On this week's edition of The 3, the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the faulty Roe vs. Wade decision, and there is news and reaction. Also, the high court has upheld religious freedom in a case out of the state of Maine concerning parents who, until the ruling, could not use available public dollars to attend religious schools. And, the White House has issued an executive order that threatens Christian counseling to overcome same-sex attraction and promotes questionable gender-change methods.
Supreme Court strikes down Roe, sending abortion policy to each state
The ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court almost 50 years ago, Roe vs Wade, has now been overturned. CBN News quoted from the majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito:“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision..."
Joining Alito were Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. The latter three justices are Trump appointees. Thomas first voted to overrule Roe 30 years ago.
Chief Justice John Roberts would have stopped short of ending the abortion right, noting that he would have upheld the Mississippi law at the heart of the case, a ban on abortion after 15 weeks...and said no more.
CBN reports that 13 states already have trigger laws in place meaning that the laws were set to be implement once Roe was overturned.
Alabama did not have a trigger law, but passed a strong pro-life bill in 2019, the Human Life Protection Act. WSFA.com reported on Friday that Attorney General Steve Marshall...
...gave notice that the state will “immediately” file motions to dissolve any injunction on state laws dealing with abortion that had been halted by the courts. Among those laws was the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, which was one of the strongest bans on abortion in the country when Gov. Kay Ivey signed it into law in 2019. The law made performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony unless the mother’s health was in danger. It did not provide any exceptions for rape or incest.Later in the day, according to the website, "...U.S. District Judge Myron H. Thompson dismissed the lawsuit against the Alabama Human Life Protection Act." Marshall also called on abortion clinics in the state to cease operations and spoke strongly against acts of vandalism in response to the high court's action.
Christians have been speaking out forcefully against abortion, which is the taking of human life. The CEO of National Religious Broadcasters hailed the ruling; Troy Miller said: “Today’s decision is a great victory for sanctity of life on the federal level. We stand with our members who are on the frontlines of this battle as they pursue laws and reforms at the state level that protect and value life,” adding, “We continue to ask for God’s protection on all Supreme Court justices as they continue in their public service.”
The NRB website featured responses from a variety of Christian leaders, including:
Michael Farris of Alliance Defending Freedom, who said, "The Supreme Court acknowledged that it improperly seized the power of the people and their legislatures half a century ago. Now it has relinquished that power and given it back to the people. That’s a marvel worth celebrating.”
Jim Daly of Focus on the Family, who stated, “This is a day to give thanks to God. It’s also a day to give thanks to the tens of millions who have marched in the snow and cold on the anniversary of Roe these last fifty years as faithful witnesses to the value of human life. It’s a day, as well, to give thanks to those who have committed their lives and their resources to serving mothers and protecting innocent children. We remain dedicated to fostering and furthering a culture of life, which recognizes the dignity of each and every person." He included that reference to the March for Life, that has been an annual event since Roe was handed down, a peaceful protest of pro-life people that attracted hundreds of thousands to the nation's capital. There have been Marches in other U.S. cities as well. News coverage has been scant for these events, which were peaceful and respectful.
The Hill quoted from a statement by March for Life President Jeanne Mancini, who said: “For nearly fifty years, the Supreme Court has imposed an unpopular and extreme abortion policy on our nation, but as the annual March for Life gives witness to, Roe’s allowance of abortion-on-demand, up-until-birth has never represented where most Americans stand on life!” She added, “We are so grateful to the countless pro-life people of goodwill who contributed and sacrificed to make today possible — including the millions of those who have marched for life over the years — and we recognize that this is just the beginning of our work to advance policies that protect life..."
Religious students can now participate in Maine program allotting public funds for public and private schools
There was other good news from the Supreme Court last week. The justices, in a 6-3 ruling, put an end to a program that offered residents of Maine in remote areas the opportunity to receive public funds, to be applied to public and private schools, but not religious schools. First Liberty, one of the firms involved in a challenge to the law, stated in a press release last Tuesday, "For school districts that do not maintain a high school, Maine pays students’ tuition at the public or private school of the family’s choice. Until today’s ruling, families were prohibited from using the scholarship program to attend religious schools."Kelly Shackelford, who serves as President, CEO, and Chief Counsel for First Liberty Institute, stated, “We are thrilled that the Court affirmed once again that religious discrimination will not be tolerated in this country. Parents in Maine, and all over the country, can now choose the best education for their kids without fearing retribution from the government. This is a great day for religious liberty in America.”
Gender identity agenda reflected in executive orders
The Bible speaks plainly to issues surrounding sexuality: for instance, we are told in Scripture that God created male and female. The Bible also describes homosexual behavior as sinful. Yet, in this age of so-called "gender identity," "gender fluidity," and "sexual orientation," we have seen a flurry of actions that have been taken, including attempts to change one's gender. It has also become popular to try to persuade people that sexual orientation cannot be changed.
In a sweeping attempt to exert federal control over these personal matters, the White House issued an executive order. According to the Alliance Defending Freedom website, the order "villainizes and grossly misrepresents religious Americans and others holding to commonsense American values and violates their constitutionally and legally protected freedoms."
ADF Senior Counsel Julie Marie Blake stated, in part:
“Every American is protected under the Constitution to freely live and work according to their religious beliefs, and President Biden can’t remove those fundamental rights with a stroke of his pen. It is a gross overreach of his authority, for example, to mandate what Christian counselors can say, or not say, in private conversations with their clients, as is the case with our client Brian Tingley in Washington state, or demand faith-based foster care and adoption homes, like our client Holston United Methodist Home for Children in Tennessee, violate their religious beliefs or lose needed funding to help children find a forever home. Further, with this new order, the president is threatening to erase the entire category of women’s sports—egregiously, on the cusp of the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the civil rights law designed to protect fair competition for women..."
Speaking of Title IX, The Christian Post reported:
The U.S. Department of Education has unveiled proposed changes to federal civil rights law to clarify that protections against sex discrimination "include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity."
The proposal sparks concerns from conservative groups, female athletes and civil rights groups that the Biden administration is working to redefine "sex" over half a century after Title IX was enacted to protect women from discrimination in education. Progressive organizations celebrated the rule proposal as a "critical step" in protecting LGBT students from discrimination.
Back to that executive order; Christian Medical and Dental Associations Senior Vice President of Bioethics and Public Policy Jeff Barrows stated that the Executive Order "claims to be safeguarding health care and preventing youth suicide, but medical research shows it will do the exact opposite,” adding, “It’s not protecting children, and it’s certainly not safeguarding their health care; instead, it is a prescription for bad medicine.”For instance regarding what is called, Conversion Therapy, the CMDA statement says: "Bans against counseling choice are one-sided ideology that places our patients and our children squarely against the tide of science and evidence-based healthcare. The federal government should be supporting change-allowing therapy instead of suppressing it." Unfortunately, bans on this therapy would likely include talk therapy by Christian counselors.