By: Emily Conley
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a case that came about in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell scandal, when Texas passed House Bill 2 to improve the standard of medical care for women undergoing abortions in all-too-frequently dangerous abortion facilities.
We won’t know the Court’s decision for several months, but in the meantime, here are four other recent causes for celebration:
Court Affirms Diocese’s Freedom to Operate According to Catholic Teaching
Colleen Simon, former director for social ministries for St. Francis Xavier Parish in the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City–St. Joseph, sued the diocese for terminating her employment once it learned of her same-sex marriage. ADF attorneys argued that the church should not be obligated to employ people who act contrary to the church’s teaching, and a Missouri court agreed. The court ruled that the First Amendment’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion means the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City–St. Joseph is free to make its employment decisions without court interference.
“The district court was on very firm constitutional ground to reject this attempt to drag the government into a church’s theological decisions – the very line the First Amendment says the government cannot cross,” said Erik Stanley, ADF senior counsel.
Free Speech of Prolife Organization Upheld
When Susan B. Anthony List attempted to put up billboards in former U.S. Representative Steve Driehaus’ Ohio district to educate voters about his support of taxpayer funding of abortion, Rep. Driehaus used an Ohio statute that criminalizes political speech that a state agency determines to be “false” to sue SBA List for defamation. Opponents of SBA List claimed that they wanted “the right to lie.” The only problem? The billboards were completely true.
On February 24th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed a district court’s rejection of the Ohio law that silenced the pro-life group’s ability to speak out. As Casey Mattox, ADF senior counsel, put it: “The 6th Circuit understood that this type of government intrusion has no place under the Constitution. The court was right to affirm, as the district court did, the freedom of Susan B. Anthony List and all the people of Ohio to speak in accordance with their views.”
Louisiana Law Requiring Health and Safety Standards Goes into Effect
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit allowed a law that requires abortionists to possess admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their abortion facility to go into effect, despite attempts to block it.
“Abortionists shouldn’t be given a free pass to elude medical requirements that everyone else is required to follow,” explained Steven H. Aden, ADF senior counsel and special trial counsel for the Louisiana secretary of health. “The 5th Circuit was right to allow the law to go into effect. Its requirements are common-sense protections that ensure the maximum amount of safety for women.”
Florida Court Allows 24 Hour Waiting Period on Abortions
A Florida appellate court’s order in Gainesville Woman Care v. Florida enforces a law that requires a 24-hour waiting period before getting an abortion. Studies show that waiting periods like this allow woman facing pregnancy life-changing decision like abortion to fully consider nonviolent options instead of rushing into an irreversible decision and years of regret?
As Steven H. Aden, ADF senior counsel, said: “Florida’s law is a common-sense measure that simply gives women and teen girls one day to think about having a procedure that is potentially life-changing and fraught with risks. Basic health standards should not allow for ‘drop-in abortions.’ The court has done the right thing in allowing this good law to go into effect.”
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