1. Abortion Clinic Persists Despite Wyoming’s Ban, By Kate Zernike, The New York Times, March 11, 2024, Pg. A1 It was not such an implausible idea, back in 2020, when a philanthropist emailed Julie Burkhart to ask if she would consider opening an abortion clinic in Wyoming, one of the nation’s most conservative states and the one that had twice given Donald Trump his biggest margin of victory. In fact, Ms. Burkhart had the same idea more than a decade earlier, after an anti-abortion extremist killed her boss and mentor, George Tiller, in Wichita, Kan., where he ran one of the nation’s few clinics that provided abortion late in pregnancy.   Then, three months before Ms. Burkhart planned to open her clinic in 2022, the Wyoming Legislature, pushed by a new Freedom Caucus, joined a dozen other states in passing a trigger law that would ban abortion as soon as the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. After the court ruled, other abortion providers in states with trigger bans moved their clinics to safe havens in Illinois, Maryland or Minnesota. Ms. Burkhart, rather than leave the front lines of the abortion wars, pushed on in Wyoming, making her the only person in America to open an abortion clinic in a state that bans abortion.  Staff members described it as mission work. “God, just to help these girls through these awful moments, that’s why I’m a nurse,” said Brittany Brown.  Behind the heavy curtains that separate the recovery room, she and Ms. Burkhart checked on Jade, a 22-year-old college student who called the clinic “my saving grace.”  Ms. Burkhart’s frustrations grew over the fall. As she waited for reimbursements to come in from insurance companies and abortion funds, she worried about budgets, and struggled to keep her staff. She let some people go, suspecting they were “antis.” Others quit, frustrated that Ms. Burkhart seemed disorganized and impossible to please.  Ms. Burkhart’s clinic remains a plaintiff in the lawsuits challenging Wyoming’s abortion law. A trial is set for April, but both the state and the abortion rights providers appeared in court in December to argue for a quicker judgment. The judge could rule any day. https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/10/us/wyoming-abortion-clinic-julie-burkhart.html__________________________________________________________ 2. GOP lawmakers resist calls to tweak abortion bans. Some say they’ll clarify the laws’ few exceptions, By Kimberlee Kruesi, Associated Press, March 11, 2024, 12:11 AM In Republican-led states across the U.S., conservative legislators are refusing to reevaluate abortion bans — even as doctors and patients insist the laws’ exceptions are dangerously unclear, resulting in denied treatment to some pregnant women in need. Instead, GOP leaders accuse abortion rights advocates of deliberately spreading misinformation and doctors of intentionally denying services in an effort to undercut the bans and make a political point. At the same time, however, some states are taking steps that they say will provide more clarity about when abortions can be legally performed. The Republican-controlled South Dakota Legislature wants to create a video in which medical experts — and the state’s attorneys — would explain to doctors and patients when abortions can be legally performed. The measure was passed last month and is now awaiting the signature of Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, who has indicated she will sign it.  The first-in-the-nation idea is wholeheartedly supported by SBA Pro-Life, one of the country’s largest anti-abortion groups, which says the video will help to combat “confusion caused by the abortion industry.”  Oklahoma and Kentucky are also taking steps to clarify their abortion bans, though in both states the attorneys general, not physicians, are the ones dictating the terms.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2024/03/11/abortion-bans-exceptions-doctors-lawmakers/72ef25aa-df5d-11ee-95aa-7384336086f3_story.html__________________________________________________________ 3. Victims of Catholic nuns rely on each other after being overlooked in the clergy sex abuse crisis, By Tiffany Stanley, Associated Press, March 11, 2024, 8:10 AM On Wednesdays, the support group meets over Zoom. The members talk about their lives, their religious families and their old parochial schools. But mostly, they are there to talk about the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of Catholic nuns. The topic deserves more attention, they say. The sexual abuse of children by Catholic sisters and nuns has been overshadowed by far more common reports of male clergy abuse. Women in religious orders have also been abuse victims — but they have been perpetrators too. “We’ve heard so much about priests who abuse and so little about nuns who abuse that it’s time to restore the balance,” said the group’s founder, Mary Dispenza, herself a former nun, in a speech to abuse survivors last year. Dispenza, who endured abuse from both a childhood priest and a nun in her former order, started the online support group five years ago with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. More victims had been contacting her in the wake of #MeToo, as they reassessed past sexual abuse. She has since seen a growing awareness of abusive nuns at former Catholic orphanages and Native American boarding schools.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2024/03/11/nuns-sexual-abuse-catholic-sisters/5af2e0e8-dfa0-11ee-95aa-7384336086f3_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Pope Again Gives Confusing Signals on Ukraine, By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times, March 10, 2024, Pg. A9 Pope Francis has reiterated in a new interview that Ukraine should negotiate to end the war with Russia, but this time he used language — adopting his interviewer’s expression, “white flag” — that has drawn attention and raised questions about whether the pope was suggesting that Ukraine surrender. On Saturday night, the Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, immediately clarified that the pope meant “cease-fire and negotiation,” not surrender, when he said white flag, a universal symbol for giving up. But the pope’s words and others he used during the interview have underscored how the Vatican has often bewildered Ukraine’s officials and supporters struggling to understand its position. Early in the war, many Ukrainians expressed frustration with Francis for his refusal to specifically call out Russia and its president, Vladimir V. Putin, as the aggressor in the conflict. Francis eventually became more vocal in expressing support for what he came to call “martyred Ukraine,” citing Russia’s aggression and praying for Ukraine’s innocent victims. But the Vatican had also sought to avoid taking sides in the war, in part to preserve the possibility that it could be called on to negotiate a peace deal, a hope many geopolitical analysts consider delusional.  https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/09/world/europe/pope-ukraine-white-flag.html__________________________________________________________ 5. Biden’s big speech showed his uneasy approach to abortion, an issue bound to be key in the campaign, By Christine Fernando, Associated Press, March 10, 2024, 12:50 PM Reproductive freedom took center stage during Biden’s State of the Union address, but abortion rights advocates had mixed reactions, raising concerns about the president trying to capitalize on what will be a central campaign issue while avoiding using the word “abortion.” Abortion rights have proved to be a potent issue driving voters to the polls and boosting Democrats since the U.S. Supreme Court ended a constitutional right to the procedure nearly two years ago. The issue could be pivotal in the presidential race and congressional contests this year. During Thursday’s speech, Biden deviated from his prepared remarks, skipping over the word “abortion” and instead using the phrases “reproductive freedom” or “freedom to choose.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/03/10/abortion-biden-2024-reproductive-rights-harris/a595ae16-deea-11ee-95aa-7384336086f3_story.html__________________________________________________________ 6. Pope Francis: We have a duty to help women accept the gift of life, By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, March 10, 2024, 9:30 AM Pope Francis said Sunday that governments and civil society have a fundamental duty to help ensure that women are able to accept the gift of life. “Institutions, social and political, have the fundamental duty to protect and promote the dignity of every human being, offering women, the bearers of life, the necessary conditions to be able to accept the gift of life and ensure a dignified existence for their children,” Pope Francis said on March 10. Speaking from the window of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, the pope said at the end of his Angelus address that he wanted to express his closeness to all women after International Women’s Day, especially those whose dignity is not respected. “There is still a lot of work that each of us must do in order for there to be concrete recognition of the equal dignity of women,” Francis added.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/257049/pope-francis-on-abortion-we-have-a-duty-to-help-women-accept-the-gift-of-life__________________________________________________________ 7. Irish leader concedes defeat on ‘women in the home,’ family amendments, By Karla Adam, The Washington Post, March 9, 2024, 3:31 PM The Irish government on Saturday conceded defeat in twin referendums to change the constitution, a stinging rebuke for the ruling coalition as it sought to update language on the role of women and how to define family in modern Ireland. The vote was held Friday, International Women’s Day, and featured two proposals to modify the 1937 constitution. On Saturday afternoon, even before the counts were completed, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said it was clear that the referendums had been “defeated comprehensively.” “We struggled to convince people of the necessity or need for the referendum at all, let alone the detail and the wording. That’s obviously something we are going to have to reflect on,” Varadkar told reporters at Dublin Castle. He said that his government respected the results of the referendum, adding “clearly, we got it wrong.” There was widespread support for removing an outdated clause on the importance of a woman’s “life within the home,” but there also were concerns about the proposed wording to replace it. A second question, which recommended expanding the definition of a family to include “durable relationships,” was opposed by voters on both the left and the right.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/03/08/irish-vote-update-constitutions-women-home-clause-gets-complex/__________________________________________________________ 8. Court rules Christian nonprofit does not have to cover gender transition, By Kate Quiñones, Catholic News Agency, March 8, 2024, 4:35 PM In a “resounding victory” for religious freedom, a court in North Dakota ruled this week that the federal government cannot compel religious employers and health care providers to pay for or perform “gender transition” procedures that go against their religious beliefs. The North Dakota District Court found that the religious beliefs of Christian Employers Alliance (CEA) — a nonprofit group that unites Christian-owned businesses around the cause of religious freedom — were “substantially burdened by the monetary penalties [the group] faces for refusing to violate its beliefs.” “We are overjoyed our members will not have to choose between the biblically based employee benefits and quality health care they provide, and the threat of federal enforcement and massive costs for practicing their faith,” Shannon Royce, president of CEA, said in a statement on Monday.  The lawsuit, Christian Employers Alliance v. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), filed in October 2021, argued against two federal mandates compelling Christian employers to fund or perform “gender transition” procedures.   https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/257036/court-rules-christian-nonprofit-does-not-have-to-cover-gender-transition__________________________________________________________ 9. Biden promises legal abortion nationwide in State of the Union address, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, March 8, 2024, 4:05 PM President Joe Biden on Thursday night promised to support a law that would legalize abortion nationwide in response to the repeal of Roe v. Wade two years ago. The president said during his 2024 State of the Union address that if he is reelected — and if Congress is in control of pro-abortion politicians — he will restore the nationalized abortion standards that were established in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.  “If you, the American people, send me a Congress that supports the right to choose, I promise you I will restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land again,” Biden said.  The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, allowing states and the federal government to substantially restrict abortion for the first time in about five decades.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/257033/biden-promises-legal-abortion-nationwide-in-state-of-the-union-address__________________________________________________________ 10. Connecticut latest state to consider ‘human composting’ amid Catholic opposition, By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, March 8, 2024, 12:10 PM Connecticut is the latest among several states to consider legalizing the controversial practice of “human composting,” a method of burial that the U.S. bishops have said fails to respect human remains in accordance with Catholic teaching.  The measure under consideration in the state Legislature, H.B. 5354, seeks to “authorize the natural organic reduction of human remains as a final disposition of such remains,” a practice known as “terramation.” A public hearing for the bill is scheduled for Friday of this week. The process of “human composting” involves placing a deceased’s body in a vessel or receptacle, after which it is covered with organic materials such as wood chips and straw and then allowed to decompose. The body is then broken down into what one human composting company calls a “nutrient-rich soil,” which loved ones are permitted to dispose of as they see fit.  The Connecticut law under consideration would permit such facilities to operate in the state and would stipulate how they must operate. The legislation includes rules such as the directive that the decomposing receptacles must be “thoroughly swept” after bodies have been composted inside of them.   https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/257031/connecticut-latest-state-to-consider-human-composting-amid-catholic-opposition__________________________________________________________ 11. New Zealand police end abuse probe into cardinal, By Luke Coppen, The Pillar, March 7, 2024, 12:37 PM New Zealand’s Cardinal John Dew will face no charges after police ended a 10-month investigation into an abuse allegation that the retired Archbishop of Wellington firmly denies.  Dew said March 7 that the police had informed him “that this investigation has now been concluded, their file has been closed, and no charges will be laid against me.” The cardinal, who at 75 years of age is eligible to vote in a papal conclave, will now face a separate Church investigation.  https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/new-zealand-police-end-abuse-probe__________________________________________________________

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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