Late last week, on Friday afternoon, while most of us were checking out of work (mentally if not physically) and focusing on the weekend, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a press release informing of yet another revision to its contraceptive/abortion pill mandate. As it turns out, we didn't miss much.
The HHS was obliged to make changes following the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case, which struck down the Mandate as it applies to closely held for-profit corporations. Also, the HHS could hardly ignore the string of subsequent court rulings casting doubt on the propriety of an "accommodation" the department set aside for religious non-profits.
Like a number of federal courts figured out, the "accommodation" given to religious non-profits is not very accommodating. The HHS decided they'd make the insurance company, and not the ministry, pay for contraceptive and abortion services, conveniently ignoring the real-world effect of increased premiums that cause employers to cover the additional costs in a back-door way. And, HHS glosses over the actual concern: More than just paying for it, Christian ministries are compelled to be deal-brokers between their own employees and providers of highly objectionable services. But for the employment, their employees do not receive free abortions. more >>
Former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin, issued a Facebook post inviting famed atheist activist Richard Dawkins to come meet her six-year-old son, Trig, who has Down syndrome after Dawkins tweeted last week that he felt it was "immoral" not to "abort and try again" when an unborn baby has been diagnosed with Down's.
While most people did not respond kindly through social media to Dawkins' initial tweet, which was a response to a woman who asked his advice about the moral dilemma of what to do when pregnant with a fetus diagnosed with Down syndrome, Palin did not criticize Dawkins for what he tweeted. Instead, she seemed to acknowledged his point of view and extended an invitation for Dawkins to come meet her son in hopes that he would see the "beauty" that lies beneath the diagnosis.
Palin's Facebook post, which included 11 pictures of Trig, reads as follows: more >>
About two years ago over 30 of the nation's pro-life leaders issued an official statement against an environmental campaign spearheaded by the Evangelical Environmental Network calling mercury regulations "pro-life."
Instead of correcting its claims, EEN doubled down and expanded them, further obscuring the meaning of "pro-life" and diluting its usefulness to identify people working to end abortion on demand. First they aligned global warming to the "pro-life" cause, and then they expanded the definition of "life" beyond human beings to include caring for all of life.
For EEN and CEO Mitchell C. Hescox, being "pro-life" doesn't simply mean opposing abortion or other actions that intentionally kill human beings. It means opposing any action that some environmentalist thinks creates any risk, however great or small, to any life, human or non-human. more >>
Some religious freedom advocates have raised concerns that the Barack Obama administration's recent changes to the Health and Human Services Department's "preventive services" mandate have not adequately addressed their religious freedom concerns.
In light of recent major court defeats, HHS will now allow for-profit employers to contact the government directly for an exemption rather than a third party.
Last week, the federal government released a document about new "interim final regulations" regarding exemptions to the HHS mandate for entities to provide birth control coverage to their employees. more >>
Atheist intellectual and author Richard Dawkins has issued an apology following the controversy over his recent remarks claiming that Down syndrome children should be aborted.
Dawkins had responded on Twitter to a woman's comment about what she should do if she were pregnant with a Down syndrome baby.
"Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice," tweeted Dawkins in response. more >>
Some pro-life leaders are declining to participate in the viral "ice bucket challenge" to raise money for the ALS Association's efforts to find a cure for Lou Gehrig's disease.
The ALS Association supports the destruction of human embryos for research, they say, and while finding a cure for a horrible disease is honorable, the ends do not justify the means.
"It is noble to combat a deadly disease, and the ice bucket challenge definitely puts a fun spin on philanthropic efforts. That's why it's such a shame that the ALS Association, while striving to save some people, chooses to support research that thrives from experimenting on and killing tiny, innocent human beings," Lila Rose, president of the pro-life advocacy group Live Action, said in a statement. more >>