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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 updates.

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, 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 Life.

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
National Director

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.

Absolutely not.

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 Administration.

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 Conscience Act).

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 than childbirth?

As John Allen said, "There's no room for compromise on this. The mandate has to go."

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Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
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