Alliance Defending Freedom took 10 cases all the way to the Supreme Court and celebrated several significant legal victories in 2013. Here are our top 10 wins of the year:
1. Texas Enacts Health Standards of Abortion Clinics. Senate Bill 2, passed this year, regulates chemical abortion clinics like other abortion businesses and requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals so they can’t abandon their patients in an emergency. We filed a brief supporting the Texas attorney general, and his lawyers relied on half a dozen experts that Alliance Defending Freedom and our allies developed in litigation for Mississippi, Alabama and Wisconsin, including our client Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood director.
2. Hercules Triumphs Over HHS. In the first win over the HHS Obamacare abortion-pill mandate, the Newland family, owners of Hercules Industries, does not have to choose between providing abortion-causing drugs and staying in business—at least until the Supreme Court makes a decision on other similar cases.
3. Taking Up Her Cross. Nadia Eweida, a British Airways check-in counter employee at London’s Heathrow Airport, was told she would have to cover up a small cross necklace around her neck, even though other employees were allowed to wear symbols of their religion, such as turbans and hijabs. Alliance Defending Freedom provided the funding for the case, and legal counsel Paul Coleman joined allied attorney Paul Diamond at the counsel’s table during the hearings. The European Court of Human Rights upheld Eweida's right to religious freedom as contained in the European Convention of Human Rights. The historic ruling is the first time the United Kingdom has ever been found to be in violation of Article 9 of the convention, on freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
4. Sunday School Back in the Park. A park commission banned a Christian ministry in the Baton Rouge projects from holding a Sunday school for at-risk youth in a public park, claiming their policy forbid any religious use of the parks. Alliance Defending Freedom took legal action against the commission and overturned the policy as unconstitutional.
5. Victory for the Liberty. Oregon State University officials tossed bins containing a conservative student organizations’ newspaper, The Liberty, into a trash heap, justifying their actions by claiming they were trying to “beautify” the campus. However, bins containing the school’s left-leaning student newspaper were left untouched. Our attorneys filed the lawsuit on behalf of the student group, which culminated in a tremendous victory at the United States Court of Appeals, affirming the free speech of Christian and conservative organizations on campus. The United States Supreme Court allowed the ruling to stand, which set a legal precedent over the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
6. An Invitation to Come. School administrators refused to allow 10-year-old Katie Ayers to hand out invitations to her classmates to a Christmas party at her church. After Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit against the school, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit found the school had violated her constitutionally protected rights in a ruling that affects at least 300 other schools in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.
7. Hundreds of Persecutors Convicted in India. Hindu extremists have attacked Christian villages at night; torched Christian homes, churches, and schools; demanded believers renounce their faith at knifepoint; burned Christians alive; and raped Christian women, including Roman Catholic nuns. Our attorneys on the ground in India have now secured 255 criminal convictions against the perpetrators of this violence.
8. 93 Abortion Clinics Closed. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have helped defend many of the new state laws that are putting the health of women above abortionists’ bottom line and defending the unborn, shutting these mills down, resulting in a record number of clinics closed this year.
9. Free Speech Out of the Box. In October 2012, a student at Louisiana State University wanted to participate in the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity by distributing written materials. After asking where on campus she could hand out literature, the university informed her she could only do so in small “Free Speech Alley” and also told her she had to register with the Office of Campus Life prior to distributing any literature to ensure others had not already reserved the limited spaces in the speech zone. After Alliance Defending Freedom took legal action against the school, Louisiana State University adopted a new speech policy, allowing students to distribute literature throughout the campus without obtaining prior approval.
10. Life Triumphs in Illinois. We filed a brief in the Illinois State Supreme Court defending the state’s parental notice law, which affirms parents have the right to know when their teen daughter is considering an abortion. After a 17-year battle, that law was upheld unanimously. In Elgin, Ill., a so-called “temporary sign” law was only applied to one “sign” in town—a mobile ultrasound van parked across the street from the local high school. Working with allied attorneys in Chicago, the ministry won a court victory, and girls and their babies are again being saved from abortion.
We hope that you’re encouraged and inspired by this snapshot of 2013. Each of these stories, and hundreds of others, is the result of prayer support, and in each case we are able to provide our legal services free of charge.
In spite of the challenges we’ve faced this year, with the start of a new year we’re reminded that there is always hope. Unlike the world, we know our hope comes from God and that out of the darkest hours often come the greatest victories.