4 Continuing Legal Struggles to Preserve Life Across the U.S.


The last few weeks have seen blizzards throughout the U.S. matched by a flurry of activity for Alliance Defending Freedom staff and allied attorneys working to preserve life at every level of the public square, in courts and forums coast to coast.

1. The latest news from this crowded legal storm front came in this week’s sad announcement from the U.S. Supreme Court that it would let stand a U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruling that struck down crucial life legislation.

The high court declined to hear arguments in favor of Arizona’s Whole Woman’s Healthcare Funding Prioritization Act, which would have blocked taxpayer dollars from funding most abortions, while channeling more public funds to health care entities that provide comprehensive health care to women.

 “Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the work of abortionists,” says Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden, who served as Arizona’s special attorney to defend the law, along with the state’s solicitor general, Robert Ellman. “Arizona should be free to enforce its public interest against the taxpayer funding of abortion and in favor of the best health care for women, which is what this law sought to do. We are disappointed that the Supreme Court did not decide to weigh in on that principle. Arizonans deserve the best policies and laws possible to protect both their money and their health.”

2. The news was better in Tuscaloosa, where officials at the University of Alabama, prodded by a complaint letter written by your Alliance attorneys, rethought their decision to remove a pro-life display by Bama Students for Life (BSFL) from a campus student center.

Hearing that some found the display – which featured some blunt facts and graphic images of abortion – “offensive,” administrators had taken it down without even notifying BSFL. Now, they’ve apologized and the display was reinstated.

“This is a significant victory for pro-life students,” says Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, which honored Bama Students for Life as its 2014 Group of the Year. “I know this case will now inspire hundreds of our other Students for Life groups to courageously stand for their beliefs.”

3. The fight goes on in New York, where late last month we asked the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit to strike down what’s left of New York City’s anti-pregnancy care law, Local Law 17. A federal district court had invalidated the entire law, but a three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit reinstated one vague provision in a 2–1 decision on Jan. 17.

“Pro-life pregnancy care centers, which offer free help and hope to women and their unborn children, shouldn’t be punished by political allies of abortionists,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “The 2nd Circuit panel rightly affirmed that the city cannot force pregnancy centers to communicate city-crafted messages that encourage women to go elsewhere, but the panel nonetheless left one provision in place that still does that. Because this type of compelled speech is not constitutional, we are asking the full 2nd Circuit to strike it down.”

4. And, back in Arizona, Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton and Litigation Counsel Natalie Decker recently joined more than 250 parents in urging Tempe Union High School District and its Sex Education Curriculum Committee to keep Planned Parenthood out of public schools, by denying the group any involvement with schoolchildren or any part in developing the district’s sex education programs.

Alliance Defending Freedom sent a follow-up letter to all Arizona school districts, explaining that giving Planned Parenthood such access would likely violate a state law requiring preference be given to abstinence, childbirth, and adoption – not abortion.

“Schoolchildren should be able to have a positive education free from influence by Planned Parenthood’s abortion- marketing campaign,” said Decker. “Students and parents deserve better.”

Please be in prayer for all of our attorneys, as they work at every level of local, state, and federal government to secure protections for life for your family and our country – and to rebuild a culture that celebrates and honors life as God’s precious gift.

Author: Alan Sears