Care about free speech? Keep your eyes on Supreme Court dealing with California abortion law


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SUPREME COURT HEARS CALIFORNIA CRISIS CENTER CASE

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, today, I would like to take you to a story that The Washington Post has covered. As we record this program, there are oral arguments going on before the United States Supreme Court dealing with a California abortion law, which is supposed to protect women but what it does is it forces pro-life clinics to deliver a message they abhor. That is, they’re supposed to promote the fact that the State of California provides contraceptive services and abortion services for women.

DR. REEDER: This is absolutely astounding that the California law is still standing. This law, which is basically telling over 200 crisis pregnancy center-type clinics that receive no state funding, “You have to give a message that affirms abortion, and venues for abortion and that the state will pay for your abortifacient contraceptives or the abortion procedure.”

DO THEY REALLY WANT CHOICE?

The very thing that they’re there to stop, the very thing that they’re there to give women another alternative, which is to give birth to their child and then either help in raising the child or help in finding a good adoption agency for the child, which is what they exist for. If they do not comply with the state law, there is criminal liability and there are extraordinary fines and fees that would basically put all of these crisis pregnancy centers out of existence.

LAWS LIKE THIS ARE A CLEAR VIOLATION OF FREE SPEECH

Now, such laws have been attempted in other states but, by and large, have failed because once they have arrived at district and appellate courts, then it has been determined that these laws are violations of free speech.

There’s two ways you violate free speech: one is you tell people what they have to say and, two, you tell people what they cannot say. Here is a law that’s telling them they cannot give the pro-life message without also giving the pro-death message of abortion: how to obtain one and how to fund one through state taxation, which is another issue. If you live in the state of California, your tax money now goes to the destruction of the unborn life.

Now, all of the other laws have been struck down, Tom, except this one. This one got to the infamous 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and was upheld. So now this is getting to the Supreme Court which, by the way, is pretty amazing that the Supreme Court took it on because the Supreme Court, since Roe v. Wade, has basically found a way to dodge most abortion cases that have sought to gain a standing or a hearing in front of the Supreme Court but they have decided to take this one.

And now we’re about to find out, these Supreme Court justices, will they uphold their vow to uphold the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment, which forbids the coercion of speech by the power of the state. And that’s ultimately what we’re about to find out on the Supreme Court level.

WHY PRO-CHOICE GROUPS ARE WORRIED

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me read you a statement that the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America made concerning these clinics that are trying to defend themselves before the Supreme Court. The president said, “They are facilities that intentionally prey on women at a vulnerable moment in their lives by pushing medically inaccurate information.”

DR. REEDER: Let’s take this up on about three different levels. One is notice the name of this organization: pro-choice. No, it’s not pro-choice. They’re trying to stop an organization that’s designed to give women another choice. The state and the culture of California promotes the choice of murder of the unborn infant. Now you have a crisis pregnancy center, at its own cost, that is attempting to give to women another choice which is life, not death.

There’s something else, by the way, in this law I need to mention for accuracy’s sake: The state law of California will provide an exception to any crisis pregnancy center if they will provide abortifacient contraceptives. That’s an oxymoron. An abortifacient is destroying a conceived egg and sperm. Therefore, there’s nothing be prevented in terms of conception at all.

Tom, this also tells me a third thing and that’s this: that the abortion industry, at least in the state of California, legislatures are absolutely concerned that they’re losing the battle. They’re losing the battle in the terms of the battle of ideas, the battle of hearts and the battles of lives. What that tells you is, when you resort to the power of the state and coercion, that becomes a direct revelation that you’re losing the battle in the hearts and souls and minds of the culture, itself.

We see free speech under attack on the college campuses, we see free speech under attack in the entertainment industry, we see free speech under attack in almost every venue — something that is fundamentally foundational to the life and vitality of this nation, the notion of the free contest of ideas in the public square.

And now the government has weighed in: “We will criminalize you and we will fine you into non-existence in order to coerce the speech that we approve in the crisis pregnancy centers.” While this has significant impact for 200 crisis pregnancy centers in the state of California, there are thousands across the nation that are waiting to see what will happen in this particular ruling.

MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR BANS ABORTIONS AFTER 15 WEEKS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me take you from California down to Mississippi, where the governor there, Phil Bryant, signed a law that bans abortion after 15 weeks’ gestation, down from the current 20-week ban the state has in effect. This is the earliest any state has banned abortion and, no doubt, will face additional legal challenges.

DR. REEDER: Yes, I appreciate greatly his statement. The governor said: I gladly sign this because I would like for Mississippi to become the safest place for a child in the womb.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Well, let me tell you what Planned Parenthood Southeast tweeted concerning this. They said, “This is a part of a targeted attack on #roevwade and a blatant attempt to chip away at a woman’s bodily autonomy.”

DR. HARRY REEDER: Well, first of all, let me just say to this Planned Parenthood, yes, this is an attack on Roe v. Wade, which ought never to have been in existence. It is one of what I call the five most destructive opinions of the Supreme Court to our nation. Roe v. Wade takes its place along the inane opinions such as Dredd Scott and others.

And Planned Parenthood’s second comment that it was an attack on a woman’s bodily autonomy, no, this is a law that’s designed to preserve the life of a child whether a woman carries a child in her arms or in her womb. This child has a body, this child has a right to life, this child’s life is sacred, protected by the Constitution and, from a Biblical world and life view, is created in the image of God from the moment of conception on.

This is not an attack simply on the matter of a woman’s bodily autonomy — this is a declaration of the sanctity of the life of the child and the bodily life of the child is to be protected no matter where it is located in these absolutely dependent stages early in life, the dependent stage within the womb and the dependent stage in the arms on the way home from the hospital to be cared for.

ANSWER IS A GOSPEL MOVEMENT

Tom, let me just make one more statement from a Christian world and life view. We need to remember that, ultimately, the answer to this is a Gospel movement whereby men and women’s hardness of hearts is affected by the power of the Gospel of grace. And, throughout our nation, we see the development of a culture of life in opposition to the death spiral of this culture of death.

Secondly, Tom, is that believers from a Christian world and life view continue to address this issue in multiple ways:

— Adoption for the children: “You’re not unwanted”

— Care for the women in crisis pregnancy: “You are loved.”

–Outreach throughout the culture and the outreach of the Gospel to abortionists as well as those who are being deceived that abortion is the answer to a crisis pregnancy. Bring the Good News that Jesus loves sinners and Jesus will set us free from all of our sins and we can have a culture of life instead of a culture of death.

COMING UP FRIDAY: DATE NIGHT MEETS EVANGELISM

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Friday’s edition of Today in Perspective, we want to give our listeners some recommendations for a possible date night.

DR. REEDER: That’s right, Friday night date night. That’s a great idea. Ours used to be Friday night and now it’s Thursday night, but it’s still a great date night and I’ve got a great suggestion for you. By the way, I’ve also got a suggestion for at least a side-door opportunity for evangelism.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

(Image: Pixabay)

Guest: Physicians are no longer on the front lines of this pandemic — You are

State Health Officer is a difficult role to fill, especially this year. While partisanship and conspiracies continue to divide us, it is the job of the State Health Officer to make decisions for the good of all people throughout Alabama. This is exactly what Dr. Scott Harris has done for Alabamians during (and before) the COVID-19 pandemic.

After reading a recent article about Dr. Harris, I was appalled but not surprised by the fact that he has received death threats over mask mandates and other preventative measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. Governor Kay Ivey enacted the first mask mandate on July 16, 2020, at the recommendation of Dr. Harris and others. After the initial mandate, Alabama’s case average and death rates quickly fell. Neighboring states without mask mandates – including Mississippi, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee – all continued to rise above Alabama’s average.

As President of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, I would like to proudly declare my support of Dr. Harris and Governor Ivey in regard to the mask ordinance, social distancing guidelines, and other measures to protect the citizens of Alabama. Science and data have shown us time and time again that these guidelines work. That being said, why are there still Alabamians who push against these life-saving initiatives?

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While appealing to a sense of personal responsibility should be effective enough, it has proved not to be. What happens when personal responsibility is not enough, and people are endangering others? Mask mandates. Social distancing guidelines. Occupancy limitations.

Physicians and other health care providers have worked tirelessly to serve our patients, even at the cost of our own health and safety. What if I told you that we are no longer on the front lines of this pandemic, but you are? You have the power and capability to stop the spread of the Coronavirus that has taken over 3,450 lives in Alabama and 1.39 million lives worldwide. All you have to do to potentially save a life is to wear a mask in public, socially distance and wash your hands. These simple actions not only save lives, but can also help our physicians and hospital systems not get overwhelmed with patients. You can help keep your family and our families safe at the same time.

As we head into this holiday season, we can’t require people to keep themselves safe, but we are asking them to keep other people safe. Many people could be infected and transmit the disease to others without even knowing they are sick. I just hope that we can recontextualize the mask mandate and see it as a simple act of kindness to protect those around you. It seems like the least we can do for our families, friends, loved-ones, physicians, nurses, and communities as a whole.

John S. Meigs, Jr., MD is the president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama

5 hours ago

Alabama Department of Mental Health Commissioner Lynn Beshear retiring; Kim Boswell appointed as successor

Governor Kay Ivey on Monday announced that Lynn Beshear will retire as commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH) effective December 16.

Beshear was appointed by Ivey to this position in July 2017, shortly after the governor took office.

Yellowhammer News earlier this year named Beshear a 2020 Woman of Impact.

“When Lynn was appointed, I knew that she would approach her role always thinking of what is best for the people of Alabama,” Ivey said in a statement.

“She has created a collaborative team approach within the Alabama Department of Mental Health to solve intricate problems regarding delivery of services for mental illness, substance abuse disorder and intellectual disability. I am truly grateful for her service to our state and wish her best in her next chapter,” she continued.

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While leading ADMH, Beshear has spearheaded several initiatives to increase access of services for Alabamians with mental illness, while navigating complexities of delivery by the department and community providers.

“It is been an honor to serve as the Commissioner of the department,” Beshear commented. “I am stepping into the next chapter of my life proud of the accomplishments of the department and am incredibly honored to have worked with such dedicated individuals who are committed to improving the lives of others. I profoundly thank Governor Ivey for her trust in me these last three years and have no doubt the department will continue to change the lives of the people of Alabama for the better.”

Ivey’s office in a release outlined that under Beshear’s leadership, ADMH launched Stepping Up Alabama, which uses the national model to reduce the numbers of jailed individuals with mental illness. Alabama is the only state to expand the goal to include ER’s and substance use disorder. It is anticipated that a case management component of Stepping Up will be in place in all 67 counties by the end of the Fiscal Year 2022.

Additionally, three mental health crisis centers were recently announced as crisis diversion centers, with the goal of individuals receiving “the right care, at the right time, in the right place.”

Expansion of school-based mental health, hiring a housing coordinator for individuals’ stabilization plan, and expansion of early childhood services and autism services are examples of ADMH’s expansion of services during Beshear’s tenure.

The governor on Monday also announced she is appointing Kim Boswell to be the new ADMH commissioner effective December 16.

Boswell reportedly has more than 36 years of experience working with individuals with mental illness, substance abuse disorders and developmental disabilities.

She currently serves as chief of staff for Beshear and has been both associate commissioner for Administration as well as director of Human Resources for the department. During her career, Boswell has worked as a planner to improve human service delivery systems, a Program Evaluator, a School to Work Transition Coordinator, and has also served as the State Office Administrator for the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services.

“I’m pleased to announce Kim Boswell as Commissioner for the Alabama Department of Mental Health,” Ivey stated. “She has spent the entirety of her professional career devoted to helping struggling individuals and I appreciate her willingness to serve in this new capacity. Her background as a mental health provider as well as administrator makes her uniquely qualified.”

The governor’s office noted that Kim Boswell is of no relation to ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

5 hours ago

Report: Democratic-aligned group tried to register dead Alabama woman to vote in Georgia

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Monday said his office is investigating four different voter registration groups for potential wrongdoing ahead of the state’s crucial January 5 U.S. Senate runoffs.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Raffensperger, a Republican, held a press conference at the State Capitol in Atlanta to outline these investigations.

The theme of the alleged actions by all four groups under investigation pertains to attempting to register people who do not currently reside in Georgia to vote in the Peach State’s runoffs.

One of the groups was founded by Stacey Abrams, a Democrat who lost the Georgia gubernatorial race in 2018; she has still not conceded that election. Her group allegedly solicited individuals residing in New York City to register to vote in Georgia.

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Another group, Vote Forward, is alleged to have attempted to register a dead Alabama woman to vote in the upcoming runoff.

Vote Forward is a 501(c)(4) aligned with Democratic groups and left-leaning causes.

The group’s other prominent Alabama tie?

On Vote Forward’s website, the organization cites its voter registration and turnout efforts in the Yellowhammer State as being effective in helping U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) win his 2017 special election bid.

In fact, the website says, “The project began as an experiment conducted by Scott Forman in Alabama in 2017. Encouraged by the success of that test, Scott and a small group of friends and fellow Opower alumni built this platform…”

On Monday, Raffensperger stressed that Vote Forward and the three other named groups “have a responsibility to not encourage illegal voting.”

“If they do so, they will be held responsible,” he added.

The outcome of Georgia’s runoffs is of paramount importance for Alabama, as U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) will lose the chairmanship of the powerful Committee on Appropriations if Republicans do not win these two races.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has launched a nationwide Georgia Battleground Fund leadership team to aid fundraising in their effort to hold the Senate majority. Led by Karl Rove as national finance chairman, this also includes state chairs and a distinguished team of national and honorary co-chairs.

Katie Boyd Britt — current president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama and former chief of staff to Shelby — is the Alabama state chair for this effort.

“America’s fate rests on the outcome of these Georgia races,” stated Rove. “Democrats have not been shy about what they’ll do if Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi run Congress, so it’s imperative every freedom loving American go all in for Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler so they’re victorious. I’m honored to work with so many great Republican leaders from all 50 states and D.C. to ensure these two Senators have the resources to protect the last line of defense against the Democrats’ left-wing agenda.”

RELATED: Republican organizer leading team of volunteers to aid Senate races in Georgia

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

5 hours ago

Alabama sets state record for COVID-19 hospitalizations

Alabama recorded its largest yet number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital on Monday as the state’s coronavirus statistics continue to reach alarming levels.

There were 1,717 individuals in the hospital with COVID in Alabama on Monday, eclipsing the previous record of 1,613 set on August 6.

UAB Hospital, the state’s biggest and most prominent medical facility, is currently treating 125 coronavirus patients, a new high for the facility.

“125 patients means 125 patients receiving in-hospital, bed-specific care. These are patients who are either very sick, unable to get better, or potentially unable to survive without medical attention and care,” UAB explained about their hospitalized patients in a press release.

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Clicking image opens interactive chart in new tab (BamaTracker)
(UAB/Contributed)

UAB’s numbers include any patient admitted to the hospital with a diagnosed case of COVID-19.

The hospital’s numbers appear to indicate a worrying spike in the Birmingham metropolitan area. UAB was treating just 79 coronavirus patients on Thursday.

Overall, Alabama’s count of new coronavirus cases remains about as high as it has ever been. On average, 1,733 new cases have been added each day over the last week.

Clicking image opens interactive chart in new tab (BamaTracker)

Yellowhammer News is using statewide coronavirus numbers from BamaTracker in this piece. BamaTracker is a website that collects and displays coronavirus data published by the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Additionally, Yellowhammer is counting new cases as those confirmed by a chemical test performed in a laboratory. When adding results from rapid tests and other methods classified by ADPH as “probable” positives, Alabama’s seven-day average rises to 2,206.

Past trends in coronavirus data show that a spike in hospitalizations follows a spike in new cases by 2-3 weeks. A corresponding increase in deaths follows the increase in hospitalizations by around one month.

All but three of Alabama’s 67 counties reported a new COVID-19 case on Monday, indicating continued widespread transmission across the state.

Of all COVID-19 tests administered in Alabama over the last 14 days, 26.1% came back positive, the highest rate the state has suffered during the pandemic.

In recent days, for every eight tests administered, one was positive, per BamaTracker’s calculations.

Approximately 13 coronavirus deaths were reported in Alabama each day over the last week. The state’s death toll now stands at 3,246, with another 332 listed as “probable” but not yet confirmed by ADPH.

Doctors continue to recommend wearing face masks, staying at least six feet apart from others, and washing hands frequently as the best ways to slow the spread of the virus.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

6 hours ago

Alabama’s state Christmas tree to be delivered on Tuesday

Alabama’s official Christmas tree will be delivered to the State Capitol on Tuesday, the governor’s office said.

This year’s tree, donated by Robbins Taylor, Sr., is an Eastern Red Cedar arriving from Letohatchee in Lowndes County.

The tree stands about 35 feet tall and will be displayed on the front steps of the State Capitol building in Montgomery.

Following its delivery, the tree will be decorated throughout the week with lights and other adornments before the traditional Christmas tree lighting ceremony, which is scheduled for Friday at 5:30 p.m.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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