Archive for the ‘Religious Freedom’ Category

Media Advisory: Priests for Life to Host Telephone Press Conference Monday After Ruling in Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt

Friday, June 24th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 24, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With the U.S. Supreme Court ruling expected Monday, June 27, in the Texas abortion case Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt — a case that could have far-reaching implications for abortion facilities across the country — Priests for Life will host a teleconference for the media at 11:30 a.m. that day.

On the call will be the National Director of Priests for Life, Father Frank Pavone, who is a priest of Amarillo, Texas; State Representative Jodie Laubenburg, who authored, carried, and passed House Bill 2 in the Texas legislature; Kyleen Wright, president of Texans for Life Coalition, who spearheaded the inclusion of the “admitting privileges” portion of the law, and Carol Everett, founder of The Heidi Group and a former abortion provider, who spearheaded the inclusion of the “ambulatory surgical center” portion of the law.

To take part in the call, dial 712-432-0700, then dial access code 619300#

Priests for Life submitted a “Friend of the Court” brief in this case, on behalf of the women of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, who have had abortions and share their testimonies about why laws like the one in Texas is necessary.

Any questions may be directed to Leslie Palma, Priests for Life Director of Communications, at 347-286-7277 or media@priestsforlife.org

You can read a series of op-eds published by Fr. Frank about this case 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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Fr. Pavone Blasts HHS Decision to Allow California to Break Federal Law

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 23, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK — Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement regarding the federal Department of Health and Human Services decision to overlook federal law and force health insurers in California to cover abortion.

“We have already seen how willing the unelected bureaucrats who run HHS are to disregard Americans’ freedom of religion, and this Weldon Amendment decision demonstrates the behavior of an Administration that seeks to obliterate faith entirely.”

The Weldon Amendment prevents federal funds from going to states that discriminate against health care entities that do not provide or fund abortions.

“We continue to battle the Administration through our own Supreme Court case, Priests for Life vs. HHS, regarding a distinct but similar mandate, and we strongly support a legislative solution to enforce the Weldon amendment, such as the Conscience Protection Act (HR 4828).”

Fr. Pavone continued, “Moreover, all of this again points to the critical importance of religious liberty as an issue in the November elections. We need a president who supports religious liberty and appoints judges who do the same. I urge everyone to keep this in mind as they vote in November.”

“I stand with Rep. Chris Smith, Rep. Joe Pitts, Rep. Marsha Blackburn and other pro-life lawmakers in Congress who strongly oppose HHS in this matter,” Father Pavone said.

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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What These Ears Heard Donald Trump Say

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

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“Of course pray for everybody… [but] we can’t be, again, politically correct and say we pray for all of our leaders, because all of your [political] leaders are selling Christianity down the tubes, selling the evangelicals down the tubes. And it’s a very, very bad thing that’s happening.” Donald Trump

“Don’t pray to be politically correct. Pray to be spiritually correct.” Alveda King

Yesterday, sitting among 1,000 Judeo-Christian apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, all spiritual leaders in America at a “Conversation with Donald Trump and Ben Carson” and emceed by Mike Huckabee, I heard Donald Trump say “pray for everybody” but “don’t be politically correct.”

Since the meeting was closed to media reporting, we need to understand that information can only trickle out through the biased perspectives of the attendees, me included.

If we are completely honest, we can agree that the main, number one issue of concern presented to Mr. Trump by the body as a whole was religious liberty. Mr. Trump assured the attendees that protecting religious liberty is a primary concern for him and is at the top of his to do list.

He further promised to appoint Prolife Supreme Court justices. He promised that “America will be free to say Merry Christmas” again. He promised economic justice as a means of lessening the bands of racism. He promised safe borders for America. He promised to strengthen our military to protect our nation. He gave God the credit for giving him intelligent children. So sorry you couldn’t be there to hear all of this.

At no time did Mr. Trump advise that Americans need to disobey the Bible. Those words did not come out of his mouth.

Looking forward, the estimated 1,000 leaders in the room have platforms that impact millions of Americans. Now our challenge is to now turn away from railing at each other and the candidates and truly obey the Bible ourselves.

Please join me now in praying for Mr. Trump, Mrs. Clinton, all congressional, gubernatorial, state, county and local candidates, that God will, according to Romans 13 and 1 Timothy 2:2 bless us so that America can have peace and prosperity.

Amen?

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Fr. Pavone Thanks Donald Trump for Key Message to Christians

Monday, June 13th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 13, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK — Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, thanked Donald Trump today for the speech he gave on Friday, June 10 at the Faith and Freedom Conference in Washington, D.C. In the speech, he hit on themes of key concerns to Christians. Mr. Trump acknowledged, at the outset of his remarks, the presence of Fr. Frank and other key religious leaders in the audience.

Fr. Frank stated, “Mr. Trump was crystal clear about the need to defend and promote the sanctity of life, to preserve the institution of marriage, to appoint pro-life judges, and to protect religious liberty. In fact, he mentioned explicitly the efforts of some to “restrict religious liberty with government mandates.” Priests for Life was among the first group to challenge the HHS mandate in court, and our case went all the way to the Supreme Court and is still unresolved.

“I also appreciate Mr. Trump’s assertion, “We will protect the right of Churches to speak their minds on political matters, free from intimidation.” This is the key message of my book Abolishing Abortion, in which I call on the Church to abandon the self-censorship that is so prevalent and so unnecessary, even within the current structure of the law.”

After his speech, Fr. Frank, along with other key religious leaders who were present, greeted Mr. Trump and thanked him for his stand on these issues of critical importance.

For a transcript of Mr. Trump’s speech, click 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 Proposes Next Step in HHS Mandate Case

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: May 27, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK – Priests for Life and the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. have filed a letter with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit proposing a next step in their ongoing lawsuits challenging the Obamacare HHS mandate.

The letter by the appellants refers to the consolidated cases before the D.C. Circuit, Priests for Life v. HHS and Archbishop of Washington v. Burwell. (These two cases were consolidated by the D.C. Circuit and heard in 2014; the Court ruled against Priests for Life and the Washington Archdiocese in December 2014, after which the case was appealed to the Supreme Court, which consolidated these two cases with five others, comprising the case Zubik vs. Burwell. The Supreme Court recently sent the cases back to the four appellate courts from which they came. Hence, now, Priests for Life and the Archdiocese of Washington are together again in the D.C. court.)

The letter proposes that the appellants submit to the Court of Appeals in 30 days a status report on any progress made with the government in resolving the matter. The filing is the appellants’ first court submission since the Supreme Court action less than two weeks ago.

“The Supreme Court noted in its Zubik v. Burwell decision that the administration has confirmed that it could draft a regulation that meets our religious liberty concerns,” said Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. “We are hopeful that the government will adhere to that confirmation and end this case quickly.”

Under the Supreme Court’s Zubik ruling, all seven lawsuits that were before the highest court were remanded to their respective appeals courts on May 16. In a move widely interpreted as favorable to Priests for Life and the other religious non-profit groups, the Court noted that the government has stated in a legal brief that its HHS mandate accommodation can be modified to protect the religious concerns of those organizations.

“This particular case to protect religious liberty has gone on for over four years,” added Fr. Pavone. “With the Supreme Court’s recent action that proposes a feasible solution, there’s no reason for the Obama administration to delay. It’s time for a resolution.”

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 vs. HHS to Return to Judge Merrick Garland

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: May 17, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Fr. Frank Pavone, a petitioner in the case of Priests for Life vs. HHS, one of the cases that has been challenging the HHS mandate in the U.S. Supreme Court, commented today on the fact that, thanks to yesterday’s action by the high court, the Priests for Life case now returns to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The Chief Judge of that Circuit Court is Merrick Garland, President Obama’s choice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled against Priests for Life (and the Archdiocese of Washington, whose case the court consolidated with that of Priests for Life) in November 2014, nearly three years after Priests for Life became the fourth group in the nation to challenge the HHS mandate.

Priests for Life asked for a rehearing in the Court of Appeals by the entire body of judges, but that request was denied in May 2015. The appeal was then made to the Supreme Court, which granted cert last November.

“Judge Garland did not side with us on this case; now, however, that we are back in his court, we come with even stronger arguments,” Fr. Pavone said, referring to the additional briefings that the Supreme Court requested of the petitioners and the government. The briefings show that both sides agree there is a way forward by which the government can pursue its objectives of contraceptive coverage and that the petitioners can be free of any involvement in the process.

“It’s not that the arguments necessarily sway the judges,” Fr. Pavone added. “It’s that the strength of our arguments reveals the extremism of the government and of the judges who side with them. The progress of the Priests for Life vs. HHS case in Judge Garland’s court will again shed light on the kind of people that a Democratic President will nominate for the Supreme Court and other federal courts, and will vividly remind the voters what is at stake in this election.”

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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Evangelist Alveda King: The Babies’ Blood is Crying Out as Courts Scramble to Wash Hands in Reversal Move

Monday, May 16th, 2016

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“Today’s action is another step forward in the cause of freedom, because the Court did not rule against The Little Sisters of the Poor. From the perspective one of the plaintiffs in the ongoing HHS battle, it’s clear that we are not out of the woods yet, because there may still be resistance from the government. This scenario reminds me of Pilate washing his hands during the trial of Christ,” said Evangelist Alveda King, director of Civil Rights for the Unborn, Priests for Life.

“However, we pray and believe that the government can pursue its objectives without forcing us to choose between following the law and following our faith,” continued King. “The case of Priests for Life vs. HHS is about freedom, and we are confident of final victory.“

Priests for Life Issues Further Comments in HHS Supreme Court Case

Priests for Life, the first group of the 37 Supreme Court petitioners in Zubik vs. Burwell to challenge the HHS mandate in court, has responded to today’s action by the Court in this consolidated case.

Robert Muise, of the American Freedom Law Center, which has represented Priests for Life in this case from the beginning, explained, “The Court’s action today continues to protect us from this unjust mandate, and from any punishment for not obeying it. It gives us a chance now to work out in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, whose ruling against us is now vacated, a solution that will continue to protect our religious freedom. As we have always said, because the very mission of Priests for Life is to advance a culture free from any kind of abortion, this organization continues to be a perfectly situated petitioner to object to the mandate.”

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, and also a personal petitioner in the case, added, “We are encouraged by today’s development. The Supreme Court could have ruled against us, but evidently the Obama Administration did not succeed in persuading them to do so. A split Court could also have let the lower court’s negative ruling stand, but again, they did not see fit to do that. Instead, the Supreme Court, upon receiving further briefings, vacated the lower court rulings, and offered the parties an opportunity to work out a mutually acceptable solution in the lower courts, that will both allow the government to pursue its objectives and allow us to practice our faith. We are committed to continuing that process in the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.”

Janet Morana, Executive Director of Priests for Life, and also a personal petitioner in the case, stated, “In April, we told the Supreme Court that if the government and the insurance companies are going to provide free coverage of abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives, they have to do it without any involvement from us, and without hijacking the insurance plan we offer our employees. Moreover, the government also told the Court that modifications to the accommodation would be possible. So now, we look forward to the next step of this process, which we hope will find a more reasonable response by the government than we have seen up to now.”

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Fr. Pavone: Priests for Life Supreme Court Case Reminds Us That Next President Will Shape Nation for 40 Years

Monday, May 9th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: May 9, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK — As Priests for Life awaits word from the Supreme Court on its case, Priests for Life vs. HHS, challenging the HHS mandate, Father Frank Pavone, National Director, said the case illustrates the importance of the 2016 elections.

“With the Supreme Court evenly divided along ideological lines, it becomes clear that how Americans vote in November will not only impact the next four years, but the next 40 years as well,” Father Pavone said. “The president and the Senate together shape the Supreme Court and the other federal courts. Depending on what party controls each branch of government, the court will move solidly to the right or to the left. The differences between the two parties on fundamental issues could not be more clear, more stark, or more extreme.”

Father Pavone has recorded a series of short videos to explain more about Priests for Life vs. HHS, the Supreme Court case in which Priests for Life is a petitioner along with 36 others. The videos can be found at www.MandateMinutes.com and are available for broadcast.

A list of talking points about the case can be found at www.IStandwithPFL.com.

“Voters who find themselves dissatisfied with the likely Democratic and Republican candidates have to look beyond the nominees themselves and understand the impact of a party, and its prevailing philosophies, not only on the next four years but on the next 40 years,” Father Pavone said. “Among other things, do we want to protect the unborn or do we want to continue to be a nation that sanctions the murder of its most vulnerable citizens?”

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 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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