Archive for the ‘HHS Mandate’ 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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Priests for Life granted stay in challenge against HHS mandate

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

PriestsForLife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 10, 2015

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK — Priests for Life will not have to obey the HHS mandate – or pay steep fines for refusing to do so – after a federal appeals court granted the pro-life ministry a stay late today.

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said: “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted our motion to stay the mandate, meaning that the injunction protecting us from the mandate will remain in place while the Supreme Court considers our case.”

On Tuesday, the ministry’s attorneys filed the cert petition asking the Supreme Court to hear its case, on the merits, challenging the HHS mandate, after the appeals court refused a petition to give the case a hearing before the full court.

“Without the stay granted today, we would have been in the position of being fined for failing to comply with the mandate,” Father Pavone said. “But no matter what happens, we will not obey the mandate, nor will we pay fines to the government.”

To read the petition, and to find more information on the case, see 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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Priests for Life files cert petition with U.S. Supreme Court in case against HHS Mandate

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

PriestsForLife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 9, 2015

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK — Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, today announced that the ministry’s lawsuit against the HHS mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act has been filed with the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Our attorneys filed today our ‘cert petition’ with the U.S. Supreme Court. This means we are asking the Court to hear our case, on the merits, challenging the HHS mandate.

“We had to take this step after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled against us in November, and then a few weeks ago denied our petition for an en banc hearing,” explained Fr. Pavone.

“We believe we can win this case at the High Court,” Fr. Pavone continued, “but let it be clear that we also believe in a higher court, and that no matter what happens, we will obey God rather than men.”

To read the petition, and to find more information on the case, see 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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Lead Nonprofit Case against HHS Mandate Moves Forward

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

PriestsForLife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: December 15, 2014

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

Washington, DC – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, announced today that its case is moving forward in the federal courts to challenge the HHS mandate. The fourth such case to be introduced, back at the start of 2012, the Priests for Life lawsuit will now be appealed to the full body of judges of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, where a three-judge panel issued an adverse ruling in November. “We are determined to go all the way to the Supreme Court, which we are convinced we will need to do in due time. But what we are doing now is the next step in that process. Ultimately, no matter how the courts rule, we will not obey the mandate, no matter what the consequences.”

The Court has consolidated the case brought by the Archdiocese of Washington (which case includes Catholic University of America, Thomas Aquinas College, and other plaintiffs) with that of Priests for Life. This consolidated case is at the lead of the religious non-profit cases against the mandate.

Lead attorney Robert Muise of the American Freedom Law Center explained, “Priests for Life is requesting that the D.C. Circuit rehear the case en banc (full court) because the panel’s decision directly conflicts with the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Hobby Lobby. Just as in Hobby Lobby, Priests for Life believes that if it complies with the regulation, it will be facilitating immoral conduct in violation of its Catholic faith. And just as in Hobby Lobby, if Priests for Life does not comply, it will pay a heavy price. That is the very definition of an unlawful burden on religious exercise. And should the full court refuse to rehear the case, we will seek review in the Supreme Court. This battle is not over.”

The filing of the case with the Court will take place today or tomorrow.

Fr. Pavone added, “We have been receiving statements of support from priests across the nation indicating that they stand with us in this battle for religious freedom. They know that this is not only a matter of the HHS mandate, but of the principle behind everything they do each day: the freedom of the Church to exist and function in society according to her beliefs.”

To keep up with the Priests for Life case and the arguments and talking points involved, see 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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Ruling on HHS Mandate: “As Contrary to Religious Freedom as You Can Get

Friday, November 14th, 2014

PriestsForLife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: November 14, 2014

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement today to the decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which ruled against Priests for Life’s challenge to the HHS mandate in the case Priests for Life et al. vs. US Dept. of HHS et al.

“As we have said from the beginning, Priests for Life will not obey the HHS mandate. To ask a group of priests to cooperate in the government’s plan to expand access to birth control and abortion-inducing drugs is about as contrary to religious freedom as you can get.

In the interim, the government has provided what it calls an ‘accommodation’ by which we opt-out of the obligation to provide such coverage. In principle, of course, this moves in the right direction. The conscience of every American should be accommodated by law, so that government never forces anyone to violate his or her conscience.

But the problem at issue in our case — in which the Archdiocese of Washington, Catholic University of America, Thomas Aquinas College, and other plaintiffs are also joined — is that the mechanism the government has provided for us to opt out is, in itself, objectionable to our religious and moral convictions. We have been pointing this out from the outset of this case.

If the government is sincere in wanting to enable us to opt out of something because it violates our moral conscience, it is reasonable for us to insist that we be given a way to opt out that does not itself violate our moral conscience. And whether it violates our conscience is for us to say, not the government.

Today’s decision states that our moral objection to the government’s current ‘opt-out’ mechanism is not their problem.

The decision mischaracterizes our objections. It says, “What Plaintiffs object to here are “the government’s independent actions in mandating contraceptive coverage, not to any action that the government has required [Plaintiffs] themselves to take.”’ That is not correct. What we object to are the actions the government is asking us to take. The decision later acknowledges that, but dismisses our objection as not being weighty enough.

What it boils down to is this: the government finds it hard to believe that we are objecting precisely to an action that lets us opt out of its plan to make it easier for our employees to get contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.

But the court’s own words today show why we object. The following two paragraphs from the decision capture why we continue to object and why we will not obey the regulations:

“Once the eligible organization expresses its desire to have no involvement in the practice to which it objects, the government ensures that a separation is effectuated and arranges for other entities to step in and fill the gap as required to serve the legislatively mandated regime.”

“Only if the eligible organizations communicate that they are dropping contraceptive coverage from the health insurance they have arranged for their employees will the government be able to ensure that the resultant gaps in employees’ coverage are otherwise filled. The government contends that its interests would be impaired if eligible organizations were entitled to exempt themselves from the contraceptive coverage requirement without notifying either HHS, or their insurers or TPAs.”

That’s the point. We refuse to take actions that are necessary to help the government “fill the gap” to provide drugs that kill babies and harm women. This decision admits that the action they are asking us to take does precisely that and is in fact necessary for that to happen. Therefore we will continue to refuse to obey the regulations, and we will appeal this decision to the Supreme Court.”

Janet Morana, Executive Director of Priests for Life and a personal plaintiff in the case added, “This decision praises the so-called benefits of contraception as if its well-documented negative health risks did not exist. Our objection to be any part of the government’s plan to make contraception more easily accessible is grounded not only in our respect for conscience and religion, but precisely in our regard for women and their health. The Pill, IUDs and sterilization devices like Essure are harming women every day.”

Alveda King, daughter of Rev. A.D. King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., full-time director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life, and also a personal plaintiff in the case, added, “In the interests of civil rights, which include the right of conscience to practice one’s faith regardless of how the government wants to define it, we will continue to pursue this case at the level of the Supreme Court. If my Uncle ML were still around, I have no doubt that he would be fully supportive of our efforts to secure freedom for every American to have his or her conscience free from government intrusion or reinterpretation.”

Robert Muise of the American Freedom Law Center, which represents Priests for Life in this case, stated, “This decision by the D.C. Circuit, a court that was recently packed by Obama through Harry Reid’s nuclear option, totally disregards the meaning of material cooperation as our Church teaches it. No doubt, contraception is a sacrament of the secular left, and this decision, which was authored by one of the recent Obama-appointed judges, is a tribute to it. Make no mistake, this battle is not over. We will continue our fight for religious freedom by challenging this decision in the U.S. Supreme Court.”

For more information on this case, on Priests for Life’s response, and what you can do, see 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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Priests for Life HHS Lawsuit Moves Forward; Latest Government “Accommodation” Is No Accommodation at All

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

PriestsForLife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 18, 2014

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

Staten Island, NY – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life (PFL), today announced that Priests for Life has responded to the Obama administration’s latest HHS mandate maneuver with a supplemental legal brief filed with the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals. Priests for Life’s lawsuit against the mandate is currently before that court, the second highest in the nation. Priests for Life was the first of the religious non-profit cases against the mandate to have oral arguments at the appellate level, back in May.

“The Obama administration keeps trying to put a new coat of paint on a house that cannot stand,” said Fr. Pavone. “The seventh and latest version of the HHS mandate is no different from the others that courts around the country have found unconstitutional. It is a violation of all Americans’ fundamental right to religious freedom.”

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is currently considering the appeal brought by Priests for Life and individual plaintiffs Fr. Pavone, PFL Executive Director Janet Morana, and PFL African American Outreach Director, Alveda King. The lawsuit challenges the Obamacare regulation requiring religious non-profit organizations to violate their religious beliefs by participating in the provision of abortion causing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilizations to employees or face crippling fines.

“Priests for Life will not comply in any way, shape or form with this latest ‘accommodation’ which is, in fact, no accommodation at all,” added Fr. Pavone. “If necessary, we will take this fight to the Supreme Court. No American should be forced by the government to violate his religious beliefs, especially when the government can achieve its policy goals in other ways.”

“They say that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. By that definition, this administration should see a doctor,” stated Mrs. Morana. “This new accommodation is the same as the old accommodation that the Supreme Court indicated was unconstitutional. Logic would indicate that a real change in policy should be in order, but logic doesn’t seem to enter into the equation here.”

“Why this administration is intent on coercing religious believers to violate their faith defies understanding,” added Dr. King. “The President could easily find alternatives to the current HHS mandate, but he seems intent on imposing his will. If the choice is between obeying God or the Department of Health and Human Services, we will choose God every time.”

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 Continue Lawsuit Against #HHS Mandate

Monday, August 25th, 2014

PriestsForLife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: August 25, 2014

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK, NY – Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, this morning released a statement regarding the new “accommodation” to the HHS mandate announced last week.

Father Pavone said: “On Friday afternoon, it was announced that the Obama Administration has come up with an alternate procedure for religious non-profit groups like Priests for Life, who object to the HHS mandate, to register their objection so that their employees can receive insurance coverage for immoral practices by other means.

“Despite this new announcement, we are proceeding full speed ahead with our lawsuit, which already had oral arguments on May 8 in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and which is therefore likely to be the first of the religious non-profit cases against the mandate to be decided at the appellate level.

“We are proceeding first of all because the regulation that burdens our religious freedom is still in effect, and secondly, because what we understand right now of the new rule still burdens our religious freedom.

“Many will ask, Why do you object to an action by which you register your objection?

“Let’s use a simple example. The government comes up with a plan to arbitrarily imprison children between 2 and 4 years old, and imposes on businesses the obligation to inform them of such children among the families of their employees.

“Any employer with a conscience is going to say, “I want nothing to do with this. If you’re going to imprison these children, you’re going to have to find them yourself. I won’t be sending you any information.”

“In the current case, we are being asked to be part of a process in which employees, if they want, can have coverage for abortion-inducing drugs (among others) precisely because they are our employees. Having someone else pay for it, and registering our objection to it, are not enough. We do not want to have any involvement in the process. We are not going to, in effect, tell the government, ‘Here are some of the people who aren’t covered! Be sure you don’t miss them, or the children they may want to kill.’

Bottom line: The government is on its own in this scheme to expand access to abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives. We want a full exemption from this mandate, so that we have nothing to do with this scheme. If people want these drugs and the government wants to provide them, then the government will have to find a way to connect with them without our help. Our religion requires no less.”

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 Reminds Administration That No Cooperation With Mandate Is Possible

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

PriestsForLife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: July 23, 2014

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement today regarding a new accommodation to the HHS mandate to be announced by the Obama administration.

“The Priests for Life lawsuit against the HHS mandate is the next to be decided, having already had oral arguments in the nation’s second most influential Court, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. At the crux of the issue is that our completion of the form required under the “accommodation” given to religious non-profit groups constitutes cooperation in the very evil that the form says we are objecting to.

“If the government just kept us out of the process altogether of either triggering, authorizing, or in any fashion being the gateway for employees to receive coverage for objectionable practices, that would satisfy our concerns. Of course, we would have to carefully examine any changes the Administration makes to its current policy, in order to verify that what our faith considers immoral cooperation is completely excluded.”

For information on the Priests for Life lawsuit, go to Priestforlife.org/HHSmandate

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 Hobby Lobby Decision – “Today’s decision means the fight for religious liberty is not over.”

Monday, June 30th, 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 and a plaintiff in Priests for Life’s lawsuit challenging the HHS mandate, issued the following statement on the Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell.

“The Obama administration has repeatedly shown itself to be on the wrong side of religious freedom, on the wrong side of the Constitution, and on the wrong side of America. Today’s decision demonstrates that once again. Citizens, who have religious freedom individually, do not lose it when they act collectively. Today’s decision takes our nation in the right direction.

“But the Supreme Court, while correctly deciding that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects the religious freedom of the Green family and others who own their own businesses, does not resolve the problem that religious groups have with the so-called ‘accommodation.’ In the government’s view, that accommodation should satisfy our objections. But the ‘accommodation’ still requires a kind of cooperation that our faith does not allow. The Hobby Lobby decision only emphasizes the urgency and importance of pursuing Priests for Life’s own appeal against the HHS mandate.

“Mr. David Green, CEO of Hobby Lobby has stated, ‘As our Hobby Lobby case represents the concerns of businesses, so the Priests for Life case represents the concerns of the religious non-profit groups. Together, we stand against this injustice, and for the law of God.”

The text of today’s decision carries the following statement in the syllabus, which expresses exactly what we have been saying all along: “It is not for the Court to say that the religious beliefs of the plaintiffs are mistaken or unreasonable.”

“Religious freedom rights are human rights and the only way one can lose them is to cease being human. Priests for Life will continue to fight the Obama administration’s oppressive and unjust attempt to suppress religious liberty.”

Dr. Alveda King, full time Director of African American outreach for Priests for Life, plaintiff in Priests for Life’s lawsuit against the HHS mandate, and author of the new family book King Rules said of today’s decision –

“No one should have to deny God to obey a bureaucratic mandate – not in America. The Court has recognized that we are all free to worship God as we see fit and that we don’t lose that freedom when we build a business. This should apply fully to non-profits as well. The Secretary of Health and Human Services is not above the Lord.”

Bryan Kemper, Youth Outreach Director for Priests for Life, commented on the Hobby Lobby decision as well with the following statement:

“Today we celebrate freedom; we celebrate this ruling handed down by the Supreme Court in favor of religious freedom. SCOTUS has given us hope today as they upheld the rights of Americans to be free from the tyranny and oppression of our government when it comes to our faith.

“The Obama administration tried to force Hobby Lobby’s owners to violate their consciences and faith with the HHS mandate, an intrinsic evil that would force Americans to pay for abortion causing drugs. We at Stand True and Priests for Life celebrate the Court’s affirmation of Hobby Lobby’s religious rights and patiently await a ruling in our case.”

For more commentary, details of our case, and information on religious freedom, go to 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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