The pro-life group Priests for Life was one of the earliest organizations to file a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its HHS mandate. The mandate compels religious groups to pay for birth control drugs and drugs like ella that can cause very early abortions.
But, last week, a federal appeals court ruled that the Obama administration can force Priests for Life to obey the HHS mandate. In a 3-0 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit concluded that the HHS mandate doesn’t abrogate the religious freedoms of Priests for Life or 11 other religious groups that also challenged the mandate.
Responding to that decision, Father Frank Pavone, the director of Priests for Life, says his organization will never obey the mandate no matter what the government tries to do. From a report:
A statement from the national director of Priests of Life and Gospel of Life Ministries, Father Frank Pavone, denounced the judgement as “absurd”.
“Priests for Life will not obey the mandate! Not today. Not tomorrow. Now ever!” he said.
Father Pavone also told the Washington Times that “To ask a group of priests to cooperate in the government’s plan to expand access to birth control and abortion-inducing drugs is about as contrary to religious freedom as you can get.”
After Friday’s judgement, Father Pavone wrote on Facebook: “I am convinced that God will bring us through this setback. Faithfulness to His plan will render success, by resisting those who would throw religious freedom to the wind as in this case.
“Far from a political motivation, what galvanizes PFL in pursuing the appeal to the Supreme Court is first, the commitment to our Catholic Church whose moral principles themselves remain severely compromised in the Mandate; and second, as a needed agent to resist brazen government intervention against religious freedom of the First Amendment. This is a threat to ALL religious freedom…This is about any American. It is about life, religion and, yes, even our freedom. It is about God’s sovereignty over Caesar.”
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