1. Judge Rejects New Rule on Health Providers Opting Out.

By Stephanie Armour, The Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2019, Pg. A3

A federal judge on Wednesday struck down a Trump administration rule that would have let medical providers opt out of participating in medical procedures based on their religious or moral objections.

The 147-page decision from the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York means the rule won’t take effect as expected Nov. 22.

Nineteen states and family planning groups had sued to block the Department of Health and Human Services regulation that sought to expand enforcement of protections for medical workers with moral or faith-based objections to medical procedures such as abortion, assisted suicide or sterilization at hundreds of thousands of health organizations.

The court vacated the rule in its entirety in a decision that criticized the administration for its rationale.

“This decision leaves health-care professionals across America vulnerable to being forced to perform, facilitate or refer for procedures that violate their conscience,” said Stephanie Taub, senior counsel for First Liberty Institute, which advocates for religious liberty. “The Trump Administration’s HHS protections would ensure that health-care professionals are free to work consistent with their religious beliefs while providing the best care to their patients.”


2. Database lists religious prisoners across globe, Commission hopes to raise awareness of problem.

By Christopher Vondracek, The Washington Times, November 7, 2019, Pg. A7

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is calling attention to millions of “religious prisoners” being held and persecuted around the world — and the commissioners hope a new, congressionally mandated database will help.

The database, which was created under the Frank Wolf Act of 2016, tracks faith victims and “religious prisoners of conscience” in nations listed as of “particular concern” by the State Department.

The commission’s Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project database aims to heighten awareness of people imprisoned in countries cracking down on religious expression and encourage advocacy for them.


3. LatAm activists aim to press beyond ‘cosmetic actions’ on sex abuse crisis.

By Shannon Levitt, Crux, November 7, 2019

Three years after a national congress regarding the sexual abuse of minors, the Pontifical University of Mexico in Mexico City is again hosting a conference discussing sex abuse in the continent’s Catholic communities.

“The Latin American Church cannot expect significant change if we continue with the same things we’ve been doing,” said conference organizer Father Daniel Portillo Trevizo, Director of the Center of Investigation and Interdisciplinary Formation for the Protection of Minors (CEPROME).

“There are concrete actions that cannot wait if the integrity and the dignity of minors are to be a priority rather than a second-class issue,” continued Portillo.

While there have been recently publicized gaffes by prelates suggesting it’s time to move past the Church’s sex abuse crisis, including one by an Argentine bishop who later stepped aside, that idea seems far from the spirit here in Mexico City.

Seriousness of the situation and the desire to speak clearly and openly about it is the order of the day.


4. Can California Pay for Its Latest Abortion Expansion?

By Mary Rose Short, National Catholic Register, November 5, 2019

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed California’s on-campus abortion mandate into law, but it faces one more hurdle: funding.

The law is operative “only if, and to the extent that, a total of at least ten million two hundred ninety thousand dollars in private funds is made available to the fund in a timely manner on or after January 1, 2020.”

The new law, sometimes called “the College Student Right to Access Act,” requires the University of California and California State University campuses to dispense the abortion pill upon request in their 34 student health centers, starting Jan. 1, 2023.

The abortion-pill procedure is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to block nutrients and oxygen to embryos and fetuses within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy and then expel the placenta and its contents.

A state Senate floor legislative analysis estimates that the universities will induce 500 abortions a month.

“S.B. 24 is a terrible piece of legislation,“ John Gerardi, executive director of Right to Life of Central California, told the Register. “Not only will it result in hundreds of additional abortions per month at taxpayer expense, but it is a foolish program that is insufficiently funded, will be insufficiently administered, and those attendant, additional costs will likely be borne by students and taxpayers.”

A late amendment to the law states: “No General Fund moneys shall be appropriated, or otherwise provided, to support the fund or the commission’s costs to administer this chapter.“ But Gerardi’s concerns are not without merit, as the commission referred to — the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls (CCSWG) — may assist the student health center to “bill public programs … to help pay for the costs of providing abortion by medication techniques.”


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