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The AACS Legislative Office monitors issues that affect the educational freedom and religious liberty of Christian schools.
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The Washington Flyer
October 21, 2016

 
“The general principles, in which the Fathers achieved independence, were the only principles in which that beautiful assembly of young gentlemen could unite. . . . And what were these principles? I answer, the general principles of Christianity. . . . Now I will avow, that I then believe, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity, are as eternal and immutable, as the existence and attributes of God and that those principles of liberty are as unalterable as human nature and our terrestrial, mundane system.”
John Adams
 
9th Circuit Court Forces Pro-Life Centers to Promote Abortion
The 9th Circuit Court ruled last week that pregnancy care centers in California
must comply with a new law which requires the pro-life centers to inform pregnant women of abortion as an option. The Reproductive FACT Act (AB 775) was passed October 2015 by the California state legislature and went into effect January 1 of this year. The law mandates that the 75 pregnancy care centers that offer free ultrasounds must notify any pregnant women they serve of the following message: “California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [insert the telephone number].” The law even specifies the size of font that must be used when displaying or disseminating the message. The pro-life pregnancy care centers have pointed out that the inclusion of the number for the social services office basically amounts to a referral for an abortion, and thereby goes against their mission and religious beliefs. Pregnancy centers that do not offer free ultrasounds must post the following message “in no less that 48-point font” and in two conspicuous places: “This facility is not licensed as a medical facility by the State of California and has no licensed medical provider who provides or directly supervises the provision of services.” When the law was passed, the pregnancy centers pushed back, charging that forcing the display of a state-sponsored message contrary to their mission and religious beliefs violates their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. As explained by Matt Bowman, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), “It’s bad enough if the government tells you what you can’t say, but a law that tells you what you must say—under threat of severe punishment—is even more unjust and dangerous. In this case, political allies of abortionists are seeking to punish pro-life pregnancy centers, which offer real hope and help to women. Forcing these centers to promote abortion and recite the government’s preferred view is a clear violation of their constitutionally protected First Amendment freedoms. That’s why other courts around the country have halted these kinds of measures and why we will be discussing the possibility of appeal with our clients.” A similar law was just overturned by a federal court in Baltimore. The city of Baltimore established an ordinance in 2009 which required pregnancy care centers to post a disclaimer that they did not offer abortions. However, life centers argued that this disclaimer was an endorsement of abortion as an acceptable option. The federal court agreed that the ordinance forced the centers to violate their mission and religious beliefs and ruled against the city. The state of Illinois also has a similar law set to take effect on January 1, 2017, and ADF is involved in fighting back for the freedoms and help of the pregnancy care centers in Illinois.

Pro Life

DC Council Considers Legalizing Assisted Suicide
The DC Council has moved to place an
assisted suicide bill on their legislative agenda next month when they will hold two required votes on the issue. The so-called Death with Dignity Act allows for assisted suicide for terminally ill patients who have been given less than 6 months to live. Although the bill has received much opposition by a wide cross-section within the District of Columbia, groups from outside the District, such as Compassion and Choices, have pressured council members to support the bill. Supporters of the bill claim that terminally ill patients should have the freedom to choose the time and place of their death, while opponents charge that such legislation opens the door for abuse, coercion, and discrimination against the elderly, disabled, and low-income patients. Concerns have also been expressed that health insurance companies could use the bill to offer an assisted suicide option rather than continue coverage for a terminally ill individual. Many doctors have also expressed opposition to the bill as it violates the Hippocratic oath. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has not taken a position on the bill, so it is not certain whether or not she would sign the bill into law if passed. In recent years, DC has become a “proving ground” for controversial legislation progressive groups hope to expand to other states, so the vote has become a proxy fight of sorts in the larger cultural war being fought nationwide.


Education

Millennials Show Strong Support For School Choice
A new study has found that Millennials are largely in favor of school choice. The study, titled
Millennial Perspectives on K-12 Education and School Choice, was released by the Indianapolis-based organization EdChoice and surveyed over 1,000 people asking questions regarding education savings accounts (ESA’s), parental freedom, and other school choice issues. Interestingly, the survey found that millennial and Generation X participants were far more likely to support ESA’s and other school choice related programs than their older siblings or parents. Charter schools are supported by a strong majority of Millennials with 63 percent supporting and only 19 percent opposing. Vouchers for private school choice also have large support among Millennials and Gen-Xer’s with support from 61 percent and just 23 percent opposed. Furthermore, ESA’s, one of the greatest forms of school choice, are supported by Millennials by a large margin of 57 percent to 21 percent, with Gen-Xer’s recording similar numbers. This support is a big shift from previous generations, the Baby Boomers and the “Silent Generation,” whose support for ESA’s ranges anywhere from 44 to 46 percent.



 

 


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The Planned Parenthood Deception
 
The All-Out Assault on the First Amendment
 
4 Cultural Trends Leading to the Decline of Religious Liberty








 
American Association of Christian Schools
Jamison Coppola: Legislative Director
Maureen Van Den Berg: Policy Analyst

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