Six people peacefully protested the Obama administration’s mandate requiring employers to provide contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-producing drugs by kneeling in prayer in front of the White House, and they quickly were arrested and whisked away by U.S. Park police.
“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,” said Father Wilde, one of the protesters.
The six people, including Wilde, of Priests for Life, and Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, organized the peaceful protest on the heels of a Priests for Life lawsuit filed against the Obama administration seeking to permanently block the implementation of the HHS mandate.
Wilde and the other protesters were cited for “failure to obey a lawful order” as they knelt in prayer in front of the White House. Each paid a $100 fine and was released from custody.
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.”
A WND call to the U.S. Park Police Public Affairs desk went unanswered.
Father Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life, tells WND that his organization is 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.
The lawsuit, filed in New York, alleges that the HHS contraceptive mandate violates the U.S. Constitution by requiring employers to provide insurance plans that include coverage for contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients, even if they object to such coverage on religious grounds.
Priests for Life asserts that such provisions under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are unconstitutional on their face by violating the right to the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the Constitution.
The suit contends that the action sought by Priests for Life is on behalf of all Americans who care about “our constitutional guarantees of the free exercise of religion and free speech, as well as the protection of innocent human life.”
“The Obama administration has received significant backlash against the HHS ruling because it requires employers to pay for abortion-related and other morally objectionable services,” the Priests for Life organization said.
Even after Obama announced over the weekend that insurers rather than employers would now be forced to pay for the abortion and birth control related services, Pavone says that it was nothing more than a speech.
“The so-called ‘accommodation’ offered by the administration does not solve the moral or legal problems employers face, and against which Priests for Life is objecting,” he said.
“Moreover, these ‘accommodations’ have not been translated into policy. At this point, they are simply a presidential speech.”
He continued, “No matter what religion someone professes, requiring them to instruct their employees how to obtain abortion-inducing drugs – whether this instruction is given by them or someone they hire – is an outrage not to mention an egregious violation of civil rights and constitutional protections.”
“We will not allow the Obama administration to get away with this,” says Pavone
“It has been suggested by the administration that some groups have an extension of a year before the mandate goes into effect, so they can adapt to it. We don’t need a year, we don’t need a moment, because the mandate is unjust. You don’t adapt to injustice; you oppose it. Hence we’re launching this lawsuit.”
Priests for Life attorney Charles LiMandri remarked, “This is the first time in history any administration has used brute force to compel someone to violate his conscience or moral convictions.”