The physician, Angela Lanfranchi, MD, is a breast cancer specialist.
Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer
94th Anniversary of Women’s Voting Rights!
Honoree Eileen Slattery - teacher, mother and outstanding pro-life activist
Gather 11:30 a.m. - Ceremony 12 Noon-1 p.m., sharp!
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148 Martine Avenue (at Court Street) White Plains, New York
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An editorial in today's Wall Street Journal.
Imagine if a fundamentalist Christian sect captured the French city of Lyon and began a systematic purge of Muslims. Their mosques were destroyed, their crescents defaced, the Koran burned and then all Muslims forced to flee or face execution. Such an event would be unthinkable today, and if it did occur Pope Francis and all other Christian leaders would denounce it and support efforts by governments to stop it.
Yet that is essentially what is happening in reverse now in Mosul, as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham drives all signs of Christianity from the ancient city. Christians have lived in Mosul for nearly 2,000 years, but today they are reliving the Muslim religious wars of the Middle Ages.
They have been given a choice either to convert to Islam or flee. They were warned before a weekend deadline that if they remained and didn't convert, they would be killed. Thousands—often entire families—have had to leave the city with nothing more than their clothes as militants robbed them of money or jewelry. Crosses have been destroyed across the city.
That such violent bigotry in the name of religion can exist in the 21st century is hard for many in the Christian world to believe, but that is part of the West's problem. Jews know all too well that anti-Semitism can inspire murderous behavior. ...
Today's religious extremism is almost entirely Islamic. ... This does not mean that all Muslims are extremists, but it does mean that all Muslims have an obligation to denounce and resist the extremists who murder or subjugate in the name of Allah. ...
As for the post-Christian West, most elites may now be nonbelievers. But a culture that fails to protect believers may eventually find that it lacks the self-belief to protect itself.
Funny that the PR has the same title - Religious Liberty Affirmed - as the Wall Street Journal editorial.
Bill Donohue comments on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores:
Today’s victory is welcomed by true advocates of the First Amendment. However, because of the unremitting hostility this administration has shown to religious liberty, especially in its lust for abortion rights, Congress needs to pass the Health Care Rights of Conscience Act.
Today’s ruling has important implications. It recognizes, for the first time, that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) applies to “closely held” businesses, or corporations owned by a few people. This law prohibits the federal government from any action that substantially burdens the exercise of religion, unless that action is the least restrictive way of serving a compelling government interest.
Practically speaking, the ruling will have a limited effect on private sector employers. The vast majority of Americans work for companies that already provide for most forms of contraceptive coverage, including abortifacients. Nonetheless, this decision will further disable ObamaCare: Over 100 million are already exempt, and now we can add “Hobby Lobby” type businesses to the list. Not for nothing does Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fear that this ruling may cause “havoc” to ObamaCare. Hope she’s right.
Politically speaking, the ruling will have a dramatic effect: it sends an unmistakable message to the Obama administration that it cannot continue to run roughshod over the religious liberty rights of Americans.
Critics of Hobby Lobby have been trotting out horror stories about what will happen if their side loses. Nonsense. RFRA was passed 21 years ago, and no horror stories have been recorded. Scare tactics don’t work.
Next up are the Catholic non-profits. We’ll win on that one, too, only by a much bigger margin.
Great analysis. Hit the link for the full editorial, which should be available without a subscription.
Judging by the liberal reaction, you would think the Supreme Court majority that struck down part of ObamaCare's birth-control mandate on Monday has suddenly imposed Shariah law. Yet as a matter of law rather than political opportunism, the narrow decision is an important vindication of religious liberty in this (still, blessedly) pluralistic constitutional republic.
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby challenged the Administration's requirement that all corporations cover contraception including abortifacients and sterilization in their worker health plans. The Affordable Care Act did not require this imposition on businesses such as the Hobby Lobby arts-and-crafts chain that tries to operate in accord with religious principles. The White House invented it via regulatory discretion in 2012 as part of its "war on women" election theme.
The problem is that a 1993 law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, requires the government to meet a high standard when interfering with the free exercise of religion. The feds must narrowly tailor such rules and use the "least restrictive means" at their disposal for achieving some public good.
The White House claims to be promoting women's health and gender equality, but it drew an artificial distinction between types of corporations. Its remarkable argument is that businesses forfeit normal conscience protections when trying to turn a profit.
On Monday the Court held 5-4 that RFRA does cover closely held businesses like Hobby Lobby and that the Administration failed the law's substantial-burden test. RFRA is meant "to provide protection for human beings," Justice Samuel Alito writes. "A corporation is simply a form of organization used by human beings to achieve desired ends."
Claiming that for-profit businesses cannot exercise religion reflects the mechanistic liberal view that companies only exist to maximize dollars "at the expense of everything else." But of course corporations have many other goals, such as charitable causes, green energy or, yes, promoting moral beliefs.
The Administration has already made a contraception mandate "accommodation" for nonprofits, allowing soup kitchens and the like to supposedly avoid being complicit in what they view as grave wrongs. This gimmick is being litigated separately and our view is that nothing is solved by hiding the costs of contraception in the balance sheets of third-party insurers. Still, writes Justice Alito, the Administration "has provided no reason why the same system cannot be made available when the owners of for-profit corporations have similar religious objections."
Justice Alito was explicit in noting that the Hobby Lobby ruling only applies to closely held, family-run commercial enterprises. Publicly traded companies with dispersed ownership would have some difficulty demonstrating sincere religious beliefs, and most Americans of all faiths (or none at all) do not share Hobby Lobby's birth control qualms. But tolerance only means something if minority beliefs are respected, especially religious faith and conduct.
... political overkill suggests that Democrats are secretly delighted by the ruling, which they hope to use to scare women to the polls and salvage their shaky midterm prospects. Yet the real liberal grievance isn't with the Supreme Court but with RFRA itself. If Democrats are as upset as they claim, they ought to campaign this fall to repeal RFRA and be honest about how little they care about religious liberty.
There are other good ones which we will be posting; here's one from yesterday's WSJ columnist, James Taranto. And Mr. Taranto is neither a Christian, nor is he pro-life. but he is honest.
Excerpts below the link.
For-profit corporations, at least if they are "closely held," can raise conscientious objections to government policies under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. So the Supreme Court held today, by a vote of 5-2, in the much-anticipated case now styled Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.
The vote in Hobby Lobby's favor was actually 5-4, along familiar lines, but as we shall explain, two dissenting justices declined to address the question whether RFRA's protections can apply to for-profit companies. The majority, in a decision by Justice Samuel Alito held that Hobby Lobby and two other companies need not comply with the ObamaCare birth-control mandate, to which their owners object on religious grounds.
The plaintiffs in these cases did not claim their First Amendment rights had been violated; such a claim, as we noted in March, would almost certainly have been precluded by the 1990 case of Employment Division v. Smith. But Congress responded to that case by enacting RFRA, which mandates the courts apply "strict scrutiny" to government policies as enforced against litigants who object on religious grounds.
In order to meet strict scrutiny, the government must show both that the policy is justified by a "compelling" interest and that it is the "least restrictive means" of furthering that interest. At least five justices seemed to agree that the interest in assuring cost-free access to the abortifacient contraceptives in question is "compelling": the four dissenters and Justice Anthony Kennedy, who in a concurring opinion wrote: "It is important to confirm that a premise of the Court's opinion is its assumption that the HHS regulation at issue here furthers a legitimate and compelling interest in the health of female employees."
That's true, but the premise was stipulated--"we assume," wrote Justice Alito--not decided. For the plaintiffs to prevail, it would be sufficient for the government to fail either test, and as Justice Alito argues, it clearly failed the least-restrictive-means test:
In fact, HHS has already devised and implemented a system that seeks to respect the religious liberty of religious nonprofit corporations while ensuring that the employees of these entities have precisely the same access to all FDA-approved contraceptives as employees of companies whose owners have no religious objections to providing such coverage. The employees of these religious nonprofit corporations still have access to insurance coverage without cost sharing for all FDA-approved contraceptives; and according to HHS, this system imposes no net economic burden on the insurance companies that are required to provide or secure the coverage.
Although HHS has made this system available to religious nonprofits that have religious objections to the contraceptive mandate, HHS has provided no reason why the same system cannot be made available when the owners of for-profit corporations have similar religious objections. We therefore conclude that this system constitutes an alternative that achieves all of the Government's aims while providing greater respect for religious liberty.
Some religious nonprofits have argued that the HHS accommodation is too restrictive and violates their First Amendment rights; this case does not address that question--or, indeed, whether "an approach of this type complies with RFRA," in Alito's words. The majority cite another less-restrictive alternative: a government program providing contraceptives directly.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a hyperbolic dissent (citation omitted):
In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs. Compelling governmental interests in uniform compliance with the law, and disadvantages that religion-based opt-outs impose on others, hold no sway, the Court decides, at least when there is a "less restrictive alternative."
As Kennedy gently observes in response, "the Court's opinion does not have the breadth and sweep ascribed to it by the respectful and powerful dissent." Ginsburg suggests the decision would open up the possibility of religious exemptions from statutes prohibiting race discrimination, a claim Alito and the majority flatly reject: "The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce without regard to race, and prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal."
Ginsburg's claim that "the court decides" religious opt-outs should be available when a "less restrictive alternative" is available is misleading. Here the court did not, as it frequently does by necessity, apply a standard of its own invention in interpreting broadly written constitutional language. The "less restrictive alternative" language is in the RFRA statute; it was Congress, not the court, that made that decision.
On Saturday and under the leadership of Tina McDermott, with the help of (mostly) members of the Knights of Columbus, Birthright moved into their new digs on 826 South St., in Peekskill.
The equipment and materials in storage at the St. Francis Convent headed out - lots of stuff.
But "many hands make light work"
And out and into 826 South Street ... Birthright has been in Peekskill for DECADES, and helped THOUSANDS of women and families.
Thanks to all who helped out - and let's continue to help out.
Nice to see our side showing some media savvy.
And no doubt the Cal Thomas commentary on the decision is spot-on.
Only 5-4, which is very sad. But infinitely better than 4-5.
The contraceptives the plaintiffs objected to were, of course, abortifacients.
We will post more on this decision in the next ew days.
The editorial speculates that the decision didn't go far enough, because Chief Justice Roberts wanted a unanimous decision.
It isn't every day a unanimous Supreme Court endorses the free-speech rights of abortion protesters, so huzzahs for that. Thursday's opinion striking down a buffer zone against abortion protesters gets to the right First Amendment result, but it does so with logic that leaves too much speech in future jeopardy.
In 2008 76-year-old Eleanor McCullen sued Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and other officials so she could offer "sidewalk counselling" outside abortion clinics. Under Massachusetts law, only patients and clinic employees were allowed on public sidewalks within a 35-foot radius of the door and faced hefty fines for incursions.
In McCullen v. Coakley, Chief Justice John Roberts writes that the law unconstitutionally restricts access to public sidewalks around abortion clinics in the name of "public safety" without "seriously addressing the problem through alternatives." By regulating public streets, the state directly foreclosed access to places that "developed as venues for the exchange of ideas." Restrictions must be based on misconduct, not directed at peaceful speakers.
Hit the link above for the complete editorial, which addresses the "contortions" in the argument.