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The Fight to Defeat the "Contraceptive Mandate"

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
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March 16, 2020 12:25 pm

The Fight to Defeat the "Contraceptive Mandate"

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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March 16, 2020 12:25 pm

This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs sits down with John Bursch of Alliance Defending Freedom to discuss the March for Life’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to protect them and other objectors from the Obama era so-called contraceptive mandate.

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Engaging in weekly radio show and podcast produced by the North Carolina family policy Council hi this is John Rustin, presidency, family, and were grateful to have you with us for the speech program is our prayer that you will be informed, encouraged and inspired by what you hear on family policy matters and that you will fold better equipped to be a voice of persuasion for family values in your community, state and nation. Now here's our Houston family policy matters, tracing the veterans. Thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters after Hobby lobby and the Little sisters of the poor are one their legal challenges recently.

Many Americans thought that particular battle for religious freedom was over. Well, apparently not. You may remember these employers challenge the affordable care act's requirement that all employers provide coverage for contraception and abortifacient drugs in their employee healthcare plans. It appears the fight continues. Last month the March for life education and Defense fund filed a petition with the US Supreme Court, asking it to uphold the US Department of Health and Human Services rules aimed at protecting organizations with religious or moral objections to the Obama era so-called contraceptive mandate will John Birch is VP of appellate advocacy and senior counsel with alliance defending freedom and he is one of the ADF attorneys working with us on this case for March for life John Birch. Welcome to family policy matters that you so much Tracy are delighted to be here can be somewhat mind-boggling. For those of us who are not involved in these cases on a daily basis to understand why is it necessary to continue to fight and then regain ground that we apparently had already one give us some contacts before we jump into the details of this case.

If you would on what's going on here in this fight for religious liberty in America, but the big problem is that those who want to continue to push a pro-abortion agenda that includes Bewley available abortifacient for everyone, everywhere, at any time is that they just will still there continually pushing buttons and trying to force their agenda on everyone else. So we start with the affordable care act being passed but said nothing about abortifacients or artificial contraception being required in employer health plan, but it delegated to the Department of Health and Human Services. The ability to say what employer health plan should include and they didn't require those types of think that's how we end up with the so-called contraceptive mandate. So after years in the courts we could talk about what happened there in a little more detail the current administration issues a very broad exemption, a religious and moral exemption.

So for those who have religious beliefs but also those like March for life who are not religious but still have a moral belief that abortion is wrong. They have an exemption from all of this, and rather than just letting it go. Recognizing that we should allow people to have different points of view on abortion.

Several states led by Pennsylvania and California sued to invalidate the accommodation and even while all this is taking place in the US Supreme Court. We have states like California and the state of Washington, which under state law are trying to compel not only religious organizations and nonreligious organizations with moral objections to abortion, but even churches themselves to require abortifacients of their health plan so organizations who oppose abortion are continually forced to go to court over and over and over again because the pro-abortion proponents just won't stop until everyone gives and allows abortion, that's very interesting background. So now we come to the March for life in this is an organization set up specifically to find abortion in their having to send out fight abortion in their healthcare right that seems absurd as well. Correct the very reason for existence is to prevent anyone from having abortions because they believe that it takes human life. It's silly to require a group like March for life to provide abortifacients in their healthcare plan because anybody who works for March for life shares that same value of protecting life from conception until natural death.

So it's not like their employees would even need to take advantage of it and offensive to them that they would be required to include something like this in the health March for life was one of the early groups like the little sisters that had sued as they went up the chain to the Supreme Court over the original exemption which recall was limited to churches and no one else and the first round of litigation resulted in the Hobby lobby decision and Hobby lobby was the first signal from the US Supreme Court that a majority of justices were not going to stand for this kind of bullying by the federal government but that case was limited to small closely held for-profit corporations like Hobby lobby said that the government could not infringe on their religious liberty by requiring them to provide abortifacients or artificial contraception. If they had a religious objection to that.

But the litigation then continued for everybody else to Little sisters of the world March for life entities of the world who were not businesses but still have religious or moral objections that ended up in the first Little sisters of the poor case in which the Supreme Court recognized that there was a valid conch to show no interest at stake here but it didn't tell the federal government how it needed to resolve just send it back and essentially asked the parties to figure it out and under the previous administration. They were able to work it out. The government allowed groups like little sisters or March for life to send in a piece of paper and say we don't want to provide abortifacients or artificial contraception, but the government would then turn around and take that paper and go to the administrator of the health plan and still force the health plan to provide it.

So even though the little sisters or March for life work providing it directly. They were being coerced to this peak piece of paper to allow their healthcare plans to be used to provide the very things that they objected to, which wasn't a solution for anybody. And so it looked like it was good to be litigated all the way to the Supreme Court again until the top administration, Health and Human Services agency comes out with this very broad exemption which, for the very first time makes clear that any religious or moral objector doesn't have to comply with the program and then of course Pennsylvania and California immediately sued to invalidate it. And unfortunately, lower federal courts agreed with that and that's how we end up back at the US Supreme Court yet again. Actually hope that they will win the day on this. I think they do that and their goal is to eliminate that broad exemption and force these groups to litigate one by one in the courts to hope that liberal judges will agree with the pro-choice states and force these groups to continue providing abortifacients and and what so sad about this is that there's not even evidence that there is a single person out there who wants abortifacients in their employer health plan who is unable to get them through some government funded program now, but you would think that between the little sisters in March for life and the many other groups that brought these lawsuits, they would be unable to identify a single individual plaintiff who lost access to abortifacients who actually wants it.

Who could sue in their own name and they haven't been able to find a single one. So the whole exercise is really nothing about anybody's healthcare. It's nothing about the obligations of employers has everything to do with sending a political message that everyone needs to get on board with the abortion industry's agenda or otherwise are going to be drummed out of society, so this is cultural clash, apparently, and that her life signs, certainly not going to give so there's not a resolution in sight. We should just understand what have to continue to fight this one. I suppose unfortunately that's the case you provided in the court.

You can also find it politically because the last administration would rather litigate against nuns who help elderly poor people whose employees don't want abortifacients if they would rather fight them in court over that issue and offer even the modest exemption that they were asking for the same officials would rather force March for life, which, as we discussed this whole purpose for being is to oppose abortion is better, force them to provide abortion to employees who don't want it to just let it go. You can see the same thing happening in playing out in the government as we saw happen at the national level in California for instance they have a Democrat executive branch. This isn't something that the legislature did but it's executive officials, just like the federal officials did with the affordable care act, and they're the ones who are insisting that even churches that have a religious objection to abortion must include abortifacients as part of their health plans on there's actually several cases pending against the state of California in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on that issue right now, so the election in California that put that administration in place that certainly has consequences for everyone who holds pro-life use so certainly if you're going to the ballot box. Everyone needs to consider carefully where the candidates stand on these issues because it it's much more than just making sure that abortion is widely available since of a political agenda trying to force it down everyone's throat.

Another good thing is that through the court system. Although these groups tend to lose often at the District Court and Court of Appeals levels. A majority Supreme Court justices has consistently ruled in favor of their conscience. Whether that's religious or moral objection and recognize that there is liberty interest at stake.

You know pro-lifers are quite often ridiculed for being one issue voters, but this is not one issue is that I mean all the issues that are tied up with abortion, they span a much wider range than just one issue. Don't think so. Absolutely because were talking about religious and moral objection.

Something, and we have a long history in our country that goes back hundreds of years of respecting those who have different views from ourselves and not coercing them to act in ways that violate their own conscience and it's the same government officials at the state and previously at the federal level who would be willing to violate people's conscience rights with respect to abortion that would pose the same kind of requirements or restrictions when it comes to marriage beliefs or adoption, or pretty much any issue that you can imagine it's all about true freedom and liberty, and the states that are pushing this agenda are the same ones that are trying to crush that freedom or that they go and if you think you can just about the abortion debate.

Specifically, it was in the immediate aftermath of Roe versus Wade that there were a slew of bills passed at the federal and state levels to protect those who had a conscious objection.

We had the Hyde amendment to prevent taxpayer dollars going to abortion that the federal level. We had federal and state acts that ensured that doctors who had moral objections to abortion would have to participate in them.

And today it's going exactly the other way is not just you have to have abortifacients in your health plan, but if you are Catholic doctor who has a strong religious objection to abortion, you must perform the abortion surgery or you can it be kicked out of the hospital. The very last Democrat presidential candidate who still supported the Hyde amendment Joe Biden changed position once the nominating process began.

And so in that field of more than 20 candidates. There wasn't a single one who is willing to stand up for the rights of individuals who think that abortion is murder to not have their taxpayer dollars go towards abortion so you no matter what the issue is whether it's abortion or weather and something else is all about respecting individual liberty and conscience rights and we've moved into a new phase of American politics, where those rights are not being respected anymore and so certainly elections have consequences were just in time for this week is else we need to know about the March for life case. When can we expect there to be a resolution and where can people go to get more information. For starters, everyone needs to understand that the court has already accepted a pair of cases brought by the trunk administration and Little sisters of the poor out of the Pennsylvania set of cases and so they are going to be deciding this issue. In addition, now March for life is joining its voice to the chorus along with the current administration from the California case, but we expect that the decision in the Pennsylvania case will control both, I would expect to see the oral arguments for that kind of cases take place in the fall W decision next spring or early summer and so certainly by the end of next June. We should have definitive resolution on this issue then will just have to wait and see what courts do with the lawsuit where states like California are using their own state law to enforce these very same oppressive laws against churches, among others. If you're looking for more information. I strongly encourage you to visit the alliance to spending for your website which can be found@edflegal.org I will have a continual news update on this case as it develops over the next year will John darshan, VP of appellate advocacy and senior counsel with alliance defending freedom. Thank you for joining us today on family policy matters. My pleasure has a great listening to family house. We hope you enjoyed the program to do it again next to listen to the show online insulin more about NC families want courage and inspire families across the water website and see family and see family.org. Thanks again for listening and my God what is


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