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ACLU Says Christians Should Be Forced to Perform Abortions

aclu3In a startling lawsuit, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has stated that employees of a Catholic hospital group should be required to perform abortions, even if that procedure violates their religious views.

Similar lawsuits have been filed by the ACLU here in Washington State, against Skagit Regional Health Clinic and the East Jefferson County Hospital in Port Townsend.

Trinity Health, which operates 86 health clinics in 21 states, including four clinics in the Pacific Northwest, was sued by the ACLU in October, when the group claimed that the group was “denying appropriate emergency care to women.”  Despite the guidelines set forth by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops prohibiting Catholics from terminating a pregnancy, the ACLU claims that the group has no legal protection to hide behind their rights of conscience.  Further, the lawsuit claims that Trinity’s refusal to provide abortions is a violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, a federal statute that, among other things, aims to ensure that emergency healthcare is not to be denied because of a patient’s inability to pay.

Read the lawsuit in its entirety here.

Trinity Health is being defending by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a national partner of the Family Policy Institute of Washington.  ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot said Thursday that, “not only is there no law that requires faith-based hospitals and medical personnel to commit such acts against their faith and conscience, federal law directly prohibits the government from engaging in any such coercion. Similarly, the government cannot tie any funding to a requirement that hospitals and health care workers give up their constitutionally protected freedoms.”

You can read more about Alliance Defending Freedom’s positioning in the case here.

 

WA Pharmacy, Pharmacists Will Appeal 9th Cir. Ruling that Forces Them to Violate Their Beliefs

 ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM COMMENT
July 23, 2015 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT ADF MEDIA RELATIONS: (480) 444-0020 or 
www.adfmedia.org/home/contact

 

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Vice President of Legal Services Kristen Waggoner regarding the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit’s decision Thursday in Stormans v. Wiesman to uphold Washington Board of Pharmacy rules that force pharmacists to dispense drugs contrary to their conscience instead of allowing them to refer customers to other pharmacists as they are allowed to do in all 49 other states:

“No one should be forced to choose between their religious convictions and their family businesses and livelihoods, particularly when the state allows referrals for just about any other reason. The premier medical and pharmaceutical associations all support the right of a provider to refer patients, and all other states allow such referrals. This decision will affect many facilities within the state, including Catholic hospitals and pharmacies, which have made clear they will not dispense these drugs. As the district court noted, drugs like Plan B and ella are widely accessible within the state. In fact, no woman anywhere in Washington has been denied timely access to these drugs for religious reasons. We will appeal this ruling.”

The following quote may be attributed to Stormans, Inc., President Kevin Stormans regarding the 9th Circuit’s decision:

“The state allows pharmacies to refer for all kinds of reasons. In practice, it only bans religiously motivated referrals. With 33 pharmacies stocking the drug within five miles of our store, it is extremely disappointing that the court and the state demand that we violate our conscience or lose our family business. All we are asking is to be able to live out the beliefs that we hold, as Americans have always been able to do, and to be able to refer patients for religious reasons, as the medical and pharmaceutical associations overwhelmingly recommend.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building,
non-profit legal organization that advocates for the
right of people to freely live out their faith.

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Christian Ministries: How to Protect Them From Lawsuits

Are you a pastor or ministry leader?  Are you unwilling to compromise your beliefs about marriage, gender, and sexuality but concerned about the legal liabilities that might result?

If that’s you, we want to help.

The Supreme Court’s recent decision to redefine marriage for the entire country has many pastors and ministries leaders worried about how this will impact their ministry.  And for good reason.  During arguments before the Supreme Court, U.S. Solicitor General said that maintaining tax exempt status is “going to be an issue” for non-profits that hold to the natural and historical understanding of marriage.

While there is risk in a changing world, there are also steps you can take to protect the ministry you care about from lawsuits.

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Alliance Defending Freedom published a small booklet titled Protecting Your Ministry From Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Lawsuits with the sole purpose of equipping pastors, ministry leaders and Christian school faculty with the necessary tools to better protect their churches, ministries, or schools.

The Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW) is taking this booklet one step further. FPIW is setting up meetings all over Washington State to help pastors and ministry leaders better protect their ministry from future sexual orientation and gender identity lawsuits. These meetings will be based on ADF’s Protecting Your Ministry booklet, but will also discuss how to be more proactive in the legislative process in Washington State.

 

Topics Include:

  • Statement of Faith
  • Religious Employment Criteria
  • Formal Membership Policy
  • Marriage Policy
  • Facility Use Policies
  • Religious Mission Statement
  • Code of Christian Conduct
  • And Much More

 

These meetings are free! All we ask is that you let us know if you are planning on attending (register here).

Several meetings are scheduled, but more dates and times will be announced in the following cities in the near future.  Click here to see if any meeting will be in an area near you.

If you are interested in hosting a Protect Your Ministry meeting in your community, let us know.  We’d love to work with you!

 

What It If Was Your Grandma?

Next Friday, December 19th, at 1:30 pm, at the Benton County Superior Courthouse in Kennewick, Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, will be in court. Along with lawyers from Alliance Defending Freedom, Barronelle will be defending herself against the lawsuit brought against her by Attorney General Bob Ferguson because she declined to decorate for a same-sex “wedding”.

The trial will begin early next year. Whatever the outcome of that trial, it is almost certain to be appealed. This case will likely not be over anytime soon.

But right now, they are deciding preliminary matters.

When the Attorney General Bob Ferguson decided to start suing grandmothers because of their beliefs about same-sex “marriage”, he did something unusual. He sued both Arlene’s Flowers as a business and Barronelle Stutzman personally.

If you’re not a lawyer, or if you’ve never been sued, the significance of this might not be immediately obvious. But it is significant.

If you buy a car that explodes because of a design defect, you would sue the company that made the car. You would not, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, sue the families who own stock in that car company.

One of the primary reasons to create a separate legal entity for a business is to protect the personal assets of the owners from the liabilities of the business.

Well, Bob Ferguson apparently thinks this case is exceptional, because he sued both the company (Arlene’s Flowers) and its owner (Barronelle Stutzman).

The significance of this will be felt in the event Mrs. Stutzman loses her lawsuit.

In lawsuits, the winner often collects legal fees.

In this case, the Attorney General’s Office would almost certainly try to be reimbursed for the expenses it incurred.

Since this case is likely to last years, you can be certain that the expenses will be several hundred thousand dollars.

But not all defendant’s have hundreds of thousands of dollars laying around in the event they lose a lawsuit, which is why, if you are suing someone, it’s helpful to have multiple defendants.

By suing both Arlene’s Flowers and Barronelle Stutzman, Bob Ferguson could not only seize all the company’s assets and bankrupt her business but, if the entire legal bill was not paid by the business assets, he could also go after the Stutzman family as well. He could take her house, her cars, her retirement, even her wedding ring.

Will he do that? Who knows. But having the option is the reason he sued her personally as well as her business.

Whether this is appropriate is one of the pre-trial issues that is being argued.

I hope reading about this bothers you.

For all that we think we’ve learned about tolerance and bigotry, this case just shows that it never actually goes anywhere, it just takes different forms.

I hope it bothers you enough to show up at the courthouse in Kennewick next Friday at 1:30 and support Barronelle Stutzman.

If you’re a pastor, show up and encourage your church to join you.

I hope it motivates you to call some friends and take them with you. I hope it motivates you to make a (respectful) phone call to Bob Ferguson’s office at 360-753-6200 and ask him to drop this lawsuit.

If we don’t intervene, she might lose everything she has because of what she believes about marriage.

We are all Barronelle Stutzman.

The legislature could act immediately to eliminate the basis of this lawsuit.

Why haven’t they?

Some of them like what is happening. They want people who disagree with them about marriage to lose their business and home for refusing to celebrate their sexuality with them.

But even those who don’t like it say they aren’t hearing from the public that they care about this issue.

That needs to change.

So right after you call Bob Ferguson, call your legislators at the legislative hotline 1-800-562-6000 and tell them to protect Arlene’s Flowers and the conscience rights of businesses. Then make plans to visit them in their office and tell them they need to start sticking up for grandmothers who are being bullied by the state.

Then show up at the courthouse next Friday, December 19th at 1:00. Let’s make a statement and show the judge and Attorney General how concerned we are by having 500 people showing up in favor of marriage, conscience rights, Arlene’s Flowers, and Barronelle Stutzman.

Silence is consent. Let’s stop being silent.

What if it was your grandma?