Archive for the ‘First Amendment’ Category

Supreme Court Considering Priests for Life Case Against HHS Mandate

Monday, August 17th, 2015

PriestsForLife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: August 17, 2015

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK — The Supreme Court will meet on September 28 to consider whether or not it will hear Priests for Life’s challenge to the HHS mandate.

In the lead case for the Churches and religious non-profits objecting to the HHS mandate, “Priests for Life, et al. v. Department of Health and Human Services,” the Court consolidated the Priests for Life petition with that of the Archdiocese of Washington. Petitioners in the Priests for Life case include not only the organization, but also, in their personal capacities, Dr. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr. and full-time Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life, as well as Janet Morana, co-founder of Silent No More, and Fr. Frank Pavone.

The Obama administration’s response to the joint petitions contends that the new “accommodation” for faith-based ministries does not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Robert Muise, co-founder and senior co-counsel of the American Freedom Law Center, said that, “In arguing, contrary to Priests for Life’s contentions, that it would be consistent with Catholic Church teaching for Priests for Life to comply with the challenged regulations, the government is taking on the impermissible role of deciding what does or does not violate Church teaching and then asking the Court to exceed both its judicial function and its judicial competence by confirming the government’s position. If the Court accepts this argument, it will destroy religious freedom as we know it.”

Priests for Life will submit its reply to the government’s objections on August 26.

Father Pavone said the government’s arguments are unpersuasive and dangerous:

“They are saying, in effect, that they know better than we do what violates our faith. It’s ridiculous, and it undermines all that American was founded on. It is the believer who believes, and the government is supposed to respect his right to believe, not control it.”

A Friend of the Court Brief supporting the petition of Priests for Life in this case has been filed, with the assistance of Americans United for Life, by the following groups: Association of American Physicians & Surgeons; American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Christian Medical Association; National Catholic Bioethics Center; Alabama Physicians for Life; National Association of Pro-life Nurses, and the National Association of Catholic Nurses.

Attorneys at the American Freedom Law Center have indicated that because Priests for Life, in addition to being a religious non-profit entity, is particularly well-suited to challenge the HHS mandate, because the very mission of the organization is to protect human life from precisely the activities that the mandate wants to expand.

To read the government’s response to Priests for Life’s petition, go to http://www.priestsforlife.org/hhsmandate/15-08-supreme-court.pdf To see all the documentation and commentary on this case, visit www.IStandWithPFL.com.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Dr. Alveda King Reminds Mayor, Fire Chief: “It All Started With An Apple.”

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2015

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

ATLANTA, GA – The growing controversies surrounding 1st Amendment religious and freedom of speech rights are reaching fever pitch, now in Atlanta between the Mayor and Fire Chief.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” -First Amendment to the Constitution.

Dr. Alveda King, Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life states: “A current classic example of miscommunication of these truths recently occurred in Atlanta between two beloved and respected leaders: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran over the seemingly never ending debate over sexuality”.

1Corinthians 16:13-14 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.

These conflicts over religious freedom are not limited to issues of sexuality. For instance, in an ongoing lawsuit against the HHS Mandate, Priests for Life is doing exactly as instructed in 1Corinthians. Not only is it important to stand firm in the faith but we must stand up against the limiting of our 1st Amendment rights. This is especially important when it comes to the harmful effects of contraception, abortion and reproductive rights.

In fact, contraception and abortion have done so much damage to our nation and world that Priests for Life just last week announced a year-long initiative: “Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion.” The initiative seeks to bring healing to everyone impacted by abortion by concentrating on a different segment of the population each month.

“In all matters of conflict, love, dignity, clarity and communication are key, even when viewpoints differ,” added King.

As my uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “We must learn to live together as brothers [and sisters] or perish as fools.”

My father, Rev. A. D. King, speaking from Acts 17:26, said, “We are one blood, one human race.”

“From one blood GOD created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall and he determined their boundaries.”

Dr. King has posted a developing commentary: It All Started with an Apple which is available at http://priestsforlife.org/library/5154-and-it-all-started-with-an-apple

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Fr. Frank Pavone Cheers Supreme Court’s McCullen v. Coakley Decision – “A Victory for Free Speech”

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

PriestsForLife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 26, 2014

Contact: Eugene Vigil
347-286-7277

Staten Island, NY – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, applauded today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision declaring Massachusetts’s law prohibiting pro-lifers from coming within 35 feet of an abortion clinic to be unconstitutional.

“The bubble zone of government imposed silence around abortion clinics has burst,” Fr. Pavone declared. “Today’s decision is a huge rip in the veil with which the abortion lobby has tried to cloak the truth about what abortion is and what abortion does to women. And the truth is that abortion destroys lives – physically and emotionally.

“The Supreme Court has struck a victory for free speech, for the Constitution, and for women and their babies.”

Fr. Pavone added, “I was happy to speak with Eleanor McCullen the other night in regard to this case and look forward to continuing to stand with her and so many other activists around the country who go to these abortion facilities day in and day out.

Alveda King, niece of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and full-time director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life, stated, “It was wrong for governments to protect segregationists who denied the rights of others and denied the truth of equality. It’s wrong for governments today to protect abortionists who deny the rights of babies and deny the truth about abortion to women. The truth will not be ‘bubbled out.’ Let my people go!”

Bryan Kemper, Priests for Life Youth Outreach Director, said of today’s ruling, “The SCOTUS decision to strike down the Massachusetts bubble zone is a victory with great impact for pro-life youth. More and more youth are joining the fight to end abortion every day and outreach to abortion mills is an important aspect of this battle.”

Priests for Life will issue a more detailed statement about this decision after having analyzed it more fully.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Fr. Frank Pavone on McCullen v. Coakley – Massachusetts Law Violates First Amendment in Order to Further Violate the Right to Life

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Priests for Life

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: January 15, 2014

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

STATEN ISLAND, NY — Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said the case of McCullen v. Coakley, which is being argued today before the U.S. Supreme Court, illustrates how “abortion perverts justice.”

“So called ‘bubble zone’ laws are the fruit of abortion’s poisonous tree,” stated Fr. Pavone. “They violate pro-lifers’ First Amendment free speech rights in order to protect the profits of abortionists who violate the right to life of unborn babies. They are a wrong committed to perpetuate another wrong.”

“It’s plainly discriminatory for the government to say that abortion supporters can speak freely at a given place, but pro-lifers cannot,” added Fr. Pavone. “Then again, bubble zone laws and abortion are based on the same illicit notion, namely that some people have rights and some people don’t.”

In McCullen v. Coakley, the plaintiffs are challenging a Massachusetts law that bars pro-life sidewalk counselors from coming within 35 feet of an abortion clinic entrance.

Fr. Pavone added, “When a person has a reasonable chance of saving a life, it is not only morally permissible to break the law regarding the bubble-zone, but it is virtuous to do so. If this law is not struck down, I’ll come and violate it myself.”

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Priests for Life Wins Emergency Relief From the Unjust HHS Mandate

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Priests for Life

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: December 31, 2013

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

WASHINGTON, D.C. –4:58 pm An emergency injunction granted just moments ago in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit means that Priests for Life will not have to obey the contraception mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act as its appeal is being heard. It also means that, the day after tomorrow, Priests for Life will not have to cancel health insurance for its employees.

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said he is grateful his organization is free, temporarily at least, from having to comply with the unjust mandate or face steep fines by failing to comply when the ministry’s new insurance policy goes into effect on Wednesday.

“We would not have complied with this mandate in any case, as it promotes the very culture of death that Priests for Life works to combat,” Father Pavone said. “We are grateful for this temporary relief and look forward to a permanent injunction once the appeal is fully heard.”

“Our lawsuit was among the very first ones in the country and the necessity to launch it shows that religious freedom in America is in grave danger. We have to take action.”

On Dec. 19, Priests for Life learned that the judge in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia had ruled in favor of the government. Within an hour Priests for Life filed for the emergency injunction that was granted today.

Father Pavone said that what the Obama administration has tried to do through the HHS mandate – which he called a “blatant act of tyranny” – is to give the federal government the power to determine what is and what isn’t important in an individual’s religion; that is not the government’s role.

Father Pavone concluded, “There have already been significant victories in the courts against the HHS mandate, and we have no doubt that Priests for Life ultimately will prevail in this historic fight.”

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Fr. Pavone: ‘We will not obey this mandate’ Priests for Life files appeal after Obamacare lawsuit dismissed

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Priests for Life

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: December 19, 2013

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK – Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement today after learning that Priests for Life’s lawsuit against the HHS contraception mandate was dismissed by a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

“Today, the judge in our case in District Court in Washington D.C. ruled against us regarding the HHS mandate. Because the mandate would go into effect for us on January 1, we filed, within an hour of the judge’s decision, an emergency request with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit, to provide an injunction to maintain the status quo, protecting us from the mandate until our appeal to the same court can be heard and decided.

“The judge’s decision today is a complete contradiction to Judge Cogan’s decision of just a few days ago in New York for organizations situated similarly to us and using exactly the same arguments.

“The New York decision recognized that the religious nonprofits were being forced to cooperate with evil. Our judge, instead, claims that we are not being forced to cooperate with evil. Our judge’s decision is wrong, and we are confident of victory in our appeal.

“Meanwhile, injunction or not, we will absolutely not obey, cooperate with, or tolerate in any way this unjust mandate. As Scripture says, we will obey God rather than men.”

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Priests for Life to Have its Day in Court!

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Priests for Life

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 5, 2013

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Priest for Life’s legal challenge to the HHS mandate will be on the docket Monday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
Priests for Life’s attorneys from the American Freedom Law Center and attorneys for the Obama administration are asking the court to decide on the constitutionality of the HHS mandate.

Plaintiffs in the case are Priests for Life as well as individual plaintiffs Fr. Frank Pavone, Janet Morana, and Dr. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Priests for Life contends that forcing the ministry to authorize coverage for contraception, abortifacient drugs and sterilization services to the participants and beneficiaries of its healthcare plan is a violation of its constitutional right to religious freedom and of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

“With this mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act, the government is not only violating our religious beliefs; they are also taking it upon themselves to tell us what the boundaries of those religious beliefs are. It is not up to the government to tell us when our conscience hurts; on the contrary, it’s up to us as believers to tell the government.”

Father Pavone is confident in the outcome of this case, and the judgment, which is expected before January 1, when the Priests for Life insurance plan is renewed, could be among the very first judgments rendered for religious non-profits on the merits of the arguments.

According to Robert Muise, American Freedom Law Center co-founder and senior counsel, “The question for the court on Monday is not whether compliance with the contraception mandate can be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church. That’s a question of religious conscience for the plaintiffs, and they have concluded that their legal and religious obligations are incompatible. Consequently, the contraception mandate forces them to do what their religion tells them they must not do in direct violation of the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

Father Pavone and Janet Morana, Executive Director of Priests for Life, will travel to D.C. Monday to be in the courtroom and will be available for comment.

As he has said since filing the initial lawsuit in February 2012 – the fourth to be filed against the mandate – Father Pavone reiterated that, regardless of the judge’s findings, “We will not obey this mandate. We do not adapt to injustice. We oppose it.”

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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ACLU Asks Federal Court to File “Friend of the Court” Brief in Support of Obama Administration’s Contraception Mandate

Friday, October 25th, 2013

AFLC Logo

For Immediate Release
October 23, 2013

Contact: Robert Muise, Esq.
rmuise@aflc.us
(734) 635-3756

Washington, D.C. (October 23, 2013) — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which bills itself as the “nation’s guardian of liberty,” filed a motion in D.C. federal court on Monday, asking that the court grant it permission to submit a “friend of the court” brief in favor of the recently announced regulations enforcing the Obamacare contraceptive services mandate against religious organizations. In the case at issue, Priests for Life, a New York-based Catholic organization, its National Director, Father Frank Pavone, and two Priests for Life employees, including Dr. Alveda King, the niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., have challenged the contraception mandate, which requires certain non-exempt religious employers to provide insurance plans that promote and facilitate the use of contraceptives, abortifacients, and related services.

Even though two of the plaintiffs in the case, including Dr. King, are women, the ACLU is arguing that forcing religious organizations to abide by the mandate – even in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs – would promote gender equality and prevent discrimination against female employees. The ACLU motion, which purports to argue for “gender equality,” does not explain why women who have religious objections to the Obamacare contraception mandate are not deserving of the First Amendment’s religious liberty protections.

The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC), a national nonprofit Judeo-Christian law firm, which is representing the plaintiffs, filed an opposition late yesterday to the ACLU’s motion, arguing that it is facially deficient and meritless, in part because the ACLU seeks to intercede on behalf of the Obama administration, which, through the Department of Justice and its army of lawyers, has already mounted a vigorous defense of the mandate. In addition, AFLC pointed out that ACLU’s notorious pro-abortion and anti-Christian bias would serve no purpose in the case’s adjudication.

David Yerushalmi, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel, commented: “The ACLU has a longstanding history of filing amicus briefs to further its political agenda and fundraising objectives. Here, the ACLU seeks to rehash the same incoherent arguments already posited by the Department of Justice in the nearly 100 pages of briefing. Indeed, the ACLU’s arguments are a pale version of the government’s brief, but with the literary angst of a political lobbyist flexing its strong bias in favor of the contraception mandate. In effect, the ACLU brief is little
more than a ‘me too’ underscored by a ‘we really mean it!’”

Robert Muise, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel, commented: “This is not the first time the ACLU has engaged in the abusive practice of filing – or seeking to file – redundant and overly partisan briefs. Indeed, it is rather ironic that a so-called ‘guardian of liberty’ elevates its political ideology above the Constitution. Here, the ACLU is siding with Obama and his attack on the First Amendment in order to support its secular, liberal objectives, which ultimately promote the culture of death.”

Fr. Frank Pavone commented: “I’m not surprised by the ACLU’s attempt here to line up against Priests for Life. This is yet another example of how far removed from ‘civil liberties’ that organization has become. Whether their amicus brief is accepted or not, they are on the losing side of this case, which is all about preserving liberty.”

The case, Priests for Life, et al. v. the Department of Health and Human Services, et al., is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The American Freedom Law Center is a Judeo-Christian law firm that fights for faith and freedom. It accomplishes its mission through litigation, public policy initiatives, and related activities. It does not charge for its services. The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. Visit us at www.americanfreedomlawcenter.org.

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After First Amendment Victory, Priests for Life Youth Leader to Return to Ohio College

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Bryan Kemper in Sidney

Priests for Life Youth Outreach Director Bryan Kemper, who was banned from holding a pro-life sign during a peaceful protest rally at Sinclair Community College last year, will return to the Dayton, Ohio school tomorrow, after the college agreed to uphold its students’ First Amendment rights.

In June 2012, during a Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally – one of more than 100 simultaneous rallies that Priests for Life helped organize across the country – Kemper was among those who were told by Dayton police that they could not hold up signs describing their opposition to government-mandated free contraception.

The Thomas More Society filed a federal lawsuit against the college on behalf of Kemper and two students. As a result of the suit, the college agreed in January to revise its campus access policy, which now stipulates that “any group may use, without prior notification, any publicly accessible outdoor area” (with some exceptions) for the purposes of speaking, non-verbal expressive conduct, the distribution of literature, displaying signage, and circulating petitions.”

Go to www.priestsforlife.org/deddens-v-warren.pdf to read the full settlement agreement.

Tomorrow, at the invitation of the school’s Traditional Values Club, Kemper will address students in the school library, from 1:30 to 5 p.m.

“This case has implications for the whole country, especially those of us who express opinions that aren’t politically correct in our current climate,” said Kemper, the founder of Stand True Prolife Outreach. “But it was also important to me, personally, because my son Jaemison, who was 7 at the time, was with me, and I wanted him to see that we can fight against injustice, and we can win.”

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, commented: “Free speech is protected precisely because it can make people so angry that they will try to shut up the speaker. This case shows that the protection still works, and we need to use it!”

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Black leaders release new report, urging DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

The National Black Prolife Coalition, has released a new report on the harmful impact of abortion. Visit the website for the latest on the report which was released on Capitol Hill. Click here National Black Prolife Colation

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