David Daleiden: Battle Update – Planned Parenthood Challenged to “Prove It” in San Francisco

Thomas More Society Special Counsel Peter Breen was in court for oral arguments on November 17, 2017, as Planned Parenthood lawyers tried to fight off a free speech challenge presented by the David Daleiden defense team to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Thomas More Society Special Counsel Peter Breen with David Daleiden

Daleiden, the undercover journalist who exposed the abortion giant’s role in trafficking aborted baby body parts, is now being sued by Planned Parenthood. The multi-billion-dollar outfit claims that Daleiden caused Planned Parenthood to lose millions of dollars and endangered the safety of its doctors and staff when he publicized recordings he made of a number of Planned Parenthood’s senior managers and medical directors admitting to selling aborted baby body parts and other violations of the law.

However, Daleiden points out that his reporting techniques are no different than those exercised by undercover journalists worldwide and that he did the public a service by revealing Planned Parenthood’s many violations of the law. The Thomas More Society and other attorneys representing Daleiden are seeking the dismissal of the suit’s state law claims under the California Anti-SLAPP Act, a law protecting the free speech of those brought into court on meritless legal claims. A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will announce its decision shortly. [Courthouse News Service explains the legal conflict here.]

Following the hearing before Circuit Judge Mary Murguia, Circuit Judge Ronald Gould and Chief U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal, Breen spoke to supporters and the media outside the courthouse. His prepared remarks included the following:

“Today’s hearing showed that we have put Planned Parenthood on the defense. This has not been a good year for them, and it’s not getting any better. This is one of many cases that are pending against David, for what he did in terms of exposing the lies of the abortion industry, particularly Planned Parenthood. What you’re going to see going forward is that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing – if anything, the wrongdoing is on the part of Planned Parenthood. We’ve challenged them and forced them to come to terms with this.

Peter Breen at Students for Life of America’s #SockIt2PP press conference supporting David Daleiden

They continue to refuse, to try to dodge and duck, and have been unable to make a good answer for any of their claims. We are striking back and today is yet another part of ensuring that justice will be done in the end, baby body parts will no longer be sold, and abortion  will no longer be so blithely thrust upon the women and children of America as the preferred ‘solution’ to untimely pregnancies. And we will again recognize the humanity of the unborn.”

Breen’s comments were made as part of a Students for Life of America press conference, at the final stop on the #SockIt2PP tour. The nationwide awareness and education initiative, headed by this Thomas More Society client, collected 328,348 pairs of baby socks – the same number of children that Planned Parenthood aborted in the last year. A truck filled with the socks – five thousand pounds of them – has toured the United States to represent Planned Parenthood’s voiceless victims and call upon Congress to defund the abortion Goliath.

Watch the November 17, 2017 press conference including comments from Thomas More Society Special Counsel Peter Breen here.

 

 

 

Thomas More Society and Pro-Life Action League Celebrate Shared Accomplishments

Attorneys, Life Advocates and Supporters Come Together to Mark 20 Years of Teamwork

Thomas More Society attorney, Martin Cannon (right) with Joesph Kenny; 316 Strategies

Thomas More Society attorneys, staff and supporters gathered at Chicago’s Union League Club with the Pro-Life Action League on November 10, 2017, to celebrate mutual accomplishments and a shared twenty-year history.

Thomas More Society Founder, President and Chief Counsel Tom Brejcha spoke to the gathering of over 200 people. He lauded the great work the non-profit public interest law firm’s attorneys do across the country fighting on behalf of life, family and religious liberty.

The Honorable Peter Breen, Illinois State Representative and Thomas More Society Special Counsel, addressed HB 40, a bill dictating taxpayer funding of abortions that was recently signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner. Breen assured the crowd that the battle for life was not anywhere close to over. He shared information on legislative and legal efforts to countermand the unjust law the governor signed, despite his well-publicized promises not to do so.   

Eric Scheidler, Executive Director of the Pro-Life Action League, interviewed Brejcha and his own father, Joe Scheidler, founder of the Pro-Life Action League, who is known as the “Godfather” of pro-life activism. The stories the men related were of a relationship forged in the fires of the landmark case, NOW v. Scheidler. This three-decade legal battle is the one that started it all. The abortion industry prosecuted a lawsuit against peaceful pro-life advocates using a law designed to combat organized crime. By achieving victory after an unprecedented three trips to the Supreme Court, the Thomas More Society dealt a decisive blow to the abortion industry on behalf of the Pro-Life Action League and its founder.

Joe Scheidler spoke of the “early days” of witnessing for life, “It was clear to me that abortion is murder and we had to get the word out. We could not afford paid advertising, so we had to make news and get the media to cover our activism to keep the abortion topic at the forefront after Roe v. Wade.”

Likewise, Brejcha never doubted that deliberately taking the life of preborn babies was a terrible wrong. He explained, “As a cradle Catholic I thought about the prayer that includes ‘blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus’ and that it applied to all of the unborn.”

The professional relationship between Scheidler and Brejcha was not an instant success. “I was not very impressed with Tom Brejcha, I thought he was too low key,” related the elder Scheidler.  “But then, Tom quietly said to me, ‘I win cases.’ That got my attention!”

Today, Scheidler is unstinting in his praise of Brejcha and the Thomas More Society. Brejcha responds in kind, labeling Joe as “An historic figure of the 20th and 21th centuries. Much like the abolitionists who, a century earlier, fought against the inhumanity of slavery.”

In homage to the women whose husbands have unflaggingly fought to preserve the right to life, Eric Scheidler asked the men to share how their wives played into the story. Joe Scheidler told how his wife, Ann, introduced him to the pro-life cause, and Tom Brejcha related how his wife, Debbie, stood by him during the darkest part of his career when he had to sacrifice his commercial law practice to serve the needs of the pro-life movement.

Father Tom Loya, pastor of Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church in Homer Glen offered the evening’s invocation and Father Chris Saliga, chaplain of the John Paul II Newman Center of University of Illinois at Chicago, delivered the benediction.

Tom Brejcha: Thomas More Society President and Chief Counsel, with Sarah Pitlyk; Thomas More Society Special Counsel

Tom Brejcha; Thomas More Society President and Chief Counsel, Joe Scheidler; founder of the Pro-Life Action League, and Eric Scheidler; Executive Director of the Pro-Life Action League

Thomas More Society Defends Missouri Law Against Satanist’s Claims

Abortion Consent Requirement Rooted in Science Not Religion

Missouri State Supreme Court building across from state capitol in Jefferson City

A Missouri satanist who had an abortion is suing the state to strike down a Missouri law making her wait.  In response, on November 10, 2017, the Thomas More Society filed an amici curiae (“friends of the court”) brief with the Missouri Supreme Court on behalf of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Missouri Right to Life, supporting the Missouri law and the science behind it.

Missouri law mandates a 72-hour waiting period prior to having an abortion. The woman, an adherent of the so-called “Satanic Temple,” claims that the law violates her religious beliefs and violates her freedom of religion because she, as a satanist, does not believe that life begins at conception.

Attorney Thomas Olp, Thomas More Society Counsel, spoke to the primary issue in the submitted amicus brief. “The abortion waiting period and consent requirements dictated by Mo. Rev. Stat. § 188.027 are based on verifiable scientific facts,” he explained. “The question of when life begins is a scientific question, not a religious one. It is an observable scientific fact that the life of a new, genetically distinct organism of the human species begins at conception.”

The trial court dismissed the case, stating that the woman had failed to plead facts demonstrating her claim that the state is promoting religious dogma.

Olp noted that the woman’s claims are “fundamentally confused.” “She asserts that whether an embryo is a ‘separate unique, living human being’ or ‘a part of her body,’ depends on one’s religious convictions.”   “She thinks that the statement: ‘the life of each human being begins at conception’ is a political or religious conviction.  And she erroneously claims that it is a matter of religious opinion that abortion ‘will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being.’ In fact, none of these are religious or political claims, but established scientific facts.”

The case was decided in favor of the state in Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri, and has now been sent to the state’s supreme court after passing through the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District.

Read the Thomas More Society amici curiae brief filed November 10, 2017, in Mary Doe v. Eric Greitens, et al., with the Missouri Supreme Court on behalf of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Missouri Right to Life, here

Opt Out of Abortion Coverage Now Statewide in Missouri

Thomas More Society Religious Exemption Victory for State Legislator Yields Broad Protection

Missouri State Senator Paul Wieland

Our clients, Missouri State Senator Paul Wieland and his family, enrolled in a healthcare plan that does not impose abortifacients/contraceptive/sterilization coverage in 2016. This followed the Thomas More Society’s victory on their behalf in federal court. Starting in November of 2017, opting out of abortion coverage is a choice available to all state employees.

The battle, which pitted Thomas More Society attorneys against the Obama administration, was a case brought by a private citizen based on the same legal principles upheld in the United States Supreme Court case Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius: that religious rights cannot be usurped under the Affordable Care Act.

As a result of our efforts, Missouri passed a state law that allows state employees the right to decline or refuse coverage for abortion, contraception, or sterilization if these items or procedures are contrary to their religious beliefs or moral convictions.

Following Thomas More Society’s victory in Paul Joseph Wieland, et al. v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al., the Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan now offers a benefit plan option excluding these services. The option is available to all Missouri state employees and their dependents, except for those on Medicare.

Thomas More Society Special Counsel Timothy Belz stated, “We are pleased that religious liberty has prevailed and that Senator Wieland’s victory has resulted in a benefit to all Missouri state employees. It also frees Missouri taxpayers from having to foot the bill for abortions and contraception that they object to.”

“Missouri has the most comprehensive protection of any state in the nation of the religious beliefs and moral convictions of those who do not want abortion, contraception, or sterilization coverage in their health plans,” Belz added. “The Thomas More Society will continue its vigorous defense of religious liberty on multiple fronts.”

“Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan now offers everyone the option that the court dictated for us,” explained Senator Wieland. “It is incumbent upon government to respect the religious beliefs of individuals and families. Appropriate health care coverage should never violate our religious liberties. The victory that the Thomas More Society helped obtain for my family is now a victory for all Missourians.”

Read more about the Thomas More Society’s role in defending the Wieland family’s religious liberty here 

 

To abort or not to abort – it’s a woman’s choice, right?

Danielle M. White, J.D., legal counsel for Heartbeat International and a former summer intern with the Thomas More Society

Not according to an alarming report from California, where state agencies are attempting to eliminate a woman’s choice to stop an initiated abortion. Thanks to a former member of our team, now working at Heartbeat International, the truth is being told in the media about California’s “Orwellian” actions.  

The “Reproductive FACT Act,” requires pro-life pregnancy help medical clinics to advertise the availability of “free or low-cost” abortions to all their patients. Now the California Board of Registered Nursing is trying to eliminate education on how to reverse or halt abortions initiated with the “abortion pill.“

Danielle M. White, J.D., legal counsel for Heartbeat International and a former summer intern with the Thomas More Society, presents a report on the disturbingly Orwellian developments in California. Read Ms. White’s editorial in the Christian Post, On Forced Abortions, California and China May Be Closer Than You Think.

“We at the Thomas More Society agree fully with this eloquent commentary by Ms. White,“ said Tom Brejcha, President and Chief Counsel, Thomas More Society.

 

Thomas More Society Protects Church Members Against Unwarranted Harassment

Pro-Life Activities Continue Outside Abortion Clinic Despite NY Attorney General Lawsuit

Back row: TMS attorney Steve Crampton and TMS clients Ron George, Pastor Ken Griepp, Deborah Ryan, Brian George. Front row: TMS clients Patricia Musco, Prisca Joseph, Anne Kaminsky, Sharon Richards, Martin Cannon; TMS attorney

On October 27, 2017 in Brooklyn, NY, a group of pro-life advocates with Church @ The Rock in Brooklyn, New York, will continue their activities outside a Jamaica, New York, abortion clinic uninterrupted, despite unfounded accusations by an abortion-supporting Attorney General.

Thomas More Society attorneys are defending ten of fourteen peaceful pro-life sidewalk counselors named by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman in a federal lawsuit that accuses them of threats and violence against abortion clinic patients.

Martin Cannon, Thomas More Society Special Counsel, explained, “Our clients will continue praying for and offering alternatives to women seeking abortions at Choices Women’s Medical Center, and they will do so without the State’s interference, despite AG Schneiderman’s attempts to stop them with a preliminary injunction founded on baseless claims.”

Cannon expects that the pro-life sidewalk counselors will prevail at trial, having already won the motion to consolidate the preliminary injunction hearing with the full trial of the case in January 2018.

Schneiderman’s lawsuit, filed in June, was seeks an end to what he claims is “a weekly pattern of threatening, obstructive and violent activity by a network of anti-abortion protestors.” He called the church members’ efforts to counsel women considering abortion and to advocate for the rights of the unborn, “horrifying” and “illegal.”

“Our clients are life-affirming Christians who peacefully counsel women considering abortion. They conduct themselves reasonably and compassionately. They offer information and alternatives to those willing to listen, and otherwise express themselves appropriately on the public sidewalk.” stated Cannon. He noted that the Thomas More Society clients are members of Church @ The Rock in Brooklyn, a congregation that has been witnessing for life outside of the abortion facility, weekly, since 2012.

Schneiderman’s support of the abortion industry is well publicized. In April he openly opposed any defunding of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, proclaiming, “I was proud to lead a coalition of attorneys general in filing an amicus brief against the Ohio state law that would defund Planned Parenthood.”

When he announced his lawsuit against our clients, he proudly proclaimed that he has been a part of the abortion movement since he was seventeen years old and dropped out of school to work in a clinic much like the one at the center of the case.

Read background on the Thomas More Society involvement with People v. Griepp et al here.

Born-Alive Infants’ Protection Act Architect Speaks at Thomas More Society Anniversary

Professor Hadley Arkes Underscores Natural Rights at National Nonprofit Law Firm Celebration in Omaha

Tom Brejcha; Thomas More Society President and Chief Counsel with Pat Castle

On October 25, 2017 in Omaha, Nebraskathe Thomas More Society hosted a 20th anniversary celebration in Omaha, Nebraska, Hadley Arkes, a legend in the pro-life movement, inspired those is attendance at the October 19th gala event. The evening also served as the 8th annual fundraising banquet for the Omaha office of the national nonprofit law firm founded in Chicago to restore respect in law for life, family and religious liberty.

Thomas More Society attorney Christine Delgado welcomed the nearly 250 attendees to the event that was supported by 25 volunteers. An invocation was offered by Archbishop Emeritus Elden F. Curtiss.

Founder, President and Chief Counsel Tom Brejcha spoke to the gathering about the bi-coastal reach of the Thomas More Society work. “As we celebrate in the heartland, we have attorneys fighting for our precious rights on either coast. Martin Cannon is currently defending pro-life sidewalk counselors with Church@theRock in Brooklyn, New York, against unjust felony charges brought by an Attorney General accepted campaign contributions from Planned Parenthood. At the same time, Matt Heffron is defending undercover pro-life journalist David Daleiden in federal court in San Francisco against vicious attacks by the abortion lobby.”

Arkes was the evening’s keynote speaker, and the recipient of the Defender of Life Award, presented to him by Thomas More Society Executive Vice President and Senior Counsel Andrew Bath.  The award is given for heroic contributions to the pro-life movement.

As a longtime professor of jurisprudence at Amhurst College, Arkes is the architect of the bill known as the Born-Alive Infants’ Protection Act, Arkes has long been an advocate of “natural law” theory. Opening conversation with people who called themselves “pro-choice,” Arkes began his quest by strategically seeking to preserve the lives of children who survived abortion. He continues to espouse and defend natural law” theory taught by the American Founders and President Lincoln, who continually returned to those deep axioms of law that underlay the Constitution. He told those gathered, “If those who support abortion deny the legality of a moral right to life of the unborn, then, by that logic, there is no moral basis for any law in our nation.”

Following Arkes comments, Thomas More Society clients, Dr. Pat Castle of Life Runners, and Maris Bentley of Nebraskans for Founders’ Values shared how the law firm worked to defend their rights and freedoms with legal actions in courtrooms and beyond. Special Counsel Peter Breen presented an opportunity to support the Thomas More Society mission and the evening was concluded with a benediction by Fr. Frank Baumert, pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, the evening’s venue.

Andrew Bath; Thomas More Society attorney and Hadley Arkes; keynote speaker

Edward Morse; Thomas More Society attorney with Lt. Gov. Mike Foley

American Nativity Scene & Thomas More Society Team Up to Give Away Free Nativity Scenes

Baby Jesus as a Halloween Treat? No Trick – It’s for Real

Nativity Scene located in the Great Hall of the Massachusetts State House in Boston

This fall, the American Nativity Scene and the national not-for-profit law firm, the Thomas More Society, have teamed up to give away free large nativity scenes for display on public property. “Indeed, these are for Christmastime display,” assures Ed O’Malley, president, of the American Nativity Scene, “but October is the time of year to start finalizing plans for a privately-funded Christmas display as is legally allowed in traditional public forums such as state capitols, county complexes or city hall lawns. We are giving away free nativity scenes. It’s not really a Halloween treat, but it’s definitely not a trick. We are seriously committed to our goal of keeping Christ in Christmas.”

The stated mission of the American Nativity Scene is to place a nativity scene within or directly outside state capitol buildings across America. By Christmas 2016, there were 14 state capitol manger scenes on display. Pro-bono work by the attorneys at the Thomas More Society has ensured that citizens who privately fund religious displays on public property are accorded their right to do so as guaranteed by the 1st and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution. A permanent federal injunction banning discrimination against religious speech assures that the Christmas creches are protected from erroneous applications of the widely misunderstood concept of “separation of church and state.”

While each Christmas season brings controversies, including challenges by atheists, secularists and even Satanists, the American Nativity Scene remains constant in providing a strong and united front in the face of attacks on religious freedom. O’Malley and his colleagues endeavor to provide as many Christmas manger scenes in as many public squares as possible.

The Thomas More Society serves as legal counsel, defending freedom of religious speech and the free exercise of religious faith in the public square. These pro bono attorneys defend the basic rights of nativity scene sponsors and equip citizens with the knowledge and support they need to successfully display nativity scenes in venues that qualify as traditional and designated public forums.

“Atheist groups may mock our message, but we will not be silent as it is critical that Christians proclaim the Gospel message to their fellow citizens,” said Tom Brejcha, the Thomas More Society president and chief counsel. “Anti-Christian, anti-Christmas rhetoric and satanic expositions merely serve to provide sharp emphasis by means of their stark contrast with the positive, uplifting, hopeful and joyous message of Christmas. The Christmas message bears secular as well as religious significance, as it highlights the hope and miracle of birth and new life, the inherent dignity of each and every human being, focusing our attention on the humble and lowly infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger amidst straw and animals, honored by shepherds and kings alike, and heralded by choirs of angels. That message of the essential equality of all human beings, no matter how rich or poor, humble or high-stationed, resonates deeply with the values that Americans cherish.”

Together with a very generous anonymous donor, the American Nativity Scene and the Thomas More Society have co-sponsored, assisted with or promoted nativity displays at state capitols in California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington, and at the Governor’s mansion in Oklahoma.  

Individuals or groups willing to sponsor a Christmas manger scene at a state capitol or other highly visible and heavily traveled location on public property can apply to receive free large nativity figurines of the holy family, including Joseph, Mary and the Baby Jesus, along with the Angel to announce the birth of Christ. Applicants must agree to provide a manger setting, acquire proper permits and hold a scheduled celebration at the display location. Details are available at americannativityscene.com.

Thomas More Society Sues Scott County for Usurping Parental Rights

Minnesota Fails by Placing Native American Tribal Law Above Federal

Michelle Steinhoff, Erick Kaardal, Thomas More Society special counsel, and James Nguyen

On October 10, 2017 in Saint Paul, MN two Non-Native American parents of Native American minor children are charging the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services and Scott County, Minnesota, with discrimination. The parental rights of James Nguyen and Michelle Steinhoff have been usurped in matters involving each of their minor children because the State of Minnesota is placing Native American tribal law above federal law. Today, attorney Erick Kaardal filed the complaint in United States District Court – District of Minnesota for Nguyen, Steinhoff and Americans for Tribal Court Equality.

Attorney Kaardal, Nguyen and Steinhoff will hold a press conference to address the violations of parental rights and the lawsuit filed by Americans for Tribal Court Equality.

Americans for Tribal Court Equality seeks to inform and advise individuals who have a spouse or intimate partner who is a member of a tribal entity regarding discriminatory practices towards non-members in family, child-custody, and child-protection proceedings. Nguyen and Steinhoff, neither of which is Native American, are members of the organization, and are seeking to overturn decisions regarding their children’s welfare made by a tribal court.

Kaardal, Thomas More Society special counsel, explained, “Mr. Nguyen is married to a member of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community nation. He and Steinhoff, like other members of the association, have been victimized by Minnesota’s policy of automatically invoking the jurisdiction of a tribe or Indian community. This not only violates the Indian Child Welfare Act, but violates the constitutionally protected rights of the non-tribal parents.” He emphasized the particular importance in light of the clash of cultures, as both parents here have lived exclusively off reservation with their respective children.

The federal Indian Child Welfare Act requires for off-reservation children that a state court proceeding occur and that the consent of both parents be obtained before the transfer of a child custody matter to a tribal tribunal. This statute preserves the parental rights of each parent to make the final decision regarding the jurisdiction that may ultimately determine their child’s future welfare. Minnesota’s practice of transferring child custody proceeding to tribal court without a state court proceeding and without the consent of both parents is a violation of both federal law and parental rights.

“Mr. Nguyen believes that his child’s best interests have been compromised because the mother is Native American,” stated Kaardal, “The tribal court tendency to favor the tribal parent is documented, and Mr. Nguyen has been discriminated against, even though his Native American spouse has a history of drug addiction and has been incarcerated for assault.”

“Meanwhile, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community father of Ms. Steinhoff’s child was charged and convicted with multiple felonies and misdemeanors of the most horrific kind,” shared Kaardal. “He served many years in jail, and unbelievably, Minnesota allowed tribal court to decide the child custody case, usurping Ms. Steinhoff’s parental rights, despite grave risks to the child’s well-being.”

Of particular concern to Nguyen and Steinhoff, and the primary reason they both lived off reservation with their children, is the tribal community environment which they view as unhealthy. Casino revenues provided millions of dollars in per capita payments to the tribe’s adult members, prompting unearned wealth and discouragement of academic pursuits.  This is evidenced by the reservation’s dismal high school graduation rate of about 56%.

Nguyen’s concerns regarding his heroin-addicted spouse are not unique. Native American drug use is a documented problem. Minnesota Commissioner of the Department of Human Services, Emily Piper, is named in the suit as a defendant. Yet, three months after her December 2015 appointment to the post, she voiced her concerns over opioid and other drug addiction in Minnesota’s Native American community to the MinnPost.

This lawsuit is the second one against the Commissioner’s policy of transferring non-reservation child custody proceedings to the tribes without a state court hearing and without obtaining parental consent first—both required by the Indian Child Welfare Act. The earlier lawsuit against Commissioner Piper, still pending in U.S. District Court, was brought by Kimberly Watso regarding her two children and the assertion of tribal court jurisdiction without her consent.  Watso is a member of Americans for Tribal Court Equality.

Nguyen, Steinhoff and Americans for Tribal Court Equality, are seeking relief, damages and mandated changes in Minnesota policy in all aspects as it violates both federal law and parental rights.

Read the Americans for Tribal Court Equality et al v. Emily Piper et al Verified Complaint for Declaratory, Injunctive, and Other Relief – Jury Trial Demanded as filed by Erick Kaardal in United States District Court – District of Minnesota on October 10, 2017, here.

Thomas More Society Applauds Pro-Life Triumph Over Planned Parenthood and ACLU

Victory for Iowa Mothers and Babies with 3-Day Abortion Waiting Period Upheld

Thomas More Society attorney Martin Cannon (pictured far right, front row) was on hand as Iowa Governor Branstad signed the three day abortion waiting period into law

On October 4, 2017, a Polk County, Iowa, district court handed mothers, babies and pro-life advocates a victory this week over abortion providers and supporters. The Thomas More Society applauds Judge Jeffrey Farrell’s denial of a requested injunction by Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union, who sought to tear down Iowa’s 72-hour waiting period for abortions.

Last May, former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed into law a bill by which lawmakers opted to provide expectant mothers a three-day period between seeking and obtaining an abortion rather than delivering them on-demand. The legislation also included a statewide 20-week abortion ban and a requirement to offer pregnant women a chance to view their baby’s ultrasound images. On October 2, 2017, Judge Farrell ruled this law to be constitutional.

Thomas More Society attorney Martin Cannon was on hand when the legislation, known as the Fetal Pain Bill, was signed. He and his Thomas More Society colleagues helped draft the original bill, advised legislators and informed the public.

“Those who hold a life-affirming worldview can celebrate this decision,” stated Cannon. “It has been proven that many expectant women, given an opportunity to reflect on an abortion decision, choose life for their baby. This is also the case for most mothers who are fully informed about their child’s development in utero and have an opportunity to view their baby’s ultrasound image.”

In Farrell’s refusal to block the law, he wrote that it, “Fairly balances the two competing interests of a woman’s right to choose an abortion versus the public’s interest in potential life. The evidence at trial focused on the hardships women face when dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, but the public’s interest in potential life is an interest that cannot be denied under the law.”