Court to blue state: Leave Sisters of Life alone

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Live Action News.]

By Bridget Sielicki
Live Action News

The Sisters of Life, a New York-based Catholic religious community that operates a pregnancy resource center (PRC) in New York City, have won a lawsuit against state officials who wanted access to the community’s internal documents.

As part of its pro-abortion push, the state of New York passed a law in June 2022 that authorized the state Commissioner of Health to gain access to the private and sensitive internal documents of those PRCs that don’t offer or refer for abortions. The law allows access “without a warrant and without any reason to suspect that the organization is violating any law.”

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As a community, the Sisters of Life offer a wide variety of services to women and families. In addition to their pregnancy resource center, they also provide counseling, medical and social care, housing, and post-abortion care. Per Becket Law, which represented the Sisters, the state’s order would have “forced them to turn over private information that would jeopardize their trusting relationships with women in need.” The Sisters argued that the law violates the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as the First Amendment freedom of speech and religion.

According to the court order issued on November 8, “[The Department of Health’s] authority to request data and information pursuant to the statute, and to take any enforcement action relating thereto, ends.” Per Catholic News Agency, the state has signed off on the court’s mandate. However, the court did not comment on the legality of the law itself and the order does not apply to pregnancy resource centers other than the Sisters of Life.

Are pro-life centers being persecuted?

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“As Sisters of Life, it’s our privilege to walk alongside each woman who comes to us and to stand in solidarity with her, helping her to move in freedom, not in fear,” said Sr. Maris Stella, Vicar General of the Sisters of Life in a statement. “We are grateful for this victory, which protects our right to continue to uphold and defend the beauty and strength of women.”

“This order is a win for the Sisters and the women they serve,” said Mark Rienzi, president and CEO of Becket. “The government never should have enacted this law, and we are thrilled that it ends with a federal court order that the State should just leave the Sisters alone while they do their important work.”

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Live Action News.]

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