Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Life Legal Defense Fund’s defense of the Center of Medical Progress’ use of undercover videos of Planned Parenthood selling fetal body parts

Yesterday FOT hosted Alexandra Snyder, executive director of Life Legal Defense Foundation, and Life Legal’s activities on behalf of David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) and their undercover videos showing how Planned Parenthood was attempting to sell the body parts of aborted babies. Later in the day Life Legal released the following Thanksgiving message which further explains the legal situation in which David and CMP find themselves. So in case you missed the program, here is the statement from Life Legal:

Life Legal is grateful for the opportunity to represent David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). Earlier this year, David released the first of a series of undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s sale of baby body parts.

We wanted to give you an overview of what has happened on the legal front since then.

In July, shortly after the release of the first video, David was hit with two separate lawsuits. The first was filed by StemExpress, a procurer or broker of fetal body parts. The second suit was filed by the National Abortion Federation (NAF), of which Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers are members. The NAF lawsuit alleged thirteen separate counts of action and sought an injunction to keep David’s videos out of public view. NAF is represented by one of the largest law firms in the nation, employing some 1,000 attorneys.

In August, Life Legal filed an “anti-SLAPP” motion. A “SLAPP” or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation is designed to chill speech by making it prohibitively expensive and time-consuming to defend a lawsuit. Life Legal argues that NAF’s suit is baseless and was only filed to silence David and prevent the public from knowing the truth about the trade in fetal body parts. NAF later amended its complaint, and Life Legal plans to respond with another anti-SLAPP motion.

In September the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals got involved by issuing a temporary stay on discovery, which was later lifted.  September also saw the first of many congressional hearings in conjunction with a formal investigation into the practices of Planned Parenthood. As part of the investigation, Congress issued a subpoena seeking CMP’s raw video footage, which NAF attempted to prevent CMP from complying with.

In October, a federal court ruled that CMP could send the videos to Congress.

The NAF lawsuit is currently in the discovery phase, which means that David and his lead attorney, Life Legal’s Katie Short, have spent long hours in depositions and preparing papers this month. Katie is preparing for another critical federal court hearing, which is scheduled for mid-December.

For background information on this very important case, please see Life Legal timeline page.

While this will be a long fight, we are doing everything we can to protect David’s First Amendment rights and to fight the allegations leveled against him. This is truly David versus the Goliaths of the abortion industry and we are so grateful for your help.

This Thanksgiving, Life Legal thanks you, our friends and supporters! You make it possible for us to continue defending the defenders of life.

Monday, November 23, 2015

In defense of the Planned Parenthood undercover videos

The undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials attempting to “sell” the body 
Alexandra Snyder
parts of aborted children has evoked a reaction from the abortion industry’s “professional” association, the National Abortion Federation. It has filed suit in federal court in California against the video’s to block the release of the videos’ producers, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) and its founder David Daleiden. Our friends at Life Legal Defense Foundation are the lead attorneys in the defense of CMP and Mr. Daleiden.

One of the center's latest videos can be seen below.

Tuesday, Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll will host Life Legal’s executive director, Alexandra Snyder, to discuss the legal implications in the case and what we should expect in the litigation.
Alexandra is a graduate of Trinity Law School and prior to her selection as Life Legal’s executive director has served as legislative counsel for Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif) where she handled pro-life, judiciary, and human rights matters. She currently serves as a consultant on law and policy matters to a number of anti-trafficking orginizations and was previously the executive director of a pregnancy resource center in Southern California.
Life Legal Defense foundation was established in 1989, and is a nonprofit organization composed of attorneys and other concerned citizens committed to giving helpless and innocent human beings of any age, and their advocates, a trained and committed voice in the courtrooms of our nation.
Join Deacon Mike and Gina this and every Tuesday at 9 a.m. on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on Faith On Trial is rebroadcast every Tuesday at 9 p.m.
Faith On Trial is supported by its underwriters: Attorney Rick McConville, Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-453-1055  CSMC; Confluence Brewing Company – off the Bike Trail just south of Grey’s Lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road where there is entertainment in the tap room every Thursday; and Rob denHartog, Wealth Management Advisor at Northwestern Mutual Life, NW corner of 128th Street and Hickman Rd, 515-210-4472.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

PJI asks federal court to block abortion speech mandate

Sacramento, CA—Attorneys with Pacific Justice Institute are asking a federal court to block implementation of a law that would force pro-life pregnancy clinics to point women toward abortion.

 Last month, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 775, which would require pro-life clinics to tell women about the availability of free or low-cost abortions.  PJI filed suit within 24 hours on behalf of three clinics across the state who believe in the sanctity of life and are morally opposed to abortion.  On Friday, PJI filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction asking the court to prevent the law from going into effect on January 1, 2016.

Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute and frequent FOT guest, commented, “It is imperative that we stop the government from forcing people of conscience to advocate messages to which they are morally and religiously opposed.  If the government can do this, none of our First Amendment freedoms are secure.”

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.  Oral arguments are scheduled for December 18 at 10 a.m. before Judge Kimberly Mueller.   

Monday, November 16, 2015

What’s with Obama’s “war” against the Little Sisters of the Poor?

Tuesday on FOT Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll will take up what is perceived as a “war” by the Obama Administration against the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Little Sisters of the Poor are an international congregation of Roman Catholic women religious founded in 1839 by Saint Jeanne Jugan. Together they serve the elderly poor in over 30 countries around the world and work to offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ, cared for as family and accompanied with dignity until God calls them to himself.

Yet the Obama Administration is forcing them to provide abortion inducing drugs and contraceptives – against Church teaching – to their employees or face crippling fines that would force them out of business.  The Little Sisters have responded by taking the Obama Administration to court and recently the U. S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear their case.
Joining us Tuesday will be Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, a policy advisor for The Catholic Association, to discuss this and other religious liberty issues.  Dr. Christie writes and speaks in both Spanish and English about Catholicism, religious freedom, and the intersection of faith and science.  
Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie
The Catholic Association (TCA) is dedicated to being a faithful Catholic voice in the public square. TCA is responding to the call of the Catholic Church for members of the lay faithful to apply Catholic teaching, wisdom, and principles to the issues of the day.
TCA engages on issues that are compelling based on the Teaching of the Church and defends our Catholic values wherever needed. Right now TCA is working fulltime to protect our God-given right – protected by the U.S. Constitution – to practice our faith free of government coercion and control. We are striving towards a society in which the common good and the dignity of every human person is upheld.
Dr. Christie’s writing has appeared in USA TODAY,, National Review,, US News and World Report, and The New York Times, among others.  She has appeared on CNN, Telemundo, Fox News, C-SPAN,and EWTN.
In 2014 she traveled to Rome to cover the Synod on the Family, commenting on its progress for many publications and shows.  She was a featured speaker at the National March for Life in D.C., in January 2015, where she spoke about prenatal diagnosis.
Dr. Christie grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, coming to the United States at the age of eleven.  She is a graduate of Columbia University and the University of Miami School of Medicine and practices Radiology in the Miami area, where she lives with her husband and five children.
Join Deacon Mike and Gina Noll at 9 a.m. (Central) Tuesday on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM, and streaming on The program will be rebroadcast at 9 p.m.
Faith On Trial is sponsored by Attorney Rick McConville, Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 5-1-453-1055; Confluence Brewing Company – off the Bike Trail just south of Grey’s Lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road where there is entertainment in the tap room every Thursday; and Rob denHartog, Wealth Management Advisor at Northwestern Mutual Life, NW corner of 128th Street and Hickman Rd, 515-210-4472.

Friday, November 13, 2015

ADF: HHS out of bounds to attempt redefinition of ‘sex’ in federal law

ADF files official comment on HHS misinterpretation of Title IX


WASHINGTONAlliance Defending Freedom filed an official comment this week with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding its proposed rule that reinterprets a federal ban on sex discrimination in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 as a broader ban on “gender identity” discrimination in health programs. As the ADF comment explains, both Title IX itself and court precedent make clear that the law has nothing to do with gender identity, and only Congress has the authority to change it.

“No government agency can unilaterally redefine the meaning of a federal law to serve its own political ends,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jonathan Scruggs. “Once again, the administration is overreaching what it is legally and constitutionally allowed to do. HHS has no authority to reinterpret a clear, congressionally enacted law in a way that violates that law’s text, purpose, structure, legislative history, and 40-plus year history of judicial interpretation.”

Proposed rule 45 CFR 92 seeks to implement a section of Obamacare that incorporates the anti-discrimination language from other federal statutes, including Title IX. Although Title IX says, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance,” the proposed rule assumes a ban on gender-identity discrimination in that Title IX language.

“But Title IX never mentions gender identity, much less defines ‘sex’ to include gender identity…,” the ADF comment explains. “HHS cannot justifiably reinterpret sex to mean gender identity in the health care context based on the faulty interpretations from other agencies. So at most, HHS cites four cases to justify its misinterpretation, but these cases either do not interpret Title IX at all or do not support HHS’s interpretation or do not consider the enormous weight of contrary precedents. Even more telling, HHS never analyzes Title IX’s text, purpose, structure, or legislative history, each of which confirms that sex in Title IX means sex, not gender identity.”

The comment goes on to explain that Congress, not an agency of “unelected administrators,” has the power to make law:

“HHS provides no bases for changing Title IX’s long-standing and well-accepted meaning, especially when that change will violate people’s constitutional right to privacy and to religious freedom. The proposed rule, therefore, will lead to unnecessary lawsuits…and will waste taxpayer dollars in the process. This comment…proposes that HHS follow a better course for its proposed rule – actually follow what Title IX says.”

Monday, November 9, 2015

Can a state athletic association ban prayers at a Catholic high school’s football game? One state is trying to do that; next on FOT

The North Dakota High School Activities Association has
banned a Catholic high school from public prayers before its playoff game. Shanley High School has led a prayer at its school football stadium before each of its regular season games, but it is prohibited Association policy from leading a prayer before the playoff game, as Association representatives have claimed that such a prayer would violate the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.

Thomas Olp
Here to discuss this case with us Tuesday will be Attorney Thomas Olp with the Thomas More Society.
“The Constitution doesn’t require the State of North Dakota to police pre-game prayers at Christian and Catholic high schools,” said Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Special Counsel. “People of faith don’t give up their freedoms of speech and religion just because they are engaged in state-sponsored sporting events. We urge the Activities Association to allow member schools with faith traditions to express their faith during post-season games, just as they do during the regular season.”

Join Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll Tuesday at 9 a.m. (Central) on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on for a discussion of this and other issues of interest to Christians who are trying to practice their faith. The program will be re-broadcast at 9 p.m.

Faith On Trial if sponsored by Attorney Rick McConville, Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-453-1055;Confluence Brewing Company, off the Bike Trail just south of Grey’s Lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road, Des Moines; and Rob denHartog, Wealth Management Advisor at Northwestern Mutual Life, NW corner of 128th Street and Hickman Rd, 515-210-4472.  

Faith On Trial is heard every Tuesday at 9 & 9.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Little Sisters will get their day before the U. S. Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Moments ago, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic nuns facing tens of millions of dollars in IRS fines because they cannot, according to their faith, include contraceptives in their employee health plan. This is the second time the Sisters have been forced to ask the Supreme Court for protection against the government’s HHS Mandate. The Court’s decision will finally resolve the crucial question of whether governmental agencies can, wholly without legislative oversight, needlessly force religious ministries to violate their faith. The Supreme Court has consolidated their case with Becket client Houston Baptist and East Texas Baptist Universities, Priests for Life, South Nazarene University, Geneva College, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington and Zubik.

“The Becket Fund is grateful that the Supreme Court has decided to weigh in on this important case,” said Mark Rienzi, Senior Counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “The Little Sisters spend their lives taking care of the elderly poor—that is work our government should applaud, not punish. The Little Sisters should not have to fight their own government to get an exemption it has already given to thousands of other employers, including Exxon, Pepsi Cola Bottling Company, and Boeing. Nor should the government be allowed to say that the Sisters aren’t ‘religious enough’ to merit the exemption that churches and other religious ministries have received.”
The Little Sisters, who care for more than 13,000 of the elderly poor  in the U.S., had no choice but to appeal to the Supreme Court due to the government’s refusal to exempt them from the HHS mandate, which is currently in its 9th unacceptable iteration. The mandate forces the Little Sisters to authorize the government to use the Sister’s employee healthcare plan to provide contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs – a violation of their faith –  or pay massive fines, which would threaten their religious mission. The Supreme Court entered a temporary order protecting the nuns in January, 2014, but the government has continued litigating, asking lower courts to remove that protection.
“As Little Sisters of the Poor, we offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they are welcomed as Christ.  We perform this loving ministry because of our faith and cannot possibly choose between our care for the elderly poor and our faith, and we shouldn’t have to,” said Sr. Loraine Marie Maguire, Mother Provincial of the Little Sisters of the Poor. “All we ask is that our rights not be taken away.  The government exempts large corporations, small businesses, and other religious ministries from what they are imposing on us – we just want to keep serving the elderly poor as we have always done for 175 years. We look forward to the Supreme Court hearing our case, and pray for God’s protection of our ministry.”