ETBU pleased by Hobby Lobby ruling, optimistic about implication - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

ETBU pleased by Hobby Lobby ruling, optimistic about implications for school's Obamacare suit

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MARSHALL (KYTX) -  Leaders at East Texas Baptist University responded to Monday's ruling in the landmark Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case with cautious optimism.

The case is similar on principal to the one ETBU brought against the Department of Health and Human Services regarding a mandate to fund and provide insurance to employees that will provide emergency contraceptives like "Plan B" and "Ella" to female employees without the need for a co-pay.

Both ETBU and Hobby Lobby argue that those products constitute an abortion and oppose them on religious grounds.

In January the school won its initial case in Federal District Court along with permission not to cover Plan B and Ella with its insurance. ETBU Interim President Lawrence Ressler has been wondering whether the government would appeal.

Ressler explained Monday that abortion is not the central issue issue in the case.

"ETBU doesn't take a position on abortion as an institution," he said. "But we certainly have had a long, long tradition of religious freedom. That's what the issue is about. It's about religious freedom. Religious Liberty."

On the one hand, ETBU is gaining confidence based on the Supreme Court's decision to side with religious concerns. On the other, the difference between a private company and a faith-based university means another challenge to ETBU's stance could go either way.

"The next step will have to be really the government and the lawyers deciding whether to concede to faith-based institutions or whether the faith-based institutions have to push to the supreme court," Ressler said. "The implications are pretty significant. Now that they have said businesses have the ability to allow their faith to influence their policies, if that's true for 'for-profits,' then it seems to be a fairly straight forward question. 'Does that apply to faith-based institutions?'"

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