RTL Pres. Speaks at ‘Priests for Life’ Case Rally

National Right to Life Chairman Carol Tobias

National Right to Life Chairman Carol Tobias

“Mr. President, why are you forcing millions of Americans who have a moral, conscientious objection to abortion to use their hard-earned dollars to pay for killing innocent unborn children?”

National Right to Life Committee President Carol Tobias spoke at a rally outside the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., today after oral hearings in the case of Priests for Life v. Sebelius.

The ‘Priests for Life’ case was brought by several Roman Catholic nonprofit groups challenging the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to provide insurance coverage of contraception and abortifacient drugs.

At issue here today,” Mrs. Tobias said, “is whether religious institutions and organizations can be forced to provide health coverage for drugs and procedures in opposition to their religious and moral beliefs. . . The law allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services to mandate that most health plans cover any service that the Secretary places on a list of ‘preventive’ services.  There is nothing in the law to prevent the Secretary from placing abortion, assisted suicide, or any other additional services on this list.”

The Obamacare mandate has been challenged in courts around the country by groups such as Priests for Life, The Little Sisters of the Poor, and secular companies like Hobby Lobby, whose owners have strong religious objections to the healthcare mandate.


Lowey’s Attempt to Strike Conscience Protection Fails

On July 18, the House Labor, Health and Human Appropriations subcommittee approved a bill funding the department’s programs for fiscal year 2013.

It contained several provisions to protect life, including continuations of all longstanding restrictions on abortion funding that have been included in the legislation in prior years. The legislation also contains language prohibiting funding for Planned Parenthood unless it certifies it will not provide abortions, a provision ensuring “conscience protections” for religious and charitable organizations, and the text of the “Abortion Non-Discrimination Act.”

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-18 CD), whose revamped district will include all of Rockland County, offered an amendment to strike Section 537, which cuts funding to penalize those who — because of religious beliefs or moral convictions — refuse to comply with provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Lowey’s amendment failed in a party-line vote, with the Republicans voting prolife and the Democrats voting pro-abortion.

Now this bill must be approved by the full House Appropriations Committee, then the House of Representatives, before it can be sent to the Senate for further action.

500 Rally for Religious Freedom in NYC

On Friday, 40 demonstrators from Rockland joined over 500 New Yorkers who assembled at Federal Hall on Wall Street in NYC, to rally for Religious Freedom and protest the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act.

News team for Channel 12 interviews Father Fredy Patino at St. Francis Church in West Nyack, the boarding site for the bus to the rally in NYC.

The ACA contains a mandate that requires all employers — including religious schools and hospitals — to provide health insurance for their employees that covers contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. There is an exemption, but it’s so narrow that most religious institutions would not qualify.

Currently, 43 Catholic groups — including dioceses, colleges, and healthcare agencies — have filed lawsuits against the mandate because “it entails an element of government coercion against conscience,” according to the  US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Fr. Fredy, from St. Peter’s in Haverstraw, leads the group in prayer during the trip.

“This is such a vital issue,” Rockland’s Eileen Peterson, president of the Rockland County Catholic Coalition, told The Christian Post. “Never in the history of the United States of America have we ever been forced to violate core beliefs in our conscience by any government, so this is huge. If we do not take a stand now, then we will have nothing to stand for.”

Tom Fabry, also of Rockland, said he believes the Supreme Court, which is reviewing the ACA, will rule that it is unconstitutional. Nevertheless, he said, “America better wake up . . . Every year there are approximately 50 million babies killed through abortion worldwide. That’s a billion every 20 years. And that doesn’t count the ones that are killed by the different types of pills.”

At the NYC rally, Rockland prolifer Richard Bruno holds a sign asking for prayers for women wounded by abortion.

The speakers at the New York rally included Alveda King of Priests for Life, Dr. Anne Nolte of the Gianna Healthcare Center for Women, Christopher Bell of Good Counsel Homes, Edward Mechmann of the Archdiocese of New York, and Maria McFadden Maffucci of the Human Life Foundation.

Over 75,000 attended Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies in 164 cities on Friday.

Read more: Americans Stand Up for Religious Freedom on Bill of Rights Anniversary.

June 8 — Bus Trip to Rally for Religious Freedom in NYC

Stand up for Religious Freedom – Stop Obama’s HHS Mandate – Join the second Nationwide Rally


In order to protect our religious liberties from unwarranted and unprecedented government intrusion, the Archdiocese of New York has filed suit in federal court seeking to block the recent Health and Human services mandate that unconstitutionally attempts to define the nature of the Church’s religious ministry and would force religious employers to violate their consciences.
This is about religious freedom, pure and simple. It is about the government attempting to force the Church to violate its conscience. –Timothy Cardinal Dolan
The HHS Mandate includes sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs — or the imposition of crippling fines.

On Friday, June 8th, 2012. 9:30AM (Immediately following the 9AM Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church)
DEPARTING FROM: St. Francis of Assisi Church (leaving via deluxe coach buses) 128 Parrot Rd. West Nyack, NY 10994. (Plenty of parking)
LOCATION OF RALLY: 26 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005 — On Friday, June 8th, at Noon (estimated time of arrival at Rally: 12 Noon)
DEPARTING FOR RETURN TO WEST NYACK: 2:15 PM (exact location to be announced. Estimated time of return to St. Francis of Assisi Church 4:15PM)

For bus seat reservations, contact 845-359-5823 – Richard Bruno
$20 Bus donation requested, $10 for students.

(Click here for photos of the Rockland participation in the April rally in NYC)

Catholics Bring Lawsuits Against HHS Mandate

This morning, 12 lawsuits were filed across the nation by 43 Catholic dioceses and institutions against the federal government, challenging the contraception and abortion mandates as violations of religious freedom.

The Archdiocese of New York (and its health care agency, ArchCare) and the Diocese of Rockville Centre (Brooklyn) were among the dioceses to file suit. Other suits were filed by the Archdioceses of Washington, Dallas, and St. Louis, the Dioceses of Erie, Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, Jackson, Biloxi and Joliet, numerous Catholic Charities agencies, and Notre Dame University, Catholic University of America, and Franciscan University.

We have tried negotiation with the Administration and legislation with the Congress, — and will keep at it — and there’s still no fix. Time is running out, and our precious ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now.” — Timothy Cardinal Dolan

Stand Up for Religious Freedom — June 8

The next Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally will be held on Friday, June 8, in cities and town across the United States. The nearest one will again be at Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York City.

The June 8 Stand Up Rally builds on the tremendous momentum created by the first Stand Up Rally on March 23.

On that day, over 63,000 Americans came out in 145 cities coast to coast, including a group from Rockland, pushed back against the new mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that requires all employers provide free contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs through their health plans, even in violation of their consciences.

For all the information, click here. 

Rocklanders Stand Up for Religious Freedom in NYC

On Friday, March 23, Rocklanders took part in the Manhattan “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” Rally, which was one of 140 such demonstrations held in major cities across the nation. The group traveled by bus to the Federal Hall National Monument on Wall Street to protest the Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate that would force religious charities and individual employers to purchase insurance coverage for abortion-causing drugs, birth control, and sterilization.

Under the Obama administration’s mandate, people who opposed such “services” on the basis of their religious beliefs — for example, religious orders and laity that operate the many hospitals, schools, and social services of the Catholic Church — would nevertheless be required to provide them and so be forced to violate their consciences.

The rallies were organized to protest this assault on religious freedom.

The day began for many of the Rockland group with mass, which was celebrated by Msgr. Edward Weber, Vicar of Rockland, at St. Francis Church in West Nyack.

Before boarding the bus outside the church, rally signs were distributed by Richard Bruno, who organized the trip.

Also on board was Rev. Fredy Patino from St. Peter’s Church in Haverstraw, who offered the opening prayer as the trip got under way. The group prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary and joined in singing hymns during the ride to Wall Street.

The passengers disembarked behind Trinity Church and walked the short distance to Federal Hall, the rally site, which is where George Washington was inaugurated. There they joined the 500+ others who assembled on the steps of the building and the adjoining plaza.

Among the speakers were Chris Slattery, the New York rally’s main organizer and president of Expectant Mother Care, and Chris Bell of Good Counsel Homes. Bell emphasized that the fines that might be imposed for refusing to comply with the mandate could result in the closing of the Good Counsel maternity homes, such as the one in Spring Valley.

This unprecedented intrusion of the government into how we practice our faith has further implications for all of us.  If the government can demand that citizens jettison their convictions to comply with its vision of what “good” for us — watch out for what may come next.

The National Right to Life Committee stands with people of faith protecting religious liberty — with good reason!

Photos by John Ferrao

JOIN THE RALLY — Religious Freedom for all Americans

On Friday, March 23, thousands are expected to gather across Amerca in opposition to the HHS mandate on second anniversary of the health-care reform act. Read all about it here. There will be a bus leaving from Rockland to the rally in New York City.

Speakers at the rally will include Father Benedict Groeschel of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, Alveda King, the pro-life activist and niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Chris Bell of Good Counsel Homes. Continue reading

Senate Defeats Blunt Amendment to Stop HHS Mandate

The Senate  today voted down an amendment to restore the religious liberty protections for employers who don’t want to be forced to pay for coverage of birth control or drugs that may cause abortions in their employee health plans. The vote was 51-48. Both New York Senators — Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand —  voted against it.

This issue is hardly over and done with. The mandate is already the subject of many lawsuits. Among them are The Eternal Word Television Network and Priests for Life, both of which organizations would be forced to pay for coverage of sterilization, contraception, and abortion-causing drugs in health insurance under the mandate.

All prolifers need to keep up to date on this important matter of religious liberty and conscience protection. Click here for a good summary.