The measles outbreak that began in Disneyland last December has infected more than 100 people in 14 states, most recently victimizing five infants at a Chicago area daycare. Last year, there were 644 cases of measles reported, by far the largest number in a decade and a half. The resurgence of a contagious and potentially deadly disease has reignited the nationwide debate over mandatory childhood vaccinations.
Worldwide, there are still hundreds of thousands of measles-related deaths each year. A decade before children began receiving the measles vaccine (given as the MMR—measles, mumps, rubella—vaccine series since 1971) in the United States; 3-4 million Americans would become infected annually. About 30 percent would experience potentially life-threatening complications. The vaccine program led to a 99 percent reduction in infections, and the disease was declared virtually eradicated in 2000.
Most authorities have blamed the outbreak on the growing number of parents who opt out of childhood vaccinations, often due to fear of complications or the preservatives used in their preparation. (Ironically, many vaccine opponents blame the outbreak on the vaccines themselves.) Opponents of uncontrolled immigration have pointed to the high rates contagious diseases among individuals crossing the southern border illegally. A press release from the CDC from May 2014 confirmed that last year's cases most likely came from abroad, explaining, "Nearly all of the measles cases this year have been associated with international travel by unvaccinated people." more >>
A Christian couple who fled their Washington home with three small children in tow to evade Child Protective Services were eventually tracked down by police in California last week, but not before they had managed to elude authorities for more than a week after receiving donations from various anti-CPS supporters throughout their 1,000-mile journey, a source close to the family has said.
Erica Carey, 29, and her common-law husband, Celve Rengo, 23, took their three kids and fled from their home before CPS could take the children into state custody, a source close to the family told a local NBC affiliate, adding that the couple received donations from various supporters to help them stay out of the grasp of the government.
Although Carey and Rengo hit the road just in time to avoid CPS when they arrived at their Bellingham home to take custody of the children on Jan. 28, the family was finally tracked down at a gas station in California's Santa Cruz County last Thursday where the three children were taken into protective custody. more >>
A New Zealand father whose Armenian wife reportedly left him because he refused to abandon their newborn diagnosed with Down syndrome, has received nearly $500,000 in support from around the world to help him care for the boy. His former wife, however, is disputing his story.
The father, Samuel Forrest, told ABC News that when little Leo was diagnosed with Down syndrome shortly after his birth in Armenia on Jan. 21 his wife, Ruzan Badalyan, gave him an ultimatum.
"This pediatrician walks out of the room with a little bundle — that was Leo," said Forrest. "She had his face covered up and hospital authorities wouldn't let me see him or my wife. When the doctor came out, he said 'there's a real problem with your son.'" more >>
An Alabama-based Catholic television station brought its lawsuit before an appeals court in the hopes of getting an exemption from the Barack Obama Administration's birth control mandate for employers.
Oral arguments were heard Wednesday by the Eleventh Circuit Court regarding Eternal Word Television Network of Irondale's lawsuit against the Health and Human Services Department.
EWTN is being represented by the Washington, D.C.-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a law firm that has overseen dozens of suits against HHS over its contraception mandate. more >>
British members of parliament have voted in favor of a bill that paves the way for the creation of "three-parent" babies with the DNA from two women and one man, aimed at tackling genetic diseases. The approval comes despite concerns from the Church of England.
BBC News reported that 382 MPs in the House of Commons voted in favor of the bill, and 128 were against. While a vote at the House of Lords is also needed to take place before the bill becomes law, proponents said they expect it to pass, with the first babies from this process being born in 2016.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the idea is to allow parents with genetic diseases to give birth to healthy infants. more >>
A so-called "emergency contraceptive" that has been central to recent court battles due to its mandated coverage by the Obama administration works most often by causing an abortion, according to a review of medical data published this month in the journal The Linacre Quarterly.
After studying the most recent scientific and medical evidence on levonorgestrel emergency contraception, which goes by the brand name Plan B, the researchers concluded that the women who take it do not get pregnant because it "quite often" causes an abortion if taken before ovulation.
Plan B was first approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration in 1999. After passage of the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," the Health and Human Services Administration required most employers to cover Plan B and other FDA-approved emergency contraceptives in their employee's health insurance plans. more >>