1. Abortions Decline to Historic Low.

By Jenniger Calfas, The Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2019, Pg. A3

The U.S. abortion rate reached its lowest levels since the procedure became legal across the country in 1973, according to a new report released Wednesday.

Both the rate and number of abortions performed in the U.S. declined nationally and in almost every state between 2014 and 2017, according to research from the Guttmacher Institute, a policy group that supports abortion rights and tracks national abortion statistics. Abortions in the U.S. have been declining for years, a trend that researchers attribute to fewer pregnancies and falling birthrates.

There were 13.5 abortions for every 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 in 2017, an 8% decline from 2014. In 1973, there were 16.3 abortions performed per 1,000 women within that same age range. The abortion rate in 2017 is less than half of what it was in the early 1980s, according to the institute.


2. Appeals court hears case over abortion ‘gag rule’.

By Ann E. Marimow, The Washington Post, September 19, 2019, Pg. B1

A federal appeals court debated Wednesday whether the Trump administration’s new restrictions on abortion referrals illegally interfere with how health-care providers who receive government money interact with pregnant women.

At stake in the lawsuit brought by Baltimore officials is $1.4 million in federal funds for community clinics and school health centers that provide pregnancy tests, contraceptives, cancer screenings and other services for thousands of young, low-income women.

The case is one of several nationwide involving the administration’s family planning rules announced in June 2018 that make clinics ineligible to receive federal money if they provide referrals for abortion services or otherwise encourage, promote or advocate abortion as a method of family planning.


3. Abortions hit lowest numbers since Roe, Pro-lifers say level still way too high.

By Christopger Vondracek, The Washington Times, September 19, 2019, Pg. A1

The number of U.S. abortions has fallen to its lowest level since the practice was legalized in 1973, said a report released Wednesday, drawing cheers and jeers from pro-life advocates.

The Guttmacher Institute, a research nonprofit that supports reproductive rights, reported that the number of U.S. abortions fell by 19% — from more than 1 million in 2011 to 862,000 in 2017. It marked the fewest procedures performed since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion.

“We welcome the new report showing the decline in both the abortion rate and the overall number of abortions from 2011 to 2017,” said Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. “There are several reasons for this positive news, including factors that Guttmacher does their best to ignore.”

 But Mr. Donovan of the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute said Guttmacher overlooked trends, such as the closings of abortion facilities, limits on public funding and informed consent laws as drivers of the decline.

The Guttmacher report in part concedes Mr. Donovan’s point, noting that states with laws targeting abortion providers with burdensome regulations, such as Texas, Virginia, Ohio and Arizona, which experienced higher rates of clinic closures, did report declines above the national average of 20%.


4. Chaput: Personal holiness, fidelity to the Church key in difficult times.

Catholic News Agency, September 19, 2019, 3:17 AM

During times of scandal and confusion, Catholics should strive for personal holiness and fidelity to the Church, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said in a talk last week.

“Christ sent his disciples out in his name, with his authority, to continue his work in the world as the Church — and only through the Church can we even be talking about Jesus today,” he said.

“The fidelity of Catholics to the Church, generation after generation, even when her leaders have been foolish or weak or sinful — that fidelity is what carries the message of the Gospel through time.”

Faithfulness to the Church is not a mere act of servitude, but “a choice to participate in the act of giving life to the world,” Chaput said, adding that the Church is how Christ can be known, and how God’s will can be known in our lives.

Archbishop Chaput delivered the Sept. 12 keynote address at the seventh annual St. Joseph the Worker Medal Awards at Malvern Retreat House in Malvern, Pennsylvania.


5. Bishop’s Secret List of Accused Priests Leaves Him Besieged, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo is facing calls for his resignation over a growing clergy sexual abuse scandal.

By Sharon Otterman, New York Times Online, September 18, 2019

Numerous Catholic bishops across the United States have become involved in controversies over their handling of clergy sexual abuse. But perhaps none has become as embroiled in scandal over the past year as Bishop Malone of Buffalo, one of the largest dioceses in the Northeast.

But despite revelations from whistle-blowers and calls from lay leaders and priests for him to step down, Bishop Malone has declined to do so.

Hundreds of people have now filed sexual abuse claims against clergy with the Buffalo diocese, or lawsuits under New York’s new Child Victims Act. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the state attorney general’s office have opened investigations.

Bishop Malone’s standing is being closely watched as a test of a new, tougher policy on bishop accountability that was adopted by Pope Francis in May in an effort to contain clergy sexual abuse scandals worldwide. It comes as at least 18 state attorneys general in the United States have begun investigations into clergy sexual abuse and its cover-up by church leaders.


6. Transgender man can sue Catholic hospital over hysterectomy.

The Associated Press, September 18, 2019

A California transgender man can go ahead with a discrimination lawsuit against a Catholic hospital that canceled his hysterectomy, an appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The decision by the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco overturns a lower court ruling dismissing the discrimination lawsuit, The Sacramento Bee reported Wednesday.

Hospital operator Dignity Health quickly helped transfer the surgery to a non-Catholic facility. Presiding Judge Stuart Pollak wrote that didn’t negate Minton’s complaint because Dignity offered the alternative only after pressure from his advocates.

California civil rights law says businesses must offer full and equal access to residents.

Dignity Health, which is among the largest health systems in the country, said in a statement Wednesday that it welcomes everyone but that its Catholic hospitals “do not perform sterilizing procedures” unless there is a serious threat to the patient’s life or health.

In an earlier statement to the newspaper, the largest hospital provider in California said its Catholic facilities “do not provide elective sterilizations.”


7. ‘De facto state of schism’: Vatican fears German bishops trying to reform church teaching.

By Jeffrey Cimmino, The Washington Examiner, September 18, 2019, 12:00 AM

Five centuries after Martin Luther sparked a religious revolution in Europe, German Catholics are once again coming into conflict with the Vatican, this time over a planned meeting that would address key elements of the church’s moral teaching and discipline.

The German bishops are organizing a meeting, or Synodal Assembly, that would discuss issues including priestly celibacy, ordination, and marriage, raising concerns in the Vatican that they will try to change church teaching for German Catholics. The German bishops have been working closely with a lay group known as the Central Committee of German Catholics, which supports female ordination and opposes clerical celibacy.

 Chad Pecknold, an associate professor of theology at the Catholic University of America, explained that the German bishops appear to want their assembly to function like a church council, which can make decisions about moral teachings that affect the entire church.

“What they are trying to do is act like a council, and councils actually can bind the conscience and make changes which affect the universal church. And this is why the Holy See has said no to Cardinal Marx, that this synodal process which has been proposed is ecclesiologically invalid,” Pecknold told the Washington Examiner.

“Cardinal Marx is in quite a precarious position because on one hand, if he backs down, he loses with his German secular peers that he very much wants to win with, so he really will lose a lot of political and social capital at home in Germany if he concedes to the pope,” said Pecknold.


8. Abortionist Ulrich Klopfer kept thousands of dead babies but inspires little curiosity.

By David Mastio, USA Today, September 18, 2019, 5:00 AM

It is a story out of a horror movie: A garage full of baby parts, a sketchy rural abortionist and a culture that avoids hard questions.

There’s something sick in America’s abortion industry. What else would account for a doctor who collected thousands of dead babies in some kind of twisted hobby that he hid from his allegedly unsuspecting wife?

Two thousand two hundred and forty-six fetuses were found “medically preserved” in Ulrich Klopfer’s garage last week after he died on Sept. 3. And now the attorneys general of Illinois and Indiana are investigating how the human remains got from Klopfer’s network of Indiana abortion clinics to his rural Illinois home and what laws might have been violated.

Klopfer isn’t the only abortionist to enjoy keeping trophies of his grisly work close at hand. America’s most infamous baby killer, Kermit Gosnell, also kept fetal body parts in “milk jugs and glass jars” at his clinic in Philadelphia before he was convicted in 2013 on three counts of murder for snipping the spinal cords of babies born alive.

While Klopfer is not alleged to have been a murderer, his ethical standards appear not to have been very high. In defending himself and his clinics against state allegations, the Illinois physician recounted how he performed an abortion on a 10-year-old girl who was raped by her uncle, never reporting the crime to police and, as a result, helping her parents cover up the atrocity by a family member. State officials cited the sickening defense as part of their reason for stripping him of his medical license. He was previously charged with failing to report performing abortions on two 13-year-olds.

With thousands of ghoulishly stored dead bodies straight out of a horror movie, medical malpractice and a multistate mystery, you’d think the news mediawould be all over this story. Not so much.

At my request, the conservative Media Research Center looked into coverage of Klopfer and found little interest. No coverage on the nightly broadcast news. Nothing on MSNBC. A story on CNN and a few on Fox News. Nationalnewspapers each  handled it with one or two stories.

How does a story this sensational — that happens to have partly taken place in presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s hometown, where he’s the mayor — not get more than cursory attention from the national news media? Now there’s a question.


9. Threat of Schism Comes From Germany, Not United States, An American-led schism seems so remote as to be impossible, whereas Germany’s bishops are openly defying Pope Francis.

By Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Catholic Register, September 18, 2019

Talk of schism in the Church is “promiscuous” now, writes New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. Pope Francis addressed it at length on his return flight from Madagascar. But where is the danger of schism? It is far more likely from Germany, where bishops are openly defying the Holy Father, than from the United States.

The question of potential schism was raised on the recent papal flights to and from Africa. On the outbound flight, presented with a book accusing some Americans of plotting to overthrow the Pope, the Holy Father said that “it is an honor when the Americans attack me.”

Also on the plane to Mozambique, Pope Francis, answering a question about concerns raised by Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said: “He has good intentions; he is a good man. The Pope likes him. But he is like a child.”

Despite being reported by German and Austrian Catholic news agencies, the Holy See Press Office did not comment upon that astonishing characterization of the accomplished theologian.

The two comments together invite consideration of where the schismatic danger, if it exists, lies.

An American-led schism seems so remote as to be impossible.

There is a not a single U.S. bishop who has said or done anything that would point toward anything even approaching schism. That there are sectors of U.S. Catholic opinion that are critical — even hostile — to Pope Francis is true, but internet chatter does not a schism make.


10. These Are Human Beings.

By Alexandra DeSanctis, National Review Online, September 18, 2019, 6:30 AM

Abortion intentionally ends the lives of human beings. We were reminded of this in a particularly grisly way over the weekend, when 2,246 remains of aborted fetuses were discovered inside the home of former abortionist Ulrich George Klopfer. His family discovered the medically preserved remains on Klopfer’s property in Illinois after he passed away earlier this month.

He performed abortions for nearly four decades in northern Indiana — primarily in South Bend but also in Fort Wayne and Gary — and had his medical license indefinitely suspended in 2016 after having violated laws governing abortion reporting, proper record-keeping, and safety standards during abortion procedures.

But it ought to shock the conscience of a nation that legally sanctions nearly a million abortion procedures every year. It’s easy enough to ignore when the remains are disposed of behind clinics and taken to landfills, and we never have to see them. They aren’t supposed to appear again, closeted away in the houses of abortionists only to emerge in our newsfeeds or on our television screens.

The killing can continue as long as we don’t have to pay attention. But sometimes we don’t have a choice.

If his family had uncovered thousands or hundreds or even dozens of body parts from human adults, we’d witness wall-to-wall news coverage of the most notorious serial killer in history — and rightly so. Instead, because they are small and we are not, we will close our eyes. In a few days, most of us will forget. We will tell ourselves that Klopfer was a criminal and the rest are not, that abortion is sterile and sanitary while these were not, that the unborn don’t have bodies if we don’t have to look at them.

But we saw, and we know.


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