Saturday, July 4, 2020

One Loss, One Win: Supreme Court Prioritizes Abortion in One Case but Supports Religious Education in Another

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Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman Says Supreme Court Decision Continues Cruel Precedent of Prioritizing Abortion Business Interests Over Women’s Health and Safety

(June 29, 2020) – WASHINGTON– Today, the Supreme Court of the United States announced its decision in an abortion case out of Louisiana, June Medical Services v. Russo. The Court ruled 5 to 4 to strike down the Louisiana law that requires abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Pro-Life Activities issued the following statement:

“Abortion violently ends the life of a child, and often severely harms women. Abortion becomes even more destructive when basic health and safety standards are ignored, and profit margins are prioritized over women’s lives. As Catholics, we condemn abortion as a grave injustice that denies the fundamental human right to life. Yet even as we seek to end the brutality of legalized abortion, we still believe that the women who seek it should not be further harmed and abused by a callous, profit-driven industry.

“The Court’s failure to recognize the legitimacy of laws prioritizing women’s health and safety over abortion business interests continues a cruel precedent. As we grieve this decision and the pregnant women who will be harmed by it, we continue to pray and fight for justice for mothers and children.

“We will not rest until the day when the Supreme Court corrects the grave injustice of Roe and Casey and recognizes the Constitutional right to life for unborn human beings. And we continue to ask all people of faith to pray for women seeking abortion, often under enormous pressure, that they will find alternatives that truly value them and the lives of their children.”

The USCCB filed an amicus curae brief in the case along with the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Association of Evangelicals urging the Court to uphold the law. The brief can be viewed here.

U.S. Bishops’ Religious Liberty and Catholic Education Chairmen Grateful for Supreme Court’s Decision in Blaine Amendment Case

(June 30, 2020) WASHINGTON – Today, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in the case of Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, which challenged a decision by the Montana Supreme Court to invalidate a tax credit scholarship program because families benefiting include those who choose to send their children to religiously-affiliated schools, a violation of the Montana state constitution’s “Blaine Amendment” of 1889 against aid to religious schools. By vote of 5-4, the Court ruled in favor of the petitioners.

Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Michael C. Barber, S.J. of Oakland, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Catholic Education, have issued a statement:

“The Court has rightly ruled that the U.S. Constitution does not permit states to discriminate against religion. This decision means that religious persons and organizations can, like everyone else, participate in government programs that are open to all. This is good news, not only for people of faith, but for our country. A strong civil society needs the full participation of religious institutions. By ensuring the rights of faith-based organizations’ freedom to serve, the Court is also promoting the common good.

“The Court has also dealt a blow to the odious legacy of anti-Catholicism in America. Blaine Amendments, which are in 37 states’ constitutions, were the product of nativism and bigotry. They were never meant to ensure government neutrality towards religion, but were expressions of hostility toward the Catholic Church. We are grateful that the Supreme Court has taken an important step that will help bring an end to this shameful legacy.”

The USCCB filed an amicus curiae brief supporting the petitioners, which can be found here.

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