WASHINGTON – On Monday, August 31, Judge Richard J. Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that March for Life, a secular nonprofit, was entitled to an exemption from the contraception requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The decision marks the first time that an entity was granted an exemption to the law based on moral, but not explicitly religious grounds. Following this decision Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, released this statement:

“For those of us who have tracked religious freedom cases over the years, this ruling is as disappointing as it is unsurprising. It sheds light on the fact that the relentless fight to gut the Affordable Care Act and its reproductive health provisions have never been about religious freedom or protecting the rights of religious communities. Too often the onslaught of alleged religious exemption claims have simply been attempts of individuals to opt-out of legislation that they find disagreeable. To the extent that religious exemptions have a place in our laws, they should be narrowly tailored to meet the needs of explicitly religious entities.

“As a person of faith, I take profound exception to the abuse of deeply held religious convictions for pure political gain. While Judge Leon’s decision will no doubt give fodder to those seeking to undermine the rights of women, workers, LGBT Americans and racial and religious minorities – I hope it will serve as yet another wake-up call about the need to reexamine how we protect religious freedom in America.”

Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.