By: Celia Harris, recent graduate of Geneva College
My name is Celia Harris, and I was outside the Supreme Court in March when the Obamacare abortion-pill mandate case, Zubik v. Burwell, was argued. I stood there because my school, Geneva College, was the plaintiff in one of the seven consolidated cases before the Court.
As a college student, it was somewhat surreal being there with my classmates, fellow students from other Christian universities also before the Court, and a beautiful sea of nuns – all of us asking for the same thing: Freedom to be peaceful women of faith in a nation created to protect our ability to be just that.
Last week, the Supreme Court, by handing our case back down to the lower courts, acknowledged that there is a way for the government to achieve its goals that does not include forcing religious institutions and organizations like Geneva College to violate the very core of who they – we – are.
As a young woman and a member of the Geneva College family, I take freedom very seriously. That’s why I chose to go to Geneva College. Geneva College fought to end slavery and was on the cutting edge of women’s education. We at Geneva believe in life and human flourishing – we love justice because we love God. All we wanted to do was continue to operate according to the faith we were founded on and the faith that still inspires us to serve our community and the world today.
It was scary, as a woman, a college student, and an American citizen to watch our government attempt to force our school to be complicit in the distribution of drugs the FDA has explicitly said can terminate life – or be punished with crippling fines. And, it was particularly disturbing that our government was attempting to do this under the guide of “healthcare.” True healthcare gives and sustains life – it doesn’t end it. And in a truly free society, a government doesn’t force religious communities like Geneva College to violate their mission and convictions or pay a devastating price.
Thankfully, the Supreme Court kept our hope alive.
I am thankful for Geneva, Little Sisters of the Poor, and all of the other amazing religious universities and organizations who stood firm and helped protect the freedom to peacefully live out our faith for my generation and the generations to come. It was an honor to be part of Geneva College during this fight for freedom.