1. Waiting for a Moderate Democrat on Abortion: Seven in 10 Americans, including 44% of Democrats, back restrictions after the first three months.

By Carl Anderson, The Wall Street Journal, January 21, 2020, 7:03 PM, Opinion

While most Democratic candidates for president have embraced extreme abortion positions, the majority of Americans haven’t. There is a broad national consensus that the current abortion system is wrong and must be rolled back. That’s the takeaway from a new poll sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, which I lead, and conducted by the nonpartisan Marist Institute for Public Opinion. The poll surveyed 1,237 American adults earlier this month.

Seven in 10 Americans support substantial restrictions on abortion after three months of pregnancy. This figure isn’t a fluke. It has been 70% or higher over more than a decade of polling. Americans oppose late-term abortion even if they want it to be legal at other points in pregnancy. Nearly half of those who identify as pro-choice (47%) support such restrictions, according to the poll.

Support for limits on abortion cuts across party lines. Fewer than 4 in 10 Democrats support abortion at any time and for any reason, while 62% want some limitations on abortion and about half (49%) would limit abortion to the first three months of pregnancy at most. So would 69% of independents and 91% of Republicans.

Such views aren’t lightly held, and they bear directly on the 2020 election. Nearly three-quarters of Americans view abortion as a factor in their presidential vote. Nearly two-thirds want to vote for a candidate who supports restricting abortion after the first three months of pregnancy, including 44% of Democrats. Such broad, bipartisan agreement is rare in politics today.

As both parties reach out for key constituencies, including “the Catholic vote,” it is important to remember that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has affirmed that abortion should be the “pre-eminent” priority for Catholic voters. And just this week, Pope Francis asked a group of American bishops to convey his greetings to the pro-life community. He affirmed the American bishops’ statement that life is “pre-eminent,” explaining that “if you’re not alive, you can’t do anything else.”

Mr. Anderson is CEO of the Knights of Columbus


2. Trump: Honor sanctity of life on anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

By Dave Boyer, The Washington Times, January 22, 2020, Pg. A2

President Trump proclaimed the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion as National Sanctity of Human Life Day, saying there is “more to be done” to reduce abortions.

Mr. Trump, in a proclamation timed for the 47th anniversaryof the Roe decisionon Wednesday, said the nation “proudly and strongly reaffirms our commitment to protect the precious gift of life at every stage, from conception to natural death.”

He noted that he signed a law that allows states and other grantees to exclude organizations that perform abortions from Title X funding. The administration also issued regulations to ensure Title X family planning projects are “clearly separated from those that perform, promote or refer for abortion as a method of family planning; to protect the conscience rights of healthcare workers and organizations, including with respect to abortion; and to ensure the federal government does not force employers that object, based on religious belief or moral conviction, to provide insurance for contraceptives, including those they believe cause early abortions.”

He also has urged Congress to prohibit abortions of later-term babies.


3. Most Americans want abortion to remain legal, but back some state restrictions: New poll finds support for waiting periods, mandatory ultrasounds and other limits.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha and Emily Guskin, The Washington Post, January 22, 2020, 3:00 AM

A clear majority (69 percent) of the public supports laws requiring abortions to be performed by doctors who have hospital admitting privileges, similar to the requirements in a Louisiana law challenged in a case that goes before the Supreme Court this term. Majorities of Americans also support laws that require women to wait 24 hours between meeting a health-care provider and getting an abortion (66 percent) and laws requiring doctors to show and describe ultrasound images to them (57 percent).

Americans are also split over laws that prohibit abortions once fetal cardiac activity is detected — the so-called “heartbeat” bills that have been passed by numerous states over the past 12 months. Forty-nine percent support them, and 50 percent are opposed.

The survey found 11 percent said abortion should be “illegal in all cases,” while 27 percent said it should always be legal.


4. Potential for ‘Virtual Earthquake’ if Court Rules in School Choice Case.

By Erica L. Green, The New York Times, January 22, 2020, Pg. A20

A potentially landmark education case before the Supreme Court on Wednesday has pulled in heavy hitters on both sides of the school choice debate who are trying to shape a ruling that could end decades of wrangling over school vouchers and religious education.

Oral arguments in the case, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, have attracted briefs from President Trump’s Justice Department, which hopes the high court will bolster the administration’s marquee education issue: public funding for private schools.

On the other side, Democratic state governments, school boards and teachers’ unions argue that a ruling in favor of a disbanded voucher program in Montana could open the floodgates for publicly funded religious education while draining traditional public schools.

Lawyers at the Institute for Justice, the libertarian law firm that is representing three Montana families, said the case could produce one of the most significant education rulings in the last half-century. The Supreme Court has ruled that states may include religious schools in publicly funded school choice programs, but a ruling that would essentially require it would be groundbreaking.

“If we win this case, it will be the U.S. Supreme Court once again saying that school choice is fully constitutional and it’s a good thing,” said Erica Smith, a senior lawyer at the Institute and co-counsel in the Espinoza case. “And that will provide momentum to the entire country.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has proposed a $5 billion federal tax credit scholarship program that would allow states to adopt initiatives much like the one Montana struck down. Ms. DeVos, who sent her own children to private religious schools, tried to defeat the Blaine Amendment in her home state, Michigan.


5. Should taxpayers fund religious education? Betsy DeVos says yes. Now, the Supreme Court will decide.

By Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post, January 22, 2020, 8:00 AM

Should American taxpayers fund religious education?

That’s the fundamental issue now before the Supreme Court — and the decision by the justices could have a profound impact on public education as we know it today.

The high court on Wednesday is scheduled to hear arguments in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, a case that has the potential to give Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and like-minded activists a long-sought victory in their decades-long fight for what they call school choice.

DeVos would be delighted to see the court rule that states can use public money for religious education; she has said that parents should be able to send their children to the schools they want — and that taxpayers should pay for their education.


6. China’s Two-Child Policy.

By Bloomberg News, January 22, 2020, 6:53 AM

Please have a second baby. That’s China message for couples after decades of limiting families to just one child. Why the turnabout? China  is aging. By 2040, projections show that 24 percent of the population will be 65 or older, a slightly higher rate than in the U.S. and more than twice India’s share. This threatens an economic boom that’s been built on a vast labor supply. And there may not be enough able-bodied people to take care of all those seniors. So in 2016, China changed its rules to allow as many as two children. But many couples weren’t convinced that two were better than one: Births in 2019 fell to the lowest level in almost six decades.

In 1979, its leader, Deng Xiaoping, decided to limit most couples to just one child….But to enforce the rules, Human Rights Watch says, China forced women to have abortions. Children born outside the state plan weren’t allowed to have their hukou — a government registration needed to access some benefits. The one-child years left social scars. The traditional preference among Chinese parents for sons caused many parents to abort female fetuses, and the male-to-female ratio reached 120-to-100 in some provinces.


7. Supreme Court case looms large for rivals in abortion debate.

By David Crary, Associated Press, January 21, 2020, 2:27 PM

Anti-abortion activists gather this week in Washington for their annual March for Life, eager to cheer on a continuing wave of federal and state abortion restrictions.

However, many activists on both sides of the debate already are looking ahead to March 4, when the U.S. Supreme Court hears its first major abortion case since the addition of two justices appointed by President Donald Trump.

The case is likely to reveal whether the court — more conservative since the arrival of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — is now willing to weaken the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a nationwide right to abortion.

At issue is a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The law is similar to one in Texas that the Supreme Court struck down in 2016. Abortion opponents hope the reconfigured court will allow it to take effect.

The March for Life is scheduled for Friday, two days after the 47th anniversary of the Roe decision. Its theme this year is “Life Empowers: Pro-Life Is Pro-Woman” — an effort to link the march to the women’s suffrage movement ahead of 100th anniversary celebrations later this year for the 19th Amendment that gave American women the right to vote.


8. Bishops welcome guidance on school prayer, Trump’s proposed rules.

By Catholic News Service, January 21, 2020

The chairmen of the U.S. bishops’ religious liberty and Catholic education committees Jan. 20 praised the Trump administration for issuing guidance on prayer in public schools.

The chairmen also welcome the administration’s nine proposed rules to ensure the nation’s faith-based service providers and organizations are not discriminated against by federal agencies’ regulations or in their grant-making processes because of religion.

“We wish to express our gratitude for these steps to ensure that the constitutional right of individual students and teachers to pray voluntarily in public schools is protected,” said Bishop George V. Murry, of Youngstown, Ohio, and Bishop Michael C. Barber, of Oakland, California. “This fundamental right ensures that persons may freely worship without sacrificing full participation in schools and in society.”


9. Trump declares Jan. 22 ‘National Sanctity of Human Life Day’

By Catholic News Agency, January 21, 2020, 4:18 PM

President Donald Trump declared Jan. 22 to be National Sanctity of Human Life Day, in a proclamation signed Monday.

“On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, our Nation proudly and strongly reaffirms our commitment to protect the precious gift of life at every stage, from conception to natural death,” Trump wrote in the proclamation.

“Every person — the born and unborn, the poor, the downcast, the disabled, the infirm, and the elderly — has inherent value. Although each journey is different, no life is without worth or is inconsequential; the rights of all people must be defended,” the president added.


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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