Pro-Life Democrats Oppose HHS Abortifacient Mandate

By Fred Lucas | March 26, 2013 | 5:03 PM EDT

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

( – Pro-life Democrats are arguing that organizations including private businesses should be exempt from the Obama administration mandate that employers pay for the cost of abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization of employees.

Democrats for Life of America filed the briefs in the cases of Newland v. Sebelius in the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius in the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, respectively.

The Democratic group is arguing that private entities, including for-profit businesses, should not be required to cover drugs when these drugs may cause abortions of new embryos. The group cites emergency contraceptives such as Plan B and Ella that cause the abortion of new embryos, but the group supports coverage of contraception.

The organization stressed that it supported the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, but opposes the Department of Health and Human Services mandate.

“Our nation has a longstanding and pervasive tradition of accommodating conscientious objections to facilitating abortion,” Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America, said in a statement. “DFLA was proud to support the ACA after we were assured that conscience rights under the ACA were protected. The Executive Order specifically spells out that fact. The administration should hold to its commitment.”

Democrats for Life argue in the brief that the HHS rule violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Further, the group said it violates Obamacare itself, in that President Barack Obama signed an executive order re-affirming the health law would protect the conscience rights of all Americans and prevent federal funding for abortions.

One of the signatures on the brief was that of former Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who fought for pro-life measures in the bill before agreeing to Obama’s executive order. Last September, Stupak told he had “no regrets” about voting for Obamacare.

Tom Berg, a professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, and DFLA board member, helped write the brief.

“Both federal and state laws have repeatedly made broad accommodation for conscientious objections to abortion,” Berg said in a statement. “The right to refuse to facilitate abortions has protected businesses as well as individuals, and it has protected against many forms of facilitation beyond participating in the abortion directly. It should cover this case, too.”