1. Trump administration seeks to build global coalition against abortion rights, Critics accuse U.S. government of aligning with ‘bad actors,’ ‘bullying’ vulnerable nations.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha and Lena H. Sun, Washington Post Online, March 15, 2019, 6:30 AM

Valerie Huber, a top Health and Human Services Department official, was the special guest at a New York City event on Tuesday that included representatives of dozens of nations in town for a key women’s rights conference at the United Nations.

The gathering featured a screening of the film “Strings Attached” which takes aim at the West’s “ideological colonization” of Africa through interviews with women who experienced side effects from contraception or who regretted having abortions, according to two attendees. Huber used her spotlight to emphasize the Trump administration’s commitment to “protecting life” in global health assistance.

Huber’s appearance at the event — sponsored by C-Fam, a think tank with Catholic ties whose mission is “to defend life and family at international institutions” and Nigeria, which generally supports comprehensive family planning – is part of a bold new effort by the Trump administration to build an international coalition to restrict access to abortion and contraceptives, and promote traditional values about the family globally.


2. Grim Findings on Priest Abuse in Poland: 625 Victims Since 1990.

By Joanna Berendt, The New York Times, March 15, 2019, Pg. A9

The Roman Catholic Church in Poland released long-awaited statistics on Thursday that shed light on the sexual abuse of children by priests over the past 28 years.

The study, commissioned by the Episcopal Conference of Poland and pulling together data from over 10,000 local parishes, found that from 1990 to mid-2018, church officials received abuse reports concerning 382 priests.

During that time, the statistics said, 625 children, most of them aged 15 or younger, were sexually abused by members of the Catholic clergy.

Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, the president of the conference, said it was “particularly painful, even tragic” that priests betrayed public trust by “hurting those who are most vulnerable.”


3. Senate votes to ease sex abuse statute of limitations.

By Mike Catalini, The Associated Press, March 14, 2019

The New Jersey Senate voted Thursday in favor of legislation to ease restrictions on when childhood sexual abuse victims can seek damages in court.

The Democrat-led Senate approved the measure 32-1, sending it to the Democrat-controlled Assembly, where it has already passed through committee.

The legislation would allow child victims to sue up until they turn 55 or within seven years of their first realization that the abuse caused them harm. The current limit is two years. Adult victims also would have seven years from the discovery of the abuse.

Among those opposed to the measure were the state Catholic Conference and the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute.

Patrick Brannigan, the conference’s executive director, told lawmakers in committee that the New Jersey church is fully cooperating with state law enforcement officials who are investigating abuse claims in New Jersey.

He added that the church “sincerely regrets that some in the church failed to protect children.”


4. Vatican participates for first time at UN women’s leadership event.

By Claire Giangravè, Crux, March 15, 2019

Amidst some objections, the Vatican participated for the first time at a United Nations session on the role of women on Tuesday, sending one of its most prominent examples of female leadership to say that “the Holy See is clearly adapting to the times.”

“It’s the first time that the Holy See sends a representative to this assembly,” said Barbara Jatta, the first-ever female president of the Vatican Museums who represented the Vatican at the UN gathering, in an interview with Vatican News.

“I’m personally honored, but I think it’s an important symbol that the Holy See wished to send about the presence of women in its structures,” she added.