Thursday, June 22, 2017

5th Circuit allows Mississippi anti-coercion law to go into effect

NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled unanimously on Thursday that those who filed suit to stop a state law protecting Mississippians against government discrimination haven’t shown they have been or will be harmed by the law. The court therefore vacated the injunction that had been blocking the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act (HB 1523) from going into effect.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are part of the legal team representing Gov. Phil Bryant in the lawsuits, Barber v. Bryant and Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant.

“Good laws like Mississippi’s protect freedom and harm no one. The court did the right thing in finding that those who have challenged this law haven’t been harmed and, therefore, can’t try to take the law down,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “The sole purpose of this law is to ensure that Mississippians don’t live in fear of losing their careers or their businesses simply for affirming marriage as a husband-wife union. Those who filed suit have not and will not be harmed but want to restrict freedom and impose their beliefs on others by ensuring dissenters are left open to the government discrimination that has already occurred in states without protective laws like this one.”

HB 1523 protects citizens, public servants, businesses, and religious institutions from government reprisal for operating publicly according to their belief that marriage is reserved for one man and one woman. Bryant signed the overwhelmingly popular bill into law in April 2016, but a federal district court stopped its enforcement shortly thereafter.

The 5th Circuit, however, concluded in its opinion that since “the plaintiffs do not have standing, we reverse the injunction and render a judgment of dismissal…. Because the challengers have failed to provide sufficient evidence of an injury-in-fact from HB 1523…, they have not made a clear showing of standing.”

Co-counsel Jonathan F. Mitchell of Stanford Law School argued before the 5th Circuit in April on behalf of Bryant.

Pro-life advocates, sued by New York state's attorney general, represented by national public interest law firm The Thomas More Society

The Thomas More Society is representing defendants affiliated with the Church at the Rock, a non-denominational Christian church in Brooklyn, New York, who are pro-life advocates charged in a federal lawsuit filed on June 20, 2017 by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.  Schneiderman alleges that these defendants unlawfully harassed patients, families and clinic staff at the Choices Women’s Medical Center in Jamaica, Queens. 
In response to these allegations, Thomas More Society General Counsel, Andrew Bath, issued the following statement:
“Members of the Church at the Rock peacefully counsel women who are considering having an abortion.  They conduct themselves reasonably and compassionately, and offer information about abortion alternatives to those willing to listen.  This is the exercise of their core First Amendment rights, and is an activity that takes place on the public sidewalk, the traditional venue for expression concerning important ideas and societal issues. 
“The New York Attorney General's suit seeks to deny our clients their fundamental First Amendment rights and is without factual or legal basis.  We will vigorously defend our clients' right to continue to peacefully deliver a pro-life message to abortion-minded women on the public sidewalk, and will seek dismissal of the State of New York’s meritless attempt to deny our clients the rights guaranteed them by our Constitution.”
About the Thomas More Society: The Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago and Omaha, the Thomas More Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. For more information, visit

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Canadian Supreme Court decides not to protect people from assisted suicide.

The Supreme Court of Canada has made an activist decision by giving physicians the right in law to cause the death of their patients by assisted suicide.

The Supreme Court is naïve to think that assisted suicide will not be abused, when abuse already occurs.
Dr. Leo Alexander, an American psychiatrist, who was a medical advisor at the Nuremburg trials and who was part of the Nuremburg code, stated in an article in the New Journal of Medicine (July 1949):
“Whatever proportions these crimes finally assumed, it became evident to all who investigated them that they had started from small beginnings. The beginnings at first were merely a subtle shift in emphasis in basic attitude, basic in the euthanasia movement, that there is such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived.”
This is the experience that the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland have had with assisted death, and unless Canada’s Parliament resists this same direction, this will be the same experience in Canada.
Recently, a depressed healthy man who was retired, but alone and lonely, died by euthanasia in the Netherlands. In Belgium, a healthy depressed woman died from euthanasia after experiencing the break-up of a long-term relationship. In Switzerland, a man died by assisted suicide after receiving a wrong diagnosis.
Giving doctors the right to cause the death of their patients will never be safe and no amount of “so-called safeguards” will protect those who live with depression or abuse. There will always be people who will abuse the power to cause death and there will always be more reasons to cause death.
Assisted suicide creates new paths of abuse for elders, people with disabilities and other socially devalued people. The scourge of elder abuse in our culture continues to grow.
Depression is common for people with significant health conditions. Assisted suicide is an abandonment of people who live with depression who require support and proper care.
Assisted suicide undermines important mental health and suicide prevention programs. Assisted suicide has had a suicide contagion effect in the State of Oregon.
The Supreme Court gave Parliament one year to provide a legislative framework.
Parliament must first use the notwithstanding clause to continue to equally protect every Canadian. Then Parliament and Provincial governments must commit to: improving access to end-of-life care, creating awareness to change social attitudes towards the lives of people with disabilities and the reality of elder abuse, and focusing on effective suicide prevention strategies to provide the care that Canadians require and deserve.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition will work to protect people from euthanasia and assisted suicide. We will not abandon Canadians to the false lure of assisted suicide and someday the Supreme Court will overturn this activist decision.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Author of new book on the Kermit Gosnell trial along with physician opposing doctor assisted suicide will join Deacon Mike and Pam this Tuesday on FOT

Cheryl Sullenger
Operation Rescue
In 2011 a Philadelphia abortionist, Kermit Gosnell, was charged with the murder of seven babies born alive after botched abortions and the murder of a patient who died following an abortion. In all, Gosnell and several co-defendants were charged with eight counts of murder, 24 felony counts of performing illegal abortions and 227 misdemeanors for violating Pennsylvania’s 24 week time limit. Ultimately, Gosnell was convicted of three counts of first degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and 21 felony counts of illegal late term abortions and 211 misdemeanors. He is currently serving a life term without the possibility of parole.
Gosnell being led off
to state prison

Sitting through the entire trial was Cheryl Sullenger, senior vice president of Operation Rescue and author of forthcoming book, The Trial of Kermit Gosnell: The Shocking Details And What It Revealed About The Abortion Industry In America, which is scheduled for publication this Wednesday. In the book she relates shocking eye-witness revelations from the often-emotional testimony. And based on over three decades of experience researching abortion industry abuses, she also provides disturbing evidence that proves Gosnell is not alone.
And this Tuesday, one day before publication, Cheryl will join Deacon Mike Manno and Pam Briddell to discuss her book (which can be ordered by clicking on the cover on the right) and what the Gosnell story says about abortion in America today.

Dr. Brian Callister
 In addition to Cheryl, Dr. Brian Callister, M.D.  a board certified internal medicine specialist and hospitalist, who is nationally recognized as an expert in both acute care medicine and the post-acute continuum, and critic of physician assisted suicide, will also join Deacon Mike and Pam. Dr. Callister was recently featured in a video by the Patients Rights Action Fund which was posted earlier on this blog (link here).
This week and next FOT moves into a temporary time slot, starting at 8:30 and running until 9:40. Starting July 11 FOT moves into its new permanent time for one hour at 10 a.m. (all times central). We’ll keep reminding you of the time changes. FOT airs on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streams on Podcasts of earlier programs can be found here.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Iowa recognizes "wrongful birth" claims

This month the Iowa Supreme Court recognized “wrongful birth” as a legal cause of action. The case involved a couple who claimed that their physicians under informed them on the condition of their unborn child who was born with serious birth defects. The parents claimed that had the correct information been given them they would have aborted the child. Read Deacon Mike’s latest column on the subject in The Wanderer.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Future of county’s practice of invocations before public meetings hangs in the hands of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals

CINCINNATI—Today, attorneys from First Liberty Institute defend the longstanding practice of opening government meetings with invocations before the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  First Liberty’s legal team will argue on behalf of Jackson County, Michigan, in the case of Bormuth v. County of Jackson.

“Legislatures at the federal, state, and local levels nationwide have opened their sessions with invocations for more than two centuries, as the Supreme Court has twice recognized in upholding this widely accepted practice,” said Ken Klukowski, Senior Counsel at First Liberty.  “Jackson County’s invocations are fully consistent with the Constitution and the Supreme Court’s guidance on this issue.”
A local activist sued the commissioners of Jackson County, arguing that their tradition of beginning monthly meetings with an invocation violates the First Amendment. A federal district court judge upheld Jackson County’s practice of allowing each of its nine commissioners to have rotating opportunities to deliver a voluntary invocation. A three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit reversed the lower court’s ruling in a 2-1 decision. But the Cincinnati-based appeals court decided to hold a rare en banc rehearing of the case, meaning all 15 judges of the court will now hear the case.
In a similar case, First Liberty also represents the commissioners of Rowan County, North Carolina (Lund v. Rowan County), which was heard en banc in March 2017 before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. If the Sixth Circuit and Fourth Circuit issue contradictory rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court could well take up this issue again.
Read more about this case at

School district tells high school graduate closing remarks at commencement break the law

BEAVER, PA, June 13, 2017—This morning, attorneys with First Liberty Institute sent a letter to Beaver Areas School District (BASD) officials explaining that forcing a student to alter her personal graduation remarks to remove any religious viewpoint violates the United States Constitution.  Read First Liberty’s letter to BASD here
“The last lesson this school district taught its students is that they should hide their religious beliefs from public view.  That fails the test of the First Amendment,” said Jeremy Dys, Deputy General Counsel for First Liberty. “School officials should remember that students retain their constitutional rights to freedom of expression from the schoolhouse gates, all the way through the graduation ceremony.” 
Moriah Bridges was asked by the Beaver High School senior class president to provide the closing exercise of their commencement on June 2, 2017.  When she submitted her remarks to the school district, Dr. Carrie Rowe, superintendent of BASD, forced Moriah to remove all religious references from her speech, explaining that her remarks could not be religious and, “most certainly may not recite a prayer that excludes other religions.”
“I was shocked that the school said my personal remarks broke the law and saddened that I could not draw upon my Christian identity to express my best wishes for my classmates on what should¹ve been the happiest day of high school,” said Moriah Bridges.  “I hope the school district will realize their mistake and make sure future students never have to go through this again.” 
In its letter to BASD officials, First Liberty explains that the First Amendment protects the personal remarks of graduates.  It concludes by asking school officials to acknowledge the wrongdoing and to setup a meeting with BASD and First Liberty Institute attorneys to help facilitate a way to protect the religious expression of students in the future. 
Read more about this case at
About First Liberty Institute:  First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.