In an August 1 press release the organization’s director, Father Frank Pavone, said that under the HHS rules, Priests for Life was not “religious” enough to qualify for the one-year moratorium the government had given some non-church faith-based organizations to adapt their health insurance plans to the mandate. “But regardless of all that,” he announced, “we do not adapt to injustice; we oppose it. Therefore today, on behalf of our organization and on behalf of myself personally, I announce our conscientious objection to this mandate.”
Pavone noted that while “Priests for Life has the highest respect for civil government and advocates the observance of all just laws … this policy is unjust, and today I reaffirm our intention to disobey it.”
Earlier in the day Pavone sent a memo to the organization’s employees reminding them that “as of today, as far as the government is concerned, we have to provide health insurance coverage for practices that are morally objectionable. In order to avoid the slightest semblance of scandal, or compromise of our principles, and lest any employee should imagine that we would ever consent to provide coverage for actions that destroy human life, I want to make it clear to you today that we will disobey this mandate.”
Pavone emphasized to his staff that no one connected with leadership of the organization would consent to “provide, pay for, advocate, counsel, refer, or in any way tolerate or cooperate with any process, plan, exchange of money or services, or any other activity that would enable a person to engage in the use of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, or sterilization.”
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