1. Women denied abortions in Texas ask court for clarity over state’s exceptions to ban, By Paul J. Weber, Associated Press, July 19, 2023, 6:54 AM Women who sued Texas after saying they were denied abortions despite serious risks to their health are headed to court Wednesday as legal challenges to abortion bans across the U.S. continue a year after the fall of Roe v. Wade. The Texas case is believed to be the first brought by women who were denied abortions since the right to an abortion in the U.S. was overturned, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing them.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2023/07/19/abortion-texas-exceptions/a5c7c2b0-2622-11ee-9201-826e5bb78fa1_story.html__________________________________________________________ 2. The Victory for Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pills Is Just the Beginning, By Daniel Grossman, The New York Times, July 19, 2023, 5:00 AM, Opinion Amid so much discouraging news about reproductive health access in the wake of Roe v. Wade’s demise, the announcement by the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday that it was approving Opill, a daily oral contraceptive, for over-the-counter sale to people of all ages, felt like a breath of fresh air. The evidence is clear that removing the prescription requirement for birth control pills — Opill was the first such medication to be approved but surely won’t be the last — will improve access to a highly effective form of contraception for millions of Americans.  We now have hope that other advances could be coming to help offset restrictions on minors’ access to contraception and state-level abortion bans.  Research indicates that people are very interested in over-the-counter abortion pills, and a growing body of evidence demonstrates that people can figure out on their own if they’re medically eligible to use them. The expansion of self-managed abortion, particularly since Roe was overturned, suggests that people can safely use these medications on their own. The approval of Opill — a hard-fought victory for evidence-based reproductive health policy — could help reverse longstanding inequities in contraceptive access. If cost and insurance coverage are worked out, people will soon have more control over their fertility, even as abortion access has been eroded in many parts of the country. Dr. Grossman is a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, and director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health. He is a member of the steering committee of the Free the Pill Coalition. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/19/opinion/birth-control-pills-opill-over-the-counter.html__________________________________________________________ 3. Prosecutor cites risky investments as ‘grave’ violations, in closing of Vatican financial case, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, July 18, 2023, 8:58 PM The Vatican prosecutor insisted Tuesday that his indictments of 10 people, including a cardinal, for alleged financial crimes held up under two years of testimony, criticism and defense motions, as he began closing arguments in a trial that exposed the unseemly financial underbelly of the Holy See. Prosecutor Alessandro Diddi opened two weeks of hearings to summarize his case by accusing officials in the Vatican secretariat of state of committing “grave violations” of internal norms and canon law when they decided in 2012 to start investing the pope’s money in “highly speculative” investments, including in a 350 million euro (US $390 million) London real estate venture. “There’s not a single faithful (Catholic) who has donated a euro thinking that this euro would be used in speculative operations,” Diddi said, alleging that such canonical violations amounted to criminal abuse of office and embezzlement.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/07/18/vatican-trial-cardinal-becciu-pope-financial-scandal/6c9be9f6-25a2-11ee-9201-826e5bb78fa1_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Iowa governor plans to appeal block on restrictive abortion law, By Hannah Fingerhut, Associated Press, July 18, 2023, 8:04 PMIowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said on Tuesday that plans are in progress to appeal a temporary block on the state’s new, restrictive abortion law, previewing a likely emotional court battle that could take months to resolve. Reynolds told reporters at the Iowa Capitol that her staff is working with lawyers in Attorney General Brenna Bird’s office to work out the details, so “it’s just a matter of time,” she said. The Republican-controlled Legislature approved the measure to ban most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy during a special session last week, and the law went into effect Friday, immediately after Reynolds signed it. The ACLU of Iowa, Planned Parenthood North Central States and the Emma Goldman Clinic launched a legal challenge and on Monday, Judge Joseph Seidlin granted their request to pause the law as the courts assess its constitutionality.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2023/07/18/iowa-abortion-ban-lawsuit/e7e5d4fa-25ac-11ee-9201-826e5bb78fa1_story.html__________________________________________________________ 5. Louisiana lawmakers overturn governor’s veto on gender-affirming care ban for transgender minors, By Sara Cline, Associated Press, July 18, 2023, 7:50 PM Louisiana’s Republican-dominated Legislature overturned Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ recent veto of a ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors on Tuesday. Louisiana, where the ban is scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2024, will join 20 other states that have enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming medical care, which includes puberty-blockers, hormone treatment and gender-reassignment surgery. Most of those states face now lawsuits, and in some places the bans have been temporarily blocked by federal judges.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2023/07/18/transgender-ban-veto-override-louisiana-gender-affirming/70790114-25b9-11ee-9201-826e5bb78fa1_story.html__________________________________________________________ 6. Virginia releases updated transgender student model policies, By Karina Elwood, The Washington Post, July 18, 2023, 8:18 PM Virginia’s education department announced updated model policies for the treatment of transgender students in schools Tuesday afternoon, offering the first update since an early version released last year was put on hold to review tens of thousands of public comments, many of them opposing the guidelines. The first version, issued in September by the administration of Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), required transgender students to use school facilities and programs that match the sex they were assigned at birth and makes it harder for students to change their name or pronoun at school. The final model policies include many of the same guidelines with an emphasis on parents’ rights “to make decisions with respect to their children.” The policies, a version of which each of Virginia’s schools systems would be required to adopt, require schools to use student names matching the sex on their official record. They also outline that teachers and other school personnel may not refer to a student by a different name or pronoun unless parents request the switch in writing. And students would be required to use school facilities matching the sex on their official record. “All children in Virginia deserve to have a parent engaged in their life and to be treated with dignity and respect,” Youngkin said in a statement Tuesday. “The VDOE updated model policies reaffirm my administration’s continued commitment to ensure that every parent is involved in conversations regarding their child’s education, upbringing, and care.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2023/07/18/virginia-transgender-student-model-policies-youngkin/__________________________________________________________ 7. Bishops condemn European Union’s drafting of ‘right to abortion’, By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, July 18, 2023, 2:07 PMEuropean bishops on Tuesday released a statement condemning the drafting of a right to abortion in the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, arguing that the proposed amendment would run afoul of European Union law and human dignity.  The enshrining of abortion rights in the EU’s rights charter has been a prolonged subject of debate there. Abortion activists have for years pushed for the modification to union law, with initiatives such as the Simone Veil Pact calling for broad abortion rights throughout the continent.  In its Tuesday statement, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) argued that the measure would constitute an “ethical indefensibility” against human rights and European law.  Stating that “​​human dignity is an overarching value in the EU Treaties and Charter,” the bishops wrote that “respect for the dignity of every human being in every stage of its life, especially in situations of complete vulnerability, is a fundamental principle in a democratic society.”  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254836/bishops-condemn-european-unions-drafting-of-right-to-abortion__________________________________________________________ 8. Jim Jordan threatens to hold FBI director in contempt over probe into anti-Catholic memo, By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, July 18, 2023, 10:05 AM House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan on Monday threatened to hold FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress if the bureau does not comply with congressional subpoenas related to evidence that the agency may have spied on Catholic Americans.  Jordan last week grilled Wray during his testimony concerning a leaked memo from the bureau’s Richmond division that described plans to investigate Catholic communities. The document discussed monitoring what it deemed “radical-traditionalist” Catholics over alleged concerns of violent extremism among the lay faithful. At the hearing, Jordan and other members of the committee asked Wray why he has not released the names of the FBI agents involved in crafting the memo and why the FBI has refused to provide an unredacted copy of it.   https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254829/jim-jordan-threatens-to-hold-fbi-director-in-contempt-over-probe-into-anti-catholic-memo__________________________________________________________ 9. Has the Holy See Surrendered to the Chinese Communist Party?, The decision to appoint Bishop Joseph Shen Bin to the Diocese of Shanghai is a massive humiliation for the Holy See and the utter failure of the centerpiece of the Holy Father’s China policy., By Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Catholic Register, July 18, 2023, Opinion Does the Holy See’s stand-down in the Shanghai standoff signal surrender in the Sino-Vatican relationship? An unusual interview arranged by the secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, suggests as much.  On Saturday, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Joseph Shen Bin to the Diocese of Shanghai, the most important diocese in mainland China.  If Pope Francis did not recognize the transfer and approve it after the fact, it would have been impossible for the Diocese of Shanghai to properly function for the next decades. So the Holy Father capitulated. Faced with such a complete catastrophe, Cardinal Parolin put out a lengthy press statement in the form of an “interview” with his own news agency, Vatican News.  Cardinal Parolin explained that Pope Francis decided to give in on Shanghai “in view of the greater good of the diocese and the fruitful exercise of the pastoral ministry of the bishop.” Shanghai had not had a bishop in 10 years, Pope Francis had already agreed to choose from candidates chosen by the CCP, and Bishop Shen Bin was already in place. As the Holy See has already agreed to renew the secret accord twice when it was not working, it seemed best to swallow the communist provocation and give agreement after the fact. That much was already clear. But Cardinal Parolin had other things on his mind: namely, to give up entirely on expecting Beijing to respect the freedom of the Church and simply accept whatever the CCP was willing to offer. He suggested that perhaps it was time for a “stable liaison office” between the Holy See and China be opened, as it would be “extremely helpful” for ongoing dialogue. Having Vatican diplomats on the ground would make it easier for Beijing to consult with the Holy See — or to let them know more quickly when consultations were not going to take place. It is the strongest statement of Cardinal Parolin to date moving toward formal diplomatic relations — “a stable liaison office” would presumably be something short of a full nunciature. The upshot of the Shanghai situation would be that Beijing would be rewarded with an upgrade in diplomatic contacts; in essence, total surrender by the Holy See on the appointment of bishops altogether: If the CCP appoints bishops without consultation, their man gets papal approval. And if they do it brazenly enough in Shanghai, they get an upgrade in relations. “The cardinal’s request is not new,” reported O’Connell. “The Vatican has proposed this on several occasions in bilateral meetings with the Chinese delegations, but Beijing has so far not been willing to permit this. On the contrary, sources say it has wanted the Holy See to close its study office in Hong Kong, something the Vatican would only accept to do if it could open an office in Beijing.” So it may that the CCP’s aggression in Shanghai will result in Pope Francis downgrading Hong Kong. Bishop Joseph Shen Bin will not be the last bishop appointed without the Holy See’s agreement. Diplomats on the ground in Beijing may give Rome a better vantage point the next time what is unacceptable is accepted. https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/has-the-holy-see-surrendered-to-the-chinese-communist-party__________________________________________________________

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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