1. State Restraints on Abortion Pill Access Tee Up New Legal Battle, By Lydia Wheeler, Bloomberg Law, March 31, 2022, 5:40 AM State efforts to ban medications that terminate a pregnancy are likely to be the next big legal fight over abortion regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court decides to do with Roe v. Wade. Alabama, Mississippi, Kansas, and 16 other states now have laws requiring a clinician to be physically present when abortion-inducing drugs are administered, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights. These laws prohibit drugs like mifepristone from being prescribed through a telehealth appointment, and some prevent them from being sent by mail. In Texas, violators can be jailed and fined up to $10,000 under a law that took effect in December. Legal scholars and abortion rights advocates say states expect the Supreme Court to wipe out abortion rights and are passing laws in anticipation to prevent people from finding alternative ways to end a pregnancy once state bans are lawful. Since Guttmacher estimates more than half of all abortions in the U.S. in 2020 were done with medication, laws like these make this cheaper alternative to an abortion procedure harder to access. https://news.bloomberglaw.com/health-law-and-business/state-restraints-on-abortion-pill-access-tee-up-new-legal-battle___________________________________________________________ 2. Testimony: Pope approved Vatican payout for London property, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, March 30, 2022, 12:10 PM Pope Francis allegedly authorized negotiating an exit strategy for a key figure in the Vatican’s bungled London real estate investment and was so satisfied with the outcome that he paid for a celebratory dinner at a fancy Roman fish restaurant the night the 15-million- euro payout closed, a defendant in the Vatican’s extortion trial testified Wednesday. The testimony by Monsignor Mauro Carlino, a onetime secretary in the Vatican secretariat of state, placed the pope squarely in the center of the Vatican’s landmark trial and raised questions about why low-ranking Vatican officials were indicted and their superiors were not — given the hierarchical way authority, decision-making and obedience are exercised in the Holy See. The trial concerns the Vatican’s 350-million-euro (US$390 million) investment in a London real estate venture, which lost the Holy See some 217 million euros, much of it donations from the faithful. Vatican prosecutors have accused Italian brokers and Vatican officials of fleecing the Holy See of millions in fees and of extorting the Holy See of 15 million to get full ownership of the building. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/testimony-pope-approved-vatican-payout-for-london-property/2022/03/30/fa5beede-b03d-11ec-9dbd-0d4609d44c1c_story.html___________________________________________________________ 3. Health care provider sues over Idaho’s strict abortion ban, By Rebecca Boone, Associated Press, March 30, 2022, 6:38 PM A regional Planned Parenthood organization is suing Idaho over a new law that bans nearly all abortions by allowing potential family members of the embryo to sue abortion providers. The law, which is based on a similar one that Texas enacted last year, was signed by Idaho Gov. Brad Little last week. At the time, the governor said he supported the anti-abortion policy but was worried the enforcement mechanism of the law would soon be “proven both unconstitutional and unwise.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/health-care-provider-sues-over-idahos-strict-abortion-ban/2022/03/30/8d624492-b054-11ec-9dbd-0d4609d44c1c_story.html___________________________________________________________ 4. UN report: Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended, By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press, March 30, 2022, 8:46 PM The U.N. Population Fund says new research shows that nearly half of all pregnancies worldwide — 121 million annually — are unintended, which it calls “a neglected crisis.” In its annual State of World Population Report 2022 released Wednesday, the fund said over 60% of unintended pregnancies end in abortion and an estimated 45% of abortions are unsafe, causing 5% to 13% of maternal deaths. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/un-report-nearly-half-of-all-pregnancies-are-unintended/2022/03/30/fd521138-b08b-11ec-9dbd-0d4609d44c1c_story.html___________________________________________________________ 5. Federal Grand Jury Indicts Nine People on Charges of Blocking Abortion Clinic, Action underscores Justice Department’s stepped-up enforcement of 1994 law in wake of new abortion restrictions in Texas, By Sadie Gurman, The Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2022, 4:50 PM Nine people have been indicted on federal civil-rights violations after prosecutors said they conspired to block access to an abortion clinic in Washington, D.C., in 2020, with one person posing as a patient while others barged into the waiting room and formed a blockade, the Justice Department said Wednesday. The people, all from the Northeast and Midwest, were charged with conspiracy against rights and violating a federal law that makes it a crime to injure or intimidate abortion-clinic patients and employees. Attorney General Merrick Garland directed prosecutors in September to step up enforcement of the law, known as the FACE Act, after a Texas law banning abortions after six weeks went into effect. Other states including Idaho have adopted new measures to restrict the procedure. https://www.wsj.com/articles/federal-grand-jury-indicts-nine-people-on-charges-of-blocking-abortion-clinic-11648673410?___________________________________________________________ 6. Pope Francis waives state secrecy for Becciu, Vatican official confirms spying claims, By The Pillar, March 30, 2022 Pope Francis has lifted the application of the pontifical secret in the Vatican financial trial, clearing the way for Cardinal Angelo Becciu to speak in court about his involvement with Cecilia Marogna, the self-described security consultant who says she spied for the cardinal on other curial officials. The announcement was made in a Vatican City courtroom Wednesday, the second day of the trial’s evidentiary hearings, during which Msgr. Mauro Carlino, a former senior official at the Secretariat of State confirmed the department had investigated the director of a Vatican bank after it denied the secretariat a 150 million euro loan. https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/pope-francis-waives-state-secrecy?s=r___________________________________________________________ 7. Msgr. Tom Powers appointed NAC rector, By The Pillar, March 30, 2022 The new rector of the American seminary in Rome was announced Wednesday morning, after more than a year’s delay filling the position because of both the coronavirus pandemic and wrangling over the proposed candidate list. Msgr. Thomas Powers of the Diocese of Bridgeport was confirmed as the new rector of the Pontifical North American College by the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy March 30, and is due to take up his appointment in July.  Power’s appointment marks the resolution of months of deadlock over the appointment of a new rector for the college. The outgoing rector, Fr. Peter Harman, an Illinois priest who has worked at the seminary since 2013, was due to leave the role in January of this year, after his five-year term was extended by one year due to the pandemic.  But Harman was asked to stay in post for a further six months, after the seminary’s governing board and Vatican officials initially failed to reach agreement on his successor. While the NAC’s board of governors submitted the name of their preferred successor to Harman to the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy, the name was not submitted as part of a required shortlist of three candidates, leading to a protracted exchange between the seminary board and Rome, multiple sources told The Pillar. As that exchange developed, The Pillar reported that Vatican officials had broadened the consultation beyond the seminary board, asking for input from senior American cardinals, including Cardinal Kevin Farrell and Cardinal Blase Cupich, and requesting feedback from the metropolitan archbishops of the United States. https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/msgr-tom-powers-appointed-nac-rector?s=r___________________________________________________________ 8. Oregon drops residency requirement for assisted suicide, By Jonah McKeown, Catholic News Agency, March 30, 2022, 5:00 PM Oregon has dropped its residency requirement for assisted suicide, meaning doctors will be allowed to prescribe lethal drugs to people who do not reside in the state. In response to a federal lawsuit, the state agreed to stop enforcing the residency requirement March 28. In addition, the Oregon Health Authority agreed to write a bill for state lawmakers which would repeal the requirement entirely. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250846/oregon-drops-residency-requirement-for-assisted-suicide___________________________________________________________ 9. Finnish court acquits lawmaker in freedom of speech case, By Associated Press, March 30, 2022 A Finnish court on Wednesday acquitted a Christian Democrat lawmaker and former interior minister of alleged incitement against gay people, in a case considered an important precedent on the limits of freedom of speech in the Nordic country. The Helsinki District Court said in its ruling that while some of the public statements by Paivi Rasanen, former leader of the small Christian Democratic Party, have been offensive to homosexuals they didn’t constitute hate speech and didn’t fall outside freedom of speech laws. https://apnews.com/article/europe-religion-marriage-freedom-of-speech-finland-30b5015590936539f26cc4cdca973cf0___________________________________________________________

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.
Subscribe to the TCA podcast!
“Conversations with Consequences” is a new audio program from The Catholic Association. We’ll bring you thoughtful dialogue with the leading thinkers of our time on the most consequential issues of our day. Subscribe today or listen online and enjoy our entertaining and informative weekly episodes.