While pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood and the Coalition for Reproductive Justice prepare to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, it is worth noting that Planned Parenthood performed another 321,384 abortions last year. At the same time, Ohio’s largest abortion provider, Preterm, has launched (and Planned Parenthood is promoting) a pro-abortion campaign suggesting that “Abortion is a blessing,” “Abortion is sacred,” and “Abortion is good medicine.”
Meanwhile, Cecile Richards, the President of Planned Parenthood has attempted to advance the abortion-on-demand industry by persistently and wrongly claiming that President Trump and his judicial nominees, like Amy Barrett, are prepared to attack access to women’s health care. Reality is quite different. We should note that the conflict between pro-life advocates and abortion supporters is not actually about the right of access to health care.
This conflict is about the right to life versus the staggering profits made by the industry of death. This industry of death is funded by more than half a billion in government funds. Last year alone, Planned Parenthood received $543.7 million in government grants and reimbursements. In other words, Planned Parenthood again received hundreds of millions of our tax dollars. Allegedly such funds went to fund women’s health services rather than abortion. The reality is again entirely different.
This year they provided over 100,000 fewer contraceptive services, 21% fewer prenatal services, and 54% fewer miscarriage care services than last year. At the same time, Planned Parenthood’s profits soared to nearly $100 million. That is a more than 27% increase over the previous year. Indeed, over the past two years, Planned Parenthood has nearly doubled its profits.
However, not content with earning substantial profits, the abortion-on-demand industry is now trying to compel pro-life centers to advance their agenda in violation of the First Amendment.
As the ACLJ noted earlier, and
as explained in more detail here, in October 2015, [California] Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a requirement that licensed pregnancy centers advise each and every one of their clients, no matter the reason for their visit, of the following information:
“California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [insert the telephone number].”
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Before the law went into effect on January 1, 2016, we filed suit on behalf of three California pro-life pregnancy care centers: LivingWell Medical Clinic, Pregnancy Care Center of the North Coast, and Confidence Pregnancy Center.
Significantly, the U.S. Supreme Court took a critical first step in protecting the First Amendment right of pro-life pregnancy care centers to speak to their clients free from government coercion.
The Court has granted a petition for a writ of certiorari in the companion case of NIFLA v. Becerra. As we previously explained, “That case, like our own, argues that the California law violates the First Amendment as unlawful coercion of private speech.” This case contests the constitutionality of California’s Reproductive FACT Act, a law mandating that pregnancy care centers speak a government-crafted, pro-abortion message to their clients even if speaking that message violates their moral and religious beliefs.
Tomorrow, because of your support for the ACLJ, we are filing an amicus brief in this companion case in order to stop states like California from forcing pro-life organization from advancing the abortion-on-demand industry.
In reality, of course, this case and the emerging conflict between pro-life groups and the abortion-on-demand industry is about more than compelled speech and abortion-funding.
Given this conflict, it is important note that the dominant paradigm offered by many commentators concludes that the world is divided into two camps: people of faith and people of no faith. This claim is absolutely wrong. As Mary Eberstadt shows, in reality, the world is divided between people of faith and the development of a new historical phenomenon, which is the creation of a rival secularist faith (the new paganization), which sees Judaism and Christianity as competitors to be vanquished rather than an alternative set of beliefs that can be tolerated in an open society.
This new paganization, this zealous faith of secularism, has been raucously announced by its adherents. For example, consider the scene on the steps of the Supreme Court on June 27, 2016 following the announcement of the decision in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a decision about Texas abortion clinics that was taken as a victory by proponents of abortion on demand. Supporters of abortion on demand could be seen spilling from the court steps gyrating, weeping, waving, screaming and behaving like they were in the throes of religious ecstasy—that is because they were in a religious ecstasy, in which abortion on demand has become the central sacrament of this new quasi-religious community. It is also of interest to note that as the bill that became the subject of this Supreme Court decision was being debated in the Texas legislature, opponents of the pro-life legislation were shouting, “Hail Satan.”
Or consider another snapshot, the so-called Women’s March on Washington following the election of Donald Trump. This demonstration was driven largely by a single force: animus against traditional Judeo-Christian moral teaching. As Mary Eberstadt has shown, the anti-traditional religious fervor of the group was exposed when this so-called universal women’s march excluded a women’s pro-life group.
What does all of this signify? There are at least five implications of this claim that support the conclusion that abortion has become an important part of the secularist liturgy of the abortion-on-demand church.
- First, it means the new church of secularism regards pro-life women (and men) as heretics who are despised transgressors of the new-secularist religious community’s teachings and norms. If the so-called right to choose were truly an exercise of choice, one would expect that pro-abortion on demand crowd to be happy to defend a women’s right to have her baby.
- Second, this signifies that abortion is a sacrosanct—it is a communal even sacred rite, which allows its adherents to enter into communion with the new Pagans as they seek to erect a new progressivist church. So, in reality, the attack on pro-life supporters represents an attack on Judeo-Christian norms by the defenders of an absolutist sexual-reproductive revolution by its faithful believers.
- Third, this substitute religion, mirrors Christianity in fascinating and disturbing ways. It offers a pantheon of its own secular patrons of the sexual revolution. The new-saints are those individuals who proselytize for abortion. These secular saints include Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem. Every year Planned Parenthood confers sainthood on pro-abortion journalists, politicians, and activists. They have given their highest honor—Maggies—(in honor of Margaret Sanger) to such pro-abortion luminaries as Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton. In other words, they are quite willing to celebrate death as part of their new zealous faith.
- Fourth, Eberstadt notes another feature of this new secularist faith—its lack of transparency. For instance, decades of scholarship have established Margaret Sanger’s moral roots in eugenics, her faith in the inferiority of certain other people and her cynical use of African American ministers to evangelize the black population about birth control. This approach is grounded in the notion that certain people do not deserve to live or at a minimum do not deserve to reproduce. Sadly, in Buck v. Bell, a 1927 decision, the Supreme Court reified the right of the state of Virginia to eviscerate Carrie Buck’s reproductive capacity, grounded in the notion of her inferiority and her inferior gene pool.
- Fifth, this rival secularist faith sends out numerous foreign missionaries in the form of progressive charities and international bureaucracies to carry word of the sexual/reproductive revolution, including the pseudo-sacraments of contraception and abortion, to women around that planet. For instance, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation made the provision of contraception a centerpiece of its overseas work and this foundation has decided that there are enough of those people on the earth. Consistent with this approach, in 2009 Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in an interview with the New York Times Magazine, admitted that “at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”
While are thankful that the Supreme Court has agreed to intervene in the pro-life pregnancy centers case because the outcome of this case will determine our case pending at the Supreme Court, eternal vigilance is required in order to stop the abortion-on-demand industry from attempting to impose its agenda—the liturgy of death—on the American people. We must prevent states from impinging on the First Amendment freedoms of pro-life centers and we must stop funding the abortion-on-demand industry.
Lives are at stake. Your support on this issue matters.
LifeNews Note: Harry Hutchison writes for the American Center for Law and Justice.