In a victory for religious liberty and the rights of the preborn, the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota has ruled that forcing members of the Christian Employers Alliance (CEA) to provide abortion-causing drugs under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the subsequent “accommodation,” unduly burdens the religious freedom and pro-life beliefs of these Christian, pro-life employers. Therefore, the court ruled that it is contrary to the Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
According to Christian News Wire, Chief Judge Hovland ruled that Christian Employers Alliance (CEA) and its “members will suffer irreparable harm to their ability to practice their religious beliefs” unless they are free from the government’s enforcement of the abortifacient contraceptive mandate.
“This is a major victory for Christian employers who believe in high-quality healthcare that promotes the protection of human life,” Jim Mischel, CEA president said in the press release. “… [C]urrent and future members are now legally free to avoid abortion-causing drugs and still comply with ACA without penalty, in line with their religious beliefs,” he added. “We welcome companies interested in joining to take action by becoming a CEA member.”
Abortifacients are drugs that end the life of a preborn human being, either by primary or secondary means. Emergency contraception drugs have as a primary mechanism the prevention of ovulation, and as a secondary mechanism, the potential to prevent an already-fertilized embryo from implanting in the mother’s uterine lining (endometrium). If ovulation has occurred already, ECs can potentially function as abortifacients by flooding the mother’s body with a higher level of hormones than those present in hormonal contraception in order to prevent implantation. (See this link for more information.)
Abortion supporters view abortion and abortion-causing drugs as “health care.” Yet thanks to the court’s ruling, CEA members will now be free to abide by the truth: that abortion is never healthcare nor medically necessary, and that “human life, from the moment of conception, is sacred,” as stated in one of CEA’s core ethical convictions.
Formed in 2016 in the wake of the Obama administration’s punitive targeting of the Little Sisters of the Poor and other faith-based organizations who protested Obamacare’s mandates, the Christian Employers Alliance “unites and equips Christian employers with advocacy, practical resources, and collective impact opportunities for the well-being of employees, organizations, and communities for God’s glory,” according to its website. Membership is open to companies, non-profits, schools/universities, and churches.
“Christian Employers provide millions of jobs across America. Providing excellent healthcare for our employees the reflects our commitment to promote and protect life is essential to our values. We are pleased that the federal court has ruled to protect the long standing constitutional right of religious freedom in the work place,” CEA President Jim Mischel said in a statement to Live Action News.
Some pro-life bioethicists have argued that emergency contraception can be used licitly in very specific cases; for instance, if used strictly to prevent ovulation after a sexual assault. In these cases, rather than preventing implantation of an already fertilized embryo, the drugs would prevent only ovulation — a process that would require, as the National Catholic Bioethics Center put it, “as much medical certainty as possible that ovulation can be prevented in the particular patient in question.”
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