‘No Hypocrisy, Just Freedom,’ Says Priests for Life To Cecile Richards’ Charge on Free Birth Control Mandate Exemption

Brian Snyder—Reuters
Brian Snyder/Reuters

The national director of Priests for Life is responding to Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards’ assertion that the “hypocrisy” of religious groups seeking an exemption from Obamacare’s HHS contraceptive mandate is “profound.”

“Cecile Richards finds it ‘incredible’ and hypocritical that we want to provide health insurance coverage in a way consistent with our religious freedom,” Father Frank Pavone said in a statement sent to Breitbart News. “Actually, what’s incredible is that Priests for Life and the other petitioners have to go to the Supreme Court to defend what is already a basic right in America: To practice our faith not only in Church on Sunday but in the workplace on Monday.”

In a recent interview with Dallas/Fort Worth Healthcare Daily, the head of the nation’s largest abortion business responded to a question about “religious liberty cases” involving groups such as Priests for Life and Little Sisters of the Poor, which have sought the protection of the Supreme Court from Obamacare’s HHS mandate. The provision requires that these groups violate their religious beliefs by providing free birth control and abortion-inducing drugs to their employees through health insurance plans.

Richards replied:

It’s incredible to me that any employer in the 21st century would deny their employees access to birth control. This is the most commonly used prescription in the country. Upwards of 95 percent of women use birth control at some point in their lifetime. I’m very proud of the fact that under President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, 55 million women, basically every woman who is insured, gets birth control covered at no co-pay. We are making such enormous strides. We are at a 30-year low for unintended pregnancy in the U.S., I believe, in large part, because of access to family planning.

The hypocrisy of these cases is profound. I can tell you having sat in the Supreme Court recently, having three women on the court that understand the impact on women of these laws has been momentous and I do believe if we had a Supreme Court that more equally represented all of America we would be getting different kinds of decisions. But I’m hopeful that we will win this one. We will continue to provide care no matter what, including women who are uninsured, immigrant women, women who do not have the benefit of a birth control benefit. But it is exciting to see that birth control is now considered part of preventive medicine. For the first time! For the first time.

“As for ‘hypocrisy,’ that is exactly what Cecile Richards is guilty of when, for all her rhetoric about freedom of choice, she wants to deny us the freedom of choice to live out our faith,” Pavone responded. “Cecile Richards and the Obama Administration are free to think our beliefs about contraception and abortion are ridiculous. But they are not free to disregard them. Those beliefs are protected by law and we intend to keep it that way.”

Though the Obama administration has exempted some 100 million Americans from the HHS mandate – including companies such as Pepsi, Chevron, and Exxon, the entire city of New York, and the U.S. military – the same administration insists that those who are defending their faith must be coerced into complying with the mandate or pay millions of dollars in punitive fines.

Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and director of Civil Rights for the Unborn—Priests for Life’s African American outreach program—said the lawsuit she and Priests for Life brought before the Supreme Court this month brings to mind the civil rights battles of the 1950s and 60s.

King said in a statement:

When I was growing up, the government denied my basic civil rights because of the color of my skin. Today, the government is trying to deny my God-given right to practice my faith for reasons that also make no sense. The oral arguments to be held before the Supreme Court this Wednesday in the case that Priests for Life, I, and many others are bringing against the HHS mandate is really a continuation of the Civil Rights movement I knew as a child.

King said the case before the high court is about the basic rights of all Americans.

“If bureaucrats are allowed to dictate what we must believe, we are not free,” she continued. “And make no mistake, the HHS mandate is not a rule passed or even envisioned by Congress, it’s a regulation drawn up by unelected, unrepresentative people who think that their agenda is more important than our freedom.”

“The government was wrong in the 1950s and 60s – it’s wrong again today,” King asserted.


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