Tag Archives: Bioethics Defense Fund

ObamaCare at the bottom of the ninth

Dorinda Bordlee & Nikolas Nikas say efforts to overturn ObamaCare are ongoing . . .

Nikolas T. Nikas

Nikolas T. Nikas

In July of 1973, Yogi Berra’s New York Mets trailed the Chicago Cubs by nine games in the National League East. That’s when he uttered his most famous phrase: “It ain’t over till it’s over.” The Mets rallied to win the division title on the final day of the season.

Most are aware that the Health and Human Services “contraceptive mandate” cases are proceeding, but the legal challenges to ObamaCare as a whole are over, right? Not according to the U.S. Supreme Court. We’re writing this article to summarize the revived ObamaCare challenge — and to invite Legates to join a “friend of the court” amicus brief.

On Nov. 26, 2012, just three weeks after the presidential election, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order reviving a 2010 lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of vital ObamaCare provisions — provisions that if struck down could prove to be fatal to the entire ObamaCare scheme.

In this revived case — Liberty University v. Geithner (No. 11-438) — the Supreme Court granted the Christian university’s petition for rehearing and “remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for further consideration in light of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius.NFIB v. Sebelius is the case issued by the Supreme Court this past summer that upheld ObamaCare’s individual mandate under Justice Roberts’ strained reasoning that the penalty on individuals could be viewed as a “tax.”

Dorinda C. Bordlee

Dorinda C. Bordlee

The NFIB case did not raise or address many issues that will now be the subject of federal court scrutiny, including provisions regarding the employer mandate and its crippling penalties, the individual mandate in light of possible constitutional infirmities that arise from the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the penalty as a “tax,” and — as raised in our original amicus brief — conscience issues and Free Exercise violations posed by ObamaCare’s hidden “abortion premium mandate.”

The Liberty case will be briefed and argued by Liberty Counsel lawyers before a federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., this spring and might end up before the U.S. Supreme Court on the merits before the 2014 effective date of the ObamaCare state exchanges.

Bioethics Defense Fund — the non-profit legal organization that we founded to put law in the service of life in accord with the natural law teachings of the Catholic Church — will be counsel of record on the amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief designed to support Liberty University by fully addressing issues of religious liberty and pro-life conscience.

Several Legatus members have already agreed to be named as “amici” (friends) in the brief to be presented to the U.S. Fourth Circuit — and later to the U.S. Supreme Court. We are looking to add as many Legatus members as possible. As amici, you would be on record as a Catholic businessperson who has an interest in educating the federal judges about provisions that raise serious conscience objections for Catholics. Amici are not parties to the lawsuit, and they are free from any legal obligations.

All that would be required to join the brief as a friend-of-the-court is your name (and that of your spouse if desired) and the location of your Legatus chapter. We will list you in your individual capacity as a Legatus member, but you may list your position and the name of your company for purposes of identification only.

Our brief will address the “abortion premium mandate,” a section that allows health plans in the state exchanges to carry abortion coverage but not to disclose it until enrollment. ObamaCare then requires that every enrollee who ends up in a health plan with abortion coverage must pay a separate itemized abortion premium of a minimum $1 per month, with no exceptions. That separate premium, directly paid from the pockets of individual enrollees, is required to be placed by the insurer into a fund designated solely to pay claims for other people’s elective abortions.

As counsel on amicus briefs in nearly a dozen HHS mandate cases, we know that the Obama Department of Justice has its hands full defending religious liberty lawsuits across the country. But the rights of conscience lawsuits are set to explode exponentially once millions of Americans find themselves in plans that require a government-compelled abortion premium mandate in 2014 — unless ObamaCare is fatally undermined by this revived legal challenge.

Action Item: To join the BDF ObamaCare amicus brief in the Fourth Circuit on behalf of individual Legatus members who have an interest in educating the judges about the abortion premium mandate, contact us at info@bdfund.org or (504) 231-7234. Click here to join us in this effort.

DORINDA C. BORDLEE and NIKOLAS T. NIKAS are attorneys and founders of Bioethics Defense Fund, a national legal and educational organization whose mission is to put law in the service of life.

Laws embrace windows on the womb

More abortion-minded women are being given the option to see their child via ultrasound . . .

Dorinda Bordlee

Science tells us when life begins. The real question is when love begins. For many abortion-minded women, love began when they had the opportunity to see their unborn child on an ultrasound screen.

The good news is that the opportunities to open this window on the womb are increasing with more and more state laws requiring ultrasounds before an abortion can be performed.

Testimony given by women in legislative hearings confirms that ultrasound images help a woman in an unexpected pregnancy to realize she’s not alone in this seeming crisis — that it’s not all about her, and that there’s another person right there with her in the most profound and physical way.

That person is her unborn child, who is joined by many other people such as those who operate pro-life pregnancy care centers that provide free hands-on resources like ultrasound and medical services, parenting and marriage counseling, diapers and formula, and even food for the new mom’s pantry before and after her baby’s birth.

The Knights of Columbus have taken the lead in getting ultrasound machines donated to pro-life pregnancy centers. This ultrasound donation outreach, together with the legislative efforts (promoted by my public-interest law firm Bioethics Defense Fund) is a powerful tool for building a culture of life. It gives each of us in the pro-life movement the opportunity to do what Supreme Knight Carl Anderson speaks of as “living as Christ lives, [as] we reveal to others who they are: beings made by love, and for love.”

It’s true that laws cannot mandate love. But by legally requiring that an ultrasound be performed before abortion with the express option for the woman to view the screen, this type of legislation can indeed create an environment for the light of love to overcome the darkness of fear. The ultrasound option allows an abortion-minded woman the freedom to replace her natural tendency to self-absorption with the ultimate opportunity for self-giving. It gives her a chance to realize that she can be a hero for one of the least amongst us.

This positive approach to building a culture of life is garnering national secular attention. A recent Washington Post opinion column was entitled “Women Should be Informed Before They Abort.” In the piece, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Kathleen Parker describes herself as “both pro-life and pro-choice.” Yet she writes that ultrasound legislation is a worthy approach which recognizes that “abortion truthfully presented would eliminate itself or vastly reduce its numbers.”

The column features a Louisiana law, drafted by Bioethics Defense Fund, that gives every woman seeking abortion two chances to choose life:

1. At least 24 hours before an abortion, the abortion provider must provide the woman with a list of places that offer free ultrasound services. This list will be compiled by the state’s Department of Health and will include pro-life pregnancy centers that offer free ultrasound.

2. If the woman returns for an abortion after a 24-hour reflection period, the abortion provider must perform an ultrasound at least two hours before the abortion to determine fetal viability and issues related to the woman’s health. At that ultrasound, the woman must be read a script that gives her three options: The option to view the ultrasound screen, the option to hear an explanation of the images, and the option to get a print-out of her unborn child’s image.

These options are offered by a script that the ultrasound technician must read to the woman in the examination room prior to the beginning of the ultrasound examination. The BDF model legislation includes the text of the script so that the abortionist cannot negatively influence the woman by saying things such as, “You don’t want to see this, do you?”

Because the ultrasound provisions are added to a currently existing “Woman’s Right to Know” law, the abortionist will be subject to civil and criminal penalties if the woman is denied these options.

Laws requiring ultrasound before abortion give women the gift of sight. What they see is the beauty of their unborn child — the kind of beauty referred to by Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky when he wrote his famous phrase, “Beauty will save the world.” In this case, beauty can save a life.

Dorinda C. Bordlee is senior counsel of Bioethics Defense Fund, a non-profit pro-life legal organization with the mission to advocate for the dignity of human life through litigation, legislation and public education. An abridged version of this article appeared in the September 2010 issue of Legatus Magazine.