The EWTN Global Catholic Network filed a lawsuit today in U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Alabama against the Department of Health & Human Services, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and other government agencies seeking to stop the imposition of the anti-conscience mandate as well as asking the court for a declaratory judgment that the mandate is unconstitutional.
“We had no other option but to take this to the courts,” says EWTN President and CEO Michael P. Warsaw. “Under the HHS mandate, EWTN is being forced by the government to make a choice: either we provide employees coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and violate our conscience or offer our employees and their families no health insurance coverage at all. Neither of those choices is acceptable.”
The EWTN lawsuit is especially significant because EWTN is operated by Catholics, not the Catholic Church, and it emphasizes that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution protected individuals with religious beliefs, not only religious institutions.
Mark Rienzi, Kyle Duncan, and Erik Kniffin of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty are representing EWTN and Warsaw explained that the lawsuit was filed "to defend not only ourselves but also to protect other institutions – Catholic and non-Catholic, religious and secular – from having this mandate imposed upon them.”
The Obama Administration's zealous promotion of the secular extremist agenda is patently unconstitutional.
Warsaw explained: “The government is forcing EWTN, first, to inform its employees about how to get contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs, a concept known as forced speech. To make the matter worse, the government then will force EWTN to use its donors’ funds to pay for these same morally objectionable procedures or to pay for the huge fines it will levy against us if we fail to provide health care insurance. There is no question that this mandate violates our First Amendment rights. This is a moment when EWTN, as a Catholic organization, has to step up and say that enough is enough. Our hope is that our lawsuit does just that.”
The so-called Obama compromise reflects political concern, not constitutional respect.
It too would compel forced speech in violation of the Free Exercise Clause as well as forcing association by people of faith with activity that is anathema to their following well-established religious belief.
The First Amendment's protection of freedom of association protects individuals against forced association, just as its protection of religious freedom protects the right of individuals to be religious, or agnostic, or atheistic.
A President who tries to run roughshod over America's fundamental freedom is patently unfit and should be removed from office.
Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life (which also will be suing): “It’s unthinkable that President Obama would force Americans of any faith to violate their consciences. Yet here he is, arrogantly imposing these regulations that clearly discriminate against Catholics and all Christians, as well as people of any faith who believe in the sanctity of innocent human life. This has clearly become a human rights case – and is no longer just a partisan political football.”
With all due respect to Father Pavone, it's evil and unconscionable, but NOT unthinkable. It was foreseeable before Obama was elected in 2008.
It is a huge political blunder, to be sure, but it is what the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and America's Catholic voters needed to open their eyes and see past Obama lies.
Catholic bishops in more than 160 dioceses across the United States have issued public statements against the Obama contraception/sterilization/abortion insurance mandate and many Catholics who had supported Obama realize that they had been duped.
“We cannot — we will not comply with this unjust law,” asserted Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix. “People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens.”
Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated: “To force Americans to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable. . . It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom.”
It's horrific, but many needed such a brutal wake-up call to rouse them to the reality of Obama.
Thank God that call came BEFORE Election Day 2012!
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.