1. Colorado Supreme Court to hear arguments in transgender cake case, The Colorado Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit against a Christian baker who refused to make a cake celebrating a gender transition, By Mead Gruver, Associated Press, June 18, 2024, 12:16 AM
The Colorado Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit against a Christian baker who refused to make a cake celebrating a gender transition, one of three such cases from the state that have pitted LGBTQ+ civil rights against First Amendment rights.
Two cases have centered on baker Jack Phillips, who in 2012 refused to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding. Phillips partially prevailed before the U.S. Supreme Court in that case in 2018.
Phillips was later sued by Autumn Scardina, a transgender woman, after Phillips and his suburban Denver bakery refused to make a pink cake with blue frosting for her birthday that also celebrated her gender transition.

2. This law is a lifeline for pregnant workers even as an abortion dispute complicates its enforcement A new law strengthening protections for pregnant workers has been a lifeline to many low-wage women seeking accommodations from employers who might otherwise have forced them into unpaid leave, By Alexandra Olson and Claire Savage, Associated Press, June 18, 2024, 12:17 PM
Nearly 500 workers in similar circumstances have contacted A Better Balance’s legal helpline in the year since the implementation of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which strengthens the rights of workers to seek accommodations for pregnancy-related needs. The experiences of those workers tell a complicated story about the impact of a new law that is still unfamiliar to many employers, according to a report released Tuesday by A Better Balance, the organization that spearheaded a decade-long campaign for the law, which Congress finally passed in December 2022.

A bitter legal battle over whether the law covers abortion, however, is complicating its enforcement.
The dispute centers on EEOC regulations that took effect Tuesday detailing how employers should comply with the law, and which included abortion among the pregnancy-related conditions that entitle workers to time off and other accommodations.
On Tuesday, a federal judge in Louisiana temporarily prohibited the EEOC from enforcing the abortion provision of its rules against employers located in Louisiana and Mississippi, or against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and three other religious groups that filed a consolidated lawsuit against the EEOC, arguing that the abortion provision is an illegal interpretation of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.
Another judge in Arkansas last week dismissed a similar lawsuit filed by Republican attorneys general from 17 states, but Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin, who is leading the case, said he is considering legal options to continue pursuing the challenge.

3. Tennessee Abortion Clinic Workers Speak Out About the State’s Near-Total Ban, In Memphis, a doctor and a volunteer driver contemplate the discontinuation of abortion services at a women’s health clinic two years after the overturning of Roe v. Wade., By Lynne Sachs, The New York Times, June 18, 2024, 5:00 PM, Opinion
I remember the hollowing sensation I felt on June 24, 2022, the day that the Supreme Court deemed that abortion was not a protected right under the U.S. Constitution. Everyone — on both sides of this debate — knew that women’s lives across the country were going to be drastically transformed. Since then, a lot of attention has been paid to the most heart-wrenching cases, but this decision affects all women’s bodily autonomy across the country.
I returned to my hometown, Memphis, to make a short film outside a building that once offered abortion services. In Tennessee abortion is banned, with no exception for rape and very limited medical exceptions that are being debated in state court.
I interviewed Dr. Kimberly Looney, an obstetrician-gynecologist and former medical officer for Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, and a volunteer driver who had served as a patient escort for decades. The volunteer, whose name has been withheld to protect her privacy, now drives patients nine hours round trip to Carbondale, Ill., where they are able to have legal and safe abortions.
These women offer distinct perspectives on this radical transformation in American society. Together they speak to a time in U.S. history when women are wondering if they have been relegated to the status of second-class citizens. As Dr. Looney puts it in the film, “You basically, as a physician, had to start counseling your patients from a legal perspective and not a medical perspective.”
4. Antiabortion Lawsuits Leaned on Discredited, Disputed Research, Peer-reviewed studies were later challenged, disavowed or retracted, By Nidhi Subbaraman, The Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2024, 5:30 AM
Recent efforts to roll back access to abortion have relied in part on certain scientific studies that have been disputed, disavowed or subsequently retracted.
These studies, which raise questions about abortion safety, were published in peer-reviewed journals but were later faulted for having irreproducible results, methodological flaws or misleading presentations of data, among other issues. 
Three studies that have been severely criticized have turned up in more than two dozen lawsuits over the past decade, most frequently in friend-of-the-court briefs, including Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that led the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, and FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, the Texas case that brought litigation over the abortion pill to the Supreme Court.
The authors of the studies contend that efforts to discredit their work are politically motivated.
Professional associations and medical groups including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, say the overwhelming evidence indicates abortions are safe.
Here’s a look at the research.

5. Indiana reports 98% drop in abortions after curbs, By Sean Salai, The Washington Times, June 18, 2024
Indiana says it’s seen a 98% decline in abortions after restricting the procedure last fall, adding to a national debate over the effectiveness of state bans.
The Indiana Department of Health estimated that 45 abortions occurred statewide from January to March, down from 1,931 procedures during the same period last year and over 2,000 in the first quarters of 2020, 2021 and 2022.
A state law that went into effect last August allows abortions only until the 10th week of pregnancy in cases of rape or incest, or for up to 20 weeks in cases of fatal fetal abnormalities, or to protect the life or physical health of the mother.

6. Two years after overturning of Roe, pro-lifers come to DC to ‘Celebrate Life’, By Gigi Duncan, Catholic News Agency, June 18, 2024, 12:12 PM
With the second anniversary of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision by the U.S. Supreme Court approaching, thousands are expected to travel to the nation’s capital to partake in the second annual Celebrate Life Conference from June 21–23.
In response to the June 24, 2022, ruling, which overturned Roe v. Wade and the authority to regulate abortion to states, the Pro-Life Women’s Conference and National Sidewalk Advocacy Center have joined forces to convene the upcoming Celebrate Life Conference, offering attendees opportunities for discussion, collaboration, and strategizing to protect unborn children.
Among many events scheduled to take place at this year’s conference, March for Life President Jeanne Mancini will deliver the opening keynote session on the next steps for the pro-life movement following the Dobbs decision.
In addition to Mancini, the lineup of speakers includes Abby Johnson, founder of And Then There Were None and ProLove Ministries; Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America; Shawn Carney, president of 40 Days for Life; and Lauren Muzyka, founder of Sidewalk Advocates for Life, among others.

7. Judge rules that federal agency can’t enforce abortion rule in Louisiana and Mississippi, A federal judge on Monday granted the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as employers in two Southern states, temporary relief from complying with a federal rule that would have required them to provide workers with time off and other accommodations for abortions, By Alexandra Olson And Claire Savage, Associated Press, June 17, 2024, 9:24 PM, 9:24 PM
A federal judge on Monday granted the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as employers in two Southern states, temporary relief from complying with a federal rule that would have required them to provide workers with time off and other workplace accommodations for abortions.
Judge David Joseph granted the preliminary injunction in two consolidated lawsuits, one brought by the attorneys general of Louisiana and Mississippi, and the other brought by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic University and two Catholic dioceses.
The lawsuits challenge rules issued in April by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which stated that abortions are among pregnancy-related conditions covered by the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which passed in December 2022 and took effect last year.
Joseph, who was appointed to the bench by former President Donald Trump, enjoined the EEOC from enforcing the abortion provision of its rules against the Catholic plaintiffs and employers located in Louisiana and Mississippi for the duration of the lawsuit.
His ruling came just days a federal judge in Arkansas dismissed a similar lawsuit filed by 17 states led by Arkansas and Tennessee. Eastern District of Arkansas U.S. District Judge D.P. Marshall, Jr., who was appointed to the bench by former President Barack Obama, ruled that the states lacked standing to bring the lawsuit.

8. An anti-abortion group in South Dakota sues to take an abortion rights initiative off the ballot, An anti-abortion group in South Dakota has filed a lawsuit to block an abortion rights measure from the November ballot, By Jack Dura, Associated Press, June 17, 2024, 4:18 PM
An anti-abortion group in South Dakota has sued to block an abortion rights measure from the November ballot.
In its complaint filed Thursday, Life Defense Fund alleged various wrongdoing by the measure’s supporters, as well as invalid signatures and fraud. The group seeks to disqualify or invalidate the initiative.
In May, Secretary of State Monae Johnson validated the measure by Dakotans for Health for the Nov. 5 general election ballot. The measure’s supporters had submitted about 54,000 signatures to qualify the ballot initiative. They needed about 35,000 signatures. Johnson’s office deemed about 85% of signatures as valid, based on a random sample.
Life Defense Fund alleged Dakotans for Health didn’t file a required affidavit for petition circulators’ residency, and that petitioners didn’t always provide a required circulator handout and left petition sheets unattended. Life Defense Fund also objected to numerous more signatures as invalid, and alleged petitioners misled people as to what they were signing.

9. Schismatic Spanish nuns have last chance to avoid formal excommunication, By David Ramos, Catholic News Agency, June 17, 2024, 5:15 PM
The Archdiocese of Burgos in Spain has granted an extension to the Poor Clares of Belorado, giving them a new deadline of Friday, June 21, to appear before an ecclesiastical tribunal and retract their formal declaration that they are leaving the Catholic Church, the canonical crime of schism, which entails excommunication.
According to the Spanish newspaper ABC, three of the Poor Clares — Sister Isabel de la Trinidad, the abbess of the monastery, as well as Sister Sión and Sister Paz — had to appear before the ecclesiastical tribunal of the Archdiocese of Burgos at the latest on Sunday, June 16. However, through an email they requested an extension.
Another seven Poor Clares who no longer recognize the authority of the Catholic Church and consider “H.H. Pius XII as the last valid Supreme Pontiff,” also face a canonical process with a deadline that was originally different but now is the same date, June 21.

According to ABC’s sources at the Spanish archdiocese, “depending on what each of them says individually, and once the deadline has passed, an evaluation will be made and we will proceed accordingly.”

10. Mincione files UN human rights complaint against Holy See, By The Pillar, June 17, 2024, 9:15 PM
The investment manager at the center of the Vatican’s London property scandal and trial has filed a formal complaint at the United Nations, alleging his rights have been denied in his ongoing Vatican legal process.
Raffaele Mincione, who acted as investment manager for the Vatican Secretariat of State from 2014-2018, and who ultimately sold them the London property at 60 Sloane Ave., filed a complaint with the office of the Special Rapporteur on independence of judges and lawyers at the United Nations on June 14.
The report outlines several complaints about alleged violations of due process in the more than three years-long investigation and trial.
While some of the complaint’s claims have already been presented by Mincione and his legal team in Vatican court and in media interviews, Mincione’s lawyer also raises concerns of harassment against defense attorneys by Vatican prosecutors and makes a key complaint about the Vatican judges’ withholding the text of their full judicial sentence ahead of appeal hearings scheduled to begin next month.

11. Why you need to see ‘Jesus Thirsts’, By Grazie Pozo Christie, Angelus, June 17, 2024
One of the magnificent facets of our Catholic faith is our belief of Jesus’ true presence in the Eucharist. When we look at life through the lens of God’s sacrifice and his desire to give himself perpetually to us in holy Communion, everything looks different.
We look different to ourselves: worthy, dignified, an object of immeasurable divine love. Our brothers and sisters gain their true stature in our eyes. Our churches and sanctuaries appear as they are: holy and sacred spaces where we meet God. Our troubles and weaknesses look smaller, standing beside the infinitude of tenderness of a Savior who stayed to dwell among us. 
You may be reading this and nodding along, secure in your own appreciation of the Eucharist. But here is a sobering fact: a 2019 Pew survey found that only one-third of practicing Catholics understand that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. I would suggest that behind this sad statistic is a world of hurt and dysfunction, and the reason for things like empty pews, the decline of marriage, the collapse of childbearing, and a general loss of hope in our culture.
The new film “Jesus Thirsts: The Miracle of the Eucharist,” proposes to rescue Catholics, and non-Catholics, from this tragic confusion. 
To do so, the film calls on notable Catholic figures to help explore the biblical origin of the Eucharist: its centrality in God’s plan of salvation, prefigured and anticipated in centuries of prophecy and revelation. Theologian and Angelus contributor Scott Hahn, Supreme Knight of Columbus Patrick Kelly, and writer and speaker Chris Stefanick are among the list of voices included in the movie. Their insights go a long way in helping viewers approach an understanding of what is, at bottom, a physical reality wrapped in an ineffable mystery. 
The spiritual impact of an encounter with the Real Presence is traced as it runs through a prison population of men serving life sentences for heinous crimes, presented by the sympathetic Jim Wahlberg (film producer and brother of A-list actor Mark). The peace we see in those faces poses viewers with a question: What power could be hidden in that wafer of bread? 
A scene depicting Eucharistic adoration in a dusty and impoverished village in Uganda invites reflection on material poverty and spiritual richness. Then there’s the story of Cardinal Van Thuan of Vietnam, who spent 13 years in a Communist prison and sustained himself by celebrating the Mass secretly in solitary confinement, using drops of wine and crumbs of Communion host smuggled in by family members. (He didn’t just survive his captivity through the grace of the Eucharist. He flourished, converting the guards who were blessed enough to be near him.)
Eucharistic heroes like the New York-based Sisters of Life are featured in the film, inviting strangers passing by to join them in adoration at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Their happiness and innocence is infectious, and the reason for their joy is intriguing, even to the areligious. In Chicago we see a Spanish-speaking parish where a large monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament is embedded in a statue of the Virgin Mary styled as the Ark of the Covenant. The Eucharistic life is richer, higher, more glad and loving, than we can imagine. 
This beautifully shot, wide-ranging documentary succeeds in large part thanks to the passion for apostolate that its creators brought to the project. The film understands that in a secular culture often inimical to faith, the arts need to be reclaimed for their proper purpose: the ennobling and lifting of the human spirit. It’s no accident that the film coincides with the high point of the National Eucharistic Revival, launched with the hope of helping Catholics rediscover the source and summit of our faith. 
“Jesus Thirsts” enjoyed a wildly successful limited run the first weekend of June across the country, selling out and becoming the second-highest grossing documentary of 2024 so far. Because of popular demand, Fathom Films will bring it back to theaters June 18-26. 
Don’t miss this lovely work, or the opportunity to bring a friend or family member to an encounter with the magnificent reality of the Eucharist.

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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