1. Biden, in Reversal, Backs Abortion Funding.

By Ken Thomas, The Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2019, Pg. A4

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Thursday night that he now opposes a ban on the use of federal funds for most abortions, reversing his longstanding position amid pressure from fellow Democrats and abortion-rights groups.

The former vice president said he could no longer support the ban, known as the Hyde Amendment, blaming Republican efforts to limit access to abortions and overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.


2. Persecuted Christians, Arrests of Jehovah’s Witnesses continue in Russia.

The Washington Post, June 7, 2019, Pg. A20, Editorial

Russian President Vladimir Putin has told interviewers he wears an Orthodox Church baptismal cross pendant, given to him by his mother. In his annual address to the Federal Assembly in 2014, Putin declared, “Christianity was a powerful spiritual unifying force . . . in the creation of a Russian nation and Russian state.” 

Russian law confers official status on Buddhism, Judaism and Islam, as well as Christianity. Russia’s Constitution of 1993 declared, “Everyone shall be guaranteed the freedom of conscience, the freedom of religion, including the right to profess individually or together with other any religion or to profess no religion at all, to freely choose, possess and disseminate religious and other views and act according to them.” 

But all of these commitments and devotions seem to collapse in today’s Russia when it comes to Jehovah’s Witnesses. In April 2017, the Russian Supreme Court ruled that Jehovah’s Witnesses should be labeled an extremist organization. Ever since, members have been prosecuted as criminals when their only action was to celebrate their faith. Even Mr. Putin has expressed puzzlement, saying last December that “Jehovah’s Witnesses are Christians, too. I don’t quite understand why they are persecuted. So this should be looked into. This must be done.” 


3. Democratic lawmaker proud to fight abortion.

By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, June 7, 2019, Pg. A1

Louisiana state Rep. Katrina R. Jackson has been called plenty of names — a fake Democrat, a traitor, even a Republican — but she prefers another label: “whole life Democrat.”

The two-term legislator has repeatedly defied her party with her staunch pro-life advocacy. She not only voted this week to place the No Right to Abortion constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot, but she also sponsored it.

Yet Ms. Jackson is more than a random political outlier. She is helping carve a niche in her party for Democrats who oppose abortion but support a host of social programs, including a livable wage, affordable health care, equal pay for women and criminal justice reform.


4. Christian florist appeals state’s same-sex wedding decision.

By Alex Swoyer, The Washington Times, June 7, 2019, Pg. A5

A Christian florist is appealing to the Supreme Court after Washington state’s highest court ruled against her for refusing to create floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding on the grounds that doing so would violate her religion.

Barronelle Stutzman, who owns Arlene’s Flowers, first asked the Supreme Court to consider her case in 2017, but the justices sent it back to the state to reconsider last year in light of another high court ruling telling Colorado to reconsider penalties against a Christian baker in a similar case.

On Thursday, the Washington Supreme Court again ruled against Ms. Stutzman, saying the record shows she had a fair hearing the first time and was found to have violated the state’s public accommodations law, which prohibits discrimination against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation.

“The hostility my state has shown me because of my faith is undeniable and I am confident the U.S. Supreme Court will see that viewpoint,” Ms. Stutzman said in announcing her appeal.


5. New abortion laws are too extreme for most Americans, poll shows.

By Gretchen Frazee, PBS News Hour, June 7, 2019, 5:00 AM

Recent efforts by Republican-controlled state legislatures to enact some of the most restrictive abortion laws in decades go against the views of most Americans, according to the latest poll from the PBS NewsHour, NPR and Marist, which could spark a backlash against the party in the 2020 elections.

Only 33 percent of Americans support so-called “heartbeat laws” that have gained traction in several states this year, the poll found. The laws prohibit abortions after cardiac activity is detectable at around six to eight weeks, which can be before a woman realizes she is pregnant.

But a majority of Americans do not support allowing abortion in any circumstance, a sign that far-left positions on the issue — such as those being pushed by some Democratic lawmakers in places like Vermont — are just as politically risky as the conservative laws being passed in Alabama, Mississippi and elsewhere.


6. USCCB bishops to tackle ‘unfinished business’ on sex abuse at meeting.

By Christopher White, Crux, June 7, 2019

When the U.S. Catholic bishops gather in Baltimore next week, the theme of their three-day meeting could largely be summed up as “unfinished business.”

For starters, there’s the unfinished business from seven months ago of enacting new guidelines for bishop accountability. Just ahead of last November’s meeting, the Vatican halted plans to vote for new guidelines for bishops, citing canonical concerns and faulting the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) leadership for not providing Rome adequate time to review the proposals.

More broadly, however, there’s the unfinished business from seventeen years ago of closing the gap in the Dallas Charter – the landmark 2002 document establishing new norms for child protection, which created a “zero tolerance” policy for a priests guilty of abuse, but omitted bishops from the same oversight.


7. Trump administration limits research using fetal tissue, Is it a ‘ban on hope’ or triumph for life?

By Jennifer Graham, Desert News Online, June 6, 2019, 1:13 pm

The Trump administration’s decision to sharply curtail research on fetal tissue moved the abortion debate from the legislature to the laboratory, with both sides claiming the ethical high ground.

“It is utterly dehumanizing to use a preborn human being as raw material for scientific experiments, and it is wholly inappropriate for taxpayers to support such unethical research,” Maureen Ferguson, senior fellow for The Catholic Association, said in a statement.

And March for Life president Jeanne Mancini said, “This type of research involves the gross violation of basic human rights and certainly the government has no business funding it.”


8. McConnell: State pro-life bills could ‘pick away’ at Roe v. Wade.

By Kate Scanlon, Catholic News Agency, June 6, 2019, 2:30 PM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said June 6 that the U.S. Senate might soon have an opportunity to vote “on some kind of legislation related to Planned Parenthood.”

During an interview with EWTN Pro-Life Weekly, the Kentucky Republican said that there have been “some encouraging decisions already in recent months related to state prohibitions against funding of Planned Parenthood.”

“And I’ve noticed how a lot of the judges that we have already confirmed just in the last two and a half years have voted in these cases,” McConnell said.

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider and receives more than $500 million dollars in taxpayer funds each year.


9. Trump’s fetal tissue ban will hinder HIV cure, Zika research, HIV cure research relied on fetal tissue, After Trump’s ban, such research is officially impeded.

By Nicole Karlis, Salon, June 6, 2019, 11:00 PM

On Wednesday, the Trump administration announced that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) would no longer be funding research that required fetal tissue from elective abortions. Fetal tissue has been used in research to find vaccines for polio, measles, rabies, and is being used to develop therapies for HIV and, most recently, to better understand the Zika virus.

“I applaud the Trump administration for taking a stand for human rights,” Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, Legal Advisor for the Catholic Association Foundation. “Taxpayers should not be funding experimentation using body parts from aborted babies, such a practice is inhumane and runs counter to our most basic human rights.”


10. Prosecution falters during Cardinal Pell appeal hearing.

Catholic News Agency, June 6, 2019, 8:10 AM

The lead prosecutor arguing to sustain the conviction of Cardinal George Pell struggled Thursday in presenting the Crown’s case. Christopher Boyce struggled to answer questions from the three-judge appeal court, accidentally naming the alleged victim on a live stream of proceedings.

The prosecution’s case against the appeal centers on upholding the sole witness and alleged victim in the case whom, Boyce insisted, was not a “liar” or a “fantasist,” while conceding that the witness had changed the dates and years of the alleged attacks over the course of the case and no longer agreed with the prosecution’s own assertions.

Boyce repeatedly found himself either struggling to articulate his own argument, or lost for words under judicial questioning, at one point conceding that “It’s not good enough for me to say what I said before,” and that “rehearsing the platitudes may not be all that helpful.”

Under questioning from the judges, led by court president Justice Chris Maxwell, Boyce struggled to account for what the judge called the “wildly improbable” circumstances of Pell’s alleged crimes.

Asked how it was possible that a figure of Pell’s stature and visibility could have approached, sequestered and assaulted two boys at the cathedral’s most busy time, Boyce said that the prosecution asserted that the alleged victim’s story was too outlandish to be made up.

The hearing ended at 4pm local time, with the judges reserving their judgement. There is no established time frame for their decision.


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