National News Briefs

High court will hear nonprofit Obamacare cases

 (WNS)–On Nov. 6 the U.S. Supreme Court surprised nonprofits challenging the contraceptive and abortifacient mandate by granting all seven of their petitions a hearing. The court will consolidate the seven cases into one argument, considering whether the mandate is an intolerable burden on nonprofits as it was for the for-profit companies in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. This is a remarkable turn of events, after nonprofits had a losing streak at the circuit level and fretted about getting their cases before the high court. Churches are fully exempt from the mandate, but the federal government has a special regulation for nonprofits who object to the mandate on religious grounds. The regulation attempts to provide the objectionable drugs through indirect funding mechanisms: The nonprofit signs a form for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), stating its objection and naming its insurance provider. Then HHS arranges coverage of the objectionable drugs for the nonprofits’ employees through the insurer or a third party.


Evangelicals show more openness in death penalty debate

(WNS)–Evangelicals and political conservatives are increasingly shifting to more neutral positions on the death penalty. In early Oct., the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) revised its 1973 statement that favored the death penalty as a punishment for heinous murders.

The NAE noted many evangelical leaders “have made a biblical and theological case either against the death penalty or against its continued use in a society where biblical standards of justice are difficult to reach.” Rather than turning about-face and opposing the death penalty, the NAE statement said the group affirms “both streams of Christian ethical thought.” In other words, there’s room for debate. The NAE serves as a resource and advocacy group for more than 45,000 churches in the United States. Its policy shift on the death penalty comes at a time when all aspects of capital punishment in the United States are under scrutiny.


Abortionists admit emotional toll of grisly work

(WNS)–In a recently released Center for Medical Progress (CMP) video, a Michigan Planned Parenthood executive encourages her colleagues to stop “denying the reality” of pro-life images of aborted babies and start acknowledging abortion does involve violence and the killing of persons. In the video, leading abortion providers and educators confide to each other that their ability to remain on the job depends on finding ways to deal with their workplace horrors. The surprising confessions came during an April 7, 2013, Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan (PPMSM) workshop and an April 7, 2014, National Abortion Federation (NAF) conference in San Francisco. CMP undercover investigators documented the two events in more than two hours of clandestine recordings.


Should parents of disabled children be allowed to stunt their growth?

(WNS)–Many parents have lamented their children growing up, with a joking wish they would stay “little” forever. But when Mark and Jenn Hooper asked pediatric endocrinologist Paul Hofman to stunt their disabled 6-year-old daughter’s growth, they were quite serious. The Hoopers’ case is getting attention now as parents in the United States and elsewhere are looking to growth attenuation therapy as a way to make it easier to care for their disabled children. Charley Hooper, now 10, will remain just 4-foot-3-inches tall for the rest of her life. While disability advocates say stunting Charley’s growth is a violation of her human rights, her parents insist the treatment improved her quality of life.


States improve efforts to punish sex traffickers, rescue victims

(WNS)–When the advocacy group Shared Hope released its first report card on efforts to combat sex trafficking of America’s children, 26 states received a failing grade. This year’s report card, released Wednesday, proved a surprise to Shared Hope founder, Linda Smith. “I was excited there were no Fs,” Smith said. “In 2011, we had 26 states with failing grades—so many places in the United States that could be scary places for our children.” In addition to no Fs, more than half the states earned either an A or a B. The Protected Innocence Challenge assigns A through F letter grades to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It evaluates states on critical elements in the fight against sex trafficking of minors, including special criminal provisions for the men who buy children and legal and restorative services for their victims.





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