Archive for the ‘Law’ Category

Priests for Life Petitioners Comment on HHS Case

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: April 13, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

WASHINGTON, DC — The petitioners in Priests for Life vs. HHS, one of the Supreme Court cases consolidated into Zubik vs. Burwell, commented today on the supplemental briefs submitted to the Supreme Court yesterday. Both the petitioners and the government were responding to questions posed in a March 29 order of the Court.

Janet Morana, Executive Director of Priests for Life, said: “From the beginning of this case, I have made it clear that I will not sign any forms that authorize our insurance company to cover these objectionable services in the health insurance we offer our employees. This case is not about the actions of third-parties. What the insurance company or the government will do without any authorization or involvement from us is one thing; what they try to force us to do is quite another.”

Dr. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. and full-time director of Civil Rights for the Unborn (the African-American outreach of Priests for Life), said, “Women’s reproductive issues are very complex. Forcing us to provide contraception will never resolve a woman’s deepest issues. There once was a woman with an issue of blood and Christ became her healer. May the church rise up and serve our women or else the government will continue to destroy our greatest blessings.”

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, stated, “The Court has asked us the right question. They asked us to draw the line, as believers, between behavior that is acceptable and behavior that is unacceptable to our faith. We have done so. Now it remains for the Court to rule to protect our freedom to live that faith by being able to choose freely what kind of insurance coverage we offer to our employees.”

Priests for Life, the largest Catholic organization focused on ending abortion, was the first of the 37 petitioners in Zubik vs. Burwell to challenge the HHS mandate in court.

The petitioners’ brief is here. The government’s brief is here. The Court order requesting the briefs is here.

Priests for Life is conducting a nationwide prayer campaign at www.SupremeCourtVictory.com for a favorable outcome in this case. For more information about 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 tells Court: Yes, there is a Less Restrictive Means

Monday, April 11th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: April 11, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

WASHINGTON, DC — Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, whose case, Priests for Life vs. HHS, is one of the seven consolidated cases at the Supreme Court in Zubik vs. Burwell, stated today that he has responded to the question that the Supreme Court presented to the petitioners recently, trying to find a way to satisfy their religious objections to the HHS mandate.

In an unusual move, the Court asked petitioners recently for more documentation that might map out the way to a solution to the present controversy. On the one hand, the government wants the employees of Priests for Life and the other organizations to have insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives. On the other hand, Priests for Life and the other groups want no part of providing it.

“By asking us to describe how things should be different than what the mandate currently requires, the Court is showing that it recognizes that the believer is the only one qualified to draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. As the Supreme Court already said in Hobby Lobby and other cases, it is never the role of the government or the Court to substitute its own judgment for that of the believer.

“Also, the fact that the Court is asking us to describe a better solution that would truly accommodate our religious beliefs indicates that it is looking for a ‘less restrictive’ means for the government to pursue its objectives. The existence of a ‘less restrictive’ means, which we believe we have identified in this new brief, leads us to victory in this case. It proves our point that the government hasn’t passed the test that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) requires,” Fr. Pavone explained.

The brief that has been prepared as a collaborative effort of all the petitioners and their attorneys will be filed with the Court tomorrow, simultaneous with a brief from the government on the same question. Then, later in the month, each side will be able to respond to one another’s briefs.

“The bottom line is this,” Fr. Pavone stated. “We have told the Court that we simply cannot take any actions whatsoever to authorize, facilitate, or in any way be part of the provision of contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. This case is not about what others do; rather, it is about what we do. We cannot ever be the ‘gateway’ for the provision of these life-denying, life-destroying drugs. We have drawn that line clearly for the court. If the government or the insurance companies insist on pursuing the destructive path of abortion and contraception, they already have the means to do it without our involvement. Our message to the government is simple: leave us out of it, and stop forcing us to choose between following the law and following our faith. Every believer in America should be free to do both at the same 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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Fr. Pavone sees new SCOTUS order as a positive development

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 29, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK — The Supreme Court today released an order requesting supplemental briefs from petitioners in Zubik vs. Burwell to address how contraceptive coverage may be obtained by employees through petitioners’ insurance companies, in a way that does not require any involvement of petitioners beyond their decision to provide health insurance without contraceptive coverage to their employees.

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement regarding the new order.

“We are reviewing the Court’s order with our attorneys, and we will indeed be filing a supplemental brief. We see this as a positive development in that the Court appears to be looking for a least restrictive alternative that would not burden our religious beliefs, which will ultimately mean that the government did not satisfy its burden under Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

Priests for Life vs. HHS is one of the seven consolidated cases in Zubik vs. Burwell that had oral arguments before the Court last week. Robert Muise, co-founder and senior counsel of the American Freedom Law Center, represents Priests for Life.

For information about the case, 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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Religious Liberty Matters

Friday, March 18th, 2016

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Priests for Life press conference on Zubik vs. Burwell March 22 at the National Press Club

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 17, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Priests for Life, a plaintiff in Zubik vs. Burwell, will hold a press conference at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 22 in the Bloomberg Room of the National Press Club.

At stake in Zubik is the religious liberty of dozens of plaintiffs, as well as plaintiffs in more than 50 other cases that did not make it to the Supreme Court but will be impacted by the ruling on whether the federal government can enforce its mandate on faith-based ministries.

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, and Janet Morana, Executive Director, are both named plaintiffs in the case and will speak at the press conference. Robert Muise, co-founder and senior counsel of the American Freedom Law Center, which is representing Priests for Life, also will make remarks. Other plaintiffs have been invited to discuss their cases, and Priests for Life is awaiting confirmation that some high-profile friend-of-the-court filers will attend.

“What’s at stake in Zubik vs. Burwell is not access to contraception,” Father Pavone said. “What this case is about is the government attempting to dictate how people of faith may practice their religion, whatever that religion may be. Catholics and evangelical Christians are represented in Zubik, but friend-of-the-court briefs have been filed by a rich diversity of faith traditions, including Orthodox Jews, Muslims and followers of Krishna. This case is about more than priests and nuns.”

Mrs. Morana added: “Priests for Life objects to the contraceptive and abortion-causing drugs and devices covered by the HHS mandate because they are counter to Catholic teaching. But we also oppose being ordered to provide our employees with substances that are so clearly harmful to women.”

The National Press Club is at 529 14th St NW in Washington. The Bloomberg Room is on the 13th floor.

For more information on Zubik vs. Burwell, go to www.istandwithpfl.com To arrange an interview with Father Pavone, Mrs. Morana or Mr. Muise, please call Leslie Palma, Priests for Life director of communications, at 347-286-7277 or email media@priestsforlife.org

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 Thanks Friends of the Court in Priests for Life Supreme Court Case

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 16, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, today expressed thanks to the many groups and individuals who have filed amicus curiae (Friend of the Court) briefs in support of the Supreme Court case, Zubik vs. Burwell, among which Priests for Life vs. HHS is one of the seven consolidated cases challenging the Obamacare HHS mandate.

“It’s humbling and gratifying that more than 400 people and organizations have taken the time and effort to draft and file ‘friend of the court’ briefs in support of one of the most important cases on religious freedom to reach the Supreme Court,” said Fr. Pavone. “When our lawyers stand before the Court on March 23, they will have the intellectual, moral, and spiritual support of these legal, academic, and religious leaders who stand with us in this profound battle.”

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in this case on Wednesday, March 23. At issue is the bureaucratic regulation requiring religious non-profit groups to make available to their employees abortifacients, contraceptives, and procedures for sterilization. Priests for Life was the first of the petitioners currently before the Court to file a lawsuit against the regulation.

“We thank all who are standing with us, including the 207 members of the United States House and Senate, former U.S. Attorneys General, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Eternal Word Television Network, law professors, the Knights of Columbus, Orthodox Jewish rabbis, and representatives of Islam and other religions, just to name a few.

“All of these friends of the court are declaring with us that government should never force believers to choose between following their faith and following the law. As our own brief to the court states, government might disagree with our beliefs, but cannot disregard them,” Fr. Pavone concluded.

All of the “amicus curiae” or friend of the court briefs that have been filed in support of Priests for Life and the other plaintiffs may be found here.

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 Attorneys Reply to Government Brief in U.S. Supreme Court

Monday, March 14th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 14, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

Priests for Life vs. HHS challenges Obama Administration – Oral arguments next week

NEW YORK – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, announced today that attorneys for his organization and for co-plaintiffs have filed their response to the government’s opposition brief in the Supreme Court case Zubik v. Burwell, of which Priests for Life vs. HHS is one of the seven consolidated cases. The Court will hear oral arguments in the dispute over the HHS mandate on March 23.

“Our brief argues conclusively that the Obama administration has not proven that it has any legal basis to force Priests for Life and the other religious non-profit groups to violate our religious beliefs,” said Fr. Pavone. “Federal law is clear that the government cannot force a believer to choose between following his faith and following the law. The government’s goal of increasing access to abortion-inducing drugs is not a ‘compelling interest,’ and, even if it were, there are alternate ways to achieve it than forcing priests to violate the faith they were ordained to proclaim.”

Priests for Life, the first of the dozens of petitioners now before the Supreme Court to challenge the legality of the Obamacare rule known as the HHS mandate, filed their response brief with the justices on Friday. The Court will now study the case documents in preparation for oral arguments next week.

“For a variety of reasons, the government has already exempted many employers from this mandate, including some who do not even object to it,” Fr. Pavone added. “How can it justify exempting from the mandate, for non-religious reasons, a person who doesn’t even object to it, and at the same time insisting on imposing it on us who do object to it for religious reasons?”

For information on the case, see www.IStandWithPFL.com; for a prayer campaign related to the case, see www.SupremeCourtVictory.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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Alveda King calls on African-American clergy to stand with Priests for Life at Supreme Court

Monday, March 14th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 14, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK – Evangelist Alveda King, a plaintiff in the Supreme Court case Priests for Life vs. HHS, has called on African-American clergy to stand with her in this crucial battle for religious liberty.

Evangelist King is the director of Civil Rights for the Unborn, the African-American Outreach of Priests for Life. Priests for Life, along with its National Director, Father Frank Pavone, and Executive Director, Janet Morana, are challenging the HHS mandate within the Affordable Care Act that calls on employers to provide cost-free contraception and abortifacient drugs and devices to their employees.

The case, along with six others, will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 23.

“This case can be seen as an extension of the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Evangelist King. “Freedom of religion is cherished by African-Americans. If we lose this battle, and allow the federal government to dictate how we may practice our religion, everyone loses. This is a human rights fight and a civil rights fight. Everyone’s religious freedom is under review.”

To learn more about the case, 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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Fr. Frank Pavone Praises West Virginia Legislature for Protecting Babies from Dismemberment Abortions

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 1, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, today praised the West Virginia legislature for approving legislation to protect unborn babies from dismemberment abortions.

“West Virginia legislators have made their state and the world a less barbaric place with the passage of this measure,” said Fr. Pavone. “For the law to allow, as it currently does, an unborn child of any age to have his or her body forcibly torn into pieces is a denial of the very purpose of law. With the adoption of this bill safeguarding babies in the womb from dismemberment, the law is one step closer to becoming less inhumane.”

West Virginia’s House of Delegates voted 86 to 13 to approve a Senate-passed measure that would protect children from dismemberment abortions which are performed by pulling on an unborn child’s head and extremities until they are amputated from his or her torso. The bill now goes to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, who last year saw his veto of the state’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act overridden by the legislature.

“The choice is now Governor Tomblin’s,” added Fr. Pavone. “Does he want to be on the side of humanity and compassion and sign this bill or on the side of those who make their living taking lives? If he’s smart, he’ll sign this bill.”

Priests for Life is helping to lead efforts nationally to advance Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion bills. Priests for Life gave an award to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback at the March for Life in D.C. in January because he was the first governor to sign such a measure.

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 lead Prayer Rally on Night Before Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in HHS Mandate Cases

Friday, February 26th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: February 26, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

Priests for Life vs. HHS among seven consolidated cases

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and a U.S. Supreme Court plaintiff in the case Priests for Life vs. HHS announced today that on Tuesday night, March 22, Priests for Life will lead a national prayer rally for religious freedom in front of the U.S. Supreme Court from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The oral arguments in this case, with which six other cases have been consolidated, will be heard the next morning, March 23, when there will also be a rally outside the court. The consolidated case is called Zubik vs. Burwell.

All the plaintiffs and Friends of the Court in the case will be invited to participate, as will presidential candidates, members of Congress, national and local pro-life groups and religious organizations. Everyone who values religious freedom is urged to come.

Those who cannot be present physically are invited to join in the prayer campaign at www.SupremeCourtVictory.org.

Fr. Frank said: “At issue in this case is a very basic principle of American law: The government cannot punish a believer for living out his or her faith. Nor can the government decide that a particular belief is not worth protecting. This case has implications well beyond the HHS mandate. It affects the freedom to practice any aspect of one’s religion in America.”

Plaintiffs in the Priests for Life case also include Janet Morana, Executive Director, and Alveda King, Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and niece of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Priests for Life was the fourth organization to file a federal challenge to the HHS mandate, over four years ago. Since then, this case has made its way up through the court system, receiving adverse judgments but also injunctions protecting the organization from punishment for not obeying the mandate, which would require participation in the government’s efforts to expand coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives.

Priests for Life is represented in this case by the American Freedom Law Center.

For information about the Priests for Life case, and the arguments involved, and to express your support, visit www.IStandWithPFL.com.

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Fr. Pavone Commends Wisconsin Gov. Scott , Legislature for Reducing Public Funding for Planned Parenthood

Friday, February 19th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: February 18, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, today commended Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for signing into law two bills that will dramatically reduce public funding for Planned Parenthood.

“It’s interesting that limiting Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid reimbursement for dispensing contraceptives to the actual cost of the drugs, as one of these new Wisconsin laws will do, will save the public $4.5 million dollars,” states Fr. Pavone. “With overbilling like that by just one state affiliate, it’s no wonder that the nation’s biggest abortion business turns a profit year after year.”

Gov. Walker appeared at a pro-life pregnancy resource center today to sign two new state measures. One will limit Planned Parenthood’s reimbursement from the government for birth control drugs and devices to their actual cost. The second will redirect family planning funds to organizations that do not perform abortions, such as state, county, and local health departments. Combined, the two laws will prevent about $8 million in public funds from going to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.

“Gov. Walker and the Wisconsin legislature know what it means to serve the public,” added Fr. Pavone. “With these two bills, they simultaneously protect our most vulnerable, protect the right of conscience, and guard the public pocketbook.”

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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