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Priests: HHS Law Violates Our 'Reason for Existence'

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WASHINGTON -- The Christian organization Priests for Life told a federal court Thursday that the HHS mandate requiring it to provide employees free contraception -- some of which induces abortion -- would force the group to violate the very reason for its existence.

Many religious organizations back Priests for Life in this case because they, too, could be forced to support a mandate that violates their faith.

"When a group like Priests for Life is being attacked, I think that says something," Alison Howard, with Concerned Women for America, said. "The pendulum's swung so far that the federal government could mandate a group of Catholic priests to fund exactly what they're working against."

Under the new federal law, such groups would be exempt from paying for the contraception if they sign a form allowing their health insurance to cover it.

But Father Frank Pavone, president of Priests for Life, said signing that paper would be cooperating with evil.

***More than a dozen pro-life leaders rallied outside the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., Thursday in support of Priests for Life. Father Frank Pavone shared his thoughts on the rally and his group's HHS mandate challenge, on CBN Newswatch, May 8.

"They're actually wanting to involve us by filling out a form that says 'Yes, we object,' but then they're using that essentially as the authorization for them to go ahead and do what we're saying should not be done," Pavone said.

According to American Freedom Law Center attorney Robert Muise, who represents Priests for Life, the government is saying the group must play ball or face paying fines of $100 a day on each of its 50 employees.

"When the religious believer is faced with a Hobson's Choice -- here that choice being you either violate the sacred tenets of your faith or you pay crippling fines -- that as a matter of law is a substantial burden," Muise explained.

Meanwhile, in another case, the Pacific Legal Foundation is representing Iowa artist Matt Sissel, who vehemently objects to the government forcing him to buy health insurance or pay hefty fines.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate's penalty for not having healthcare coverage is a tax.

PLF attorney Paul Beard argues that means the way Obamacare was created and passed in the Senate is unconstitutional.

"All revenue raising bills must originate in the House of Representatives -- the chamber closest to the people," Beard explained. "This bill, Obamacare -- with all its tax-raising provisions -- actually originated in the Senate. And that's the unconstitutional problem."

If Beard's side wins, that could gut the very core of Obamacare.

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About The Author


As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress. Strand began his tenure at CBN News in 1985 as an evening assignment editor in Washington, D.C. After a year, he worked with CBN Radio News for three years, returning to the television newsroom to accept a position as editor in 1990. After five years in Virginia Beach, Strand moved back to the nation's capital, where he has been a correspondent since 1995. Before joining CBN News, Strand served as the newspaper editor for