1. Swiss voters back same-sex marriage, By Catholic News Agency, September 27, 2021, 5:00 AM

Switzerland voted Sunday to legalize same-sex marriage.

Around 64% of voters backed the measure in a referendum on Sept. 26, making Switzerland the world’s 30th country to approve gay marriage.

The country bordering Italy, France, Germany, Austria, and Liechtenstein has recognized civil unions for same-sex couples since 2007, following a 2005 referendum.


2. The Limits of ‘My Body, My Choice’, By Tish Harrison Warren, The New York Times, September 26, 2021, Opinion

“My body, my choice,” the rallying cry of the pro-choice movement, has been adopted by those opposing mask and vaccine mandates. People who are pro-choice have voiced outrage that their phrase is being co-opted, which in turn thrills those on the right who are using it.

Certainly, the complexities of abortion and Covid prevention are different. These are not identical issues. But the mutual slogan points to an underlying agreement between these warring factions: They both understand liberty primarily as the absence of restraint.

This is how Americans in general tend to envision freedom. It’s what the philosopher Isaiah Berlin called negative liberty — the autonomy of individuals to do what they want to do. Personal choice is therefore the essential quality of liberty.

How do you call a society committed to personal freedom and happiness to bear the burdens of others? Most of us intuitively grasp that there’s more to life than living for oneself and one’s own happiness or comfort. But we lack a positive vision for the purpose of individual liberty.

Thomas Aquinas, a medieval Catholic theologian, gave us the gorgeous and helpful phrase “arduous good.” “An arduous good is a good that requires struggle,” Ron Belgau wrote in a 2013 article for First Things, “a good that is worth fighting for. And a good that inspires fear and hope and endurance in the face of adversity. ‘Arduous good’ is also a phrase that is seldom spoken in Hollywood, and almost never heard on Madison Avenue. In that silence, the poverty of our culture is laid bare.”

But as a culture, we desperately need religious communities that do not parrot the predictable ethical arguments of the right or the left. We need a rooted and robust call to love our neighbors, our families and the marginalized, the needy, the weak and the afflicted among us. Individual liberty is not a bad political starting point, but it’s inadequate to orient our lives. We need other stories that teach us how to live justly and wisely in the world, that lend us a vision of positive liberty, that show us what freedom is for.


3. San Marino voters overwhelmingly back legal abortion, By Nicole Winfield and Francesco Fedeli, Associated Press, September 26, 2021

San Marino residents on Sunday voted overwhelmingly to legalize abortion, rejecting a 150-year-old law that had criminalized it and making the tiny republic the latest majority Catholic state to approve the procedure under certain circumstances.

Some 77% of voters approved a referendum proposal calling for abortion to be legal in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, according to official returns broadcast on San Marino RTV. Abortion would also be legal beyond that point if the woman’s life is in danger or if her physical or psychological health is at risk because of fetal anomalies or malformations.


4. House Passes Bill to Protect Abortion Rights, Countering Texas Restrictions, Bill, which would stop states from imposing curbs before fetal viability, is unlikely to advance in the Senate, By Eliza Collins, The Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2021, Pg. A3

The House passed legislation on Friday that would ban abortion restrictions before fetal viability, a response by Democrats to a recently enacted Texas law that bans the procedure after about six weeks of pregnancy.

The Women’s Health Protection Act would stop states from enacting restrictions on abortion before fetal viability. It would also halt requirements for tests or procedures, such as ultrasounds, that are deemed medically unnecessary before abortions. Doctors generally consider viability—when a fetus could live outside the womb—to fall around 21 to 24 weeks into a pregnancy.

The bill passed 218-211, mostly along party lines, with one Democrat, Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, joining Republicans in voting against it. The proposal is unlikely to advance in the evenly divided Senate, where it would require 10 Republicans to join with all Democrats for passage.


5. California governor moves to protect ‘privacy’ of minors who procure abortions, By Jonah McKeown, Catholic News Agency, September 25, 2021, 5:01 AM

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a pair of bills Sept. 22 that relate to privacy surrounding abortion, both of which could make it easier for minors to hide abortions from their parents.

AB 1356 makes it illegal to film or photograph patients or employees within 100 feet of an abortion clinic “with the specific intent to intimidate a person from becoming or remaining a reproductive health services patient, provider, or assistant.”

The second bill, AB 1184, would allow insured individuals, including minors, to keep “sensitive services” confidential from the insurance policyholder, generally their parents.

The bill requires insurance companies to “accommodate requests for confidential communication of medical information” regardless of whether “disclosure would endanger the individual.”

The bill, which is set to take effect in July 2022, specifically mentions “sexual and reproductive health” and “gender affirming care” as potentially “sensitive services.”


6. California to replace toppled statue with memorial to tribes, By Adam Beam, Associated Press, September 24, 2021

More than a year after protesters toppled a statue of a Spanish missionary on the grounds of the California Capitol, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law on Friday to replace it with a memorial for the state’s Native Americans.

A statue of Father Junipero Serra had stood in Capitol Park since 1967. He was a Roman Catholic pries who established a string of missions from San Diego to San Francisco in the late1700s and used them as centers to convert members of nearby tribes to Christianity.


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.
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