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December 23, 2011 The President The White House Washington, DC 20500 Dear Mr.

President: I write on behalf of the 138 member and affiliate schools that comprise the U.S. constituency of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) to express our grave concern about the August 3, 2011, amendment to the regulations entitled Group Health Plans and Health Insurance Issuers Relating to Coverage of Preventative Services Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (File Code CMS-9992-IFC2) that mandates that all group healthcare plans cover contraceptives and emergency contraceptives, some of which are abortifacients. This mandate would require our member and affiliate institutions to violate their religious consciences given (1) the narrowness of the religious exemption and (2) the absence of any religious accommodation for health plans provided to students. The exemption as written would leave most, if not all, of our institutions subject to the mandate. While the mission of the CCCU is "to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help our institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth," and our members and affiliates share similar missions and are deeply religious institutions that incorporate Christian commitment into every aspect of their existence and operations, it is at best uncertain whether any CCCU schools would fall within the regulations extremely anemic religious exemption. The first factor of the exemption requires that an organization have the inculcation of religious values as its purpose. Such determination is a subjective inquiry that invites an unconstitutional inquiry into whether religious organizations are religious enough. While our institutions do infuse their religious values into every aspect of what they do, and though the United States Supreme Court has identified that the raison dtre of parochial schools is the propagation of a religious faith, NLRB v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago, 440 U.S. 490, 503 (1979), as they are also fully-accredited, degree-granting institutions of higher learning, we are left without legal certainty that our institutions would be found to meet this requirement. The Supreme Court shared this concern when it stated that [t]he line between secular and religious activities is hardly a bright one, and an organization might understandably be concerned that a judge would not understand its religious tenets and sense of mission. Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. Amos, 483 U.S. 13 327, 336 (1987). The second and third factors of the exemption require an organization to primarily hire and serve those that share its religious tenets. While all CCCU members hire only professing and practicing Christians for all administrative and full-time faculty positions, our institutions have implemented different policies for hiring support staff and adjunct faculty that reflect their respective understandings of how best to accomplish their missions in light of their theological traditions. They also have differing policies regarding whether they enroll only Christian students or students from a particular church or denomination most do not limit their enrollment but serve a broad range of students. The decision made by each institution, however, reflects the different theological

interpretations of the Christian faith, the Bible, and mission of the respective institution. These decisions should continue to be guided by mission, not regulatory requirements. Finally, we are especially troubled by the fourth requirement, considering as religious only those organizations categorized under specific IRS sections as being connected to a church or larger denominational structure. This requirement bears no actual legal relationship to the legitimate religious nature of an organization, yet it would disqualify most if not all of our members from being considered religious employers. While some of our institutions are affiliated with larger church organizational or denominational structures, many are independent religious organizations. They are religious not because they are associated with a church or denomination but rather because of their legitimate religious beliefs and practices that are openly held out to the public as such the critical legal characteristics of a religious entity. We strongly encourage any modifications to this exemption to include all religious organizations, not just those that are part of a larger church or denominational structure. Also deeply troubling to our institutions is that the current exemption is for employer plans and does not appear to include student plans. Therefore, even if the exemption were expanded to include all religious employers, the mandate would still violate the consciences of our institutions as it relates to the healthcare plans that they offer their students. Many of our schools object on religious grounds to offering emergency contraceptives to their students as doing so violates the convictions of the schools faith community and undermines its behavior code. Students attending our institutions voluntarily choose to attend and abide by the behavioral standards. Therefore, our institutions are not violating students rights by not offering emergency contraceptives, rather institutions will be forced by the federal government to offer services to students that the school teaches violate its faith convictions. While our schools take different positions on the services mandated by the regulations, they are united in their belief that compelling those with a religious objection to support services that their religious convictions forbid violates the Constitution. Given these considerations, we believe that the only full solution to the constitutional problems created by this proposed amendment is for the mandate to be eliminated altogether. But if your administration chooses to keep the mandate in place, we ask that you replace the current proposed exemption with one that encompasses the whole range of religious employers, such as CCCU schools that fulfill purposes in addition to their religious ones (providing an excellent liberal arts education), serve those who do and do not share the religious tenets of the organization, and are not derived from a larger church or denomination. Such an exemption should also exempt student plans. I appreciate your attention to this important matter, crucial to the soul of our institutions. Sincerely, Paul R. Corts, Ph.D. President cc: Joshua DuBois, Executive Director, White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Department of Health and Human Services