Archive for the ‘HHSmandate’ Category

The Mandate is In Effect: Stand With Us!

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012





 

Dear Friends,

The unjust and unconstitutional HHS mandate, against which Priests for Life and 57 other plaintiffs have sued the federal government, takes effect today. We at Priests for Life do not qualify for the year that the government has offered certain groups to “adapt” to the mandate. And we are not “religious” enough for this Administration.

But regardless of all that, we do not adapt to injustice; we oppose it.

Therefore today, on behalf of our organization and on behalf of myself personally, I announce our conscientious objection to this mandate.

Priests for Life has the highest respect for civil government and advocates the observance of all just laws. But this policy is unjust, and today I reaffirm our intention to disobey it.

I issued the following memo this morning at 12:01am to all our employees, consultants and prospective employees:

August 1, 2012

Dear Priests for Life Staff and Consultants,

The HHS mandate, about which we have been educating people since January and against which we have launched a federal lawsuit, goes into effect for Priests for Life today.

Whether or not the government decides to eventually impose fines on us when our health insurance policy is renewed in a few months is not the issue. The issue is that as of today, as far as the government is concerned, we have to provide health insurance coverage for practices that are morally objectionable.

In order to avoid the slightest semblance of scandal, or compromise of our principles, and lest any employee should imagine that we would ever consent to provide coverage for actions that destroy human life, I want to make it clear to you today that we will disobey this mandate. Neither Priests for Life as an organization, nor any one of our administrative team or Board of Directors, nor I personally, consent to provide, pay for, advocate, counsel, refer, or in any way tolerate or cooperate with any process, plan, exchange of money or services, or any other activity that would enable a person to engage in the use of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, or sterilization.

We reaffirm that our mission is precisely to eliminate abortion in every form, and we reaffirm our trust in you that you share that mission and are likewise offended by this mandate. We will therefore stand together in resisting it, and in our confidence that we will prevail, by persevering in prayer and action, in our lawsuit.

Thank you

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director

Having officially communicated this memo to our staff, I likewise invite all our supporters across the country and around the world to stand with us, and let their voices be heard by joining our Citizens’ Amicus Brief and by doubling their commitment to help our many initiatives succeed, especially those related to fostering the political responsibility of citizens.

Today is also the filing deadline for the Administration to introduce its motion to dismiss our case against the HHS, Priests for Life vs. Sebelius, as they have already indicated their intention to do. Our lead counsel in the case has advised us that he is confident our case has addressed the issues in such a way that we will prevail against this motion.

Sincerely,

Fr. Frank Pavone

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 and Fr. Pavone declare “Beginning of the End” of the HHS Mandate

Monday, July 30th, 2012





STATEN ISLAND, NY – Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, released the following statement today regarding the preliminary injunction issued in a lawsuit filed by a private company against the Health and Human Services contraception mandate. The ruling marks the first legal victory over the mandate.

 “This decision marks the beginning of the end of the unjust and unconstitutional HHS mandate. Even though the Aug. 1 deadline for compliance is still in effect for organizations like Priests for Life, it’s good news that the suit filed by the owners of Hercules Industries has been successful in holding off, at least temporarily, this mandate that is so clearly a violation of the religious freedom guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the laws of our country.This gives us reason to be optimistic as our own lawsuit progresses.

 “But no matter what happens, there is no way we will comply with a law that calls for us to violate our consciences by paying for contraception, abortifacient drugs and sterilization services.”

In Newland vs. Sebelius, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado ruled on July 27 that the constitutional and statutory rights of the plaintiffs – siblings who own a heating and air conditioning company – would be harmed by enforcement of the HHS mandate. Judge John L. Kane also found that Hercules likely would prevail in its claim that the mandate is a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

In his ruling, the judge noted that Hercules’ owners, William Newland, Paul Newland, James Newland, and Christine Ketterhagen, run their company according to Catholic principles and teachings, even when those religious, ethical and moral teachings impact their profits.

Fr. Pavone added, “Priests for Life is proud to be in the company of the Newlands and so many others who are not willing to set aside their deeply held beliefs, or their legal rights, even when threatened with economic catastrophe. We are confident that our lawsuit, filed Feb. 15, will protect us from the imposition of more than $1 million a year in fines.

“In addition to pressing on with our legal action, Priests for Life will also help once again to organize nationwide rallies for religious freedom, to take place on Saturday, October 20.”

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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Father Pavone hails news of 12 new lawsuits filed against HHS mandate

Monday, May 21st, 2012





Staten Island, NY — Father Frank applauded the additional 12 lawsuits filed around the country today in protest of the Health and Human Services mandate forcing employers to provide coverage for activities they find objectionable.

The lawsuits represent 43 plaintiffs, including the Archdioceses of New York, Washington, D.C. and St. Louis, the Michigan Catholic Conference, and several dioceses.

“These new actions mean there are now 23 lawsuits filed against this assault on religious freedom,’ said Father Pavone, whose organization was the fourth to file suit against the mandate. “Since Priests for Life launched its lawsuit in February, we have urged other organizations and dioceses to do the same. When there are multiple federal lawsuits on the same issue in different parts of the country, this can create the potential kind of conflict that the Supreme Court may be more likely to resolve.”

Besides suing Kathleen Sebelius and the HHS, Father Pavone and Priests for Life are helping organize rallies nationwide to stand up for religious freedom on Friday, June 8. The Priests for Life team is organizing the rally in New York City.

“The fact that the New York Archdiocese is now part of the legal assault on this mandate will, I am sure, create renewed interest and participation in our June 8 rally. We invite all to take part.”

More information on the rally can be obtained by emailing rally@priestsforlife.org

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Fr. Pavone: Sebelius Leading Assault on Religious Freedom

Friday, May 18th, 2012





STATEN ISLAND, NY – Father Frank issued the following statement regarding Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s commencement address today at Georgetown University.

“It was outrageous when Notre Dame University awarded an honorary degree to President Obama during commencement exercises in 2009,” said Father Pavone, who was invited by pro-life students to lead an alternative graduation ceremony at the Indiana university. “Georgetown’s decision to invite Secretary Sebelius is just as bad. She is leading the assault on religious freedom that has grave implications for the Catholic Church. By inviting her to speak, Georgetown offers the image of a Church that is, at best, divided, and at worst, hypocritical. What we need instead is a show of unity and resolve.”

Priests for Life in February filed the fourth of what are now 11 lawsuits against the Health and Human Services mandate that would require most faith-based employers to provide their employees with insurance coverage for contraception, sterilization services and abortifacient drugs.

Father Pavone stated, “Not only do we urge the bishops to voice their objections regarding the Sebelius invitation just as they did over Notre Dame’s invitation of Obama, but we further urge the bishops to join in the legal action that we and others have taken against Sebelius and the HHS.”

For more information, see priestsforlife.org/hhsmandate.

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Fr. Pavone welcomes news of latest lawsuit against HHS mandate

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012





 Father Frank issued the following statement today about the latest lawsuit to be filed against the HHS contraception mandate:

“I congratulate Legatus for deciding to jump into the legal assault on the HHS Mandate.  This brings the total to ten lawsuits, including that of Priests for Life. It is a strategic benefit to have various lawsuits in different parts of the country, so that more courts get involved in ruling on the issues involved, and creating the potential kind of conflict that the Supreme Court may be more likely to resolve.”

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Catholic Group Responds to Obama’s Desperate Attempt

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012





Staten Island, NY — Priests for Life, a New York-based international pro-life organization of Catholic clergy and laity, today announced that their attorneys have responded to the Obama Administration’s desperate attempt to “shut down” the group’s lawsuit that’s been filed to stop ObamaCare from violating the conscience and morals of Americans.

Recently, Obama’s lawyers sent a letter to the court announcing its intention to file a motion to dismiss — claiming erroneously that Priests for Life does not have legal “standing” to bring the lawsuit, and that the organization hasn’t been “injured” yet because the regulations won’t take effect until January.

Priests for Life lead attorney Charles LiMandri argued that the government is simply wrong.  He wrote in his response, “Priests for Life has standing, its claims are ripe for review, and this court is ‘obliged’ to address the merits of each.”

LiMandri quotes Thomas v. Union Carbide Agric. Prod. Co., 473 U.S. at 581 (1985)—a case whose precedence applies here: “One does not have to await the consummation of threatened injury to obtain preventive relief.”

The lawsuit that scares the Obama Administration, 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 Priests for Life—and every U.S. citizen—through compulsory funding of contraception and abortion-inducing drugs and devices, our lawsuit is 100 percent legitimate,” says LiMandri.

LiMandri points out that the HHS ‘Abortion Mandate’ forces Priests for Life to either pay for abortion-causing pills…promote them…or be penalized if their employee health-care plan doesn’t comply with the audacious dictatorial decrees of ObamaCare.

“According to the ObamaCare law as it’s written, Priests for Life would be fined as much as $100 per day, per employee.  This would cost Priests for Life nearly $2 million a year in fines, and we’re not going to accept this at all.”

Priests for Life is leading the way with this legal challenge of the constitutionality of ObamaCare based on religious freedom issues.

Fr. Frank states, “We urge our Priests for Life family and all concerned Americans to pray for the success of this legal battle.  In my travels across the nation, I see the strength and faith of the American people, and I know we will prevail.”

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Obama Lawyers Desperately Try to “Dismiss” Lawsuit

Thursday, April 26th, 2012





 

Staten Island, NY — Priests for Life announced late yesterday that the Obama Administration’s lawyers are trying desperately to “shut down” the lawsuit that’s been filed to stop ObamaCare from violating the conscience and morals of America’s Catholics.

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 Priests for Life – and every U.S. citizen – through compulsory funding of contraception and abortion-inducing drugs and devices, our lawsuit is 100 percent legitimate,” says Priests for Life’s lead attorney Charles LiMandri.

LiMandri elaborates: “And yet, the Obama lawyers are trying to say that we don’t have ‘standing’ because the abortion mandate ‘doesn’t go into effect’ for PFL for several months.  This is a thoroughly ridiculous and embarrassing argument for Obama’s attorneys to make.  It shows how desperate they are to dismiss our lawsuit – even to the point of resorting to outrageous arguments such as the ones they’re using now.”

LiMandri points out that the HHS ‘Abortion Mandate’ forces Priests for Life to either pay for abortion-causing pills… promote them… or be heavily fined if their employee health-care plan doesn’t comply with the audacious dictatorial decrees of ObamaCare.

“According to the ObamaCare law as it’s written, Priests for Life would be fined as much as $100 per day, per employee.  This could cost Priests for Life over $1 million a year in fines.  We’re not going to accept this at all.”

Priests for Life is preparing its response, which must be filed with the court by April 30, with the assistance of the American Freedom Law Center.  The group’s attorneys are working overtime to respond so quickly.

Fr. Frank commented, “As our attorneys do their work, I ask our supporters to join in our prayer campaign and our Citizens’ Amicus brief.  Of this I am confident: We will prevail, life will prevail!”

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The Nine Lawsuits for Religious Freedom: A Brief Rundown of the Arguments

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012





There are now nine lawsuits, including one brought by Priests for Life, which have been filed in federal district courts around the country challenging the Obama administration’s HHS mandate that requires employers to provide coverage for activities that many of them believe people should not do.

There is value to having multiple lawsuits, because, having been introduced in different judicial jurisdictions around the country, some may be victorious and others not, hence setting up a federal conflict that the Supreme Court is more likely to address.

There are similarities and differences in the legal arguments of the nine lawsuits.

First Amendment – Religious Liberty

The first and most obvious objection to the mandate is that it infringes on the free exercise of religion which the Constitution guarantees to every American.  The mandate forces health insurers, employers, and employees to violate their own religious faiths by providing or purchasing items and services that their faiths strictly prohibit.  Moreover, it penalizes the practice of religion by imposing hefty government fines on employers who stop providing employee health insurance rather than deny their beliefs.  This is exactly the type of government behavior that the First Amendment was designed to prevent.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act

A second argument is that the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).  This 1993 law stops the federal government from restricting religious belief unless it can show a “compelling government interest” for doing so.  Providing subsidized abortifacients, birth control, and sterilization hardly seems to be a “compelling government interest” to interfere in religion.

First Amendment – Free Speech

Another common cause of action in the nine lawsuits is that the Obamacare mandate violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment.  Not only does the mandate force employers and employees to pay for objectionable items and procedures, but they also have to fund education and counseling for those same things.  In other words, people of faith would be forced to endorse with their involuntary financial contributions speech that contradicts their beliefs.

Administrative Procedure Act

The lawsuits by Priests for Life and others also allege that the Obama administration’s actions in putting forth the mandate for abortifacient/contraceptive coverage did not follow proper government procedures.

Overburdening State Medicaid Programs

The lawsuit brought by seven states, Bruning v. Sebelius, adds that state Medicaid programs will be overrun with new enrollees because of the mandate.  The states argue that religiously affiliated employers will either stop offering health insurance or, because they cannot afford the government fines for not offering employee health insurance, shut down completely.  The result of either action will be more people without health insurance, which under Obamacare, will mean more people moving to Medicaid coverage.  The increased financial strain on state budgets will be enormous.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan has pointed out that the courts are likely the best defense against the HHS mandate.  May God give success to the efforts of Priests for Life, other religiously affiliated employers, religious individuals, states, and even a private commercial business who have all brought suits to stop this mandate.

For more information on the mandate and the lawsuits, see priestsforlife.org/hhsmandate.

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The Mandate will be Defeated

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012





Priests for Life is proud to have helped organize the Rallies for Religious Freedom which occurred in some 140 different cities across America on Friday, March 23. I thank my friends and colleagues Eric Scheidler (Pro-life Action League) and Monica Miller (Citizens for a Pro-life Society) for spearheading this effort, and my Priests for Life team for coordinating the New York City rally. The word we are hearing from around the country is that the rallies were well-attended, determined, and inspiring.

I am grateful also for the support we received from the Vatican. For instance, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, wrote to me, “[T]he HHS mandates is a serious threat to the rights of Catholics and to religious liberty in the United States. As the United States often sets a precedent for the rest of the world, the potentially devastating impact of this mandate is felt worldwide. The universal Church remains in prayerful solidarity with the Church in the United States during this critical time” (Letter of February 29, 2012).

Where do we go from here? May I recommend three things:

a) The prayer campaign that accompanied these nationwide rallies must continue. The bishops have designated March 30 as a special day of prayer for religious freedom, and we urge you to join the ongoing novena we have prepared at PrayerCampaign.org. On March 30 and beyond, let’s offer these prayers in every parish, school, and family!

b) Nine lawsuits, including the one launched by Priests for Life, have been filed against this unconstitutional mandate. Inform yourself of the arguments in these cases, follow and publicize their progress, and support them. Learn about these lawsuits here and sign our “Citizens’ Amicus Brief” at RepealTheAbortionMandate.com.

c) Join upcoming educational efforts, webcasts, lobbying efforts, and rallies. This week, for instance, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments against Obamacare, and Priests for Life is helping to organize prayer vigils and press conferences at the Court through the Capitol Hill effort we co-sponsor called the National Pro-life Center (NationalProLifeCenter.org)!

Of this much I am confident: the unjust and unconstitutional mandate imposed on Americans by President Obama and his HHS will not stand!

It will be defeated, because people of conscience are standing up, taking to the streets, uniting with each other, and breaking the silence!

It will be defeated, because the Constitution of the United States is stronger than any Presidential administration!

It will be defeated, because people of faith know how to oppose injustice and to suffer any sacrifice rather than to let evil triumph!

It will be defeated, because on November 6 of this year, the people of America will go to the voting booths, and those elections will bring about real change!

The right to religious freedom, like the right to life, is rooted in the dignity of the human person. The right to life is more fundamental, of course, because one must be alive in order to be free. Together, let’s defend life and liberty!

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Show support for the First Amendment at Rally for Religious Freedom

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012





NEW YORK, NY — Friday’s Rally for Religious Freedom, taking place in more than 100 cities across the country, will mark the second anniversary of the passage of the abortion-friendly Patient Protection Affordable Care Act.

But Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life and co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, notes the rallies will take place just one day after another infamous anniversary: March 22, 1972, marks 40 years since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized contraception for unmarried people.

“It’s taken 40 years, but we finally have a president with the audacity to violate the First Amendment and call for free contraception for all Americans,” said Mrs. Morana, who will offer a keynote address at the noon rally tomorrow at the Federal Hall National Memorial. “We have to stand up and say ‘We will not surrender our freedom of religion in favor of a blister pack full of carcinogens.’”

The rallies have been organized in protest of the Health and Human Services Mandate that calls on all employers to provide contraception, sterilization services and abortion-inducing drugs to their workers free of charge, even if they have religious objections.

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.

Father Frank urged all Americans who treasure the rights guaranteed them in the U.S. Constitution to attend one of the rallies.

“Please join thousands of your fellow citizens as they gather in prayer and public witness in cities and towns all across the US to oppose this mandate,” Father Pavone said.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, will send a representative to read a letter at the rally. Also speaking at the bilingual rally in Manhattan will be Dr. Alveda King, director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life; 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.

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

Federal Hall National Memorial is at 26 Wall Street. For information, visit StandUpForReligiousFreedom.com, email Rally@PriestsForLife.org or call 347-286-7250.

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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