HHS Mandate Continues to Be Challenged in Court

By:  Raven Clabough
12/10/2013
       
HHS Mandate Continues to Be Challenged in Court

Priests for Life is challenging the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) contraception mandate in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., and is joined by other individual plaintiffs.

The challenge asserts that the plaintiffs’ religious freedoms are being violated by forcing them to provide no-cost access to contraceptives, including those that induce abortion.

Priests for Life is being represented by attorneys from the American Freedom Law Center. Individual plaintiffs on the case include Father Frank Pavone (shown in photo), Janet Morana, and Dr. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“With this mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act, the government is not only violating our religious beliefs; they are also taking it upon themselves to tell us what the boundaries of those religious beliefs are,” states Father Pavone. “It is not up to the government to tell us when our conscience hurts; on the contrary, it's up to us as believers to tell the government."

Robert Muise, American Freedom Law Center co-founder and senior counsel, summarizes the issue before the court:

The question for the court ... is not whether compliance with the contraception mandate can be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church. That’s a question of religious conscience for the plaintiffs, and they have concluded that their legal and religious obligations are incompatible. Consequently, the contraception mandate forces them to do what their religion tells them they must not do in direct violation of the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The challenge landed in federal court on Monday, but the plaintiffs appeared unsatisfied with what took place in the courtroom.

Following Monday’s hearing, Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said, “What we just saw in that courtroom is of Biblical proportions.”

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