No Compromise: The Mandate Has to Go
February 13, 2012
Below you will find my latest column, No Compromise: The Mandate Has to Go,
Period. Before you read my column, let me first give you a few important
As you know, an unprecedented and outrageous attack has been launched by the
Obama administration on the freedom of conscience of Americans, through the
mandate requiring health insurance to cover abortion-inducing drugs,
contraceptives, and sterilization.
View my latest YouTube video at
on which I give an update on this situation.
Reaction from religious leaders has been swift, united, and vociferous.
Legislation has been introduced in Congress to correct the situation. And
several groups, including Priests for Life, have launched federal lawsuits
to block the Obama administration from enforcing this mandate.
Now it’s time for us to come together to hear from experts who can update us
on how things stand and exactly what we can each do about it.
Please join me for a live webcast this Wednesday night, February 15, from 9
to 10pm Eastern time. You can sign up on the form at
www.priestsforlife.org/webcast, and we will send you information on how to
get connected. You can either listen by phone or online, and will be able to
download documents that will give you talking points and action items.
Joining me will be Congressman Chris Smith, who, as you know, is a heroic
pro-life leader in the US Congress, Doug Johnson, the Federal Legislative
Director for the National Right to Life Committee, David N. O’Steen, Ph.D.,
Executive Director of National Right to Life, and Charles S. LiMandri, APC,
the attorney who is filing the federal lawsuit on behalf of Priests for
Join us for an inspiring call to action this Wednesday night, and please
spread the word to as many others as you can.
Fr. Frank Pavone
No Compromise: The Mandate Has to Go, Period.
Many have asked me whether I think that the President's announced
"accommodation" regarding the HHS mandate for health insurance coverage of
abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization is acceptable.
As many Catholics and non-Catholics point out, the principal problem is that
the mandate is still in place
. The President's
February 10 announcement changed none of that. What remains is that all
employers -- not just religious ones -- have to provide health insurance for
their employees, and all health insurance plans have to cover
abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization.
It's a fiction to say that the insurer, not the employer, is now the one
offering this coverage. It is an illusion to think there is any moral
difference introduced by the February 10 "accommodation" of the
As Peggy Noonan wrote, "The short-term White House strategy is to
confuse and obfuscate, to spread a thick web of untruths about the decision
and let opponents exhaust themselves trying to fight from under the web."
Simply put, freedom of conscience -- which belongs not just to religious
people but to every American -- demands that people should “retain the right
to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with
their religious beliefs and moral convictions” (Respect for Rights of
Apparently, more will be coming out from the Administration, during the year
that it is giving to non-exempt religious groups to "adapt" to the mandate.
But we don't need a year, nor do we need a moment
to determine what we are going to do, or to "adapt" to the mandate. The
mandate is unjust. You don't adapt to injustice; you oppose it.
That's why Priests for Life is launching a federal lawsuit against the Obama
Administration to block the enforcement of this mandate on us, and to
declare it unconstitutional.
That is also why we are garnering support for the Respect for Rights of
Conscience Act (H.R. 1179, S. 1467).
This is why we are also helping to organize public rallies, protests, and
acts of civil disobedience.
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 Church teaching about the specific
practices at issue in this HHS mandate, we are particularly well-positioned
to fight against this intrusion on the rights of conscience.
Moreover, we are convinced that the current mandate, if allowed to stand,
paves the way for mandated coverage of abortion on demand, and we see no
reason why those pushing for the mandate would not want that in the long
run. If the HHS can add at any time to the list of "preventive services" for
women, and argues that these services are cost-effective, how could they not
argue for health insurance policies to cover abortion, as less expensive
As John Allen said, "There's no room for compromise on this. The mandate has
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