Anti-abortion protesters have no right to violate the laws of the land in the name of religion, a federal appellate court has held.
The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 14 that the so-called "conscience" defense employed by two anti-abortion protestors is invalid. The two, retired Roman Catholic Bishop George Lynch and Brother Christopher Moscinski, have been protesting repeatedly at the Women's Medical Pavilion in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., since 1990.
Facing a charge of criminal contempt for violating a court injunction, Lynch and Moscinski argued that their behavior was permissible because they are required by their religious beliefs to oppose abortion. U.S. District Judge John E. Sprizzo agreed, acquitting Lynch and Moscinski and calling their actions examples of "conscience-driven religious belief."
The appeals court held that Sprizzo's ruling was in error...