March for Life Wins Against HHS Mandate

Judge Richard Leon


Federal District Judge Richard Leon has ruled in favor of the March for Life in its suit against the HHS Mandate.  Law Professor Josh Blackman explains the basis for his opinion:


In March for Life v. Burwell, Judge Leon (D.D.C.) found that HHS could not enforce the contraceptive mandate against March for Life, a staunchly pro-life group that is not religious. Beyond the conventional RFRA analysis, the court found that HHS lacks a rational basis to exempt religious organizations that oppose abortion, but not similarly situated secular organizations with the same beliefs. This analysis echoes a point we made in the Cato Amicus in support of the Little Sisters of the Poor–that HHS lacks the interpretive authority to pick and choose which religious organizations can receive exemptions from the mandate.

Judge Leon’s analysis, though grounded in equal protection doctrine, reaches a very similar conclusion. Here is the key analysis:

What emerges is a curious rationale indeed. HHS has chosen to protect a class of individuals [Houses of worship only] that, it believes, are less likely than other individuals to avail themselves of contraceptives. It has consequently moored this accommodation not in the language of conscientious objection, but in the vernacular of religious protection. This, of course, is puzzling. In HHS’s own view, it is not the belief or non-belief in God that warrants safe harbor from the Mandate. The characteristic that warrants protection–and employment relationship based in part on a shared objection to abortifacients–is altogether separate from theism. Stated differently, what HHS claims to be protecting is religious belief, when it actually is protecting a moral philosophy about the sanctity of human life. Where HHS has erred, however, is in assuming that this trait is unique to such organizations [Houses of worship]. It is not.

The court goes on to explain that March for Life, and its employees, share a pro-life philosophy. Indeed, their employees work there to advocate their views.

On the spectrum of “likelihood” that undergirds HHS’s policy decisions, March for Life’s employees are, to put it mildly, “unlikely” to use contraceptives. In this respect, March for Life and exempted religious organizations are not just “similarly situated,” they are identically situated.

The court finds this classification cannot be supported by a rational basis:

HHS has chosen, however, to accommodate this moral philosophy only when it is overtly tied to religious values. HHS provides no principled basis, other than the semantics of religious tolerance, for its distinction. If the purpose of the religious employer exemption is, as HHS states, to respect the anti-abortifacient tenets of an employer relationship, then it makes no rational sense–indeed no sense whatsoever–to deny March for Life that same respect. 

Go here to read the rest.  The whole framework of the HHS Mandate reflects the belief of the Obama administration that attempts to restrict freedom of religion, and protections of conscience, to “Houses of Worship” while the State rules everything else.  That would in effect reduce freedom of religion to the four walls of our churches with all of us fair game everywhere else.

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  1. The case will be appealed to the DC Circuit. Due to its liberal majority the decision will probably be reversed, with the case ultimately being decided by the Supreme Court, if one of the other similar cases around the country making its way up the chain to the Supreme Court does not get there first.

  2. I am happy at this small victory. But if this case eventually makes its way to SCOTUS, then how can we expect a sane SCOTUS decision when it makes an insane decision about a no-brainer issue such as what is really marriage? Being an engineer, I am not a history student or expert, but if the Dred Scott decision has shown us anything, it would seem to be this: individuals appointed to life to the bench will do whatever they darn well please regardless of what truth is.
    These two issues of our generation – abortion and sodomy – will never be voluntarily surrendered by the Democrats. Forcing March for Life to accept abortificients is simply ludicrous. It’s beyond comprehension.

  3. Pregnancy as a disease.

    This is the mentality of the HHS drafters and supporter’s. The idea that abortion is a health care component, a “cure” for those poor poor women stricken down in the prime of their life by the cruelty of the “P” word. So appallingly this disease that one should only use the first initial.

    March for LIFE, the dirty little group of Christian’s trying to destroy women, getting a pass on the HHS mandate?


    The women’s liberation movement of the 60’s has brought about many good and decent outcomes. Abortion rights is not one of them.
    God is merciful, slow to anger and rich in kindness. I wish the same was true for those that crafted the HHS mandate and support abortion. They are not merciful nor kind.
    They are blind.

    Thanks Anzlyne for the link to the Judge.
    God be with him.
    Hillary Clinton, the scourge of the USA, shall seek peace in the next life…and seek. Her lies will follow her there… Gnawing at her heels …the teeth that never had a chance to grow inside the newborns mouth..those 60 million sets of teeth will gnaw and gnaw at her heels for eternity. Wake up Hillary. You time is short. Yes. I do pray she and other death supporter’s change their hearts while they can.
    Hell is real.

  4. Wow, Philip with one L, your last paragraph is a Twilight Zone espisode reminiscent of Satre’s No Exit. One would hope that Hillary actually dreams that nightmare and has remorse for the blood on her hands. She is not alone..Pelosi, the butchers at PPH, etc, etc, etc.

  5. CAM.
    To much Twilight Zone in my younger years, and a disdain for those who love the license to kill infants. I’m sick of it CAM. The video release and nonchalant attitude of the deal going down is hellish.

    Yes. I hope they wake up. This crazy image, teeth, is nothing compared to the real horror that awaits the swimmers of Fire lake.

  6. Where’s the holocaust museum for the aborted babies? Not in Washington DC.
    Yes, Philip, the print description of restarting a baby’s heart like it was a pithed frog in Zoology 101 is hard to remove from one’s mind. In some schools today the use of amphibians is forbidden as it is considered inhumane. Ain’t that ironic! There must be other horrors with the abortion mills that haven’t even seen the light of day.
    What is wrong with our Senate to not even ban third trimester abortion and to not defund Planned Parenthood?. In low income areas there are now other clinics and could be many more with the funds directed from PPH, that could provide PAP smears and mammograms to women in low income areas. What are the Senators so afraid of? It’s as if Satan is hovering over them as they vote. As a female I am sickened that the term “women’s health” has become code for abortion, the morning after pill, etc.

  7. CAM. That holocaust museum you speak of is next to the Benghazi memorial, the ambassador and three service men in bronze.
    This coincidentally is sitting on top of a sewer gate, which bear’s the likeness of once obscure Madame Secretary that was tar and feathered for neglect of duty and negligence.
    It’s funny how her fall to obscurity coincided with the new bronze art work going up.

    Life is funny that way.

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