This week the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear an important case dealing with whether a state can require that abortion facilities have a transfer agreement with an ambulance service. The law has been in place in Kentucky since 1998.
So why would Planned Parenthood challenge a law that was in place for almost 20 years? Because it threatened to close down their relatively new facility in Louisville and the one other remaining abortion facility in the state. Planned Parenthood claims that the requirement that they have ambulance and hospital service agreements impedes their ability to serve women.
But how does ensuring that women have basic access to healthcare in case of an emergency get in the way of helping women in need? It doesn’t, but for Planned Parenthood, any attempt to regulate abortion—even to protect women’s safety—is unacceptable.
Our state ally, the Family Foundation of Kentucky, worked to pass this law in 1998 and has been fighting to defend it from multiple challenges by abortion advocates over the years.
Joyce Ostrander, Policy Analyst for the Family Foundation, had this to say about the suit:
“Women often in very difficult situations turn to abortion clinics assuming they will receive at least a minimal standard of care. This ‘emergency transfer agreement’ standard has been in place since 1998. Why should it now be discarded?”
Family Policy Alliance®, helped elect pro-life legislators and a pro-life Governor in the last several years and are now, along with Kentuckians, reaping the rewards of those efforts. The Family Foundation, working with pro-life legislators, was able to help pass five different pro-life bills last legislative session alone.
However, this case highlights a roadblock that several states are facing when it comes to defending pro-life laws – Attorneys General with different political worldviews who don’t want to defend their own state laws. In Kentucky, the AG refused to defend the law and even wrote a friend of the court brief in favor of the abortion facilities.
This highlights why it is so important to not just elect good, pro-life officials in the highest office but also to ensure that every person we vote for shares our values. This case has even broader implications for state pro-life laws because at least 18 states have laws similar to Kentucky’s. This ruling could affect the enforceability of those laws – laws that ensure that women have access to basic medical care.
Oral arguments will be happening in Cincinnati, Ohio on Thursday, August 8th at 9 am. If you live in the area you are invited to attend. Please, show up at least 45 minutes early. If you are not in the area, please pray for the attorneys arguing the case – that they will defend this law that protects life with diligence and truth.
Standing for life,
Brittany Jones, Esq.
Even after the surprising results of the 2016 election, the wheels of the federal government continue to grind slowly on family-friendly legislation. But at the state level, significant progress is being made of life, family and religious freedom.
Here’s a roundup of what’s happening in several states with Family Policy Alliance allied groups:
South Dakota – The Family Heritage Alliance worked hard to get a bill passed that protects faith-based adoption agencies from violating their core principles.
SB149 ensures that they are free to continue placing children and making decisions consistent with their deeply held beliefs. It also prevents the government from discriminating against those organizations on the basis of faith.
This week Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed the bill into law.
“This law is consistent with how the state of South Dakota has for decades partnered with private agencies to find homes for children,” said Dale Bartscher, executive director of the Family Heritage Alliance. “It doesn’t restrict anyone from participating in foster care or adoption, but it does preserve for faith-based agencies the freedom to be faithful to their sincerely held convictions while partnering with government agencies in supporting vulnerable children and families in crisis.”
Louisiana – The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted new science standards for schools for the first time in two decades.
Louisiana Family Forum was instrumental in implementing Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008 that empowers teachers and students to practice academic freedom when exploring controversial science subject matter like origins of the earth, human cloning and climate change.
Louisiana Middle School Teacher of the Year Joni Smith testified during the board meeting.
“I made a suggestion for the members of the board to consider attaching the verbiage of the Science Education Act of 2008 along with the new updated science standards,” she said. “A motion to do this was introduced and passed 7-2. Joy filled my soul and this 7th grade Science teacher was smiling from ear to ear.”
Kentucky – Kentucky a conservative-majority House for the first time in nearly a century. Along with a Republican Senate and governor, pro-family legislation is being passed at a record clip.
Already, they’ve passed laws banning abortions after 20 weeks; allowing women to see an ultrasound before making the decision to go through with an abortion; and to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.
In Kentucky schools, children will now be able to express religious viewpoints without fear of retribution, thanks to a law passed this session. The Legislature is also considering creating charter schools and a bill protecting students’ religious liberties and free speech rights.
Even with all this good legislation, The Family Foundation of Kentucky is still hoping for a student privacy act that would protect girls in public schools from having to share bathrooms, locker rooms and changing areas with boys. And, they’re hoping to pass conscience protections for Christian business owners.
Florida – Our own John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, has been appointed to the Constitution Revision Commission. The body is only convened every 20 years to look over the state Constitution and recommend changes that are then voted on by the public. This year, many conservative voices will be part of the Commission.
The Florida Legislature is also considering a Pain Capable Abortion ban, a bill that would help victims of sex trafficking and the Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act that would protect students and staff from discrimination based on religious viewpoints or expression.
What issue led thousands of Kentuckians to put their jobs and their reputations on the line and to go to the state Capitol?
In his Stoplight commentary, Stuart Shepard takes you there so you can see for yourself. And he wants you to answer the question: Will you stand with them?
Learn more about The Family Foundation of Kentucky:
(Special thanks to Bama and Hayden. Good shooting.)