Mar 10, 2018
Defeat on a Senate procedural vote last January of legislation to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy was a great disappointment – genuinely "appalling," as the U.S. bishops' pro-life chairman, Cardinal Dolan of New York, called it. But other developments with major potential for the pro-life cause are coming in the weeks and months that lie just ahead.
The Supreme Court has set March 20 as the date for oral arguments in a case testing whether a state – in this case, California – can require religiously-sponsored pregnancy counseling centers to remind women of the availability of abortion elsewhere.
The case is a classic challenge to aggressive government overreach seeking to impose secularist values on religious groups whose rights and interests are imperiled in this way.
A friend of the court brief filed by the bishops' conference and other groups says the central issue at stake in this dispute is "the First Amendment right of all religious organizations to choose for themselves not only what to say but what not to say." The bishops are joined in the brief by the California Catholic Conference, the Catholic Health Association, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Christian Legal Society, and the Orthodox Jewish organization Agudath Israel.