This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published April 12, 2015 at The Washington Times.
In its latest attack on religious liberty, the American Civil Liberties Union, wants to force Roman Catholic organizations to provide contraception and abortions to unaccompanied immigrant children pouring over America’s southern border.
The ACLU is suing the Department of Health and Human Services to obtain documents that it claims show that Catholic relief agencies are not providing abortions or referrals for abortion.
It’s part of a national strategy to force faith-based facilities to perform abortions or face ruinous litigation and the loss of government contracts, and it comes despite the Supreme Court’s ruling last June against the ham-handed Obamacare dictate to force Christian-owned companies such as Hobby Lobby to provide abortifacients.
In March 2013, the Seattle branch of the ACLU threatened to sue a hospital district over a proposed contract with Catholic health providers unless the providers gave up their faith-based opposition to abortion, contraceptives, euthanasia and sterilizations.
In November 2013, the ACLU sued the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, alleging that its pro-life stance against abortion resulted in negligent care for a Michigan woman with a troubled pregnancy who eventually lost the child.
“It’s not just about one woman,” said Kary Moss, executive director of the Michigan ACLU, in a Newsmax report quoted in The Washington Times. “It’s about a nationwide policy created by nonmedical professionals putting patients in harm’s way.”
Hard cases make bad law, which brings us to the ACLU’s ploy to use the flood of illegal immigrant children as pawns in the ongoing attack on Catholic health care institutions.
Since Congress began debating President Obama’s policy of amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants, tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have crossed into the United States from Mexico and Central America.
The lack of adult supervision has put many of the children at risk for beatings, robberies and rapes.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has contracts with the federal government to care for the arriving children. In 2014, the Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services had a total budget of $71 million, of which 93 percent was composed of federal grants and contracts, according to Breitbart.com.
The ACLU cites rape as a prime reason to force Migration and Refugee Services to dispense emergency contraception and to perform abortions or to refer the children to abortionists, either of which is a grievous sin in the eyes of the Catholic Church.
In an ACLU blog post, Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project attorney, compared the bishops’ refusal to provide abortions with the controversy over Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Last week, Indiana lawmakers passed the RFRA bill, Gov. Mike Pence signed it, and then under media and corporate pressure they quickly amended it, turning it into a gay-rights bill in which “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” trump the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom.
Comparing Indiana’s original RFRA to the Catholic bishops‘ reluctance to violate their faith by providing abortions, the ACLU’s Ms. Amiri told reporters, “We think that the same principle applies here, that religious beliefs should not be used to harm others.”
Speaking of harm, Memories Pizza, a small, family-owned restaurant in Walkerton, Indiana, fell victim to a fierce social media onslaught, death threats and picketing, and was forced temporarily to close its doors. Its owner had told a local TV reporter in answer to a “gotcha” question that they gladly serve everyone but could not cater a same-sex ceremony because of their Christian beliefs in the sanctity of marriage. To no one’s surprise, the ACLU has not offered to defend them.
At an Easter prayer breakfast on Tuesday, Mr. Obama piled on, delivering a not-so-veiled shot at the pizzeria family and other Christians: “I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less-than-loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned. But that’s a topic for another day.”
Notably, Mr. Obama made no mention of the recent mass murder of Christian students by Somali Islamic militants at a university in Kenya, nor the Islamic State’s ongoing genocide of Christians in the Middle East. Nor the ACLU’s bullying of Catholic health agencies.
In the eyes of the president and his friends at the ACLU, apparently it all depends on who is being harmed by whom.