Every month we bring you developments in the onslaught of the culture of death, with cautions about unreservedly embracing seemingly inevitable practices or impositions. This month we share stories of victory for the culture of life, albeit often at a major cost to the protagonists.
In July 2017, the state of Hawaii in the USA established a law requiring all pregnancy centres to post signs or offer fliers indicating that the state provides free or low-cost access to comprehensive family-planning services, and required them to provide abortion and contraception referrals.
Centres that refused to do so were threatened with fines up to US$1,000. The law made it possible for private citizens as well as pro-abortion groups to file lawsuits against pregnancy centres that do not post the information.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) challenged the law on behalf of the Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor Pregnancy Center, A Place for Women in Waipio.
They argued that the law was unconstitutional and a violation of free speech and freedom of religion, and also violated a federal law that prohibits the distribution of federal money to any federal or state agency or programme that discriminates against health entities that refuse to involve themselves in abortion.
On September 20 this year, the US District Court for the District of Hawaii ruled that pro-life pregnancy centres in Hawaii cannot be forced to tell women how to get abortion referrals or financial assistance for abortions (LifeSiteNews, September 24, 2018).
In December 2015, Dr Katarzyna Jachimowicz, a highly trained Polish professional with more than 20 years of experience, was fired from her post as a family physician in the municipality of Sauherad, Norway for refusing to insert intrauterine devices (IUDs) into female patients.
IUDs can act as abortifacients, and Dr Jachimowicz, a Roman Catholic, refuses to be part of any procedure that harms any human being, including a pre-born one.
On October 11 this year, the Norwegian Supreme Court upheld the doctor’s right not to dispense abortion-inducing devices, thus respecting her fundamental right to act in accordance with her deeply held beliefs.
According to ADF International, the human rights organisation that supported the case, there is increasing pressure on doctors in Europe to violate their consciences, but as they pointed out, international law protects the right of medical staff to conscientious objection (LifeSiteNews, October 15, 2018).
In 2014, Daniel and Amy McArthur, evangelical Christians who operate a bakery in Northern Ireland, declined to make a cake with the words ‘Support Gay Marriage’ on it, citing their consciences and Christian faith.
The Equality Commission there brought a case against them, arguing that they had unjustly discriminated against the gay man who had ordered the cake on the basis of his sexual orientation.
After four years of legal proceedings, and amid dissuasion from other Christians who felt they were wrong to pursue their case, the UK Supreme Court ruled on October 10 that the couple had the right to refuse the order because they could not be forced to express an opinion they do not believe in and that they had not acted in a discriminatory manner.
Amy McArthur advises other Christians who may find themselves in similar situations to not be afraid to stand for God’s Word because He is faithful. (Christian Post, October 15, 2018)
These stories illustrate the fragility of the freedoms we take for granted. We trust that they will also encourage us to continue to “fight the good fight of faith and win the eternal life to which you were called”. (I Tim 6:12)
A monthly column by the Emmanuel Community: 46 Rosalino Street, Woodbrook.Tel:628-1064;firstname.lastname@example.org