Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Obama administration’s abortion-pill mandate on behalf of March for Life, the pro-life organization that holds its well-known annual march in Washington, D.C.
The lawsuit is the latest lawsuit by a non-profit organization to challenge the mandate since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against it last month on behalf of two for-profit family businesses in Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores.
The mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy financial penalties through the IRS.
“Pro-life organizations must be free to operate according to the beliefs they espouse,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “The government should not be allowed to force them to pay for insurance coverage that covers drugs that can cause an abortion – the very tragedy March for Life and other pro-life groups oppose. If the government can punish organizations simply because they want to abide by their beliefs, there is no limit to what other freedoms it can take away.”
March for Life is a non-profit pro-life organization founded in 1973 following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade to legalize abortion. Every year in January, March for Life holds a peaceful march to the U.S. Supreme Court and Capitol Hill to mark the decision until it is overturned. The organization’s mission is to protect the lives of the children in the womb and oppose all forms of abortion. The organization’s sincere moral beliefs forbid it from facilitating the provision of abortifacients through health insurance coverage it offers to its employees.
“The question is whether the government can pick and choose who can exercise their conscience,” added ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “The cost of freedom for Americans and organizations across the country that face this mandate is severe. The potential for massive fines and lawsuits could shut down non-profit organizations with similar religious or moral convictions.”
The lawsuit, March for Life v. Burwell, filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, argues that the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as well as the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.