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News and commentary from the Pro-Life Action League
News and commentary from the Pro-Life Action League
After losing in the Hobby Lobby v Burwell Supreme Court case earlier this summer, the Obama administration has just issued new rules for the notorious “HHS Mandate,” the Obamacare provision that requires all employee health plans to include free contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.
This marks the eighth time the Obama administration has modified the HHS Mandate. Once again, they’re refusing to listen to the American people—or even the U.S. Supreme Court—and truly respect the employers’ conscience rights.
The new rules are nothing more than a slight variation of the so-called “accommodation” first announced in February 2012, whereby some “third party” will provide the objectionable services. I called that scheme a shell game at the time, and the description still fits. Others have called it an “accounting gimmick.”
All that’s changed is the paperwork involved in the process, which still requires employers to cooperate in providing contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs through their health plans—or face annual fines up up to $36,500 per employee for refusing to go along. [Continue reading ...]
After the macabre findings from notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s Philadelphia charnel house were made public in 2011, lawmakers in Pennsylvania enacted legislation that ensures, among other things, that state inspectors will regularly visit abortion facilities in the state.
Recently the results of inspections [PDF] conducted recently at the Philadelphia Women’s Clinic (PWC) abortion facility were released — and, like so many other abortion clinic inspections, they really throw a spanner in the works of the “pro-choice” movement’s claims that heightened oversight of abortion clinics is “onerous” and “unnecessary.”
On October 9, 2013, state officials investigated a complaint [PDF] regarding informed consent. By law a physician in Pennsylvania is required to verbally explain to the woman the abortion procedure, alternatives, risks, and answer any questions she might have 24 hours before the procedure.
This allows her to get real information that should be accurate and describes the procedure that that specific physician intends to perform on her. The alternative is that consent is obtained by a clinic “counselor” which, in many cases is merely a salesperson.
Such was the case at PWC. [Continue reading ...]
As soon as the Supreme Court issued its decision this morning in the Hobby Lobby case, the Pro-Life Action League immediately called for a Victory Rally at noon in Federal Plaza in Chicago, the League’s headquarters city.
Chicago was Ground Zero for the nationwide “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” rallies that protested the HHS Mandate when the Obama administration first announced it in 2012, so we felt compelled to return to the site of those rallies to celebrate today’s ruling.
And so, with only a few hours notice, a crowd of over 100 descended on Federal Plaza to mark this win for religious freedom. Just as notably, local media covered the rally in a big way.
Pro-Life Action League executive director Eric Scheidler served as M.C. for the rally and began by inviting Father Thomas Loya of Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church in Homer Glen, Illinois to offer an invocation. Father Loya noted that today’s victory was cause for celebration, but also cause for humility and repentance, and proclaimed Psalm 51.
The next speaker was Chris Yep, who, along with his wife Mary Anne, are the owners of Triune Health Group, one of seven businesses in Illinois that has filed suit against the federal government over the HHS Mandate. (It’s also worth noting that Triune was named the Best Place to Work for Women by Crain’s Chicago Business in 2012. So much for the idea that opposing the HHS Mandate amounts to a “war on women”!) [Continue reading ...]
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stunning decision today affirming the religious freedom rights of business owners, ruling in a 5-4 decision ruling that “closely held corporations” cannot be forced by the Obamacare HHS Mandate to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing drugs to their employees.
In its opinion [PDF], the Court stated that the federal government failed to demonstrate that forcing private corporations to provide these drugs and procedures to employees—even if their owners have strong conscientious objections to them—is the “least restrictive means” of providing free access to them.
The decision in these cases, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius, was the very last decision issued by the Court this term, and it was surely the most anticipated decision all year. That being said, it’s hard to underestimate the significance of this ruling affirming the First Amendment rights of business owners.
“This ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby is a victory for all who cherish religious freedom,” said Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League and one of the national directors of the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies. “The movement that began with hundreds of protest rallies outside federal court buildings has just won a great victory inside the nation’s highest court.” [Continue reading ...]
The pro-life movement scored a huge victory at the Supreme Court today, as the nine justices ruled unanimously in McCullen v. Coakley that Massachusetts’ abortion clinic buffer zone violates the First Amendment.
The court held that this 35-foot buffer zone violates the First Amendment by imposing “serious burdens” on sidewalk counselors’ freedom of speech on public sidewalks.
Reading the opinion [PDF] in the case, it was very encouraging to see the justices make a clear distinction between sidewalk counseling and protesting:
While the Act may allow petitioners to “protest” outside the buffer zones, petitioners are not protestors; they seek not merely to express their opposition to abortion, but to engage in personal, caring, consensual conversations with women about various alternatives. It is thus no answer to say that petitioners can still be seen and heard by women within the buffer zones. If all that the women can see and hear are vociferous opponents of abortion, then the buffer zones have effectively stifled petitioners’ message.
To be sure, the Pro-Life Action League has always been a proponent of both sidewalk counseling and pro-life protesting, but considering how often these two activities are conflated, it’s good to see the Supreme Court acknowledge a clear difference between them. [Continue reading ...]
The Pro-Life Action League has just launched a petition in support of the government and people of Spain as they strive to enact a new pro-life law. This legislation will save hundreds of babies from abortion every single day in Spain.
In 2010, the governing Socialist Party passed a sweeping new law that created abortion on demand throughout the first trimester of pregnancy. Since then, more than 300 babies a day have been aborted in Spain.
Popular opposition to the abortion law was so great that it carried the pro-life People’s Party to a landslide victory in 2011, promising to restore legal protection to unborn children.
Last year, they followed through by proposing a new law that would severely restrict abortion in Spain. Though not perfect, the new law will save thousands of lives every year.
But now Spain is coming under tremendous pressure from outside forces, including the European Union, to drop the new pro-life bill or water it down until it’s meaningless. [Continue reading ...]
Joe Scheidler speaks to reporters after oral arguments in NOW v. Scheidler at the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 30, 2005 [Photo by EJS]
Chicago, April 30, 2014 — “This ruling is long-awaited good news,” said Joseph Scheidler, founder of the Pro-Life Action League and the chief defendant in the twenty-eight-year-old RICO lawsuit filed by the National Organization for Women.
The Pro-Life Action League had petitioned for reimbursement of the costs incurred in the seven-week trial and subsequent appeals, which culminated in an unprecedented third hearing at the United States Supreme Court and a unanimous victory for Scheidler.
NOW vehemently opposed the League’s efforts to recover its costs. In May, 2013, Seventh Circuit Judge Charles Norgle awarded $63,391.45 to the Pro-Life Action League in a detailed opinion. NOW appealed, unwilling to acknowledge the League’s legitimate claim. [Continue reading ...]
Disgraced, departing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
The Pro-Life Action League is heartened to hear that Kathleen Sebelius is resigning as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a post she has held since the early days of the Obama administration.
As HHS head, Sebelius was responsible for implementing the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” and came under fire from both the right and left for the program’s horribly botched launch last year.
Sebelius was responsible for enacting the notorious HHS Mandate that forces employers to provide free abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives in their employees’ health plans. She also helped to keep health care consumers in the dark about whether their plans cover abortion, despite agreeing in a Congressional hearing that all coverage should be transparent. [Continue reading ...]
It was my great honor to speak at a rally yesterday held outside the Supreme Court as oral arguments were being heard in the Sebelius v Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v Sebelius HHS Mandate cases. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga are challenging the mandate, enacted under Obamacare, which compels them to provide free abortion-inducing drugs through their employee health plans.
Other speakers at the rally included Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life, Lila Rose of Life Action and Meg McDonnell of Women Speak for Themselves, and several more articulate, outspoken women. The only men to speak were Fr Frank Pavone and me—a point I remarked on in my comments, which you can hear in full in the above video.
After declaring that women’s wellbeing is especially important to me as the father of six daughters, [Continue reading ...]
Today the Supreme Court heard the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius cases, which challenge President Obama’s HHS Contraceptive Mandate. You can read the transcript of today’s hearing here [PDF].
These cases stand to overturn the Mandate with decisions in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga.
Supporters of religious freedom rallied outside the Supreme Court, and our own executive director Eric Scheidler spoke at the rally along with such notables as Senator Ted Cruz and Live Action’s Lila Rose.
Reports coming out in the wake of this morning’s hearing point to cautious optimism for a Hobby Lobby victory. LifeNews.com reports several sources predicting a Hobby Lobby victory, and an article by Ian Millhiser on the liberal news site ThinkProgress.org reported similar sentiments. [Continue reading ...]