1. American doctor to travel to UK in Charlie Gard case.

By Associated Press, July 14, 2017, 9:43 AM

An American doctor who specializes in conditions such as that affecting Charlie Gard will be traveling to Britain next week to assess the critically ill child.

High Court Judge Nicholas Francis said Friday that he was “open-minded about the evidence” to come after the visit of Dr. Michio Hirano of Columbia University.

Hirano’s research focuses on mitochondrial diseases and genetic myopathies and he has treated others with conditions similar to Charlies.


2. Confusion over how anti-abortion bill could affect St. Louis.

By Summer Ballentine, Associated Press, July 14, 2017, 1:59 AM

Missouri lawmakers are at a standstill on broad anti-abortion legislation more than a month after Republican Gov. Eric Greitens called them into a special session to deal with abortion issues.

The legislation calls for several new regulations, such as annual state inspections of abortion clinics. But one of the provisions causing the most confusion addresses a St. Louis ordinance that city leaders say is intended to prevent discrimination based on reproductive health decisions, such as pregnancy and abortion.

St. Louis’ ordinance bans discrimination in housing and employment based on “reproductive health decisions,” such as having an abortion, taking birth control or becoming pregnant. Largely symbolic, the local law was approved in the Democratic-leaning city in February as a pre-emptive move against any new abortion laws approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature.


It’s unclear, in part because of confusion over what St. Louis’ ordinance does and of the broad language in the bill.

The legislation bans municipalities from enacting or enforcing “any order, ordinance, rule, regulation, policy, or other similar measure that prohibits, restricts, limits, controls, directs, interferes with, or otherwise adversely affects an alternatives-to-abortion agency” or such an agency’s staff.

The agencies, also known as pregnancy care centers, discourage abortion and provide care for pregnant women and their babies. Supporters say protections are needed in state law because not all centers are church-operated and shouldn’t be forced to hire people who don’t believe what they believe.

Jim Layton, an attorney who spent about two decades working in the Missouri Attorney General’s Office under Democratic administrations, said the bill could undo parts of St. Louis’ ordinance by exempting all pregnancy care centers in the city. But he said a court also could interpret the legislation’s wording to fully overturn St. Louis’ ordinance, or any local law, that touches on any one of the specific preemptions.


3. Charlie Gard Has Chance of Improvement With Therapy, U.S. Doctor Tells Court: Experimental treatment could boost immobile and brain-damaged baby’s muscle strength, court hears.

By Joanna Sugden, The Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2017, 3:19 PM

A U.S. doctor offering to treat Charlie Gard, the terminally ill British baby whose case has generated international attention, told a court Thursday that new evidence suggested an experimental therapy could give the immobile and brain-damaged child as much as a 10% chance of improvement in his muscle strength.

The doctor told the judge via video link that in the past few months new evidence and results from trials of the treatment in cases similar but not identical to Charlie’s indicated that there was now more hope of an experimental therapy working for the baby.

“There is a 10% chance of a clinically important improvement in muscle strength” and a “significantly above zero” chance of improvement in the child’s brain function, the doctor told the court, but couldn’t venture any further figures without seeing the child or carrying out the treatment.

The judge said Thursday he had “an open mind” but has said he needs to be convinced that any medical intervention would be in Charlie’s best interests and have a chance to reverse what doctors say is structural damage to the baby’s brain. His parents have contested the finding that he has structural brain damage.


4Confidant of Pope Francis offers scathing critique of Trump’s religious supporters.

By Rachel Zoll, Associated Press, July 13, 2017, 6:11 PM

A close confidant of Pope Francis, writing Thursday in a Vatican-approved magazine, condemned the way some American evangelicals and their Roman Catholic supporters mix religion and politics, saying their worldview promotes division and hatred.

The Rev. Antonio Spadaro, editor of the influential Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, said a shared desire for political influence between “evangelical fundamentalists” and some Catholics has inspired an “ecumenism of conflict” that demonizes opponents and promotes a “theocratic type of state.”

Spadaro also took aim at conservative religious support for President Donald Trump, accusing activists of promoting a “xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations.”

Articles in La Civilta Cattolica are reviewed and approved by the Vatican Secretariat of State. Under Francis, who is a Jesuit, the publication has become something of an unofficial mouthpiece of the papacy.


5. Detroit judge praised for halting deportation of Iraqi Christians, but ICE issues warning.

By Hollie McKay, Fox News, July 13, 2017

A federal judge in Detroit, who this week halted the deportations of some 1,400 Iraqi nationals, many of whom are Christians, is being hailed as a hero by the Iraqi community in America.

U.S. District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith on Tuesday put a temporary stop to the deportations after he asserted jurisdiction in the case — over a Justice Department objection. The decision to suspend the deportations until individual cases can be reviewed, extends to all states with Iraqis on the expulsion list. Some of the Iraqis on the list have criminal convictions.

Furthermore, ICE officials remain firm that those on the list pose a threat to American citizens.

“Just last night we got a decision from a judge on a bunch of Iraqi Christians that we arrested up in Detroit, all these significant public safety threats – convicted of murder, rape, child molestation – and all of a sudden they have got to stay while they look at the case, should they be returned to Iraq because they might be in danger of being persecuted in Iraq?” acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said Wednesday on “Your World With Neil Cavuto.”