1. Cisco Systems joins Microsoft, IBM in Vatican pledge to ensure ethical use and development of AI, By Associated Press, April 24, 2024, 7:25 AM
Tech giant Cisco Systems on Wednesday joined Microsoft and IBM in signing onto a Vatican-sponsored pledge to ensure artificial intelligence is developed and used ethically and to benefit the common good.
Cisco Systems chief executive Chuck Robbins signed the document, known as the Rome Call, and met privately with Pope Francis, the Vatican said.
The pledge outlines key pillars of ethical and responsible use of AI. It emphasizes that AI systems must be designed, used and regulated to serve and protect the dignity of all human beings, without discrimination, and their environments. It highlights principles of transparency, inclusion, responsibility, impartiality and security as necessary to guide all AI developments.

2. Supreme Court will consider when doctors can provide emergency abortions in states with bans, By Lindsay Whitehurst, Associated Press, April 24, 2024, 8:56 AM
The Supreme Court will consider Wednesday when doctors can provide abortions during medical emergencies in states with bans enacted after the high court’s sweeping decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
The case comes from Idaho, which is among 14 states that now ban abortion at all stages of pregnancy with limited exceptions. It marks the first time the Supreme Court has considered a state ban since Roe was reversed.
The Biden administration argues that even in states where abortion is banned, federal health care law says hospitals must be allowed to terminate pregnancies in rare emergencies where a patient’s life or health is at serious risk.
Idaho contends its ban has exceptions for life-saving abortions but allowing it in more medical emergencies would turn hospitals into “abortion enclaves.” The state argues the Biden administration is misusing a health care law that is meant to ensure patients aren’t turned away based on their ability to pay.

3. Arizona Democrats attempt to repeal the state’s 19th century abortion ban, By Associated Press, April 24, 2024, 8:31 AM
For a third straight week, Democrats at the Arizona Legislature are attempting Wednesday to repeal the state’s near-total ban on abortions, again spotlighting an issue that has put Republicans on the defensive in a battleground state for the presidential election.
Republicans have used procedural votes to block earlier repeal efforts, each time drawing condemnation from Democratic President Joe Biden, who has made his support for abortion access central to his campaign for reelection.
Arizona Republicans have been under intense pressure from some conservatives in their base, who firmly support the abortion ban, even as it’s become a liability with swing voters who will decide crucial races including the presidency, the U.S. Senate and the GOP’s control of the Legislature.
The vote comes a day after Biden said former President Donald Trump, his presumptive Republican rival, created a “healthcare crisis for women all over this country,” and imperiled their access to health care.

4. Leaving Abortion to the States Requires Federal Action, Trump would have to undo a series of ‘workaround’ regulations Biden imposed to evade the law., By Rachel N. Morrison and Eric Kniffin, The Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2024, 4:13 AM, Opinion
Leave it to the states. That’s Donald Trump’s new position on abortion. “My view,” he said in an April 8 statement, “is now that we have abortion where everybody wanted it from a legal standpoint, the states will determine by vote or legislation or perhaps both. And whatever they decide must be the law of the land—in this case, the law of the state.”
Some pro-life leaders criticized the statement. But setting aside the debate over federal pro-life laws, it’s important to note that Mr. Trump’s “law of the state” position still requires presidential action. That’s because President Biden is using the executive branch unilaterally and unlawfully to impose his radical pro-abortion agenda on the American people, undermining pro-life states’ ability to set their own abortion policies. As a federal judge wrote last year, the Biden administration has “openly stated its intention to operate by fiat to find non-legislative workarounds to Supreme Court dictates,” which amounts to “a breach of constitutional constraints.”
A month after the Dobbs decision, the Health and Human Services Department warned hospitals that the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, or Emtala—which requires them to stabilize pregnant mothers and their unborn children—could require physicians to perform and complete abortions. The following month the Justice Department sued Idaho, claiming Emtala pre-empted the state’s pro-life law. Under this theory, many state abortion restrictions would be unenforceable. (On Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Moyle v. U.S., in which Idaho seeks to stay an injunction against the law’s enforcement.)

Two days after its Emtala warning, HHS instructed pharmacies across the U.S. that federal nondiscrimination law requires them to stock and dispense abortion drugs regardless of state laws.

The Veteran Affairs Department recently finalized a rule that allows its hospitals and clinics to provide abortions, even late-term abortions, where such procedures are prohibited by state law.

On April 22, HHS finalized new privacy regulations for “reproductive healthcare” information that would prohibit the use or disclosure of health information that could be used to sue or prosecute abortion providers.

Freeing states to enforce their pro-life laws without unlawful interference by the federal government, as Mr. Trump’s position requires, would be a win for the pro-life cause.
Ms. Morrison directs the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s HHS Accountability Project. She served as an attorney adviser at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2019-21. Mr. Kniffin is a fellow at EPPC and a member of the HHS Accountability Project. He served as an attorney at the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, 2005-09.
5. Spain approves plan to compensate victims of Catholic Church sex abuse. Church will be asked to pay, By Associated Press, April 23, 2024, 10:27 AM
Spain on Tuesday approved a plan aimed at making reparation and economic compensation for victims of sex abuse committed by people connected to the Catholic Church.
It also announced the future celebration of a public act of recognition for those affected and their families.
The Minister of the Presidency and Justice, Félix Bolaños, said the plan was based on recommendations in a report by Spain’s Ombudsman last year. From that report, he said it was concluded that some 440,000 adults may have suffered sex abuse in Spain by people linked to the church and that roughly half of those cases were committed by clergy.
Bolaños said the compensation would be financed by the church.
But in a statement Tuesday, Spain’s Bishops Conference rejected the plan, saying it discriminated against victims outside of church circles.
No details of how much or when financial compensation would be paid were released. Neither was a date set for any public act of recognition.

6. Thoughts On Dignitas Infinita, By George Weigel, First Things, April 24, 2024, Opinion
When the always well-written and often wrongheaded New Yorker dislikes something, chances are good that I’ll like it—a principle that holds, with certain reservations, in the case of Dignitas Infinita, the April 8th “Declaration of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith on Human Dignity.” The Declaration underscores the Catholic Church’s commitment to the defense of every human life from conception until natural death, calls Catholics to compassionate care for the most vulnerable among us, defends the biblical idea of the human person as defined in Genesis 1:27–28, and offers a welcome critique of gender theory and the legion of demons it spawns (this last being, predictably, what upset the New Yorker). 
What’s not to like, then? Perhaps that’s putting it too sharply. The question is whether the Declaration could have been even better. I think that’s the case, and in several ways.
The Dog that Didn’t Bark. Dignitas Infinita has 116 endnote references to magisterial teaching cited in its text; over half of them are to documents and statements of Pope Francis. What is most striking, however, is the absence of any reference to Pope John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth) and its teaching that certain acts are intrinsically evil: gravely wrong by their very nature, irrespective of circumstances. That rationally demonstrable conviction—that some actions are wrong, period—is the ground on which the Church condemns sexual abuse, abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and modern forms of slavery like sex trafficking. These are all “grave violations of human dignity,” as the Declaration says. But why is that the case? Not because they offend our feelings or sensibilities about human dignity, but because we can know by reason that they are always gravely wrong. That should have been clearly stated.
Thus, the tenderness displayed during this pontificate toward moral theologians who reject the teaching of Veritatis Splendor on intrinsically evil acts weakens the defense of human dignity the Declaration wants to mount.
Defending Pre-Born Human Life. Dignitas Infinita is passionate in its rejection of abortion, and rightly links the abortion license to the erosion of “solid and lasting foundations for the defense of human rights.” The Declaration would have been strengthened, however, had it taken a lesson from the American bishops, who have made the pro-life case for over half a century by teaching two truths that any reasonable person can grasp: 1) It is a scientific fact, not a philosophical speculation, that the product of human conception is a human being with a unique genetic identity. 2) A just society will ensure that innocent human beings, in all conditions and stages of life, are protected in law. And while the Declaration concludes its section on abortion with a reference to St. Teresa of Calcutta’s “generous . . . commitment to the defense of every person conceived,” it makes no reference to the thousands of U.S. crisis pregnancy centers where women are offered care during pregnancy and support after a child is born. Thus, the essential pro-life complement to public advocacy on behalf of the unborn—solidarity with women in crisis pregnancies—is left understated in Dignitas Infinita.
The “Sex Reassignment” Fraud. The Declaration states, correctly, that “any sex-change intervention, as a rule, risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception.” This statement might have been developed further. Most urgently, Dignitas Infinita ought to have explicitly condemned the “transitioning” of confused and suffering children and adolescents—the most despicable form of the “trans” phenomenon—as child abuse. If a report commissioned by the British National Health Service could call out this medical malpractice as thoroughly unwarranted by clinical evidence, surely the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith could have highlighted the dangers posed to children and adolescents by trans ideologues, woke physicians, and unscrupulous plastic surgeons.
There Are, in Fact, Just Wars. Quoting Pope Francis, the Declaration asserts that “it is very difficult, nowadays, to invoke the rational criteria elaborated in earlier centuries to speak of the possibility of a ‘just war.’” One must respectfully and firmly disagree. Those “rational criteria” undergird Ukraine’s self-defense against a murderous aggression the Russian aggressor has openly declared to be genocidal. Those same criteria are the foundation of, and the moral framework for, Israel’s defensive war against Hamas, Hezbollah, and their Iranian sponsor. The just war criteria would buttress Taiwan’s resistance to any Chinese communist attempt to destroy the independence of the first Chinese democracy in millennia.
The global culture war is indeed a contest to defend and promote human dignity. Dignitas Infinita helps those of us fighting that unavoidable war. It could have helped more.
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington, D.C.’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.
7. Diocese removes AfD politician from church post, By Luke Coppen, The Pillar, April 23, 2024, 3:18 PM
The vicar general of Germany’s oldest diocese has defended the decision to disqualify a politician from a parish post because of his membership in the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
The move against Schaufert, who represents the AfD in the Saarland state parliament, came less than two months after Germany’s Catholic bishops unanimously approved a statement condemning the party, which is widely described as far-right.

Von Plettenberg noted that Schaufert “has not made any explicitly anti-constitutional or anti-Semitic statements,” or spread “any extremist opinions” in his role on the parish administrative council.
“But even if he does not position himself publicly in a way that can be criticized, it remains the case that he is a representative of a party that represents attitudes that contradict the Christian view of humanity — and that he does not distance himself from this,” the vicar general told Der Spiegel.

8. The Supreme Court Must Stop Biden from Using a Pro-Life Law to Promote Abortion, By Grazie Pozo Christie, National Review, April 24, 2024, 6:30 AM
The Supreme Court will soon hear a case about a federal law that may be obscure to most people but is a vivid reality to me — the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). The 1986 law was designed to save patients, especially laboring mothers and their unborn babies, from being turned away from the emergency rooms of private hospitals because they were uninsured or indigent. It was bipartisan and pro-life in the broadest sense of the term.
Today, the Biden administration is seeking to use EMTALA to override pro-life laws in some 20 states and mandate abortion in emergency rooms across the country. In fact, nothing in the text of EMTALA requires any particular treatment except life-saving care for both mothers and their children.
In the early Nineties, I did my medical-school training at a busy urban public hospital. Its labor and delivery floor was so packed that women labored in the hallways in long rows and sometimes delivered there, too. To the uninitiated it was a scene from a dystopic movie; the women, mostly indigent Latin Americans and Haitians, did not generally have the benefit of epidurals. Still, we provided good care, and moms and dads and exhausted doctors and nurses celebrated the joy of new babies making their first cry. It was women like these that EMTALA was intended to help.
And its impact was huge. Before that law, uninsured, indigent mothers who showed up at their local private hospital in active labor were often turned away at the door and told to go to our public hospital. The private hospital would not take on the cost of delivery. The trip across town and the delay often resulted in serious, even deadly, complications, including a precipitous birth in the back seat of a car.
When I went to work on the labor floor, EMTALA had just changed all that. The law mandates that the staff of a hospital emergency room must evaluate any patient who arrives at their door and determine whether an emergency condition exists. If it does, the hospital’s doctors must stabilize the patient, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. Only then can the private hospital transfer the patient, or the patient and her child if she is pregnant or delivers under their care, to a publicly funded hospital tasked with caring for the indigent or uninsured.
In 2022, President Biden’s Department of Justice filed suit against Idaho, claiming that the state’s pro-life law, which limits abortion with some exceptions including to save the life of the mother, conflicts with its own novel interpretation of EMTALA. According to Biden’s DOJ, EMTALA creates an abortion mandate in any hospital emergency room that accepts Medicare. In this way, the Biden administration intends to steamroll pro-life state laws across the country and impose its radical abortion policy.
But the Idaho law specifically permits emergency medical interventions that result in the death of an unborn child when “necessary to prevent the death” of the mother. Far from presenting a conflict with EMTALA, Idaho’s law dovetails perfectly with any honest reading of it and its original intent.
Emergency treatment of a mother and her unborn child is altogether different from elective abortion. The Justice Department suit purposely conflates medical and surgical interventions necessary to save a mother’s life with elective abortion. It mentions several scenarios: ectopic pregnancy, severe preeclampsia, or a pregnancy complication causing hemorrhage or sepsis. The emergency treatment for these conditions may include delivering a baby, even if there is no chance that the baby will survive, but no medical professional would call this abortion or consider it such. The Idaho law is specific on this point: “Medical treatment provided to a pregnant woman . . . that results in the . . . death of, or injury to, the unborn child” will not violate the law.
EMTALA is a good law — a lifesaving law, particularly for the vulnerable. It has saved countless laboring women from being turned away from their nearest emergency room. It has saved countless babies from being born in unsafe circumstances. It is unconscionable that the Biden administration is trying to turn this good law into just one more weapon in its relentless quest to push ever more abortion on the American public.
TCA Media Monitoring provides a snapshot from national newspapers and major Catholic press outlets of coverage regarding significant Catholic Church news and current issues with which the Catholic Church is traditionally or prominently engaged. The opinions and views expressed in the articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Association.
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