A prayer vigil outside the Supreme Court today accompanied those presenting arguments in two lawsuits against the Health and Human Services mandate requiring insurance coverage of abortifacients and contraception.
Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood were the plaintiffs in the cases heard today.
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, was among those who participated in the vigil.
In a statement earlier, he said, “This is a moment of Biblical proportions.”
Father Pavone explained, “Scripture, and all Christian history, are filled with moments of conflict between civil authority and people of faith. At every point, those people are called to obey God rather than man.”
The Court is expected Friday to consider whether to hear Priests for Life’s own case against the mandate.
Today’s hearings concerned the rights of for-profit businesses; in the case of Priests for Life, the Court would be considering the rights of non-profit religious entities.
“In the end, the matter is simple: We love our faith; we love our country, and we want to be able to do both at the same time,” Father Pavone said.
Another group present at the rally was Women Speak for Themselves.
“Since the inception of the Mandate, the federal government has struggled to paint its position as the only legitimate pro-woman stance, and to paint religious Americans as irrational and anti-women. The 41,000-strong grassroots network of women — Women Speak for Themselves (WSFT) — has continually demonstrated that the government is wrong on both counts,” a statement from the group noted.
There are dozens of lawsuits against the HHS mandate.
“In the United States, women practice religion more often then men, and women oppose the Mandate in greater numbers than men. Women business-owners and charitable service-providers are among the leading plaintiffs in lawsuits challenging the Mandate,” the statement from WSFT noted.
It also explained that its own amicus brief in the Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Wood cases “demonstrates that the government in a pluralistic society has no important interest in forcing all businesses to bow to the Mandate. It also shows that the government’s claimed ‘pro-woman’ rationale—that women are more likely to achieve social and economic equality with men if they enter the public square childless—is a simplistic and demeaning calculation. Instead the federal government should support equal and even favorable opportunities for mothers.”
A ruling from the Supreme Court is expected this summer.