December 5, 2016
Conscience protections: At the very end of the George W. Bush administration, HHS issued rules intended to clarify that health-care professionals did not have to participate in performing abortions, sterilizations or other procedures that violated a “religious belief or moral conviction.” The Obama administration revised the rules dramatically, much to the continuing consternation of conservatives. They are among the few health-related items included on the president-elect’s website, which says, “The Administration will act to protect individual conscience in health care.” Many expect the rules to be reinstituted in their original form.
November 21, 2016
ADF explains in the letter that federal law protects Ascension Health, the nation's largest nonprofit health system and the world's largest Catholic health system, from being forced to perform sterilization procedures in contradiction to its religious convictions. As the letter explains, not only does the federal Church Amendment offer such protections, but the Affordable Care Act on which the ACLU relies also protects Ascension by stating explicitly that nothing in the ACA "shall be construed to have any effect on Federal laws regarding...conscience protection." "No one should be forced to perform or participate in a procedure when doing so would violate their conscience. This is especially true of medical workers and health care systems who are in the profession largely because of-and as an extension of-their faith," said ADF Legal Counsel Ken Connelly.
October 14, 2016
A federal court just ruled that pregnancy centers have to tell their patients where they can get publicly-funded contraception and an abortion-even if it violates their religious beliefs. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that California law AB 775, which compels Christian, pro-life pregnancy centers to advocate for abortion, doesn't impede their First Amendment right to exercise their religious beliefs. “Forcing these centers to promote abortion and recite the government’s preferred views is a clear violation of their constitutionally protected First Amendment freedoms,” said Matt Bowman of Alliance for Defending Freedom, which was representing the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, a faith-based pro-life group with 111 clinics in California.
October 1, 2016
Crisis pregnancy centers in northern Illinois have filed a federal lawsuit alleging their employees' freedom of speech and religious rights will be violated if the state forces them to give patients information about abortion services. "The government shouldn't be putting messages in people's mouths," said Noel Sterett, an attorney for the centers. The centers hope to have the Illinois Healthcare Right of Conscience Act amendment, which goes into effect Jan. 1, abolished as unconstitutional. The suit also seeks to have the state permanently barred from enforcing the amendment and from penalizing those who don't comply.
September 22, 2016
Abortion and euthanasia should not be matters of choice for doctors, two leading Canadian and British bioethicists argued in a new article in the journal "Bioethics." Professors Udo Schuklenk and Julian Savulescu believe that their governments should stop protecting doctors' conscious rights and force them to perform or at least refer patients for abortions, euthanasia and other practices that doctors object to on moral grounds, the National Post reports. The radical proposal has sparked some outrage in the medical community. Larry Worthen, of the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada, pointed out how the proposal would be an extreme violation of doctors' rights. "In every jurisdiction in the world, conscientious objection is recognized in some form," Worthen told the National Post. "The only governments in the history of humanity that have stripped away the conscience rights in this way are totalitarian governments."
August 19, 2016
But it establishes a dangerous precedent to pressure those with conscientious objections to perform what they believe are grossly immoral acts. In fact, the day may come when those on the left appreciate the protections that our Constitution, and our civil society, afford to conscience. They would do well to recognize the value of these protections while they can.
August 5, 2016
The bill requires that doctors who are unwilling to perform or participate in abortions, or other procedures, such as sterilization, provide a referral for another doctor or another medical center in a timely manner. The Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the plaintiffs, including Dr. Anthony Caruso, who practices medicine in Downers Grove at the Bella Baby OBGYN center, as well as the Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford and Aid for Women, a Chicago non-profit that runs six pregnancy help centers and two residential programs. The suit claims the bill violates the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1998, and violates Free Speech Protections of the Illinois Constitution by being "forced to speak" about services that are against their own beliefs. It also claims the bill violates the Freedom of Religion, and the Equal Protection Clause in the U.S. Constitution.
August 3, 2016
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., also emphasized the need for legislation like this: "There have been cases of nurses being suspended or threatened with firing solely for the offense of following their conscience. And now, the state of California requires all health insurance plans to cover abortion. ... Allowing this trend to continue will only erode our First Amendment rights even further. It will continue to push people of faith onto the sidelines of society." The troubling trend of marginalizing religious believers, attempting to restrict religious exercise to within the four walls of a house of worship, and stripping Americans of their right to conscience has been a hallmark of the last eight years, and one that will only continue if Americans do not stand up for the right to act according to their conscience.
July 21, 2016
July 12, 2016
"They were well-aware that as a faithful Catholic, I could not participate in the killing," she said. "Yet they threatened my job, and my nursing license, if I did not take part in the murder of the baby." DeCarlo said her nurse's duties, which included counting the body parts afterward, left her feeling "violated," but that she faced further discrimination when told she could not take her case to court. "The courts told me that even though the hospital broke the law, I had no right to have my day in court," DeCarlo said. "The health care Conscience Rights Act will change this. It will let doctors and nurses go to court if they are illegally coerced in assisting abortions."
July 12, 2016
On June 22nd, I was part of a group of lawmakers led by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy who met with Health and Human Services (HHS )Secretary Sylvia Burwell and HHS Director of the Office for Civil Rights Jocelyn Samuels to respectfully ask why the Administration has refused to enforce the Weldon federal conscience law in the case of California's two-year-old draconian, coercive abortion order. The state of California forces all insurance plans under its purview-and the people and institutions that pay the premiums-to subsidize abortion on demand. Yet, the Weldon federal conscience law authored by former Congressman Dave Weldon of Florida and continuously in effect for over a decade-is explicit and comprehensive. It says in pertinent part that it is illegal for any "discrimination" against any health care entity "on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of or refer for abortions." The law's definition of health care entity explicitly includes "a health insurance plan." Despite the absolute clarity of Weldon in extending Federal conscience protection to health insurance plans, HHS's Burwell and Samuels insisted that health insurance plans weren't covered by Weldon-they said the insurance companies were covered but weren't objecting (which is irrelevant)-and on that point concluded that the injured parties including the Catholic Church lacked standing to obtain relief.
July 1, 2016
Jocelyn Samuels, director of the federal agency's Office for Civil Rights, wrote in the response letter: "A finding that [California Department of Managed Health Care] has violated the Weldon Amendment might require the government to rescind all funds appropriated under the Appropriations Act to the state of California." Rescinding the taxpayer money, Samuels added, "would raise substantial questions about the constitutionality of the Weldon Amendment." Addressing that position, Alliance Defending Freedom's Casey Mattox said, "The Obama administration says enforcing the Weldon Amendment against California would violate the Constitution because you would be withholding all of these funds from the state. Which is very interesting because at the exact same time, you have the administration telling North Carolina that it's going to withhold funds under the exact same appropriations bill."
June 28, 2016
The U.S. Supreme Court today declined an opportunity to hear Stormans v. Wiesman, a challenge to a 2007 Washington Board of Pharmacy rule that punishes pharmacists and pharmacy owners with religious objections to stocking drugs with known life-ending effects. "Despite this missed opportunity to correct an unconstitutional abuse of power, the Washington State rule that punishes pharmacists and pharmacy owners who respect unborn life can and should be immediately repealed," said Clarke Forsythe, AUL Acting President and Senior Counsel. He noted that Justice Samuel Alito began his dissent to the Supreme Court's refusal to review the discriminatory rule, writing, "This case is an ominous sign."
June 22, 2016
A federal agency has determined that California can continue to demand that all health plans under the jurisdiction of the state's Department of Managed Health Care -- "even those purchased by churches and other religious organizations" -- cover elective abortions for any reason. "It is shocking that HHS has allowed the state of California to force all employers -- even churches -- to fund and facilitate elective abortions in their health insurance plans," said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore. The cardinal and archbishop wrote a letter in March to House members urging that they vote for the measure, and in April a group of 26 organizations sent a letter to lawmakers stating their support. Besides the USCCB, signers of the letter included the Christian Medical Association and Catholic Medical Association; the National Council of Catholic Women; the March for Life Education and Defense Fund; the National Association of Evangelicals; the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; the Knights of Columbus; National Right to Life; and several associations of physicians and nurses.
June 22, 2016
The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rejected complaints Tuesday from California churches and religious groups against a state regulation that mandates abortion coverage in all state health care plans with no religious exemptions. The California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) stated in an August 2014 letter to seven insurance companies that they were required to include elective abortions in their health plans with no exceptions. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a complaint with HHS in September 2014 on behalf of seven employees and health care plan participants with Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. “The Obama administration is once again making a mockery of the law, and this time in the most unimaginable way,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox responded to the decision Tuesday.
May 6, 2016
One of the groups that signed the letter, Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal aid group, has filed two lawsuits challenging the California rule that has forced churches to pay for elective abortions in their health insurance plans. "California is a perfect example of why this legislation is so necessary," Casey Mattox, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel, told The Daily Signal. "The administration has failed to enforce federal law and churches are left paying for abortions as a result." Other organizations signed onto the letter include the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Christian Medical Association, American College of Pediatricians, Susan B. Anthony List, Family Research Council, and California Nurses for Ethical Standards.
April 12, 2016
The Alliance Defending Freedom news release below highlights an important case that illustrates just how far some will go to force abortion ideology on those who would protect the unborn. Thanks to colleagues Matt Bowman and Kevin Theriot for their typically excellent work in this case. "Those who doubt that anyone would ever try to force someone to commit an abortion need only look at this case," explained ADF Senior Counsel Matt Bowman. "This is precisely what the ACLU sought to do. The court came to the right conclusion in putting an end to their quest. The ruling relies on important case law that our pro-life medical group clients cited showing that the ACLU's case was based on pure speculation."
April 12, 2016
Last December a group of pro-life organizations represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a motion to intervene on the case. These groups included the Catholic Medical Association, Christian Medical Association, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Concerned Women for America. In a statement released following news of the dismissal, ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot said, "No American should be forced to commit an abortion - least of all faith-based medical workers who went into the profession to follow their faith and save lives, not take them."
March 14, 2016
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the Catholic health group. On Thursday, the pro-life legal firm said a federal court agreed to allow several pro-life doctor groups to intervene in defense of the Catholic hospital system. These groups are the Catholic Medical Association, the Christian Medical Association and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot spoke in defense of Trinity Health: "No American should be forced to commit an abortion. No law requires faith-based hospitals and medical personnel to commit abortions against their faith and conscience, and, in fact, federal law directly prohibits the government from engaging in any such coercion. In addition, the government can't tie any funding to a requirement that hospitals and health care workers give up their constitutionally protected freedoms."
March 14, 2016
But if you're an employer in America today, as I am, your signature can make you complicit in a grave evil, thanks to the burden the Obama administration has placed upon groups like mine when it comes to the objectionable "services" we are asked to cover in the health insurance plans we offer our employees. Priests for Life-the organization that I am blessed to lead-and dozens of other petitioners will be represented in the Supreme Court on March 23 when oral arguments occur in our consolidated lawsuit, Zubik v. Burwell, challenging the HHS mandate. We are defending ourselves because the government is asking us to commit an act that our faith prohibits.
February 16, 2016
The American Association of Physicians and Surgeons and the Christian Medical Association filed amicus briefs in favor of the Texas law. Given the medical risks of abortion, they argued, the restrictions on abortion clinics are reasonable. The other reproductive rights case, Zubik v. Burwell , centers on the mandate in the Affordable Care Act that health plans cover contraception. A group of religious organizations suing the government, which includes a nursing home chain operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor, does not want to do anything that makes them complicit in offering contraception coverage. The only medical societies to weigh in on this case so far are the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons and other groups opposed to abortion that say some forms of contraceptive amounted to abortion, given that life begins at conception.
February 10, 2016
On Jan. 28, in the third such effort in a federal court, a lawyer from Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group that is representing the El Cajon clinic and others, argued in San Diego for a preliminary injunction. In the 90-minute hearing, Matt Bowman, a lawyer for the conservative group, argued that the law imposed an onerous and unconstitutional burden. "You've got to give women information about abortion even though the reason you exist is to give them alternatives to abortion," he said, arguing against the mandate.
January 29, 2016
"The Office of Civil Rights knows this is an important issue, as you have said, and that time is of the essence," Burwell told lawmakers. That was 11 months ago. With no results to speak of, Republican lawmakers are crying foul. "I think that [President Obama] ought to go back and read the Constitution, because he is not upholding what has been passed by Congress," said Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.). "Congress passed the law. He ought to enforce the law. That's his job." Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), the chairman of the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, said he had raised the issue with Burwell by phone, but that all he hears back is "they're investigating." "They just blow you off, basically," he added.
January 20, 2016
The Obama administration has been trying to force private organizations into paying for abortion and abortifacients while backing off from forcing individuals to do the same. This spring, the Obama administration will again ask the Supreme Court to allow it to force Catholic nuns, Christian universities, and other nonprofits to help deliver abortion-inducing drugs to their employees in violation of their religious beliefs. While the administration continues to defend that mandate, however, it has largely-but quietly-relented on another Obamacare requirement that forced citizens of some states pay a surcharge for others' elective abortions.
November 13, 2015
Cathy Cenzon DeCarlo, RN, was forced by her employer to participate in a late-term abortion against her deeply held pro-life beliefs--a violation of her conscience rights. Watch video.
November 13, 2015
The Supreme Court will decide one of the most important cases on abortion policy in recent years by the end of June. Today, the justices announced that they will decide whether to uphold parts of a Texas law requiring abortion clinics to meet basic health and safety standards and abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Known as H.B. 2, the Texas law requires, among other things, that abortion clinics meet the same regulations for cleanliness and safety as other outpatient surgical facilities and that doctors working in those clinics have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
July 1, 2015
(orig. pub. 6/24/15) The June 18 Metro article "House GOP targets D.C.'s reproductive-bias law" failed to note the law's unprecedented breadth, which led then-D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) and his general counsel to warn last year of legal and constitutional defects. The law protects employees who make any decision relating to "the planned or intended initiation or termination of a pregnancy." The law protects employees who make any decision relating to "the planned or intended initiation or termination of a pregnancy." So pro-life organizations must employ women who plan to have abortions, as well as men who perform abortions or tell colleagues they will encourage women to have them.
April 30, 2015
The House voted late Thursday night to overturn the District of Columbia's law prohibiting workplace discrimination based on reproductive health choices. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) sponsored the disapproval resolution in the House, while 2016 GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced a companion measure in the Senate. Republicans maintained the disapproval resolution would ensure religious employers' First Amendment rights are protected. "This is not a war on women. It is an outright war on religious liberties," said Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.).
April 29, 2015
Should pro-life organizations be forced to hire pro-abortion employees? That's the question the House of Representatives will answer on Friday when it votes on a resolution to condemn a measure the District of Columbia City Council approved. A top pro-life advocate in Washington provides more background on what's happened and how RHNDA abrogates the rights of pro-life groups. "RHNDA was adopted by the D.C. City Council late last year and transmitted to Congress on March 6 for a Congressional review period of 30 legislative days. The law will be enacted at the expiration of the 30 day period unless a joint resolution of disapproval is enacted. On April 21 H.J. Res. 43 was approved by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on a party line vote of 20-16," says Jonathan Imbody, Vice President for Government Relations for the Christian Medical Association.
April 29, 2015
Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), who authored the resolution to overturn RHNDA, explained: "Women are already rightfully protected from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy status and a number of other fronts through both D.C. and federal law. This resolution does nothing to change that. As a registered nurse, I have spent my career caring for women, children, and families. The claims that my resolution amounts to ‘an attack on women's healthcare' are offensive and patently false."
March 30, 2015
In the nation’s capital, religious freedom is being attacked in the name of "reproductive health decisions." The City Council has enacted a Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act, under which, for example, a Catholic school or a pro-life organization in D.C. would have to cover elective abortions in its healthcare plan and could not fire an employee who had an abortion and bragged about it to students. They’re not satisfied that abortion is legal—their idea of freedom is to force religious institutions not only to pay for the procedure but to promote it as well. The City Council has also enacted a “Human Rights Amendment” which compels religious schools to support the LGBT agenda with recognition and funding (think Georgetown University).
March 10, 2015
"Religious freedom is a bedrock value of our society but, on President Obama's watch, this time-honored principle is under assault," said bill co-sponsor Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. "From Obamacare's coercive HHS mandate to the unlawful, pro-abortion directive by the state boards in California, it is clear that Congress must act where the White House will not and reverse this infringement of our First Amendment rights." Pro-life lawmakers have attempted to pass legislation similar to HR 940 for several years. But this year, Black, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., and Rep. John Fleming, R-La., plan to combine HR 940 with an appropriations bill to increase its chances of passing.
March 5, 2015
As medical science advances other procedures that are in conflict with Catholic teaching are emerging. One thinks of gender reassignment surgery and, most recently, the creation of "three-parent babies". It would be a tragedy if the gradual creeping exclusion from healthcare of Catholics and others with strong religious and conscientious principles continued. We must act to stop it.
February 20, 2015
The Obama administration is getting ready to issue new rules requiring charities to provide abortions to child refugees entering the US without their parents. Faith-based groups say this is a contravention of the rights of parents and a violation of the conscience rights of faith-based groups helping resettle the children. The rules require faith-based providers to make referrals for emergency contraception, partner with groups which provide abortion, or notify the federal government which would make arrangements for the abortion.
February 17, 2015
Christian doctors across Canada are vowing to challenge the constitutionality of the requirement now being considered by the Saskatchewan medical profession that all its members be required to perform abortions or assist at suicides—or refer patients to other doctors who will. “This is moral genocide,” Saskatoon emergency room doctor Philip Fitzpatrick says of the policy, already approved in principle without consultation with doctors or the public by the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons.
January 26, 2015
Bowser signed into law two euphemistically titled acts: The "Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act" and the "Human Rights Amendment Act." In fact, the former discriminates against pro-lifers, and the latter violates the human right of religious liberty. Here's how. The former could force employers in the nation's capital to cover elective, surgical abortions in their health plans and require pro-life organizations to hire individuals who advocate for abortion. The latter could force Christian schools to recognize an LGBT student group or host a "gay pride" day on campus.
December 10, 2014
Congress should permanently prohibit federal funding of abortion and ensure transparency in health care. The No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act would ensure that no federal funds could be used to pay for abortion or health benefit plans that cover abortion, including those offered through Obamacare exchanges. The current version of the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act also includes language from another bill, the Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, which would address the serious lack of transparency about abortion coverage that has been noted by groups on both sides of the abortion debate.
October 9, 2014
Life Legal Defense Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom filed a formal complaint Thursday with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over the California Department of Managed Health Care's decision to force all employers, including churches, to pay for elective abortions in their health insurance plans. LLDF and ADF represent seven California churches that object to offering their employees insurance plans covering elective abortions and allege that DMHC's coercion of abortion coverage violates federal law. LLDF Legal Director Catherine Short noted,"DMHC would have us believe that, while the Legislature exempted these churches from the state's contraceptive coverage mandate, it nonetheless intended to force them to cover all abortions under the rubric of 'basic health care.'"
October 3, 2014
A new requirement from the state of California's Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) demands that all health insurance plans in the state, except self-insured plans and those covered by ERISA, cover elective abortions, including late term abortions, labeling such procedures a "basic health service." "The ACA is very clear on this, recognizing the divisiveness of this issue and it respected pluralism of opinions about abortion," said Bill Cox, President of the Alliance of Catholic Health Care, in a phone interview yesterday.
September 16, 2014
Pro-life Americans should not have to spend hours reading summaries of benefits, or talking on the phone with insurance companies, in order to know if their health care plan violates their deeply held beliefs. This reality flies in the face of the transparency that was promised by the Obama Administration. The GAO report has an even more disturbing revelation: taxpayers from all 50 states are subsidizing abortion under Obamacare, despite the fact that President Obama and members of his Administration, promised the contrary.
September 9, 2014
The California decision to compel Catholic institutions to facilitate abortions in violation of their conscience would have been unthinkable in 1975 when the state law now cited as the basis for this new mandate was enacted. After four decades of relentless effort by the ACLU, it has now found government support for its illiberal agenda to not just secure an unenumerated abortion right but to also subjugate any individual religious liberty objections to this abortion right. It is time for the Healthcare Conscience Rights Act. Introduced by Rep. Diane Black and Sen. Tom Coburn, this bill would provide a permanent home in the U.S. Code for the Weldon Amendment, ensuring that critical protections for conscience rights are not subject to the political winds in any given budget cycle. It would also provide a clear right for anyone whose conscience protections are violated to seek to stop the violation in court.
July 31, 2014
"The new law is unconstitutional not only because it is vague and overbroad, but also because it purports to grant law enforcement the power to issue a temporary restraining order - a power that may only be exercised by courts," attorney Michael DePrimo said, according to a report by Kathryn Jean Lopez on National Review Online. Mr. DePrimo helped represent Supreme Court petitioner Eleanor McCullen, 77, who argued that Massachusetts' old buffer zone law was so extensive that it violated her rights to freedom of speech.
July 17, 2014
U.S. Senate Democrats yesterday sought to advance the so-called "Protect Women's Health From Corporate Interference Act" (S. 2578), a sweeping bill that, if enacted, would further empower the Obama Administration to mandate coverage of the abortion pill RU-486, surgical abortion (including late abortions), or anything else it chooses to classify as "preventive services," overriding all existing federal laws that protect religious freedom and conscience rights. "All Americans should rightly be concerned that every Senate Democrat supported a bill to trample on our rights of conscience," said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life.
July 16, 2014
"Imagine the vast majority of pro-life laws wiped out with the enactment of a single piece of federal legislation. That is the purpose behind S. 1696," summarizes Bill Saunders of Americans United for Life. The misleadingly named "Women's Health Protection Act," S. 1696, sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., would do just the opposite of its euphemistic title. Effectively, it would strip states of the ability to protect the health and safety of women and defend the lives of unborn children.
July 15, 2014
Cynically titled the "Women's Health Protection Act of 2013," S. 1696 currently has 35 Senate co-sponsors. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal introduced the pro-abortion measure last November. S. 1696 is extreme, ideological, and biased. S. 1696 could be interpreted to trump state and federal conscience protections.
May 7, 2014
"It is outrageous that the U.N. Committee Against Torture would challenge the Catholic Church's religious commitment to the sanctity of life at every stage," commented Ashley McGuire, Catholic Voices USA advisory board member. "Throughout these hearings, Ms. Gaer has sent a strong signal that she considers a strong pro-life belief to be a pro-torture position. Given that most of the world's religions hold similar views on abortion, were the committee to adopt such a twisted official position, it would be nothing more than a direct attack on religious freedom."
May 4, 2014
"With Obamacare, if you like your current plan, you can't always keep it, and you may have to pay for other people's abortions in your new plan," said Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Casey Mattox in a statement. "Neither the Constitution nor federal and state law allow for this type of government coercion."
The lawsuit also challenges the so-called "secrecy clauses" that prohibit insurers on the exchange from divulging whether their policies cover abortion and what portion of the premiums collected from enrollees go toward paying for elective abortions.
March 27, 2014
During the oral argument Justice Kennedy asked whether, on the government's theory of the case, it would be permissible to force companies to cover abortion in their insurance policies for their employees. I think the answer to that question is clearly yes. And as Matthew Franck points out, the question is not a hypothetical one: The case itself concerns a company that objects to covering drugs that may cause abortion.
March 25, 2014
Justice Kennedy (p. 75): "Under your view, a profit corporation could be forced in principle, there are some statutes on the books now which would prevent it, but could be forced in principle to pay for abortions."
March 25, 2014
An even bigger problem is the sheer contentiousness of contraception, especially morning-after pills and other methods that some say can cause the abortion of fertilized eggs and fetuses. At one point Justice Anthony Kennedy, the swing vote the Obama administration needs to win this case, asked Verrilli if "under your reasoning, a profit corporation could be required to pay for abortions."
February 10, 2014
For more than two decades, the UN has dedicated itself to attempting to diminish the influence of the Church on life issues. We need to begin to understand why. In an October 2013 Crisis article entitled "Kicking the Church out of the UN," Austin Ruse, the president of Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), suggests that the reason for the hostility directed at the Church is because the Church has obstructed the goals of the population control zealots at the UN." It is likely that last week's UN Committee on the Rights of the Child report was payback.
January 22, 2014
Veronika Johannsen, 22, of College Station, Texas, beat the weather and arrived safely for her second time at the march. "The face is changing. It's not just white male politicians like the pro-choice people like to say," Johannsen said. "All kinds of people come. Religious groups of all different denominations, former abortion workers, women who have been raped or have been conceived in rape."
January 19, 2014
Lawmakers are not ignoring the March for Life, scheduled at high noon Wednesday on the National Mall, and currently the largest pro-life demonstration on the planet, according to organizers. "In a rare feat for the nation's capital, representatives from both sides of the aisle will come together," the organizers say, pointing out that keynote speakers include House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, Rep. Dan Lipinski, Illinois Democrat and Republican Rep. Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey. "Support for life pervades American society, regardless of party affiliation. These representatives have all courageously defended life during their time in office, and we could not be more thankful for that," says Jeanne Monahan, president of March for Life, established four decades ago by the late Nellie Gray following the Roe Vs. Wade decision.
January 13, 2014
I make two main points: first, that neither American lawmakers nor citizens, especially women, understand abortion as a public good meriting funding. And second, that abortion is not a part of any genuine "women's health" agenda according to the federal government's own statements.
January 12, 2014
That last exemption, for clinic employees, tilts the scales in favor of their point of view, said Mark L. Rienzi, a lawyer for Ms. McCullen and other protesters. "The government does not have the ability to decide," he said, "that its public sidewalks are open for speakers on one side but not speakers on the other side."
January 12, 2014
Claims to free speech will clash with abortion rights Wednesday when the Supreme Court takes up a closely watched case on the constitutionality of "buffer zones" around abortion clinics. At issue: whether state laws forcing abortion protesters to stay at least 35 feet away from the doors of clinics are prudent safety measures given the passions surrounding the issue or whether they constitute an illegal infringement on the free speech rights of protesters.
January 10, 2014
This bill simply extends a long-held principle favored by most Americans--that our tax dollars should not fund abortions, which continue to divide our nation while denying the right to life to over a million babies a year. Since abortion rights advocates insist that abortion should be a personal choice free from government involvement, let them follow through on that assertion by keeping our tax dollars out of that choice.
October 10, 2013
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed legislation Wednesday expanding access to a specific early abortion procedure, by allowing nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants to perform it during the first trimester of pregnancy. But Ashley Mcguire, a senior fellow at The Catholic Association, said, "Why would Governor Brown put the safety of more women in jeopardy by allowing people who are not doctors to do abortions?" she asked. "Americans want more protections for women and babies, not less."
October 9, 2013
As with Mr. Obama's promise that Americans can keep their current health insurance policy if they like it, implementation in the Obamacare exchanges of massive public funding of abortion undermines the president's credibility and word. As a direct result, hundreds of thousands of unborn babies will needlessly die from dismemberment in surgical abortion or from chemical poisoning and forced expulsion from the womb.
October 3, 2013
On the first day the exchanges were available, the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) examined the OPM site and its initial list of more than 150 MSPs in an attempt to ascertain which plans cover elective abortion and whether the Obama administration has complied with the law's requirement that at least one MSP in each exchange exclude such coverage. The attempt was, to put it charitably, an adventure.
September 4, 2013
John Brehany referenced a poll that showed that 88% of patients want doctors to share their morals, and they also want conscience protections for doctors. Health-care professionals need to engage and educate their patients about the current threats to conscience, since most patients "assume everything is fine," Brehany added.
August 12, 2013
"Even after the IRS scandal went public, it was nonstop," said Peter Shinn, director of Cherish Life Ministries in Arlington, Va. "They continued stiff-arming us and doing everything they could to block our approval. The agent kept asking about our prayer activities and said we had to pray from all sides," he recalled. According to Shinn, to "pray from all sides" was part of the agent's insistence that his organization teach about the option of abortion while defending innocent life.
July 22, 2013
Many feminists seem to regard abortion as a rite of passage and anything that looks like an obstacle to the procedure, even a last-minute change of mind by a woman seeking an abortion, is an affront to "choice," and must be eliminated. Pregnancy centers like the faith-based Center for Pregnancy Concerns must not be allowed to offer women the choice of changing her mind. “We are confident [the] procedural ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit will eventually lead to a ruling that affirms pregnant women in need of assistance and the First Amendment principles we treasure in a free society,” Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore said after the decision by the appeals court.
May 31, 2013
A bill introduced in congress allowing the Federal Trade Commission to investigate crisis pregnancy centers has sparked a fiery reaction that abortion clinics warrant far greater scrutiny. "It's outrageous to target generous people who are out there to give women a real choice," Maureen Ferguson, senior policy adviser for The Catholic Association, told CNA May 30.
April 18, 2013
...religious believers who oppose the destruction of the lives of unborn human beings have ample basis to object to being dragooned to provide Plan B, Ella, and copper IUDs in their health plans.
March 29, 2013
Archbishop Charles Chaput spoke of "...a pattern of government coercion that includes the current administration's HHS mandate, which violates the religious identity and mission of many religiously affiliated or inspired public ministries; interfering with the conscience rights of medical providers, private employers and individual citizens; and attacks on the policies, hiring practices and tax statuses of religious charities and ministries. Why is this hostility happening? I believe much of it links to Catholic and other religious teaching on the dignity of life and human sexuality."
March 22, 2013
Maureen Ferguson, Senior Policy Advisor with The Catholic Association, decried the vote in comments to LifeNews.
"The Senate today voted against the First Amendment and religious freedom in a vote forcing Americans to pay for abortion products in their health care plans," she said. "People of faith should not be forced to buy health plans that include products that so flagrantly conflict with their religious faith."
February 21, 2013
Assuming we don't want to focus on compromising the autonomy and dignity of women to achieve a sterile population, what approaches with wide popular support could reduce abortion, even as it remains legal under the Supreme Court's decisions?
January 24, 2013
Developments in prenatal imaging, including ultrasound, which provide a stark look at the humanness of unborn children, have played a part in public opinion. Another tremendously hopeful sign on the horizon involves young people’s views on abortion. The bottom line is that young people are pro-life and are incredibly enthusiastic about ending the human rights abuse of abortion.
November 28, 2012
Happy days are here again for Planned Parenthood. It has helped return to the White House the most active pro-abortion president in American history, protected the largest expansion of abortion and abortion subsidies since Roe v. Wade, and reinstated a Democratic Senate that will block pro-life initiatives and battle tooth and nail for judges who will protect abortion on demand.
November 2, 2012
Yoest says that her ideas about abortion are driven by science. "I can speak as someone who spent 10 years getting a Ph.D. at one of the top universities in the country, working with the data to get it to pass muster," she told me the first time we met, over breakfast at a restaurant near her office.
October 26, 2012
Christen Varley: "The Obama administration, supporters of the mandate, and the media want us to believe this is simply about access to contraception. It’s been largely ignored that there are abortion-inducing drugs included in the mandate. We want to make sure people understand all that is being required. It helps explain why more people than just Catholics are up in arms about it — and in court about it, too.
August 29, 2012
Some well-meaning souls are calling for Christians to stand-down in the battle for our culture and simply be nice to everybody. In practical terms, this means abandoning the unborn, their mothers, marriage and the family, and religious liberty to those who would harm them.
August 9, 2012
Soon after President Obama took office, astute observers noticed a one word change in official pronouncements. That one word carries huge implications, yet arrived with no explanation. This mystery may now be understood as what's behind some of the most contentious international and domestic policy decisions of the Obama administration - the contraception mandate and aggressive promotion of homosexuality in other countries.
July 27, 2012
I recently experienced what was by far the most disturbing and bizarre of dozens of White House meetings and events that I've attended--the White House Forum for Faith Leaders in conjunction with the International AIDS Conference 2012.
June 29, 2012
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List: "From the outset, Obamacare is fundamentally flawed legislation because it makes American taxpayers complicit in the deaths of countless unborn children. Today's decision to uphold the individual mandate to force individuals to purchase health care plans that offend their conscience is incredibly disappointing."
June 27, 2012
Without the ability to track the value of investment in human capital and the return on an individualized basis, the presumed cost-savings of family planning even to government is a pseudo-statistic that depends on an extremely narrow frame of reference and a deterministic, faintly eugenic theory of human development. Numerous nations that have experienced sharp drops in fertility are facing crises of aging that threaten the viability of their economies and government services across the board.
June 24, 2012
In May 2011, the federal Department of Health and Human Services decided its human trafficking grant-making process would prioritize those who would provide “family planning services and the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care.” Translation: Unless you offer abortion and contraception, you’re not welcome.
June 7, 2012
In the end, this conversation requires caution and continued unbiased research. The difference between preventing and destroying life is immensely significant to women who choose to take these drugs. Women have the right to know about all of the scientific research, not merely the research supporting an individual ideology.
May 23, 2012
This week my alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, was one of more than 40 plaintiffs to file suit against the Department of Health and Human Services regarding its mandate that private health insurance plans cover life-ending drugs and devices, including the abortion-inducing drug ella.
May 22, 2012
HHS is further suggesting that rather than allowing female employees of religious institutions to seek contraceptive coverage, a government-approved entity will simply provide it to them and all their female beneficiaries (minors included) “automatically” — and without any co-pay to tip off minors’ parents. This isn’t freedom. This is coercion, along with the undermining of parents’ duties and rights respecting their children.
May 22, 2012
Chancellor Jane Belford of the Archdiocese of Washington explains the significance of the lawsuit filed to protect freedom to practice religion. Chancellor Belford details why the suit is necessary in light of the attempt of the government to redefine what is a religious institution. She explains that under the new definition that the work of Mother Teresa no longer would qualify as the work of a religious institution.
May 21, 2012
ADF attorneys file suit against administration's 'abortion pill' mandate on behalf of Denver's Hercules Industries.
May 18, 2012
This radical policy change will be devastating to religious organizations who are working to provide critical services to Americans in need. These institutions may now be forced to pay huge fines, be subject to unelected bureaucrats' defining their status, limiting their work, or even shutting them down altogether. This would not just impact the organizations themselves, but the millions of needy Americans whom these organizations serve.
April 15, 2012
During his final illness Sen. Ted Kennedy wrote a letter to Pope Benedict XVI, stating, "I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field, and I'll continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone."
April 2, 2012
"Nothing guarantees that America's experiment in religious freedom, as we traditionally know it, will survive here in the United States, let alone serve as a model for other countries in the future," Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia writes in the new e-book, A Heart on Fire: Catholic Witness and the Next America.