March for Life to 9th Circuit: Stop state meddling with our pro-life mission
WHO: Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor
WHAT: Available for media interviews following oral arguments on behalf of March for Life in State of California v. Azar
WHEN: Friday, Oct. 19, immediately following hearing, which begins at 8:30 a.m. PDT
The previous administration implemented the mandate to force employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide their employees with abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy financial penalties.
“The government shouldn’t be forcing anyone to provide life-destroying drugs and devices,” said Baylor. “HHS rightly freed organizations like March for Life and the Little Sisters of the Poor from the abortion-pill mandate. California and other states filed a lawsuit that resulted in a nationwide order that blocks those new rules. We are asking the 9th Circuit to lift that order so that pro-life organizations can pursue their missions consistent with their most foundational beliefs.”
In 2014, March for Life challenged the abortion-pill mandate in March for Life v. Burwell, which came to a close last month when the U.S. Department of Justice dropped its appeal of a 2015 permanent injunction, and a federal court agreed to dismiss the case.
The new HHS rules, issued in October 2017, freed a number of non-profits from the abortion-pill mandate and paved the way to potential resolution of numerous outstanding lawsuits.
On Oct. 6, 2017, the same day that HHS issued its interim final rules protecting both religious and non-religious organizations, the state of California—later joined by Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Virginia—filed the lawsuit State of California v. Azar in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to challenge the rules. On Dec. 21 that year, the court granted the states’ request to block implementation of the rules.
That month, March for Life asked the court to allow it to participate in the case. After the court granted that request, ADF attorneys filed an appeal on behalf of March for Life asking the 9th Circuit to overturn the district court’s decision to temporarily block the new HHS rules.
Brian R. Chavez-Ochoa of the Chavez-Ochoa Law Offices in Valley Springs, California, one of more than 3,200 attorneys allied with ADF, is serving as co-counsel on behalf of March for Life.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.