FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: February 15, 2012
Contact: Leslie Palma
Washington, D.C. — Priests for Life, a New York-based international pro-life organization of Catholic clergy and laity, today announced the formal filing of a lawsuit against the Obama Administration, seeking to permanently block the implementation of the HHS mandate that imposes clear violations of conscience upon any and all citizens who morally object to abortion and contraception.
One part of the lawsuit seeks injunctive relief from the “forced speech” aspect of the controversial Health and Human Services ruling. According to the HHS regulations, virtually all U.S. employers will not only be forced to pay for 100% of an employee’s prescription for abortion-causing drugs, but also be forced to instruct the employee on how to obtain these morally-objectionable prescriptions and get them for free.
“This falls under the forbidden rubric of ‘forced speech’—a corollary violation of every citizen’s right to free speech under the Constitution,” says lead attorney Charles LiMandri.
The Obama Administration has received significant backlash against the HHS ruling because it requires employers to pay for abortion-related and other morally objectionable services.
“No matter what religion someone professes, requiring them to instruct their employees how to obtain abortion-inducing drugs — whether this instruction is given by them or someone they hire —is an outrage not to mention an egregious violation of civil rights and constitutional protections. We will not allow the Obama Administration to get away with this,” says Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life.
The so-called “accommodation” offered by the Administration does not solve the moral or legal problems employers face, and against which Priests for Life is objecting. Moreover, these “accommodations” have not been translated into policy. At this point, they are simply a Presidential speech.
The Priests for Life lawsuit, the first to be launched subsequent to the announcement of the “accommodations,” addresses policy as it currently stands.
This new lawsuit seeks injunctive relief from the HHS rules – first on behalf of Priests for Life, and then extending universally since all organizations and companies will be affected by the tyrannical HHS decree. Priests for Life is particularly well placed to pursue this litigation because its primary purposes are to promote and protect life whereas the primary purposes of the abortion/contraception/sterilization mandate are to prevent and destroy life.
According to Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, “It has been suggested by the Administration that some groups have an extension of a year before the mandate goes into effect, so they can adapt to it. We don’t need a year, we don’t need a moment, because the mandate is unjust. You don’t adapt to injustice; you oppose it. Hence we’re launching this lawsuit. ”
Priests for Life has retained noted civil rights attorney Charles LiMandri of San Diego to represent them in their lawsuit against Obama. LiMandri achieved national distinction by saving the famous “Mt. Soledad Cross” – a historic war memorial that had been erected on public property many decades ago, which local atheists sought to have torn down. He has also fought for the rights of San Diego firefighters who were forced to participate in a vulgar “gay pride” parade against their will or else face termination. He was also the General Counsel for the National Organization for Marriage–California during the Proposition 8 Campaign to save traditional marriage.
LiMandri remarks, “This is the first time in history any administration has used brute force to compel someone to violate his conscience or moral convictions. It’s unheard of. It’s also antithetical to the core American principles of religious liberty and freedom from invasions of privacy. We intend to fight the ill-conceived HHS edict and challenge it on constitutional grounds. This case could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And we’ll be happy to take it there if need be. We will stand our ground, and we won’t back down.”
Priests for Life is the largest Catholic pro-life organization in the United States. It is a private association of the faithful and an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit educational corporation. Under the Obama Administration’s new HHS rules, it is treated like any other corporation and therefore must comply with these new conscience-violating mandates, decrees, and punitive measures.
Priests for Life applauds the members of Congress who have introduced legislation to address the HHS policy, and will also support the efforts of the Church, and many other groups, to pass such legislation.
Further details of the lawsuit will be forthcoming.
Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit Priests for Life.