Federal Court Says Obama Can’t Force March for Life to Obey Pro-Abortion HHS Mandate

National   Steven Ertelt   Aug 31, 2015   |   1:38PM    Washington, DC

The pro-life organization that puts on the March for Life on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade every year has won a legal victory in its case to stop the Obama administration from forcing it to obey the pro-abortion HHS mandate while its case against the mandate continues. The mandate compels religious groups to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions.

Without relief, the March for Life would face IRS fines because it cannot comply with the government’s mandate that they give their employees free access to contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.

The organization’s strongly-held moral beliefs against abortion forbid it from furthering abortion through health insurance coverage it offers to its employees, including coverage for hormonal birth-control items it believes can endanger early embryos. March for Life’s beliefs are based solely on non-religious ethics and science, while its two employees who joined the suit additionally claimed faith-based reasons for objecting to the mandate.

Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the pro-life group, informed LifeNews.com today of the legal victory:

A federal court issued an order Monday in March for Life v. Burwell that permanently prohibits the Obama administration from enforcing its abortion-pill mandate against the pro-life organization, founded to end abortion, or its employees, who also oppose the mandate. The order is the first one to be granted in favor of an organization opposed to the mandate for pro-life reasons based on moral convictions instead of religion.

March for Life, which holds its well-known pro-life march each year in Washington, D.C., filed a lawsuit through its Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys in July 2014 and requested a permanent injunction against the mandate. The mandate forces employers, regardless of their 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 should not be forced into betraying the very values they were established to advance,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “This is especially true of March for Life, which was founded to uphold life, not to assist in taking it. The government has no right to demand that organizations provide health insurance plan options that explicitly contradict their mission.”

“If the purpose of the religious employer exemption is, as HHS states, to respect the anti-abortifacient tenets of an employment relationship, then it makes no rational sense-indeed, no sense whatsoever to deny March for Life that same respect,” explains the decision.

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“Americans should not be forced to choose between following their deepest convictions and submitting to unlawful and unnecessary government mandates,” added ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “We hope other courts that consider similar cases will issue their own orders upholding the right of pro-life organizations to be free from this type of government coercion.”

Earlier this month, one of the high profile litigants won a battle in their legal case to protect themselves from fines for not complying with the mandate. In a victory for the pro-life fight against the HHS mandate, a federal appeals court issued a ruling today saying a Catholic religious order, the Little Sisters of the Poor, does not have to comply with Obamacare’s abortion mandate while its lawsuit against the mandate continues.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the Christian-run Hobby Lobby doesn’t have to obey the HHS mandate that is a part of Obamacare that requires businesses to pay for abortion causing drugs in their employee health care plans.

A December 2013 Rasmussen Reports poll shows Americans disagree with forcing companies like Hobby Lobby to obey the mandate.

“Half of voters now oppose a government requirement that employers provide health insurance with free contraceptives for their female employees,” Rasmussen reports.

The poll found: “The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 38% of Likely U.S. Voters still believe businesses should be required by law to provide health insurance that covers all government-approved contraceptives for women without co-payments or other charges to the patient.

Fifty-one percent (51%) disagree and say employers should not be required to provide health insurance with this type of coverage. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure.”

Another recent poll found 59 percent of Americans disagree with the mandate.

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