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Court upholds Trump’s expanded abortion-pill exemptions


When President Obama and his Democratic colleagues in Congress adopted Obamacare, they required abortion coverage, with no exemptions, to the delight of the abortion industry.

They later were forced to exempt a few types of organizations, such as churches.

The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the government to expand those exemptions when it ruled in the Hobby Lobby case, and President Trump widen the exemptions even further.

Now a federal court has ruled the Trump administration’s changes will stand, determining that the state of Massachusetts, which wanted to reverse course, has no standing in the case.

The ruling this week comes from U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton in the state’s lawsuit against several federal agencies and their leaders.

“This court finds that plaintiff has failed to set forth specific facts demonstrating that it is likely to incur an injury caused by defendants’ conduct,” the judge wrote. “Accordingly, the court declines, at this time, to address the merits of the Commonwealth’s statutory or constitutional claims.”

Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which had filed briefs in defense of the government’s position said all Americans “should have the freedom to peacefully live and work consistently with their deeply held convictions without fear of government punishment.”

“The HHS rules follow the Constitution, federal law, and legal precedents to protect freedom of religion and conscience,” he said. “Because the court determined that Massachusetts doesn’t have a sufficient legal basis for filing suit to challenge the rules, it refused to strike down rules protecting the freedom of pro-life organizations, like March for Life, and religious educational institutions, like Dordt College, to pursue their respective missions.”

ADF pointed out in its brief that March for Life and Dordt College have been involved in separate lawsuits challenging the mandate that forces employers, regardless of their moral convictions, to provide abortion-inducing drugs to their employees under threat of heavy financial penalties.

But the new HHS rules, issued last October, “protect the nonprofits and pave the way to potential settlements in their lawsuits.”

ADF argued that “federal government agencies have for many years adopted regulatory protections of religious exercise.”

The judge’s ruling said at issue were two Interim Final Rules created by HHS, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Labor to protect religious rights against the Obama era’s mandate for abortions.

At one point, the Obama administration famously took the Little Sisters of the Poor to court demanding that the Catholic nuns pay for and provide abortion pills to employees of the centers they run for the poorest of the poor worldwide.

The judge noted a series of cases led to President Trump’s executive order in May 2017 instructing federal agencies to address conscience-based objections “to the preventive-care mandate.”

The result was the package of proposed rules that expanded the religious exemption to the federal law.

The law now allows exemptions to those who object to “establishing, maintain, providing, offering, or arrange (as applicable) coverage, payments, or a plan that provides coverage or payments for some or all contraceptive services, based on its sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The move greatly undermined Obama’s abortion agenda.


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