As we’ve seen over the years, presidents from both parties change their minds, when facts change or when they simply decide to move in a different direction. Donald Trump gets hammered when he changes his mind, but that’s predictable now based on what we’ve seen from the far left.
One thing he is not changing his mind on is the protection of the right to life. Those facts don’t change and neither has President Trump when it comes to his campaign promise to protect the youngest children and restore religious liberty.
So it should come as no surprise that President Trump is set to issue a new rule to protect faith-based employers from having to supply abortion-inducing drugs and devices to our employees.
On the campaign trail, candidate Trump promised to address the issue of our nation’s vanishing religious liberty. On May 4 he signed an executive order aimed at restoring the First Amendment right to religious freedom for all Americans, including clergy.
Now he is set to undo the HHS contraception mandate, which we at Priests for Life have been fighting in court – including the Supreme Court – since 2012. The mandate forces employers to include abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives in the health insurance plans they offer their employees. And for us, that means it forces us to violate our religious and moral convictions.
So we are not surprised that a new rule is being written, but we are encouraged and delighted that all the plaintiffs represented in our lawsuit will apparently get the relief we have been seeking.
But of course the wailing and gnashing of teeth has begun from the other side. Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards took to Twitter to bemoan: “This is not about religious liberty – it’s about making it harder for women to get basic health care.”
No, Cecile, that’s not what it’s about. I’m certain the new rule will not throw up roadblocks for women trying to get to the doctor’s office. What it likely will do is allow women to obtain contraceptives while protecting the right of non-profit religious groups to practice our faith.
We’re confident the sun will come out tomorrow.
Priests for Life vs. HHS was one of the seven consolidated cases in Zubik vs. Burwell, which the Supreme Court heard in March 2016. The high court did indeed protect us from the mandate, invalidating the lower court decisions against us, but also sent the case back to the lower courts with the admonition that the government and the 37 plaintiffs work out a solution ourselves.
The discussions have been going on ever since, but only with President Trump in the White House, and new people coming into the various agencies, do we see light at the end of the tunnel.
Our case was never about employers interfering with the rights of women. Birth control is not going to vanish from pharmacy shelves once the order is signed. What our case always has been about is the government interfering in the rights of non-profit faith-based organizations. As President Trump said, that interference will now cease.
For any employer whose conscience would not let them participate in providing products they believe are sinful, this was a classic case of government coercion. For groups like Priests for Life whose purpose is to end abortion, it was a direct assault on our very reason for being.
Alveda, who works full-time with Priests for Life as Director of Civil Rights for the Unborn, was at the White House Rose Garden ceremony when President Trump signed his executive order on religious liberty in early May. In doing so, he paid tribute to Alveda’s uncle, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – a great believer in religious liberty. We are confident MLK would have been proud to see his niece’s name – along with the names of Father Pavone and Priests for Life Executive Director Janet Morana – on the lawsuit that helped lead to the rewriting of this unjust mandate.
The new rule is just the latest in a string of pro-life victories that began with President Trump’s inauguration. The Supreme Court has a new pro-life justice in Neil Gorsuch, states once again have the freedom to withhold Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, and the Johnson Amendment is on its way out.
The pro-life movement was making major progress in the fight to abolish abortion, and now that momentum is accelerating with new leaders in Washington — men and women who value and honor life and the lives of the unborn.
Make no mistake about it — President Trump is fulfilling his promises, and life and freedom are winning.
Priests for Life is the world’s largest Catholic organization focused exclusively on ending abortion.