1. Planned Parenthood execs joke about decapitating fetuses in new video

By Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times, May 26, 2017, Pg. A6

Planned Parenthood executives joked about decapitated fetuses, admitted to altering abortion procedures to preserve fetal organs and said clinics have a financial incentive to sell human tissue in a new undercover video released Thursday.

The three-minute video was recorded at an annual National Abortion Federation meeting by pro-life investigators with the Center for Medical Progress. The advocacy group said it’s just a preview of never-before-seen content that has been sealed for almost two years due to legal fights.

Ann Schutt-Aine, director of abortion services at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, says she’ll hold a fetus in place with forceps to prevent partial-birth abortions.

“If I’m doing a procedure, and I’m seeing that I’m in fear that it’s about to come to the umbilicus, I might ask for a second set of forceps to hold the body at the cervix, and pull off a leg or two, so it’s not [partial-birth abortion],” she says.

Other top Planned Parenthood executives make gruesome remarks about abortion in the video.

Lisa Harris, medical director at Planned Parenthood of Michigan, says pro-choice proponents should just admit that abortion is murder.

“Let’s just give them all the violence,” she says. “It’s a person. It’s killing. Let’s just give them all that.”

She also jokes about trying to pull a decapitated head out of a patient.

“Our stories don’t really have a place in a lot of pro-choice discourse and rhetoric, right?” Ms. Harris says. “The heads that get stuck that we can’t get out. The hemorrhages that we manage.


2. Meet the man who could define what a ‘Francis bishop’ means

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, May 26, 2017

The reality is, in most parts of the world, bishops’ conferences may have an important role domestically, but it’s not an office of much obvious international interest.

However, there is one towering exception to that rule, or at least there has been traditionally, which is Italy. The president of the powerful Italian bishops’ conference, known by its acronym of CEI, has for the last quarter-century or so been seen as the de facto pastoral embodiment of the vision of the current pope, meaning he sets a tone for what a diocesan bishop cut from the pope’s cloth is supposed to look like.

Moreover, because so many bishops around the world have lived in Italy, or worked or studied here, they tend to be highly plugged-in to the Italian scene. It’s a good bet that probably 98 percent of the world’s bishops could tell you the name of the president of their own conference, and perhaps 60 percent or so could identity the leader of the Italian conference.

[I]f he appears gracious and respectful, finding occasions to voice appreciation for Bagnasco’s contributions, then the take-away may be that Francis is not so much trying to reverse what came before but to round it out.

Once that’s done, attention will turn to Bassetti and his imprint on CEI. Across the Catholic landscape, those with ears to hear and eyes to see will be listening and watching.


3. Stronger religious freedoms in Texas could boost Catholic foster care

Catholic News Agency, May 25, 2017, 12:04 AM

The Catholic Church in Texas will work to promote more foster parenting, following the state legislature’s approval of strong legal protections for religious adoption and foster care agencies.

“Now Catholics can join other people of good will and serve Texas’ children in good faith,” said Jennifer Carr Allmon, executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops.

This fall, the bishops’ conference has said, it will work with diocesan offices on a campaign to encourage Catholic families to be foster parents.

The bill, called the Freedom to Serve Children Act, could protect the ability of organizations and individuals in Texas’ foster care system who have sincerely held religious beliefs to remove themselves from actions that would directly violate their faith.

It has multiple applications. It could allow groups opposed to abortion to avoid helping a minor obtain an abortion. It could allow groups that believe children should be placed only with a married adoptive mother and father to provide foster services without facing lawsuits from same-sex couples.


4. Medical Conscience Victory in Vermont

By Wesley J. Smith, National Review – The Corner, May 25, 2017, 4:03 PM

With the attacks on medical conscience increasing, some good news. Alliance Defending Freedom has successfully obtained a consent decree that protects doctors in Vermont from having to counsel about assisted suicide to legally qualified patients if they are morally or religiously opposed.

This is just a small skirmish in a much bigger policy and moral conflict. Even more concerted efforts seeking to force doctors, nurses, and pharmacists to participate in morally contentious legal activities in the medical context will be forthcoming, toward the end of forcing medical professionals to surrender their consciences as a condition of licensure regarding issues such abortion, assisted suicide, Catholic religious values maintained in Catholic hospitals, etc.