Catholic Group Files Papers to Keep Obama Mandate Suit Alive

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 2, 2012   |   11:38AM   |   Washington, DC

A Catholic pro-life group has filed legal papers in its attempt to keep alive its lawsuit against the Obama HHS mandate requiring religious groups to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions for their employees.

Priests for Life is behind one of the several lawsuits filed against the Obama administration over its controversial mandate and it says 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.

Recently, Obama’s lawyers sent a letter to the court announcing its intention to file a motion to dismiss — claiming erroneously that Priests for Life does not have legal “standing” to bring the lawsuit, and that the organization hasn’t been “injured” yet because the regulations won’t take effect until January. Priests for Life lead attorney Charles LiMandri argued that the government is wrong.

LiMandri wrote in his response, “Priests for Life has standing, its claims are ripe for review, and this court is ‘obliged’ to address the merits of each.”

LiMandri quotes Thomas v. Union Carbide Agric. Prod. Co., 473 U.S. at 581 (1985)—a case whose precedence applies here: “One does not have to await the consummation of threatened injury to obtain preventive relief.”

The lawsuit that scares the Obama Administration, Priests for Life v. Sebelius, seeks to permanently block the implementation of the HHS mandate that the pro-life organization 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 LiMandri.

LiMandri points out that the HHS abortion mandate forces Priests for Life to either pay for abortion-causing pills… promote them… or be penalized 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 would cost Priests for Life nearly $2 million a year in fines. And we’re not going to accept this at all,” he said.

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, responded, saying, “We urge our Priests for Life family and all concerned Americans to pray for the success of this legal battle. In my travels across the nation, I see the strength and faith of the American people, and I know we will prevail.”

Recently, 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.



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.