The ProLife Team Podcast | Episode 10 with Thomas Glessner, JD with NIFLA | Thinking about God’s Fingerprints in NIFLA vs Becerra

The ProLife Team Podcast
The ProLife Team Podcast | Episode 10 with Thomas Glessner, JD with NIFLA | Thinking about God's Fingerprints in NIFLA vs Becerra
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Thinking about God’s Fingerprints in NIFLA vs Becerra

The ProLife Team Podcast | Episode 10 with Thomas Glessner, JD with NIFLA

Summary

This is Jacob Barr, and in this episode of the Pro-Life Team Podcast, I had the privilege of discussing the impactful NIFLA vs. Becerra case with Tom Glessner, JD, three years after its conclusion. Tom offered deep insights into the case’s implications and the role of faith throughout this legal journey.

The heart of this case lay in California’s law that mandated pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion, a directive fundamentally against their beliefs. This mandate was challenged as a violation of free speech. Facing initial defeats in lower courts, the turning point came with the Supreme Court’s acceptance of NIFLA’s appeal, an event Tom interpreted as divine intervention.

Tom explained that NIFLA was specifically chosen for the Supreme Court case because it represented both medical and non-medical clinics, thus addressing the law’s impact in a comprehensive manner. The case’s resolution has been recognized as a pivotal moment for free speech, having significant implications for religious freedom and organizational rights. This decision has become a precedent, influencing later rulings and reinforcing its importance in legal history.

Throughout the ordeal, Tom highlighted the unity and support within the pro-life community, with many offering prayers and words of encouragement. He emphasized the importance of maintaining focus and trusting in God during challenging periods.

Tom also delved into the broader repercussions of the case, underscoring the crucial role of legal teams in supporting pregnancy centers. He stressed the necessity of legal education and training, especially for medical centers, to ensure compliance with legal standards.

In conclusion, the NIFLA vs. Becerra case stands as a testament to the strength found in collective faith and determination against overwhelming challenges. It continues to inspire pro-life advocates, reminding them of the importance of unwavering commitment to their foundational beliefs.

#Hashtags: #NIFLAvsBecerra, #ProLifeAdvocacy, #LegalVictory, #FreeSpeechRights, #FaithInJustice, #CommunitySupport, #PregnancyCenters, #LegalEducation, #ReligiousFreedom, #UnitedInPurpose.

Transcript

The transcript was automatically generated and may contain errors.

Jacob Barr :

Welcome to a pro-life Team podcast i am Jacob Barr i’m here with Tom Glessner and we’re going to talk a little bit about Nifla versus Baquera today, three years after that landmark case. So Tom, tell me when it comes to NIFLA versus Mccara, tell me what it was like when it comes to that experience and where did you see God’s fingerprints in that in that time.

Thomas Glessner, JD :

Well, firstly, we have to understand what the case was all about to understand, you know, how God was moving. California had passed this law that mandated that pro-life Pregnancy Centers advertise for abortion with a sign that they’re posting in their clinic and failure to comply with that mandate would have resulted in fines and levies and eventually closing down the pregnancy centers. So law was at stake because the pregnancy centers in California, we’re not going to obey this law. They are pro-life to the hilt they’re not going to advertise for abortion they’re not going to refer for abortion. That goes totally against their foundation and who they are. Ok, the other thing at risk here was this in a broader perspective. So how? Imagine this imagine if the government mandated that Alcoholics Anonymous post a sign in their offices telling their clients where the local liquor store is. Or if the government mandated that the American Cancer Society promote cigarettes. Absurd, right? You know, destroying the very foundation and meaning of those organizations so this is huge. It’s a free speech issue, basically because our First Amendment to the Constitution gives us the right to freely speak but it that right to freely speak also protect us from being mandated to speak a message with which we fundamentally disagree. So that was a background of it and all the liberal organizations were supporting California, they were producing or they were promoting the lie that pregnancy centers are deceptive and fraudulent and they need to be regulated like this. So it was in that backdrop now that we have our lawsuit and we file our lawsuit against California, which happened to be in the ninth, circuit ninth Federal Circuit on the West Coast, which is the most liberal and hostile circuit in the whole judicial, federal, judicial system. So we filed a lawsuit in San Diego District Court and we lose, OK, not unexpected. We then appeal it to the Court of Appeals and we lose again we lose twice in the Court of Appeals. Ok, Now our only hope is the United States Supreme Court. Now, there’s no automatic right of appeal here. The United States Supreme Court gets 8000 appeals a year and they only accept 100 of them. So mathematically, we’re not going to make it if you just say mathematically what our chances are so like 1 %. Ok, so God’s first miracle was that we were accepted by the court bingo, you know, 1 % chance of getting there, we got there that’s his first miracle, his second miracle i don’t really have time to get into a lot of the details other than to say the way it became orchestrated because there were other parties involved with different appeals and all this thing could have been a real zoo at the High Court. But the court only accepted Nifla’s appeal so that made us focus on this the issues that we were arguing. So that was a real I was expecting a lot of groups to be involved know it came in down on NIFLA, totally on NIFLA. Ok. So from that standpoint I said I feel like, you know we’re going to win this thing because God’s opened up too many doors that practically speaking they shouldn’t have been opened and we’re going to win this thing so I felt really confident going into the day of argument, we’re going to win the case,

Jacob Barr :

So why was NIFLA? Why was it singled down to just NIFLA?

Thomas Glessner, JD :

Well I think the basic reason is because NIFLA as an organization has a broad broad our membership is both medical clinics and non medical clinics and the law impacted both the medical and the non medical. The other cases involved only suits on behalf of medical nobody was representing the non medical. So if those cases were accepted and one, we’d still have the issue of could the state do this to the non medical centers well because NIFLA has both in our organization they decided Nifla’s we can take care of this issue on both ends by bringing bringing NIFLA in so I think that was probably the thinking, although you never know so.

Jacob Barr :

When it comes to precedence created by Nifla versus Mccara, how would you describe the benefit or how is this precedent from this case? You know now three years has passed. What, how do you do the precedence of this Smithville versus Mccarrick case today?

Thomas Glessner, JD :

Well, it’s been called by, you know, several think tanks in Washington as the most significant free speech decision from the court in our lifetime. And when on the day of day the decision came down, I was sitting in the court and they announced there’s a five to four decision. Well, we knew we had one, but of the five votes in favor, the court announced that four of those justices had signed and filed what’s called a concurring opinion now that concerned me a little because the way that works is you have a majority of five and that will be the decision as far as the impact of the ruling. But what is the reasoning for the ruling? If a justice of votes with the majority but files a concurrent opinion, that means that justice disagrees with the reasoning of the majority but they still come out with the same result. Now I was very concerned because I didn’t know what that concurring opinion said and until I saw what it said I wasn’t going to do any somersaults in celebration. I just knew we won and but with a concurring opinion it could have modified everything that you’d want to have happen. So we came down out of the court and I was greeted by Kristen Wagner from ADF, who is one of the attorneys on our team. And she had the opinion and she’s smiling just ear to ear smile and the concurrent opinion was not only you know, supportive of the result but it went further than what the majority opinion actually had said. So it had a broader impact and now we we’ve got an opinion that just came down from the United States Supreme Court protecting Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia from being mandated by the City of Philadelphia that they have to provide foster care, provide same sex couples, the right to be foster parents, which is the Catholic Church is totally opposed to that so it protects religious freedom big time so it’s a great case it’s a great decision.

Jacob Barr :

It seems like a priestly clinic director could pull encouragement from this. You know when they’re when they’re facing overwhelming, you know a large group going after them but they could be encouraged by the way God had, you know the way God worked through this scenario and provided safety and blessing to all clinics across the country both medical and non medical. How would you speak to like, you know, encourage them when they’re facing their own Goliath in their in this situation?

Thomas Glessner, JD :

Yeah, that’s a good analogy, David and Goliath i mean pregnancy centers versus the state of California, that’s a David and Goliath situation for sure. And remember we lost all the way up to the Supreme Court and we had to stay focused and keep our heads on, right and keep faith of that God’s going to get us through. And so, I mean when we lost at the Court of Appeals, there’s we had two losses in the Court of Appeals before we went up the Supreme Court. I had directors from California calling me pretty panic stricken and they were saying they’re they have their medical directors who are talking about resigning because they don’t think they can stay. You know, doing this in light of the law that’s been upheld by the ninth. Circuit and I just had to remain i believed at that time with all my heart that we were going to win the case that I believed that my own professional assessment of the makeup of the court. I believe we had at least five votes there but also I just believe God wasn’t going to let us down so I would encourage people when you when you go through that dark period, you stay focused and you stay keep your eyes on the Lord and you keep moving ahead and things turn out OK it.

Jacob Barr :

Sounds like you were probably felt someone alone during that time. Having Jesus or the Lord there was key, but I felt like you probably felt overwhelmed when I give the odds of the number of people against.

Thomas Glessner, JD :

Well, you know, we had, we had a lot of friends who were supporting us. And so we had a lot of support and a lot of people said we’re praying for you. And so, you know, I didn’t really feel alone i felt like we’re, I’m in this with a lot of people and we represent a lot of people and we represent, you know, we’re all together on this and so if the ship goes down, we’re all going down together oK, so, but I didn’t believe the ship was going to go down so yeah, how did?

Jacob Barr :

How did the people supporting and praying for you, how did they communicate that to you and how did that encourage you?

Thomas Glessner, JD :

Well, we got constant emails we got letters, phone calls we had we had a lot of statewide phone calls of the statewide directors of the centers and we just to fill them in on what’s going on and what’s coming up and then we had a prayer time on those calls. So we all felt really together on it. So you know we were obviously concerned we can’t lose this case but that there was some confidence in our team we really felt in the end we’re going to be OK.

Jacob Barr :

So when you look back at this time in your life, what do you, how do you see it today how’s it, you know, emotionally, spiritually, legally how do you know, what’s your current character? How do you currently look at it when it comes to, you know, reflecting back? What’s that look like to you?

Thomas Glessner, JD :

Well, we’re in pretty perilous times today. And you know, the news is difficult to listen to sometimes and, you know, ask yourself a lot of questions where is the nation headed? And, you know, what’s the future for not only the nation, but our families and our children and our grandchildren and personally us? Have a lot of questions. But going through this experience, you know, God is always there and he’ll walk. God never promises to save you from tribulation or trials. He does promise to walk with you through those tribulations and trials and that’s really the lesson that we have so.

Jacob Barr :

I remember there was a quote you said I think after the case was one where you said the enemy was as mad as like a like they took a beehive and.

Thomas Glessner, JD :

Smashed it.

Jacob Barr :

On the ground there were bee like Hornets.

Thomas Glessner, JD :

Oh yeah.

Jacob Barr :

Really mad and so and the enemy was just looking for a way to cause damage not even really trying to do what would be quote logical, but just trying to.

Thomas Glessner, JD :

They were so furious because they were so arrogant and thought they were going to win. And it was literally like a hornet’s nest being dropped from you at the top of your house and smashing on the sidewalk. And the bees are just flying all around they’re so angry they were a bunch of angry Hornets. That’s absolutely true. But none of us got stung. So, you know, so that was it was a great victory and prayer got us through and staying focused and trusting in God that gets us through and that’s a message for everybody here, no matter what you’re going through. That’s the message, Yeah.

Jacob Barr :

It seems like your NIFLA is you know part of like the legal team member if we had a baseball team, you know you’re like the OR if we had a you know a body you know you’d be the legal arm.

Thomas Glessner, JD :

Ok and.

Jacob Barr :

So I’m imagining like, you know, NIFLA is so integral to like the pro-life team as like a Nationwide team.

Thomas Glessner, JD :

Well, thank you very much. There’s a lot of very good legal organizations, Alliance Spending Freedom. We worked with them they argued the case for us we helped prepare it for them. We provide a lot of legal help to our network of sixteen centers on day to day operations and I was telling you know there’s one way guarantee i can guarantee there’s one way to win a lawsuit, never get sued. You never get sued by doing the right thing you know and you just and you work hard, do the right thing and you’ll be OK so we work hard on behalf of our centers but there’s a lot of really good groups out there. Adf lines defending freedom liberty Counsel. Life legal out in California the Pacific Justice Foundation and Thomas Moore Society. The Alan Parker who’s standing next to me right now as I see him you know the side of my head his Justice Foundation is an awesome group that we’ve signed on an amicus brief with the with them to challenge the ruling in the Dobbs or to represent the state of Mississippi as an amici urging the court to uphold or reinstate the Mississippi law that they’re going to be looking at in the very near future so a lot of good people head here, so when it.

Jacob Barr :

Comes to printing clinics they have a legal team member. How would you or medical teams obviously as well. How would you encourage them to come to the next NIFLA Leadership Summit to provide you know or you know what resources does NIFLA offer towards the medical groups and the legal groups when it comes to ongoing training? You know, educational credits like what does that?

Thomas Glessner, JD :

Look like well yeah though go to our website nifla.org of course but we have sixteen hundred members nationwide of which thirteen hundred are medical clinics and we launched the medical clinic initiative about 25 years ago because we wanted centers to convert to medical primarily so they could be using ultrasound confirmation of pregnancy with the abortion minded women they see. But to do that you got to do it right legally. And so we developed the program, we developed the training, we trained centers and how to be medical, what the legal requirements are. We trained medical personnel such as R, NS and what to, how to perform what’s called limited obstetric ultrasound and all the legalities in that so that’s a big part of what we do awesome.

Jacob Barr :

I think that’s a really good, that’ll be a really good piece to share with some executive directors great.

Thomas Glessner, JD :

Ok thank you.

Jacob Barr :

So Heather, does that look OK?

Thomas Glessner, JD :

Really almost taller he isn’t me i got to stand on my You banned a nice stand there we go.

Jacob Barr :

I’ll just do a little stride.


Our sponsor for this episode include Heritage HousePatriot Insurance and iRapture.com.

 

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