A federal court prohibited the Obama administration from forcing a pro-life nonprofit to insure “abortion-inducing” contraceptives Monday, in what is the first exemption from the mandate granted to a secular organization.
March for Life, which holds a pro-life rally every January in Washington, D.C., filed suit against three federal agencies last year, demanding an exemption from the mandate. It requires employers to provide insurance coverage for 20 FDA-approved contraceptives at no extra cost to the employee — including birth control pills March for Life and other pro-lifers believe are a form of abortion.
A D.C. District Court sided with March for Life Monday, signaling organizations that are not overtly religious can be exempted from the mandate, in addition to those which fall under a religious exemption put in place. (RELATED: Federal Court Rules Nuns Must Comply With Obama Admin Birth Control Mandate)
“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 decision states.
The Obama administration formulated the religious exemption after a decisive defeat last year in a case against Hobby Lobby. Religious employers can exempted if they notify the Department of Health and Human Services or their insurance providers that they have religious objections to birth control coverage.
“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,” March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said in a statement Monday. “We didn’t want to go to court but were backed into a corner and had no other options.”
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