FRC Blog

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act: Just the Facts

by Patrina Mosley , Connor Semelsberger

March 22, 2019

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is a bill sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) that requires lifesaving medical care be given to babies born alive after failed abortion attempts. This legislation has garnered national attention in the wake of a radical abortion agenda that is sweeping across states like New York, Virginia, Vermont, and Illinois. After a recent vote on the born-alive bill in the U.S. Senate that failed to pass, many Senators and Representatives are continuing to make the debate about abortion policy in general instead of focusing on the specific language of the bill, which is to protect innocent lives moments after birth. There has been much debate and false information on what this bill will do and the general nature of infants born alive after an abortion attempt. Here are the facts:

Aren’t late-term abortions only performed when the baby has a fetal abnormality?

  • No. Very few late-term abortions are performed on babies who have fatal birth defects. A study conducted in 2013 by the Guttmacher Institute suggests that most women seeking later term abortions are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomalies or life endangerment. The women in this study offered the same reasons for obtaining an abortion as those who seek abortion earlier in pregnancy.

Do babies actually survive failed abortions?

  • Yes. In fact, the CDC reports that from 2003-2014 at least 143 infants died after being born alive during an abortion procedure, and the report admits that this is almost certainly an underestimate. There are no federal abortion reporting requirements, which leaves a massive gap in state reporting.
  • Only six states require reporting on children who were born alive during abortion procedures, and as of 2017, only Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, and Oklahoma have reported this information. In 2013 Florida passed a born-alive protection act that stipulated reporting requirements. In 2017 alone, Florida reported that 11 babies were born alive during abortion procedures.

Here are two personal accounts of abortion survivors:

  • Gianna Jessen had been in the womb for seven months before her mother went to a Planned Parenthood to have a late-term saline abortion. (Saline abortions rarely if ever happen anymore in the United States for abortions up to 24 weeks gestation. This technique has been replaced with an equally gruesome one that dismembers a child limb from limb, known as a Dilation & Excavation, or “D&E.”) Saline abortions use a saline solution to poison the baby, which burns him or her inside and out, even burning off the outer layer of their skin. The child suffers in these conditions for over an hour until their demise, and the mother must deliver her dead child the next day. But Gianna survived. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy due to oxygen deprivation in the abortion attempt, but today she only walks with a small limp!
  • Melissa Ohden’s biological mother had a saline abortion. But Melissa survived. After being born alive, it was found that she was seven months old. Today Melissa is a pro-life advocate with a master’s degree in social work and is the founder of the Abortion Survivors Network (ASN).

Aren’t there already laws in place against infanticide?

  • Currently, there is no federal criminal statute against taking the lives of born-alive infants; criminal charges are applied at the state level. In 2002, Congress did pass the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, but this law was only a definitional change stating that all infants who survive an abortion are full persons under the law. There has not been a single prosecution brought against an abortion doctor since this law was passed even though the CDC admits that this happened at least 143 times.
  • Twenty-nine states currently have some form of born-alive protections. However, New York state recently repealed their born-alive protections with the passage of the Reproductive Health Act, making it one of 21 states with no born-alive protections. That is why a federal law adding enforcement tools to prosecute doctors who deny life-saving medical care to infants who survive abortion is necessary.

Shouldn’t the decision to keep a child be between a woman and her doctor?

  • This bill does not prescribe specific medical procedures that doctors must perform. In fact, the language specifically reads: “Any health care practitioner present at the time the child is born alive shall exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.”
  • The bill also requires that the child be rushed to the nearest hospital. Many contend that moving a child to a hospital might not be the best medical practice, but it is important that the born-alive infant be moved to a hospital because not all abortion clinics have the necessary equipment or trained staff to provide necessary care. Also, it would not be in the child’s best interest to have the abortion doctor, who moments before was trying to kill the child, provide life-saving care.

Given the atrocities against born-alive infants committed by Dr. Kermit Gosnell that were revealed in his 2013 trial, it is essential that we enforce and strengthen the principle that born-alive infants are American citizens entitled to the full protection of our laws. We must never forget what happened in one of America’s most horrific homicide cases, and we must never allow it to happen again:

  • One employee testified in the trial that she witnessed Gosnell snip the necks of more than 30 babies.”
  • A 28-week-old baby boy was found frozen in a gallon water bottle.”
  • One of the babies was reportedly moving and breathing for 20 minutes before an employee cut the spinal cord.”
  • Gosnell severed the spine of one breathing, moving, born-alive baby and put the body in a plastic shoebox for disposal.”
  • When authorities searched Gosnell’s office, they found bags and bottles holding aborted fetuses scattered throughout the building.”
  • Many other horrific details were brought as evidence before a grand jury. You can find a comprehensive list in this Washington Examiner article of all the horrible offensives committed by Gosnell on helpless infants.

Having protections for abortion surviving infants is the issue at hand—not abortion rights or women’s rights. This is about offering medical care to a child who has now become the patient. We must decide as a country where we stand on this issue: to either pursue humane protections for those must vulnerable in our society or continue to subject innocent human life to the whims of abortionists like Kermit Gosnell.

Continue reading

Half of Americans Don’t Fully Know What Their First Amendment Freedoms Are

by Alexandra McPhee

March 22, 2019

A shoe company recently commissioned a survey about the First Amendment in which 2,000 adults participated. The survey focused on respondents’ attitudes and knowledge about our first freedoms. According to the survey, “[n]early 6 in 10 Americans believe the First Amendment is under threat.” The study said people cited the “bias in the media and the rise of fake news.” More interestingly, it tested their knowledge. Many thought that the First Amendment protected life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness:

  • Life: “3 percent named ‘life’ as one of the protected freedoms.”
  • Liberty: “[H]alf thought that ‘liberty’ is one of the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment.”
  • Pursuit of happiness: “(49 percent) believed ‘the pursuit of happiness’ was included.”

These are actually in the Declaration of Independence. While it is a powerful statement by the Founders about our unalienable rights (rights that no government can give or take away), the Declaration of Independence lacks the immediate legal force the Constitution possesses. In other words, you can’t sue someone for violating the Declaration of Independence.

The Bill of Rights, on the other hand, has legal force. So, if the government has violated the First Amendment in some way, there is legal recourse. Here is what the First Amendment protects:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Presented another way, the First Amendment protects against:

  • the establishment of religion, or
  • a prohibition on the free exercise of religion, or
  • an abridgment of
    • the freedom of speech or the press, or
    • the right of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

If you’re wondering why a shoe company commissioned such a survey, we can’t really answer that without advertising for their new marketing campaign. For now, we can be thankful that it has exposed this deficit in constitutional knowledge and for the opportunity to once again highlight just how important the First Amendment is!

Continue reading

The Peace Cross, the Establishment Clause, and Why the Separation of Church and State Fails to Adequately Protect Minority Religions (Part 1 of 5)

by Family Research Council

March 21, 2019

In 1925, a committee including Gold Star mothers and local veterans dedicated a memorial in Bladensburg, Maryland in honor of 49 servicemembers from Prince George’s County who gave their lives in service to World War I. They chose a Latin Cross to be the symbol of their loved ones’ sacrifice, and today, residents call it the Peace Cross.

Almost to the very day of the centennial of the first World War, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review whether the Peace Cross is a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause—more popularly though less accurately referred to as the separation of church and state—because it is in the shape of a cross and maintained on public property. The case of American Legion v. American Humanist Association is an important one. First Liberty Institute is involved in defending the memorial in court, and FRC filed an amicus brief in the case. Oral argument was held just about one month ago, on February 27, 2019. The case is currently under consideration, and the Supreme Court will issue its decision on or before June 2019.

As part of this case, several groups representing religious minorities argue that the current court precedents on this issue—which have put the Peace Cross in jeopardy—should stay in place, even if that means that the Peace Cross or memorials like it have to go. They say that this state of the law shields minority religions like theirs from political and cultural forces that may use their power to push minority religions out of the public square.

Family Research Council argues that this is not the case. First, the vague, subjective approach of current Establishment Clause precedents actually harms minority religions. Applying an original meaning of the Constitution instead would provide clarity for all—including religious minorities. Second, avenues outside of the courts, like the executive and the legislature at the federal, state, and local level, are better equipped to respond to the needs of minority religions.

In the coming days, we will be rolling out a special blog series highlighting these key points from the article and discussing how they help us understand true religious liberty in this age of deep confusion on the issue. Stay tuned!

This blog series is based on an article in Federalist Society Review by Alexandra M. McPhee, “Can a New Establishment Clause Jurisprudence Succeed in Protecting Religious Minorities Where Lemon Has Failed?”

Continue reading

FDA Orders Abortions by Mail to Cease

by Patrina Mosley

March 21, 2019

I bet you never thought you would see a headline like this.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is finally cracking down on organizations that sell abortion pills over the internet.

Organizations such as AidAccess.org and Rablon (who host a pharmacy network that includes sites like AbortionPillRx.com and AbortPregnancy.com) were issued letters from the FDA to immediately stop selling unapproved versions of mifepristone and misoprostol, drugs used in the abortion pill regime.

Aid Access has been under investigation since October. The company’s founder Dr. Rebecca Gomperts would take orders from U.S. women, get Indian pharmacies to fulfill the prescription, and then have them ship it.

Trusting another country to have the same pharmaceutical and sanitary standards to produce medicine is quite reckless—and of all the countries to trust, India should be last on the list. It is one of the leading exporters of the world’s counterfeit drugs.

In a warning letter issued to Aid Access, the FDA points out:

Unapproved new drugs do not have the same assurance of safety and effectiveness as those drugs subject to FDA oversight. Drugs that have circumvented regulatory safeguards may be contaminated; counterfeit, contain varying amounts of active ingredients, or contain different ingredients altogether.”

This is not Dr. Gomperts’ first offense. For years, her other organization called Women on Web has been supplying women in countries where abortion is illegal with ways “to perform their own medication-induced abortions at home.”

Her “care” sounds more like the under-the-table operations of World Health Organization, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and the UN who deceptively push “reproductive freedom”—contraception and abortion—on poor countries they believe are breeding too much, thereby perpetuating a population in poverty and the need for aid from other countries.

Although the “abortion pill” is legal in the United States, it has to be prescribed by an actual doctor, not ordered online like you’re shopping on Amazon. The drugs are only given out by certified health care providers in a doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital, although some states are experimenting with “telemed abortions” where women video chat with doctors to get the pills. How is this safer or any different from ordering pills online? One can only wonder. But the lack of consistency aside, the FDA putting online abortion pill sellers on notice is significant and underlines the fact that any chemical powerful enough to stop a natural process and kill a living child should not be handed out so carelessly.

Abortions overall are at an all-time low, but the use of medication abortions is at an all-time high. The latest statistics on abortion from Guttmacher show that over 30 percent of abortions in 2014 were chemical, and now make up 45 percent of all abortions obtained up to 9 weeks. The trend has been that the vast majority of abortions take place before 8 weeks gestation on women between the ages of 20-29. The CDC reports that from 2006 to 2015, the use of early medication abortion increased 114 percent.

We are now seeing that the abortion pill regimen is becoming the preferred method for women attempting abortion in the first trimester. With the rise in use of chemical abortions, the abortion industry is leaving no stone unturned to market them as “safe,” “natural,” and as easily accessible as candy.

Stay tuned for more developments on the rise of the abortion pill in our midst.

Continue reading

Basic Human Decency Starts with Protecting Babies on Their Birthday

by Caleb Seals

March 20, 2019

When it comes to abortion, the political Left always trots out the same line: “It’s the woman’s right to choose whatever she wants with her own body.” Pro-lifers respond to this by speaking up for the rights of the unborn baby’s body. But after the recent passage of New York’s extreme abortion law and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s pro-infanticide comments, we are no longer talking about defending the unborn, we are talking about defending the born. Let that sink in.  

Consequently, Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) sponsored the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in the Senate, which basically states that if a child survives an attempted abortion, he or she must be given normal care in order to survive. Unfortunately, only 53 members in the Senate voted for the child’s right to live. In the House, Democrats have blocked the bill 18 times so far.

Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) spoke on the Senate floor a day after the vote: “We are a nation that must continue to value life, and for some reason, somehow, this body missed that opportunity to reinforce that value system before the American public, to say each child born, no matter your state, no matter your challenges: you have intrinsic value.” He elaborated: “There is nothing to debate regarding the sanctity of born children.”

Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) shared Senator Scott’s outrage in a piece for Fox News: “What a tragedy for our country. Tennesseans and all Americans should demand better of their representatives.”

President Trump echoed Senator Blackburn’s sentiment by tweeting, “Senate Democrats just voted against legislation to prevent the killing of newborn infant children. The Democrat position on abortion is now so extreme that they don’t mind executing babies AFTER birth…This will be remembered as one of the most shocking votes in the history of Congress. If there is one thing we should agree on, it’s protecting the lives of innocent babies.”

The reason why the “woman’s right to choose” argument in this context is dishonest is because the baby is no longer part of the woman’s body. The baby is born. The baby is breathing air. The baby’s heart is beating and its eyes are blinking. The baby feels pain and emotion. The baby has dreams and cravings. The baby has thoughts and feelings. The baby has intrinsic value. The baby has life. The woman should never have the right to take life away from the most innocent among us.

The president is right—if there is one thing we should agree on, it’s protecting the lives of innocent babies.

To send a message to Congress that all newborn babies should be welcomed with warmth and care, join thousands of Americans in our End Birth Day Abortion campaign. We will send a newborn baby hat in your name to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to remind her and her Democratic colleagues of the reality of their pro-infanticide position.

Caleb Seals is an intern at Family Research Council.

Continue reading

Religious Displays Should Be On–Not Off–the Table

by Alexandra McPhee

March 19, 2019

In New Hampshire, an activist group has demanded the removal of a POW/MIA Remembrance Table located in the public space of a VA hospital because the table contains a Bible. The hospital, however, is perfectly within its rights to maintain the display. First Liberty, a religious liberty law firm representing the nonprofit that arranged the remembrance table, wrote a letter urging the facility to continue to honor the memory of those soldiers who never returned home.

The public display of items or symbols of religious significance is well within the ambit of constitutional government action. The problem is that the military, like any industry in the public sphere, is vulnerable to privatization. Privatization is the phenomenon that religion is expected to remain exclusively in the home or house of worship and to not affect how one carries oneself in public life, including one’s profession.

It is commonly argued that religious symbols should be removed from public property to accommodate all religions and remain “neutral.” While we should be respectful and accommodating of all faiths, the removal of religion symbols from the public square—which enables privatization—is not the answer.

In Fort Wayne, Indiana, actions by the local VA hospital hit a nerve with at least one veteran. FRC spoke with a concerned vet who expressed dismay at a recent decision by the hospital to remove the Christian iconography that previously adorned its in-house chapel. This same hospital, for one day last year, lowered the branch flags outside its building and raised an LGBT flag, apparently without the consultation of the vets staying at the facility.

Symbols like crosses are not alien to military chapels, though the VA does give individual facilities discretion in how to operate themselves in this area. The response to an increasingly pluralistic society, however, should rarely be the removal of all religious symbols from a common area. This fosters privatization. Instead, we should respond with openness to the representation of other faiths—not the extraction of faith—from the public square.

Continue reading

Women Naturally Embrace Motherhood, And That’s Just Fine

by Alyson Gritter

March 18, 2019

A few weeks ago, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez decided to take to Instagram Live and make a statement about the environment, but instead ended up raising a question about motherhood. It was a question that, frankly, was irresponsible for a public figure, let alone a member of Congress, who wields so much influence and power, to subject our society to. In the video, she said, “There’s scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult, and it does lead, I think, young people, to have a legitimate question, you know, ‘Is it okay to still have children?’”

The statement, fueled by her own personal agenda, points to a much bigger issue that is affecting our country. Regardless of her intentions, AOC is discrediting women everywhere by questioning their natural desire to have children and also questioning the responsibility of having children in today’s society. There is already a huge stigma around women who long for motherhood and pursue having a family over having a career.

On Fox News, Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women of America, fired back at AOC’s comment: “[This is] the same apoplectic anti-child rhetoric we’ve heard before.” Such radical anti-children comments are smearing the earnest intentions and desires of women all over the U.S. whose greatest ambition is to be a mother. For many, including myself, the calling to be a parent is the most important thing they will ever realize in their life.

Women who place their focus on motherhood and raising a family are often looked down upon in today’s pop culture. Television shows like Sex and the City, Vampire Diaries, and Two and a Half Men and movies like How to be Single, No Strings Attached, and He’s Just Not That into You glamorize casual dating and make parenthood seem like a trap, implying that by having children, a woman can no longer fulfill her career ambitions and be fully empowered as a woman because she has a baby to care for and nurture.

Women who choose to seek motherhood or to be a stay-at-home mom are viewed as weaker than those who stick to their career and don’t pursue marriage and a family. Women are falling for the lie that they must be self-dependent and self-sufficient to be fulfilled.

Sarrah Le Marquand, Editor-in-Chief of the Australian magazine Stellar, once wrote, “There’s one issue guaranteed to trigger hysteria across the nation … It’s the topic of stay-at-home mums. More specifically, the release of any data or analysis that dares recommend Australian women should get out of the living room/kitchen/nursery and back into the workforce.” Jody Day, author of Living the Life Unexpected, denigrated motherhood by stating, “As we continue to delve into a realm where childlessness is not just a choice, but a common part of our culture, perhaps the glorification of motherhood will start to disintegrate.”

The horrifying reality is that society today no longer wants to celebrate and give God the glory for the gift of motherhood, which is a natural blessing of womanhood. This cultural shift is showing in the falling number of women having children. According to a recent study, the average number of children women are having in their lifetime has fallen from 4.7 in 1950 to 2.4 in 2017.

Philip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, addressed the reason for this trend when he said, “There is no getting around the fact that the relationship between gender equality and fertility is very strong.” He elaborated: “There are no high-fertility countries that are gender equal.” Many assume that a woman chooses to have more children or stay at home because there is a lack of gender equality. No one appreciates the woman whose main “career goal,” her greatest personal achievement, is to be a mother, even a stay-at-home mother.

In college, I had a close friend who confided to me that she felt hopeless and alone because she felt that her greatest calling in life was to be a mother. My sweet friend was very much single with little to no relationship prospects. She told me, “Everyone keeps pushing me to a more realistic goal to work towards, and I feel like they think me building a career is the most important thing in my life. It is only a secondary goal for me.”

My friend made it clear to me that to the world, having a successful career is the primary goal, but for many women of God, it is only secondary. Like her, my main calling in life is to grow and raise a God-fearing and honoring family. Every other goal, including my career goals, will fall into place around it. So, how can we as godly women not be discouraged in this pro-singleness culture?

Many in our culture seem to think that motherhood is the end of your life, but it isn’t. It is the end of living for yourself. Motherhood is often a thankless job, and many feminists don’t want to give up the worldly career recognition that often has to be given up when motherhood is placed first.

I believe wholeheartedly that mothers should be honored and cherished. They deserve recognition and praise for everything that they do. Regardless though, being a mom requires self-sacrifice, and frankly, that is something that the feminist movement does not want to accept. To them, it means giving up a career position, title, and status.

Motherhood is about laying down one’s ambition for the sake of their children and putting their needs, wants, and futures first. As women, motherhood is not about giving up our strength but about utilizing it for the sake of others. It is about embracing our vulnerability to be a woman and a mother.

Alyson Gritter is an intern at Family Research Council.

 

Continue reading

Interview: Pro-Life Rhode Island Student Says She Couldn’t Stay Silent

by Patrina Mosley

March 15, 2019

Many of us still can’t believe we have to have a debate over whether it’s okay to kill a child up until the day of birth—and now even after birth! It may seem like we are in dark times, coincidently at a time when we have one of the most pro-life administrations ever in office.

In the last two years, we have seen significant pro-life turnarounds, and the abortion business feels threatened. As the forces of darkness are emboldening lawmakers, that aggressiveness is also emboldening ordinary Americans and churches to take a pro-life stand.

Take, for instance, Melissa Cifuentes, a Rhode Island college student who testified against her state’s new radical abortion bill. It all started with her pastor having enough of the culture of death. When his own state decided to follow in the footsteps of New York’s birthday abortion law, he encouraged his flock to get up and speak up!

Thank you to churches like this who are empowering their members to engage the culture with truth, justice, and boldness. Watch our interview with Melissa to see how that message resulted in her becoming a willing servant of God and a voice for the voiceless.

As states are pushing their own extreme abortion laws, it’s been a battle just to get Congress to have a vote on whether or not a child who is born alive after a failed abortion attempt should be given reasonable medical care or be left to die! All newborns should be protected and cared for, but gaps in the law put some babies who are born alive in danger.

This is why we have launched our “End Birth Day Abortion” campaign, designed to call attention to this atrocity and pass the Born-Alive Survivor’s Protection Act. For every donation of $9, we’ll deliver one baby hat on your behalf to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Every elected leader of our country—whether Democrat or Republican—should be made to answer for where they stand on this issue, for it is a moral, not a political, issue. Join Americans across the nation in sending a powerful reminder that young lives should be welcomed with the warmth of a baby hat, not death.

Continue reading

Praying for Our Leaders

by Peyton Holliday

March 12, 2019

Here at Family Research Council, we have been reading through Carter Conlon’s book It’s Time to Pray. Prayer has been a focus at FRC since the beginning, but we are renewing that focus this year. In Conlon’s book, he highlights stories of how people’s lives have been changed by prayer. He shows us how people live out the verse in James: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (5:16).

We as Christians in the United States should be praying for our leaders in authority over us. In the book of 1 Timothy, we are told to pray for our leaders: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” We need to pray that our leaders will have wisdom (Proverbs 3:13) and will surround themselves with counsellors (Proverbs 15:22). Here are some great scripture passages to pray over our leaders from the book of Proverbs:

  1. Lord, may our leaders guide our nation in what is right, just, and fair (1:3).
  2. May they understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God (2:5).
  3. Above all, may our leaders trust in God with all their heart and not lean on their own understanding (3:5).
  4. As they interact with those around them, may they avoid all perverse talk and a deceitful mouth (4:24).
  5. Lord, may our leaders not be afraid of sudden disaster (3:25) and make wise decisions in the face of a disaster.
  6. As our leaders make both life and political decisions, may they ponder the path of their feet (4:26).
  7. I pray that our leaders will not be wise in their own eyes, but fear the Lord and turn away from evil (3:7).
  8. Lord, may they find favor and understanding in the sight of God and man (3:4).
  9. As our leaders make national and local decisions, may they listen to wisdom and be secure without fear of evil (1:33).
  10. May our leaders do their work pure and right (20:11).
  11. Thank you, Father for those that you have placed in authority over us. May you remind us to pray for them and never give up remembering that our leader’s hearts are turned by you and you turn them however you please (21:1). Amen.

It is our duty as Christians to respect the authority over us (Romans 13:1-7). I think we would have an easier time respecting those in authority if we prayed for our leaders on a daily basis. Prayer, as small of a task and as insignificant as many think it to be, can change the world. If more Christians would daily, hourly, and without ceasing pray for our leaders, our nation and the world would be a different place.

Peyton Holliday is an intern at Family Research Council.

Continue reading

Washington State Shuns Houses of Worship

by Alexandra McPhee

March 11, 2019

There is a new reality for churches and religious organizations in Washington state. Thanks to a law passed with the help of Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, any employer that wants to provide group health insurance for its employees must provide a plan that covers abortions and abortifacients.

Think there is an exemption for churches or other religious organizations with religious objections to such coverage? Think again. While there are numerous exemptions, religious exemptions are not available for such employers.

So, when Cedar Park Assembly of God decided that it wanted to provide high quality group health insurance for its employees, it learned that it really only had three options:

  1. Violate its religious beliefs
  2. Violate the law
  3. Drop this crazy idea of providing health insurance for its employees like a hot potato

Fortunately, First Amendment law firm Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Cedar Park Assembly of God for this violation of religious conscience rights. ADF Legal Counsel Elissa Graves stated:

No church should be coerced to pay for abortions, least of all a church that dedicates its ministry to protecting and celebrating life. Cedar Park believes and teaches that every human life begins at conception and is worthy of protection at every point until natural death. Further still, Cedar Park demonstrates its pro-life ethic in tangible ways: partnership with a local pregnancy care center, hosting an annual camp for children in foster care, operating a school that serves over 1,000 students, and ministering to hundreds of couples struggling with infertility. The state of Washington has no business strong-arming this church, or any other, into contradicting the deeply held beliefs that motivate its ministry.

The law was passed under the notion that so-called “restrictions” on abortion coverage (which, in this case, means absence of compelled coverage) interfere with the “constitutionally protected right to safe and legal medical abortion care.” What about the principles of religious freedom?

When the state of Washington enacted this bill without any religious conscience protections for houses of worship like Cedar Park, it created a moral standard that said that a faith-based pro-life ethic is not worth protecting. It said that only the government’s morals—not morals derived from a source higher than government—should prevail. This bill is a clear violation of the principles of the First Amendment and is being rightfully challenged.

Continue reading

Archives