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Denver appeals court hears arguments in GuideStone preliminary injunction against contraceptive mandate

DALLAS and DENVER — A three-judge panel of the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver heard arguments Monday surrounding the preliminary injunction granted to GuideStone’s health plans, prohibiting the government from enforcing penalties in its controversial contraceptive mandate called for under the Affordable Care Act.

In December 2013, Federal District Judge Timothy DeGiusti of Oklahoma issued a preliminary injunction against the federal government’s mandate that required ministries that are not churches to provide abortion-causing drugs and devices.

The government appealed the order to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver earlier this year.

Attorneys representing GuideStone continue to defend sanctity of life convictions.

“We appreciate the opportunity to continue advocating on behalf of our participants in standing up for their religious freedom,” said GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins. “Our plans reflect the convictions of Southern Baptists and other evangelicals and do not cover drugs and devices that are intended to cause abortions.”

Although the timing of the ruling is unknown, employers in GuideStone’s health plans continue to be protected by the injunction granted in December 2013. GuideStone’s litigation, launched along with Reaching Souls International, an Oklahoma-based missions organization, and Truett-McConnell College, a Georgia Baptist Convention-affiliated college, is one of almost 90 lawsuits brought against the abortion-drug mandate that is part of the Affordable Care Act.

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