National Shorts

National Shorts - NewsBriefsMissouri Lawmakers Override Veto to Enact Abortion Wait Period

(WNS) -The Missouri state legislature enacted a 72-hour wait period for abortions in early September, overriding Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto from earlier this year.  The Democratic governor had previously vetoed the legislation because it didn’t include exceptions for rape and incest. Missouri passed a 24-hour wait period in 2003 that also didn’t include rape and incest exceptions. The governor labeled the new bill “extreme and disrespectful” toward women.  The law places Missouri in second place for most stringent wait-period laws. North Dakota’s 72-hour wait period, the strictest in the country, doesn’t include weekends or holidays. Utah follows Missouri; its 72-hour wait period allows exceptions for rape, incest, and other extreme circumstances. Missouri’s bill passed with bipartisan support, despite an attempted filibuster by Democratic senators. The vote was 117-44 in the House and 23-7 in the Senate.


Air Force Won’t Let Atheist Airman Skip God in Enlistment Oath

(WNS) -The Air Force has given an atheist airman until November to take his enlistment oath, which includes the phrase “so help me God.” If he refuses, he will not be allowed to rejoin his unit. Atheist groups have taken up the unnamed airman’s cause, but he may find himself caught in a battle over the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. The American Humanist Association (AHA) has written to inspectors general for the Air Force and Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, arguing the airman’s constitutional rights have been violated. The airman’s terms of service expire in November, and AHA claims his commanding officers rejected his written re-enlistment oath on Aug. 25 because he crossed out the words “so help me God.”


Women’s College Redefines “Women”

(WNS) -An all-women’s college in South Hadley, Mass., has expanded its definition of “women” with a new admissions policy this week. Mount Holyoke College President Lynn Pasquerella announced in her convocation speech that the school would accept openly transgender students, including students who were born male but identify themselves as women.  The policy change comes after Mills College in Oakland, Calif., announced this summer it would accept “self-identified women” into its all-women’s school—the first single-sex college in the United States to publicly establish such a policy.


Traditional Marriage Laws Fall in Two More States

(WNS) -A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously struck down traditional marriage provisions in Wisconsin and Indiana. A constitutional amendment approved in 2006 by voters limited marriage in Wisconsin to heterosexual couples, while state law did the same in Indiana. Neither state recognized same-sex marriages performed in other states.  During oral arguments in August, Ronald Reagan appointee Judge Richard Posner said bans on same-sex marriage amounted to “hate” and “savage discrimination.” Posner continued his extreme language in the court’s opinion on the case, stating, “homosexuals are among the most stigmatized, misunderstood, and discriminated-against minorities in the history of the world.”  The 7th Circuit is the third federal appeals court to reverse state laws on marriage.



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