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NewsBusters: Friday is National Religious Freedom Day, and what better time to consider where threats to American religious freedom originate. (Hint – it’s not with Bible-thumping Baptist preachers or dogmatic Catholic cardinals.)
National Review: Last year’s very limited Hobby Lobby ruling–the hysteria by those disagreeing was a wonder to behold–has protected the Catholic owners of a closely-held company from being forced to pay for contraceptive and sterilization coverage against their faith.
Emergency contraception will reduce abortions? Then explain these staggering numbers from Planned Parenthood’s latest report
Life Site News: With last week’s release of Planned Parenthood’s 2013-2014 annual report [PDF], we learn that the nation’s largest abortion chain is still the nation’s largest abortion chain.
Aleteia: Casey Mattox, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious freedom organization, said the bill could force Catholic institutions, pro-life groups, and insurers to pay for elective abortions. Although the city council hearing was held one week before the Supreme Court’s ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Mattox said the legislation was a “pre-emptive strike.”
Public Discourse: Jonathan Eig’s new book tells the story of the invention and popularization of the contraceptive pill. A pleasant, biographically-inflected history, the book repeats standard post-sexual revolution rhetoric, untroubled by too much complexity.
Students for Life of America: Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, released its annual report for 2013-2014, touting pretty pictures and signature pastel colors to mask the gruesome truths hidden inside.
East Valley Tribune: The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a faith-based legal organization, sent a letter to the district asking it to change the books to comply with the state statute and offered recommendations on how to change it. The board ended up approving the redaction method during an October meeting, and Kishimoto planned to begin the process next summer to accommodate the massive amount of work needed to update all of the Campbell books.
Christian News Network: “No one should be forced to pay a secret fee to cover other people’s elective abortions,” said Casey Mattox, Senior Legal Counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). “The Obama administration needs to stop deceiving the American people and coercing them to fund abortion. No matter where a person stands on abortion itself, everyone should be able to agree that this type of intentional and illegal deception is wrong and should stop.”
Life News: Alliance Defending Freedom, the Charlotte Lozier Institute, and the Family Research Council voiced concern to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Monday over proposed rules that continue to allow the cover-up of abortion surcharges in Obamacare.
Live Action News: Alliance Defending Freedom, the Charlotte Lozier Institute, and the Family Research Council submitted an open letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) voicing the concerns shared by American taxpayers regarding illegal abortion coverage in the Affordable Care Act.
Caffeinated Thoughts: “No one should be forced to pay a secret fee to cover other people’s elective abortions,” said ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox. “The Obama administration needs to stop deceiving the American people and coercing them to fund abortion. No matter where a person stands on abortion itself, everyone should be able to agree that this type of intentional and illegal deception is wrong and should stop.”
One News Now: ADF attorney Casey Mattox tells OneNewsNow that no one should be “forced to pay a secret fee to cover other people’s elective abortions.”
East Valley Tribune: The board made national headlines in October after it voted to redact a portion of a biology textbook that mentioned abortion as part of a section on contraception. The board voted 3-2 to remove the passage from the book, used by honors students at the district’s high schools, after a complaint from the Alliance Defending Freedom the passage violated state statute. A review from the district’s attorney and the state Department of Education indicated the passage did not violate the statute, ARS 15-115, which requires textbooks to offer childbirth and adoption as preferred options to abortion.
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom, the Charlotte Lozier Institute, and the Family Research Council voiced concern to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Monday over proposed rules that continue to allow the cover-up of abortion surcharges in Obamacare.
Secular Pro-Life Perspectives: The big story this week is the release of Planned Parenthood’s 2013-2014 annual report. Other pro-life news outlets have already hit the high points: compared to the last report, abortions are up, breast care services are down, and taxpayer funding remains incredibly high.
Via The Wall Street Journal (accessible via Google): On Dec. 2, the Council of the District of Columbia passed an amendment to the D.C. Human Rights Act, repealing protections for religious schools and colleges to determine their own rules regarding gay and lesbian student activities. If the current or incoming mayor signs it, the amendment will become law and likely force the Catholic University of America and the Archdiocese of Washington schools to provide recognition, facilities and perhaps even funding to gay and lesbian student clubs that oppose Catholic teachings.
The Washington Times: Conservative groups are riled over the D.C. Council’s passage of a new anti-discrimination law they say would illegally require organizations to provide insurance coverage of abortions and other reproductive health care procedures regardless of whether they violate the organizations’ religious beliefs.
Life News: Yesterday, the Council of the District of Columbia passed a bill that could force employers in the nation’s capital to cover elective abortions in their health plans and require even pro-life organizations to hire individuals who oppose their views on abortion. The bill will now go to Mayor Vincent Gray for approval.
FRC Blog: Yesterday, the DC Council passed a bill called the “Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act of 2014,” which could force employers in the District of Columbia (including the Family Research Council) to cover abortions.
Kentucky.com (AP): A Phoenix-area school district will not edit a high school honors biology textbook to remove content to comply with a state law on abortion-related instructional material.
The Daily Signal: Today, the Council of the District of Columbia passed a bill that could force employers in the nation’s capital to cover elective abortions in their health plans and require even pro-life organizations to hire individuals who oppose their views on abortion. The bill will now go to Mayor Vincent Gray for approval.
Miami Herald (AP): Natalie Decker, an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom, said at a board meeting in October the law applies whenever abortion is mentioned. “The law is not limited to books in sex-education classes,” Decker said. “It applies any time a mention of abortion is included in instruction.”
AZ Central: Gilbert school officials have mulled changes to the book since August, when they received a letter from Natalie Decker, an attorney for the Scottsdale-based advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom. Decker contends that the Campbell Biology book violates a state law that requires books to discuss adoption as a preferred alternative to abortion.
The Daily Signal: “This bill is an egregious attack on pro-life conscience,” said Alliance Defending Freedom’s Senior Counsel Casey Mattox, who wrote letters to the council on behalf of a number of pro-life groups in the District. “The government has no business forcing pro-life organizations to pay for elective abortions.”
ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox: “The government has no business forcing pro-life organizations to pay for elective abortions. The mayor himself agrees that this bill ‘raises serious concerns under the Constitution and under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.’ He is right. The council should abandon this hopelessly illegal bill rather than waste DC taxpayer dollars defending this doomed law to appease the abortion lobby.”
One News Now: Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Greg Baylor, who made the arguments, says the mandate forces religious organizations to give up their fundamental beliefs.
Breitbart: Ultimately, the Bracy Family dismissed its lawsuit after Access Health CT added health plans to the exchange that would not require them to pay for abortions. His attorney, Alliance Defending Freedom’s (ADF) Casey Mattox, said, “Americans should not have to pay a special fee for other people’s abortions in order to take care of their own family’s health.”
Life Site News: According to Casey Mattox, Senior Legal Counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA) was a top priority for pro-life leaders, but House leaders did not include it in the bill on Tuesday.
WXOW (AP): In the latest religious challenge to the federal health care law, faith-based organizations that object to covering birth control in their employee health plans argued in federal appeals court Monday that the government hasn’t gone far enough to ensure they don’t have to violate their beliefs.
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor will be available for media interviews immediately following his oral argument Monday before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit on behalf of four Christian universities in Oklahoma, which filed suit in 2013 against the Obama administration’s abortion-pill mandate.
The Christian Post: Casey Mattox, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom who attended the Tuesday D.C. Council meeting, said in a statement that the Council’s delay was “the right thing to do.” [...] “The council seems to have heard the voices warning them not to waste D.C. taxpayer dollars promoting the abortion lobby’s interests,” said Mattox.
Politico: “There is simply no prospect that a court would uphold this bill, so we remain hopeful that the D.C. Council will step back from the ledge and choose to respect both conscience and taxpayers’ wallets,” said Casey Mattox, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom.
National Law Journal (Subscription required; access via Google): It doesn’t have the breadth of the health care challenges over the individual mandate or the religious beliefs of corporations. But lying in wait for the justices is an attack on an Affordable Care Act provision critical to efforts to cabin the growth in Medicare costs.
ADF Senior Legal Counsel Casey Mattox: “The council’s unusual decision to postpone a vote on this hopelessly illegal bill was the right thing to do. The council seems to have heard the voices warning them not to waste D.C. taxpayer dollars promoting the abortion lobby’s interests. There is simply no prospect that a court would uphold a bill forcing D.C. pro-life non-profits to pay for abortions. The D.C. Council has wisely stepped back from the ledge and–for now–respected fundamental freedoms and avoided raiding taxpayers’ paychecks.”
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox will be available for media interviews immediately following the Council of the District of Columbia’s vote on the proposed Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act. The bill prohibits employers from “discriminating” against employees for any “reproductive health” decision, including elective abortion, and would force employers to provide health insurance for elective abortions regardless of the employers’ beliefs or convictions.
One News Now: Kristen Waggoner, vice president of the legal department at Alliance Defending Freedom, says customers have plenty of access to those drugs even with this particular pharmacy exercising religious freedom in declining to provide them.
The New York Times: Ms. Accurso reached out to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal advocacy group that has been active in conservative causes.
East Valley Tribune: The discussion and ensuing vote by the board about the textbook has brought a large amount of attention to the district in recent weeks. Scottsdale-based Alliance Defending Freedom brought concerns about what was in the Campbell’s book to the board, while ACLU Arizona said the board violated students’ First Amendment rights by approving the motion.
The Oregonian: During oral arguments in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Thursday,Kristen Waggoner, a Seattle-based attorney with the faith-based legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom who is representing the pharmacists, portrayed her clients as conscientious objectors who should receive the same accommodations as niche and boutique pharmacies that don’t keep wide-ranging drug inventories.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: A lawyer for the federal government argued before an appeals court Wednesday that it is not coercive to require a Western Pennsylvania evangelical college and two Catholic dioceses to file paperwork opting out of paying for contraceptive coverage, even though their employees would then be provided access to the services by an insurance administrator.
AZ Central: Gilbert school officials have mulled changes to the book since August, when they received a letter from Natalie Decker, an attorney for the Scottsdale-based advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom.
Pro Life Blogs: Kristen K. Waggoner, lead counsel representing a pharmacy owner and two pharmacists opposed to Washington state regulations that would force them to dispense drugs that can terminate human life after conception, will be available for media interviews Thursday following oral arguments at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
The Federalist: The Supreme Court announced this month that it would hear King v. Burwell, a case that will determine whether Obamacare makes federal subsidies available only for state-created insurance exchanges, as the law actually says, or if subsidies are universally available, which is what the law’s supporters now say the law means. Despite the apparent dryness of the topic, there could be serious implications for those concerned about the sanctity of life.
ADF Media: Kristen K. Waggoner, lead counsel representing a pharmacy owner and two pharmacists opposed to Washington state regulations that would force them to dispense drugs that can terminate human life after conception, will be available for media interviews Thursday following oral arguments at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
AZ Family: The idea of redacting the book was originally pushed by the conservative religious group Alliance Defending Freedom.
AZ Central: Natalie Decker, an attorney for the conservative Scottsdale-based Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom, said the surveys done by Planned Parenthood are not specific enough. They do not ask parents if they want their children in programs that emphasize abstinence, for instance.
The College Fix: The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia will hear oral argument tomorrow morning in Geneva College v. Burwell, one of the cases brought by religious employers seeking to get out of Obamacare’s mandate to provide abortion pills and other birth control they object to on religious grounds.
Pro Life Blogs: Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor will be available for media interviews immediately following his oral argument Wednesday before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit on behalf of Pennsylvania’s Geneva College, which filed suit in 2012 against the Obama administration’s abortion-pill mandate.
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor will be available for media interviews immediately following his oral argument Wednesday before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit on behalf of Pennsylvania’s Geneva College, which filed suit in 2012 against the Obama administration’s abortion-pill mandate.
The Christian Post: A federal appeals court in Washington has upheld the accommodation in President Obama’s healthcare law for religious nonprofits to opt out of providing abortifacients and birth control coverage, rejecting the argument that it imposes a substantial burden on their expression of religion.
Chronicle-Tribune: “Through the lawsuit, the plaintiffs hope that the court will order the government to stop forcing them to choose between facilitating access to abortion pills in violation of their religious beliefs and facing crippling fines,” ADF senior counsel Greg Baylor said by email.
Life News: Over the last few months, pro-life candidates have been accused of many ridiculous things. But, hands down, the most outrageous accusation has been that they want to take away everyone’s birth control.
WND: Attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom are representing the Association of Christian Schools International, Samaritan Ministries International, Taylor University and Indiana Wesleyan University in the case against Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and others.
The Global Dispatch: “School districts must follow the law and provide students with a curriculum that supports positive, life-affirming choices,” said ADF Legal Counsel Natalie Decker. “We commend Gilbert Public Schools for taking the necessary steps to comply with a law designed to protect children and the state’s strong interest in promoting childbirth and adoption.”
Red State: This week NARAL launched what may be the most hysterical – in both meanings of the term – ad of the cycle.
One News Now: A private university in Florida has won temporary relief from paying fines after it refused to comply with the Obama administration’s birth control mandate.
Raw Story: In a letter to the school board, the faith-based Alliance Defending Freedom complained that the textbook contained a passage acknowledging the existence of RU486 which can be used to end a pregnancy up to seven weeks after conception. The ADF also disputed the safety of so-called “morning after” pills.
WICU 12: The discussion in Gilbert was first brought up by a conservative Christian law organization called the Alliance Defending Freedom. According to board member Jill Humpherys, Alliance Defending Freedom had complained to GPS Superintendent Christina Kishimoto over the summer.
Baptist Press: “The government should not force organizations to violate their religious convictions by providing abortion pills to their employees or students,” ADF Senior Counsel Gregory Baylor said. “The administration has once again failed to extend its existing religious exemption to all organizations with sincere religious objections to the mandate. That would have been the best way of respecting freedom for everyone.”
The Cardinal Newman Society: Last November, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration on behalf of Ave Maria School of Law, challenging the HHS Mandate’s requirement for religious employers to provide contraceptive and abortifacient insurance coverage to employees.
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a lawsuit Friday against the Obama administration on behalf of four Christian organizations. The recent rule changes issued by the administration for the abortion-pill mandate do not address the religious objections to coerced participation in providing life-ending drugs, devices, and counseling. This is the latest lawsuit to challenge the mandate since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against it on behalf of two for-profit family businesses in Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores.
ADF Media: An Alliance Defending Freedom letter and presentation to the Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board prompted it to vote 3-2 in favor of requiring Gilbert Public Schools to comply with Arizona law and provide curriculum to students that encourages to child birth over elective abortion.
Family Studies: Twenty-six year-old “Hannah” participated as a teenager in a St. Louis study that provided 14 to 19 year-olds with free birth control, including long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). She told the New York Times that, “Having an IUD … I think its empowering.” Now married, she said she enrolled in the study to “break the cycle of poverty in my family.” Published this October in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study found that teenagers involved in the free contraception program (72 percent chose LARC) “had lower annual pregnancy, birth and abortion rates than teenage girls nationwide.” The findings are being used to strengthen the push for LARC as a “first line” of defense against early pregnancy for adolescents.
Campus Reform: “Nearly all state-based schools that have challenged this have received protection of these courts. We hope this will help with other impending cases, even those at the Supreme Court”, Matt Bowman, Senior Legal Counsel for ADF, told Campus Reform.
AZ Family: The discussion in Gilbert was first brought up by a conservative Christian law organization called the Alliance Defending Freedom. According to board member Jill Humpherys, Alliance Defending Freedom had complained to GPS Superintendent Christina Kishimoto over the summer.
Townhall (Reuters): The mention of the morning-after pill being able to “induce an abortion” prompted a Scottsdale-based legal group, Alliance Defending Freedom, to write to the Gilbert Public Schools superintendent in August saying a parent had raised concerns the text was not compliant with state legislation. Some conservative Christians believe life begins at the moment of conception.
AZ Central: The board made its decision after listening to a presentation by Natalie Decker, an attorney for Scottsdale-based Alliance Defending Freedom, an advocacy group that brought the chapter to board members’ attention.
AZ Central: Smith said she raised questions about the text in January after a comment from a constituent. The Alliance Defending Freedom, a faith-based legal organization that recently defended Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage, raised the issue in a letter to Gilbert Superintendent Christina Kishimoto in August.
Gilbert Public Schools board votes to redact textbooks for abortion content, cite possible violation of state law
East Valley Tribune: The board voted 3-2 at its meeting on Oct. 28 to redact pages from its textbooks given to students that do not offer childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortions, which falls under Arizona Revised Statute 15-115. The move came after both a community member and the Alliance Defending Freedom – a faith-based legal organization – expressed concerns the district violated the statute by using a biology book they said mentions abortion without emphasizing childbirth or adoption.
Canada Free Press: A United States District Court ruled yesterday that the Obama Administration cannot require the Ave Maria School of Law to pay for contraception, sterilization, or abortion until after the case has had a full hearing. Ave Maria is being represented by Liberty Counsel Senior Litigation Counsel Roger Gannam, as well as Alliance Defending Freedom.
WND: Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman said: “Faith-based educational institutions should be free to live and operate according to the faith they teach and espouse. The court was right to uphold the religious freedom of institutions that value the sanctity of life. If the government can force Ave Maria School of Law to violate its faith in order to exist, then the government can do the same or worse to others.”