Amidst the unexpected events of the last two weeks – including a leak at the Supreme Court and the firebombing of our friends in Wisconsin – I wanted to share some of the other work that your support is allowing us to do behind the scenes.
This week, Family Policy Alliance joined our ally, Independence Law Center, and 32 other state organizations in our alliance in sending a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court! We’re asking the Court to let states decide whether to cover abortion providers under their state Medicaid programs.
We filed the friend-of-the-court brief in a case known as Kerr v. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. The case came out of South Carolina, where the state Medicaid program doesn’t consider abortion providers to be “qualified” providers for Medicaid recipients. The regional Planned Parenthood and a Medicaid recipient sued for Medicaid to cover her birth control at a Planned Parenthood facility.
But as our CEO Craig DeRoche said in a statement we put out yesterday, “Here’s what this case is about: Planned Parenthood wants to force taxpayers to fund their abortion business, and they’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen. But states should be able to tell Planned Parenthood ‘no,’ just as they should be able to say no to abortion itself. This case is about states’ rights under the Medicaid statute to make those critical decisions.”
With the very real possibility of a Roe overturn, state policy on abortion matters more than ever – and we’re honored to host an alliance of 40 state Family Policy Councils who are already on the ground standing for life. In fact, it was that alliance we partnered with in submitting this brief. Independence Law Center (the legal arm of Pennsylvania Family Council) led the effort, and we were grateful to be a part of it. Here’s what their Chief Counsel, Randy Wenger, had to say:
“States are permitted to decide what providers are qualified under Medicaid. If states like South Carolina want to use limited resources to promote holistic healthcare rather than providers that are focused only on abortion and related services, they should be free to do so. That’s the best way to provide high quality healthcare to the women of our states.”
You can read our full release and access the brief here.
Thank you for joining us as we continue to stand for life!
Director of Strategy
P.S. Of course, this isn’t the only abortion-related case facing the Supreme Court. The country is waiting with bated breath for a final decision from the Court in the Dobbs case (which challenged Roe v. Wade). Already, we’re preparing for the possibility of a world After Roe. To make sure you are in the loop on the latest, be sure to follow us on your favorite social media platform. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
Today, the Senate voted to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court 53-47. Here’s our statement:
“If there’s one thing Americans must take note of today it’s this: elections matter. The Senate just voted to confirm someone whose decisions will impact American law and culture for years to come. And it must not be lost today that every vote in favor of Judge Jackson was made by someone elected by the people of his or her state – and someone who must answer to that same electorate.
“Americans must hold our U.S. Senators accountable in the upcoming election to ensure pro-life and pro-family governance at all levels. We call on Americans to fully engage from the top of the ballot to the bottom in these upcoming elections to protect our God-given and constitutional freedoms for future generations.”
While Judge Jackson is highly credentialed, her statements both recent and past have raised concerns about how she will rule in the nation’s highest court and how her decisions will affect women, children, and the rights of everyday Americans.
Here are our top 5 concerns about Judge Jackson:
- Judge Jackson believes abortion is a constitutional right under the 14th Amendment.
When asked about 14th Amendment protections, Judge Jackson’s answer included, “In Roe v. Wade… and Planned Parenthood v. Casey…the Supreme Court recognized a right to abortion subject to limitations articulated.”
- Judge Jackson said she does not know when life begins, or if preborn children feel pain.
“When does life begin, in your opinion?” –Sen. Kennedy, LA
“Senator, I don’t know.” –Judge Jackson
“Can an unborn child feel pain at 20 weeks in the birthing process?” –Sen. Graham, SC
“Senator, I don’t know.” –Judge Jackson
- Judge Jackson’s previous rulings on child pornography cases raise grave concerns.
In every child pornography case in which Jackson had discretion, she sentenced below the minimum recommendation of the federal sentencing guidelines.
- Judge Jackson could not define a woman.
Can you provide the definition of the word, ‘woman’?” –Sen. Blackburn, TN
“I can’t. Not in this context. I’m not a biologist.” –Judge Jackson
“Do you agree with Justice Ginsburg that there are physical differences between men and women that are enduring?” –Sen. Blackburn, TN
“Senator, respectfully, I’m not familiar with that particular quote or case, so it’s hard for me to comment whether or not.” –Judge Jackson
- Judge Jackson would not say whether individuals have natural rights.
When asked, “Do you hold a position on whether individuals possess natural rights, yes or no?” Judge Jackson answered, “I do not hold a position on whether individuals possess natural rights.”
When Judge Jackson sits on the Supreme Court, she will be bringing with her deeply concerning perspectives on key issues like life, biological sex, and more.
Her confirmation is a critical reminder of why elections matter. Family Policy Alliance is committed to engaging in federal and state elections to ensure pro-life and pro-family governance across the nation. As America prepares for the upcoming November election, we welcome you to partner with us.
Your gift of $100, $50, or any amount will help Family Policy Alliance engage in strategic election battles to help turn the tide for families.
Today, America was reminded that elections matter. This fall, let’s act on that conviction.
|A high school football coach who was fired for praying on the field after games is about to have his case heard in the U.S. Supreme Court. And you – through your support and engagement with Family Policy Alliance – are in the thick of the action as it heads to the Court.
When Joe Kennedy coached the high school football team in Bremerton, Washington, he regularly prayed alone briefly at the 50-yard line following games. At one point, a couple of his students asked if they could join. He responded that it’s a free country, and so they did.
Eventually, nearly half of the team had joined him, along with students and even coaches from the other teams. Suddenly, he was told by the school that he could no longer pray publicly. At first, he followed their order, but then he felt that his freedoms of speech and religion were being violated, and so he continued his prayers.
The school district fired him, saying that they needed to avoid violating the Establishment Clause. At issue in the case is whether Coach Kennedy has speech and religious rights to pray briefly in public.
With your support, Family Policy Alliance is engaging directly on this case. Today, we filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court. Justices regularly read such briefs and sometimes even cite them in their opinions.
Among other things, this powerful brief (which can be found on the Supreme Court website) points out that public schools allow all sorts of highly controversial beliefs, while singling out religious views for particular discrimination:
“[T]raditional religious beliefs are uniquely targeted for censure, while a host of comparable, religious-like beliefs receive a free pass or even endorsement. Rather than creating ‘neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion,’ a reasonable observer would comprehend that traditional religion alone is being treated as poisonous and inappropriate in society.”
Family Policy Alliance filed the brief together with 29 state family policy councils from around the country, including Pennsylvania’s Independence Law Center, which authored the brief. Family Policy Alliance is pleased to host this alliance of independent state-based family policy councils around the country. Together, this alliance advocates on behalf of more than a million citizens across the nation.
Please pray for this critical case. And thank you for making this effort possible with your support.
Director of State Alliances
On Monday, Family Policy Alliance and 29 of our state allied organizations filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on a critical religious freedom case.
Just before the holidays, you may have heard that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hold an emergency hearing on the consolidated case against the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate, which is being imposed on employers with more than 100 employees via the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Working quickly, our alliance’s legal team – led in this case by our allied organization in Texas – put together a powerful brief for the nine justices, who will hear the case on Friday. Here is our message to them:
- The brief articulates the centrality and importance of religious freedom in the United States – and highlights the many challenges this mandate would impose on employers and employees alike.
- The brief points out that this mandate puts employers in the difficult position of determining which employees’ beliefs are authentic and which are not – which is especially challenging in a secular workplace, but also presents challenges for faith-based ministries. The mandate would essentially turn employers into enforcers of a dictatorial, overreaching federal requirement.
- The brief also recounts the history of overreach of the “administrative state” – in this case, OSHA – especially when it comes to disregard for religious liberty. The brief argues that this issue ought to be debated and worked out in Congress or the state legislatures, where religious convictions have historically been given much more respect.
Family Policy Alliance remains deeply committed to advocating for your God-given religious liberty and for settling these issues through the legislative process – just as our Founding Fathers intended. And we are thankful for you and your support that makes possible our advocacy before the highest court in the land.
Standing for the family of believers,
Joseph Kohm, III, Esq.
Director, Public Policy
© 2022 Family Policy Alliance. All Rights Reserved.
Originally Published 1/5/22 at familypolicyalliance.com.
On Monday, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned an important Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the Court’s four liberal Justices in the decision despite the fact that he ruled opposite in a near-identical case just four years ago.
The Court’s decision in June Medical Services v. Russo represents a significant blow to states’ rights and women’s safety. The Louisiana law in question was enacted to protect women from the abortion industry and its barbaric history of botched abortions by requiring abortion providers – like doctors at all free-standing clinics – to be able to admit and treat patients at nearby hospitals if emergencies arise. This common-sense bill was sponsored by Democratic State Representative Katrina Jackson; it received overwhelming bipartisan support for the Louisiana House and Senate; and it was signed into law by Republican Governor Bobby Jindal.
Though Chief Justice Roberts recently warned the Court against “second-guessing” the actions of “politically accountable officials of the States” (see South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom), he took the unfortunate step of not only “second-guessing” but overturning the actions of Louisiana’s duly elected Legislature and Executive. And just as troubling, he joined the Court’s liberal wing in prioritizing the abortion industry’s business interests over women’s health and safety.
Why should an abortion provider be held to lesser medical standards than other physicians?
Why should an abortion clinic be held to lesser facility standards than other clinics?
Why should abortion be the exception to quality standards of medical care?
Why should women be subjected to dangerous, medically substandard care?
All states have a compelling interest to regulate abortion providers and clinics in order to protect woman. We all know that the abortion industry consistently places profits over patients, and this week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an opportunity to terminate this conflict of interest – one which lines abortion providers’ pockets while forcing women to shoulder all risks of an abortion, even if abortion providers violate basic standards of care.
In his dissent, Justice Samuel Alito opined: “Today’s decision claims new victims. The divided majority cannot agree on what the abortion right requires, but it nevertheless strikes down a Louisiana law, Act 620, that the legislature enacted for the asserted purpose of protecting women’s health.”
We agree with Justice Alito. This week, the Court did not simply create winners and losers – it claimed new victims. Women deserve better, not lesser standards of care. Women deserve fewer risks, not more. And lest we forget the other victims of abortion – children deserve life, not death.
Thus, we continue the fight. Are you with us?
If so, I want to personally invite you to support our efforts in New Mexico today by becoming a monthly Ministry Partner. Your recurring monthly gift of $25, $50, $100, or more will directly fund our grassroots work to impact public policy and mobilize Christians for civic engagement. Or, if you prefer, you can also make a one-time gift of $100, $250, or $500 by clicking here.
With every setback comes an opportunity, and with your support and participation, we are well on our way to fostering a state and nation where life is cherished!
President & Executive Director
There hasn’t been much good news from the Supreme Court lately, but today we’re happy to share a good opinion from our nation’s high Court. Today, five of the Court’s nine justices decided that parents should be free to choose the best education for their children—and that includes education in private, faith-based schools.
The Court’s decision today is a win for parents, for religious freedom, and most importantly—for children. We believe that children win when their parents can choose the best education for each child, and that no government should place limitations on a child’s future because of her zip code or her family’s income.
And, today’s decision is a beautiful story of how families and godly values advance when we—the family of believers—unleash our citizenship to see government work for the people.
Please let me share that story with you. I believe it’s an important one for every believer who cares about this country to know.
In 2015, good legislators in the state of Montana passed into law a tax-credit scholarship program designed to help low-income families, especially single mothers, send their children to the best schools for them—including private faith-based schools. The law was written by our friends at Montana Family Foundation.
Then things started to go wrong. The Montana Department of Revenue issued a rule saying that children receiving the scholarships could not use them at faith-based schools. So, three mothers who believed their children would be better off at faith-based schools filed a lawsuit. Sadly, the Montana Supreme Court issued an opinion in 2018, stating that it believed Montana’s Constitution allows the state government to discriminate against faith-based schools based on a provision historically used to prohibit government funds from going to faith-based schools (also known as a “Blaine Amendment”), and it struck down Montana’s good scholarship program.
What’s worse is that many states have “Blaine Amendments” in their Constitutions, and these Amendments were discriminatory in nature from their very beginning. They started out in the 1870’s as a way to keep Catholic influence out of the largely Protestant public schools during a time of high anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant bias in America. Obviously, the Blaine Amendments are old dinosaurs in the law based on interdenominational conflicts that need to go extinct.
As the conflict over Montana’s scholarship program reached the Supreme Court, the Montana Family Foundation, which represents family values in the state, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case defending the law on behalf of Montana’s families.
Family Policy Alliance and the state family policy councils also worked to gather state lawmakers to file another friend-of-the-court brief in the case to show the Supreme Court that good lawmakers in other states also want to advance options for education choice for families. In fact, many lawmakers who are alumni of Family Policy Foundation’s Statesmen Academy signed onto this brief!
And now today, the Supreme Court declared that families in Montana should be free to choose the education that best suits their children—including in faith-based schools, that the old Blaine Amendment used to invalidate the scholarship program is bigoted and discriminatory, and that faith-based schools can’t be disqualified from a school choice program just because they are faith-based.
President Trump, who supports school choice for children as a civil rights issue, also issued a statement today in support of the Court’s decision, saying “no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing school.”
Today’s decision is a celebration of how children are the real winners when believers work to elect state lawmakers who support their values, those state lawmakers pass good laws, citizens and lawmakers join together to defend those good laws, the nation’s high Court applies our constitutional religious freedom protections correctly, and our President supports the values we hold dear.
This is a win for biblical citizenship in action, for your faithful partnership in supporting the mission of Family Policy Alliance to advance your values in both public policy and elections, and—most importantly—for children who deserve the best foundation we can give them as they seek out God’s calling on their lives.
For our children,
Vice President of Strategy
As you know, Family Policy Alliance works to pass pro-life laws throughout the nation. But often those victories are blocked in the courts. That’s why your prayers are urgently needed this week.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the Louisiana abortion case, June Medical Services v. Russo.
At stake, on the surface of this case, is whether state governments can regulate the safety of abortion clinics. That issue alone is critical, as the nation saw with the infamous Philadelphia abortionist, Kermit Gosnell, who treated women as merely commodities to be exploited.
The need for abortion safety regulations was manifest in Louisiana as well, from abortion clinics failing to sterilize medical instruments between procedures to a failure to report statutory rapes, and much more.
But this case has potential to go beyond the vital safety issues. It could, depending on how the justices rule, open a door to greater protections for preborn babies, as challenges to other pro-life laws make their way toward the Court.
Please pray for clarity and effective communication for those presenting the pro-life arguments to the Court. And pray that the justices will be moved to protect the victims of the abortion industry – both the women and the babies.
The Family Policy Alliance Team
Family Policy Alliance is proud to work alongside Texas Values, one of our 40 state-based allies.
In the only case of its kind, and in a major victory for Texas Values and Houston taxpayers, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the City of Houston’s request to review whether Houston taxpayers may challenge the city’s policy of providing spousal benefits to the homosexual partners of city employees.
The Texas Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that Houston taxpayers Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks may proceed with their lawsuit challenging the city’s policy, and the high court’s action leaves the state supreme court’s ruling in place.
VICTORY: U.S. Supreme Court Rejects the City of Houston’s Request to Review Same-Sex Benefits Case
Photo courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom
By Autumn Leva, Director of Policy & Communications
Jack is a small business owner from Colorado. He’s a cake artist who has loved art all his life. And, he’s a Christian who wants to live out his faith in the way he runs his business—and every aspect of his life. You could be Jack. I could be Jack.
Today, Jack is at the Supreme Court defending his freedom and faith, and the decision in his case will likely be the most anticipated Court ruling in the summer of 2018—similar to the ruling on Obamacare in 2012, the Hobby Lobby religious freedom case in 2014, and the decision on same-sex marriage in the Obergefell case in 2015.
Jack has been defending these rights ever since he told a same-sex couple he couldn’t design their wedding cake. The couple filed a complaint against him with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, forcing Jack to defend his faith, freedom, art and family business in a long legal battle.
But, what most people don’t know about this case is why Jack is in Court in the first place.
Here are the top 3 reasons:
- Colorado’s Legislators Passed a Bad Law.
The law putting at risk Jack’s religious and artistic freedom was passed by Colorado legislators in 2008. Simply put, the law adds the classifications of “Sexual Orientation” and “Gender Identity” to the state’s civil rights code, giving those classifications the same level of protection as race, disability, and national origin. This is often called a “SOGI” law.
When Colorado legislators were debating this law, they received lots of warnings from groups like Focus on the Family and Family Policy Alliance (under its former name, Focus on the Family Action) that the law would harm freedom for all Coloradans. But, the majority of Colorado legislators and then-Governor Ritter decided to sacrifice religious and artistic freedom for the sake of a progressive agenda—harming family businesses like Jack’s.
- Colorado’s Liberal Civil Rights Commission Failed to Protect Religious & Artistic Freedom.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission determined that Jack’s decision to follow his conscience by not designing a same-sex wedding cake was unlawful, even though a person’s “religion” is a protected classification in Colorado, freedom of religion and expression are protected in the Colorado Constitution, and freedom of religion and expression are protected in the United States Constitution.
The liberal Commission ordered Jack to design all wedding cakes (or stop designing them altogether, losing 40% of his business), to educate his staff that living by his beliefs was wrong, and to report to the state government every time he declined a business order for a cake.
Does this seem outrageous to you? The Colorado Civil Rights Commissions, like similar bodies in most states, is made up of members who aren’t even elected by you –the voters—yet they have the power to pick and choose which civil rights to protect (or fail to protect), to require business owners to “educate” their employees on how living out their faith is wrong, and to dictate even which cake orders to fill.
- Colorado’s Legislators Didn’t Protect Jack.
Colorado legislators could’ve passed a law to protect Jack—and other business owners and artists in the state like him. They’ve had an opportunity every year since the SOGI law passed in 2008 to clarify that religious and artistic freedom are protected in Colorado.
In fact, that’s what they should be doing, rather than standing by while family businesses are harmed in the state. The legislative body is charged with making laws—not the judiciary. Using their law-making power (and taxpayer resources) to protect freedom should be lawmakers’ top priority.
Instead, Jack was forced to turn to the courts to protect his freedom through a long legal process where nine Justices, primarily Justice Kennedy, will decide how he can run his business in his state.
And here’s why Jack’s story matters to every family:
Maybe you’re thinking: Yes, I could be Jack, but my state would never do what Colorado did.
Check out our map below.
- States in blue are states with laws already in effect similar to the law that harmed Jack.
- States in red are states where liberal activists would love to pass a SOGI law and claim a victory in 2018. In fact, in many of those states, a SOGI bill like the one that harmed Jack was introduced at the Capitol this year!
In other words, if you live in a state marked in blue or red, you or your loved ones could face a situation similar to Jack’s because of your faith.
And what about Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission with unelected members who aren’t accountable to the public? Yes, most states have a similar administrative body, and they almost always lean liberal—meaning they’ll tend to favor a liberal agenda over protecting religious and artistic freedoms.
With liberal activists fighting hard to influence state lawmakers and administrative bodies like Civil Rights Commissions, families in most states may see their lawmakers passing bad laws or failing to protect freedom and families.
So what can we do about it together?
My team and I at Family Policy Alliance don’t believe you, me, Jack, or anyone else should have to go to court to protect their freedoms. The first stop for protecting freedom should always be with the people we elect to represent us and pass good laws—whether at the local school board level, in the state government, or at the U.S. Capitol in D.C.
So, we invite you to partner with us as we work with our state allies in 2018 to (1) advocate for legislators to pass good laws that protect freedom for people like you, me and Jack when most state legislatures get back to business in January; and (2) elect the right people who will pass good laws that protect freedom in November.
You can help in two ways right now.
- Know your state & work together!
We work hard to know what’s going on in each state that will impact freedom and your family. We’re making more maps like the one above to help you know where your state is at on each issue, and we work with our local ally in your state. But, we can’t send you special alerts about your state and if your legislators are trying to pass a SOGI law like the one that harmed Jack without knowing your district. Please take a moment to enter your zip code. And, passing laws that protect freedom and holding legislators accountable for the laws they pass needs the help of the whole Body of Christ. Please encourage your friends in your state (or in other states) to know their own state & enter their zip codes as well.
- Prepare for 2018!
As we prepare for 2018, please support Family Policy Alliance with a year-end gift! Your partnership will equip families to understand each state’s laws and hold each state’s lawmakers accountable for protecting freedom. Thank you in advance!
Family Policy Alliance is proud to work alongside David Fowler and Family Action Council of Tennessee, one of our 40 state-based allies.
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled on a decision you may not have even heard about. Without even analyzing the law at hand, the Court decided that two lesbian women could both be considered “mothers” for a child. Thankfully, Justice Gorsuch, who was newly appointed to the Court by President Trump, as well as conservative Justices Thomas and Alito, disagreed with this decision. Check out this article from our allies in Tennessee to learn more about the Court’s arrogant and flawed decision.
READ MORE at Family Action Council of Tennessee