1. Ex-clinic managers for Planned Parenthood say it treats women like cattle. 

By Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times, February 20, 2017, Pg. A7

Former clinic managers for Planned Parenthood say the organization is less interested in providing quality health care for women than in performing as many abortions as possible.

In a video released by Live Action last week, former clinic manager Ramona Trevino compares the relationship between Planned Parenthood and women to that between a rancher and cattle.

That sentiment is echoed by former clinic manager Sue Thayer, who recalls receiving instructions from Planned Parenthood to get patients in and out as quickly as possible.

“Women were just herded through there, really,” she says.

The latest video released by Live Action comes as a part of its “Abortion Corporation” series. Previous videos have undermined claims that Planned Parenthood provides prenatal health care and that only a small percentage of its services are abortions.


2. Judge Gorsuch and the Wild, Wild West of Religious Liberty: A solid defender of religious expression, the SCOTUS nominee also knows its limits.  

By Eric Rassbach, The National Law Journal, February 20, 2017, Opinion

During his decade on the court, Gorsuch has had a surprising number of cases involving religious liberty. The most famous, of course, are the Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor cases, where Gorsuch voted to uphold religious freedom against government interference, a position affirmed by the Supreme Court.

Those cases will dominate much of the debate concerning Gorsuch’s nomination. But some of Gorsuch’s lesser-known religious liberty cases also provide insight into his judicial philosophy.

In all of his religion cases — well-known or not — Gorsuch has demonstrated both a commitment to and a deep understanding of the fundamental American principle of “religious liberty for all.”

In an increasingly diverse country, we need judges like that.


3. Islamic State vows more attacks on Egypt’s Christians. 

By Maggie Michael, Associated Press, February 20, 2017, 8:50 AM

An Islamic State group affiliate in Egypt released a video Monday showing the suicide bomber who killed nearly 30 people when he attacked a packed church in December and vowing more attacks on the country’s Christian.

“God gave orders to kill every infidel,” one of the militants carrying an AK-47 assault rifle says in the video.

Egypt’s Coptic Christians, who make up around 10 percent of the population, have been always a favorite target of Islamic extremists. Attacks on churches by Muslim mobs increased since the 2013 military overthrow of an Islamist president. Christians overwhelmingly supported the army chief-turned-president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, and extremists have used such support as a pretext to increase attacks against them.

El-Sissi has repeatedly assured Egypt’s Christians of his goodwill toward the community, visiting the seat of the Coptic Orthodox church in Cairo on major holidays, but many in the ancient community complain that very little has changed in their lives since el-Sissi took office in 2014.


4. Finally, Planned Parenthood’s fist to be forced out of taxpayers’ coffers. 

By Ashley McGuire, The Hill, February 18, 2017, 11:00 AM

We haven’t forgotten Planned Parenthood’s alleged crimes.

That is the message the House of Representatives sent Thursday in voting to pass H.J. Resolution 43 to disapprove of the Obama administration’s effort to undermine state efforts to defund the country’s largest abortion chain.

Two years ago, undercover citizen journalists exposed Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the trafficking of fetal body parts. 

Planned Parenthood’s claim that none of that tax money goes to abortion is about as believable as their now-discredited claim that they provide women with mammograms, jokingly referred to as their “mammosham.”

Congress instead proposes to send those dollars to the countless women’s health clinics across America that don’t perform controversial abortions, but do provide what Planned Parenthood staffers admit they don’t actually provide: prenatal care.

Shaking its death rattle on the way out, the Obama administration passed a midnight regulation that would prevent states from taking actions of their own to send funds away from abortion centers and towards actual women’s health clinics.

The House’s vote to override that executive overreach is emblematic of where the people are, namely that they support commonsense laws that give the people the right to send their hard earned dollars towards clinics that help women, not abortion centers that slaughter innocent children for profit.


5. Vatican Froze Two Million Euros in Suspect Funds in 2016. 

By Reuters, February 18, 2017, 9:00 AM

Vatican authorities froze more than two million euros in cases of suspected money laundering in 2016 as part of Pope Francis’ drive to clean up the finances of the Holy See, its chief magistrate said on Saturday.

Gian Pietro Milano, whose official title is Promoter of Justice, made the disclosure during his annual address on the state of the Vatican’s criminal justice system.

Milano gave no details in his speech but added that the total amount of suspect money frozen between 2013 and 2016 was about 13 million euros.

The money was frozen following alerts from the Vatican Financial Intelligence Authority (AIF), which Francis has given more operative power.

The Vatican, a sovereign state surrounded by Rome, has enacted a number of provisions to cleanse its finances and make them more transparent in recent years, particularly since Francis’ election in 2013.

Moneyval, the financial monitoring body of the Council of Europe, said in its latest review in December 2015 that the Vatican had made great strides in cleaning up its scandal-plagued bank and other financial departments.

In his speech on Saturday, Milano said the Vatican had “closed the gap” to meet international standards regarding monitoring, reporting, investigating and prosecutions.

He said 17 investigations of suspected financial crimes were still underway.


6. Norma McCorvey, Plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, Dies at 69: ‘Jane Roe’ later became an evangelical Christian and joined the antiabortion movement. 

By Mike Vilensky, The Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2017, 4:47 PM

Norma McCorvey, more famously known as “Jane Roe,” the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide and set in motion decades of political and legal battles, died on Saturday in Texas at 69 years old.

She was 22 years old, poor, and pregnant when, under the name “Jane Roe,” she brought the case that eventually ended with a 7-2 Supreme Court victory in her favor. The 1973 decision, during President Richard Nixon’s tenure, effectively barred states from preventing women from getting abortions in the early stages of pregnancy, a watershed victory for abortion-rights activists.

In the same year as the Supreme Court decision, Ms. McCorvey publicly revealed her identity to the press and, for a period, championed abortion rights. She worked at abortion clinics and published her first memoir, “I Am Roe,” in 1994.

Soon after, Ms. McCorvey became an outspoken foe of abortion, telling Time magazine in 1995 that witnessing a second-trimester abortion left her “nauseous” and regretful. She wrote a second book in 1998, “Won by Love,” that described a religious transformation.

Ms. McCorvey’s role in the abortion debate troubled her decades after the decision.

“The real despicable act, the real blight on my life, was being Jane Roe and helping to bring legalized abortion to this country,” she wrote in her 1998 memoir. “The very thing I was celebrated for on earth was the thing I would be most sorry for in heaven.”


7. Michael Novak: A thinker who argued for the morality of free markets. 

By The Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2017, Pg. A12, Review & Outlook

Over a long life Michael Novak traveled from writing speeches for George McGovern to serving as Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, reflecting an intellectual journey from socialism to capitalism. He died Friday at age 83, but in many ways he remained the boy forged in Johnstown, Pennsylvania: a working-class town of steel mills, coal mines and immigrant Slovak families trying to find their way in this new land called America.

Raised as a Roman Catholic, Novak believed as a young man that socialism was the ideal economic arrangement. But he began to notice a flaw: While socialism sounded good in theory, in practice it didn’t work—and non-elites fared the worst.

Capitalism had little high-minded theory, but in practice it literally provided the goods. If ordinary folks did so much better under capitalism, maybe the caricatures—e.g., that it is all based on greed—were wrong. Maybe free markets had their own virtues and were defensible, and even superior to other economic systems on moral grounds.

From this recognition sprang his most important work, “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism,” which changed America’s public debate when it was published in 1982. 

Too many religious leaders, Novak argued, have no understanding of how economies work, and thus they focus on redistributing wealth without regard for how wealth is created. As for business leaders, he encouraged them to think of their careers as a calling, and the rest of us to recognize that capitalists are “the main hope” for billions around the world still locked in poverty.

Michael Novak also wrote for these pages, and we reprint one of his pieces nearby. As we mourn his loss, we also celebrate a life dedicated to the same proposition put forth in the Declaration of Independence: that the Creator fitted everyone to flourish in freedom—and America was founded to prove it.


8. On immigrants and the poor, Pope Francis walks his talk. 

By Inés San Martín, Crux, February 17, 2017

This “pope of the poor” is doing quite a bit, from helping fund hospitals in the Central African Republic to having the Vatican sponsor migrant families arriving from the Middle East.

[I]n the last three years the global Church has helped an estimated four million people, investing some $560 million in humanitarian aid.

These are only a handful of the many cases that could be quoted:

The $200,000 collected by a Vatican art project and destined for a pediatric hospital in the Central African Republic, which Francis visited back in 2016;

January  16-17 conference held in Rome by the Vatican and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, attended by public policy-makers from Europe, North America and the Middle East, focused on refugee policies from 1933 to the present day. The opening remarks were given by Archbishops Paul Gallagher and Silvano Tomasi, from the Vatican’s Secretary of State and the Dicastery for Integral Human Development;

An initial donation of $100,000 to Haiti, in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew last October or the $110,000 donated to a clinic for Iraqi refugees;

A 2016 Vatican-sponsored conference held in Rome in partnership with Catholic Relief Services on impact investment, which sought to enlist the rich of the world to work with the poor, using the power of investment dollars to shift power to local communities, so they can be the lead actors in eradicating poverty.

These activities might seem small and insignificant when viewed by themselves, but put together, they form a tapestry of concrete gestures that prove that when it comes to human suffering, Francis is trying to lead not only with words, but by example.