Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, on Monday released a statement regarding the new “accommodation” to the Health and Human Services contraception mandate announced by the Obama administration last week.
Father Pavone said: “On Friday afternoon, it was announced that the Obama Administration has come up with an alternate procedure for religious non-profit groups like Priests for Life, who object to the HHS mandate, to register their objection so that their employees can receive insurance coverage for immoral practices by other means.
“Despite this new announcement, we are proceeding full speed ahead with our lawsuit, which already had oral arguments on May 8 in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and which is therefore likely to be the first of the religious non-profit cases against the mandate to be decided at the appellate level.
“We are proceeding first of all because the regulation that burdens our religious freedom is still in effect, and secondly, because what we understand right now of the new rule still burdens our religious freedom.
“Many will ask, Why do you object to an action by which you register your objection?
“Let’s use a simple example. The government comes up with a plan to arbitrarily imprison children between 2 and 4 years old, and imposes on businesses the obligation to inform them of such children among the families of their employees.
“Any employer with a conscience is going to say, “I want nothing to do with this. If you’re going to imprison these children, you’re going to have to find them yourself. I won’t be sending you any information.”
“In the current case, we are being asked to be part of a process in which employees, if they want, can have coverage for abortion-inducing drugs (among others) precisely because they are our employees. Having someone else pay for it, and registering our objection to it, are not enough. We do not want to have any involvement in the process. We are not going to, in effect, tell the government, ‘Here are some of the people who aren’t covered! Be sure you don’t miss them, or the children they may want to kill.’
“Bottom line: The government is on its own in this scheme to expand access to abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives. We want a full exemption from this mandate, so that we have nothing to do with this scheme. If people want these drugs and the government wants to provide them, then the government will have to find a way to connect with them without our help. Our religion requires no less.”