Resistance to HHS Mandate Grows: 7 States File Lawsuits, National Rallies Announced
We need a massive resistance on every front opposing the HHS mandate
The HHS Mandate violates the Free Exercise of Religion secured in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Religious Freedom is a fundamental Human Right. It cannot be taken away by either the State or the Federal government.The HHS mandate is an unjust law. It has given rise to a tide of resistance which holds great promise.Citizens are standing together against an unjust mandate, working to protect and preserve the fundamental human right to the first freedom, Religious Freedom.
The headquarters of the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC
TACOMA, WA. (Catholic Online) - In a case of significance - particularly given the unconstitutional mandate of the Health and Human Services - the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty won an important federal court victory this week. In Stormans Incorporated v Mary Selecky, Secretary of the Washington State Department of Health a Federal Court struck down a law in the State of Washington which required pharmacists to dispense the "Plan B" pill in violation of their religious conviction and conscience or face punitive measures.
Here is a portion of the Court's summary of the case: "This case presents a novel question: can the State compel licensed pharmacies and pharmacists to dispense lawfully prescribed emergency contraceptives over their sincere religious belief that doing so terminates a human life? In 2007, under pressure from the Governor, Planned Parenthood, and the Northwest Women's Law Center, the Washington State Board of Pharmacy enacted regulations designed to do just that."
"The rule primarily at issue, commonly known as the "delivery rule," requires pharmacies to timely deliver all lawfully prescribed medications, including the emergency contraceptives Plan B and ella. Under the delivery rule, a pharmacy's refusal to deliver is grounds for discipline, up to and including revocation of its license. In operation, the delivery rule bars a pharmacy from referring patients seeking Plan B to other pharmacies, meaning they must dispense the drugs."
"In violation of the regulations, but in conformity with their religious beliefs, the Plaintiffs refused to dispense Plan B to Planned Parenthood test shoppers and others. The Board launched a series of investigations, and this suit was the result. Based on the evidence presented at trial, the Board's regulations, while facially acceptable, are in practice unconstitutional. Plaintiffs are two individual pharmacists and a corporate pharmacy. Each holds the sincere religious belief that life begins at conception, when an egg from the female is fertilized by the sperm from the male."
The Plaintiffs were represented by lawyers from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions. It was founded by one of my heroes, Kevin J. "Seamus" Hasson. They recently won the 9-0 victory at the Supreme Court in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC which I wrote about here. They are also representing the Eternal Word television Network in their case challenging the constitutionality of the HHS mandate.
We need a massive resistance on every front opposing the HHS mandate. We also need a resistance against any similar efforts at the State level. The HHS mandate will require all employers, including Catholic and other religious employers, to cover sterilization, abortifacients, and contraception in their health care plans. The exemption provided for religious employers did not cover hospitals, universities, soup kitchens, outreaches to the poor and many other vital expressions of our Catholic faith and mission. The purported accommodation was a fraud, a shell game, which accomplished nothing.
The HHS Mandate violates the Free Exercise of Religion secured in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Religious Freedom is a fundamental Human Right. It cannot be taken away by either the State or the Federal government. The Federal Government of the United States is trying to force the Catholic Church to act against deeply held religious convictions and to violate conscience. Failure to do so will bring punitive measures. They would have the practical result of closing many of the Church's outreaches, ministries and institutions of care and compassion. This not only injures the Church it injures American society.
The HHS mandate is an unjust law. The claim that such an edict is an unjust law is rooted in the western understanding of the nature of law. It is the same firm foundation upon which the American founders grounded their insistence that there are inalienable rights, endowed upon us all by a Creator, which cannot be taken away by any civil government. Positive law must reflect the Natural Law or it is unjust.
Saint Augustine said of an unjust law, "For it seems to me that an unjust law is no law at all." Saint Thomas Aquinas explained, "Human law is law only in virtue of its accordance with right reason: and thus it is manifest that it flows from the eternal law. And in so far as it deviates from right ...
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