(CNSNews.com) – At a press conference on Tuesday ahead of the Supreme Court oral arguments on the Obamacare mandate requiring employers to provide insurance plans that cover contraceptives for employees, including abortion-inducing drugs, the lawyer representing one of the petitioners in the case said the mandate is “clearly a case of material cooperation with evil.”
“The contraceptive services are provided to Priests for Life’s plan beneficiaries only so long as they’re on Priests for Life’s health care plan, and then they also need the authorization from Priests for Life to provide the contraceptive coverage,” Robert Muise said at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
“This is clearly a case of material cooperation with evil,” said Muise, co-founder of the American Freedom Law Center.
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, explained at the press conference that although Obamacare allows for his non-profit organization to “opt out” of directly providing “objectionable services,” including abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization, it requires them to authorize their insurance plan to provide those services as a third party.
“For us the problem is the participation,” Pavone said. “Even if they want to make the argument, that, ‘Look, this is all in place anyway,’ the fact of the matter is for us, that’s the problem.
“[The] problem is that it’s in place and you’re making it in place through our insurance policy given to our employees,” Pavone said. “We still have to provide the legal authorization for our health insurer to cover our employees for this objectionable coverage.
“That’s part of the equation no matter which way you look at it,” Pavone said.
“What we’re saying is simple: Anyone who has religious objections to the mandate should have a religious exemption from the mandate,” Pavone said.
“The contraceptive services are provided to Priests for Life’s plan beneficiaries only so long as they’re on Priests for Life’s health care plan, and then they also need the authorization from Priests for Life to provide the contraceptive coverage,” Muise said.
“This is clearly a case of material cooperation with evil, and the government already said in their brief that their participation is necessary to accomplish their goals,” Muise said. “If it wasn’t, then they could just do it independently, and that’s what we’re asking them to do.
“Do it independent of Priests for Life,” Muise said. “Take them out of this scheme of providing contraceptive services.”
The issue to be argued in the case is whether the Department of Health and Human Services’ contraceptive coverage mandate and its “accommodation” violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by forcing religious nonprofits to act in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs, when the government has not proven that this compulsion is the least restrictive means of advancing any compelling interest.
The other petitioners in the case are Bishop David A. Zubik (the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh), the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, East Texas Baptist University, Little Sisters of the Poor, Southern Nazarene University, and Geneva College.