Pro-Life Pregnancy Resource Centers Cannot be Forced to Advertise Abortion

Pro-life pregnancy resource centers in California cannot be forced to advertise abortion, according to the Supreme Court of the United States in NIFLA v. Becerra.  The 5-4 opinion was authored by Justice Clarence Thomas.  Read the full text of the case here.

The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA)the nationwide pro-life legal organization representing nearly 1,500 member pregnancy centers — many of whom are faith based in their philosophy on life - has just achieved a victory for pro-life free speech in America as the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the coercive law that forced pro-life pregnancy centers and their staff and volunteers to advertise tax-funded abortions. 

This is good news for pro-life free speech across the country, and it is even better news for the families that would have lost children to state funded abortions in California.  Focusing on protecting women and children is the path to the future for America and family restoration.  


A Child Focus on Immigration

Can a nation fix one of its most prevalent and primary problems by placing a focus on children? 
I have long advocated that a concentration on what is best for a child can bring a demise to rampant family breakdown.  See Rethinking Mom and Dad, describing the importance of dual gender parents, and Marriage, State Domestic Relations Power, and Family Strength, and Child Policy & National Strength: Restoring Ukraine in the Best Interests of the Child,  both outlining why family law is important to state and national policy. 
So, can placing children at the center of immigration reform be good for America?  Absolutely.  Because when parents and a nation place the protection of kids first, both will do what is in the best interests of those children because both parents and the government are required to do so by law.  As a pro-life, pro-child, and pro- family scholar and advocate I have been writing about this for a long time.  See Are We There Yet? Immigration Reform for the Best Interests of Children, Berkeley La Raza L. J. (2013)(reprinted Regent J. Int’l L. (2013)), focusing on protecting native born children when their undocumented parents are facing deportation.
Think through this important problem carefully.  Rather than unwittingly parrot what you might hear in the media which may or may not necessarily be based on fact, take a moment to educate yourself.  Rather than rush to judgment either way, take the time to be responsible and get caught up with what is happening regarding children parents, nations, and immigration at pp. 78-80
Children may just be the solution to America’s immigration concerns.  Placing them first is the best thing for immigrant parents, the nation, and for family restoration.


Religious Freedom in the Context of Wedding Cakes

Today the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission which focused on whether the state of Colorado can force baker Jack Phillips to express his support of a same-sex wedding through his bakery. Jack is a Christian, and while he sold countless cakes to LGBT people, he felt he could not take part in a religious ceremony that violated his Christian beliefs.
The case, argued by Kristen Waggoner (Regent Law 1997), Senior Vice President of U.S. Legal Advocacy & General Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, is about marriage, religious freedom and most of all free expression.  Writing about this previously in How Will the Proliferation and Recognition of Domestic Partnerships Affect Marriage?, it has been clear for quite some time that expanding marriage would have religious freedom implications, as well as  Collateral Effects on Family Law.
The Supreme Court of the United States held in favor of Jack Phillips in that the Colorado Civil Right Commission's hostility to the baker's religious beliefs was inconsistent with the First Amendment.  Read the full opinion at Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colo. Civil Rights Comm., U.S., No. 16-111, 6/4/18.  Today Regent Law Dean Mike Hernandez appeared on CBN Newswatch discussing the Masterpiece Cakeshop victory at the Supreme Court, where the lead attorneys were Regent Law alumni.   


Ireland Can Vote for Equality Over Death of Children

Ireland currently protects equally the rights of women and children under their Constitution's Eighth Amendment.  On May 25 citizens of Ireland will vote on that law's repeal.

A New York pregnancy resource center presages, "Ireland, please do not #repealthe8th. The US made abortion legal; now 55 million+ people are dead. It's a scientific fact: at the moment of conception, a unique human is made and lives. Abortion ends that life.” https://t.co/fyMi7Q7pQg"

Equality is the right choice. Both women and children will lose if this amendment is repealed, as the forfeit of women’s rights begins when reproductive choice prevails over life.     


NIFLA's 25th Year Summit held at Regent University

The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) is holding its National Legal and Medical Summit here at the Founders Inn on the Regent University campus this week.  This is a unique gathering of attorneys, Board members, Executive Directors, medical professionals and pro-life leaders from around the nation. 

The agenda for the Summit includes general sessions focused on both theoretical and practical aspects of advocating for life, including an update on the law suit against the state of California in NIFLA v. Becerra.  Learn more at NIFLA and SCOTUS BlogNIFLA represents more than 1,430 Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) across the country. To find a NIFLA Member Center near you, go to www.nifla.org

At this week’s Summit I will be presenting Roe’s Effect on Family Law  and how that ruling negatively changed things for not only women and children, but for marriage, parenting, and romance. A Christian Perspective on Gender Equality is helpful in protecting women from the destruction of abortion.  Family restoration can protect the lives of women and children, and pregnancy resource centers work to do just that. To understand how abortion has injured women see The Rise and Fall of Women’s Rights: Have Sexuality and Reproductive Freedom Forfeited Victory? 

Pregnancy resource centers and the women who visit them need to have the right to discuss their options to save the lives of their unborn children, as well as protect themselves from the harms of abortion. Marriage, parenting and romance have changed since Roe, but NIFLA brings hope to those families affected.

NIFLA is making a difference toward family restoration.




Marriage: a United Holiness

Today's royal wedding has brought together so many different aspects - nations, races, classes, ways of life - but most of all it has shown that "marriage is a way of life made holy by God."  That is family restoration. 




Supporting Clients Through & After Divorce

This guest blog post is from Austin Streeter, Regent Law rising 2L and current Family Law student --

Family law attorneys will inevitably face a divorce situation. According to rules of professional conduct, lawyers are not only to provide legal advice but are called to be counselors of law as well. ABA Model Rule 2.1 directs lawyers to render advice taking into consideration relevant moral, economic, social, and political factors.  As a Christian, this rule should take on additional importance in our role with clients. While taking Family Law, the professor emphasized alternatives to divorce that attorneys might be able to offer to clients who are seeking a divorce; providing resources and advice when a divorce has become unavoidable, however, is also essential. Instead of handing clients a divorce decree or a custody order, Christian attorneys should help a client by providing information and resources the client can use to aid his or her with the effects of a divorce or custody decision. This information should be given to the client throughout the divorce process, as even the most prepared person can be overwhelmed by the stress from the breaking apart of a family. An attorney can help the client by providing information that will aid the client in doing what is in the best interest of the client and his or her child.  Providing a client with good, helpful information to understand the effects of divorce on the client, and the client's children can make coping easier.


Parental Support

Virginia mandates a minimum of a four-hour seminar for parents who are a party to a contested custody petition. “The seminar or other program shall be a minimum of four hours in length and shall address the effects of separation or divorce on children, parenting responsibilities, options for conflict resolution and financial responsibilities.” Va. Code Ann.§ 20-103 (2017). One video tool is called Spare the Child, and is extremely effective in this regard. Even though the intent of this legislation is good, four hours of instruction cannot really provide the amount of information and support needed for a parent experiencing a divorce.

According to experts, to be able to provide adequate support for a child going through a divorce, the parent must also have sufficient coping resources in place. (Cultural Sociology of Divorce: An Encyclopedia 234 (Robert Emery eds., 2013) hereinafter referred to as the experts.) If the parent does not have a way to help himself or herself, the parent will not be in the position to provide a stable environment for the child. In the initial years after divorce, parents also experience significant change. Some parents remarry and other parents move, each of which can bring stress and a change in family dynamics. (Jacqueline Genesio Lux, Growing Pains that Cannot be Ignored: Automatic Reevaluation of Custody Arrangements 44 Fam. L.Q. 445, 448 (2010).) The parent needs to understand that after a divorce the parent’s role will be redefined. This redefinition of the parent’s role could cause the parent-child relationship to become closer or estranged. Again, the experts note that because of the significant stress a divorce places on a parent, the parent might be overwhelmed with his or her feelings of sadness, fear, anger, and guilt. These feeling might leave the parent unable to attend to the child’s needs, resulting in confusion and loneliness for the child. In some instances, this inability of a parent to provide needed support to a child can lead the child to feel a need for role reversal, providing emotional support to the parent, which can in turn lead to the child feeling caught in choosing sides between his or her parents.  Additionally, if the parent-child relationship becomes estranged and is accompanied by prolonged intense conflict, the situation can lead to numerous problems such as drug abuse, delinquency, depression, sexual promiscuity, and dropping out school.  Rather, from the outset an attorney can help to create an environment where both the parent and child continue to heal after a divorce, encouraging and empowering that parent to seek resources and develop relationships that enable the parent to reach a place where he or she can provide a supportive environment. Understanding yourself is important, but understanding your child’s needs is also important after a divorce.


Protecting & Support the Child

Research indicates that children who have both parents involved in their lives do better even if one of the parents does not reside with the child (Child Trends, Parental Involvement in Schools, (2013).  Again the experts say that when both parents are a part of a child’s life, it leads to increased self-esteem and overall positive adjustment. Prolonged separation from a parent can lead to depression; additionally, separation of daughters from fathers can lead to increased behavior issues in adolescent girls. Studies show as a child grows older the child's needs change; therefore, parents should plan for a child’s changing needs by creating a plan that has the flexibility to adapt as the child progresses into adolescence.

Divorce can be a complex and horrific experience which can be made worse for a child by his or her parent’s behavior. Some factors that have a negative impact on a child, according to experts, is the dissolution of the family unit, continued conflict between parents, reduction in economic resources, change in family stability, and increase in family stress. These situations can be reduced by the divorced parents establishing a co-parenting relationship with mutual respect and effective communication; furthermore, creating a stable environment with consistent discipline and rules can lead to better recovery after a divorce. The negative factors can lead to short-term sadness, anger, and confusion. These negative factors can lead to long-term adjustment problems such as continued depression and poor academic performance. All of the negative fallout from the dismantling of the family only magnifies the importance for parents to develop a positive attitude towards the child’s need of developing a positive relationship with the other parent.


Spiritual Support

The problems stemming from divorce can be more effectively managed by knowing the resources available in the community. As a Christian I believe a great community resource for dealing with divorce is the local church. For example, my church, like many churches, has multiple resources for people going through a divorce. First, the church provides a free membership for Right Now Media. Right Now Media is a website that provides video and audio streaming of a large number of movies, informational videos, and kids programming, as well as excellent lectures on divorce. These informational videos provide understanding from the parent’s perspective, the child’s perspective, and adults who went through divorce as children.  They can be helpful in further understanding the effects of divorce, helping parents develop strategies to cope with those effects. Second, the church has a bible study group for single parents. This group walks through a curriculum of issues that are faced by single parents. This small group also uses interactive discussion which can help single parents see and support others who are going through similar struggles and helps to create a support network within the church. Third, some churches like mine has therapists on staff who might be able to help point you in the right direction in finding a therapist who can provide help. In the event your client decides to see a therapist, or take a child to a therapist, understanding the role of that therapist is extremely important. When trying to decide on a therapist, a few helpful tips include choosing a therapist with experience and knowledge in dealing with children in or after a divorce, knowing that therapy will be more effective if both parents are involved, and choose a therapist that has a system in place for communicating equally with both parents. (Lyn R. Greenberg ET AL., Is the Child’s Therapist Part of the Problem? 37 Fam. L.Q. 241 (1995).) Understanding the therapist’s role is also important because having a fundamental misunderstanding of the therapist’s role could lead to issues later. A therapist’s goal is to develop and maintain a child’s healthy relationship with both parents, create coping strategies, and reduce exposure to parental conflict. Even though this should be a therapist’s goal, some therapists stray from their role and offer ‘psycholegal’ opinions on custody, on parent’s ability to parent, and may even create accusations of abuse. Id. at 259-60. The role of a psycholegal forensic evaluator is better left to individuals appointed by the court for that purpose.  


Support from the Military Community

Another resource for areas with a high navy population is Fleet and Family Support Centers or its army or air force equivalents. Fleet and Family Support Centers offer a variety of resources from courses that last a few hours to courses that are multiple weeks in length. Fleet and Family Support Centers’ classes are a resource that can be very helpful in increasing an understanding of the effect of divorce, helping parents to develop a toolbox of skills for helping their children. It can be very helpful in aiding a parent toward reevaluation of parenting techniques during and long after the divorce, helping a parent to assess and provide for the changing needs of his or her children.


Finally, books are a great resource, and divorce and single parenting are topics that have many books written for a wide variety of people.  Taking advantage of the resources available in the community is a great way to help develop a network of people and organizations that can be extremely helpful to a client who is going through or has just gone through a divorce.  Having the right attitude when going through a divorce can make a great deal of difference. This attitude should be one of never giving up, continually improving and reevaluating parenting techniques, and continuously evaluating the child’s changing needs to help a child thrive even after a divorce.


Christian Leadership to Change the World & Restore Families

Nearly 300 law students graduated from Regent University School of Law this weekend (JDs, LLMs, & MAs), all having responded to and followed through on a call from God to make a difference with their faith in the field of law.  Integrating Religion, Faith, and Morality in Traditional Law School Courses,  these students will indeed impact the world.  Join me in being thankful for them, and in supporting them in prayer as they seek to serve the Almighty and His Kingdom purposes.

Family restoration can happen through Christian leadership to change the world.