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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Sarah Curlee

Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has filed a friend-of-the-court brief pushing the Supreme Court to review an abortion case out of Indiana.

The case, Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK), deals with two provisions of Indiana law that were overturned by the lower federal courts. Humane disposal of the remains of aborted babies is called for in one provision, while the second provision bans abortions that are based on the sex, race, or disability of the unborn baby. The ACLJ filed the amicus brief on behalf of itself and parents from 44 families who gave birth to “children born with various disorders including Down Syndrome, Noonan Syndrome, Patau Syndrome, Turner Syndrome, Edwards Syndrome, Meckel-Gruber Syndrome, Potter Syndrome, spina bifida, and congenital heart disease, among others.”

The brief emphasizes the love each family felt for their unborn child, regardless of the diagnosis: “learning of these prenatal diagnoses did not change the love these parents felt for their children. Though many of these families ultimately lost their children, these parents do not consider that to have diminished the importance of the children’s lives. Indiana’s law protects children like theirs and recognizes that unborn children deserve protection from invidious discrimination.”

The state of Indiana is requesting that the Supreme Court hear the case. The federal district court in Indiana and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit insisted the disputed provisions were unconstitutional and contradictory to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling which declared a right to abortion. The ACLJ brief, however, disagrees: “The Constitution does not compel states to treat the bodies of dead unborn children as just so much “medical trash.” . . . Nor does the Constitution force states to allow abortion for any reason at all, no matter how pernicious.”

Prohibiting eugenic abortions

When it comes to the ban on aborting babies due to disabilities, the ACLJ, along with the parents of disabled children, steered the Supreme Court to take into account“the pressuring of vulnerable parents into irreversible decisions to abort their children.”

On a more specific level, the brief points out: “Indiana can properly respond to at least two very worldly concerns: failure to anticipate the parental capacity to love children regardless of disabilities, and downright erroneous prenatal diagnoses.”

What the Supreme Court might fail to take into consideration, notes the brief, is the powerful emotional impact such an act is likely to have on a family: “Even parents who say they would have aborted had they known of their child’s disabilities commonly profess great love for those same children. . . . The grim prognosis a physician or genetic counselor offers a pregnant woman cannot possibly capture, and offer as a realistic counterweight, the genuine loving bond a mother or father later experiences.”

In addition, the accuracy of the prenatal diagnosis of a disability is not always spot-on. The ACLJ’s brief list numerous instances “in which parents were told a child would be born with severe disabilities, when in fact the child turned out to be either perfectly healthy or had only minor conditions.”

Therefore: “a ban on eugenic abortions furthers as well the legitimate interest in avoiding death from ‘excessive pessimism,’ i.e., failure to consider either parental capacity to love or the fallibility of prenatal diagnoses.”

Honoring the deceased

In regards to the disposal of the remains of aborted babies, the ACLJ pointed out to the Supreme Court: “Concern for the proper disposition of human remains is ancient, indeed rooted in civilization itself. Burying the dead is a traditional obligation in Judaism, a corporal work of mercy in the Christian tradition, and a universal human value immortalized in the ancient Greek play, Antigone. To say that a state has at the very least a legitimate interest in seeing to the proper disposition of human remains is to understate the matter.”

The reason for the Seventh Circuit to disallow the provision was because it rests on a “recognition that aborted fetuses are human beings, distinct from other surgical byproducts, such as tissue or organs.” The ACLJ’s brief stated: “After all, expectant mothers are not pregnant with ‘organs’ or with some species other than homo sapiens.” Additionally, the Seventh Circuit decision “calls into question a host of laws that treat unborn children as human beings, namely, laws that protect unborn babies from torts and crimes.” (A “tort” being a civil offense that someone can sue to rectify, such as malpractice.) The lower court paid little attention to this concern, arguing that these other laws “address a valid state interest in promoting respect for potential life,” while “the fetal disposition provisions differ because there is no potential life at stake.”

The ACLJ, however, explains that this reasoning is nonsensical: “In every fetal homicide or wrongful death case, the unborn baby is already dead, and thus there is no more ‘potential life’ to respect. Indeed, the same goes for the application of tort, criminal, and disposition of remains laws to born humans – after death, there is no life to save. It nevertheless makes sense to adopt laws governing the remains of those who were once living human beings. The deceased unborn belong to that category. To say otherwise would not just be biologically ignorant, but profoundly insensitive to all those who feel the pain and loss of a miscarriage.”

To add to the injustice of abortion itself, the lower federal courts declared that a state does not have the option of treating the bodies of aborted babies with the same respect given to other human remains. These same courts ruled that a state is not allowed to ban the abortion of babies who have been diagnosed with disabilities. We strongly encourage the Supreme Court to reassess this ruling.

The Supreme Court is expected to announce whether it will agree to hear the case in early 2019.

Photo courtesy: Pixabay/Public Domain

An expecting mother was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia just weeks after finding out that she was pregnant, and she just gave birth to two beautiful and healthy twin babies.

Southern California, now mother of five, Susie Rabaca, found out that she had acute myeloid leukemia only a few months into her pregnancy. Doctors told Rabaca that she would not live to see her children grow up if she did not get a bone marrow transplant, and so the search began. Rabaca and her family took to social media to ask friends and family to help them find a donor. Soon the story gained national attention, even gaining the attention of country music superstar Carrie Underwood. 

"Finding my match is everything to me so I can be here for the three children I have, and the two that I have on the way, it's everything," Rabaca told Fox 11 while she was seeking out a match. "It's so easy, there's no painful procedure, there's no surgery, it's just swab your mouth and it's as simple as a blood draw, and you can save somebody's life, if not mine, somebody else's."

According to CBN News, tens of thousands of people added their names to the "Be The Match" registry in hopes that they could save Rabaca’s life. The young mother was overwhelmed by the amount of support she received and the willingness of people around the nation to help her.

She wrote on Facebook, "With tears running down my face and my heart full of hope I want to say THANK YOU LORD! And thank you from the bottom of my heart to every single person that has said even 1 prayer for me and my family! Thank you to my family, friends, people around the country that I don't even know that have shown support and especially that have signed up for BE THE MATCH!!!!! Journey isn't over but a huge step forward!!! Thankful for you all lots of love! Keep Praying thank you!!!!"

Just days before giving birth to her twins, Rabaca found a match.

She wrote on Facebook, "Hi I would like to introduce my miracle twin babies to all you who prayed for them cared for them asked about them every day!! Here is my Rainey and Ryan They are doing great healthy happy and hungry lol They truly mean the world to me and because of all the support and prayers I got my MATCH and get to LIVE and me the best mommy I can be!! THANK YOU!!!"

Rabaca is now preparing for her transplant, CBN News reports.

Photo courtesy: Pixabay/Creative Commons/Conger Design

After having an unimaginably difficult year, a Secret Santa has blessed one Idaho family in a way that they could never have expected.

Earlier this year, Dakota Nelson lost his wife, Ream, 38, when she unexpectedly collapsed from a massive heart attack that would eventually kill her, while they were cleaning out their garage. 

Nelson described the event in a thank you letter published by the East Idaho News. He wrote, “On July 11, we had been cleaning out the garage together and I left to put some tools in the shop 30 feet away while Ream swept the floor. I had been gone less than 5 minutes and saw her lying on her back with eyes wide open.”

He continued, “My 3-year-old was standing over her talking as he thought she could hear him due to her eyes being open. I ran and cradled her in my arms and blew into her mouth thinking she choked on something. I then started CPR and my 8-year-old walked out and started screaming. I told him to leave and my 12-year-old walked in the garage and, seeing the situation, called 911 and put on a show so the other kids would not go out to see her. He then went down to the end of the street to wave down the ambulance.”

Nelson added, “After two and a half weeks at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in ICU, she was moved to long-term care and we watched her pass away on Sept. 30 with all of her 7 kids gathered around.”

Now, the father of seven is working day and night to raise his kids as a single dad. One anonymous samaritan heard of the Nelson’s story and knowing the difficulty of holiday’s after the loss of a loved one, decided to show them a great act of kindness.

According to CBN News, a Secret Santa asked East Idaho News to deliver $2,000 in gift cards and an $8,000 check to the family.

East Idaho News reports that Nelson became overwhelmed with emotion and began to cry upon seeing the amount on the check.

In the letter thanking the anonymous donor, Nelson wrote, “It is hard to write this as I am at a total loss of words. There is no way for me to accurately convey how grateful we are for this kindness. As I was surprised with the gifts, I looked at my kids – who will remember this event forever as the best time they had in a hard time. Thank you for being an example to my family on how to look out for the needs of others.”

He continued, “I have noticed that through this ordeal, we have been blessed to see kindness replace the pain of losing a loved one whom I had been married to for 17 years. My children have noted this and have stated that they want to do the same for others.”

“Thank you again for making this Christmas special. Again, I just cannot convey how thankful we are,” he added.

Over the past four months, people have rallied together to help the family monetarily, and a GoFundMe account set up for the family has already raised over $40,000.

“I know no one makes it through life without some sort of event that is strenuous to the soul but I had not realized how much one can be happy even when the light is out and it is dark. Thank you for being that light," Nelson concluded his letter.

Photo courtesy:

Video courtesy: East Idaho News