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.