Priests for Life, one of the first of scores of organizations and ministries to launch a federal challenge against the HHS Mandate, announced today that status reports were filed yesterday in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Both the government and the plaintiffs urged the court to delay any further action on the case for another ninety days, that is, until well after the Trump Administration has come into power.
Priests for Life, together with the Archdiocese of Washington and several other petitioners, have a consolidated case which the US Supreme Court considered in its last term and then sent back to the Court of Appeals, along with five other cases being considered by three other appellate courts. A total of 37 petitioners were heard by the Supreme Court in these cases.
"As far as the courts are concerned, this case is still not resolved. We have been doing what the Supreme Court asked, that is, engaging in conversations with the government regarding how this mandate needs to be changed to protect our religious freedom. The government also asked the public to weigh in with comments on the matter.
"But now, with the recent electoral victories for the pro-life side, we are confident that the Trump Administration will resolve this case by doing away with the HHS mandate, so that no citizen ever feels forced between following the law and following his/her faith," Fr. Pavone explained.
In its status report, the government stated, "The Departments are evaluating the information submitted to determine whether changes to the current accommodation regulations should be made and, if so, to inform the nature of those changes."
Meanwhile, the status update on behalf of Priests for Life and the Washington Archdiocese stated, "Plaintiffs-Appellants remain hopeful that the Government will modify its regulations in a way that will accommodate Plaintiffs-Appellants’ religious objections, thus resolving the case without further litigation."
Fr. Pavone added, "The government has often told us that it does not understand our religious objections, despite the thorough explanations we have given them. But in the end, I have told them that their duty is not to understand our beliefs but rather to protect them."
We commend to the prayers of all believers the swift resolution of this HHS mandate controversy and the full protection of everyone's religious freedom. See prayers for this intention at www.PrayerCampaign.org.