Elizabeth has brain cancer, but she’s made the decision to live every moment with her family. She knows real suffering, but she also knows real hope and a life worth fighting for.
Increasingly, activist groups are pushing for legalized assisted suicide so that doctors can prescribe lethal doses of drugs to patients like Elizabeth. Nationwide, 45 bills to legalize assisted suicide have been introduced. With your help, Family Policy Alliance and our network of 40 state-based family policy councils have been able to stop all of these bills so far this year by revealing the many layers of abuse and the culture of hopelessness and death that come with legal assisted suicide.
“The lead activist group pushing to legalize assisted suicide spent over $1 Million in Hawaii alone,” said Stephanie Curry, public policy manager for Family Policy Alliance, “but Family Policy Alliance and our state ally Hawaii Family Forum worked with families concerned about the potential for abuse against the elderly and those with serious illnesses to stop the Hawaii bill.”
That potential for abuse is why assisted suicide is illegal in most states. Only a handful of states have legal assisted suicide and until recently, Alabama was one of only three states that didn’t have a specific statute prohibiting the practice. The Alabama Legislature just passed a law that would officially make assisted suicide illegal in the state. HB 96 also includes criminal penalties for those who try to administer a lethal dose of drugs to terminally ill patients.
This bill upholds the sanctity of human life in the state and provides protection for the elderly, those with physical and mental disabilities.
“We are thrilled to work with families across the country who believe every life is worth fighting for,” Curry said. “No one should be abandoned to the hopelessness and lack of care that comes with assisted suicide—we can work together to come up with far better options for our loved ones than that.”
Trinity Lutheran Child Learning Center simply wanted to make its facility safer for the children who use it. That’s why the center applied for a state grant to get recycled tire products to resurface the playground.
But the state of Missouri rejected the Columbia school’s application, saying it would violate the separation of church and state.
Now the case has made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where arguments were heard Wednesday.
“The safety of children on Christian pre-school playgrounds is not less important than the safety of children on other playgrounds,” said Joel Oster, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom. “Providing grants for recycled tires to create a safe environment for children is not a government promotion of any religious doctrine. In fact, both the state Constitution and the U.S. Constitution prohibit this type of hostility to religion.”
Annette Kiehne is director of the Child Learning Center.
“We aren’t asking for special treatment,” she said on the steps of the Supreme Court after the hearing. “We are just asking to not be treated worse than everyone else. Whether you are a Jewish, Muslim, or Christian kid, or not religious at all, when you fall down on a playground, it hurts just as much at a religious preschool as it does at a non-religious one. We trust and pray that the Supreme Court will consider that carefully, and rule in favor of the safety of children everywhere.”
One of the key issues concerns the future of something called Blaine Amendments. These 19th century laws were designed to discriminate against Catholic schools and prevent money from going to them. Today that’s resulted in all Christian schools facing hurdles that other private schools do not.
“Family Policy Alliance believes that parents should be free to send their children to the school where they have the best chance of success,” said Policy Director Autumn Leva. “Blaine Amendments pose a serious barrier to that freedom. We will continue to work with our state-based allies to ensure that school funding is structured so that families are best able to send their children to the right school for them.”
The Washington Supreme Court ruled today that the government can force Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers, to create floral arrangements for same-sex weddings or face heavy penalties.
Stutzman’s attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) argued that she was protected by the First Amendment.
“This case is about crushing dissent,” said Kristen Waggoner, ADF senior counsel. “In a free America, people with differing beliefs must have room to coexist. It’s wrong for the state to force any citizen to support a particular view about marriage or anything else against their will. Freedom of speech and religion aren’t subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees.”
ADF is already making plans to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.
The case points out the need for the Trump Administration to make good on its campaign promise to strengthen religious freedom. The President has the opportunity to sign an executive order doing just that, but so far has not done so.
“Signing the executive order would be a great first step,” said Autumn Leva, policy director for Family Policy Alliance. “Christians in our country should not risk losing their businesses, their homes or their life savings because the government insists on forcing them to choose between their livelihood and their faith. Without Congress passing laws to keep the government from discriminating, there will be a lot more cases just like Barronelle.”
Urge the President to sign the religious freedom executive order.
Family Policy Alliance and many other groups are urging the new administration to address sexual exploitation as they take office in January.
The group, which includes Paul Weber of Family Policy Alliance, Alan Sears of Alliance Defending Freedom and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, has penned a letter to help the new leadership understand that “America is suffering from a sexual exploitation crisis.”
They are asking that “through the presidential appointment process, presidential directives and policies,” the federal government address “the full spectrum of harm” being done to our society.
The letter will be sent to Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
A federal district court has ruled that churches in Iowa are not “public accommodations.” That means they are not subject to government control.
The ruling came in a case brought by Fort Des Moines Church of Christ after the Iowa Civil Rights Commission issued guidelines censoring church statements on biblical sexuality and forcing churches to open changing rooms, showers and restrooms to transgendered individuals.
“The government cannot legally censor pastors or coerce churches to use their facilities in a way that violates their religious beliefs,” said Steve O’Ban, Alliance Defending Freedom attorney. “The Iowa commission’s guidance was vague and empowered government bureaucrats far beyond what the Constitution allows. The court cut off this unconstitutional power grab by clarifying that the law does not apply to churches and reassured Iowa churches that they are free from improper state interference.”
Fort Des Moines Church of Christ will now drop its lawsuit against state officials.
The Iowa Civil Rights Act bans places of “public accommodation” from expressing a view on sexuality. Church leaders worried that it could have been used to violate freedom of speech on topics of sexuality and would leave the Civil Rights Commission in charge of deeming what was “bona fide” religious speech.
Christina Holcomb, an Alliance Defending Freedom attorney, said churches should be free to communicate their religious beliefs according to their faith without fear of government punishment.
“This lawsuit was necessary to ensure that the state won’t try to enforce the law against churches,” she said, “and we’re pleased that Iowa churches now have the reassurance and clarity that they need.”
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a California law forcing pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion. The Reproductive FACT Act mandates that these centers make information about public programs with “free or low-cost access” to abortion and contraceptive services available to clients.
The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) and two other pregnancy centers are represented by Matt Bowman, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom.
“It’s bad enough if the government tells you what you can’t say,” Bowman said, “but a law that tells you what you must say – under threat of severe punishment – is even more unjust and dangerous.
He said there will likely be an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This violation of the foundational roots of the American Republic will not stand,” said Thomas Glessner, president of NIFLA told LifeNews. “There are pending legal options to pursue, and we are discussing with our attorneys our most effective options. This battle is far from over.”
A federal judge has ruled that pregnancy centers in the greater Baltimore area do not have to promote any message other than the message of life.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the City Council had moved to force the pro-life centers to post signs discouraging women from using their services and pointing them to abortion sellers.
“No government or pro-abortion group has the right to invade the privacy of national pro-life organizations,” said attorney Matt Bowman with Alliance Defending Freedom, “simply to grind an ideological axe.”
The ordinance is similar to laws now on the books in California and Illinois where Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are working to protect crisis pregnancy centers from government overreach.
“The court’s decision in this case,” Bowman said, “will provide persuasive precedent to defend free speech there and in other states. This is an important First Amendment victory.”
More than 8,900 students, parents and community members have signed on to a friend-of-the-court brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold student privacy and safety.
The document concerns the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia. A female student there is asking to use the boys restrooms, locker rooms and changing facilities.
“Schools have a duty to protect the privacy and safety of all students,” said Gary McCaleb, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed the brief. “Decades of court decisions have established that, in light of the right of bodily privacy, no law grants opposite-sex persons access to single-sex facilities, where the interest in privacy is obviously strongest and bodily exposure is so common.”
President Obama decreed that school districts across the nation must open the most private of facilities to anyone of either sex, by redefining the terms of Title IX in federal law. The Supreme Court has put a hold on that edict pending outcome of this case.
“Title IX’s regulations specifically authorize schools to have separate restrooms and locker rooms for boys and girls,” said Matt Sharp with ADF. “The policy accommodates students who aren’t comfortable using facilities designated for their biological sex without neglecting the established right of children to bodily privacy and safety.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn how you can speak up on the bathroom issue. Check out “Ask Me First!”
One school district in Minnesota is feeling the effects of President Obama’s bathroom edict. The school district in Virginia, Minnesota is now facing a lawsuit from 11 parents outraged over the school allowing boys access to girls restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities.
The Minnesota Family Council (MFC), one of Family Policy Alliance’s nearly 40 state-based policy groups, said it’s the responsibility of every parent and school administrator to protect the safety, dignity and privacy of students.
“This common sense responsibility was jeopardized when the Obama Administration issued a baseless transgender mandate in May,” said John Helmberger with MFC, “threatening schools with the loss of federal funding if they choose not to comply. Students in Virginia’s public school system are among those currently facing heartbreaking consequences of such policies due to the administration’s decision to adopt President Obama’s transgender mandate.”
An attorney from Minnesota will represent the families on behalf of Alliance Defending Freedom. Helmberger says the facts of the case will show that the policy is a burden on the majority of students in the school and presents a danger them.
“The recent lawsuit filed by Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of a parent-student group demonstrates many Minnesotans’ desire to ensure common sense privacy rights for every student,” he said. “This lawsuit gives parents an opportunity to hold Virginia, Minnesota public schools accountable for a serious responsibility that they’ve abandoned – the safety and privacy of all students.
The U.S. Supreme Court has stopped an effort to allow boys access to the girls bathrooms in a Virginia school district. At least until they can decide if they will review the Gloucester County School board’s case.
Justice Stephen Breyer said in a statement that he concurred with the four conservative justices in the 5-3 action as a “courtesy,” because the hold will “preserve the status quo.”
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of 50 concerned parents, students, grandparents and community members urging the court to reverse the lower court’s decision. Jeremy Tedesco is an ADF allied attorney.
“Schools have a duty to protect the privacy and safety of all students,” he said. “The Supreme Court did the right thing in placing the 4th Circuit panel’s mandate and the preliminary injunction entered by the district court on hold until the high court itself has a chance to decide if it will take up this case.”