Pro-lifers look forward to 2017
(WNS)–Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, didn’t think things could get worse in 2016. First came the landmark 5-3 decision in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, where the U.S. Supreme Court struck down safety measures adopted by Texas state lawmakers to regulate abortion centers. Then the next day, the high court rejected an appeal from a Washington state pharmacist who did not want to betray his conscience and provide abortifacient drugs. Back-to-back court defeats combined with extreme pro-abortion candidate Hillary Clinton leading in most presidential polls at the time had pro-lifers reeling. But six months later, as staff members and volunteers finalize plans for the world’s largest annual peaceful protest for the unborn, there’s a renewed sense of optimism in the pro-life movement. The 44th annual March for Life will take place in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 27—one week after Trump’s inauguration.
Will the GOP unite to defund Planned Parenthood?
(WNS)–GOP leadership plans to ax Planned Parenthood funding with an Obamacare repeal package, but the measure may lack support to cross the finish line. With Republicans set to control both chambers of Congress and the White House, lawmakers have been gearing up for the first big fight of 2017 over healthcare. Conservatives hope gutting Obamacare will facilitate a laundry list of goals this year, including defunding the nation’s largest abortion provider. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., confirmed Jan. 5 that defunding Planned Parenthood and redirecting money to community health centers would be part of the GOP’s proposal to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Catholic hospital fights transgender discrimination claim
(WNS)–A Catholic hospital in New Jersey faces a lawsuit for allegedly refusing to remove the uterus of a woman who wants to be anatomically more like a man. Jionni Conforti, 33, filed suit against St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center of Paterson, N.J. on Jan. 5 in federal court. Conforti, who is biologically female but identifies as male, brought suit under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) because St. Joseph’s refused to remove Conforti’s uterus on the grounds that doing so would violate the Catholic teaching that God made people male and female. Conforti had the procedure done at another hospital but is suing to prevent St. Joseph’s from refusing gender transition-related treatments to other transgender persons.
World Watch List: At least 1,207 Christians martyred in 2016
(WNS)–Persecution against Christians worsened again in 2016, with an estimated 215,000 experiencing “high, very high, or extreme persecution” in 50 nations around the world, according to the 2017 World Watch List. Open Doors, an international organization that monitors and supports persecuted Christians, compiled the list and released it on Jan. 11 in Washington, D.C., calling it a “wake up call for Christians” to advocate on behalf of their persecuted brothers and sisters and “a call to world leaders to take action.” Although reliable figures were not available for all nations, Open Doors estimated at least 1,207 Christians were killed because of their faith, and roughly 1,329 churches were attacked or damaged in 2016.
University settles with Christian counseling student
(WNS)–Missouri State University (MSU) says it will pay $25,000 to a former student who was expelled for his views on homosexuality. The agreement settles a lawsuit filed last April by Andrew Cash, a former MSU graduate student who alleges the university kicked him out of the master’s in counseling program because he expressed a religious objection to counseling same-sex couples. The settlement was finalized in December but became public recently when the Springfield News-Leader reported on the agreement after an open records request. The MSU Board of Governors will pay Cash $25,000 from the state of Missouri legal defense fund, an amount they said is “the estimated tuition cost for Cash to obtain a master’s degree in counseling from Evangel University or another similar institution.” The terms of the settlement state Cash cannot seek admission or employment with MSU and the university does not admit liability.
Dylann Roof sentenced to death
(WNS)–A South Carolina jury took just three hours on Jan. 10 to decide convicted murderer Dylann Roof deserved the death penalty. Roof killed nine members of a historically black church in Charleston on June 17, 2015. The same jury convicted Roof in December of all 33 federal charges against him. He is the first person sentenced to death under federal hate crime laws. During closing arguments, Roof told jurors he still felt he “had to” commit the murders. At the time of the attack on the mid-week Bible study at Emanuel AME Church, Roof told his victims he hated African-Americans. He told FBI agents after his arrest he hoped the shooting would lead to a return of segregation or the start of a race war.