Religious Freedom

If You Thought the Abortion Pill Mandate Cases Were Settled, Think Again

The Obama-era mandate that requires all employers – regardless of their religious or moral beliefs – to provide abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception is not going down without a fight.

But Alliance Defending Freedom will be on the frontlines to ensure that religious and pro-life nonprofits are not forced to provide life-ending drugs and devices in violation of their beliefs.

Today, ADF filed an opening brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on behalf of the March for Life, asking that the court uphold the new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rules that provide exemptions from the abortion-pill mandate for religious and pro-life nonprofits.

The new HHS rules provide relief for these nonprofits, who had originally faced the impossible choice of either paying for something that contradicts their missions or facing crippling fines. In implementing these rules, the Trump Administration acknowledged that people can gain access to contraceptives and abortion pills without the government forcing nuns like Little Sisters of the Poor or pro-life groups like March for Life to provide them.

And it was great news for the many nonprofits that were suing the government so that they would not be forced to violate their beliefs. In 2017, when the new HHS rules were announced, ADF was still representing 20 organizations and 12 individuals against the mandate. Many are still awaiting resolution, though the new HHS rules paved the way for those resolutions to take place.

But proponents of the abortion pill mandate were not content to let that happen.

The very same day that HHS issued the new rules, the state of California—later joined by Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Virginia—filed a lawsuit challenging the rules. And unfortunately, a federal court granted these states’ request to stop implementation of these new HHS rules in December.

Shortly after that ruling, March for Life, represented by ADF, asked to intervene in the case in order to stand up for the new rules and their right not to be forced to provide drugs and devices that violate their beliefs – the beliefs they march for every January.

“No one should be forced by the government to provide life-destroying drugs and devices,” said ADF Legal Counsel Christen Price. “We are asking the 9th Circuit to reverse that order so that pro-life organizations can pursue their missions consistent with their consciences.”

Being forced to choose between violating your convictions or facing crippling fines is not a choice at all. The new HHS rules offer a third choice – relief for those who wish to operate and serve their community according to their beliefs.

And that’s a choice we should all support.

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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