Lead Nonprofit Case against HHS Mandate Moves Forward

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.

Novena to Reverse HHS Mandate — Day 5 #HHSMandate #IStandWithPFL

Lord God,
You are Light, and in you there is no darkness.
You sent your Son Jesus Christ
As the Light of the World,
And you sent your Holy Spirit
To enlighten the hearts and minds of all.

Lord, we pray today
That we may always experience
The light of your truth,
Informing our conscience
Of what is right and what is wrong.

We pray that this light
Will reach all of our fellow citizens
That they may recognize the dangers of evil
Which are often hidden along their path.

Open the eyes and minds of all
To the threats that currently exist
To our religious freedom,
To the health and well-being of women,
And to the good of our nation.

Give us the grace not only to recognize evil,
But also to reject it with the unwavering strength
That comes from you.

We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Novena to Reverse the HHS Mandate — Day 4 #HHSMandate #IStandWithPFL

Lord Jesus Christ,
Ruler of all nations,
You gave Your apostles the command
To preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth,
And promised that You would be with them all days,
Even until the end of the world.

After Your Ascension,
They went forth to preach Your word
And You confirmed with signs and wonders
That You were working through them.

When they were told by the authorities of their day
Not to speak Your name anymore,
And were even arrested and scourged,
They boldly declared,
“We must obey God rather than men!”

Lord Jesus,
You continue to proclaim Your Word
in your Church today.
Give us the same clarity, courage, and determination
That Your apostles had,
That we may not allow any obstacle or earthly power
To intimidate us into silence or compromise.

Grant that our highest loyalty may always and only be to You,
Who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

Our Government Pays no Heed to the Constitution











STATEN ISLAND, NY – Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement today following the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“The Supreme Court today officially declared that our current government pays no heed to the Constitution.  Neither the President, nor Congress, nor the Supreme Court appears willing to protect life or liberty.

“If ever there were a time in history when the American people needed to be informed voters on Election Day, this is it.”

Priests for Life filed a lawsuit in February against the Health and Human Services mandate that all employers provide contraception to their employees free of charge. That lawsuit will continue.

“Priests for Life will remain vigilant on the issue of contraception,” Father Pavone said. “The mandate is a brazen attack on our religious liberty. Today’s ruling on Obamacare was a setback, but it is not the end of the battle.”

Priests for Life applauds latest lawsuit against HHS mandate

Number of lawsuits, including that of Priests for Life, now Nine

New York, NY — Father Frank hailed the newest lawsuit — the ninth to be filed against the Health and Human Services mandate on contraception, sterilization and abortifacients — as another sign that opposition to this unjust mandate has just begun.

O’Brien vs. Sebelius is a lawsuit brought by an individual or private employer not affiliated with any religious institution or organization.

“We are very happy that a private business owner recognizes that this mandate affects virtually all health care plans and all employers, across the board and across the country,” Father Pavone said. “In our own lawsuit, Priests for Life vs. Sebelius, which was the fourth of the nine filed so far, Priests for Life is opposing this mandate as employers, not as a religious group. Religious freedom is not a right just of religious groups; it’s a right of every American.”

Attorney Charles LiMandri filed the Priests for Life suit Feb. 15 in Brooklyn Federal Court. The suit 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.

Fr. Pavone observed, “Priests for Life is fighting this mandate on all fronts: mobilizing the Churches, educating the public through the media, supporting legislative solutions, organizing nationwide rallies for religious freedom to take place this Friday in over 100 cities, and being among the first to challenge the mandate in Court. We are grateful for Cardinal Dolan’s recent remarks pointing to the importance of the lawsuits as perhaps the best way of solving this problem.”

See here for the full text of the Priests for Life lawsuit.

To read a summary of all nine lawsuits currently pending, visit: priestsforlife.org/hhsmandate/hhs-lawsuits.pdf

Rally for Religious Freedom set for Friday on Wall Street

Dr. Alveda King, Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life, and Janet Morana, co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, will be the keynote speakers Friday, March 23rd at noon at the Rally for Religious Freedom at the Federal Hall National Memorial in Manhattan.

Similar rallies in over a hundred cities across the nation this Friday are part of a coordinated effort in which Priests for Life has played a leading role once the effort was initiated by the Pro-life Action League and Citizens for a Pro-life Society. The rallies protest the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring all employer health plans to include free contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs, regardless of any moral or religious objections. Catholic universities, hospitals and not-for-profits like Priests for Life will be forced by the federal government to provide services that directly contradict Church teaching.

“The mandate is a clear violation of the First Amendment and should be rescinded on that basis,” Dr. King said. “But beyond that, the mandate endangers women by giving them poison and calling it health care. Birth control pills are bad for women; abortifacients are bad for women. We need to tell the truth, and to make sure that our voices are heard.”

Other speakers at the Federal Hall bilingual rally will include Father Victor Salomon, Director of Hispanic Outreach for Priests for Life; Father Agustino Torres of the Franciscan Friars; Chris Slattery, founder of Expectant Mother Care; Monsignor Philip Reilly of Helpers of God’s Precious Infants; Bronx City Councilman Fernando Cabrera; Chris Bell, founder of Good Counsel Homes, and Dr. Anne Nolte of the St. Gianna Center for Women’s Health.

Priests for Life, which is organizing the New York City rally, filed the fourth of nine lawsuits against the Obama administration over the contraception/abortifacient mandate. The suit, filed Feb. 15 in Brooklyn Federal Court, seeks to permanently block the HHS mandate.

“Ours was the first lawsuit filed subsequent to the so-called ‘accommodation’ announced by the President on February 10, hence signaling to the administration in no uncertain terms that we did not consider his ‘accommodation’ helpful at all,” said Father Frank.

The lawsuits and rallies are accompanied by a prayer campaign to reverse the mandate; prayers for each day can be found at PrayerCampaign.org.

Federal Hall National Memorial is located at 26 Wall Street. For information, visit StandUpForReligiousFreedom.com, email Rally@PriestsForLife.org or call 347-286-7520.

An American Takeover of America

Senator Roy Blunt, who sponsored the amendment in the Senate that, had it received a few more votes, would have protected conscience rights of employers, said, “This is a debate that might be settled at that building across the street,” referring to the Supreme Court.

Indeed, as of this writing, eight different lawsuits have been launched against the Obama administration to block the unjust HHS mandate. I am proud to have authorized the fourth of these eight, Priests for Life vs. Sebelius, filed in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York on February 15, 2012. Ours was the first lawsuit filed subsequent to the so-called “accommodation” announced by the President on February 10, hence signaling to the administration in no uncertain terms that we did not consider his “accommodation” helpful at all.

The eight lawsuits so far, arranged by the date they were filed, are as follows:

November 10, 2011 Belmont Abbey College v. Sebelius
December 21, 2011 Colorado Christian University v. Sebelius
February 9, 2012 Eternal Word Television Network v. Sebelius
February 15, 2012 Priests for Life v. Sebelius
February 20, 2012 Louisiana College v. Sebelius
February 21, 2012 Ave Maria University v. Sebelius
February 21, 2012 Geneva College v. Sebelius
February 23, 2012 Bruning v. Sebelius (This is the one whose plaintiffs include the states of Nebraska, Texas, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Carolina.)

You may want to share this list with your local media, since some outlets continue to get the count wrong.

Though freedom of religion has been the theme most central to this debate, a common theme in these lawsuits is likewise freedom of speech. To quote from the Complaint we filed (which you can find on our web site), “The…mandate compels Priests for Life to provide education and counseling regarding contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and abortifacients…[and hence]…to engage in speech that violates its sincerely-held religious beliefs.”

Freedom of speech, in other words, by giving you the right to say what you want to say, necessarily also contains the right to not say what you don’t want to say, and it doesn’t matter if you are forced to say it yourself or to pay someone else to say it.

The Complaint also states that we have filed this suit “to protect the rights of all Americans.” Freedom of speech and freedom of religion do not belong only to religious groups, but to everyone. The other side wants to frame this battle as just a sectarian issue — most particularly a Catholic issue.

During the 2000 elections, a reporter said at a Priests for Life press conference at the National Press Club, “Fr. Frank is calling for a Vatican takeover of America.”

As I said then, I am not calling for any Vatican takeover of America; I’m calling for an American takeover of America! It’s fine to say we stand with our religious leaders, but let’s make it clear that they and we are standing with our Constitution and our great nation, rooted in God’s gift of freedom.

Priests for Life Announces Ongoing Novena re HHS Mandate

New York, NY – Fr. Frank is making available a prayer novena for the intention that the unjust HHS Mandate will be completely reversed.

“We already conducted a nationwide novena for this intention,” Fr. Frank explained, noting that Churches, schools, pro-life groups, families and individuals around the country were invited to participate. “But because the battle continues, so must the prayers. We therefore are announcing today that this is a continuous novena.”

The nine prayers can be found at priestsforlife.org/novenas/hhs-mandate.htm. The prayers are written in such a way that Christians of any denomination can use them. They focus on themes such as loyalty to God above any earthly authority, participation in the legislative process, repentance and conversion, conscience and religious freedom, enlightenment for civil leaders, courage for Church leaders, and unity. As one of the prayers says in part:

“Lord Jesus,
You continue to proclaim your Word
in your Church today.
Give us the same clarity, courage, and determination
That Your apostles had,
That we may not allow any obstacle or earthly power
To intimidate us into silence or compromise.”

Fr. Pavone also pointed out that these prayers can be particularly appropriate as people across the nation prepare for the religious freedom rallies to be held on March 23, and as they conduct those rallies. Priests for Life has been instrumental in assisting the planning of these national events, and is responsible for organizing the New York City rally for that day.

U.S. Citizens Sign On to “Amicus Brief” in Support of Lawsuit Against ObamaCare

Staten Island, NY — Priests for Life, a New York-based international pro-life organization of Catholic clergy and laity, today announced that any and all U.S. citizens who are opposed to the unjust HHS mandate can sign on to a Citizens “Amicus Brief” in support of the organization’s lawsuit against the Obama Administration.

The lawsuit, Priests for Life v. Sebelius, seeks 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.

“Since the HHS mandate directly affects every U.S. citizen through compulsory funding of contraception and abortion-inducing drugs and devices, this effort gives everyone a chance to let their voice be heard if they oppose the mandate,” says Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life.

Father Pavone elaborates: “Through various forms of compulsion, the HHS mandate forces all citizens to either pay for abortion-causing pills…promote them…or be penalized if citizens choose not to comply with these audacious dictatorial decrees. Americans will have no say in the matter if the HHS ruling isn’t repealed, rescinded, or rejected.”

One part of the lawsuit addresses the “forced speech” aspect of the controversial Health and Human Services mandate. 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. Priests for Life is seeking injunctive relief from this unconstitutional decree, and inviting all concerned U.S. citizens to join them by signing on to the Citizens “Amicus Brief.”

Priests for Life has made it possible for everyone to sign on to the Citizens “Amicus Brief” with just the click of a mouse button by going to repealtheabortionmandate.com.

Priests for Life Associate Director is Arrested Outside White House

Click here for photos

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