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Tony Perkins / June 30, 2020

Five Justices vs. the People

Chances are, these Supreme Court justices will never meet the parents of Jamie Lee Morales. They’ll never have to look in the eyes of the little boy left behind by Tonya Reaves or console the husband of Jennifer Morbelli. They won’t have to explain how Karnamaya Mongar survived war in Nepal only to die in the filthy recliner of a Philadelphia abortion center. Because even though three of them have daughters, the five justices who struck down Louisiana’s abortion law don’t seem to care that young women will keep dying because of courts like theirs.

Chances are, these Supreme Court justices will never meet the parents of Jamie Lee Morales. They’ll never have to look in the eyes of the little boy left behind by Tonya Reaves or console the husband of Jennifer Morbelli. They won’t have to explain how Karnamaya Mongar survived war in Nepal only to die in the filthy recliner of a Philadelphia abortion center. Because even though three of them have daughters, the five justices who struck down Louisiana’s abortion law don’t seem to care that young women will keep dying because of courts like theirs.

“Unnecessary.” That’s the word the majority of justices used to describe a law that would have kept 10,000 women a year safe. Women, who, when they walk through the doors of Louisiana’s abortion centers every year, are under the assumption they’ll be protected. That their doctors care. Jamie Lee would give anything to warn them — to tell them to turn back and go home — but she’ll never have the chance. She bled to death in the back of her sister’s car because her abortionist didn’t want to call an ambulance over the seven-inch gash he put in her uterus.

Yesterday, five justices sided with him. They said asking doctors like Robert Rho to have a relationship with a local hospital was “a burden.” That it didn’t “further women’s health.” That it was “an obstacle to abortion access.” By tearing down Louisiana’s law, the Supreme Court gave women access all right — to shoddy, life-threatening care. In Pennsylvania, that “care” was an inner-city torture chamber where “semi-conscious, moaning women sat on bloodstained blankets” in rooms that “reeked of urine.” In Delaware, that “access” looks like unsterile instruments held by abortionists who don’t even wear gloves. In Baton Rouge, it’s a young mom sterilized for life, because workers couldn’t stop the bleeding fast enough to prevent a complete hysterectomy.

These are the third-world conditions the Left fought for — and won — yesterday. This is the “progress” that government-funded groups like Planned Parenthood are high-fiving Joe Biden over. The liberal media has screamed for the six years since it passed that Louisiana’s law is about shutting down clinics. It’s not. It’s about forcing an industry that claims to put women first to prove it. “This kind of routine patient abandonment is not tolerated in any other medical specialty," one OB/GYN wrote in disgust. "Why only within the specialty purportedly dedicated to women’s health?”

No one should care if it’s “inconvenient” for these businesses to file the paperwork for admitting privileges. They should care that that when something goes wrong (and it does), women get the emergency help they need. “This case,” Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) argued, “was about whether the states have a right and responsibility to institute basic health and safety regulations to protect women — and whether the abortion industry should have the ability to strike down those commonsense health regulations.” Together — Mike as a young attorney and me as a state legislator — we worked to stop these doctors from operating in filthy, disgusting conditions, only, 20 years later, to watch the Supreme Court wipe it all away.

Here we are, in a country willing to burn its cities to the ground to hold police accountable — but when it comes to ending the brutality of the abortion industry, even our most powerful court hides behind black robes. It refuses to hear the cry of mothers who expected doctors to do their jobs. To keep them alive. To call 911 when their lives were hanging by a thread. It’s a surreal day in America when the Supreme Court can invent a constitutional argument for subjecting women to dirty and dangerous abortion chambers like Kermit Gosnell’s. Yet that’s exactly what happened when five unelected justices decided to topple a law democratically enacted by the leaders of Louisiana, which required abortionists offer such “controversial” things as seamless, emergency care.

In this day and age, our justices have no excuses. We’ve all seen behind the curtain of the abortion industry. We know the evil that lurks there — the greed, the callousness, the criminal indifference to women’s health. The state did its part: it acted. Unfortunately, five justices — including John Roberts — ripped that right out of the people’s hands and their elected officials, all to satisfy an industry that doesn’t respect the patients it exploits. “Today,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in disgust, “a majority of the Court perpetuates its ill-founded abortion jurisprudence by enjoining a perfectly legitimate state law and doing so without jurisdiction… Our abortion precedents are grievously wrong and should be overruled.”

Keeping women safe isn’t a question of abortion. It’s a matter of humanity. And yet, as they’ve done with marriage, gender, abortion, and health care, five unelected people are making it impossible for leaders to run their states the way voters see fit. If any of us needed more proof about the importance of this year’s election, this is it. When the next pro-life case makes its way to the high court, whose Supreme Court justices do you want deciding it?

Originally published here.

A Sharpe Contrast on Religion

You can treat churches differently — but you can’t get away with it. That was one federal court’s message to New York leaders late Friday, when it called out the state’s double standards on coronavirus orders. Hypocrisy, which has been spreading faster than COVID, won’t stand up to the legal challenge, Judge Gary Sharpe warned. Liberals may have selectively okayed mass gatherings, but the Constitution isn’t a document of “freedom for me, but not for thee.”

For a lot of religious groups, Friday’s injunction was a long time coming. Over the last three months, churches and other houses of worship have watched as local leaders — not just in New York, but all over the country — have tried to put the screws to congregations in the name of virus prevention. After weeks of unequal treatment, the George Floyd protests seemed to be the final straw. At the request of two priests and three Jewish practitioners, Thomas More Society took Cuomo and NYC mayor Bill de Blasio to court, where the disparity was embarrassingly obvious.

When the injunction was announced, Special Counsel Chris Ferrara was pleased to see the court “see through the sham of Governor Cuomo’s ‘Social Distancing Protocol.’” On "Washington Watch,“ Friday, he could only shake his head at the Left. New York leaders ”[were] approving mass protests over the death of George Floyd, which is classic First Amendment protected activity. People have the right to do that… There were also Juneteenth celebrations in the thousands. All of this is classic First Amendment activity. The only problem is it contradicts the entire regime of social distancing, which they claimed was necessary to save lives. Well, nothing is [riskier] in terms of spreading a virus than 5,000 people or 10,000 people marching across the Brooklyn Bridge, which they have no problem with. So the double standard basically dealt a death blow to their social distancing regime, both outdoors and indoors.“

Essentially, he pointed out, Cuomo and de Blasio were trying to squash gatherings they didn’t like — "namely religious gatherings and others to 10 people in the lower half of the state.” Of course, at the same time that thousands of people were marching in Brooklyn, the police were taking Hasidic Jewish children out of a local park. “The disparity was just intolerable. We just saw that this was a double standard that could not be sustained under constitutional scrutiny.”

In his decision, Sharpe makes it clear that there wasn’t even the appearance of a level playing field. “Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio could have just as easily discouraged protests, short of condemning their message, in the name of public health and exercised discretion to suspend enforcement for public safety reasons instead of encouraging what they knew was a flagrant disregard of the outdoor limits and social distancing rules,” Sharpe continued. But by acting as they did, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio sent a clear message that mass protests are deserving of preferential treatment.“

But even putting aside the Floyd protests, the judge pointed out that offices, shops, salons, and restaurants are all allowed to open at 50 percent capacity indoors and all "involve the congregation of people for a length of time.” “These secular businesses/activities threaten defendants’ interest in slowing the spread of COVID-19 to a similar or greater degree than those of plaintiffs’ and demonstrate that the 25 percent indoor capacity limitation on houses of worship is underinclusive and triggers strict scrutiny review.”

Very simply, Chris insisted, “people should be treated equally regardless of the purpose of their gatherings. You cannot cabin religion in a 25 percent indoor occupancy category… There’s no basis for it other than anecdotes and superstitions about how houses of worship are somehow viral danger zones, unlike supermarkets, bagel stores, offices and even restaurants.” He pointed to northern New York where some restaurants were putting tables of 10 just six feet apart. “So the activities that they were allowing are not different from indoor religious gatherings in any meaningful sense that involves public health. So [Sharpe] said what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. And all religious gatherings should be on the same level as secular in those gatherings.”

Let’s hope other states, where this liberal hypocrisy is running rampant, take note. Their rules aren’t just arbitrary — they’re unconstitutional!

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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