Those who believe in protecting the sanctity of life, including opposition to abortion, won two victories in the Supreme Court in the last 10 days.
Last week, the nation’s highest court unanimously struck-down a law that banned protesters within 35 feet of abortion clinics, ruling that the law infringed upon the First Amendment rights.
In a much narrower 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that “closely held” for-profit businesses can cite religious objections to opt out of an “Obamacare” requirement to provide contraceptive coverage that works after conception for their employees.
Dozens of companies claim religious objections to covering some or all contraceptives. At issue before the Supreme Court were the methods and devices for use after conception. Father Chris Downey of the Holy Family Catholic Church said the previous mandate in Obamacare goes well beyond religious freedom.
“A provision within the mandate suggested that unless an entity — for-profit or nonprofit, and especially one whose purpose is driven by faith — is primarily serving those who share their particular religious convictions, they are mandated by law to carry insurance policies or contract with another insurance company that provides products and services they deem morally objectionable,” Downey said. “This was an unprecedented overreach of the federal government and all Americans, religious or not, should be concerned.”
Downey said the overreach affects everyone who serves the general public, but particularly limits Christians whose faith is directly tied to public action. For Christians, (the exercising of faith) does not pertain simply to worship, but rather to publicly exercising religion to include serving the poor, feeding the hungry, and other acts of service.
“Traditionally in the U.S., and most other areas around the globe, it is Christian missionaries who take care of the poor, the marginalized and the downtrodden. Jesus didn’t tell us to just serve Christians. He calls us to serve all people,” Downey said.
For people like Jennifer Kloesel, who speak out against abortion, they will be able to continue to exercise freedom of speech at close range. The Supreme Court ruling reverted back to a previously enacted “floating buffer zone” that keeps protesters 6 feet away from anyone who is within 18 feet of a clinic.
Kloesel, an honor student at Copperas Cove High School, manned the picket line for two hours every Monday during the “40 Days for Life” vigil outside the Killeen Women’s Health Clinic.