In a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling this week, a federal judge for the Fifth Circuit wrote a ruling that criticized the abortion industry, calling the act a “moral tragedy,” Life News reported.
Judge James C. Ho of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, wrote a scathing ruling in a case this week where he argued the abortion industry is trying to “retaliate against people of faith” simply because they believe all people deserve a shot at life, even the unborn.
Judge’s Ho’s ruling addressed a lawsuit that would have forced Texas bishops to surrender private emails and other forms of communication to the state after Whole Woman’s Heath sued the state of Texas. The case was not between the bishops and the Whole Woman’s Health center but between the state of Texas and Whole Woman’s Health.
Whole Woman’s Health, an abortion chain, had sued the state over a new state law that requires all abortion facilities to cremate or bury the remaining body parts of aborted babies. Abortion providers were up-in-arms over the new law, arguing that it would increase their costs dramatically.
As a result, the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops offered to bury the aborted remains of the babies in Catholic cemeteries across Texas, as an alternative for the abortion clinics, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents the bishops.
Disregarding the offer, abortion clinics took the state to court, with proceedings beginning earlier this year. They sued the state, trying to obtain the communication that took place within the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops regarding the new abortion law.
The abortionists won their case in the lower court, but just this week the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected their attempt.
“The decision protects religious leaders from intrusive government burdens on internal church affairs, including being forced to turn over discussions regarding church doctrine and ministry,” said Becket Fund representatives.
“Letting trial lawyers put religious leaders under constant surveillance doesn’t make sense for church or state,” said Eric Rassbach, senior counsel at Becket. “The court was right to nip this abuse of the judicial process in the bud.”
The court argued that the bishops’ right to protection “go[es] to the heart of the constitutional protection of religious belief and practice as well as citizens’ right to advocate sensitive policies in the public square.”
They also pointed out that the abortionist’s lawsuit “looks like an act of intimidation” against the bishops’ conference.
While in court, the abortionists volunteered to withdraw their request to subpoena if the executive of the conference would agree not to testify.
The court, however, argued that this tactic was used “to retaliate against the people of faith for not only believing in the sanctity of human life – but also for wanting to do something about it.”
“We are grateful for the court’s ruling,” said Bishop Brendan Cahill of Victoria, Texas. “We believe it will protect religious freedom not just for Catholics, but for Americans of all faiths.”
Judge Ho, an appointee of President Donald Trump, did not write the majority opinion, but his concurring opinion has garnered more attention than Judge Edith J. Jones’ majority opinion.
“The First Amendment expressly guarantees the free exercise of religion – including the right of the bishops to express their profound objection to the moral tragedy of abortion, by offering free burial services for fetal remains,” Ho wrote.
He mentioned the U.S. Supreme Court ruling involving Masterpiece Cakeshop, questioning whether or not the abortionist groups subpoena the Bishops in order “to retaliate against people of faith for not only believing in the sanctity of life – but also for wanting to do something about it.”
“It is hard to imagine a better example of how far we have strayed from the text and original understanding of the Constitution than this case,” he added.
In a move that has been described as punitive by Becket Law, who is representing the Conference, Whole Women’s Health subpoenaed the bishops in March 2018 to release all of its internal documents concerning embryonic and fetal tissue remains, miscarriage, or abortion – including deliberations on matters of theology and philosophy, along with all correspondence between state agencies and their employees and any documentation pertaining to the lawsuit.
While the bishops provided more than 4,000 pages of documents, they insisted that all internal communication remain private. Last month, however, a district court ruled that they must turn over all documentation within 24 hours.
The decision, which came down on June 17 – Father’s Day – provided a 24 hour window to comply, which the bishops appealed, leading to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granting an emergency stay in the case.
(H/T: Life News)