Wheaton College will stop providing health insurance for some students Friday.
Ceasing health care coverage means about 25 percent of the school’s 3,000 students will be affected. The college is still providing health care insurance for staff and faculty, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Wheaton College is one of the dozens of Christian nonprofits and businesses that have argued that the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurance plans provide birth control, is against their religious beliefs.
"What has brought us here is about student health insurance, but it's bigger than student health insurance," said Paul Chelsen, Wheaton’s vice president of student development.
"What really breaks my heart is that there are real people that are affected by our decision. But if we don't win this case, the implications down the road in terms of what the government will tell us what we can and cannot do will be potentially more significant.
"I acknowledge that students have been hurt by this decision and I regret that," he added.
Also under the act, religious non-profits are able to notify the government of their objections and the government will then direct insurers to provide birth control coverage in a separate policy that the non-profit would not pay for.
Wheaton College officials have argued that even that compromise makes them complicit in helping students obtain birth control.
"The reason protecting that case is so important is because basically what has happened is the government is telling us we have to offer something that we find morally objectionable,” Chelsen said.
For students affected by the change, the college is setting aside money to help students pay for health care.
Publication date: July 30, 2015