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Since the Biden administration took office, the executive branch has established quite the track record for repeatedly usurping congressional authority and improperly wielding its own powers to appease its political base to the grave detriment of religious Americans.
In just two years, the executive branch has implemented various discriminatory regulations that have effectively displaced thousands of religious federal and private employees from the workforce.
Last January, the U.S. Supreme Court halted President Joe Biden’s OSHA vaccine mandate, but ongoing lawsuits such as Navy SEALs 1-26 v. Biden and Doster v. Kendall illustrate this issue. This is a far cry from the respect for religious liberty demonstrated by President Bill Clinton, who signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act with overwhelming bipartisan support. The current administration disdains those who choose to live by their faith in the workplace.
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This time, the administration is targeting medical providers at Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) medical facilities. Consequently, our client, Stephanie Carter, faces the now all-too-familiar crisis between following her religious conscience and keeping her job — a quandary Judge James Ho of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals once referred to as “the most horrifying of Hobson’s choices.”
Citing the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health overturning Roe v. Wade, in September, the VA announced that it would begin offering abortion services at VA facilities nationwide.
The VA brazenly issued this edict without first engaging the legislative branch, as it is required to do. Ignoring 30 years of congressional authority expressly prohibiting abortions at VA facilities, the VA was to immediately begin offering abortion services regardless of the unborn child’s gestational age and in spite of any state laws which might prohibit such a procedure.
Carter is a primary care nurse practitioner with strong religious objections to abortion. She presently works at the VA’s Temple, Texas facility. Her own traumatic history with multiple abortions contributes to her convictions, and she wants no part of working in a facility that performs unlimited abortions. For 23 years, the VA’s mission aligned with her religious beliefs.
But no longer, as the VA has become the Biden administration’s latest vehicle for pushing its exceedingly broad pro-abortion agenda so that veterans and their beneficiaries can have access to unlimited abortions for essentially any reason.
Not only does the VA’s rule detrimentally impact religious employees, but it also exposes all nurse practitioners, like Stephanie, and other medical providers working in the state of Texas to criminal and civil liability for engaging in the rule’s abortion activity. Moreover, the Texas Board of Nursing requires nurses to report illegal nursing activity to the state.
The fact that the Biden VA has no authority to implement its abortion regulation makes the grim prospect of employees being prosecuted for engaging in their unprecedented job duties entirely unconscionable.
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And while many will protest that Carter’s religion should not dictate the government’s internal operations, both sides of the abortion debate should agree that the executive branch under any administration is foreclosed from imposing rules in excess of its authority.
The United States Constitution balances power between branches of government for a reason, and no matter what the political agenda may be, the executive branch cannot operate as a dictatorship.
In the recently decided case, Brown v. U.S. Department of Education, Judge Mark Pittman of the Northern District of Texas rightly stated only weeks ago, “In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone. Instead, we are ruled by a Constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government. And as President James Madison warned, ‘[t]he accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.’”
Carter and other employees of faith at the VA are under no obligation to abandon their careers to accommodate the VA’s illegal activity. For this reason, Carter, a veteran herself, is defending her rights in federal court and is asking the judge to halt the VA’s enforcement of its abortion rule at her VA facility.
In the meantime, the Biden administration’s dictatorial actions must end. Engaging in the democratic process that has been the bedrock of our nation for the past 234 years is a requirement, not a recommendation. Without brave Americans like Carter defending their religious liberty rights by way of the judicial branch, the fundamental freedoms enjoyed by every American since the founding of this nation would already be lost.
Holly Randall serves as counsel for First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit law firm exclusively dedicated to defending religious liberty for all Americans. Read more at FirstLiberty.org.
Source: Fox News