1. Unanimous Supreme Court preserves access to widely used abortion medication, By Mark Sherman, Associated Press, June 13, 2024, 8:21 AM
The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously preserved access to a medication that was used in nearly two-thirds of all abortions in the U.S. last year, in the court’s first abortion decision since conservative justices overturned Roe v. Wade two years ago.
The justices ruled that abortion opponents lacked the legal right to sue over the federal Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the medication, mifepristone, and the FDA’s subsequent actions to ease access to it.
The case had threatened to restrict access to mifepristone across the country, including in states where abortion remains legal.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote for the court that “federal courts are the wrong forum for addressing the plaintiffs’ concerns about FDA’s actions.” Kavanaugh was part of the majority to overturn Roe.

2. 171,000 Traveled for Abortions Last Year. See Where They Went, By Molly Cook Escobar, Amy Schoenfeld Walker, Allison McCann, Scott Reinhard and Helmuth Rosales, The New York Times, June 13, 2024
More than 14,000 Texas patients crossed the border into New Mexico for an abortion last year. An additional 16,000 left Southern states bound for Illinois. And nearly 12,000 more traveled north from South Carolina and Georgia to North Carolina.
These were among the more than 171,000 patients who traveled for an abortion in 2023, new estimates show, demonstrating both the upheaval in access since the overturn of Roe v. Wade and the limits of state bans to stop the procedure. The data also highlights the unsettled nature of an issue that will test politicians up and down the ballot in November.
Out-of-state travel for abortions — either to have a procedure or obtain abortion pills — more than doubled in 2023 compared with 2019, and made up nearly a fifth of recorded abortions.

Texas, the largest state to ban abortion, had the most residents travel across state lines for the procedure, the data shows.
On the receiving end, nowhere saw more out-of-state patients — and from more states — than Illinois.

The availability of abortion pills has significantly blunted the impact of many state bans. But some patients still must travel to see a provider because of a medical condition or how far along they are in pregnancy. Others simply prefer it.

3. Some abortion opponents worry about Trump’s Republican platform rewrite, The party’s official stances on abortion, same-sex marriage and other contentious issues could be adjusted to reflect Trump’s latest positions., By Michael Scherer, The Washington Post, June 12, 2024, 5:00 AM
Donald Trump ran for president in 2016 on a Republican platform that called for a federal ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and a “human life amendment” to the U.S. Constitution that would give the fetus legal protections.
Eight years later, Trump now calls for states, not the federal government, to decide on any limits on the procedure in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the constitutional right to abortion.
That has prompted a debate among social conservatives about whether the Republican Party’s official position should change, too, as Trump’s campaign has handpicked a group of Republican officials to write a new Republican platform for next month’s GOP convention in Milwaukee. Abortion is one of a number of platform positions — from support for Ukraine to opposition to same-sex marriage — that could change dramatically in the wake of Trump’s takeover of the party.

“Our expectation is that the GOP platform will continue to unequivocally call for national protections for unborn children, rooted in the 14th Amendment,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, said in a statement to The Post. “Watering down the GOP platform’s stance on life would entail an abandonment of its defense of the human dignity of all people. It will also give the Biden administration and Democrats the foothold they need.”

4. ‘Doing nothing is not an option’ – The complicated landscape of the European ‘Catholic vote’, By Edgar Beltrán, The Pillar, June 12, 2024, 5:05 PM
Last weekend, voters across the continent headed to the polls to elect their representatives in the European Parliament.
The election saw an overall shift to the right.

The election highlighted the complicated reality of voting as a Catholic in Europe.
Oftentimes, only parties labeled as far-right share the positions of the Church on contentious issues such as abortion, euthanasia, and LGBT issues. Meanwhile, these parties often seem to be on the antipodes of the Church’s positions on migration, race relations, and the environment.

The Pillar spoke with several Catholic bishops, politicians and academics in Europe about how they view voting and the political future of the continent.
In a March statement, the Commission of the Episcopal Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) urged Catholics to vote in this year’s elections.
“Many of the founding fathers of the European Union were committed Catholics who maintained a strong belief in the dignity of every human being and the importance of community. We believe that this project, which started more than 70 years ago, must be supported and carried forward,” the statement said.
The statement recognized that “the European Union is not perfect and that many of its policy and legal proposals are not in line with Christian values and with the expectations of many of its people.”
However, it continued, “we believe that we are called to contribute and improve it with the tools democracy offers us.”
“It is not our ‘job’ to advise on voting for specific parties, but as bishops we do call attention to ethical issues and Catholic social teaching,” clarified Bishop Jan Hendriks of Amsterdam.

Gudrun Kugler, one of the few practicing Catholic MPs in Austria, told The Pillar that in her view, there are two questions Catholics should ask in evaluating options at the ballot box.
“First, which topics are more important than others? Namely, which are closer to the human person? For example, abortion or some generic social justice issue?” she said.
“And the second question you need to ask yourself is which issues are determined by the Church more clearly and less ambiguously (for example, euthanasia vs. global peace)?”

5. Two court rulings deal blow, victory to U.S. transgender advocates, By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, June 12, 2024, 12:20 PM
Two court rulings in Florida and Texas simultaneously dealt both a victory and a setback to transgender advocates in the United States this week. 
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced on his website on Tuesday that the state had “won a major victory” against the Biden administration over the White House’s attempt to rewrite federal Title IX law to include transgender protections.
The U.S. Department of Education issued new regulations in April that radically redefined long-standing federal sex discrimination policy under federal Title IX provisions. The new rules in part redefined “sex discrimination” under Title IX to include protections for “gender identity.”
Title IX rules apply to any educational institutions that accept federal money. Paxton in his press release noted that the revised rules “would have forced Texas schools and universities to allow biological males to use women’s restrooms, locker rooms, and other sex-specific spaces.”
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas said in its Tuesday ruling that the federal government “cannot regulate state educational institutions in this way without violating federal law.”

In a separate court decision, meanwhile, a Florida court struck down the state’s ban on extremist transgender procedures performed on minors, claiming that the law violated the U.S. Constitution. 
The state last year enacted a law banning transgender “medical care” procedures — such as synthetic cross-sex hormones and puberty-stunting drugs — for individuals under 18 years old. 
The law also said adults could only seek transgender-related treatment from doctors instead of nurses or other medical officials. 

“Gender identity is real,” the judge said. “Those whose gender identity does not match their natal sex often suffer gender dysphoria. The widely accepted standard of care calls for appropriate evaluation and treatment.”

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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