1. Florida Abortion Ban to Take Effect, Cutting Off Major Access Point, By Patricia Mazzei, The New York Times, April 29, 2024, 5:02 AM
Florida has long played a significant role in the American abortion landscape, with dozens of clinics providing the procedure to tens of thousands of residents a year while also taking in patients from across the Southeast.
That era will end, at least for now, on Wednesday, when a ban on most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy will take effect. The strict new law will replace a 15-week ban and require most Floridians and other Southerners seeking the procedure to travel to Virginia or farther.

The new law provides exceptions for abortions to take place up to 15 weeks for pregnancies that result from rape, incest or human trafficking, though women would be required to show documentation such as a restraining order, medical record or police report. There are also exceptions to save the life of the woman and, before the third trimester, for fatal fetal abnormalities.

All of the changes could prove temporary: A ballot measure in November will ask Florida voters whether to amend the constitution to allow abortions until about 24 weeks. It will require more than 60 percent support to pass, a high threshold, and it would not take effect until January, assuming that lawmakers or anti-abortion groups did not challenge it in court.

It is hard to predict just how much the number of abortions performed in Florida will drop after Wednesday, said Isaac Maddow-Zimet, a data scientist at the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research group that supports abortion rights.
Researchers found that abortions declined by about 50 percent in Texas and Georgia after those states’ six-week bans took effect. South Carolina had a much steeper drop-off — about 71 percent, he said — in part because so many women had been traveling there for abortions from other states. The South Carolina Supreme Court upheld a six-week ban law in August.

2. Pope’s top deputy calls EU abortion vote a ‘radical attack’ on life, By Crux, April 29, 2024
In a wide-ranging interview, Pope Francis’s top diplomat said a recent vote by the European Parliament to style abortion as a fundamental right constitutes a “radical attack” on human life.
“When life is attacked in such a radical way, you truly have to ask what kind of future we want to build,” said Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, adding that the situation has produced “great sadness in the depths of my heart.”

3. Pope visits Venice to speak to the artists and inmates behind the Biennale’s must-see prison show, By Nicole Winfield and Paolo Santalucia, Associated Press, April 28, 2024, 1:54 PM
Venice has always been a place of contrasts, of breathtaking beauty and devastating fragility, where history, religion, art and nature have collided over the centuries to produce an otherworldly gem of a city. But even for a place that prides itself on its culture of unusual encounters, Pope Francis’ visit Sunday stood out.
Francis traveled to the lagoon city to visit the Holy See’s pavilion at the Biennale contemporary art show and meet with the people who created it. But because the Vatican decided to mount its exhibit in Venice’s women’s prison, and invited inmates to collaborate with the artists, the whole project assumed a far more complex meaning, touching on Francis’ belief in the power of art to uplift and unite, and of the need to give hope and solidarity to society’s most marginalized.
Francis hit on both messages during his visit, which began in the courtyard of the Giudecca prison where he met with the women inmates one by one. As some of them wept, Francis urged them to use their time in prison as a chance for “moral and material rebirth.”

4. The Tragic Pregnancy Stories Filling the Abortion Campaign Airwaves, Biden, once reluctant to talk about abortion, is sharing the microphone with women in battleground states, By Catherine Lucey, The Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2024, 10:00 AM
Amanda Zurawski has only opened a box of items she lovingly collected during her pregnancy a few times. The baby book, the blanket, stuffed animals and the tiny clothes reminded her of the harrowing days when she learned her pregnancy wasn’t viable.
But last month she volunteered to go through the box, on camera, for a campaign ad on behalf of President BidenTexas law restricting abortion initially prevented Zurawski, at 18 weeks pregnant, from getting an induction abortion. The 37-year-old contracted a serious infection before eventually delivering a stillborn baby girl.
Zurawski is one of a group of women the Biden campaign has tapped as surrogates to help convince voters they should back Democrats this fall to protect abortion access. The approach is designed to undermine presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who as president appointed three justices to the Supreme Court that overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision in June 2022. 

Biden, an 81-year-old Catholic, has at times been a reluctant messenger on abortion—though he has appeared in television ads talking about his support for abortion rights and campaigned on it recently in Florida, where he stood below signs that said “Restore Roe.” His campaign has specifically tapped surrogates who tell stories of wanted pregnancies but also ran into obstacles getting medical care due to abortion restrictions. It hasn’t highlighted women who sought elective abortions.

5. Pope to bring his call for ethical artificial intelligence to G7 summit in June in southern Italy, By Associated Press, April 26, 2024, 1:22 PM
Pope Francis is taking his call for artificial intelligence to be developed and used according to ethical lines to the Group of 7 industrialized nations.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced Friday that Francis had accepted her invitation to attend the G7 Summit in Puglia in June. The Vatican confirmed the news.
Meloni, who currently heads the G7, is hosting the June 13-15 summit of leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the United States.
In a video statement Friday, Meloni said Francis would be the first pontiff to attend a G7 summit and would participate in the session devoted to artificial intelligence.

6. Four German bishops resist push to install permanent ‘Synodal Council’, By AC Wimmer, Catholic News Agency, April 26, 2024, 1:57 PM
Four German bishops on Wednesday distanced themselves from the controversial Synodal Way’s plans for a permanent body to oversee the Church in Germany, instead appealing for unity with the universal Church. 
The four bishops are the same who have previously blocked funding for this body: Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne and three prelates from Bavaria: Gregor Maria Hanke, OSB, of Eichstätt; Stefan Oster, SDB, of Passau; and Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg.
In a joint statement, the prelates confirmed on April 24 that they would not be parties to a committee charged with setting up a German “Synodal Council, as this would conflict with the sacramental constitution of the Church.”
The four bishops also rejected the view that the German Bishops’ Conference could legally establish a “synodal committee” if four of its members did not support the committee. 

7. Franciscan University rejects Biden administration’s transgender policies in Title IX, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, April 26, 2024, 5:30 PM
Franciscan University of Steubenville will continue to separate its housing, restrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams on the basis of biological sex — rather than self-asserted “gender identity” — despite recent federal changes to Title IX guidelines.
The announcement comes after President Joe Biden’s Department of Education issued a new interpretation of Title IX, which states that all prohibitions on sex discrimination will now apply to discrimination based on a person’s self-asserted “gender identity.” 
Religious schools, such as the Catholic Franciscan University, are exempt from Title IX provisions that violate their faith.
Father Dave Pivonka, TOR, the president of Franciscan University, sent a letter to students that stated that the new interpretation of Title IX does not apply to the university because it is inconsistent with the Catholic Church’s teaching on sex. The university president referenced Franciscan’s compendium on human sexuality, which states that a person’s “sexual identity” is based on his or her biology.

The new interpretation of Title IX has already created tension with states that have passed laws restricting women’s and girls’ athletic competitions and other private spaces to only biological women and girls. Public officials in at least two states, Oklahoma and Florida, have already said they would not comply with the new rules. 

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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