TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 93 – Erika Bachiochi On The Rights Of Women: Reclaiming A Lost Vision & Edward Pentin
Dr. Grazie Christie chats with pro-life feminist and Catholic legal scholar Erika Bachiochi about recent moves the Biden Administration has made in advancing gender ideology – and what it means for our children and families. We also get a first sneak peek at Erika’s book, The Rights of Women: Reclaiming a Lost Vision, now available for pre-order and published by Notre Dame University Press. We also revisit with Edward Pentin discussing his latest book, The Next Pope: The Leading Cardinal Candidates. Father Roger Landry also offers us an inspiring homily for this Sunday’s Gospel. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio!
1. Bishops, other pro-life leaders decry Biden action ending ‘Mexico City policy’, By Julie Asher, Catholic News Service, January 29, 2021
The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life and international policy committees said President Joe Biden’s memo rescinding the so-called “Mexico City policy” Jan. 28 is a “grievous” action that “actively promotes the destruction of human lives in developing nations.”
“(It) is antithetical to reason, violates human dignity, and is incompatible with Catholic teaching. We and our brother bishops strongly oppose this action. We urge the president to use his office for good, prioritizing the most vulnerable, including unborn children,” the prelates said.
The statement was issued by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace.
2. Joe Biden’s Choice on Religious Freedom, Will he build on Trump’s legacy or discard it? Early signs are discouraging, By Mary Vought, The Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2021, Pg. A15, Opinion
In the closing hours of the Trump administration, the State Department declared that the Chinese Communist Party’s actions against Muslim Uighurs and other minority groups constitute genocide.

The declaration came late but was consistent with the administration’s commendable approach to religious liberty. From creating an International Religious Freedom Alliance to signing executive orders that promote religious liberty and freedom of conscience, the Trump administration elevated these issues at home and abroad like no other. President Biden would do well to build on his predecessor’s legacy.

It’s unlikely Mr. Biden will approach the issue with the same fervor. A recent Politico article called Mr. Trump’s religious-freedom agenda a “political landmine” for his successor. Activists, Politico reports, “are urging him to reduce, or ‘right-size,’ ” discussion of religious liberty.
Mr. Biden’s stated priorities in office certainly appear to collide with religious-freedom principles.

Mr. Biden has spoken about national unity, pitching himself as the man to help the U.S. heal. That’s harder than it sounds. He shouldn’t make it even more difficult by undoing the policies that respect and promote religious freedom at home and abroad.
Ms. Vought is executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund.
3. Protecting the lives of the unborn and their mothers, Biden administration issues a statement supporting Roe v. Wade, equating abortion with health care, By Scott Walker, The Washington Times, January 29, 2021, Pg. B1, Opinion
Those of us who are pro-life must continue to work to change the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans. We must talk about our support for the unborn child and her mother.
In December, I met a wonderful woman who was facing incredible pressure to abort her unborn child. The volunteers at a local crisis pregnancy center were there for her — both when she decided to save her baby and after she gave birth by caring for her baby and helping with housing and employment.
The most powerful tool we have in the pro-life movement is love. We love babies, and we love their mothers. That is why we march; for life — with love.
Scott Walker was the 45th governor of Wisconsin.
4. Unborn children need the president of the United States to be their advocate, not adversary, By Chris Smith, The Washington Times, January 29, 2021, Pg. B2, Opinion
Mr. President, the dream of “justice for all” cannot be achieved if a whole segment of society is legally ignored and discriminated against because of where they live — in their mothers’ wombs — and how small and defenseless they are.
We know you understand this. You get it — or at least you once did.
Years ago you wrote to constituents explaining your support for a law against funding for abortion and said it would “protect both the woman and her unborn child …” You also said: “I have consistently — on no fewer than 50 occasions — voted against federal funding of abortions … those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them.”

By reason of their age, dependency, immaturity, inconvenience or unwantedness, unborn children have been denied justice and legally rendered persona non grata.
Yet, their cries for survival couldn’t be any more desperate. These children need the president of the United States to be their friend and advocate — not another powerful adversary. 
If your words that the “the dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer” are to have true meaning, the lives of unborn children must be included, and their precious lives must be protected. 
Justice demands it. 
Chris Smith is a 21-term Republican U.S. representative from New Jersey
5. President Biden’s Decision To Rescind The Pro-Life Mexico City Policy, By The Catholic Association, January 28, 2021, Opinion
Statement from Ashley McGuire, Senior Fellow with The Catholic Association:
President Biden’s decision to restore taxpayer funding for international abortions is tragic, especially after he campaigned extensively on his Catholic faith. Americans overwhelmingly oppose their tax dollars being used to fund abortions. The latest polling shows that more than three-fourths of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, including a majority of those who call themselves pro-choice. President Biden’s latest move is meant to placate the well-funded abortion extremists in his party and violates his pledge to restore unity to America.
Statement from Grazie Pozo Christie, MD, Policy Advisor for The Catholic Association:
 “President Biden has made it clear that his Catholic faith will inform the decisions he makes as president, but today, one of his first presidential actions will be to fund abortion overseas using Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars. Instead of using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion abroad, he should prioritize an authentic concern for the world’s poor by helping them to house, feed, and educate their children rather than eliminate them.”
6. Pro-Lifers Slam Joe Biden for Forcing Americans to Fund Planned Parenthood, He’s No “Devout Catholic”, By Steven Ertelt, LifeNews, Associated Press, January 28, 2021, 5:00 AM
Leading pro-life groups slammed Joe Biden on Thursday after he indicated he would issue two executive orders forcing Americans to fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business and both its domestic and global abortion agenda.

The pro-life group Catholic Vote told that his orders end the charade that Biden is a “devout” Catholic.
“Our national nightmare is one week old. And “devout” Joe Biden is celebrating with more child-killing,” said Brian Burch of CatholicVote. “The president today is expected to announce his repeal of the Mexico City Policy — an important protection first put in place by President Reagan (and improved by President Trump) that prevents American tax dollars from flowing to international organizations that promote and provide abortions.”
“Joe Biden is an enemy of life, period. While he once held to some semblance of coherency on the life issue, he has since fully sold his soul to the Democratic Party’s War on the Unborn,” he added.
Ashley McGuire, Senior Fellow with The Catholic Association, agreed.
“President Biden’s decision to restore taxpayer funding for international abortions is tragic, especially after he campaigned extensively on his Catholic faith. Americans overwhelmingly oppose their tax dollars being used to fund abortions. The latest polling shows that more than three-fourths of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, including a majority of those who call themselves pro-choice. President Biden’s latest move is meant to placate the well-funded abortion extremists in his party and violates his pledge to restore unity to America.,” she said.
7. Kansas lawmakers put anti-abortion measure on 2022 ballot, By John Hanna, Associated Press, January 28, 2021, 3:50 PM
Republican legislators in Kansas on Thursday put a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution on the ballot for the state’s August 2022 primary election.
The Senate approved the measure 28-11, giving abortion opponents one more vote than the two-thirds majority they needed. The House approved the same measure last week. Approval by a simple majority of voters would change the Kansas Constitution.
The measure would overturn a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court decision that access to abortion is a “fundamental” right under the state’s bill of rights. New language would declare that the state constitution doesn’t grant the right to abortion and that the Legislature can regulate it in line with U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
The measure would not be an abortion ban, but it would allow lawmakers to enact one if the nation’s highest court were to overturn its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision protecting abortion rights.
8. Courts Side with Catholic Groups over Transgender Mandate, By John Lavenburg, The Tablet, January 28, 2021
Last week, a federal ruling in North Dakota flew under the radar that allows Catholic medical professionals, hospitals and organizations the right to refuse performing or providing insurance coverage for gender transition procedures, or insurance coverage for gender transition drugs, if it violates their religious beliefs.

“This ruling is a very important victory protecting doctors and hospitals that allows them to continue providing top notch care to everyone in accordance with their best medical judgement and religious beliefs,” Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty law firm told The Tablet.

Another 2016 lawsuit against the “transgender mandate,” however, didn’t get the same permanent injunction: Filed by the Becket Fund on behalf of the Franciscan Alliance, the federal judge instead granted a vacatur, which essentially set aside the mandate.
“We were glad to get the vacatur but we also think it’s important to get the injunction to tell the government they’re not allowed to have this regulation,” Goodrich said.
For that reason, the Becket Fund has since appealed the ruling and it’s scheduled to be heard on March 2. The Biden administration still hasn’t made a decision on whether or not it will appeal the Catholic Benefits Association decision.
Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, a lawyer and director of the Conscience Project that supports religious freedom cases, cautions that while the Catholic Benefits Association ruling is important, its effects are limited, since only the plaintiffs are protected.
“The best way for the federal government to get out in front of this is to come up with a uniform rule, basically enacting what these two lower courts have ordered for all objecting Americans,” Picciotti-Bayer said.
“It goes to back to the protection of conscious rights and the protection of religious freedom. We don’t want everyone to have to go to court to be able to protect themselves. It’s much more preferable if the federal government takes the hint from the judiciary and does it,” she said.
Picciotti-Bayer also noted it’s important for the government to not pit those seeking gender reassignment against people with religious objections.
“When we’re protecting religious freedom by requiring exemptions or protecting rights it’s not at the expense of another party, it’s to protect the rights of the individual with the objection,” she said. “When making rules and even executive actions, it’s important to make sure in the quest for unity, part of that is not trampling on the constitutional rights of people you disagree with.”
9. Biden Can (And Should) Safeguard the Conscience Rights of Americans Opposed to Abortion, By Andrea  Picciotti-Bayer, Townhall, January 28, 2021, 12:56 PM, Opinion
Rights of conscience, which need not be rooted in religious allegiance, protect your ability to do what you believe is morally correct. These rights safeguard people against having to deny their core values or beliefs in order to conform to the demands of the noisiest voices in the surrounding culture – or of a government that takes it upon itself to dictate what is morally correct. They are of paramount importance in the United States, where abortion has the status of a constitutional right.
If Biden is not firmly committed to protecting conscience rights, then healthcare workers – nurses, doctors, pharmacists – may soon be subjected to overt or insidious pressure to perform, participate in or facilitate abortion against their sincerely held religious or moral beliefs. Private clinics and pharmacies may be threatened with fines or lose their license or funding if they refuse to promote the system of abortions – that is, not just performing them or assisting in them but also propelling women in the direction of abortion clinics by offering “counsel” to terminate a pregnancy.

Most Americans still agree that a person or religious institution should not be forced to act against sincerely held beliefs regarding abortion. Many lawmakers who support abortion agree. But for how long? Progressives are opposed to this basic principle of common decency – and, alas, some of them will have a foothold in the new administration. So, put simply, if Joe Biden is sincere about his desire for unity, he must forge a crucial alliance with the pro-life community to protect conscience rights for Americans opposed to abortion. And he must do so immediately.

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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