J. Donald Boudreau, Arnold P. Gold Foundation Associate Professor of Medicine at McGill University, has written a column protesting a decision by a B.C. Supreme Court judge to legalize physician assisted suicide and euthanasia. Dr. Boudreau argues that the decision, if upheld, would poison the practice of medicine. He closes with the suggestion that, if Canadians are willing legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia despite the concerns of palliative care physicians, responsibility for providing the services should be assigned to a new profession: euthanatrics. [Globe and Mail]
The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed suit on behalf of Grace College and Seminary of Winona Lake, Indiana, and Biola University of Mirada, California. Both are Evangelical Christian colleges that object to the Health and Human Services regulation that requires them to provide health insurance coverage for students and employees for contraception, embryocides and sterilization. [ADF news release]
Alliance Defending Freedom represents Grace College and Seminary, Biola University
Attorney sound bite: Gregory S. Baylor
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration Thursday on behalf of two evangelical Christian colleges: Grace College and Seminary in Indiana and Biola University in California. The lawsuit is the latest to challenge the administration’s unconstitutional mandate that faith-based employers provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs at no cost to employees regardless of religious or moral objections.
“Christian colleges should remain free to operate according to their deeply-held beliefs. Punishing religious people and organizations for freely exercising their faith is an assault on our most fundamental American freedoms,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor. “This mandate leaves religious employers with no real choice: you must either comply and abandon your religious freedom and conscience, or resist and be taxed for your faith. Every American should know that a government with the power to do this to anyone can do this–and worse–to everyone.”
“The Obama administration’s mandate forces us to act against our own doctrinal statement, which upholds the sanctity of human life,” said Biola University President Barry H. Corey. “It unjustly intrudes on our religious liberty as protected under the U.S. Constitution and makes a mockery of our attempts to live our lives according to our faith convictions, time-honored and long protected.”
“Government officials do not have the right to require religious organizations to act in a way contrary to deeply-held religious beliefs, nor do they have the right to define what constitutes the free exercise of religion,” added Grace College and Seminary President Ronald E. Manahan. “To determine that Grace College and Seminary is not ‘religious enough’ to qualify for an exemption from this mandate is an affront to the religious freedom and free conscience of dedicated Christian organizations across America.”
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have already filed three other lawsuits against the mandate: one on behalf of Geneva College and The Seneca Hardwood Lumber Company in Pennsylvania, one on behalf of Louisiana College in Louisiana, and one on behalf of Hercules Industries in Colorado, in which a federal judge issued an order preventing the mandate from being enforced against the family-run business. The lawsuits represent a large cross-section of Protestants and Catholics who object to the mandate.
The new lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Grace Schools v. Sebelius, argues that the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as well as the First and Fifth amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Attorney Jane Dall Wilson of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP in Indianapolis is local counsel in the case. Biola University Legal Counsel Jerry Mackey is also participating in the case.
Grace College and Seminary is a private, Christian institution in Winona Lake, Ind., offering baccalaureate, master, and doctor degrees and drawing students from more than 20 countries. Biola University is a private, Christian university in La Mirada, Calif., with six schools that offer 145 academic programs, ranging from the B.A. to Ph.D, and is the first university in California to file suit against the mandate.
Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund) is an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
Triune Health Group of Chicago, Illinois, has joined the growing number of private employers and colleges suing the Department of Health and Human Services because of a regulation that will force objecting employers to provide insurance coverage for contraception, embryocides and sterilization. [News release]
Among amendments proposed to House Bill 4244, the controversial Reproductive Health Bill, it is proposed that health care workers still be forced to refer for services to which they object for reasons of conscience, though “Without in anyway agreeing or endorsing the family planning service or procedure required by the persons concerned.” [Sun Star]
Two midwives who were ordered to supervise the provision of abortions are appealing the decision of the Court of Session in Edinburgh against freedom of conscience.[Herald Scotland]
- Scottish judge rules objecting midwives can be forced to facilitate abortions
- Statement by Glasgow midwives after abortion judgment
- How much conscience can the NHS afford? Columnists Sun 4 Mar 2012
- Catholic midwives lose legal fight over abortions Home News Thu 1 Mar 2012
- Midwives lose legal bid over abortions Health Wed 29 Feb 2012
- Doctors back midwives in court action Health Mon 23 Jan 2012
- Midwives’ abortion battle described as landmark case Home News Thu 19 Jan 2012
Madam Justice Prowse of the B.C. Supreme Court has ruled that Parliament need not legalize physician assisted suicide and euthanasia by 15 June, 2013, pending the outcome of an appeal by the federal government. However, she upheld the “constitional exemption” that permits plaintiff Gloria Taylor to obtain physician assisted suicide or euthanasia in the interim. The appeal will be heard in March, 2013. [Globe and Mail]
The Philippines House of Representatives has voted to end 19 months of debate on the Reproductive Health Bill. It is expected to pass before the end of the month[Philippine Star]. The World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) intervened in the controversy in the, insisting that the bill should be passed. The country is divided on the bill. It is strongly opposed by the Catholic Church. [Philippine Star]