The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take a case involving an Arizona law that sought to deny Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood because the organization performs abortions. The court left in place a lower court decision that overturned the law.
Proponents of the law argued that taxpayer funds should not go to help an abortion provider. Even though Medicaid does not reimburse for abortions, the payments free up resources to help the organization promote and perform abortions, they claimed.
The appellate court that reviewed the case reasoned that Arizona did not have the authority to decide which providers were eligible for Medicaid reimbursements. Federal law allows patients to see any "qualified provider," the court ruled. more >>
An Illinois-based appeals court has ruled that a Catholic academic institute must provide healthcare insurance for both students and employees that cover contraceptives.
A panel of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled Friday that the University of Notre Dame must provide contraceptives despite the Catholic school's objections to said products.
In a two-to-one decision, the judges upheld the ruling of a U.S. District Court judge against Notre Dame, arguing in the majority opinion that Notre Dame "has not yet shown that there is a substantial burden" in complying with the birth control mandate. more >>
British newspaper Telegraph's U.S. editor, Peter Foster, has written a blog post to follow up on his previous article on the rise of atheism in the country, saying that research data shows evangelicals succumbing to the forces of secularization in America.
While mainstream Protestantism has declined in the U.S. over recent decades, Evangelical Christianity appeared to be immune to that wider trend with the continued growth of megachurches and George W. Bush as president, writes Foster on the blog of his newspaper.
However, Mark Chaves, a divinity and sociology professor at Duke University and author of America Religion: Contemporary Trends, found that Evangelicals are now succumbing to the same forces of secularization, the writer adds in his post, titled "America is turning secular much faster than we realise." more >>
A high school chapter of the pro-life group Students for Life is claiming that it was censored by the administration and given less freedom than a gay rights group.
"They're clearly showing a double standard here," Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, told The Christian Post last week. Hawkins accused the staff of Wilson High School in Washington State of showing favoritism to the local Gay-Straight Alliance group over the high school's SFL chapter, especially regarding flyers.
Bryce Asberg, president of the Wilson High School SFL chapter, said the flyers were just one aspect of the school's preference for the GSA. He also mentioned a struggle over a candlelight vigil and a day of silence. "I would definitely say that there's some censorship involved and trying to block our rights of free speech," Asberg said. "Our message is more controversial, but that doesn't give them grounds to block our message." more >>
Andrew Sullivan, writer and strong supporter of President Obama, denounced the "general liberal contempt" for the sincere objections religious organizations have against the contraceptive mandate and gay marriage.
Sullivan, a proponent of same-sex marriage, uses "a rather aggressive column" by Linda Greenhouse in The New York Times as a recent example of how liberals dismiss the genuine worries of religious groups, such as the Colo.-based Little Sisters of the Poor.
"All the government is asking the order (the Little Sisters) to do is sign the standard one-page form that sets the exemption machinery in motion," wrote Greenhouse, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer on law. "That's it. There is no government investigation of the merits of the religious claim – or of the unfounded belief that some of the contraceptives to which the nuns object can actually terminate what the medical profession regards as an existing pregnancy." more >>
A Florida woman previously tricked by her boyfriend to have an abortion is now using her story to convince the state legislature to pass a fetal protection law.
Remee Jo Lee, 27, stood in front of the state's Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday to tell her harrowing story of struggle and deception. In March 2013, her boyfriend, 29-year-old John Welden, tricked her into having an abortion when she was seven weeks pregnant. Welden, who apparently had another girlfriend and did not want to father Lee's child, convinced the pregnant woman into take the miscarriage-inducing drug Cytotec, telling her it was an antibiotic for an infection.
Welden was sentenced to 13 years, 8 months in prison in early January for drug tampering. The 29-year-old couldn't be prosecuted in connection with the child's death, however, because Florida law states such charges can only take place when the fetus can survive outside of the woman's body. The bill Lee is advocating for would protect all pregnancies, possibly carrying the sentence of life in prison to anyone who intentionally kills a fetus, no matter its age in the womb. more >>