A federal court Monday decided in favor of pro-life organization March for Life, ruling that the government cannot force the group to act contrary to its pro-life beliefs by enforcing a mandate that the group provide abortion-inducing drugs to employees.
The court’s order in March for Life v. Burwell permanently bars the Obama administration from enforcing its mandate in Obamacare that requires employers to provide abortion-inducing drugs to employees through health insurance plans. Failure to comply with the mandate would result in IRS penalties for March for Life.
“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,” the court said in its decision.
A press release states the order is the first “to be granted in favor of an organization opposed to the mandate for pro-life reasons based on science and moral convictions rather than religion.”
March for Life was represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, which requested a permanent injunction against the mandate.
“We are delighted that the court has ruled in our favor on this crucially important case,” March for Life Education and Defense Fund president Jeanne Mancini said regarding the ruling. “The government should not be allowed to force organizations like the March for Life to have health insurance with drugs and devices that can cause an abortion.”
“We didn’t want to go to court but were backed into a corner and had no other options,” Mancini added. “As an American today I am grateful for the balance of powers. I am also deeply grateful for Alliance Defending Freedom and Matt Bowman working on our behalf this past year.”
ADF senior lead counsel Matt Bowman added, “Pro-life organizations should not be forced into betraying the very values they were established to advance.”
“This is especially true of March for Life, which was founded to uphold life, not to assist in taking it,” he added. “The government has no right to demand that organizations provide health insurance plan options that explicitly contradict their mission.”
March for Life, which holds an annual demonstration on the national mall in Washington, D.C. in January, was founded for the express purpose of ending abortion. The march began as a small demonstration in 1974, the first anniversary of the Supreme Court decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton that legalized abortion nationwide. The March for Life has grown to be the largest pro-life event in the world, with hundreds of thousands of participants joining the peaceful demonstration each year.