Archive for the ‘First Amendment’ Category

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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Police Stop Prayers Outside White House

Monday, October 1st, 2012





Dozens of people have already been arrested over the weekend for kneeling and praying in front of the White House.

ActsFive29, a group of like-minded, pro-life defenders launched the D.C. prayer rally knowing their members could indeed be arrested, but asserting it’s worth it, because, “The future of religious freedom in America is at risk.”

The group claims Acts 5:29 – “But Peter and the Apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men’” – as their basis for protesting the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services mandate requiring employer-provided health insurance cover birth control measures.

“Obamacare will force institutions, churches and individuals to purchase abortion-inducing drugs and pay for sterilization and abortion in direct opposition to their beliefs, conscience and historic teachings of the Church,” says the group. “With the recent Supreme Court ruling affirming Obamacare, the future of religious freedom in America is at risk and in grave danger of being entirely wiped out.”

On Saturday afternoon, 22 members of the group knelt on the sidewalk in prayer and were arrested by Capitol Police, with the prayer rally (and possible arrests) planned to continue through Oct. 2.

The group says that the only basis for their arrest is that the sidewalk in front of the White House is a “restricted zone” for free speech.

Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life told WND, “We have stood up for life and religious freedom in hundreds of cities. Today we do so at the president’s house. I am delighted to be here.”

The group says that the president is “dictating to Christians how they should live their faith” and that they are taking a stand, while risking arrest for doing so.

Bryan Kemper, director of youth outreach at Priests for Life, told WND that he was arrested on Saturday afternoon for kneeling on the sidewalk near the White House while holding a sign that said, “Stand Up for Religious Freedom.”

“I am here today as a father of seven children who is willing to lose my freedom to protect my children’s future freedom,” he told WND. “I was arrested yesterday when I knelt and prayed holding a sign for religious freedom, and I will kneel and pray again today, risking arrest again.”

He told WND that this issue is vital for all American’s to understand.

“We must take this stand now, or we will have no freedom to do so tomorrow,” he said. “I will obey God rather than man.”

He finished, “The HHS mandate violates God’s law and forces us to sin, and I will not comply.”

Brandi Swindell, National Director of Generation Life, a pro-life group dedicated to mobilizing activists, students, artists, musicians and young professionals to end abortion and spread the message of sexual integrity, told WND that she had a “divine appointment” in Washington today.

“Three of us chose to attend church at St. John’s this morning,” Swindell said, “and at the last minute found out that Kathleen Sebelius, the architect of the HHS Mandate was holding an adult forum between services.”

Swindell told WND that she got the secretary’s attention, and in front of a packed auditorium asked her, “Why are you forcing the American people to pay for abortion-inducing drugs that harm women? It’s a severe violation of religious freedom.”

The secretary ignored the question and left the stage.

Video of the exchange, and the critical reaction of other church attendees, can be seen [at http://www.wnd.com/2012/09/d-c-police-stop-prayers-outside-white-house/]

Swindell told WND that just four years ago she was arrested and deported from communist China for standing up for religious freedom there.

“I stood in Tiananmen Square holding a banner that said, ‘Jesus Christ is King’ and was arrested,” Swindell said. “I never imagined that just four years later I’d be standing in front of the White House risking the very same thing.”

She told WND that she intended to hold the same banner declaring “Jesus Christ is King” in front of the White House Sunday afternoon, and fully expected to be arrested for it.

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, says of the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rally, being held across the street from the White House, “For the faith community, we can never be silent or indifferent when it comes to matters of justice, human rights and religious freedom.”

He continued, “As people of principle and faith, we must purpose in our hearts that we will never comply with an unjust or immoral government mandate [that] would require us to violate our conscience, the teachings of the Scriptures and the historic teachings of the church.”

“We want to make it clear to President Obama and all public officials,” he concluded, “that we would rather spend time in jail than to be forced into complying with a mandate that crushes religious freedom.”






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The Mandate is In Effect: Stand With Us!

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012





FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: August 1, 2012

Contact: Andre Kim
347-286-7277

A Message from Fr. Frank Pavone

Dear Friends,

The unjust and unconstitutional HHS mandate, against which Priests for Life and 57 other plaintiffs have sued the federal government, takes effect today. We at Priests for Life do not qualify for the year that the government has offered certain groups to “adapt” to the mandate. And we are not “religious” enough for this Administration.

But regardless of all that, we do not adapt to injustice; we oppose it.

Therefore today, on behalf of our organization and on behalf of myself personally, I announce our conscientious objection to this mandate.

Priests for Life has the highest respect for civil government and advocates the observance of all just laws. But this policy is unjust, and today I reaffirm our intention to disobey it.

I issued the following memo this morning at 12:01am to all our employees, consultants and prospective employees:

August 1, 2012

Dear Priests for Life Staff and Consultants,

The HHS mandate, about which we have been educating people since January and against which we have launched a federal lawsuit, goes into effect for Priests for Life today.

Whether or not the government decides to eventually impose fines on us when our health insurance policy is renewed in a few months is not the issue. The issue is that as of today, as far as the government is concerned, we have to provide health insurance coverage for practices that are morally objectionable.

In order to avoid the slightest semblance of scandal, or compromise of our principles, and lest any employee should imagine that we would ever consent to provide coverage for actions that destroy human life, I want to make it clear to you today that we will disobey this mandate. Neither Priests for Life as an organization, nor any one of our administrative team or Board of Directors, nor I personally, consent to provide, pay for, advocate, counsel, refer, or in any way tolerate or cooperate with any process, plan, exchange of money or services, or any other activity that would enable a person to engage in the use of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, or sterilization.

We reaffirm that our mission is precisely to eliminate abortion in every form, and we reaffirm our trust in you that you share that mission and are likewise offended by this mandate. We will therefore stand together in resisting it, and in our confidence that we will prevail, by persevering in prayer and action, in our lawsuit.

Thank you,
Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director

Having officially communicated this memo to our staff, I likewise invite all our supporters across the country and around the world to stand with us, and let their voices be heard by joining our Citizens’ Amicus Brief and by doubling their commitment to help our many initiatives succeed, especially those related to fostering the political responsibility of citizens.

Today is also the filing deadline for the Administration to introduce its motion to dismiss our case against the HHS, Priests for Life vs. Sebelius, as they have already indicated their intention to do. Our lead counsel in the case has advised us that he is confident our case has addressed the issues in such a way that we will prevail against this motion.

Sincerely,
Fr. Frank Pavone

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






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PFL Youth Outreach Director at center of First Amendment lawsuit

Friday, July 6th, 2012





FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: July 6, 2012

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

Priests for Life Youth Outreach Director Bryan Kemper is a plaintiff in a new First Amendment lawsuit filed against Sinclair Community College in Ohio and its campus police.

On June 8, Kemper, the founder of Stand True Ministry, was a speaker at the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally at the college. The rally was one of 100 such rallies taking place across the country that day to protest the Obama administration’s mandate that all employers have to provide free contraception, abortifacient drugs and sterilization services for their workers.

Campus police would not allow demonstrators to hold their signs at the rally, continuing a tradition of First Amendment violations that, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), has been going on at the school for 22 years.

“Schools are meant for the free expression of ideas, but Sinclair has taken the stance that its students must check their free speech rights at the door,” said Peter Breen executive director and legal counsel of the Thomas More Society, which filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on behalf of two Sinclair students and Kemper.

“It is imperative that we fight for our rights to not be taken away or it will be almost impossible to fight to get them back,” Kemper said. “I am fighting this injustice not just for me, but for my son Jaemison, who was there watching the rights of so many being trampled.

“Jaemison may only be 7 years old,” Kemper continued, “but he and his siblings will someday face a situation when their rights and liberties may be challenged. I want him to have the courage and the means to stand true when that day comes and to know that his father refused to cower in the face of adversity.”

Priests for Life organized the well-attended New York City Stand Up Rally, at which attendees, like those all over the country, were able to express themselves with signs and placards. Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said of the Ohio situation:

“Thank you, Sinclair Community College and police department. There are few better ways to motivate pro-life people than to tell them to shut up. I’m not sure if it’s our message or the First Amendment that you don’t fully understand, but we’re going to see to it that you learn more about both.”

To view the lawsuit, go to http://scr.bi/MaypVf

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






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