1. State Lawmakers Take Aim at Voter-Led Ballot Measures, By Shannon Najmabadi, The Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2023, 9:00 AM Lawmakers in Republican-led states are backing measures to make it harder for voters to amend state constitutions, as partisan fights play out over abortion access and other issues.  Republican supporters say the measures to curtail ballot initiatives are needed to keep moneyed special interest groups from loading up constitutions with issues that should be handled legislatively, from abortion to gambling and marijuana. The proposed bills typically increase the level of support an initiative needs to pass from a simple majority to 60% of the vote. “The Ohio constitution is supposed to serve as a framework of our state government, not as a tool for special interests,” said Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who supports one such measure.  https://www.wsj.com/articles/state-lawmakers-take-aim-at-voter-led-ballot-measures-fdfc1bbf__________________________________________________________ 2. One nation, divided by abortion: Blue, red state chasm widens after fall of Roe, By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, May 15, 2023, Pg. A1 Polls show Americans favor limiting abortion rights to the first trimester in most cases, but that’s not where lawmakers are heading in the aftermath of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Since the Supreme Court freed states to craft their own abortion laws, the rush has been to the fringes. Republicans in conservative states are moving to impose restrictions, and Democrats in liberal states are hustling to sweep away bans.  Kelsey Pritchard, SBA Pro-Life America spokesperson, said liberal states are “moving far beyond what Roe ever did.” “They’re not really interested in going back to the Roe status quo,” Ms. Pritchard said. “They’re not even in line with Europe at this point. Their policies are just totally extreme and not in line with where the American people are.”https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/may/14/one-nation-divided-abortion-blue-red-state-chasm-w/__________________________________________________________ 3. North Carolina Faces Veto Fight On Abortion Bill, By Kate Kelly, The New York Times, May 15, 2023, Pg. A1  North Carolina’s Republican-dominated legislature has passed a bill banning most abortions after 12 weeks. Mr. Cooper, a Democrat, vetoed the bill. But to prevent the legislature from using its razor-thin supermajority to override his veto, Mr. Cooper is asking voters to pressure Republican lawmakers. Convincing just one legislator will keep the state’s current abortion law — allowing it up to 20 weeks — in place. In Wilmington, he urged voters to send a message to their representatives in the legislature — “ask them to keep their promise” to preserve existing abortion laws, he said, referring to Republican lawmakers he said had previously signaled some support for abortion access.  For North Carolina, the override vote would be a consequential early test of the Republicans’ new, slim supermajority, since Tricia Cotham, a former Democrat, switched parties in April and voted in favor of the ban. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/15/us/north-carolina-abortion-veto-roy-cooper.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Zelenskyy meets Pope Francis at Vatican and seeks backing for Ukraine’s peace plan, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, May 13, 2023, 5:22 PM Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had private talks with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday, later saying he sought support for Ukraine’s peace plan from the pontiff, who in the past has offered to try to help end the full-scale war launched by Russia a year ago. Zelenskyy held his hand over his heart and said it was a “great honor” to meet with the pope. Francis, using a cane for his knee problem, came to greet the Ukrainian president before ushering him into a papal studio near the Vatican’s audience hall. In a tweet after the 40-minute audience, Zelenskyy expressed gratitude to Francis for “his personal attention to the tragedy of millions of Ukrainians.” He said he spoke with the pontiff “about the tens of thousands of deported (Ukrainian) children. We must make every effort to return them home.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/05/13/zelenskyy-italy-visit-pope-francis-meloni/741a13c4-f163-11ed-b67d-a219ec5dfd30_story.html__________________________________________________________ 5. Red States Pressure JPMorgan on Religion, By Jathon Sapsford, The Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2023, Pg. A1 JPMorgan Chase has become the target of a campaign by Republican state officials seeking to expose what they see as religious discrimination in the bank’s business practices. Nineteen Republican state attorneys general sent a letter this month addressed to JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, accusing the nation’s largest bank of a “pattern of discrimination” and of denying customers banking services because of political or religious affiliations. In March, 14 Republican state treasurers wrote a similar letter to Mr. Dimon, making the same accusations. The letters said JPMorgan terminated client accounts due to religious beliefs—which the bank denies—and they also demanded the bank respond to detailed survey questions on issues of concern to conservatives. The survey probes policies around speech freedoms, for example, in a nod to conservatives who believe employees of faith should feel free to express disagreement with workplace priorities such as diversity or climate initiatives they view as progressive.  https://www.wsj.com/articles/jpmorgan-targeted-by-republican-states-over-accusations-of-religious-bias-903c8b26__________________________________________________________ 6. Pope Francis issues new constitution for Vatican City State, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, May 13, 2023, 11:55 AM Pope Francis on Saturday issued a new constitution of the Vatican City State that further emphasizes the power of the pope over the sovereign state. The new constitution, called “the Fundamental Law of Vatican City State,” is the third in history and replaces a law promulgated by St. John Paul II in 2000. The first constitution was issued in 1929 following the signing of the Lateran Pacts, which founded the city state of the Vatican and guaranteed its sovereignty. The new law will go into effect June 7. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254304/pope-francis-issues-new-constitution-for-vatican-city-state__________________________________________________________ 7. Kansas governor vetoes measures to aid anti-abortion centers, limit health officials’ power, By John Hanna, Associated Press, May 12, 2023, 5:52 PM Kansas’ Democratic governor on Friday vetoed Republican legislation that would have provided a financial boost to anti-abortion pregnancy centers and prevented officials fighting outbreaks of contagious diseases from prohibiting public gatherings or ordering infected people to isolate themselves. The two measures were part of a wave of conservative policies passed by GOP-controlled state legislatures this year, including ones in Kansas rolling back transgender rights and establishing new restrictions on abortion providers. But Gov. Laura Kelly’s two vetoes will stand because lawmakers have adjourned for the year, barring any attempt at overriding them. The anti-abortion measure would have granted up to $10 million a year in new state income tax credits to donors to the more than 50 centers across the state that provide free counseling, classes, supplies and other services to pregnant people and new parents to discourage abortions. Lawmakers included it in a wide-ranging tax bill that also included an expansion of existing tax credits for adoption expenses and purchases from businesses that employ disabled workers. Kelly vetoed the entire bill.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/05/12/antiabortion-centers-pandemic-restrictions-backlash-kansas/e698c87e-f108-11ed-b67d-a219ec5dfd30_story.html__________________________________________________________

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.