41 = 560,000,000

01-19-2014Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

The US Supremes this week refused to hear an appeal from Arizona on the 9th Circuit's injunction stopping implementation of AZ's new abortion law that permits abortions up to 20weeks. All this means is that the State Lawmakers will have to fix the law and try again. While there are other states operating with the same abortion law they for some reason have not been stopped from implementing the law. (Then again Arizona has the unfortunate geographical curse of being under the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit). This is pretty much how it has gone with abortion laws over the last 41 years since Roe v Wade, an unending series of litigation. But the good news is that our persistent efforts have paid off in many cases in this unending war against the unborn.

While the Supremes didn't sing about this legal case they will hear a case this session on the legality of restrictions placed on Pro-life demonstrators at Abortion Clinics. The case challenges the restrictions placed on Abortion Clinic protesters in Massachusetts. Think back now to the protests by Union Members at the Wisconsin State Capital after the Governor rescinded collective bargaining for Public Employees. The protesters occupied the state Capital for days on end, disrupting the work of the Legislature and making it difficult for lawmakers to enter the building. Or picture the Occupy Wall Street protesters in various cities in the country but especially in New York City. For weeks at a time the protesters occupied both private and public parks, made it difficult for local business to operate, caused both vehicular and foot traffic snarls and left behind a sanitation mess beyond description. In both cases the protesters, even though many acted like park apes, were not interfered with by law enforcement, were not told where to stand, what to say, what signs they could or could not hold up.

Yet when it comes to Abortion Protesters and only Abortion Protestors the heavy hand of law enforcement comes down hard. Municipalities pass restriction after restriction on how Pro-Life demonstrations can be held that they would never insist upon for any other type of public assembly. The fact is that Pro-Life demonstrators are subject to more restrictions than any other group in the history of the United States. Our rights to free assembly are consistently burdened by unreasonable and often malicious restrictions that would never hold up for any other group of protesters.

Since these protests are local the situation often poisons the relations between neighbors and especially between citizens and their government officials. Perhaps the worst of it is felt by local law enforcement. After all local police are the ones charged with enforcing a municipality's laws and zoning rules. Who the police have to confront are often their neighbors, family members, church friends, people they know to be good and decent citizens. It is not easy for them to stomach.

Why such burdensome restrictions on Pro-Life demonstrators and not other types of demonstrators? Protests at abortion clinics keep the issue front and center when many would rather look the other way. But also because these protests are effective in stopping abortions from happening by offering alternatives to abortion, something a woman won't be counseled about once inside the human abattoir. The 40 Days for Life Campaigns have drawn particular ire because of their effectiveness in cutting abortions down at clinics. This of course hurts the profits of the clinics that in turn vigorously lobby legislatures and city councils to pass even more draconian and unconstitutional restrictions.

That's why we will be out there again during our 40 Days Lenten Campaign, peacefully praying, offering hope to the women and men who come to the abortion clinic and exercising our constitutional right to free assembly.

So forty-one years past Roe v Wade abortion still poisons everything.

Love, Fr. John B.