WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, Oregon Right to Life (ORTL), the state affiliate of National Right to Life, sued for relief from Oregon’s requirement that employee health insurance plans provide coverage for abortion.
“As a pro-life organization, no one questions that we hold deep moral objections to abortion,” said ORTL executive director Lois Anderson. “We are only asking for what every American expects, to be free to live according to our conscience and operate our organization according to our sincerely held belief that unborn human beings deserve protection from the violence of abortion.”
The requirement was part of Oregon’s 2017 Reproductive Health Equity Act (“RHEA”). The RHEA is like California’s abortion-coverage mandate which federal courts recently held violates the religious liberty of objecting churches under the Supreme Court’s Fulton v. City of Philadelphia (2021) decision.
In Fulton, the Supreme Court determined that if the government allows exceptions to laws burdening religious belief, the government must show a “compelling” reason for not allowing exceptions for religious objectors. In Fulton and the California church cases, the courts held that there was no compelling reason to deny exceptions for the religious objectors.
James Bopp, Jr., general counsel for National Right to Life and counsel for ORTL, says: “Forcing pro-life Oregon Right to Life to fund abortion insurance is outrageous. Legislative testimony made ORTL and its opposition known to the legislature, but it didn’t care. Fortunately, the First Amendment protects ORTL. ORTL should get an exception from Oregon’s abortion-insurance mandate just as California churches recently got one from California’s abortion-insurance mandate.”