1. In Upstate N.Y., a test for Democrats running on abortion to stop GOP wave, Tuesday’s special election in a swing district has become a crucial testing ground for both major parties’ political strategies around abortion — an issue that could factor heavily into the midterm elections, By David Weigel, Washington Post, August 22, 2022, 6:43 AMTuesday’s special election in a swing district will be a closely watched preview of both major parties’ midterm political strategies around abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to overturn the right to end a pregnancy. It is shaping up as the last big electoral test before the November midterms of Democrats’ attempts to channel anger over the decision — and subsequent state bans on abortion — into votes for their candidates, and of Republican efforts to keep the focus on different matters.  There has been no independent polling on the race, but both sides have released internal numbers that suggest a post-Dobbs bounce for Ryan. While Molinaro is considered the favorite, Democrats say they think Ryan is competitive.  Republican advertising has avoided the abortion issue altogether. The National Republican Congressional Committee has focused on crime, linking Ryan to the state’s cashless bail changes and highlighting an op-ed he wrote after the murder of George Floyd that criticized the “militarization” of police forces. https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2022/08/22/abortion-new-york-special-election/__________________________________________________________ 2. White coats in the state capital: OB-GYNs become political force in abortion wars, By Alice Miranda Ollstein & Megan Messerly, Politico, August 22, 2022, 4:31 AM As lawmakers debate how much to restrict access to abortion, doctors are becoming increasingly vocal. Red state lawmakers rushing to pass new abortion restrictions are being stymied by an unexpected political force — OB-GYNs. These physicians — many of whom have never before mobilized politically — are banding together in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, lobbying state lawmakers, testifying before committees, forming PACs, and launching online campaigns against proposed abortion restrictions. Legislators who are themselves physicians are using their medical backgrounds to persuade colleagues to scale back some of the more restrictive and punitive portions of anti-abortion laws being considered.  Still, some have mobilized in support of state restrictions — testifying before state legislative committees and in court. “It is possible for our state to prevent abortions which intentionally end the life of my fetal patients while still allowing for physicians to exercise their expert medical judgment in order to intervene in situations where the mother’s life is in danger,” Christina Francis, an Indiana OB-GYN and CEO-elect of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, told lawmakers. https://www.politico.com/news/2022/08/22/doctors-abortion-state-capitals-00052946__________________________________________________________ 3. Activists Push To Get Fetuses Person Status, By Kate Zernike, The New York Times, August 22, 2022, Pg. A1 Fetal personhood, which confers legal rights from conception, is an effort to push beyond abortion bans and classify the procedure as murder. In Georgia, it also means a $3,000 tax credit. Even as roughly half the states have moved to enact near-total bans on abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, anti-abortion activists are pushing for a long-held and more absolute goal: laws that grant fetuses the same legal rights and protections as any person. So-called fetal personhood laws would make abortion murder, ruling out all or most of the exceptions for abortion allowed in states that already ban it. So long as Roe established a constitutional right to abortion, such laws remained symbolic in the few states that managed to pass them. Now they are starting to have practical effect. Already in Georgia, a fetus now qualifies for tax credits and child support, and is to be included in population counts and redistricting.  And this month, Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate, urged by anti-abortion groups, introduced legislation that would establish a right to child support for fetuses beginning at conception. Such a mandate might be difficult to enforce but would nudge federal law toward an understanding that fetuses have the same right to life as other human beings, including the women who carry them. The goal is to establish a federal ban on abortion, through legislation or another Supreme Court decision. ”Personhood has always been the ultimate ambition of the anti-abortion movement,” said Mary Ziegler, a law professor and historian of abortion at the University of California, Davis. ”The movement very much wants a declaration that abortion is a human rights and constitutional rights violation. Not just that it’s a crime; that it’s unconstitutional. From a symbolic standpoint, that’s a really big deal to a lot of people in the movement.”  This month, Georgia’s Department of Revenue set the exemption at $3,000 per pregnancy for fetuses after about six weeks of gestation. All told, Mr. Setzler said he anticipated the new benefits to unborn children and pregnant women would cost the state somewhere between $18 million and $20 million a year. ”It’s a balance between the liberty interest of the mother and the life interest of the unborn child,” he said. ”Show a 4D sonogram of 10 weeks along to a classroom of fourth graders and ask them what they’re seeing. They know: It’s a baby.” https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/21/us/abortion-anti-fetus-person.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Cardinal at center of Vatican trial claims he has been ‘reinstated’ by Pope, By Inés San Martín, Crux, August 22, 2022 The Italian cardinal at the center of a historic Vatican trial on corruption and mismanagement, said on Sunday that Pope Francis had invited him to the consistory for the creation of 21 new cardinals, to be held on Saturday in Rome. “On Saturday, the pope phoned me to tell me that I will be reinstated in my cardinal duties and to ask me to participate in a meeting with all the cardinals that will be held in the coming days in Rome,” Cardinal Angelo Becciu reportedly said Sunday, during a private Mass celebrated before a group of faithful in Italy’s Golfo Aranci, where he is vacationing. https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2022/08/cardinal-at-center-of-vatican-trail-claims-he-has-been-reinstated-by-pope__________________________________________________________ 5. Exiled Nicaraguan prelate challenges Pope Francis on bishop’s arrest, By Inés San Martín, Crux, August 22, 2022 An exiled Nicaraguan bishop appeared to challenge Pope Francis Sunday, after the pontiff appealed for an “open and sincere dialogue” with the government of President Daniel Ortega about the recent imprisonment of another Catholic prelate. “It is necessary to ask for freedom. We must not negotiate with the person [Ortega]. We must ask for freedom, because they are innocent,” said Bishop Silivio Báez in a Mass celebrated in Miami and broadcast through his social networks.  Báez was calling for the freedom of Bishop Rolando Álvarez, recently arrested, along with several of his companions, on charges of trying to “organize violent groups.” Prior to his house arrest at a family home in Managua, Álvarez, together with several priests, seminarians and laity, had been banned from leaving the curia of Matagalpa, the diocese he leads. https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-americas/2022/08/exiled-nicaraguan-prelate-challenges-pope-francis-on-bishops-arrest__________________________________________________________ 6. Pope voices worry over bishop’s detention in Nicaragua, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, August 21, 2022 Pope Francis voiced worry Sunday about the situation in Nicaragua, where police detained several Roman Catholic clergy, including a bishop, critical of President Daniel Ortega’s administration. Calling for “open and sincere dialogue,” the pontiff made his first public comment on the Friday raid of Matagalpa Bishop Rolando Alvarez’s residence. The detention of him and an unknown number of priests came amid worsening tensions between the church and a government increasingly intolerant of dissent.  Before Friday’s pre-dawn raid, Nicaraguan authorities had accused the bishop of “organizing violent groups” and inciting them “to carry out acts of hate against the population.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/16-more-states-hope-to-weigh-in-on-idaho-abortion-lawsuit/2022/08/19/849d51a4-2001-11ed-9ce6-68253bd31864_story.html__________________________________________________________ 7. Contraception and Infallibility — Part 1, Despite opinions circulated by Pontifical Academy for Life, the Church’s perennial teaching on the immorality of contraception is settled and unchangeable teaching of divine law., By E. Christian Brugger and John M. Finnis, National Catholic Register, August 21, 2022, Opinion An Aug. 8 tweet from the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) claimed that Humanae Vitae (HV) did not teach a truth guaranteed by the Church’s infallibility. While we were writing this commentary on it, the tweeted statement (full text here) was deleted without explanation. But the confusion at the heart of the tweet is widespread and will not go away with the tweet. It is this. Although Paul VI chose not to include in HV any formal, ex cathedra and manifestly infallible definition, the perennial teaching against contraception he reaffirmed in the encyclical had long been proclaimed infallibly, by the concurrence of popes, bishops and their priests throughout the world in presenting it, for decades and centuries, as a settled and unchangeable teaching of divine law.  https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/contraception-and-infallibility-part-1__________________________________________________________ 8. Nebraska Facebook Abortion Case: Court Documents Reveal Grisly Details, Senior fellows with The Catholic Association (TCA), an organization dedicated to defending religious liberty, life, and the Church in the public square, also weighed in on the case., By Katie Yoder, Catholic News Agency, August 20, 2022 A Nebraska abortion case relying on private Facebook messages as evidence began as an investigation into concerns that a teenager gave birth prematurely to a stillborn child, according to court documents. The case initially sparked a backlash from abortion supporters against Facebook amid growing concerns about tech privacy. Court documents suggest there is more to the story. A 17-year-old from Norfolk, Nebraska, was nearly 30 weeks pregnant when, she said, she gave birth to a stillborn baby earlier this year, according to documents filed in Madison County Court. Those documents reveal that the teenager and her mother buried the baby before telling multiple people that they needed to dig up the body to burn it.  Senior fellows with The Catholic Association (TCA), an organization dedicated to defending religious liberty, life, and the Church in the public square, also weighed in on the case. “This tragedy illustrates what 50 years of an abortion dependent culture has wrought,” Maureen Ferguson, a senior fellow for TCA, told CNA.  She addressed how Catholics should respond. “This story cries to out to us as Catholics to give of our time, talent, and treasure to help build a culture of life,” she said, before encouraging Catholics to get involved with the U.S. bishops’ pro-life parish-based ministry, Walking With Moms in Need. https://www.ncregister.com/cna/nebraska-facebook-abortion-case-court-documents-reveal-grisly-details__________________________________________________________ 9. Vatican cardinal terms assault allegations false, defamatory, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, August 19, 2022, 12:05 PM The Vatican cardinal accused in a class-action lawsuit in Canada of sexual assault against a woman on Friday denied any inappropriate behavior and said he would vigorously fight the “false” and “defamatory” accusations if the case proceeds. Cardinal Marc Ouellet issued his own statement via the Vatican press office a day after the Holy See said a preliminary church investigation into the woman’s allegations determined the case didn’t warrant further investigation or canonical trial. The back-to-back statements were responding to lawyers in Quebec who recently filed a class-action compliant by 101 alleged victims accusing 88 prelates of sexual abuse and assault over decades. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/vatican-cardinal-terms-assault-allegations-false-defamatory/2022/08/19/b8225610-1fd8-11ed-9ce6-68253bd31864_story.html__________________________________________________________ 10. 16 more states hope to weigh in on Idaho abortion lawsuit, By Rebecca Boone, Associated Press, August 19, 2022, 4:57 PM Sixteen more states are asking to weigh in on the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Idaho over its strict abortion ban. The Justice Department sued the Republican-led state of Idaho earlier this month, saying the abortion ban set to take effect on Aug. 25 violates a federal law requiring Medicaid-funded hospitals to provide “stabilizing treatment” to patients experiencing medical emergencies. In July, President Joe Biden’s administration told hospitals that the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, or EMTALA, requires them to provide abortion services if the life of the pregnant person is at risk. In court documents filed Friday, Indiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming characterized the federal government’s guidelines as “EMTALA’s grant conditions” and said they do not have the power to preempt state law. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/16-more-states-hope-to-weigh-in-on-idaho-abortion-lawsuit/2022/08/19/849d51a4-2001-11ed-9ce6-68253bd31864_story.html__________________________________________________________ 11. Judge: Prosecutors cannot enforce Michigan’s abortion ban, By Joey Cappelletti, Associated Press, August 19, 2022 A Michigan judge on Friday blocked county prosecutors from enforcing the state’s 1931 ban on abortion for the foreseeable future, after two days of witness testimony from abortion experts, providers and the state’s chief medical officer. The ruling follows a state Court of Appeals ruling this month that county prosecutors were not covered by a May order and could enforce the prohibition following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. https://apnews.com/article/abortion-health-michigan-gretchen-whitmer-state-courts-52cdc0f365267808fb0832987a662309__________________________________________________________ 12. The Sins of the High Court’s Supreme Catholics, The overturn of Roe v. Wade is part of ultra-conservatives’ long history of rejecting Galileo, Darwin, and Americanism., By James Carroll, The New Yorker, August 19, 2022, Opinion As part of the Vatican’s war on “modernism” in 1899, Pope Leo XIII condemned as heresy the set of principles known as “Americanism.” But, by 1965, at the Second Vatican Council, the Church had begun to embrace such supposedly odious ideas: pluralism, the separation of church and state, the primacy of conscience, the preference of experience over dogma, and—for that matter—freedom of the press. This was a historic reversal of the Church’s panicked nineteenth-century repudiation of, in Pope Leo’s words, “modern popular theories and methods.” Now five Catholic Justices on the Supreme Court are reversing the Church’s reversal. (Neil Gorsuch, who is now an Episcopalian but was raised and educated as a Catholic, joined his five colleagues in overturning Roe v. Wade.) These Justices are undermining not only basic elements of American democracy, such as the “wall of separation,” but also the essential spirit of Catholicism’s great twentieth-century renewal.  The elevation of the issue of abortion as the be-all and end-all of Catholic orthodoxy echoes the anti-modern battles that the nineteenth-century Church fought. A pair of dates tells the story. In 1859, Charles Darwin published “On the Origin of Species,” and the idea of biological evolution began to grip the Western imagination. In 1869, Pope Pius IX, in his pronouncement “Apostolicae Sedis,” forbade the abortion of a pregnancy from the moment of conception forward—an effective locating of human “ensoulment” at the joining of the ovum and sperm, an all but explicit rejection of evolutionary theory.  Back in the fourth century, St. Augustine, whose influence on theology surpasses even that of Aquinas, centered the Adam and Eve narrative on sex. The forbidden fruit, he believed, was the pleasure that the first couple took in sexual arousal. From then on, the sanctioned Catholic imagination was radically corrupted by fear of and contempt for autonomous female sexuality. The Church’s unfettered campaign against women (elevating virginity, requiring female subservience in marriage and at the altar, restricting women’s ability to control their own bodies) was launched. Now it has been joined by the Supreme Court’s Catholic majority.  Now that the Supreme Court, with an extreme originalist misreading of the Constitution, has revoked the constitutional right to obtain an abortion, the renewed political and religious tensions surrounding the issue can be clarifying, perhaps especially for Catholics. They can begin to reclaim the evolutionary character of their own history and beliefs, as well as of the understanding of when personhood begins. Indeed, many Catholics already do this, with leading Catholic politicians, for example, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, affirming abortion rights. They may cloak that affirmation in language about not wanting to impose their own religious views on others, but this really amounts to an implicit rejection of the idea that human life—and human rights—begins at conception. That rejection should be made explicit.  Birth control and abortion are not the same thing, but the autonomy of women, the primacy of conscience, and the rejection of overreaching male-supremacist authority add up to an American refusal to obey draconian new laws that claim to defend human life yet do the opposite. https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-sins-of-the-high-courts-supreme-catholics__________________________________________________________ 13. ‘Unimaginable cruelty and trauma’ – A survivor of forced sterilization speaks out, By Charlie Camosy, The Pillar, August 19, 2022, Interview Elaine Riddick became pregnant after being raped at age 13. When she delivered the baby, via c-section, she was sterilized – without her knowledge or consent. Today, Riddick is a passionate pro-life advocate, and the executive director of the Rebecca Project for Justice. And she believes her story is not unique. Tens of thousands of Americans have been forcibly sterilized throughout U.S. history, with minority populations being disproportionately targeted. Riddick says that Black communities are often discouraged from speaking up. When she was interviewed earlier this summer by the Washington Post, she says her words were twisted to make it look like she supported abortion. And she says her complaints and requests for a correction were ignored. Charlie Camosy spoke with Riddick this week about her experience, her pro-life work, and her belief that abortion and forced sterilization are part of a eugenic movement that harms Black communities.  [Camosy:] The Washington Post did a recent feature story about youand you say that story twisted your words and witness, to convey the opposite of what you believe about abortion. Can you fill us in on some of the details? [Riddick:] Yes, the Washington Post twisted my words when their journalist Meena Venkataramanan made my story the centerpiece for her fake news article: “She Survived a Forced Sterilization. She fears more could occur post-Roe,” published July 24, 2022. The Washington Post falsely ascribed to me the view that the Court’s decision in Dobbs will open the door to forced sterilizations by removing constitutional protections for women’s bodily autonomy. My position is, in fact, the opposite.  It is my fear post-Roe that Democrats would now begin to rationalize a revival of the Margaret Sanger and Dr. Alan Guttmacher forced sterilization policies that harmed me. The Washington Post has also not published the letter below, which I demanded as a correction on June 28, 2022:  The Washington Post gravely misrepresented and distorted my position in a recent article, “She Survived a Forced Sterilization. She fears more could occur post-Roe” (by Meena Venkataramanan), and in so doing undermined my life’s work as a pro-life activist fighting for black women and their unborn babies. I have spoken out against abortion as a racist tool of eugenics that has resulted in the death of 20 million black unborn babies. As a victim of forced eugenic sterilization, it is appalling to me that my words were used to promote abortion. I celebrated the landmark Supreme Court ruling reversing Roe and allowing states to restrict abortion in the United States. I believe that abortion should be banned. Modern white supremacists support abortion because they know that it suppresses the black population. Post-Roe, I worry that progressive Democrats will try to enact other policies to limit the number of black babies born, including by coerced sterilization. It is time for progressives to stop targeting the black community with abortion, sterilization, and long-acting injectable contraceptives and work instead to provide much needed health care to black women so that they can truly be free. Elaine Riddick  [Camosy:] How can the pro-life movement have better relationships with communities of color? It is in the process of changing, but for the most part the U.S. pro-life movements have been extremely white. This despite the fact that, for the last several years, people of color have polled as more pro-life than white people. How can we do better? [Riddick:] The pro-life movement – including those who fund the pro-life movement – have to actively open their arms to specifically embrace African-Americans and Blacks. For example, they should invite us to sit on leadership boards, invite us to political and community forums, help fund projects like mine that struggle for funding to protect pregnant Black girls to have safe births instead of abortions, and not to use dangerous harmful contraceptives that significantly increase the risk of breast cancer 2.2-fold. Far too often, we are simply “off the radar.”  [Camosy:] You are in the midst of building the “Elaine Riddick Sister Sanctuary for Girls at Risk” in Georgia. Can you tell us about this initiative? Especially in this post-Dobbs moment, do you think this is the kind of thing the pro-life movements can do on a broader scale? [Riddick:] The Elaine Riddick Sister Sanctuary for Girls at Risk, in Atlanta, Georgia, is a home for at-risk girls of all ages. The girls, young women and mothers I focus on are those who are homeless and at risk of being sold into human trafficking, and those who are pregnant and homeless – I persuade them not to have abortions and to seek refuge with us. Our sanctuary is also a safe home where babies can be dropped off anonymously by mothers and fathers who cannot care for their children.  Yes, in this post-Dobbs moment, our pro-life movement should support and expand initiatives like mine to demonstrate to the world that our humanity and morals mean caring for those girls and young women who need a safe place for both temporary and long-term refuge to heal and rebuild their lives, so they can continue to care for their beautiful children and families. https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/unimaginable-cruelty-and-trauma-the__________________________________________________________ 14. Matthew 25 Catholics?, By George Weigel, EPPC, August 17, 2022, Opinion I’m told that Kathy Hochul is a gracious person in conversation, even with those with whom she disagrees (which would never have been said of Andrew Cuomo; but I digress again). However, she is strongly supportive of what are euphemistically called “reproductive rights,” which in fact terminate the process of reproduction (but I digress yet again). And when challenged on how she squares her pro-abortion radicalism with her Catholicism, Gov. Hochul has been known to reply, “I’m a Matthew 25 Catholic.” This relatively new attempt to render more plausible the implausibility of “pro-choice Catholicism” by coating it with a biblical veneer takes its name from the Lord’s separation of the blessed sheep from the condemned goats: the former being those who fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, clothed the naked, and welcomed the stranger; the latter being those who didn’t. The implication of declaring oneself a “Matthew 25 Catholic”—and what faux-clever theological con artist invented that sound bite, one wonders—is that supporting a broad range of social services for the poor and needy, welcoming the immigrant, and ticking all the other boxes on the Biden/Pelosi Democrats’ domestic policy agenda constitutes a moral “get out of jail free” card that can be played, first with the electorate, and then, presumably, with the Lord.  Sorry, but it won’t work. Matthew 25 also refers, twice, to “the least of these my brethren” (Matt. 25:40, 45). And when one willfully, actively, and even aggressively promotes the killing of what are indisputably the “least” of the Lord’s brothers and sisters—those ultra-vulnerable human beings who happen not to have been born yet—it is not easy to imagine that the Lord is pleased, irrespective of one’s voting record on, say, reducing carbon emissions or raising the minimum wage. This is, after all, the same Lord who memorably said that it would be better for anyone who tempted his “little ones” to sin to have a “millstone . . . hung round his neck” and be “cast into the sea” (Luke 17:2). What will that Lord have to say about anyone who deliberately creates public policies aimed at terminating the lives of those “little ones” before birth? The “Matthew 25 Catholic” dodge is also an implicit insult to the champions of pro-life policies who have worked for decades to provide compassionate care for women caught in the dilemma of an unwanted pregnancy and for their children, both before and after birth. Does “Matthew 25 Catholicism” include generous public support for pre-natal care in crisis pregnancy centers, well-child pediatric services, and job-training programs for single moms who carry their children to term but who’ve been abandoned by the kind of male irresponsibility the abortion license has facilitated? I hope it does. But I am waiting for the first “Matthew 25 Catholic” public official to make a big deal about that, rather than burning incense to the Moloch of NARAL Pro-Choice America in the aftermath of the heroic Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision of this past June 24.  George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, is a Catholic theologian and one of America’s leading public intellectuals. He holds EPPC’s William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.  https://eppc.org/publication/matthew-25-catholics/__________________________________________________________

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