Obama Admin Lawyers Seek to Dismiss HHS Mandate Lawsuit
by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 4/26/12 12:38 PM
A pro-life organization behind one of the several lawsuits filed against the Obama administration over its controversial mandate requiring religious groups to pay for birth control and abortion-causing drugs for its employees says the administration is desperately trying to get a court to throw it out.
Priests for Life, a New York-based international pro-life organization of Catholic clergy and laity, said the Obama Administration’s lawyers are trying desperately to “shut down” the lawsuit that’s been filed to stop ObamaCare from violating the conscience and morals of America’s Catholics.
Fr. Frank Pavone, the national director of the pro-life organization, said, “Attorneys for the Obama administration have responded to our lawsuit. And just as we expected, they asked the judge to dismiss our suit out of hand and without a hearing on the merits of the case. This is typical of the bullying tactics of this administration. They seek to compel all Americans to submit to their secular, anti-religion, anti-life agenda.”
The lawsuit, Priests for Life v. Sebelius, seeks to permanently block the implementation of the HHS mandate that Priests for Life says imposes clear violations of conscience upon any and all citizens who morally object to abortion and contraception.
“Since the HHS mandate directly affects Priests for Life — and every U.S. citizen — through compulsory funding of contraception and abortion-inducing drugs and devices, our lawsuit is 100 percent legitimate,” says Priests for Life’s lead attorney Charles LiMandri.
LiMandri elaborates: “And yet, the Obama lawyers are trying to say that we don’t have ‘standing’ because the abortion mandate ‘doesn’t go into effect’ for PFL for several months. This is a thoroughly ridiculous and embarrassing argument for Obama’s attorneys to make. It shows how desperate they are to dismiss our lawsuit — even to the point of resorting to outrageous arguments such as the ones they’re using now.”
LiMandri points out that the HHS mandate forces Priests for Life to either pay for abortion-causing pills, promote them, or be heavily fined if their employee health-care plan doesn’t comply with the audacious dictatorial decrees of ObamaCare.
“According to the ObamaCare law as it’s written, Priests for Life would be fined as much as $100 per day, per employee. This could cost Priests for Life over $1 million a year in fines. And we’re not going to accept this at all,” he said.
Priests for Life is preparing its response, which must be filed with the court by April 30, with the assistance of the American Freedom Law Center. The group’s attorneys are working overtime to respond so quickly.
Pavone said, “As our attorneys do their work, I ask our supporters to join in our prayer campaign and our Citizens’ Amicus brief. Of this I am confident: We will prevail, life will prevail!”
“White House attorneys are doing everything in their power to get our lawsuit tossed out,” he continued. “One part of their strategy is to find every legal loophole in the book and offer them to the judge as a reason to dismiss our lawsuit. The second part of their strategy includes the use of legal delaying tactics in hopes of draining us of what little financial resources we have. Their objective is to bankrupt Priests for Life and force us to drop our legal challenge to the Obama administration’s tyrannical HHS mandate.”
This week, a pro-life legal firm filed in District Court of the District of Columbia paperwork rejecting an effort by the Obama Administration to dismiss another one of the lawsuits filed against it over the controversial HHS mandate.
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The Obama Administration filed to dismiss the Belmont Abbey College case attempting to avoid key legal questions in the HHS mandate. In its motion to dismiss, the Obama administration argued that a series of “promises” and “accommodations” will take care of any legal issues in the future with regard to the mandate that requires almost all employers provide and pay for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization—regardless of moral or religious objections to such services.
“The Obama Administration is taking the remarkable position that they can’t be held legally responsible for the actions it has taken regarding the Patient’s Protection and Affordable Care Act, suggesting they are still changing the rules,” said Hannah Smith, Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
“Our clients’ First Amendment rights are being trampled on and we are requesting that the court consider the law as it is, not how the Administration promises it to be,” Smith told LifeNews.
The motion reads in part: “the law is clear that a mere delay in enforcement is not grounds for prohibiting judicial review. And promises of future rulemaking cannot thwart federal court jurisdiction to review a rule that is already final and binding, particularly where—as here—the possible future rules being contemplated would not resolve the underlying conflict. For these reasons, and as set forth more fully below, the Court should reject Defendants’ standing and ripeness arguments and deny their motion to dismiss.”
The Obama administration currently faces several lawsuits over the mandate, including two filed by the Alliance Defense Fund.