Today's Supreme Court Ruling a Severe Rebuke to California Lawmakers!

Riverside County, CA (June 26, 2018)  Today, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of NIFLA and against the Reproductive FACT Act, the California law that would force faith-based pregnancy centers to advertise for abortion. Back in October 2017 in our case against this law, Scharpen Foundation v. Javier Becerra, a Riverside County Superior Court judge granted an injunction against the State, ruling it infringed upon free speech and therefore was a violation of the California Constitution.

After hearing about today’s concurring Supreme Court ruling, Robert Tyler, General Counsel for Tyler & Bursch’ LLP, commented, “After our victory in state court, and now this victory at the U.S. Supreme Court, our state case should be concluded and the judgment we received in our favor will no longer be subject to appeal by the State Attorney General. The California Legislature, Governor Brown and General Javier Bacerra should recognize this decision as a severe rebuke to their disregard for the Constitution.”

Nada Higuera, the Tyler & Bursch attorney who successfully argued the Scharpen case in Riverside County had this to say about the ruling, "The Supreme Court hit a home run and affirmed the principle that no American should be forced to speak a message that they disagree with. But this is not just a victory for free speech. It is also victory for the countless pregnancy resource centers and the women they serve. It is a victory for life!"

Both Robert Tyler and Nada Higuera will be available for comment and interviews today. Please call or text Desaré Ferraro at 714-348-0808 or email dferraro@tylerbursch.com.

About Tyler & Bursch, LLP and Advocates for Faith &Freedom: Tyler & Bursch’s attorneys have been serving businesses and individuals throughout Southern California for almost 20 years in federal and state trial courts, courts of appeal and arbitration. Tyler & Bursch provides legal and financial support to their non-profit law firm, Advocates for Faith & Freedom in defense of constitutional and religious liberty.

2018: Time to Gain Ground

Elections have consequences and for years, Christians (especially those of us in California!!!) have borne the brunt of a progressive, anti-Christian onslaught that has undermined our moral and ethical commitments to life, marriage and religious freedoms. But as we eclipse the one-year anniversary of the Trump Administration, believers have something to celebrate as the consequences are finally swinging our way. That message was recently underscored when the Department of Health and Human Services announced a new division protecting the conscience rights of medical professionals who oppose abortion, physician-assisted suicide and other treatments that clash with their religious beliefs. The department will crack down on government coercion, reversing a heavy-handed Obama regime known for forcing nuns to pay for contraception through insurance.

Coupled with the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court and other conservative federal judges, Christian conservatives have plenty to cheer about. Even so, now is not the time to rest. Now is the time to gain ground!!!

Unfortunately, while the Obama administration is gone, many bureaucratic policymakers who share his worldview remain. Dubbed the “deep state,” the movement involves government insiders who work underground, pushing their own progressive agenda, often undermining elected officials. While dismissed by many as “conspiracy theories,” recent headlines point to its validity. Among them are the current reports of politicized FBI officials working against the Trump administration and the 2013 IRS scandal involving the IRS targeting of conservative groups (including Advocates for Faith & Freedom and some of our board members, which were also “conveniently” audited by the IRS state bar and board of equalization).

What is happening today is just the tip of the iceberg and they are not going to give up their hateful assault on all we hold dear. In many ways, they feel emboldened by a majority whose values they despise.

In other arenas, primarily in the legislature and judiciary, the attacks on our faith are not so subtle, impacting a wide swath of society: churches, schools, businesses, insurance and healthcare.  Advocates for Faith & Freedom receives calls regularly from faith-based leaders who find themselves in a legal or non-compliance predicament. As a result, we are partnering with other Christian professionals to host “Emerging Trends 2018,” a series of free, informational seminars throughout Southern California. Our vision is to equip pastors, church administrators, Christian business owners and ministry leaders to avoid these risks.

In California, where government has stripped most pro-family protections, the anti-Christian mindset is expanding to include industry associations such as state bars and medical boards, which are amending professional ethics to target Christian ministries and businesses. One of their goals is to saddle us with time and cost-consuming defense through the legal system in an effort to wear us down.

The good news is we can be proactive, which is at the heart of these seminars. Our presenters provide practical strategies to help deflect challenges by the government and lawsuits by anti-Christian organizations and individuals, who are increasingly “shopping” around for opportunities to silence Christian values and voices. Seminar topics range from ministry governance to insurance and risk management to cultural concerns.

In this relentless battle to defend our biblical values and religious liberties, Advocates for Faith & Freedom and Tyler & Bursch, LLP are working together to equip our Christian brothers and sisters with the full armor of God.

Your faithful prayers and generous financial support are greatly appreciated. 

 Now is definitely the time to gain ground! 

Seller of Aborted Baby Body Parts Settles for Millions in SoCal

David Daleidin’s 2015 undercover videos showing high-level representatives of Planned Parenthood haggling over the purchase of aborted baby body parts shocked our nation.  Even supporters of Planned Parenthood couldn't help but be appalled.      Due to public outcry, a lengthy congressional investigation was launched in which it was discovered that a company in Yorba Linda, California, DaVinci Biosciences and its sister company, DV Biologics, were purchasing baby body parts from Planned Parenthood. It is a violation of both state and federal law to profit from the sale and distribution of fetal tissue.

It was also discovered that this aborted baby parts supplier was located right next door to a place of worship! This prompted a year-long prayer vigil by Catholics and Evangelicals at the Church of Grace, as pastors and individuals united in prayer over DV Biologics and the surrounding community.

In October 2016, Orange County District Attorney, Tony Rackaukus, filed suit against DaVinci Biosciences and DV Biologics. The company founders and principals, Estefano Isaias Sr., Estefano Isaias Jr., and Andres Isaias, were also named in the suit.

To add to the depravity surrounding this case, further investigation revealed that the Isaias' were given the approval to immigrate to the United States after they donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.

The case was set for trial in February 2018, but given the predicted outcome, was just settled this month.

Da Vinci Biosciences and DV Biologics have agreed to forfeit their profits of over $7 million dollars and are required to cease doing business within 60-120 days. The settlement also requires them to pay $195,000 to the County of Orange and to donate any remaining fetal tissue as well as their research and medical instruments to a medical school. The medical school has not yet been named.

This case is a striking reminder of the awesome power of prayer! And, as we continue our ministry of protecting life and religious liberties in the courts, Advocates for Faith & Freedom is so very grateful for yours!

Pro-Life Lawyer Finds Redemption and Hope

We won again!And I have a riveting story that underlies this significant case that thwarted the abortion industry. I hope you will read through this inspiring newsletter. First, the Riverside Superior Court judge ordered the State Attorney General to CEASE the enforcement of the California’s Reproductive FACT Act in the case we filed for The Scharpen Foundation.

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The Scharpen Foundation operates Go Mobile for Life, a licensed mobile medical pregnancy clinic in California. The transportable clinic parks in public places offering women free ultrasounds, resources, pregnancy counseling and post-abortion counseling.

The Reproductive FACT Act challenges our client’s mission to provide life-affirming options to women facing unplanned pregnancies.  The state law requires nonprofit pregnancy care clinics to advertise for abortions by giving women a county phone number where they can call and get a referral for a free or low-cost abortion.

The judge agreed that this law violates our client’s right to free speech under the California and U.S. Constitutions!

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Let’s now rewind to 2015 when I presented this case to our staff of attorneys. Nada Higuera, a first generation Palestinian-American volunteered to work on this case—the epitome of a David versus Goliath battle.

Raised in Islam, Nada became a Christian and now serves as an attorney in our firm defending religious liberties and promoting Christian causes. However, this case was particularly important to Nada.

Nada had an abortion as a teen. When she was just six or seven years old, Nada was sexually assaulted by a family friend—a man in his fifties. The abuse continued for years, and Nada—too afraid to tell her parents and too young to understand what was happening—remained silent. Her abuser told her to keep quiet, and she remained in fearful silence.

“I was a pacifist and didn’t want to cause problems,” Nada said. “I just never had the courage to say anything. I was very confused.”

At 16 years old, Nada found herself pregnant by her abuser after she had purchased a pregnancy test at the grocery store. She knew she could not keep the pregnancy a secret. Nada told her sister, who relayed the information to her parents. Without a second thought, the family agreed that Nada would get an abortion. Her dad and sister drove her to an abortion facility in Modesto, California.

“I felt like an empty shell,” Nada recalled. “I wasn’t really there. I remember the abortion was government funded. It was so easy and it was done. There was no talk about adoption. There was no sonogram that you saw. It was just this really seamless, easy process.”

After the abortion, Nada said she felt relieved because the abuse was over. She continued with her life, went to college, and then pursued her career. It was not until she came into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in her early twenties that she realized the gravity of what had occurred. Nada said at first, she experienced deep guilt and sorrow, but as her newfound faith grew, so did her understanding of God’s grace and forgiveness.

 “It was only when I became a Christian that I started understanding the impact of what I had done,” Nada said. “I had taken a human life, and it was a baby made in the image of God. I knew once I became a Christian, that I was forgiven for that.” But her emotional pain did not just go away.

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Nada is seeing how God is using our client’s case to help her heal from her abortion, and to bring healing to others. She hopes her story will help women who have faced sexual assault or have had an abortion. “To women who are feeling shame or unforgiveness, I want to be able to help them if I can,” Nada said. “There’s hope and redemption. God is amazing.”

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Nada said it is crucial that the rights of pro-life individuals are protected and that governments are not allowed to strong-arm citizens into violating their conscience. “Life is a gift from God,” Nada said. “Even from the beginning, we need to protect it and nurture it.”

Little did any of us know the impact this case would have on us as a staff, our clients, and especially, Nada. But God knew and orchestrated this entire case—every last detail— for His glory!

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Nada argued our case as she was nearly nine months pregnant! And Nada came off maternity-leave to argue the case at trial before the court. On September 9, 2017, she and her husband welcomed their daughter into the world.

The case will now be appealed by the Attorney General in the state appeals court. Meanwhile, our sister case in federal court is being briefed for the U.S. Supreme Court where we will be filing an amicus brief advising the High Court of our state court victory. It should certainly have a significant impact on the success in that case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

We can’t fight the state without your financial help!  We have a lot of work yet to accomplish and every gift—large or small—helps us in our battle to preserve life, speech and our God-given freedoms. Please support Nada and our work with a financial gift as God may lead you. 

Religious organizations CAN get involved in government...because government is sure involved in religion!

Assembly Bill 569 or AB 569 - which the authors have duplicitously named “Discrimination: reproductive health” - would make it illegal for employers to require employment Codes of Conduct that prohibit abortion or contraception for its employees. The law is also intended to be used to outlaw Codes of Conduct prohibiting sex (cohabitation) outside of marriage.  And if history is any indication, this bill will not stop there! According to California Family Council, who is closely following this bill in Sacramento, the bill’s author  believes organizations, even religious ones, are “invading the privacy and personal lives of women.”

In short, if this bill is passed, it will outlaw private religious institutions such as universities and pro-life organizations from requiring codes of conduct based on their biblical values.  You can see where this bill targets Christianity and discriminates against a faith-based organization’s ability to be faithful to their religious beliefs, ministry and mission, when they prohibit any of their “reproductive choices,” including abortion or extramarital sex.

“Every organization that promotes a pro-life message must be able to require its employees to practice what they preach,” said California Family Council’s Johnathan Keller.

AB 569 will be heard in the State Senate Appropriations Committee when our state legislators return from their break on Monday, August 21.

Let's all make a difference! Let's all speak up! The best way to kill a bill is before it comes up for a vote to become law, so we are asking you to please take a moment to call the following State Senators that are on the Appropriations Committee, especially if you are in the District of one of these State Senators. (If you don’t know, you can click on the name to see District)

For strategic reasons, we are asking you to please urge the Republicans to vote NO and the Democrats to Abstain.

Ricardo Lara (D, Chair)    Please Abstain Sacramento: 916-651-4033 Local:  323-277-4560562-256-7912

Patricia Bates (R, Vice Chair) Please Vote NO Sacramento: 916-651-4036 Local: 949-598-5850760-642-0809

Jim Beall (D) Please Abstain Sacramento:  916-651-4015 Local: 408-558-1292

Steven Bradford (D) Please Abstain Sacramento: 916-651-4035 Local: 310-514-8573310-412-6120

Jerry Hill (D) Please Abstain Sacramento: 916-651-4013 Local: 650-212-3313

Jim Nielsen (R) Please Vote NO Sacramento:  916-651-4004 Local: 916-772-0571530-879-7424530-751-8657

Scott Wiener (D) Please Abstain Sacramento:  916-651-4011 Local: 415-557-1300

Please feel free to use your own words, but if it helps, below is a suggested call script you can use when calling.

Hello, my name is ____________________.  I am a member of (give name of church and city or better yet, region).  For pastors: I am the pastor of (give name of church and city or region) and I represent a congregation of (number).

I am calling to urge the Senator to Vote NO (Republicans) / ABSTAIN FROM VOTING (Democrats) on AB 569, the Reproductive Health Bill.

AB 569 prevents certain private Religious organizations from exercising their basic right under the Constitution to be faithful to their religious beliefs, ministry and mission.  Government should uphold religious liberty and not impede or make illegal anyone’s right to freely associate with those of shared beliefs and practices.

This is not a partisan issue, it is a Religious liberty issue and I am asking Senator _________________ to Vote NO (Republican) / ABSTAIN (Democrat). Thank you and God bless.

For a better chance of stopping this attack on private religious organizations, please share this email and encourage your pastors and other members of your congregations to call, as well.

Thank you all for participating in this important cause to protect and defend the religious liberties of Christian organizations in our state!

Advocates for Faith & Freedom would not be able to continue our ministry of defending religious liberty in and out of the courts without your prayers of support and tax deductible donations.

Fighting for Pro-life in Superior Court Today

We would like to thank you for your prayers this morning! Today we were in court for 3 hours arguing against the new California state law that requires Christian-based crisis pregnancy counseling centers to provide a notice to the young women they serve—advising the women that free and low cost abortions are available. And the notice must include a phone number to a county agency that will refer the women for an abortion. We represent the Scharpen Foundation which runs one of the pro-life counseling clinics in Riverside County.

We had a very positive hearing in the Superior Court for the County of Riverside, California. The California Attorney General filed a motion asking the court to dismiss our case. We argued that we have developed sufficient facts to prove that the new law, known as the Reproductive Fact Act, intentionally discriminates against pro-life pregnancy counseling centers.

After dozens and dozens of hours of research, we have been able to uncover evidence that the new law targets these pro-life ministries. The Reproductive Fact Act essentially exempts all for-profit licensed clinics that provide medical care. The law also exempts all other licensed clinics that provide comprehensive women’s medical care—i.e. abortions. What’s left are approximately 92 licensed non-profit clinics. Approximately 82 of these are pro-life and the other 10 clinics do not provide abortions. This evidence is revealing. After exempting thousands of clinics, the law only applies to 92 clinics, including all of the 82 pro-life clinics in California. This took a lot of work, but our attorneys figured it out. Attorneys Nada Higuera and Christine Torres did a great job uncovering this evidence!

Please pray for our judge in Riverside County Superior Court. If she denies the request by the Attorney General, then we will have the opportunity to present this evidence in a full trial on the merits to prove discrimination statewide based on a clinic’s pro-life position. The judge will soon be issuing a written decision.

Meanwhile, we are also waiting on the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the High Court will accept our federal case for review. We have two different legal strategies ongoing.

Please continue to pray. We are in the thick of this battle—among others! If you have the ability to donate today, we could really use your financial support as well. Thank you!

Can California Ban Moral Standards of Religious Employers? They're Trying!

Should a church be allowed to remove a high school youth pastor from his position if he coerced his pregnant girlfriend to get an abortion? What if the youth pastor was female, pregnant and unmarried? Today, church leaders have the ability to take the appropriate employment action that they believe is best in that situation. I suspect that you agree that the First Amendment protects the church’s right to make the best decision that the leaders see fit for that particular situation based on their religious beliefs.

But the California Legislature will soon decide whether the church is capable of making the right decision. If passed, AB 569 would outlaw the right of religious organizations, including churches, pro-life organizations, non-profits and Christian colleges to maintain employment standards regarding “reproductive health.” These are just liberal code words for abortion and birth control.

What if a Catholic nun became pregnant by a priest and later had a partial birth abortion? Will the California legislature really have the nerve to tell the Catholic Church that the church has no ability to take appropriate disciplinary action?

Assembly Bill 569 stomps on religious freedom by forbidding religious organizations from requiring that their employees maintain the moral standards taught by the individual organization.

We will certainly oppose the legislation and encourage you to do the same.

ACTION ITEM: It is absolutely vital that members of the Assembly hear your concerns. To see if your Assemblymember is on the committee, click here. To find your Assemblymember and contact information, click here.

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         At the end of February, I was invited by Jim Domen of Church United, to participate in a briefing with pastors at the California State Capitol. We met with numerous politicians to pray with them in the Capitol Building. I was honored to have the opportunity to provide a legal briefing and to encourage the pastors to engage in today’s culture.

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Litigation Update           Reproductive Fact Act Lawsuit: You may recall that we are aggressively challenging this abusive law that requires pro-life licensed medical clinics to post a notice to patients in the waiting room or in the clinic’s intake paperwork. The notice states that free and low cost family planning services and abortions are available by calling a particular phone number. Last week, along with our co-counsel at the ACLJ, we filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the Court to accept our case for review after the Ninth Circuit ruled that forcing this speech on pro-life organizations is not unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, on April 6, 2017, we will be in the California State Superior Court where we are taking a second strategic path of litigation against the California Attorney General’s Office. We have uncovered important evidence that will help us prove discrimination by exempting most all other that the State engaged in viewpoint licensed clinics from the law. Our case will either be dismissed by the court or set for trial. Please pray that we receive a fair hearing and favor before the state court and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Our cost of litigating these cases are significant and we urgently need your support so that we can continue to battle to protect the unborn and our First Amendment right to free speech and free exercise of religion - all in the same litigation.

Three of our Cases Pending in the Ninth Circuit

Is reading the Bible aloud in public “illegal?” You may recall that in 2013, we defended two men who were arrested by a CHP officer because they were reading the Bible aloud in a DMV parking lot. The men were arrested for “obstructing or intimidating persons there to transact business” with the DMV. The District Attorney’s arrest-with-captionOffice prosecuted our clients for a misdemeanor. However, we were victorious at trial and  our  clients were  found to be  innocent  of  the charges.

This entire case was based on two police reports written by the arresting CHP officer who fabricated events to justify the arrest. Thankfully, video recordings provide the truth. We offered the CHP the opportunity to avoid a federal lawsuit by admitting the arrest was unlawful and agreeing to properly instruct its officers. We filed a federal lawsuit for unlawful arrest in federal court after the CHP rejected our proposal. The federal district judge ignored the video evidence and ruled for the CHP. We then filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeal.

We appeared for oral arguments in the Ninth Circuit before a three-judge panel on December 9, 2016. The decision from the Ninth Circuit should come sometime next year. Please pray for God’s divine wisdom and guidance as we proceed in this case.

Is it “illegal” to allow invocations at school board meetings?

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is aggressively pushing its agenda. They sued the Chino Valley Unified School District because it allowed a pastor or religious leader to open each school board meeting with an invocation. After a federal district court judge declared the invocations to be unconstitutional, the School District asked us to appeal their case to the Ninth Circuit and to  take  over their  defense.chino-valley-schoo-board-prayer-supporters

The so-called “separation of church and state” does not  exist  in the  Constitution,  but has been used in an  attempt to eliminate all influence of a Christian worldview in our government.  We will defend the school district all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if needed so that our leaders can properly begin their meetings with reverence for God and recognize their moral responsibility in government.

The outcome of this case will impact the judiciary nationally and will likely be binding on all of the nine states under the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction and more than 60,000,000  residents.  Prayers have been offered at the beginning of legislative meetings since the founding of our country. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the practice in state legislative meetings and city council meetings. 

Is  it “legal” to force all Christian pregnancy counseling centers to give abortion referrals?

This is precisely the question we were asked by our client, Pastor Scott Scharpen, the president  of Go Mobile for Life—a nonprofit crisis pregnancy counseling center that operates a mobile medical clinic providing free ultrasounds.

scott-and-carolyn-sharpen-with-captionThe State of California recently enacted a new law that requires pregnancy counseling centers to give their clients a notice that “California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women.” The notice must also include the phone number to the county social services office where abortion information can be obtained. The abortion notice must be posted in a conspicuous place within the waiting room or personally delivered to each patient.

Although there are some exemptions to the law, they appear to apply to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, but there is no exemption for religiously-based counseling centers.

We partnered with our friends at American Center for Law and Justice and filed a lawsuit on behalf of Go Mobile for Life in California state court where we are presently in active litigation and conducting depositions. We also filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Livingwell Medical Clinic in northern California. After the initial three-judge panel in the Ninth Circuit denied our request for a preliminary injunction, we filed a petition “en banc” wherein we are requesting all of the judges in the Ninth Circuit to vote on whether an eleven-judge panel should be appointed to rehear the case.

As you can see, we are extremely busy preparing and strategizing on these three cases, as well as many others. We certainly appreciate your prayers and any contributions you can offer to assist us as we take a stand in the courts.

School District Stands Up to Atheists

Earlier this year, we shared the news that Advocates for Faith & Freedom had agreed to represent the Chino Valley Unified School District in a high-stakes federal case involving the constitutionality of allowing an invocation at the start of school board meetings. The district asked us to represent its interests after a lower court judge declared its prayer policy unconstitutional. James Long, a staff attorney for Tyler & Bursch, LLP, is working on the case for us and has spent the entire summer diligently preparing james-long-boxbriefs for the federal appeal. With hundreds of hours already logged in this case, we expect to submit our opening brief to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals within 60 days. In addition to the official filing, numerous organizations will be supporting our effort through their own amicus briefs.

As you may recall, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) took exception to Chino Valley’s pre-meeting prayer policy and, in November 2014, filed a lawsuit seeking to block it. The anti-religious freedom group took the legal action despite the fact that just five months earlier the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of legislative prayers at city council meetings. In Town of Greece v. Galloway, the court sanctioned the practice as long as the city has a nondiscriminatory process in selecting volunteers who offer the prayers.

The significance—and possible ramifications—of the Chino Valley case has also garnered attention in scholarly circles. In a January 2015 article in The Journal of Law & Politics, author Marie Elizabeth Wicks explores how the Town of Greece ruling should also apply to local school district boards.

“Because school boards are deliberative public bodies and are nearly identical in structure to town boards like that in Town of Greece, school boards also should be allowed to solemnize the start of meetings with a brief prayer,” Wicks wrote in reference to our case.

FFRF is, in essence, trying to inoculate its position from the Supreme Court ruling by arguing that the presence of students at the board meetings shifts the focus of such gatherings from a business meeting to a school setting. But as writer Wicks rightly argued in her Journal of Law & Politics article, the presence of students in the audience does not negate the historical significance of such prayers, a key finding in the High Court case.

“The striking similarities between school boards and the Greece town board support the logical extension of the Town of Greece principles to school boards’ prayer practices,” Wicks wrote. “In both situations, an opening invocation acts to solemnize the occasion and is directed toward the board members.”

Chino Valley’s policy, which was adopted in 2013, does in fact allow all religious organizations an opportunity to participate and works to ensure equality in the process by sending out invitation letters to all religious assemblies in its area.

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The implications from the case are great and extend well beyond the Southern California school district. Not only is the issue of school district prayer the first of its kind to reach the 9th Circuit Court, but it is also the first case in the nation to reach the federal appeals level since the pivotal Town of Greece ruling.

While we have completed a great deal of legal research, much work still remains. This is where you can help partner with us to ensure that local school districts maintain the same rights the U.S. Supreme Court has already confirmed on town councils as “deliberative public bodies.” As you can imagine, the costs associated with mounting such a significant legal defense can escalate quite quickly. To that end, Advocates for Faith & Freedom is helping to underwrite the costs with the Tyler & Bursch legal team.

Would you prayerfully consider contributing to this vital cause for religious liberty? We can think of no more fitting way to help guide our educational policymakers than by ensuring they retain their constitutional right to begin their deliberations with the historical act of prayer.

 

Physician-Assisted Suicide now a Legal Medical Treatment in California

California has joined a dubious list of American states that have now embraced physician-subscribed suicide on its most vulnerable citizens—the terminally ill. Beginning last Thursday, the Golden State became the fifth to allow the practice of prescribing death-inducing medication as a form of medical treatment. According to the End of Life Option Act, patients must have been determined to have six months or less to live and also be able to administer the fatal dose themselves.Assisted Suicide The law went into effect despite valiant bi-partisan opposition to the measure. Several high-profile Democrats joined their conservative counterparts in arguing about the dangers of the proposed bill, blocking it in committee. Not to be deterred, the Legislature’s Democratic leadership—bent on their anti-life agenda—ignored the pleas in their own party, using a tactical approach to resurrect the measure. Once party leaders bypassed their reluctant caucus colleagues, the measure sailed to passage and was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, despite his own misgivings on their backdoor approach. An attempt to overturn the law at the ballot failed to garner enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, paving the way for its implementation.

Although the progressive legislature has succeeded in creating the law, their biggest hurdle may be the medical community itself, as a major provision in the act allows hospitals and physicians to opt out from prescribing the fatal drugs. Although most faith-based hospitals are expected to ban the practice at its facilities, at least one secular facility is also considering opting out of the Act. According to the Los Angeles Times, Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena has asked an ad-hoc committee to review the issue, although doctors are being allowed to prescribe the suicide pills while the policy is under review.

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At UCLA, Dr. Neil Wenger, director of the university’s Health Ethics Center, told the L.A. Times that he’s developing the campus’ policy but said he will likely not participate because of his personal oath to save lives. “We have always, up till now, been able to say we will never hasten a death,” Wenger told the newspaper. “Suddenly, that bright line is not so bright.”

A new web page has been created to track possible abuses to the law in California and beyond.