(LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted a preliminary injunction Friday against the enforcement of a California law requiring medical practitioners to participate in physician-assisted suicides against their will.
California legalized assisted suicide in 2015 with the End of Life Option Act, under which physicians were able to opt out of participation, and could not be punished for “refusing to inform” a patient about his “right” to assisted suicide or for refusing make a referral to a more willing physician.
However, in October 2021, Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law SB 380, which states that “participating” in assisted suicide remains “voluntary” but requires refusing physicians to refer patients to someone else and defines “participation” so narrowly as to effectively compel participation in the practice, according to Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed a lawsuit against the law on behalf of the 16,000-member Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) and Dr. Leslee Cochrane.
“Over 90% of CMDA members would rather stop practicing medicine than be forced to participate in assisted suicide or other practices in violation of their consciences,” ADF argued. The law “forces religiously objecting California physicians, including CMDA members and Dr. Cochrane, to choose between abandoning their livelihoods or obeying government commands that violate their religious conscience and compel them to speak and act in ways that contravene their religious faith.”
UPDATE (26th January 2023):
Enoch Burke is facing severe fines of €5000 per week if he backs down in his stand for the truth about gender ideology.
SIGN: We stand with this brave Christian in his defense of the truth
Burke is facing a daily fine of €700 if he does not obey a court order barring him from attending the school he was fired from.
Having spent 108 days in jail last year for his refusal to abide by the court order, he was officially fired last week by the Church of Ireland (Anglican) Wilson’s Hospital School in Co. Westmeath, Ireland.
Responding to High Court Justice Brian O’Moore’s decision to fine the teacher €700 per day from Friday unless purges his contempt of the court order, Burke told reporters that the judge “wants to fine me for the profession of my religious beliefs.”
“What has become of us as a nation, to fine somebody for their religious beliefs?,” Burke asked. “We’re at a time in this country where people are at their wit’s end, with the cost of everything as we know...and Brian O’Moore, a judge of the High Court, has sat down and said to himself that not only will you have to pay for all those things, but you now have to pay for your religious belief.”
“He’ll make you a pauper for the profession of your religious belief,” Burke added.
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION TODAY
The teacher declined to answer questions on whether he would continue to attend the school and face significant fines, or purge his contempt of court.
An Evangelical Christian who taught German, history and politics at the school for four years, Burke has consistently maintained that to use transgender pronouns would violate his religious beliefs and that his subsequent suspension by the school, and the court orders against him, were therefore unjust.
Jailed on September 5, 2022, Mr. Justice Brian O’Moore released Burke on December 21st, despite the teacher’s unwillingness to purge his contempt of the court order barring him from the school’s property.
Mr. Justice O’Moore said today that he hoped the prospect of paying almost €5000 in fines every week would “end his (Burke’s) utterly pointless attendance at a school which does not want him on its property”.
The judge warned however that the fines could be increased if they do not have the desired effect.
Burke was fired by the school last Friday and has shown up at the school grounds for work each day this week, despite being arrested and released on Tuesday.
He has until 2pm GMT on Friday to officially purge his contempt before the court or the €700 daily fines will begin to be applied.
Mr. Justice O’Moore admitted today that it was not “immediately attractive” to jail the Christian conscientious objector again as he theorized that Burke had exploited media attention surrounding his imprisonment last year for his own ends, while the judge also considered the schools suggestion to sequester the teacher’s assets to be futile.
Prior to his imprisonment, Burke told the High Court that “transgenderism is against my Christian belief.”
“It is contrary to the Scriptures, contrary to the ethos of the Church of Ireland and of my school,” the teacher added. “I love my school, with its motto Res Non Verba, actions not words, but I am here today because I said I would not call a boy a girl.”
“It is insanity that I will be led from this courtroom to a place of incarceration, but I will not give up my Christian beliefs,” he insisted.
Burke also promised Mr. Justice Max Barrett on September 7th that he would “never leave Mountjoy Prison if in leaving that prison I must violate my well-informed conscience and my religious beliefs and deny my God. I consider it commendable that I chose to obey God rather than man.”
Irish teacher Enoch Burke has been arrested and jailed after refusing to use a transgender student's preferred pronoun, "they", in the classroom.
This insane step by Irish authorities must be called out for what it is: the unhinged intimidation of an educator by demented ideologues.
Please add your name to our urgent message to the High Court today.
SIGN: Enoch Burke must be freed immediately as an educator who upheld the truth
Burke was suspended by his school for refusing to use the transgender pronouns of a student, even confronting his principal about the irrationality of the situation, and defying a subsequent court injunction barring him from performing his teaching duties.
He is now in Mountjoy Prison, Dublin after being brought before a judge on 5 September who found Burke to be in contempt of the injunction by attending work after his suspension.
Burke, who told the High Court “I am here today because I would not call a boy a girl”, made clear that he would not abide by the injunction because it would violate his conscience as a Christian.
“Were I to obey the order of the board of management and the order of the court, I would have to accept that sticking by my belief in male and female is wrong,” he said. “It is not something I will do. It is in violation of my conscience."
“Were I to go into the school and bow to something I know to be manifestly wrong, it would be a shame and a disgrace on my part,” he added.
You can identify as a parrot if want but why should people like Enoch Burke be forced to play along with it?— IrishConservative (@RealIrishCONS) September 2, 2022
This defiant attitude has now prompted Burke's arrest and imprisonment in an Orwellian debacle that should send warning signals to the watching world.
Mr. Justice Burke ordered Burke be "committed to Mountjoy Prison and remain therein until he purges his contempt or until further order of this court.”
Defending himself, Burke replied: “I cannot purge my contempt by holding my Christian beliefs in contempt."
Burke hugged his father and brother before being taken away by Gardaí to Mountjoy Prison.
Please share this petition with as many people as possible - it's clear that leftists will not tolerate dissent on this absurd issue unless we all push back.
SIGN: Enoch Burke must be freed immediately as an educator who upheld the truth
On September 6, ADF announced that the court granted its request for a preliminary injunction, agreeing that the plaintiffs demonstrated “they are likely to suffer a violation of a constitutional right absent an injunction […] The ultimate outcome of this requirement is that non-participating providers are compelled to participate in the Act through [even its] documentation requirement, despite their objections to assisted suicide.”
“Our clients seek to live out their faith in their medical practice, and that includes valuing every human life entrusted to their care. Participating in physician-assisted suicide very clearly would violate their consciences,” said ADF senior counsel Kevin Theriot, who argued the case in court. “We’re pleased the court followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in NIFLA v. Becerra that clarified First Amendment protections extend to religious medical professionals.”
While the ruling represents a victory for religious freedom and medical ethics, the issue is far from settled. The Biden administration has proposed rescinding federal regulations that provide conscience protections for professionals who do not want to engage in “abortion, sterilization, and certain other health services,” “assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing,” and for “managed care organizations with moral or religious objections to counseling or referral for certain services.”
The Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the United States is 1-800-273-8255.