Archive for the ‘Contraception’ Category

Priests for Life Associate Director is Arrested Outside White House

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Father Denis Wilde, OSA, associate director of Priests for Life, was among six people arrested today during a peaceful protest outside the White House.

Father Wilde was representing Priests for Life at an organized protest of the HHS contraception mandate that violates the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion. Priests for Life yesterday filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration that seeks to permanently block the implementation of the mandate because it imposes clear violations of conscience upon any American citizens who morally object to abortion and contraception.

Father Wilde and the other protesters, including the Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, were cited for “Failure to obey a lawful order” as they knelt in prayer in front of the White House. They each paid a $100 fine and were released from custody.

“Occupy Wall Street protesters have been occupying federal property for months, but when we kneel in prayer, the police are called in and we are arrested,” Father Wilde said. “We knew that was the risk when we gathered today, and we will do it again regardless of the risk. What people of faith – of every faith – need to do now is stand with us.”

Father Frank said the New York-based organization remains committed to battling the HHS mandate because it forces Americans to become morally entangled in practices they find objectionable.

“As an organization of Catholic clergy, as a corporation that employs 60 people of various religious backgrounds, and as a ministry whose very purpose is to protect and promote the pro-life teaching about the specific practices at issue in the HHS mandate, we are particularly well-positioned to fight against this intrusion of conscience,” Father Pavone said.

To see the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, on Wednesday, click here: priestsforlife.org/hhsmandate/priests-for-life-v-sebelius.pdf

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Lawsuit Against ObamaCare and HHS Mandate Filed in Federal Court Today on Behalf of All U.S. Employers

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Washington, D.C. — Priests for Life 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.

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, “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.

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No Compromise: The Mandate Has to Go, Period.

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Many have asked me whether I think that the President’s announced “accommodation” regarding the HHS mandate for health insurance coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization is acceptable.

Absolutely not.

As many Catholics and non-Catholics point out, the principal problem is that the mandate is still in place. The President’s February 10 announcement changed none of that. What remains is that all employers — not just religious ones — have to provide health insurance for their employees, and all health insurance plans have to cover abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization.

It’s a fiction to say that the insurer, not the employer, is now the one offering this coverage. It is an illusion to think there is any moral difference introduced by the February 10 “accommodation” of the Administration.

As Peggy Noonan wrote, “The short-term White House strategy is to confuse and obfuscate, to spread a thick web of untruths about the decision and let opponents exhaust themselves trying to fight from under the web.”

Simply put, freedom of conscience — which belongs not just to religious people but to every American — demands that people should “retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions” (Respect for Rights of Conscience Act).

Apparently, more will be coming out from the Administration, during the year that it is giving to non-exempt religious groups to “adapt” to the mandate. But we don’t need a year, nor do we need a moment, to determine what we are going to do, or to “adapt” to the mandate. The mandate is unjust. You don’t adapt to injustice; you oppose it.

That’s why Priests for Life is launching a federal lawsuit against the Obama Administration to block the enforcement of this mandate on us, and to declare it unconstitutional.

That is also why we are garnering support for the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179, S. 1467).

This is why we are also helping to organize public rallies, protests, and acts of civil disobedience.

As an organization of Catholic clergy, as a corporation that employs 60 people of various religious backgrounds, and as a ministry whose very purpose is to protect and promote Church teaching about the specific practices at issue in this HHS mandate, we are particularly well-positioned to fight against this intrusion on the rights of conscience.

Moreover, we are convinced that the current mandate, if allowed to stand, paves the way for mandated coverage of abortion on demand, and we see no reason why those pushing for the mandate would not want that in the long run. If the HHS can add at any time to the list of “preventive services” for women, and argues that these services are cost-effective, how could they not argue for health insurance policies to cover abortion, as less expensive than childbirth?

As John Allen said, “There’s no room for compromise on this. The mandate has to go.”

Keep up with details at: PriestsForLife.org

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Priests for Life vs. HHS Lawsuit: Full Speed Ahead

Monday, February 13th, 2012

National Webcast and Prayer Effort Announced

New York, NY – Father Frank reiterated today that the lawsuit he announced last week against the HHS to block enforcement of the mandate requiring objectionable services to be included in health insurance is moving ahead at full speed.

“The so-called ‘accommodation’ announced on Friday by the President changes nothing,” Father Pavone explained. “The moral problem remains, the coercion remains, and therefore our legal challenge remains. We want the mandate rescinded, period.”

Priests for Life will release more information regarding its legal action this week. In the meantime, Priests for Life is organizing a national webcast for Wednesday night, Feb. 15, featuring Congressman Chris Smith as well as leaders of the National Right to Life Committee (David O’Steen, Ph.D., Executive Director, and Douglas Johnson, Federal Legislative Director) to discuss the Obama mandate and the action that can be taken. Charles LiMandri, the attorney for Priests for Life in regard to the federal lawsuit, will also be a presenter.

At the end of the webcast, Priests for Life will also launch a national novena of prayer, to last from Feb. 16 through the 24th. Churches and individuals are urged to participate, and more information will be available on the webcast. Sign up at priestsforlife.org/webcast.

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Update on the HHS Mandate Situation

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Well, the events of the last couple of days have been pretty hectic, with what we and many others have been doing in response to the Obama administration trying to force the payment of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization on those who object.

As you may have seen, we at Priests for Life have launched a federal lawsuit against the administration to block enforcement of this policy and have it declared unconstitutional.

Last night, I was with Sean Hannity, who invited a group of religious leaders to discuss this issue. We taped a special edition of Hannity which will air tonight (Feb 10) at 9pm ET. Tune in! One of the questions he asked us is whether we would be willing to go to jail rather than go along with this policy.

Then, the events of today, and the so-called “accommodation” by the Obama administration, have raised many questions.

But don’t be fooled. It isn’t a reversal and doesn’t solve the problem.

First of all, as Congressman Chris Smith points out, if an organization is paying a health insurer and then the insurer is paying for the abortion-inducing drugs, then we as an organization are still paying for them!

Secondly, religious freedom is not just for religious groups; it is for every American. This is not just a problem affecting Catholic or other religious entities. It affects everyone. Employers have consciences, even if their corporation isn’t a religious entity.

And health insurers have consciences, too. How does a requirement that they pay for abortion-inducing drugs respect their freedom of conscience?

We’re still going full speed ahead with our lawsuit. Stay tuned for more details, and please support our efforts with your prayers and donations!

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Two Burning Issues

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Friends, as you may know, you can always find key action items right on the front page of our Priests for Life website (priestsforlife.org) in the large ACTION box. In recent days, other leaders and I have been kept particularly busy with concerns on two fronts. One has been the Susan G. Komen Foundation, about whom we have raised the alarm for years concerning their donations to Planned Parenthood. When they recently announced their decision not to donate to Planned Parenthood, that abortion monster of a law-breaking corrupt organization turned on them with meanness and intensity. What hypocrites the organizers of Planned Parenthood are. They will take money from anyone, but as soon as someone expresses concern because they are under investigation (through every fault of their own), they turn on them, bully them, criticize them, and threaten them. I just have one thing to say to Planned Parenthood at this point in time: go away, so we can have a better world.

The other matter, of course, has been the current Presidential Administration’s callous disregard for the rights of conscience, through its HHS ruling about requiring religious institutions to cover the cost of abortion-inducing “contraceptives.” Wow. It used to be the other side that held up freedom of conscience. How things have changed, and the Church and her leaders are rising to the occasion.

Here my thought is this: why wait until the toothpaste is all over the room before we decide it’s better kept in the tube? So many who would not lift a finger to help us in the recent Presidential elections are now trying to work wonders to undo one of the consequences of the election — consequences that could have been avoided had more Churches spoken up, registered voters, and not chased out of the parking lot those who were distributing information about the harmful positions of the candidates. Maybe we will learn this time. There’s another election in November, after all!

One more item: you may have heard recently of the death of Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, former Archbishop of Philadelphia. He was a delightful man, and gave much encouragement to Priests for Life over the years. He led the bishops’ pro-life committee for some years, and had a deep love for the unborn. May the children give him a warm welcome in God’s Kingdom!

Blessings to you today, and thank you all for your good wishes on this, my Birthday! — Fr. Frank

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Obama Tampering with Conscience

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

In March of 2010, I had the opportunity to preach to members of Congress and their staff who were gathered at the worship service held inside the Capitol just prior to the vote on Obamacare. In that sermon, I told them that Christianity transforms politics and government, because every human being in Christ has access to God as His son or daughter. Therefore the voice of the people matters, representative government makes sense, and power becomes service, authority becomes a duty to protect human rights.

It’s a message President Obama and his Department of Health and Human Services still don’t get. As the National Catholic Reporter recently reported:

“The Obama administration has turned down repeated requests from Catholic bishops, hospitals, schools and charitable organizations to revise its religious exemption to the requirement that all health plans cover contraceptives and sterilization free of charge.

“…Under the plan, after Aug. 1 of this year, new or significantly altered health plans will be required to provide all FDA-approved contraceptives, including some that can cause abortions, without co-pays or deductibles as part of preventive health care for women.”

Some 200,000 comments were received from the general public regarding this. Rather than making any accommodation to those who object, the Administration arrogantly announced “that nonprofit groups that do not provide contraceptive coverage because of their religious beliefs will get an additional year ‘to adapt to this new rule.’”

An additional year to do what?

No, we don’t need an additional year nor an additional moment to adapt, study, consider, weigh, balance, or decide whether we are going to pay for the killing of human beings. The answer is no. Keep your year, and give us back our freedom of conscience!

The day before the Administration made this announcement, the Pope addressed a group of American bishops who were making their regular, obligatory visit to update the Pope. He mentioned the “worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.” That’s what the President and his team are doing. Go ahead, worship in whatever Church you want, he tells us, but if you run a hospital or other entity, you have to do it our way.

The US bishops have written in Living the Gospel of Life that Roe vs. Wade poisons our entire society. This latest inflexibility in the face of conscience is a good example of that. It is, after all, about abortion. Its fanatical advocates will stop at nothing to expand it, including throwing religious freedom and the Church itself out the window.

What this also tells us is that elections matter. It would be wise for the Church, in tackling this problem, to plan what we are going to do regarding the elections, rather than spending all our energy trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube after it’s been scattered all over the room. Let’s elect more public servants who know the difference between serving the public and killing the public.

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Father Peter West to become VP for Missions at Human Life International; Msgr. Mike Mannion new Pastoral Consultant for Priests for Life

Monday, August 8th, 2011

After traveling to all 50 states as associate director of Priests for Life, Father Peter West is ready to take on the world. Effective Sept. 1, Father West will be the Vice President for Missions for Human Life International. The newly created position will involve extensive international travel.

Father West, a native of New Jersey who has been in residence at Immaculate Conception Parish on Staten Island, will move to Front Royal, VA, where HLI has its headquarters.

“I’ll be doing work similar to what we do at Priests for Life,” Father West explained. While he will continue to speak out against abortion and euthanasia, he also will focus on issues like contraception, natural family planning and the defense of traditional marriage.

“My hope is to be a team player,” he said.

After receiving a master’s degree in theology from Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Ct., Father West was ordained in 1991 for the Archdiocese of Newark. In April 1998, he started working full-time with Priests for Life. In that capacity he provided training seminars to priests, deacons, and seminarians, preached in hundreds of parishes, presented the pro-life message in schools, spoke at pro-life conventions and banquets, did extensive radio and television programming, led prayer vigils at abortion mills, and took part in meetings with pro-life leaders.

From the very first days of his pro-life ministry, Father West has received a “very positive response” to his message. “People will say, ‘Thank you, Father, we really need to hear that,’ and that was so from the beginning,” he said.

The best thing about life on the road? “Pro-life people are the best people in the world,” he said. “Meeting so many good people all over was a real blessing.”

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said, “We congratulate Father West on his new position. He and I have already spoken about the spirit of collaboration we want to exercise between Priests for Life and Human Life International, in the same way that Father Paul Marx and I collaborated when I first became director of Priests for Life in 1993. We will miss Father Peter at the day-to-day operations of Priests for Life, but at the same time, look forward to seeing him at national and international pro-life gatherings.”

The work of Priests for Life is increasingly international as well, particularly in the outreach of Rachel’s Vineyard and the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.

Father Pavone also expressed congratulations to HLI’s new President, Father Shenan Boquet, and to the HLI Board of Directors for all its hard work over the past year in searching for new leadership.

Meanwhile, Priests for Life announced the addition of Monsignor Michael Mannion to its Pastoral Team. A priest of Camden, NJ, Monsignor Mannion is a pioneer in the ministry of post-abortion healing, having trained priests for decades on how to counsel those who have lost children to abortion.

Monsignor Mannion will assist on a part-time basis in the strategic planning, writing, and preaching mission of Priests for Life, along with Father Frank Pavone, Father Denis Wilde, OSA, Father Scott Daniels, OP, Father Victor Salomon, and Father Walter Quinn, OSA.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit priestsforlife.org.

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