FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: April 11, 2016
Contact: Leslie Palma
WASHINGTON, DC — Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, whose case, Priests for Life vs. HHS, is one of the seven consolidated cases at the Supreme Court in Zubik vs. Burwell, stated today that he has responded to the question that the Supreme Court presented to the petitioners recently, trying to find a way to satisfy their religious objections to the HHS mandate.
In an unusual move, the Court asked petitioners recently for more documentation that might map out the way to a solution to the present controversy. On the one hand, the government wants the employees of Priests for Life and the other organizations to have insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives. On the other hand, Priests for Life and the other groups want no part of providing it.
“By asking us to describe how things should be different than what the mandate currently requires, the Court is showing that it recognizes that the believer is the only one qualified to draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. As the Supreme Court already said in Hobby Lobby and other cases, it is never the role of the government or the Court to substitute its own judgment for that of the believer.
“Also, the fact that the Court is asking us to describe a better solution that would truly accommodate our religious beliefs indicates that it is looking for a ‘less restrictive’ means for the government to pursue its objectives. The existence of a ‘less restrictive’ means, which we believe we have identified in this new brief, leads us to victory in this case. It proves our point that the government hasn’t passed the test that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) requires,” Fr. Pavone explained.
The brief that has been prepared as a collaborative effort of all the petitioners and their attorneys will be filed with the Court tomorrow, simultaneous with a brief from the government on the same question. Then, later in the month, each side will be able to respond to one another’s briefs.
“The bottom line is this,” Fr. Pavone stated. “We have told the Court that we simply cannot take any actions whatsoever to authorize, facilitate, or in any way be part of the provision of contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. This case is not about what others do; rather, it is about what we do. We cannot ever be the ‘gateway’ for the provision of these life-denying, life-destroying drugs. We have drawn that line clearly for the court. If the government or the insurance companies insist on pursuing the destructive path of abortion and contraception, they already have the means to do it without our involvement. Our message to the government is simple: leave us out of it, and stop forcing us to choose between following the law and following our faith. Every believer in America should be free to do both at the same time.”
Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.