1. The Kansas Abortion Message, By The Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2022, Pg. A16, Editorial Anti-abortion forces can’t find much of a silver-lining in the vote. Their timing in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade was obviously poor as abortion-rights activists were motivated. Voter turnout was unusually heavy for a primary election date. The referendum did far worse than supporters expected even in conservative counties in the state. One message is that voters are wary of extremes on either side of the abortion issue. A majority of the public supports a right to abortion at least up to several weeks of pregnancy. This is disappointing to those who believe life begins at conception, but it means the pro-life side has persuading to do if it wants to win the abortion debate.  The Supreme Court didn’t settle the abortion question. It rightly returned it to the voters, and the Kansas referendum is merely the start of a long national debate. https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-kansas-abortion-message-referendum-constitution-supreme-court-11659536655__________________________________________________________ 2. ‘The problem that looms is not just indifference to religion, it’s not just ignorance about religion. There’s also growing hostility to religion.’, By Justice Samuel Alito, The Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2022, Pg. A17, Notable and Quotable Justice Samuel Alito speaking at the University of Notre Dame Law School’s Religious Liberty Summit in Rome, July 21: I’m reminded of an experience I had . . . in a museum in Berlin. One of the exhibits was a rustic wooden cross. A . . . woman, and a young boy were looking at this exhibit. And the young boy turns to the woman, presumably his mother, and said: “Who is that man?” That memory has stuck in my mind as a harbinger of what may lie ahead for our culture. And the problem that looms is not just indifference to religion, it’s not just ignorance about religion. There’s also growing hostility to religion. . . . A dominant view among legal academics is that religion doesn’t merit special protection. . . . A liberal society, they say, should be value-neutral, and therefore it should treat religion just like any other passionate personal attachment—say, rooting for a favorite sports team, pursuing a hobby, or following a popular artist or group. Now, I think we would all agree that in a free society, people should be free to pursue those avocations. But do they really merit the same protection as the exercise of religion? https://www.wsj.com/articles/notable-quotable-religion-freedom-indifference-justice-samuel-alito-attack-speech-11659559790?__________________________________________________________ 3. The Lessons of Kansas, By National Review, August 4, 2022, 6:30 AM, Editorial On Tuesday, an overwhelming majority of Kansas voters defeated a referendum that would have added language to the state constitution declaring that the state’s basic law “does not create or secure a right to abortion.” The ballot initiative was a response to the 2019 Kansas supreme-court ruling that held the state constitution contained a “fundamental” right to abortion since 1859. That judicial usurpation, plus the post-Dobbs, pro-abortion media monsoon, made the task of the pro-life movement very difficult in Kansas. But Tuesday’s defeat in a high-turnout election was so lopsided — 58.8 percent “No” to 41.2 percent “Yes” — that pro-lifers should realize that merely finessing their messaging or raising more campaign funds wouldn’t have changed the outcome. After the Dobbs decision restored the right of the American people through their duly elected representatives to enact meaningful abortion laws, the pro-life movement left too many questions unanswered to win a majority of the vote on August 2 in Kansas. If “Yes” had prevailed, would the Kansas legislature have banned abortion from conception or beyond six weeks of pregnancy? Would a pro-life law have included an exception for the cases of rape? Due to internal divisions, pro-life legislators punted these questions. Presented with what seemed to be a choice between allowing the legislature to enact a near-total ban or preserving an expansive right to abortion, Kansas voters chose the latter. (Kansans may discover after future court rulings, however, that letting the 2019 supreme-court decision stand didn’t merely protect the already permissive status quo but jeopardized the state’s 22-week gestational limit on abortion, 24-hour-waiting period, and prohibition on Medicaid funding of elective abortion.) If the pro-life movement wants to advance the cause of protecting the most vulnerable human lives — in Kansas and elsewhere — it needs more than pure motives and sound principles. In our democratic republic, it obviously must seek to translate those principles into victories that can be secured and sustained by public opinion. That does not mean cowering at the sight of a single unfavorable poll. And discovering where political consensus truly lies in any given state is not easy. But one lesson from Kansas is that if pro-lifers don’t define their position, their opponents and the media will define it for them. https://www.nationalreview.com/2022/08/the-lessons-of-kansas/__________________________________________________________ 4. For Pro-Lifers, the Fight Is Only Just Beginning, By Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, August 4, 2022, 6:30 AM, Opinion In children’s cartoons and cable-news shows, the storyline is Good Guys vs. Bad Guys. But in the real world of democratic politics, there are competing goods and lesser evils, tradeoffs and compromises. Lincoln wanted to get rid of slavery, which he understood as fundamentally evil, oppressing the slave and corrupting the slaveholder and the slaveholding polity. But abolishing slavery was not Lincoln’s only interest: He also wanted to preserve the constitutional order as he understood it and prevent a civil war, and he had personal political interests and his party’s interests to take into consideration. Slavery was not the only evil in the world, and its persistence was not the only possible evil, or even the worst possible evil — it might have persisted and spread, and it might have done so in spite of a bloody war over the question. And so Lincoln concluded that the persistence of slavery was tolerable, given the likely alternatives. Douglass, the former slave, did not see things exactly the same way, and the millions then in slavery very likely would have run the moral numbers in a way that produced an answer different from Lincoln’s. And so it will be with abortion in the post-Roe era. Overturning Roe was not the end of the abortion fight but its proper beginning. That fight is going to play out for years in state legislatures and in state courts, and possibly in the federal legislature and federal courts. There will be setbacks, as we have just experienced in Kansas. It will be long and frustrating, and there will be two temptations that must be resisted: The first is doing violence to our constitutional order when we see a shortcut toward our moral goals, and the second, more baleful, is the temptation to hate our fellow Americans when they disagree with us about this important question. Contrary to the Hegelian determinism of Barack Obama, it is not the case that the arc of history bends toward justice — it bends in whatever direction we bend it. And that which we bend — or break — we must bend or break deliberately, because abortion is not the only evil in the world, and its persistence is not the worst of all possible evils. https://www.nationalreview.com/2022/08/for-pro-lifers-the-fight-is-only-just-beginning/___________________________________________________________ 5. Cuba targets religious leaders in crackdown, In nation ruled by communists for decades, 70% identify with faiths, By Mark A. Kellner, The Washington Times, August 4, 2022, Pg. A7 The recent expulsion of a dissident Protestant cleric by Cuba’s communist regime is just the latest evidence of a larger crackdown on people of faith in the Caribbean nation, experts at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said this week. Just over a year after the Havana government harshly suppressed a rare outburst of popular protests, the findings represent a fresh hurdle for those advocating a thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations. President Biden came to office hoping to restore some of the diplomatic momentum in bilateral ties begun under President Obama, but he has left many of the more restrictive measures put into place under President Trump. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/aug/3/cuba-crackdown-religious-citizens-continues-despit/__________________________________________________________ 6. Biden signs executive order that ‘paves the way’ for using Medicaid to cover abortions, By Edie Heipel, Catholic News Agency, August 3, 2022, 3:04 PM President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday that would allow states to use Medicaid to pay for abortion services for women traveling from other states. The executive order directed Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra to “consider action to advance access to reproductive healthcare services” for women, particularly those who travel out of state to have abortions. It was not clear from the language of the executive order exactly which abortion services would be covered. Under the Hyde Amendment, the use of federal funding for abortions is prohibited except in the cases of rape, incest, or a “life-endangering physical condition” that places the mother “in danger of death.”  At a press briefing Wednesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed the order “paves the way for Medicaid to pay for abortions for women having to travel out of state” by allowing states to apply for Medicaid waivers. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/251953/biden-executive-order-medicaid-to-cover-abortion-travel-costs__________________________________________________________ 7. Elizabeth Warren, Woke Totalitarian, By George Weigel, First Things, August 3, 2022, Opinion What would the bill touted by Senator Warren do? A justifiably irate editorial in National Review gave the nasty details: [“]Under Warren’s bill, charities could be fined $100,000 or “50 percent of the revenues earned by the ultimate parent entity” of the charity for violating the act’s “prohibition of disinformation” related to abortion. But the legislation itself does not define prohibited speech. Warren’s bill directs the Federal Trade Commission to “promulgate rules to prohibit a person from advertising with the use of misleading statements related to the provision of abortion services.” Warren’s bill would thus turn the Federal Trade Commission into a national abortion disinformation board.[”] And who would define “disinformation”? One likely suspect would be Liz Warren’s friends at NARAL Pro-Choice America, whose study of crisis pregnancy centers complained that “more than 67 percent” of the centers surveyed “intentionally referred to the fetus as ‘baby.’”  Were they successful, that’s the joy Elizabeth Warren and her ilk would suppress in the name of a bogus notion of “health care.” They won’t succeed. But the very attempt to eradicate crisis pregnancy centers—first by lying about what these institutional expressions of the culture of life do, then by regulating them into oblivion—is wickedness. And it fouls the public space. What is going on here? What is going on is a grotesque distortion of moral judgment, often based on a bizarre concept of women’s empowerment that denigrates the extraordinary natural power that only women possess. That distortion can create fanatics. In the most extreme cases, soi-disant “pro-choice” ideology so warps the moral sensibilities of its adherents that they try to deny women a real choice by firebombing or otherwise vandalizing crisis pregnancy centers. The rhetoric and actions of the junior senator from the Bay State are less overtly violent, but they are nonetheless reprehensible. Catholic Democrats in Massachusetts and elsewhere might well have a few candid words with Elizabeth Warren about her woke bullying; ditto for Catholic Democrats in New Jersey with Senator Robert Menendez.     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. https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2022/08/elizabeth-warren-woke-totalitarian__________________________________________________________

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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