AG Paxton Commends Fifth Circuit Ruling Upholding First Amendment for the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops

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Friday, July 13, 2018 – Austin

Attorney General Ken Paxton praised today’s ruling by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the First Amendment rights of non-party Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops regarding its internal communications.

“The Fifth Circuit correctly protected the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, a non-party, from an overly broad demand by an abortion group for internal communications that were not only irrelevant to the subject of this case, but invaded the faith group’s treasured First Amendment right to be free from courts prying into their religious beliefs” Attorney General Paxton said. “In making such an erroneous demand, abortion advocates succeeded only in demonstrating that they are willing to violate the Constitution to further their pro-abortion agenda and attempt to silence those offering a respectful burial to unborn children.” 

The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops offered assistance to healthcare facilities, including abortion clinics, regarding the respectful disposition of fetal remains at Catholic cemeteries, undermining plaintiff Whole Woman’s Health’s argument against the legal Texas requirement. Without any proof of their relevance to the case, Whole Woman’s Health subsequently demanded that Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops produce its protected internal communications. They threatened to pursue this clear violation of Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops’ First Amendment rights unless the Executive Director of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops agreed not to testify about the faith group’s charitable offer to assist.

View today’s ruling here: