U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit Hears Argument in Priests for Life’s Challenge to HHS Mandate

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral argument on May 8 in Priests for Life’s challenge to the HHS contraception mandate.  The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC), a national nonprofit Judeo-Christian law firm, is representing Priests for Life; Fr. Frank Pavone, the National Director of Priests for Life; Dr. Alveda King, the niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life; and Janet Morana, the Executive Director of Priests for Life.

The mandate forces Priests for Life to authorize coverage for contraception, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization services to the participants and beneficiaries of its healthcare plan contrary to Priests for Life’s religious beliefs.  Consequently, AFLC contends that the mandate imposes a substantial burden on Priests for Life’s religious exercise in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the U.S. Constitution.

This was the first argument on the merits before a federal appellate court in a case challenging the HHS mandate on behalf of a religious organization.

Immediately after the hearing, David Yerushalmi, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of AFLC and an Orthodox Jew, along with Muise spoke at a religious freedom rally held outside of the courthouse.  Other speakers included several members of Congress, including Senator Ted Cruz; numerous national pro-life and pro-family leaders, including Carol Tobias, President of National Right to Life, and Jeanne Monahan, President of the March for Life; as well as the Priests for Life pastoral team, Fr. Frank Pavone, Dr. Alveda King, Father Victor Salomon and Bryan Kemper.