1. In Arizona, Potential Abortion Ban Could Lift Prospects of Democrats, By Kellen Browning, The New York Times, March 21, 2024, Pg. A19 Democrats in Arizona are eager for a fight over abortion access in the state, a political battleground where they’ll need every advantage to support President Biden and hang on to a key Senate seat. But the battle lines have grown increasingly muddled amid a heated legal dispute over which Republican-backed restrictions will be on the books come November. After the party ushered in a 15-week abortion ban in 2022 with almost no exceptions, with support from anti-abortion groups, some Republicans are now trying to get that law tossed. They instead favor an even more restrictive law dating to the 1800s that effectively bans the procedure entirely. And some Democrats, though they are strongly against both measures, are quietly acknowledging that a near-total ban could be a boon as they look to inspire voters to turn out.  https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/20/us/politics/in-arizona-democrats-could-see-opportunity-in-an-1864-abortion-ban.html

__________________________________________________________ 2. ‘Why Christians — and Republicans — Should Reconsider the Premise that ‘Life Begins at Conception’, By Bradley Onishi, Politico, March 21, 2024, 5:00 AM  The belief that abortion is murder is founded on the premise that life begins at conception. That premise drove my evangelical politics as a zealous young convert, and it continues to motivate millions of Americans when they go to vote in local, state and national elections. It is also the foundation of the recent ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court that classifies frozen embryos created during IVF as human persons. Chief Justice Tom Parker’s opinion in the case, which draws on the Bible, Christian manifestos, theologians such as St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas and the Reformer John Calvin, is an openly theological document. Parker argues that since life starts at conception, humans, especially lawmakers and judges, are called to implement policies and make decisions that will protect the sanctity of human life, whether in utero or outside it. So it’s easy to think that the premise that life begins at conception is a timeless theological component of Christian belief. But it’s not. The idea that life begins at conception is neither a unanimous belief in the history of Christianity, nor a classic American Protestant doctrine. When Parker writes about protecting the sanctity of life from the moment of conception, he is not carrying on a longstanding Protestant theological tradition by basing his decision on stalwarts of American evangelicalism like Cotton Mather or John Wesley or Jonathan Edwards. Those Protestant forefathers were more likely to believe that abortion, while inadvisable, was not murder until the “quickening” of the child — when the mother feels it move — somewhere near 18 weeks of the pregnancy.  It’s not Protestants, but Catholics in the United States who, as a religious community, have opposed abortion forcefully going back to the 19th century, and it is in Catholicism that we find the view that life begins at conception. Starting with an 1869 document called Apostolicae Sedis, Pope Pius IX declared the penalty of excommunication for abortions at any stage of pregnancy.  When it came to respectability politics, what the leaders of the Religious Right understood is that reducing abortion to murder by claiming that life begins at conception would provide them with an almost unassailable high ground in debates not just about reproductive rights, but also women’s independence, family structures and the stability of the American social order. It was also a way to form an unlikely but powerful alliance between conservative Protestants and the Catholics they had persecuted for so long.  The Alabama Supreme Court decision is a logical outcome of this alliance — a post-Roe advance into ever more restrictive forms of government intrusion on personal choice. The Catholic church has been going down this road since 1869. By defining life as beginning at conception and maintaining that the purpose of sex is reproduction, Catholic theology demands opposition to IVF and birth control. So it’s no accident that now that Roe v. Wade has fallen, Protestants like Parker are pushing ever more restrictive approaches to reproductive rights along the same lines as the doctrines of their Catholic counterparts. This represents what scholar Megan Goodwin calls the “Catholicization” of American sexual morality. It’s thus no surprise that some non-Catholic anti-abortion activists have now their sights set on contraception.  However, since the fall of Roe, it is clear that the logic of the movement is headed in a direction that will cause problems both theologically and politically. Once they understand the implications for IVF, birth control and even on abortions in extenuating circumstances, many Protestants, including evangelicals and charismatics, might want to reconsider whether they really want to make the theological case for extending personhood to embryos. Catholic theology not only insists that life begins at conception but also outlaws reproductive technologies, birth control and the death penalty. Up until this point in history, many Protestants haven’t been willing to go there — are they now? In that light, Parker’s blatantly Christian nationalist opinion in the IVF case may have a silver lining: It reveals the limits and cracks in both the theology and jurisprudence founded on the idea that life begins at conception — and points to the decline of its broad political usefulness. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2024/03/21/life-conception-christian-theology-00147804__________________________________________________________ 3. Nearly 8 in 10 AAPI adults in the US think abortion should be legal, an AP-NORC poll finds, By Graham Lee Brewer and Amelia Thomson-Deveaux, Associated Press, March 21, 2024, 7:07 AM With abortion rights poised to be one of the major issues in the 2024 election, a new poll shows that Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the United States are highly supportive of legal abortion, even in situations where the pregnant person wants an abortion for any reason.The poll from AAPI Data and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that nearly 8 in 10 Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders think abortion should be legal in all or most cases. They’re also supportive of federal government action to preserve abortion rights: Three-quarters of AAPI adults say Congress should pass a law guaranteeing access to legal abortions nationwide. By comparison, an AP-NORC poll conducted last June found that 64% of U.S. adults think abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 6 in 10 U.S. adults overall say Congress should pass a law guaranteeing access.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/03/21/asian-americans-pacific-islanders-abortion-poll/99d7606e-e738-11ee-9eba-1558f848ec25_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Europe must return to Christian roots, EU churches say ahead of June elections, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, March 21, 2024 With European elections just three months away, the continent’s bishops have joined other Christian churches in lamenting that the Christian principles on which Europe was founded are either being sidelined or instrumentalized for political gain. They have also called for an open and consistent dialogue between church and state, and asked that all European institutions and all candidates for European Parliament promote Christian values in pre-election campaigns and fight against the politicization of the faith.  https://cruxnow.com/church-in-europe/2024/03/europe-must-return-to-christian-roots-eu-churches-say-ahead-of-june-elections__________________________________________________________ 5. German bishops to discuss Synodal Way with Vatican amid controversy, By AC Wimmer, Catholic News Agency, March 21, 2024, 7:00 AM A delegation of German bishops is expected in Rome this Friday for talks with the Vatican about the German Synodal Way.  While the precise agenda is not a matter of public record, the encounter will likely focus on plans to install a permanent Synodal Council to oversee the Church in Germany. Raising several concerns, the Vatican reminded the Germans ahead of the meeting — in a letter dated Feb. 16 — that the Holy See has not mandated them to set up such a council.  Addressing Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK), Vatican officials told the Germans “that neither the Synodal Way, nor any body established by it, nor any bishops’ conference has the competence to establish the ‘synodal council’ at the national, diocesan, or parish level.”  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/257148/german-bishops-to-discuss-synodal-way-with-vatican-amid-controversy__________________________________________________________ 6. House Members Highlight ‘Horrific’ Organ Harvesting of Aborted Babies, They testified that Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics throughout the country are selling the organs and body parts of aborted babies in a lucrative biomaterial black market., By Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency, March 20, 2024 Several Republican House members hosted a panel on Tuesday highlighting what they called the “horrific” organ harvesting and trafficking of aborted babies. Hosted by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, on Capitol Hill, the presentation included testimony by David Daleiden, founder of the investigative group Center for Medical Progress, and Terrisa Bukovinac, founder of Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAUU). They testified that Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics throughout the country are selling the organs and body parts of aborted babies in a lucrative biomaterial black market. Daleiden, who has released several undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of body parts, called on the House to open a formal investigation into the abortion industry’s participation in organ harvesting.   https://www.ncregister.com/cna/house-members-highlight-horrific-organ-harvesting-of-aborted-babies__________________________________________________________ 7. Biden Pushes for Taxpayer-Funded Abortion Nationwide in 2025 Budget Plan, Many pro-abortion advocates and Democratic lawmakers have voiced opposition to the Hyde Amendment in recent years even though it received bipartisan support when it was introduced., By Tyler Arnold, National Catholic Register, March 20, 2024 President Joe Biden is calling for taxpayer-funded abortion nationwide and more funding for a program that funnels money to Planned Parenthood facilities in his 2025 budget plan unveiled last week. The $7.3 trillion budget would eliminate two safeguards that prevent taxpayer-funded abortion: the Hyde Amendment and the Dornan Amendment. Both amendments have been included in federal budget bills for decades, but the president’s proposal leaves them out completely. His plan would also increase funding for the Title X family planning program, which funnels millions of dollars to the abortion provider Planned Parenthood. “Since flip-flopping on taxpayer-funded abortion to run for president, Biden has lost any resistance to his party’s pro-abortion activist wing,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, said in a statement.  https://www.ncregister.com/cna/biden-pushes-for-taxpayer-funded-abortion-nationwide-in-2025-budget-plan

__________________________________________________________ 8. Ballot initiative in Nebraska would prohibit abortion after 12 weeks, By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, March 20, 2024, 1:50 PM A recently proposed pro-life ballot measure would make Nebraska the first state in the nation to offer unborn children protection in its constitution.  State residents, meanwhile, may also be voting on a measure to enshrine broad abortion rights into the state’s constitution, with both proposals potentially appearing on the ballot in November. The Protect Women and Children constitutional amendment, preliminary language of which was filed with the Nebraska secretary of state’s office March 1, would “amend the Nebraska Constitution” to ensure that “unborn children shall be protected from abortion in the second and third trimesters.” The amendment would outlaw abortion after 12 weeks except in medical emergencies or when an unborn child is the result of sexual assault or incest, the proposal says.    https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/257143/ballot-initiative-in-nebraska-would-prohibit-abortion-after-12-weeks__________________________________________________________ 9. Pope Francis highlights importance of prudence, calls for end to war, By Matthew Santucci, Catholic News Agency, March 20, 2024, 12:50 PM Pope Francis on Wednesday reflected on the virtue of prudence, noting that it is an essential characteristic for good governance, an observation he made while renewing his call for negotiating an end to war.  “War is always a defeat. You can’t go on in war. We must make all efforts to negotiate, to negotiate, to end the war. Let’s pray for this,” the pope said during his Wednesday general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.    https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/257141/pope-francis-highlights-importance-of-prudence-calls-for-end-to-war

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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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