Last week the U.S. Supreme Court gave President Trump, his administration, and all Americans a significant victory for religious freedom. At issue was an Obama-Biden mandate that I too was involved in fighting all the way to the Supreme Court four years ago.
In a 7-2 decision, the Court said the Trump administration acted properly when it expanded exemptions to those who had moral or religious objections to the onerous 2011 "HHS mandate" that required employers to provide coverage for certain contraceptives and abortions in the health insurance plan offered to their employees.
But make no mistake, the victory will be undone if a Democrat wins the presidential election in November.
And in fact, presumptive Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden was quoted the very day the decision was issued, saying he would "restore the Obama-Biden policy that existed before" President Trump and the Supreme Court began defending religious groups from being forced to choose between following the law or following their faith.
There are so many things wrong with Biden’s position that it’s hard to know where to start. So let’s go back to the beginning.
When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act — i.e. Obamacare — in 2010, it said employers have to cover essential healthcare services for their employees, but did not specify what those services might be. The law left that task to the appropriate federal agencies.
A year later, the Department of Health and Human Services came out with the list of specific required services, including all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and devices, some of which cause early abortions.
Houses of worship were exempt, but ministries like Priests for Life and the Little Sisters of the Poor — and many others — would not be (despite the fact that they share the same faith and moral convictions as their houses of worship do.)
Of course we could not and would not abide by this mandate.
The very purpose of our organization is to end abortion, not help provide it.
Moreover, the Catholic Church is, and has always been, against the use of artificial contraception.
Priests for Life became the fourth of what turned into hundreds of cases fighting this mandate, and objecting to the "accommodation" it offered — because by signing the form which on the one hand said we objected to covering these immoral "services," that very form triggered an alternate form of coverage to our employees, because they are our employees.
In other words, we were still being forced to be complicit in what we object to.
Our case, Priests for Life vs. HHS, and six others consolidated with it, was heard in the Supreme Court in 2016. Instead of ruling on the case, the justices said they believed a solution could be found and sent us all back to the bargaining table.
This was when Obama was still president, Biden was vice president and HHS staffed with Democrat appointees, and though we were willing to find that solution and had our attorneys represent us in multiple meetings with the Obama-Biden administration, that administration completely failed both to understand and accommodate our religious and moral objections.
Then, thank God, President Trump won the 2016 election, and when we sat down again with HHS – under new, pro-life leadership and with new government lawyers — they already were committed to protecting our religious freedom.
A formal agreement was crafted, we signed it, and we are now permanently exempt from having to violate our religious beliefs to cooperate in the evil of abortion.
The Trump administration the issued new rules, extending the exemptions originally offered by the mandate, so that those who have religious or moral objections would not be forced to violate their conscience.
Some states objected to the new and expanded exemptions. Pennsylvania and New Jersey sued, saying President Trump and his agencies had exceeded his authority. That was the case decided last week.
We know the case as the Little Sisters, but in reality, it was two consolidated cases, the first being Trump vs. Pennsylvania. So this victory was not just for the Little Sisters, but for every American determined to hold on to the religious liberty guaranteed to each and every one of us.
Certainly we should celebrate this victory but we also have to take steps to safeguard it. The decision could be short-lived. If Biden were to win in November, we don’t have to guess what he would do — he's already told us.
Reinstating the HHS mandate is not the only thing the Democrats would do if they take the White House and Senate and hold on to the House.
They will also codify Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) to make it a law that states could not circumvent, and they will repeal the Hyde Amendment, which protects much of our taxpayer money from funding abortion.
And the abortion wish-list goes on and on.
Make no mistake — the battle resolved in the Supreme Court last week must be taken to the voting booth this fall or we’ll witness the hard left, having taken over the Democratic Party, reshape America into something we won't recognize.
Fr. Frank Pavone is one of the most prominent anti-abortion leaders in the world. He became a Catholic priest in 1988 under Cardinal John O’Connor in New York. In 1993 he became the fulltime National Director of Priests for Life. He is also the President of the National Pro-life Religious Council, and the National Pastoral Director of the Silent No More Campaign and of Rachel’s Vineyard, the world’s largest ministry of healing after abortion. He travels the nation assisting pro-life advocates to end abortion, and broadcasts regularly on television, radio, and internet. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, St. John Paul II, and the Trump Campaign are among those who have sought his input on pro-life matters. He has helped foster the anti-abortion activities of the Catholic Church worldwide by having served at the Vatican as an official of the Pontifical Council for the Family and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Read Fr. Frank Pavone Reports — More Here.
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