On Monday, April 11, a federal court dismissed an ACLU lawsuit that was trying to force Trinity Health, a Catholic hospital system, and its staff to commit abortions, which would have violated their deeply held religious beliefs about the sanctity of life. This case may be over (for now), but here are the four things we still need to do about it:
This is a tremendous victory for religious freedom and for freedom of conscience. The ACLU was claiming that the Catholic hospitals’ convictions presented a threat to women in the area who might, for elusive “health reasons,” need an abortion and might only have access to a hospital in the Trinity Health network. In the dismissal, the court called this claim “dubious” and “speculative,” which is encouraging. No one should ever be forced to commit an abortion, and the federal court’s dismissal of the case preserves that truth and protects the staff of Trinity Health from having to making the terrible choice between pursuing their God-given calling in the workplace and living according to their conscience.
Roll up our sleeves
For many people, it’s been unthinkable that someone could be forced to participate in killing an innocent human. But that’s exactly what the ACLU was trying to do in this case, and they won’t give up. This isn’t just about protecting the rights of medical practitioners; the outcome of this struggle will affect every single American, because it will determine whether or not Americans have the right to choose a hospital that shares their religious convictions about the sanctity of life. Right now, Americans who believe that all life is sacred can feel secure that they and their children don’t have to be treated by a doctor who thinks that killing someone is a legitimate medical practice. But we can’t take that for granted. This struggle is just beginning.
Look at the big picture
This isn’t an isolated case. In California, laws force pro-life pregnancy centers to direct women to clinics where they can have abortions, and require churches to cover elective abortions in their healthcare plans. The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in Zubik v. Burwell, where five ADF clients along with 32 other groups are challenging the federal HHS mandate that they provide access to abortifacients in their healthcare plans. Overseas, ADF International is representing Ellinor Grimmark, a pro-life midwife who has repeatedly been denied employment because she refuses to participate in abortions. The assaults on rights of conscience—the right to live according to what you believe—keep coming, and we have to be prepared for many challenges to this right.
Look at the bigger picture
God is in control. He has given us a clear mission: “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression” (Isaiah 1:17). Please partner with us in praying that God would continue to bless our efforts to fulfill His calling in defending the right of people to do what they believe is right.
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