Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing the March for Life Education and Defense Fund have filed motions in two federal courts asking to be allowed to help defend Department of Health and Human Services rules issued in October that protect pro-life nonprofit organizations from the Obama-era abortion-pill mandate. ADF attorneys also represent Dordt College in Iowa in one of the motions.
Both March for Life and Dordt College have been involved in separate lawsuits challenging the mandate, which forces employers, regardless of their moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs under threat of heavy financial penalties. The new HHS rules, issued under the Trump administration, protect the nonprofits and pave the way to potential settlements in their lawsuits.
“All Americans should have the freedom to peacefully live and work according to their faith without fear of government punishment,” said ADF Legal Counsel Christen Price. “The new HHS rules simply bring the agency into conformity with its legal and constitutional obligation to respect existing religious freedom protections. Both March for Life and Dordt College have a particular interest in ensuring that these protections aren’t jeopardized by the state lawsuits.”
On the same day that HHS issued its final interim rule protecting nonprofit religious and pro-life organizations, the state of California—later joined by Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Virginia—filed the lawsuit State of California v. Hargan in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to challenge the rule. Massachusetts filed its own lawsuit, Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
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March for Life and Dordt College are asking the Massachusetts federal district court to allow them to intervene in defense of the new HHS rule, and March for Life is also asking the California federal district court to allow it to intervene in the case originating there.