FOLEY — The Common Sense Campaign TEA party's South Baldwin Chapter held a meeting Tuesday at the Foley Public Library to talk about how common sense isn't so common when it comes to the government.

The group welcomed Matthew Nicaud from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a group created to uphold religious freedom and other personal freedoms for people across the U.S. He explained how some legislation is necessary for Alabama even for seemingly simple issues, such as the right for parents to make decisions for their children and not allowing men to play in women's sports.

"We exist to hold the line but also to go forward," said Nicaud.

A graduate of Liberty University with a bachelor's degree in Law and Policy, Nicaud works as the State Government Relations Manager for ADF and with key leaders in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana to draft legislation protecting religious freedom, free speech, the sanctity of life and parental rights. He helps fight for First Amendment rights and stop the attack on Judeo-Christian values.

Nicaud discussed several cases the ADF has worked on, including the Jack Phillips case, in which the cake baker was sued for refusing to design a cake for a gay wedding. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Phillips' favor in that case, with help from attorneys with ADF.

When it comes to abortion, the ADF helped draft the bill that resulted in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization case and eventually the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Despite the victory, ADF is still defending life-affirming laws and building "a culture that recognizes that life is a human right and that woman and their unborn children must be supported across the country."

The ADF is also working with legislators in Alabama to ensure the rights of parents when it comes to making decisions and being informed of their children's education and health, along with other issues the government may be involved in during the child's minor years.

"In the state of Alabama, parental rights are not a fundamental right," he said. "A fundamental right is something that requires strict scrutiny in the courts."

Other issues ADF is looking at include supporting crisis pregnancy centers, protection of women's sports and medical rights of conscience.

"If you are a medical professional, you can not be required to do things that violates your conscience," Nicaud explained. "ADF does not want medical professionals to be forced to violate their conscience … if you are forced to prescribe things or do procedures you are not comfortable with, we don't want that."

Nicaud said the idea for medical conscience came about after the COVID pandemic. Conscience may be violated, he said, when a doctor or nurse is forced to go against their religious beliefs, medical background and knowledge, science or simply a conscience ground.

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