The Supreme Court is now the Supreme Medical Board, setting its own standards for patient care in the United States. This decision is an outrageous usurpation of legislative power and it only underscores the critical importance of electing a President who will nominate — and Senators who will confirm — justices to the Supreme Court who will adjudicate, not write the law.
The Supreme Court could have settled the question of whether federal bureaucrats may issue punishing, perhaps incapacitating, fines to faith-based organizations that refuse to participate in what we believe to be evil. Instead, the justices sent all of the cases in Zubik back to the four federal circuit courts that heard them first. The high court also asked those appeals courts to step away momentarily and give the two sides time to resolve the case on their own.
What will the administration do now? The White House’s latest “accommodation” proposal for religious nonprofit charities, schools and other organizations did not satisfy the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The proposal and each of its previous versions required faith-based groups seeking an exemption from the mandate to submit a form to an authority. Without this initiating action, abortion-causing drugs would not be made available to our employees. The basic requirement that we be complicit in the provision of abortifacients and other life-denying drugs, devices and procedures was a part of every government proposal. When we responded that we are forbidden by our faith to take part in this scheme—the government effectively retorted, “So what?
But both sides in Zubik have told the Supreme Court that a solution is theoretically possible.
For instance, the administration could, for once, actually listen to the Zubik petitioners—and to the scores of other faith-based groups that have lawsuits pending in lower courts—and propose a solution that does not hijack our health-insurance plans. The administration could, for example, make abortifacient/contraceptive coverage available to religious nonprofit employees through the ObamaCare exchanges, Title X (the federal program devoted to family-planning services), or separate arrangements with our own or another insurance company. In other words, don’t involve us, or the health-insurance plan we offer our employees, in the effort to expand coverage of abortion-inducing drugs.
The administration might be tempted to come up with a proposal that satisfies only those groups that have third-party insurance coverage—and not those that self-insure. This wouldn’t be acceptable, because self-insurers underwrite their own health-insurance plans and are, practically speaking, their own insurance companies. A government “accommodation” that offered as its only option a requirement that insurers of religious nonprofit groups offer the employees of those groups separate plans for abortifacients and contraceptives would still force self-insured religious groups to violate their faith.
“Euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God “ (The Gospel of Life, 65).
Reflection: Once we cross the boundary between “allowing to die” and killing, there will be no turning back. If the terminally ill have a right to escape their suffering, why shouldn’t teenagers have a right to escape theirs? After all, isn’t this equal protection under the law? Moreover, why should people be able to exercise a right only when they can articulate it? Voluntary euthanasia automatically introduces non-voluntary euthanasia.
Prayer: Enable us, Lord, to understand that our suffering is not the greatest evil in life, and to bear it in union with you. Amen.
“Then will the words that are written be fulfilled: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory’” (1 Corinthians 15:54).
Reflection: At the scene of the first murder of Abel by Cain, the soil “opened its mouth” to swallow Abel’s blood (see Genesis 4:10-11). At the scene of the final victory of life, it is death itself that will be “swallowed up in victory.” God is in the business of destroying death, and that is why his people work on behalf of life.
Prayer: Lord, continue to give us consolation, amidst a Culture of Death, that this evil will not last forever, but will be swallowed up in victory. Amen.
Listen to these words by Kahtleen DeZeeuw: “I, having lived through rape, and also having raised a child conceived in rape, feel personally assaulted and insulted every time I hear that abortion should be legal because of rape and incest. I feel that we’re being used to further the abortion issue, even though we’ve not been asked to tell our side of the story.”
The story of Kathleen and of many other mothers who are rape survivors can be found in the book “Victims and Victors.” None of those who bring these children to birth ever say that they regret having their child. Yet those who abort after conceiving in rape usually suffer more from the abortion than from the rape. Find out more at priestsforlife.org.
“That which came to be found life in him” (John 1:2-3).
Reflection: On this day in 1968, Pope VI issued Humanae Vitae, which means, “Of Human Life.” That encyclical outlines the Church’s vision of human life, marriage, and the connection between human love and the creative action of God. Love and Life represent two gifts that go together. Love leads to life; it does not close it off. Love welcomes life, it is not afraid of it. Love and life go together because they are two aspects of the one God.
Prayer: Lord God, you are love and you are life. Open all people to your love, that they may give life. Amen.