Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Does Freedom of Religion Protect Silent Prayer at Abortion Clinics?

The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns freedom of religion. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution declares: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” Americans may better appreciate this freedom if they know what happened in the United Kingdom recently.

According to Mary Margaret Olohan at the Daily Signal, a pro-life woman was silently praying outside an abortion clinic in the United Kingdom and was arrested for doing so. Isabel Vaughan Spruce’s arrest shows what could happen in the United States if the Justice Department continues its crackdown on pro-life activists. We know that Mark Houck, a pro-life father, was arrested for pushing a volunteer at an abortion clinic who was bothering Houck’s son as the two of them prayed outside an abortion clinic. 

Spruce was confronted by police and charged with breaking a law against praying silently near an abortion clinic – on four different occasions in Kings Norton, Birmingham. Remember, Spruce was praying silently when she was arrested. Olohan discussed Spruce’s arrest and then linked it to arrests in the United States.

In the United States, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has charged almost 30 pro-life individuals with Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act violations this year. The Justice Department has been using the FACE Act to target pro-life activists as a response to the overturn of Roe v. Wade, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said earlier this month.

The associate attorney general described the overturn of Roe v. Wade as a “devastating blow to women throughout the country” that took away “the constitutional right to abortion” and increased “the urgency” of the DOJ’s work – including the “enforcement of the FACE Act, to ensure continued lawful access to reproductive services.”

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division enforces the FACE Act, which “prohibits threats of force, obstruction and property damage intended to interfere with reproductive health care services.”

It protects both pro-life pregnancy centers and abortion clinics, as a DOJ official noted to Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, last week.

At least 98 Catholic churches and 77 pregnancy resource centers and other pro-life organizations have been attacked since May, but the DOJ has apparently not charged a single person in connection with these attacks. The DOJ has not responded to The Daily Signal’s requests for comment on this point.

Pregnancy resource centers are typically run by pro-life women who seek to offer expectant mothers alternatives to abortion. Such centers provide diapers, baby clothes, and resources for both mothers and fathers, empowering them to care for their child, overcome addictions, build community, and find jobs.

Did you notice the contradictions? The Department of Justice is supposed to protect “both pro-life pregnancy centers and abortion clinics.” However, it has not arrested anyone for the 175 attacks on pro-life services, while arresting “nearly 30 pro-life individuals.” Are Americans losing their right to exercise their freedom of religion?

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