By: Gary McCaleb
Once more the Supreme Court lets stand—over Justice Alito’s vigorous dissent—a dangerous appellate court decision, one intended to force life-loving Christian pharmacists in Washington State to dispense death-dealing drugs to pregnant women; drugs that have one purpose: to end a human baby’s life.
Margo, one of the pharmacists spurned by the high Court, put it most simply and directly: when a pregnant woman comes to her pharmacy counter, she has two patients to treat—and she cannot in good conscience consign one to death.
Yet as Justice Alito and his fellow dissenters show, this kind, conscientious pharmacist was targeted by an unseemly coalition of abortion advocates and state officials who gerrymandered the regulations to suppress ethical and moral objections to selling abortion drugs. It didn’t matter that the patient would be referred to a nearby pharmacy to make her “choice” about abortion; it didn’t matter that 5 national and 33 state pharmacists’ associations along with 4,609 other health care professionals asked the Court to protect conscience. The appellate decision left standing says in effect to pharmacists: Christians need not apply—you must forego your faith to serve in this caring profession.
Worse, the Court’s refusal to hear a case of such merit and impact follows hard on the heels of another high court case, striking down common sense regulations intended to ensure the safety of women in the abortions centers based in Texas.
All of this is music to the ears of the leftists, for whom abortion is necessary to stoke their sexual revolution.
Why, then, as a pro-life advocate for many years, do I hear different music…specifically, the melody of a Christmas carol—why on earth would music celebrating that divine Birth come to mind when I look at an uncaring Court and the brutality of abortion?
Well, because that carol is about a good king—a king so good and saintly that the great town square in modern Prague is named “Wenceslas Square” after him. And I think of it because I walked that square a few weeks ago and noticed this curious, half-melted cross laying upon the cobblestones at the head of the square.
Behind this odd cross is a tale that pro-life advocates should bear in mind—a story of unrelenting courage, drive, and persistence in pursuit of righteousness. The cross memorializes one Jan Palach; a young student who in the wake of the Soviet invasion of 1968 burned himself to death to protest the oppressors. Jan’s death and ensuing funeral catalyzed the pro-liberty movement. From 1969 until the Soviet collapse in 1989, no amount of effort from the secret police; no barrage of propaganda, no detentions, arrests, beatings, show trials, and worse could tamp down the voices of freedom.
Jan’s fellow students and many others kept fighting, kept protesting, kept engaging through each of the twenty years that separated his death from ultimate freedom. Year after year came the protests; year after year the state retaliated with inhumane brutality, unyielding in its defiance of liberty and freedom
. And as I walked the square, I wondered how those who year after year picked up the cause of freedom had managed to keep the faith in the face of such forceful, even violent, and overwhelming state opposition? How would they have felt in 1979, a decade after Jan’s death and a decade away from the glory of freedom?
I suspect it would have been much as we pro-life advocates feel today. It’s been more than four decades since the jural abomination of Roe v. Wade; somewhere in the future lays our sought-for victory. In the midst of this, two more court battles, two more defeats; Big Abortion will continue its profitable slaughter unabated.
Yet tomorrow, we at Alliance Defending Freedom and a host of great pro-life allies will be back at it—just as the brave Czechs went back year after year—and we will advocate for life and freedom.
Indeed, Justice Alito noted in his dissent what we already knew—that another legal challenge to defend the conscience of these great pro-life heroes in small-town Washington State is still possible. And it is not only possible, the opportunity is being developed even as I write.
Victory may be a year … a decade … or more in the future. But abortion is a poor answer for life’s problems, just as Communism was a poor answer for how to govern. The victory is there, and we will fight yet again until the culture of death yields to the hope of life. We can do no less.