Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Texas's abortion clinic regulations. This was the Court's most important hearing on abortion in many years, perhaps decades.
The Director of FRC's Center for Religious Liberty, Arina Grossu, and our Senior Fellow for Legal Studies, Cathy Ruse, J.D. (formerly chief counsel to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution), were in the Court during the hearing to gain first-hand insight into the justices’ thinking. Their presence was especially important as, with our friends at the American Center for Law and Justice, FRC has filed an amicus brief in the case (Women's Whole Health v. Hellerstadt) documenting that abortion is anything but a safe procedure for women; Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller cited from our brief in his arguments supporting his state's commonsense abortion clinic rules.
As Arina explained recently, "The Texas law proposes that fundamental health and safety standards be applied to abortion facilities, standards that are currently applied to ambulatory surgical centers. These regulations are designed to safeguard against unsanitary conditions, inferior equipment, and the employment of unsuitable and untrained personnel in abortion facilities. Second, it requires that abortionists have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility when something goes wrong with the abortion and the woman needs to be hospitalized (as is often the case)."
We don't know whether or not the Court will rule in favor of women's health. Much will hinge on the unpredictable Justice Anthony Kennedy. As Cathy said after listening to Justice Kennedy's exchanges with the attorneys arguing the case, "No one hearing arguments today could come away with a clear idea of how Justice Kennedy is likely to vote. Even when he is very vocal, Kennedy's comments and questions serve as poor predictors of his votes."
We can be encouraged that we have allies in people like Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc), who made a surprise and very welcome appearance at a pro-life rally in front of the Court during Wednesday's hearing. "We are the pro-life generation and we are here to stand for life," he said. FRC is grateful for his leadership.
Political leaders, especially those running for President, should take note of the new survey conducted for FRC by the respected WPA Opinion Research firm, which found, "For possibly the first time, large majorities of Democrats and Republicans say that the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court will be a 'very important' determining factor in how they vote for president in the fall, according to a new poll (which) found that 71 percent of Republican voters believe the future of the court will be somewhat or very important to their vote. And 63 percent of Democrats agree."
Commenting on the poll, FRC President Tony Perkins noted that "Justice Scalia's replacement may very well be the deciding vote on major cases involving religious liberty, state abortion laws, gun control, and immigration. With so much at stake, the American people should be allowed to decide in November who picks the next Supreme Court justice."
Finally, yesterday the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives held its first hearing on the horrific organ harvesting of the corpses of aborted unborn children conducted by Planned Parenthood and its contractors. As U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn), chairwoman of the Panel, said in her opening remarks, "Last summer's videos revealed that something very troubling that is going on related to fetal tissue and research. The weak, the vulnerable, those with no voice -- harvested and sold -- there is something going on, something that deserves investigating and that demands our best moral and ethical thinking."
The unborn child is a person, a baby, a being made in the image and likeness of God. She and her mother deserve better than the predation of the abortion industry. That's why FRC works so hard to protect the unborn in law and supports policies that affirm and support their mothers. Thank you, as ever, for standing with us.
Robert F. Schwarzwalder, Jr.
Family Research Council
P.S. To learn more about the upcoming Supreme Court nomination battle, read the new paper by FRC’s Senior Fellow Chris Gacek, J.D., Ph.D., “A Supreme Decision: Filling Scalia’s Seat.”
“Free to Believe” –
- How the Atlanta Fire Chief’s Christian Views Cost Him His Job – David French, National Review
- Oregon Bakers Get New Legal Representation From Former H.W. Bush White House Counsel – Kelsey Harkness, Daily Signal
- New York farmers drop appeal in same-sex wedding fight – Bonnie Pritchett, World
- ‘Make Them a Cupcake’: John Kasich Suggests Religious Businesses Should Service ‘Gay’ Events – Heather Clark, Christian News
- University of Nebraska-Kearney refuses to bring Chick-fil-A to campus over CEO’s marriage views - Anthony Gockowski, Campus Reform
- Freedom From Religion targets Texas Christian student group – Michelle Heath, Beaumont Enterprise
- SPLC Using Hate Group Label to Target ‘Conservative Viewpoints’ - Associated Press (Bretibart)
- Religious liberty violations recounted at National Religious Broadcasters’ Convention - David Roach, Baptist Press news
- A Decisive Victory for a War Memorial Statue of Jesus over Angry Atheists’ Attacks – CeCe Heil, American Center for Law and Justice
International Religious freedom-
- China publicizes purported confession of Christian lawyer – AP
- Nigerian Churches Unite, Launch Plan Against World's Deadliest Terrorists – Christianity Today
- Why Do We Need Religion? – Greg Forster, The Gospel Coalition
- Asian religious leaders chastise President Obama for cozying up to foreign leaders with a long history of human rights abuses – Angela Lu, WORLD Magazine
Military Religious Freedom
Watchdog Group Wants Air Force to Pull ‘Jesus’ Video - Bryant Jordan, military.com
Bible Removed From POW/MIA Display Inside VA Clinic – Todd Starnes, Fox News
Religious Liberty in the public square
- Big Mountain Jesus prevails on Montana slopes – Becket Fund
- Missouri Measure Seeks Religious Exemptions on Gay Marriage – David A. Lieb, Associated Press (via ABC News)
- Judges Say Catholic Network’s Employee Health Plan Must Cover Contraceptives – Mariana Barillas, Daily Signal
- Florida school board rejects LGBT non-discrimination proposal - Ilana Kowarski, USA Today
- Coequal Branches of Government – U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), SCOTUS blog
- Candidates Make Mishmash of Religious Liberty - Quin Hillyer, PJ Media
- Hostility Toward Religion in America Is ‘Undeniable,’ Report Says – Leah Jessen, Daily Signal
- Religious Freedom for Me but Not for Thee – Rick Plasterer, Juicy Ecumenism/Institute on Religion and Democracy
- Air Force Academy Celebrates Witchcraft and Voodoo While Demeaning Christianity – Tom Finton, CNS News
- Why liberals may be out of step with everyday Americans when it comes to religion – Arthur Brooks, American Enterprise Institute
- Zika and Abortion Part II – John Stonestreet, Breakpoint
- Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin Sues Planned Parenthood, Alleges Abortions Performed Without License – Dr. Susan Berry, Breitbart Big Government
- Former Abortionist Reveals ‘Violent Reality’ of Abortion in New Videos – Katie Yoder, Media Research Center
- Planned Parenthood OC Changes Abortions to Harvest Intact Fetuses for Local Company's Sales – Center for Medical Progress (video)
- 20,000 Problems Facing Abortion Advocates at The Supreme Court – Casey Mattox, The Federalist
- Planned Parenthood is the leading killer of unarmed black lives – Ryan Bomberger, LifeSiteNews.com
- Abortion and the Supreme Court’s Misguided Notions of ‘Autonomy’ - Erika Bachiochi, Ethics and Public Policy Center
- West Virginia passes dismemberment abortion ban, can override possible veto – Calvin Freiburger, LiveActionNews.org
- There is No Pro-Life Case for Planned Parenthood – Ross Douthat, New York Times
- U.S. Rep. Pitts: Abstinence Is ‘Only 100% Effective Method’ for Avoiding Pregnancy, STDs – Lauretta Brown, CNSNews.com
- Abstinence is important to total sex education - Monique Guerrero, Texas State University Star
- Nebraska Measure to Protect Faith-Based Adoption Agencies –State Sen. Mark Kolterman, Nebraska Unicameral Legislature Website
- Congo to let 150 adopted children leave country after two-year wait; going mostly to U.S. parents – Aaron Ross, Reuters
- Bioethicist: 'We Have Commodified...Babies and Baby Parts' – Susan Jones, CNSNews.com
- Supporting Missouri Legislation Regarding Humane Treatment of Aborted Fetal Remains – Dr. James Sherley, Charlotte Lozier Institute
- Four Ways Getting Married Will Change Your Taxes - Marisa Torrieri, FORBES
- Five things you should know about the child tax credit – NewsWest9 (NBC affiliate, Midland, TX)
- ‘Kids are Resilient’ and 7 Other Lies Divorcing Parents Should Stop Believing – Yahoo Parenting
- The Secularization of the West and the Rise of a New Morality – Albert Mohler, Albertmohler.com
- Is Marriage an “Architectural Doctrine” of the Christian Faith? – Trevin Wax, The Gospel Coalition
- Stop Assuming Dads with Daughters Must Be Disappointed - Rebecca Parker Payne, Her.Meneutics
- Family Phases: The History of Family Strength in America May Reveal Good News – Allan Carlson, Touchstone
Human Sexuality (Homosexual/ gender issues)
- The Obama Administration Descends (Further) into Lawlessness in the Battle over Transgender Students – David French, National Review Online
- The Power Struggle over Transgender Students – Alia Wong, The Atlantic
- The Collapse of Gender Sanity – Rachel Lu, Public Discourse
- NPR puff piece on transgender church leaves lots and lots of predictable gaps – Julia Duin, GetReligion.org
- News Outlets Celebrate Transgender Prisoner Surgery Legislation - Mairead McArdle, Media Research Center
- When Sex Trafficking Goes Unnoticed in America – Priscilla Alvarez, The Atlantic
- Human trafficking: US closes legal loophole on 'slave labor' imports – Michael Holtz, Christian Science Monitor
- How technology is taking down human trafficking - Catherine Cheney, DevEx.com
- How to Slay the Dragon of Pornography – Ed Welch, The Gospel Coalition
- “Dirty Dozen” of Sexual Exploitation – National Center on Sexual Exploitation
- Supreme Court: mandatory minimum child pornography sentence applies without prior abuse of minor – Jurist.org
- A Parents’ Primer on Internet Pornography – Walt Mueller, Center for Parent/Youth Understanding
- Setting Priorities for Welfare Reform - Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, Heritage Foundation
- Commonsense welfare reform is working in Kansas – Gov. Sam Brownback, Wichita Eagle