Archive for the ‘Religious Freedom’ Category

Supreme Court to Argue Priests for Life Case March 23

Monday, February 1st, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

Prayer Rally set in Front of Court

Priests for Life will be in the US Supreme Court for oral arguments on Wednesday, March 23 in the case of Priests for Life vs. HHS. On that day, Priests for Life will hold a prayer rally in front of the steps of the Supreme Court, and invites all who are in favor of life and religious freedom to join them.

There will be prayers, speeches, and educational talks regarding what is happening in this case, and various church leaders, politicians, Presidential candidates, and pro-life leaders are being invited to take part in the rally.

Leading up to the oral arguments, and then leading up to the decision which is expected in June, Priests for Life invites all to take part in the prayer campaign against the HHS mandate, found at www.PrayerCampaign.org.

Six other similar cases have been consolidated by the high court with the Priests for Life case. Among the unique elements of the Priests for Life case is the fact that the entire mission and purpose of the organization is to end abortion, while the HHS mandate tries to force the plaintiffs into helping the government expand abortion. Moreover, in the Priests for Life case, there are three personal plaintiffs in addition to the organization itself: Fr. Frank Pavone, Janet Morana, and the niece of Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Alveda King, who serves fulltime as Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life.

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 opening brief with Supreme Court in HHS mandate challenge

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

PriestsForLife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: January 6, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Priests for Life, along with other non-profit religious organizations challenging the Obamacare HHS mandate, has filed its opening brief with the Supreme Court. The filing sets the stage for oral arguments that will be held this spring in one of the most closely watched cases of the year.

“Priests for Life has been fighting the Obama administration’s attempted suppression of religious beliefs for four years,” said Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and an individual plaintiff in the case. “We are excited the Supreme Court accepted our case. This brief marks an important step in determining, hopefully once and for all, that the government may not target charitable religious groups with heavy handed, politically motivated attacks.”

Priests for Life filed one of the first lawsuits against the Obama administration’s mandate that would require religious organizations to take part in practices that flagrantly violate their own teaching. The case, which has been consolidated with six others from across the country, is expected to be decided by the Supreme Court by the end of its term this June.

“Our brief makes clear that the Obama administration has no valid reason to require religious non-profit groups to comply with this regulation when it has already granted exemptions that allow tens of millions of other Americans to avoid it,” added Fr. Pavone. “Frankly, the President and his bureaucrats have far easier ways of achieving their stated goals than singling out Christians for coercion. As I’ve said before and will continue to declare, Priests for Life will not be complicit in evil, no matter who is mandating it.”

Priests for Life is leading a prayer campaign for victory in the Supreme Court and asks all believers to join this effort. Go to www.prayercampaign.org to find the prayer.

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: Pope Francis Upholds ‘Convictions of Conscience:’ Is Obama Listening?

Friday, September 25th, 2015

PriestsForLife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 24, 2015

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

PHILADELPHIA – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization, today issued the following statement on Pope Francis’s address to Congress.

“Pope Francis reminded us today that our government must have ‘respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience.’

“We at Priests for Life applaud Pope Francis’s affirmation of religious freedom in his remarks to Congress. His words highlight the need for Congress to take direct steps toward protecting rights of conscience and religious freedom, which are currently being violated by the HHS mandate. Priests for Life has been challenging this mandate in court for the last three-and-a-half years, and recently petitioned the Supreme Court to hear our case. We await the court’s decision.

Also, when Pope Francis declared that we must ‘protect and defend human life at every stage of its development,’ he reminded Congressional lawmakers of a fundamental principle of lawmaking, namely, that the law must protect human life from the moment it begins. Currently, our Congress, our president and our courts are failing to do that.

“This is not just one among many failures; it is a failure that redefines us as a nation. In the words of Pope St. John Paul II, this failure turns us into a “tyrant state.’

“This affirmation of Pope Francis to Congress today is not made in a vacuum. Every pope speaks and writes in the context of established Church teaching. His reference to the need to protect life from conception involves the body of teaching found in so many Church documents.

“There is no question that this is the most important foundation for advancing other human rights.”

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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Circuit Split on HHS Mandate Good News for Priests for Life

Friday, September 18th, 2015

PriestsForLife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 18, 2015

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK — Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement regarding the mixed rulings from the federal courts on Obamacare’s HHS mandate and the unconstitutional burden the mandate places on religious non-profits.

“Given that there is now a circuit split regarding whether the HHS mandate accommodation for non-profit groups violates their religious freedom, it is more likely that the Supreme Court will have to decide that point. In our own case for Priests for Life, we have already petitioned the Supreme Court to hear our appeal.

“But no matter what happens – whether or not the Supreme Court decides to hear the case and whether or not it ultimately rules against us, Priests for Life will not obey this mandate.”

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

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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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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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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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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Mothers’ Day Begins In The Womb: Pray For At Risk Mothers And Babies.

Friday, May 9th, 2014

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Tomorrow my daughters, Mother and I will attend a “Mother Daughter Tea.” We will celebrate our joyous relationships. Then, on Sunday, I will participate in a Mothers’ Day Celebration at church. There will be good singing and Bible teaching. Yet many mothers and daughters will have a bittersweet weekend.

Over 300 girls in Nigeria won’t spend a happy Mother’s Day with their families due to terrorists kidnapping them. Across America millions of aborted baby boys and girls will not feel a mother’s touch because they were silenced by abortion’s sting. Lament and weep for mothers and their children.

This year I am praying for these losses; including those of my dear friends and even family members who have lost mothers and children who are deceased by natural causes; as well as some by sickness, accidents, crimes; and yes sadly, by abortion and carcinogenic birth control.

Sadly still, just days before Mothers Day, we have received shocking news of a misguided mother who is celebrating her abortion on video:

Emily Letts tries to hide the Scary Truth

Recently Emily Letts, a former professional actress and current COSMOPOLITAN Magazine contributor advertised her “not scary” abortion which fails to show the brutal dismemberment of her baby. She posted it on YouTube. Now that’s a sick and scary thing; a very sad Mothers’ Day testimony.

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life counsels post-abortive women who have had abortions. In the midst of hearings regarding infringement of our religious freedoms by the strong arm of the HHS Mandate, he has taken precious time to lament the pre- Mothers’ Day travesty triggered by Emily’s video:

“Actually, Emily did not film her abortion. She filmed her smiles and sighs during a procedure which we are expected to take her at her word was an abortion. But to really film an abortion, you have to film the arms and legs of the baby being ripped apart and the head being crushed,” he said.

I agree with Father Frank. I and hundreds of other women have posted our abortion testimonies at silentnomoreawareness.org. Also, more stories available at AbortionTestimony.com witness to the truth; abortion hurts women and kills babies who die horrible deaths. Emily is missing something in her video; the truth.

s Righs Begin in the Womb

At standtrue.com, my colleague Bryan Kemper writes:

“I don’t hate Emily; my heart actually breaks for her. I am just like her, a sinner who can only find the Hope I need in Christ. I know that Emily is someone’s daughter and as a father I hurt for the lost grandchild her father will never hold. As a Christian I grieve for the state of her soul and her eternal path. I will commit to praying for Emily and for her to find the Hope that is only found in our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Father Frank, Bryan, many other colleagues and I spent yesterday at a Rally for Religious Freedom. We gathered outside the courthouse in DC to raise our concerns about the injustice of the HHS Mandate which has resulted in our PFL lawsuit. All the while I was either standing outside with the faithful, or sitting inside the courtroom at the hearing, I was remembering the pain of babies marked for slaughter and their mothers marked for deception.

In a few weeks, soon after Mothers’ Day, and followed by Fathers’ Day, on July 2, 2014 we will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the US Civil Rights Act. Two days later we will celebrate July 4, Independence Day. Yet the war on the wombs of women and the decimation of the natural God ordained family structure continues to tear away the very foundations of our liberty.

For those who will be celebrating Mothers’ Day with your beloved mothers, God bless you. Please remember to say a prayer for those who are not so fortunate; that God will heal our land, our wombs, and our families; and bring an end to the scourge of abortion which is at the heart of the war on women.

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