“Judge Neil Gorsuch had science and the law on his side when he addressed the life-ending properties of drugs mandated by Obamacare,”
noted AUL’s Deanna Wallace.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (02-16-17) – Americans United for Life Acting President and Senior Counsel Clarke Forsythe said that AUL supports the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, in part, because of his sound legal analysis in Hobby Lobby’s challenge to the coercive HHS Mandate, noting that Gorsuch addressed “an issue of fundamental fairness, whether people should be forced to act against their consciences on issues of life and death.” In an op-ed at The Federalist today, AUL staff attorney Deanna Wallace details important issues in the Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor cases for which abortion advocacy groups are attacking Judge Gorsuch.

Wallace observed that healthcare was not the heart of the matter but rather “whether or not the Affordable Care Act forced these groups to facilitate insurance coverage for certain life-ending drugs and devices, in violation of their First Amendment conscience rights. In both cases, Gorsuch and a majority of the Supreme Court upheld a long line of precedent respecting the fundamental right of all Americans not to be forced to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

She noted, “While much of the media focused on conscience rights and whether people of faith should comply with the law, missing from much of the commentary was a discussion of how some drugs and devices have the capacity to end unborn life and the political calculations that forced such drugs into the Obamacare mandates.”

“From the very beginning of the litigation over the coercive HHS Mandate, abortion activist groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL erroneously depicted Hobby Lobby and the nuns of the Little Sisters, as anti-birth control and anti-science. This simply is not true.  Americans United for Life filed multiple ‘friend of the court’ briefs in these cases, demonstrating that it is scientifically undisputed that a new human organism comes into existence at fertilization and that some forms of contraception, including so-called ‘emergency contraception,’ can work to end that human life.  Using these scientific truths, AUL further argued – and the Supreme Court agreed – that forcing coverage of these drugs and devices violates conscience rights.”

An important distinction that lies at the heart of the scientific debate surrounding this issue is the application of the term “contraception” to drugs and devices with post-fertilization mechanisms of action that may end a developing and distinct human being’s life by preventing implantation. “This was no accident,” Wallace observed.

She wrote: “Abortion advocates took a leadership role in shaping the list of contraception that would be covered in all health insurance plans and ignored the objections of groups like Americans United for Life, which pointed out the life-ending properties of some of these contraceptive drugs and devices , as well as the potential violations of conscience rights that could arise if their coverage was mandated.”

The mislabeling of life-ending drugs as contraception was crucial to the case. When Gorsuch acknowledged in his concurring opinion that the HHS Mandate compelled Hobby Lobby to subsidize payment “for drugs or devices that can have the effect of destroying a fertilized human egg,” he not only had science on his side, he also had the law on his side.

“Americans United for Life urges Americans to contact their Senators asking them to vote to confirm Judge Gorsuch for the Supreme Court,” said Forsythe. “In the Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor case, Judge Gorsuch respected the fundamental conscience rights of all Americans, and showed the judgment and temperament we need on the Supreme Court.