A Special Christmas Message From Our President And CEO

Full disclosure – it’s been quite some time since I’ve watched a full episode of the evening news. It’s not that I’m uninformed.  Like tens of millions of Americans, and perhaps just like you, my mobile news feed provides far more information from sources I know and trust, meaning the days are long gone when I count on networks to filter and present their particular versions of what they think I should know.  The same can be said of printed news.  As far as I can recall, the only newspaper I purchased this year was the Thanksgiving edition, and that was for the purpose of viewing ads for Black Friday sales, which turned out to be the same sales going on since late October.  That was a quick read.

So it was of little surprise to me when, just two weeks ago, I took a step of faith and tuned in to a local news broadcast in hopes of hearing something uplifting at the end of a year which has been anything but.  Less than ten minutes later, the experiment ended and the TV was off.  Even now, when we all need encouragement, comfort, and a reason to believe there’s more to life than perpetual chaos, the bad news is what we are forced to endure.  Even at Christmas.  Even at the time of year which has traditionally been the most joyous holiday for generations of Americans.

It’s almost as if a cancel culture world is turning its sights on what it hopes will finally extinguish the greatest cultural influencer in all of human history – the Child, born of a virgin, who came to give us all the only real hope we will ever have.

There is no surprise here.  For many decades, the perception of what Christmas means has shifted in American culture.  Some attempts to change the holiday’s name have not fared terribly well, such as changing the name of a Christmas tree to a “holiday” tree.  A more effective strategy has been to let the name of the holiday stand while rebranding it as a season of romance, snowflakes, and magical moments.   Call it what you will, as long as it doesn’t point to a Messiah, to the one named Jesus.

But to the more aggressive, the time has come to drive coffin nails into the manger, once and for all.

Others have tried to do the same for over two thousand years.  All of them have failed.

Now, if Christmas were a myth, if it were no more than a fantastic tale passed down from generation to generation, with no connection to historical truth, then Christmas indeed is in danger of being scrubbed in deference to, say, a winter solstice celebration.

But the truth of Christmas is far deeper than any myth might dare claim.

Who could have dreamed that after four hundred years of prophetic silence, a young virgin would be visited by an angel announcing she would be with child?

Who could have arranged for a Roman census to be issued resulting in Joseph, Mary, and the unborn baby Jesus traveling to Bethlehem and arriving just in time for the baby to be born?

Who could have supposed that a King would exchange His throne for a feeding trough?

Who could have ordered the night sky to be filled with heavenly hosts declaring the Savior had come?

Who could have chosen lowly shepherds, instead of the rich and the powerful, to be the first to receive the good news?

Who could have imagined the Child would change the world and fulfill over 300 prophecies?

Who could have dared to believe that the One, who at birth was wrapped in swaddling cloths, would one day be wrapped in a scarlet robe, beaten, stripped, scourged, crowned with thorns, and nailed to a cross?

Who could have known the entire mission of the baby born in Bethlehem, on that very first Christmas, was to pay sin’s debt in full for all who will believe in Him?

Who could have guessed the Creator of life would prove His power over death, for all eternity, by rising from the dead and leaving behind an empty tomb?

The stuff of mere myth?  Not for the apostles who physically walked with Him, knew Him, witnessed His resurrection, and gave their lives as martyrs.  No one does that for a myth.

Nor for the millions of believers throughout the centuries, up to the very hour you are reading this, who are outcast, beaten, imprisoned, and even killed for the sake of the One whose birth we celebrate on Christmas day.

Trying to cancel Christmas is nothing new.  Herod the Great, Nero, Stalin, Mao, and all tyrants like them have tried and failed, because Christmas is far greater than any of them ever comprehended.  Empires, and regimes come and go.  The truth and hope of Christmas still remains.

Can you cancel culture?  Maybe.  But you can never cancel the Truth the abides in hearts of all who believe.  You can’t cancel Christmas because you can’t cancel Jesus.

I don’t know what headlines will dominate tonight’s evening news, but I do know what a hurting world needs to hear, now more than ever:

Rejoice, for the Savior is come!

It is on this simple yet profound declaration that I place my hope this Christmas, and I sincerely hope that you do as well.

May you and your family have a blessed Christmas.

Mike Fichter
President and CEO

 

Tennessee Abortion Ruling Gives Indiana Law New Hope

By Katie Franklin

Pro-life Hoosiers have a reason to be hopeful, thanks to a recent move by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Just before Thanksgiving, the court determined that part of a Tennessee law prohibiting abortion because of the child’s sex, race, or diagnosis of Down syndrome, can take effect.

This decision is not the final ruling from the 6th Circuit, as the court still needs to review the full case, but it certainly sends a positive signal to Tennesseans that the court is weighing the law’s constitutionality seriously.

So what does this ruling have to do with Indiana, which is not in the 6th Circuit?

Indiana was, in fact, the first state to pass a law prohibiting such discriminatory abortions. In 2016, then-Governor Mike Pence signed Indiana Right to Life’s House Enrolled Act 1337, banning abortion, under civil rights code, for the sole reason of race, gender, national origin of the mother, Down syndrome or other disability.

“HEA 1337 will ensure the dignified final treatment of the unborn and prohibits abortions that are based only on the unborn child’s sex, race, color, national origin, ancestry, or disability, including Down syndrome,” Governor Pence said in a statement at the time. “Some of my most precious moments as Governor have been with families of children with disabilities, especially those raising children with Down syndrome.”

HEA 1337 was a landmark policy that set the stage for pro-life lawmakers in other states to follow.

But predictably, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky sued the state of Indiana in an effort to take down our anti-discrimination law and protect their eugenic legacy.

Consequently, in 2018, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Indiana’s law as unconstitutional. The state of Indiana appealed that decision to the Supreme Court and last spring, the Court delivered another disappointment when it declined to hear the case.

However, the Court left a door open. As Justice Clarence Thomas explained, a split in circuit decisions is required for the Supreme Court to weigh in. So far, only one circuit has ruled on a law like ours. Another circuit court would have to rule favorably regarding a similar law for the Supreme Court to settle the matter.

He also explained that prohibiting eugenic abortions presents an issue of “first impression” since the Court has not ruled on a state’s right to restrict eugenic abortions before.

“The Court’s decision to allow further percolation should not be interpreted as agreement with the decisions below,” Thomas added. “Enshrining a constitutional right to an abortion based solely on the race, sex, or disability of an unborn child, as Planned Parenthood advocates, would constitutionalize the views of the 20th-century eugenics movement.”

As Thomas Messner, a Senior Fellow in Legal Policy at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, explained at the time, the Court’s decision not to hear the case was the second-best outcome pro-lifers could have asked for. By leaving the door open for other states to continue passing prenatal anti-discrimination laws, the Court has left open for itself the opportunity to rule on the issue somewhere down the line.

Indeed, over the last four years, other states have attempted similar pro-life protections for highly vulnerable unborn babies. Ohio passed a law prohibiting abortion for the reason of a Down syndrome diagnosis, and Tennessee passed one that mirrored Indiana’s other protections, as well.

Both are working their way through the 6th Circuit, and the recent decision regarding the Tennessee law gives hope for split circuits and the chance for the Supreme Court to revisit the issue originally posed by Indiana.

 

 

AG Curtis Hill resolves case involving misleading claims by abortion clinic

BREAKING: The Office of Attorney General Curtis Hill released this statement earlier today: 

Attorney General Curtis Hill announced today he has resolved a case involving a Florida-based company that falsely claimed it operated abortion clinics in Indiana.

Orlando Women’s Center and its owner, Dr. James Pendergraft, operate multiple Florida abortion clinics. On their website, Orlando Women’s Center made multiple misleading posts asserting the company operates abortion clinic locations in various Indiana cities. These actions, Attorney General Hill alleged, constitute violations of the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.

“Contrary to their claims,” Attorney General Hill said, “Orlando Women’s Center does not operate any abortion clinics in Indiana. Further, this company has never obtained any abortion clinic licenses in Indiana. Abortion providers must always be held accountable when they attempt to twist the truth in the process of selling their services to consumers.”

This month, Orlando Women’s Center entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) with the Office of the Attorney General requiring the company to immediately cease all advertising that references Indiana abortion clinic locations purportedly operated by the center.

The AVC also permanently prohibits the center and Dr. Pendergraft from claiming an affiliation with any Indiana abortion clinics unless they actually have such an affiliation.

Under Indiana law, any freestanding entity that provides abortion procedures must be licensed by the Indiana State Department of Health.  As part of the licensing process, the Indiana State Department of Health continually monitors the quality of health care provided by the clinic.

The Consumer Protection Division of the Indiana Attorney General’s Office investigates and enforces multiple laws, including the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, which protect Indiana consumers. Individuals subjected to deceptive advertisements may file consumer complaints at in.gov/attorneygeneral/ or call the Office of the Attorney General at 1-800-382-5516.

###