Post by: David Chesley
I have experienced many remarkable blessings in addition to some challenges during my time interning with the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) in Strasbourg, France. Every day brings a new opportunity to be challenged, and a new opportunity to see God’s grace in accomplishing what I could not on my own. Strasbourg is a beautiful city, and the staff of the ECLJ here are diligent, intelligent, and devoted to bringing God glory in their work. I am even more thankful for this summer today than I was when I was offered the internship earlier this spring.
Throughout the summer, however, I have been reminded that this fight for justice can have real challenges. They came to a head as we at the ECLJ were completing one of our most important projects of the summer, an amicus brief for the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, relating to a Mississippi law banning abortion after fifteen weeks’ gestation. Normally, our offices at the ECLJ focus on work at the European Court of Human Rights, the Council of Europe, and the European Parliament—and we have done much of that this summer. American courts are rarely a concern. However, when the Supreme Court granted review of this critical abortion case, our director, Dr. Grégor Puppinck, decided to offer the U.S. Court a summary of European law on abortion.
Contrary to what many may assume, European law on abortion is in fact must less permissive than American law. The vast majority of European jurisdictions, although they permit abortion in some cases, have a basic legal assumption that, all other things being equal, an unborn child has a right to life. Thus, a woman may only get an abortion if she can demonstrate some overriding competing right, such as to her own health and well-being. Sadly, many physicians in the European Union grant such exceptions rather freely, so the lives of unborn children are still very much under threat in Europe, but such children still enjoy greater protection than they do in the United States.
It has been a privilege to assist in the editing and citations for this critical brief, and to serve as an occasional reference on American jurisprudence in an office of jurists trained in French and European law. Mostly, though, it has served as a lesson in God’s grace. In the final two weeks of the process, I and a fellow intern experienced internet cuts, a computer that crashed several times, and various technical glitches, inhibiting several days’ worth of work on the brief. I was also balancing my summer work with the Regent University Law Review. Nonetheless, the Lord provided us with support and efficiency at the right time, and we were able to prepare the brief in time for our colleagues at the American Center for Law and Justice to review and submit it on the ECLJ’s behalf. Please pray that God will use this project for His glory to protect the lives of unborn children in Mississippi.
God has shown Himself eminently faithful to me in other ways throughout the summer as well. When I locked myself out of my apartment the weekend before our final brief was due to the Supreme Court, a family from my new church here in Strasbourg graciously took me in until I was able to get another key the following Monday, and the Lord provided the resources I needed to continue our proofreading and editing when I arrived in the office Monday morning, even without my all-too-precious Bluebook.
Above all, the Lord used this summer to remind me that in my weakness, when there was more to do than I could accomplish in my own strength, He would be glorified. It is evermore true what the Lord said to Paul, recorded in 2 Corinthians 12:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”2 Corinthians 12:9
I, like Paul, will therefore boast all the more than I would have been unable to perform this work in my own strength. For He provided support from others and grace for me so that we could complete this critical brief. May it serve His purposes! Soli Deo Gloria.
This post was written by a Center for Global Justice Intern. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.