I truly feel like I am living in an alternate universe. This past weekend, as the largest abortion provider in this country was celebrated for reaching the 100-year milestone while pro-life clinics in California were demonized and forced by the government to hold hands with organizations that stand in direct opposition to a pro-life ethic and a religious belief that life is sacred.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 14 that pro-life clinics must indeed refer patients to publicly funded abortion providers in their communities. This ruling, although not final, could be very damaging to the work of pregnancy centers in California and possibly around the country.
This is government intrusion at its worst. The California law is a misuse of legislative power. This bill was crafted with the assistance of the abortion lobby and with the goal of closing down pregnancy centers in and around California.
I understand political posturing and putting forward legislation that may harm your opposition. My issue is not with the passing of this legislation. I must be clear here; I disagree absolutely with this law and the desire to force pro-life clinics to somehow point or refer patients to abortion clinics. However, I am not surprised that this law would be passed in the very progressive state of California. I am surprised, however, in the Court ruling this legislation acceptable in light of the Constitution.
The abortion lobby will take this time to point at the many abortion restriction laws being passed across the country as a similar stunt. I would fully disagree with this. We are not seeing legislation around this country forcing abortion providers to hold hands with and refer patients to pro-life clinics. I would love to see abortion clinics do that, but I would disagree with the use of the law or the courts to mandate that type of statute.
The restrictions that have been passed here in my state of Tennessee and other states in the Union are designed to assist the patient with the options in front of them. I am not naïve, though: I realize at least some of these legislative actions are designed to hinder or cripple the abortion industry. It’s not the only reason these laws are passed, but it certainly plays a role in a legislative agenda aimed at protecting life—both for unborn children and their mothers.
We are all adults here and should recognize that both sides wish to see the other side close their doors. Anyone denying that would be lying. There is a key distinction between acting and speaking, however, and we should be strongly opposed to any action that hijacks the courts and the law to silence those with whom we may disagree. We do, after all, have a First Amendment. I can disagree with what others may say, but should not seek to revoke or diminish their right to say it.
Tweet This: Attacks on #prolife free speech aimed to make #abortion the only option. @KnoxvilleHope
This newly passed law in California is a stunt to silence those of us on the side of life. The abortion lobby continues to make profits off the back of the most vulnerable while pregnancy centers seek to love, care, and serve the most vulnerable without charging a dime.
People on the side of life will fight this ruling to the Supreme Court if that is the route that has to be taken. I have complete confidence in that. However, I have little confidence in the system ruling in our favor. I pray that I am wrong, but history and the current makeup of our presidential election doesn’t offer much hope.
This is why I am grateful I do not have to place my hope in man, systems, or courts. This ruling is certainly a step in the wrong direction, but it doesn’t change the work we are called to do. This ruling doesn’t change the love, service, or care that we have to offer. Instead, it presents us with an opportunity to go against the grain and offer support the abortion lobby is incapable of offering.
Many folks working in the pro-life world got into this work to see every life celebrated and valued. We knew that it was time for a voice to be given to those that had none. We understood this work was counter to the culture and society we live in and would surely be a very steep uphill battle—a battle that still rages today.
There is no denying that this law—and its even more disastrous cousin in Illinois—is damaging and dangerous to the great pro-life work in California and around this country. We must partner with our prayers, our time, and our wallets to see this ruling overturned. We must also recognize that this is an opportunity to serve a greater purpose.
The curtain is being pulled back, and more eyes will be on the work we perform and the work being performed at the abortion clinics. This means that our free, but expert care will be placed under a microscope and the world can finally see what is we do and why we do it. This will also clearly show the profit-motivated work of the abortion clinic that seeks to pass all of their costs onto the patient and the taxpayer.
Our mission is not to attack the abortion lobby. No, our mission is to provide for moms, dads, and families in need. It is this work, not our pro-life stance, which attracts our patients to us. They are in crisis and in desperate need of assistance—assistance we are able to provide.
Andrew Wood is executive director of HOPE Resource Center, a life-affirming medical clinic in Knoxville, Tenn.