March for Life stands up for religious liberty, opposes O’care HHS mandate

banner from 2013 March for Life in DC
banner from 2013 March for Life in DC

The national March for Life is organized by a nonprofit business of the same name, which is one of many groups challenging the Obamacare contraceptive mandate (also known as the HHS mandate) in court. March for Life recently prevailed in federal court. Yesterday, the Obama Administration – specifically, the Secretaries of the Treasury and Health and Human Services – filed an appeal.

And by the way, what’s the Treasury secretary doing signing on to the appeal against March for Life? Is that a heavy-handed way of serving notice that the March’s tax-exempt status is on the line here?

This Administration can’t stand the thought of a business owner not paying for or subsidizing an employee’s contraception insurance coverage (with no co-pay), even if that “contraception” is actually abortifacient. Further, the Administration can’t stand challenges from people who believe in the right to live out religious beliefs seven days a week, not just freedom to worship one hour a week. When the Hobby Lobby decision came down, exempting a narrow group of business owners from the mandate, Obamacare apologists whined that employers were making birth control decisions for employees. “Not my boss’s business,” was the cry.

Here’s a cry right back: Not my boss’s problem – and a co-pay isn’t a war.

CAM00569The Washington Times has a brief story about the Administration’s appeal in the March for Life case. The story quotes the federal judge whose ruling in favor of March for Life – the ruling the Administration seeks to overturn – is at issue: “HHS may be correct that this objection [to the mandate] is common among religiously affiliated employers. Where HHS has erred, however, is in assuming that this trait is unique to such organizations. It is not.”

Hobby Lobby should have settled that question. The company isn’t a religious organization, but its owners have religious beliefs that they refuse to shelve in order to accommodate the mandate.

This all started when “contraception” was classified as a preventive service under Obamacare, with no co-pay for the user, and with coverage required under health insurance policies. Why suppression of women’s fertility should be such a federal priority is an argument the President has never successfully made to me. Our federal government is spending money litigating against not only March for Life but other people as well – Little Sisters of the Poor, for example – in a an effort to get them to buy in, literally, to that misplaced priority.

The federal government can litigate indefinitely if the Chief Executive so chooses. Must be nice. The March for Life and fellow mandate resisters aren’t in that position, many of them relying on public interest law firms which themselves rely on donor support. David vs. Goliath, of course.

A few days before the Hobby Lobby decision, I posted “Why Sue Over the Mandate?”

Why not just go along? Because religious liberty matters. It’s not simply a matter of worship, taking place in a building once a week. The mandate forces the question of how Americans may exercise their beliefs in everyday life. If an American holds the religiously-based belief that contraception and abortion are immoral, can that American be forced to pay for them? How about a business owner who wants to provide employees with health insurance, but on religious grounds wants no part of helping fund contraception and abortion as “preventive care”?

Now, more than a year after the limited but welcome Hobby Lobby victory, those questions are still hanging.