March for Life Education and Defense Fund v. California
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Description: On the same day that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued its final interim rule protecting nonprofit religious and pro-life organizations from the Obama-era abortion-pill mandate, the state of California filed suit to challenge the rule. The mandate forces employers, regardless of their moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs under threat of heavy financial penalties.
Federal court to reconsider decision against HHS conscience protections
OAKLAND, Calif. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys will be available for media interviews Wednesday following the first federal court hearing to be held since the U.S. Supreme Court vacated district and appellate court decisions in March for Life Education and Defense Fund v. California.
In July, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated a federal district court’s preliminary injunction order and a U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit decision upholding that order against U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rules that protect organizations with religious or moral objections to including abortifacients in their health care plans. The Supreme Court did so in light of its ruling upholding the same HHS protections in The Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Trump v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“The government shouldn’t be forcing anyone—least of all pro-life organizations—to violate their conscience by providing drugs and devices that can destroy life,” said ADF Senior Counsel Ken Connelly, who will argue before the district court on behalf of March for Life. “Now that the Supreme Court has affirmed the HHS protections for Little Sisters of the Poor and others, the district court in California should similarly ensure that pro-life groups like March for Life can pursue their missions without being compelled to violate their own beliefs.”
The HHS rules free organizations with such objections from a federal requirement that employer health plans cover abortifacients. The Obama administration implemented the requirement, which forces many employers to provide employees with abortion-inducing drugs and other contraceptives through their health plans under threat of heavy financial penalties, regardless of the employers’ religious or moral convictions. ADF attorneys represent March for Life, sponsor of the large annual pro-life march in Washington, D.C.
Brian R. Chavez-Ochoa, one of more than 3,700 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.
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Ken Connelly serves as legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he plays a key role with the Center for Life. His primary focus is ensuring that medical and allied health practitioners can deliver professional and compassionate care without violating their deeply held personal beliefs. He earned his J.D. from the University of St. Thomas Law School in 2007, graduating magna cum laude. Before graduating, he completed the ADF leadership development program to become a Blackstone Fellow in 2005. He received a B.A. in government from Dartmouth College in 1992. Connelly is a member of the state bars of Arizona and Minnesota, along with numerous federal district and appellate courts.