In The News 4/22/21

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Biden Attacks Conscience Rights

In 2016, the Obama administration interpreted Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits healthcare discrimination on the basis of sex, to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy. This effectively meant that denying sex-transition surgery constituted discrimination. The interpretation did not include exemptions for religious beliefs or conscience, thus effectively requiring doctors with religious or conscience objections, or even medical objections, to perform sex-transition surgeries. Since most doctors receive federal Medicaid or Medicare funds, the mandate would threaten the funding and livelihood of doctors or hospitals that refused to perform these, surgeries, punishing them on the grounds of “sex discrimination.” At the time, 19,000 healthcare professionals, nine states, and a number of religious organization sued to stop the mandate. In December of 2016 two federal courts issued an injunction against the mandate, denying the Obama administration the power to enforce it. In 2020, President Trump set a rule that protected conscience rights of doctors who opposed the mandate, but a federal court issued an injunction against Trump’s rule. In January, 2021 a North Dakota judge issued a permanent injunction against the mandate for Catholic hospitals, doctors, clinics, and benefit groups. The Biden administration has now appealed that ruling, asking that the mandate be reinstated, allowing the government to enforce it. In a related case in Texas, a district court had given relief to doctors and hospitals against the mandate, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to the district court, instructing the lower court to re-consider the decision in light of new developments, including Biden’s executive order that redefined “sex” in federal civil law to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Brian Burch, President of Catholic Vote, criticized Biden for his support of a mandate that would require doctors to perform sex-transition surgeries. Burch asked, “Can anyone name a single thing about Joe Biden’s Catholicism that makes him different in any way from the radical left? He’s now in favor of forcing Catholic doctors to violate their own medical judgment and deeply-held religious beliefs. Joe Biden may have grown up as a ‘devout’ Catholic, but it sure seems like he is transitioning into something else.” It is getting harder and harder for Catholics who support Biden to continue arguing that Biden is simply a Catholic politician who does not feel he can impose his Catholic beliefs on those who disagree with Catholic morals. Biden has demonstrated again and again that he has no inhibitions about forcing his anti-Catholic policies on Catholics who who want only to be faithful to Church teaching, vowing to sue the Little Sisters of the Poor to force them to pay for abortions and contraception, supporting the Equality Act that would force Catholic institutions to accommodate those with gender dysphoria, and now demanding that Catholic doctors and hospitals perform sex-transition surgeries.

AZ Gov vetoes sex-education bill

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey vetoed a bill passed by the Republican-dominated legislature of Arizona that would prohibit school teachers from teaching about sex without the consent of the child’s parents. Ducey called SB1456 “too broad and overly vague” and, instead, issued an executive order that would require that all material related to sex education be posted online for review prior to it being taught in the classroom. Critics of the bill said that it would restrict discussion of topics such as AIDS, sexual orientation, and gender identity even in the context of history, such as the civil rights or gay rights movements. As such, they condemn the bill as anti-LGBTQ legislation and possibly alienating to LGBTQ students. Supporters insisted the bill was necessary to protect parental rights and children from those who would infuse sex-education and a gay agenda even on children as young as kindergarten. Gov. Ducey, meanwhile, claimed that his executive order would give parents a say in the creation and implementation of sex-education materials and provide stronger protections for parental rights than SB1456. The provisions of Gov. Ducey’s executive order include sex-education materials being available for public review for at least 60 days prior to any vote on their inclusion in the curriculum, being subject to at least two public hearings, and making the material available to parents for review at least two weeks prior to it being taught in the classroom. I am generally a hard supporter of parental rights and not terribly trusting of politicians and schools with an agenda. I will be interested in seeing if Gov. Ducey’s executive order is meaningful, that is, if it actually protects parents’ rights or if the schools attempt to exploit it to get around to teaching kids what they are determined to teach them, anyway. There are more than a few examples of schools violating parental rights when it comes to sex-education, or the imposition of political and social agendas without feeling the need to involve the parents, or making a conscious choice to avoid involving the parents. Ducey doubtless was concerned about Arizona facing another lawsuit, and that may have inspired him to issue the executive order as a compromise. We will have to see if it works.

Planned Parenthood attempts to distance itself from Margaret Sanger

Alexis McGill Johnson, President of Planned Parenthood, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times entitled, “I’m the Head of Planned Parenthood. We’re Done Making Excuses for Our Founder.” Johnson wrote that, “We must reckon with Margaret Sanger’s association with white supremacist groups and eugenics. … Up until now, Planned Parenthood has failed to own the impact of our founder’s actions. We have defended Sanger as a protector of bodily autonomy and self-determination, while excusing her association with white supremacist groups and eugenics as an unfortunate ‘product of her time.'” In the op-ed, Johnson recounted Sanger’s speaking before a Ku Klux Klan chapter in New Jersey, campaigning for their support for birth control, and her support for the 1927 Supreme Court ruling Buck vs. Bell that allowed for forced sterilization of persons judged “unfit,” without their consent or even their knowledge. In September of last year, 120 Black leaders sent a letter to Planned Parenthood demanding that they confront the racist and eugenicist origins of the organization, as well as the continued systemic racism within Planned Parenthood. “Despite constituting only 13% of the female population,” the letter said, “Black women represent 36% of all abortions, and Black women are five times more likely than white women to receive an abortion. In some cities, like New York, more Black children are aborted every year than are born alive. … This is no accident. Across the country, Planned Parenthood’s surgical facilities target minority communities for abortion. 79% of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities are located in or near communities of color. Can Planned Parenthood really claim to care for Black lives while remaining complicit in the targeting of Black pregnant women?” The letter demanded, “Today, we are saying emphatically and unequivocally that Planned Parenthood must confront its racist founding, mission and practices. Too many Black lives have been lost to abortion. All Black lives matter.” 19 million Black children have been abortion in the U. S. since the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision. Pro-life leaders were not terribly impressed with Johnson’s op-ed, insisting that Planned Parenthood’s history and current racist practices cannot be dismissed so easily. Human Coalition Action Executive Director Rev. Dean Nelson was thankful that Johnson recognized “what many Black leaders have said for decades — Margaret Sanger harbored racist and eugenicist views.” But, he went on to say, “You cannot acknowledge the racist person and history without admitting to the racist vision that has resulted in nearly 80 percent of Planned Parenthood’s abortion facilities being located within walking distance of minority neighborhoods. There’s no redeeming Planned Parenthood’s tainted origins and current day racist practices. It’s a grave injustice that Planned Parenthood uses the taxpayer dollars of Black and brown people to continue Margaret Sanger’s legacy of racism and eugenicism across the country.” Planned Parenthood receives over $600 million in federal funds each year.

Pro-life bills in Tennessee and Arkansas sent to governors for signature

The Tennessee House and Senate have both passed a bill that would require that fetal remains from a surgical abortion be cremated or buried, according to the wishes of the mother. State Rep. Robin Smith (R) said, “This legislation strives to extend the same protections, respect and dignity to a deceased, surgically aborted child as granted to any other deceased human being.” The bill is now awaiting the signature of Republican Gov. Bill Lee, who has not stated his position but has been strongly supportive of pro-life issues. Indiana was the first state to pass a similar law in 2016 in response to video proving that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal remains. This law would certainly be an obstacle to that nefarious practice. The Supreme Court ruled that the Indiana law was not unconstitutional as it did not infringe on a woman’s right to an abortion. Since then, ten other states have passed similar legislation, though some have been challenged. Burying the dead is one of the corporal works of mercy, and it seems to me that it is the least the state can require for the dignity of those human lives killed by abortion.

In Arkansas, the legislature passed a bill that would forbid abortion providers from teaching sex education in public schools. State Sen. Bob Ballinger, a sponsor of the bill, said, “If the entity does that [performs abortions], I think the state of Arkansas has no business in any form … contracting with them to do anything.” Republican Gov. Asa Hutchison has not commented on whether he plans to sign the bill, but he has been strongly supportive of pro-life measures, including signing a bill that included a near-total ban on all abortions. In my mind, this bill only makes sense. Any organization that provides a particular “service” has no business teaching children about topics that put them in a conflict of interest. Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers support abortion “rights” and profit from performing abortions. They have no business teaching sex education to children when they obviously have a social agenda on the matter and even a financial stake in the game.

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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