How faith can engage culture on controversial issues:
--a coercive contraceptive mandate;
--the gutting of the only federal conscience regulation in health care;
--the denial of federal funds to a ministry because it opposes abortions;
--the administration's court case to restrict faith-based organizations' hiring rights;
--forcing health professionals to participate in sex reassignment procedures and abortion;
--firings, discrimination and coercion of life-honoring health care professionals.
Urge your lawmakers to keep the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act in HR 3020: Prevent abortion coercion - protect patient access to pro-life doctors and nurses.
Stephanie has several children that came to her through a foster program. If you met them on the street, you would never suspect that two of her daughters had suffered severe molestation and rape by men that they trusted. For these girls, feeling safe and secure in private settings-such as bedrooms, bathrooms, and locker rooms-is necessary to heal. And to feel safe, these girls need to know that their private spaces will not be invaded by a male. You would think that the school these girls attend would be especially protective of them. You would be wrong. The school voluntarily adopted a policy that would allow boys into the girls' restrooms, locker rooms, and even hotel rooms on school trips. The school callously ignored Stephanie's explanation that the presence of a boy in these private settings would be a trigger event for her daughters, causing severe psychological harm and setting back the progress they had made.
On Wednesday night, 43 Republican members of Congress joined the Democrats to vote for President Barack Obama's transgender agenda. Whereas last week Congress voted to reject this proposal-known as the Maloney Amendment-last night they voted to ratify Obama's 2014 executive order barring federal contractors from what it describes as "discrimination" on the basis of "sexual orientation and gender identity" in their private employment policies. And, of course, "discrimination" on the basis of "gender identity" can be something as simple as having a bathroom policy based on biological sex, not gender identity, as we learned last week from Obama's transgender directives. And "discrimination" on the basis of "sexual orientation" can be something as reasonable as an adoption agency preferring married moms and dads for orphans, than other arrangements.
Illinois came one step closer to forcing its pro-life medical community to choose between violating state law and violating deeply held religious conscience Wednesday, as the state's House approved Senate Bill 1564 and set the legislation on the governor's desk. Originally put forward in the summer of 2015, the legislation would require pro-life medical providers, including 51 Illinois nonprofit pregnancy centers offering free services including ultrasound and STI testing, to take action the bill's opponents say amounts to participating in an abortion. Matt Bowman, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), said, "This Amendment takes away the rights of Illinois women to be treated by a pro-life doctor, because it would force medical facilities and physicians who conscientiously object to performing abortions (and other procedures) to refer for, make arrangements for someone else to perform, or arrange referral information that lists willing providers, for abortions,"
Conservatives are mainly taking aim at a pair of Obama directives to ensure protections for LGBT employees of federal contractors and to direct public schools to provide access to locker rooms and bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. Also on Wednesday, a measure by Alabama GOP Rep. Bradley Byrne passed to exempt religious groups from complying with the directives. The speaker this week cautioned GOP members at a closed-door session that Democrats were likely to keep trying to force them into uncomfortable votes on LGBT discrimination, according to aides and members who were present. He floated the idea of modifying House rules in a move that would likely restrict the number of amendments that could be offered on the floor, which would allow leaders to get out ahead of controversial votes and avoid any potentially embarrassing floor fights.
Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) offered a counter-amendment so that Maloney's proposal would be modified by stating that no funds could be used in contravention of the LGBT executive order except as "required by the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, and Article I of the Constitution." "Does anyone in this chamber seriously oppose Article I of the constitution, the First Amendment, or the 14th Amendment?" Pitts asked. Ahead of the vote, influential conservative group Heritage Action urged Republicans to oppose Maloney's amendment and said that it would be including it on its legislative scorecard. "Make no mistake: A vote for the Maloney amendment is a vote for President Obama's radical transgender bathroom agenda," the notice reads.
CMA affirms the historic and enduring Christian understanding of humankind as having been created male and female. CMA has concerns about recent usage of the term "gender" to emphasize an identity other than one's biological sex, that is, a sense of self based on subjective feelings or desires of identifying more strongly with the opposite sex or with some combination of male and female. CMA affirms the obligation of Christian healthcare professionals to care for patients struggling with gender identity with sensitivity and compassion. CMA holds that attempts to alter gender surgically or hormonally for psychological indications, however, are medically inappropriate, as they repudiate nature, are unsupported by the witness of Scripture, and are inconsistent with Christian thinking on gender in every prior age. Accordingly, CMA opposes medical assistance with gender transition on the following grounds...
It illustrates that the government could have accommodated the Little Sisters of the Poor all along without affecting contraceptive coverage, but chose not to. And it guarantees that the government cannot force the Little Sisters of the Poor and the other challengers to choose between violating their consciences as the government demands or face crippling fines and penalties. In the coming months, the lower courts will reconsider these challenges, but it is hard to see how the administration and the lower courts can find a way to get around the Supreme Court's unanimous order-making the decision a big victory for the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Priests for Life, the first group of the 37 Supreme Court petitioners in Zubik vs. Burwell to challenge the HHS mandate in court, has responded to today's action by the Court in this consolidated case. Robert Muise, of the American Freedom Law Center, which has represented Priests for Life in this case from the beginning, explained, "The Court's action today continues to protect us from this unjust mandate, and from any punishment for not obeying it. It gives us a chance now to work out in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, whose ruling against us is now vacated, a solution that will continue to protect our religious freedom. As we have always said, because the very mission of Priests for Life is to advance a culture free from any kind of abortion, this organization continues to be a perfectly situated petitioner to object to the mandate."
In support of the Little Sisters of the Poor and the other religious non-profits, AUL filed our 29th amicus brief against the coercive HHS Mandate, which requires most insurance plans to provide coverage for life-ending drugs and devices. In its brief, available here, AUL demonstrates that pro-life Americans are correct in objecting to the life-ending drugs included in the Mandate, detailing how the life of a new human being begins at fertilization (conception), that so-called “emergency contraception” has post-fertilization effects that can prevent a new, developing human being from implanting in the uterus and thus ending his or her young life, and that forcing the religious employers such as Little Sisters of the Poor and Priests for Life to facilitate and provide coverage for such drugs violates their First Amendment freedoms. AUL’s brief was filed on behalf of Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Christian Medical Association, Catholic Medical Association, Physicians for Life, National Association of Pro Life Nurses, National Association of Catholic Nurses, and The National Catholic Bioethics Center.
Alliance Defending Freedom represents five Christian universities whose cases were consolidated with those brought by 32 other plaintiffs, all objecting on religious grounds to providing abortion-inducing or contraceptive drugs through their healthcare plans.Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel David Cortman had this to say about today's decision: "Religious organizations have the freedom to peacefully operate according to their beliefs without fear of severe penalties by the government. The Supreme Court was right to protect the Christian colleges and other groups from having to pay fines or fill out forms authorizing the objectionable coverage. The government has many other ways to ensure women are able to obtain these drugs without forcing people of faith to participate in acts that violate their deepest convictions. We look forward to addressing the remaining details as we advance these cases in the lower courts."