FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: July 25, 2016
Contact: Leslie Palma
NEW YORK – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, today urged religious believers to respond to the Obama administration’s new “Request for Information” in the ongoing controversy regarding the HHS mandate.
“If the government really wants to know what Americans think about its so-called HHS mandate, then let’s tell them,” said Fr. Pavone. “Believers need to speak up and let their voices be heard during the next two months.”
The government’s just-announced public comment period is the latest development in the more than four-year legal battle that Priests for Life and other religious non-profit groups have fought — all the way to the Supreme Court in the consolidated case of Zubik vs. Burwell — against the Obama administration’s attempt to force them to violate their faith. The HHS mandate, as written by federal bureaucrats, would involve religiously based organizations in the distribution of abortion causing drugs and other morally objectionable items to their employees.
Last May, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the lower court decisions in Priests for Life vs. HHS and the six other related cases that the Court had heard. The lower courts had ruled against Priests for Life and the other petitioners, holding that the government could order religious charities, schools, and other entities to comply with its “contraceptive mandate” or pay crippling fines.
But the eight Supreme Court Justices sent Priests for Life’s case and six others back to lower federal appeals courts with the instruction that the parties involved should attempt to reach a resolution that “accommodates [the groups’] religious exercise while at the same time ensuring that women covered by petitioners’ health plans ‘receive full and equal health coverage, including contra¬ceptive coverage.’”
And, in fact, conversations between the government and the petitioners have been ongoing. Now, however, the government is also asking for the public’s suggestions on how to achieve a resolution.
“We ask all believers to stand with Priests for Life and the many others who have fought against the government’s attack on religious liberty,” added Fr. Pavone. “To assist the public, we are providing detailed guidance on how to participate in this comment period at www.IStandWithPFL.com.”
Included at www.IStandWithPFL.com are step-by-step instructions on how to file comments with the government by email, regular mail, express or overnight mail, or in-person delivery. Also posted at the website are helpful videos, talking points, articles and other materials explaining the HHS mandate, why it threatens the free exercise of religion, and how citizens can help defend against this threat by sending their opinions to the administration.
“The deadline for public comments is September 20,” Fr. Pavone concluded. “It’s imperative that those of us who value freedom of religion and human life make our voices heard as soon as possible!”
In addition to the updates that will be posted at www.IStandWithPFL.com, Priests for Life will also hold a public webcast to assist interested Churches, organizations, and private citizens to submit their comments in this public process. The date will be announced shortly at 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.