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9th Circuit Allows Trump’s ‘Protect Life Rule’ to be Implemented

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that President Trump’s “Protect Life Rule,” which is a set of rules, could go into effect while the legality of the rules is litigated. This decision overturns injunctions issued by several lower courts enjoining implementation of the rules that are being challenged by 21 states as well as the District of Columbia.

The rules require that entities receiving Title X family planning grant money must physically and financially separate their family planning services from those that commit or refer abortions. The rules are expected to reduce subsidies to Planned Parenthood by $60 million because most of their facilities will not comply with the separation requirements.

This is a great victory for life. “The Protect Life Rule simply draws a bright line between abortion and family planning, stopping abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood from treating Title X as their private slush fund without reducing funding by a dime,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. Adds Family Research Council Vice President for Policy Travis Weber, “The finalized ’protect life rule’ will draw a bright line between abortion and family planning programs—just as federal law requires and the Supreme Court has upheld.”

The new directive will take effect in 60 days.

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Supreme Court Allows Cross to Stand on Public Property

Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision in The American Legion v. The American Humanist Association, ruled that a cross erected on public property honoring World War I soldiers is not a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and, therefore, it will be allowed to remain where it has stood for almost 100 years.

In writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito noted that the cross “has become a prominent community landmark, and its removal or radical alteration at this date would be seen by many not as a neutral act but as the manifestation of ‘a hostility toward religion that has no place in our Establishment Clause traditions.’”

In a press release, The American Legion’s lead counsel, Michael Carvin, said, “We are grateful for this historic victory for the First Amendment. This decision simply affirms the historical understanding of the First Amendment that allows government to acknowledge the value and importance of religion.”

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented in the decision.

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Religious Liberty Takes the Cake

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court sent a ruling against Oregon cake bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein back down to the state court system, asking that its rulings be reconsidered in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling last year in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.

In that case, the Court ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had violated Jack Phillips’ religious liberty by disparaging his religious beliefs in deciding whether he had violated Washington state’s anti-discrimination statute by refusing to custom design a cake celebrating a same-sex union.

The Kleins, who also refused for religious reasons to custom design a cake for a same-sex wedding, were fined $135,000 for violating Oregon’s anti-discrimination policy and were forced to shut down their business. So the Kleins decided to take their case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This is a victory for Aaron and Melissa Klein and for religious liberty for all Americans,” First Liberty President Kelly Shackelford said in a statement. “The Constitution protects speech, popular or not, from condemnation by the government. The message from the Court is clear, government hostility toward religious Americans will not be tolerated.”

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Maine Legalizes Assisted Suicide for the Terminally Ill

Terminally ill patients living in Maine who want to end their lives through life-ending medication administered by a doctor can now do so thanks to Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signing the Maine Death with Dignity Act. The act passed the state House by one vote and a slim margin in the state Senate.

The new legislation defines “terminal disease” as one that is incurable and will likely end in death within six months. The law requires that the ill patient must be 18, must undergo two waiting periods, and must obtain a second opinion by a consulting physician, along with one written and two verbal requests. Physicians would screen patients for issues like depression that could impair judgment. And, finally, the law would make it illegal to force someone into requesting life-ending medication as well as forging a request for lethal medication.

“Assisted suicide is a dangerous public policy that puts the most vulnerable people in society at risk for abuse, coercion, and mistakes. It also provides profit-driven insurance companies perverse incentives to offer a quick death, rather than costly continuing quality care,” Matt Valliere, executive director of Patients Rights Action Fund, said.

Maine is now the eighth state to make assisted suicide legal, joining California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia in legalizing the procedure.

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American Medical Association’s Official Position on Assisted Suicide Is Good News

The American Medical Association (AMA), upon recommendation by its Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, voted by a nearly two-thirds margin to maintain its opposition to physician-assisted suicide.

The current AMA-affirmed language states, “Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.”

This is a huge victory for the pro-life movement, since the AMA is highly influential in shaping public opinion and legislative policy. Said Matt Vallière, the director of the Patients Rights Action Fund, “Patients deserve care and protection, not a prescription for death. We trust that this decision will encourage states considering legislation to continue to reject assisted suicide.”

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, was likewise happy with the decision. “We can only hope that the decision of the AMA will result in an understanding that doctors should never be involved with killing their patients,” said Schadenberg.

The World Medical Association also maintained its opposition to assisted suicide last October.

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