National Shorts - NewsBriefs

Ten more states challenge transgender directive

(WNS)–Ten more states signed on to sue the Obama administration over its transgender directive that forces schools to allow students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity, not their biological sex. But with the new action, a total of 23 states disagree with Obama’s interpretation and claim the school directive violates the Constitution. “It’s putting school districts in a terrible position,” said Doug Peterson, Nebraska’s attorney general, who took the lead on the new round of lawsuits. “It’s trying to push a certain agenda through our school systems, and we need to simply stand up and say this does not make sense.” Nebraska, along with nine other states, filed an injunction in federal court in Nebraska on July 8 against the joint mandate from the Department of Education and the Department of Justice. The complaint says the new instruction came without an observance of procedure required by law and disregards efforts from school districts to develop individualized plans that best serve their students.

Comey insists Clinton email probe not swayed by politics

(WNS)–For more than four and a half hours July 7, lawmakers pressed FBI Director James Comey on his perplexing recommendation not to prosecute Hillary Clinton despite her mishandling of classified information as secretary of state. Unwavering in his judgment, Comey called Clinton’s actions careless and sloppy but short of criminal and claimed the FBI could not prove bad intent. “There are two things that matter in a criminal investigation of the subject: What did the person do? And when they did that thing, what were they thinking?” Comey told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “When I look at the facts here, I see evidence of great carelessness, but I do not see evidence that is sufficient to establish Secretary Clinton or those with whom she was corresponding, both talked about classified information on email and knew when they did it they were doing something that was against the law.”

Christian dating site agrees to play gay matchmaker

(WNS)–ChristianMingle, a dating website targeting Christian singles, has agreed to open its matchmaking service to clients seeking same-sex relationships. The agreement came as part of a settlement in a lawsuit filed by two gay men who claimed the company’s focus on heterosexual relationships discriminated against them. Conservatives denounced the decision as a strike against religious liberty and an unnecessary interference in private business. “Early on in their quest to legalize homosexual marriage, advocates assured us that it would not infringe on the rights of others, especially people of faith,” Carrie Gordon Earll, vice president of public policy at Focus on the Family, said. “From dating sites and adoption agencies to small businesses, it’s clear today that people of faith are being forced to compromise or risk financial ruin.”

Whistleblower: State Dept. shut down pivotal terror probe

(WNS)–A former official with the Department of Homeland Security claimed in a Senate hearing on June 28 that the San Bernardino and Orlando shootings could have been prevented if he had been allowed to continue his investigation. The State Department halted his investigations due to concerns about anti-Muslim rhetoric. Philip Haney’s work linked a mosque where the San Bernardino shooters worshipped to a terrorist network that also included Orlando attacker Omar Mateen’s mosque. In 2012, Hillary Clinton’s State Department halted his investigation, saying it infringed upon the rights of Muslims. Federal officials ordered Haney to edit or remove over 800 documents that linked individuals or organizations to the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist network.

Depression and same-sex parenting

(WNS)–Children who grow up in same-sex parented households may face a significantly higher risk of depression later in life. That’s the conclusion of a study published a few weeks ago, without fanfare, in the open-access journal Depression Research and Treatment. The study found that young adults who had grown up with same-sex parents were more than twice as likely to be depressed as those raised by a mother and a father. The findings add to a growing body of research examining the effects of homosexual family structures. Gay parenting is a relatively recent phenomenon, and the available data on such families has been sparse. The new study, “Invisible Victims: Delayed Onset Depression among Adults with Same-Sex Parents,” claims to be the first to “examine children raised by same-sex parents into early adulthood.” It uses survey data that followed adolescents over a period of 13 years.

House panel: Fetal tissue buyers are trying to evade scrutiny

(WNS)–Midway through a year-long investigation into the fetal tissue industry, the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives said abortion providers and fetal procurement companies are still stonewalling. “Instead of helping us shine light, they’re trying to pull the curtain and hide what’s actually happening,” said Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., a panel member. “The industry, I would argue, has been less than cooperative, and I think we have to ask ourselves, why?”

On July 14, the congressional panel released an 88-page report summarizing what it has found thus far but said much remains unknown. The panel has issued dozens of requests to access financial records of fetal procurement companies, but many have not complied. Panel Chairwoman Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said the investigation has the full support of House leaders and will work to overturn as many stones as possible before submitting its final report to Congress on Dec. 31. According to the report, 34 different entities have not fully complied with the panel’s requests for documents, including fetal tissue retailers StemExpress and Advanced Bioscience Resources, several Planned Parenthood affiliates, and university research centers.

House approves protections for pro-lifers

(WNS)–The U.S. House of Representatives advanced legislation July 13 promoting freedom of conscience, protecting pro-life employers and healthcare workers from being complicit in the practice of abortion. “If we don’t have the right to abide by our own consciences—particularly on a matter as deeply affecting as abortion—we don’t have much left, do we?” asked Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., the primary sponsor of the bill. The Conscience Protection Act prohibits government discrimination against healthcare providers and sponsors for refusing to perform or provide coverage for abortions. And it gives healthcare workers a legal recourse if penalized for refusing to perform a procedure they deem morally wrong. After passing 244 to 182 in the House, the bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. 

California hospitals reject assisted suicide prescription

(WNS)–Some California hospitals are opting out of the state’s new assisted suicide law, which allows qualifying adults diagnosed with a terminal illness to request a lethal drug from their doctor. The End of Life Option Act, signed in October and effective since June 9, made California the fourth state—along with Oregon (1997), Vermont (2013), and Washington (2008)—to legalize some form of assisted suicide. Euthanasia advocates applauded the bill, while critics warned it might encourage physicians and family members to pressure patients to end their own lives. Hospitals are caught in the middle, but those with moral qualms about assisted suicide, or that don’t have the resources to cater to it, are opting out of the lethal network.

Irony in Dallas: Complaints against police at 20-year low

(WNS)–In the hours before at least one sniper shot and killed five Dallas police officers during a stunning ambush the night of July 7, demonstrators marched peacefully and mingled cordially with officers patrolling the downtown streets. It was one of several demonstrations in cities across the country, where hundreds gathered to protest the recent shooting deaths of two black men by white police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota. Earlier in the evening, the Dallas Police Department tweeted a photo of a demonstrator smiling with police in a crowded park. The protester carried a sign reading: “No Justice, No Peace,” but he looked at ease with the officers on duty. It was one of the tragic ironies of the horror that followed: Shootings by police officers in Dallas have dropped by 40 percent in the last year. And complaints of excessive force dropped to a nearly 20-year low. (In 2009, the department recorded 147 complaints. Near the end of last year, it reported 13.)

DOE refuses to talk about transgender school restroom rules

(WNS)–The Obama administration is refusing to cooperate with lawmakers who want Department of Education (DOE) officials to answer questions about its recent transgender restroom directive. DOE representatives were set to testify before a Senate subcommittee on July 6 to explain the controversial “guidance” issued last month to all public schools. A joint letter from DOE and the Department of Justice directed schools to allow students to use the restroom of their choice—regardless of their biological sex—or risk losing federal funding. This week DOE officials told Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, they will not be able to make the hearing and offered no explanation or alternative dates.


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