by Debra Braun
Pro-Life Action Ministries
Pray that the U.S. Supreme Court would rule with wisdom and justice in current cases involving abortion and religious freedom. On March 25, the Court heard oral arguments in cases involving the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate in Obamacare. This mandate requires most health plans to cover “preventive services for women,” including drugs and procedures that many citizens find objectionable for moral and religious reasons. These objectionable items include abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and birth control, and “education and counseling” to promote these to all “women of reproductive capacity,” including minor girls. Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius are the first two cases involving the mandate (out of more than 90) to reach the high court.
The other current case which we should pray about is McCullen v. Coakley which involves a 2007 Massachusetts law that established restrictive, 35-foot “buffer zones” around the entrances of abortion mills in that state. Oral arguments were heard in McCullen on January 15. The decision in this case could affect sidewalk counseling all over the country.
Some abortion advocates are not even waiting for the Supreme Court decision in McCullen before trying to interfere with the free speech rights of pro-lifers.
In late February the city of Madison, Wis., passed an ordinance which imposes “bubble zones” that are 320 feet in diameter and restrict free speech within them throughout the city. The bubbles exist around the entrances of every building in Madison that happens to have a licensed physician’s office, clinic, or hospital inside. Within each bubble, no person may “approach” within eight feet of another person to leaflet, educate, display a sign, protest, or counsel any passersby.
A lawsuit was immediately filed against the ordinance by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). A week later, the city council decided to suspend the bubble zone for possible modification.
“No one should want the government to gag speech just because it doesn’t reflect the government’s views or the views of abortionists,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “For that reason, we are pleased that the anti-speech ordinance did not go into effect as scheduled, and we welcome the city’s attempt to reconsider it in the wake of our lawsuit. We will monitor the city council’s decisions as we continue our fight to protect free speech for the people of Madison.”