The pro-life Catholic group Priests for Life is the first to announce it will openly defy the new pro-abortion mandate the HHS department put in force today under the Obamacare health care law.
The new mandate compels religious employers to pay for and refer employees for birth control, abortion-causing drugs and contraception in violation of employers’ religious beliefs.
Father Frank Pavone told LifeNews his pro-life group doesn’t qualify for the narrowly-drawn exemptions in the mandate, so his organization will not comply with it and will run the risk of fines and other possible punishment.
“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,” he explained. “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,” he said. “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.”
Pavone sent the following memo to paid employees of Priests for Life today:
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.
Fr. Frank Pavone
“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,” Pavone said. “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.”