affairs. Since joining ADF in 2009, Baylor has focused on defending and advancing the religious freedom of faith-based educational institutions through advice, education, legislative and public advocacy, and representation in disputes. He has testified about religious liberty issues three times before congressional committees. Greg earned his Juris Doctor in 1990 from Duke University School of Law, where he graduated Order of the Coif, with high honors, and served on the editorial board of the Duke Law Journal. He received his bachelor’s degree in Honors English in 1987 from Dartmouth College. Following graduation from law school, he served as law clerk to the Hon. Jerry E. Smith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. He practiced labor and employment law at two large international law firms for three years before joining the staff of Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law and Religious Freedom, where he served for 15 years prior to joining ADF.