Archive for the ‘ReligiousFreedom’ Category

Father Pavone hails House vote to repeal Affordable Care Act

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement today following the House vote to repeal the federal Affordable Care Act.

“The health care law that President Obama signed two years ago and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld last month presents grave threats to unborn babies and imposes intolerable burdens on every citizen who valueshuman life. I commend the House of Representatives for voting for repeal.”

“As it stands now,” Father Pavone continued, “Americans in 34 states will have to pay an abortion premium if they are enrolled in insurance plans through their state exchange. Also, thanks to a secrecy clause in the law, insurance plans and state exchanges cannot disclose the monthly cost of the abortion premium. This is an injustice that every American should oppose, whether they are pro-life or not. This is not the American way.”

The Affordable Care Act also includes the Health and Human Services mandate that employers, including faith-based organizations like Priests for Life, provide contraception, abortifacient drugs and sterilization services to their employees free of charge. Priests for Life in February filed one of the first lawsuits against this unjust mandate, and that suit is continuing.

“I am and always have been in favor of health care reform,” Father Pavone said. “But the concerns that Priests for Life has voiced from the beginning about the law in its current form, particularly regarding abortion and the HHS mandate, override everything. “

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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