- - Thursday, October 16, 2014

For almost 41 years, my organization has hosted a rally and march on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Perhaps you have seen us — as the largest pro-life gathering in the world — often in snowy and inclement weather, all coming together to rally and speak for those who can’t speak for themselves.

We are most known for our annual march, but we are a year-round, nonprofit organization with a staff of five whose purpose is to educate the public to provide protection and promote respect for the worth and dignity of all born and preborn human beings. To protect the life of the preborn is my life’s passion and my passion as president of March for Life. My colleagues feel the same.

However, our calling and purpose has been put on the line by Obamacare. Similar to Conestoga Wood Specialties and Hobby Lobby, March for Life holds that life begins at fertilization, or conception, and that certain drugs and devices included in Obamacare destroy life in its early stages. Those of us who work at March for Life ardently believe that we should not be forced to include such objectionable drugs and devices in our own health plan. It is for these serious reasons that we are currently engaged in litigation, and Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, on our behalf, have now filed the final papers in our lawsuit, March for Life v. Burwell.

We are different from the other organizations suing the government because our principles about life beginning at conception are based firmly, but merely, on natural law and science, not on a religious faith tenet. March for Life is not a religious organization. We are, however, an inherently pro-life organization. In fact, it is for this very reason of defending life from the moment of conception that we were founded and continue to exist, and it’s why we feel compelled to challenge the health care law’s objectionable mandate.

March for Life began in 1973 as a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which made abortion legal throughout the country. The founders of the March did not want this sad anniversary to go unnoticed, so the following year they organized a peaceful protest around the anniversary of the Supreme Court decisions. Because they believed that Roe and Doe would be reversed, the March organizers did not anticipate that their human rights protest would continue year after year. Similarly, they did not expect March for Life to grow to become the largest annual pro-life gathering in the world, attracting literally hundreds of thousands of Americans — in large part, young people — to Washington, D.C. every year.

The organization’s articles of incorporation state that March for Life exists for the purpose “to provide protection and promote respect for the worth and dignity of all born and preborn human beings.” It further clarifies that a human being’s life begins at the time of conception. In short, March for Life was founded and has existed for close to 41 years precisely to oppose the destruction of human life at all stages before birth.

A point that is worth addressing is the abortifacient capacity of many of the drugs and devices included in the mandate. Activists have spread tremendous misinformation to deny this, especially in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision. Abortion advocates are desperately seeking to downplay the known and recorded mechanisms of action and the basic science behind such devices and drugs that March for Life finds objectionable.

Much of the misinformation hinges on what is known as “implantation,” which occurs 7-10 days following fertilization. This is the moment that a tiny, developing baby attaches onto his or her mother’s uterus. Many “contraceptive” drugs and devices have mechanisms of action that prevent implantation and thereby destroy the developing child. At least one of the drugs included in the mandate, ella, a so-called “week after” pill, can also destroy a developing baby after it has implanted itself in its mother’s uterus. It does so by starving it of necessary proteins.

Whatever you think about the health care law, most can agree that there is a tremendous difference between the prevention of life and the destruction of life. March for Life should not be forced to cover items that destroy life. To do so undercuts and attacks the very core of our mission and paints a foreboding picture for the future of freedom for all Americans to live according to their conscience.

Jeanne Monahan is president of March for Life, which Alliance Defending Freedom is representing in the pro-life organization’s lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s abortion-pill mandate.

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