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Posted on 05/21/2019 07:00 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Phoenix, Ariz., May 21, 2019 / 12:00 am (CNA).- With a record-high number of seminarians, the Diocese of Phoenix has dedicated more funds to support the formation of the Arizona diocese’s future priests.
There are 40 men studying to become priests in the Diocese of Phoenix, according to the Catholic Sun. That is the highest number of seminarians in diocesan history, and double the number of seminarians the diocese had eight years ago.
The formation costs of seminarians are often met through private donations. However, the diocese has allocated an additional $4 million from an ongoing fundraising campaign to support the education and living expenses of future priests.
The Catholic Sun reported that it costs $40,000 to support each seminarian per year. This covers expenses including, tuition, board, and health insurance. Each seminarian undergoes at least five years of official formation.
The money will be taken from the “Together Let Us Go Forth ~ Juntos Sigamos Adelante,” a campaign that began in 2017, and aims to raise $100 million in support of the area’s growing Catholic community. The money will help fund ministries, charities, schools, and churches.
Cande de Leon, director of the Office of Mission Advancement, told the Catholic Sun that a recent diocesan poll found that priestly development is a high priority for parishioners and Church leaders. The vocations aspect of the campaign, he said, will allow the laity to be directly involved with priestly formation by their donations.
“It is important to the Catholics in the Diocese of Phoenix,” de Leon said. “It gives every Catholic an opportunity to help play a part in the formation of our priests by making a sacrificial gift. The seminarians are making great sacrifices for us — the ‘Together’ campaign is an opportunity to make a sacrifice to our seminarians before they are priests.”
Anthony Dang, a Phoenix seminarians, told the Catholic Sun that support from his family and the diocese has given him the opportunity to engage in his studies without stress about how to pay for them.
“I am appreciative of what the diocese has done to cover the high cost of seminary formation,” Dang said.
“I am very grateful for that …. I look forward to being with the people and meeting them where they are at and supporting them in their lives, in whatever situation they happen to be in - to be an instrument of God to bring the light of Christ to others.”
Posted on 05/20/2019 22:13 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., May 20, 2019 / 03:13 pm (CNA).- President Donald Trump over the weekend admonished pro-life advocates seeking to make abortion illegal in all cases. He called for pro-life Americans to be united around legislation that includes exemptions for cases of rape, incest, and when doctors deem the mother’s life to be at risk.
“I am strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions - Rape, Incest and protecting the Life of the mother - the same position taken by Ronald Reagan,” the president said on Twitter May 18.
“We must stick together and Win for Life in 2020. If we are foolish and do not stay UNITED as one, all of our hard fought gains for Life can, and will, rapidly disappear!”
Trump’s tweets come after Alabama recently passed a law to make abortion a felony. The law does not have exceptions for rape or incest. Similar legislation passed in Missouri last week, and the governor is expected to sign it into law soon.
Pro-life leaders responded to the president on Twitter. Former Planned Parenthood employee Abby Johnson, who now runs a ministry helping abortion workers leave the industry, argued that the president’s comments had “divided the [pro-life] movement.”
She posted a picture of her adopted son on Twitter, saying, “My son was conceived in rape. I would love for you to meet him, @realDonaldTrump, and tell me how his life isn’t as valuable as my children conceived in love. He deserved to live and I’m so thankful that he does.”
Lila Rose, president of the investigative group Live Action, also responded to Trump’s tweet, saying, “Thank you for the great work your administration has done on behalf of life. If we are pro-life, we must be 100% pro-life. A child of rape or incest is not a 2nd-class citizen. No woman or girl is served by abortion or immune to its trauma, including survivors of rape and incest.”
The tweets reveal a divide within the pro-life movement. While overturning Roe v. Wade – the 1973 Supreme Court decision that mandated legal abortion nationwide – is one of the key goals of the movement, there are differing views on how best to achieve that goal.
Some pro-life advocates have emphasized the need to ban abortion in all cases. Others insist that a complete abortion ban without exceptions is much more likely to be struck down by the courts, while a more moderate law is more likely to be upheld, and would eliminate the vast majority of abortions in the United States.
Dozens of pro-life bills have been introduced in states across the country this year. Pro-life advocates are hopeful that one of them may make its way up the Supreme Court, where the current justices are considered more favorable to the pro-life cause than in previous decades.
A few cases have reached federal appeals courts - including a Texas ban on dismemberment abortions and a Louisiana law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
A Marist poll released in February recorded a sharp drop in the proportion of Democrats identifying as pro-choice, from 75% to 61% since the beginning of the year. The same poll found a 19-point jump in pro-life identification among people under 45 years old. Forty-seven percent of people under the age of 45 now say they are pro-life, compared to 48% who say they are pro-choice.
An April poll by Rasmussen showed that when voters are told that a fetal heartbeat can be detected after six weeks of pregnancy, 56% support banning abortion at that point.
Posted on 05/20/2019 21:35 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Pittsburgh, Pa., May 20, 2019 / 02:35 pm (CNA).- The Diocese of Pittsburgh has announced the first results of a sweeping reorganization of its parishes, creating five new parishes and designating five former parish churches as shrines.
These changes are the first results of the “On Mission for The Church Alive” initiative, charged with reordering the parochial landscape of the diocese to accommodate fewer priests and shifting parish attendance. The plan, first announced in 2018, will eventually see the 188 parishes of the diocese consolidated into 58 new groupings.
The announced changes will go into effect on July 1, 2019.
In a letter to the clergy and parishioners of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Bishop David A. Zubik credited the soon-to-be-merged parishes for working “extremely hard” since October of last year to create strong relationships between the communities.
“These five parish groupings have worked extremely hard since last October to foster relationships and, after consultation in the groupings, were prepared to share with me their desire and readiness to form a new parish community,” the bishop wrote in the May 18 letter.
The parish grouping plan was approved unanimously by the diocesan college of consultors and does not include plans for the closure of any church buildings.
Zubik expressed his gratitude to everyone involved in the creation of these new parishes, as their work went “beyond the practical matters related to merging parishes, and highlights the work being done to encourage their respective parishioners to deepen their relationship with Jesus and with each other.”
This, said Zubik, “is the most important reason for On Mission.”
The five churches of Greene County will be combined into the single new parish of Saint Matthias Parish, and served by a pastoral team of two priests and two deacons. The new parish of Christ Our Savior will be made up of the four former parishes of Pittsburgh’s North Side, and will be led by four priests and a deacon.
Seven parish churches located in the New Castle area will collectively become the parish of the Holy Spirit Parish, and will have four priests and two deacons. The parishes of Saint Anne, in Castle Shannon and Saint Winifred, in Mount Lebanon, will merge under the new name of Saint Paul of the Cross. The clergy team for this parish is two priests and two deacons.
The newly created Saint Teresa of Kolkata Parish will consist of five parishes from Beechview and Brookline, and will be served by three priests and two deacons.
In addition to the groupings, five downtown parish buildings of historic and spiritual value will be designated as shrines, and served by a clergy team for the “Shrines of Pittsburgh Grouping.” The clergy team will consist of two full-time priests, one priest assisting on a part-time basis, and a deacon.
One parish building, the Corpus Christi Church building of Saint Charles Lwanga Parish in Pittsburgh’s East End, will close as part of this reorganization.
Posted on 05/20/2019 20:30 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., May 20, 2019 / 01:30 pm (CNA).- Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg called abortion a “national freedom” on Sunday, and defended the practice of late term abortion.
The mayor of South Bend, In., made the comments during a “town hall” broadcast for Fox on May 19. In defending unrestricted abortion, Buttigieg appeared to put himself at odds with the majority of voters both in his own party and nationwide.
Asked if he believed there should be any limit on access to abortion, at any time during pregnancy, Buttigieg responded “I trust women to draw the line.”
Mayor Pete, as his campaign prefers him to be styled, was asked specifically about recent legislation at the state level to either expand or restrict abortion access.
In a tweet sent in response to the passage of a law to outlaw abortion in Alabama, Buttigieg said legislators were “ignoring science” in efforts to protect unborn life. Responding to the example of the New York Reproductive Health Act passed earlier this year, which effectively removed all limitations on abortion, Buttigieg said there is no place for the government in discussing limits on abortion.
Characterizing the decision to terminate a pregnancy during the final weeks before term as “an impossible, unthinkable choice,” he repeated that he believed there was no place for the law to intervene.
“That decision is not going to be made any better, medically or morally, because the government is dictating how that decision should be made.”
While Buttgieg’s comments drew applause from the crowd, consistent poll results show a trend in public opinion away from supporting abortion and especially against late-term abortions.
The New York law was passed in January of this year, making abortion a legal right up to the point of birth. Subsequent polling has shown that the vast majority of New Yorkers were opposed to late-term abortion.
A Marist poll published in March found that that 75% of New York residents are opposed to abortion after the 20th week of a pregnancy. Only 20% of those surveyed said they approved of late-term abortion.
Those opposed to abortion after 20 weeks included nearly 70 percent of surveyed Democrats, 73% of political independents and 89% of Republicans.
An earlier poll, released in February, recorded a sharp drop in the proportion of Democrats identifying as pro-choice, from 75% to 61% since the beginning of the year. The same poll found a 19-point jump in pro-life identification among people under 45 years old. Forty-seven percent of people under the age of 45 now say they are pro-life, compared to 48% who say they are pro-choice.
As legislators in New York and Vermont have moved to entrench access to abortion, other states have enacted measures to protect children in the womb. Four states – Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio – have so far this year passed laws to ban abortions after the unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected, often around 6 weeks of pregnancy. All four laws are already facing legal challenges.
An April poll by Rasmussen showed that while only 45% of voters supported banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, that number rose to 56% once they were told a fetal heartbeat can be detected at that point.
Other states have sought to outlaw particular abortion methods, or pass trigger laws which would ban abortion in the event the Supreme Court were to overturn its ruling in Roe v. Wade.
Posted on 05/20/2019 17:16 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Sacramento, Calif., May 20, 2019 / 10:16 am (CNA).- California’s state senate will vote on a bill that would require priests to violate the seal of confession in certain limited circumstances. An amended text of the bill passed the Senate appropriations’ committee May 16.
The bill, as amended, would require priests to report to law enforcement knowledge or suspicion of child abuse gained from hearing the sacramental confessions of other priests or co-workers.
The bill originally would have required California priests to violate the seal of confession anytime they gained knowledge or suspicion of child abuse from hearing the confession of any penitent.
In a May 20 statement, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles said the bill remains “an unacceptable violation of our religious freedoms that will do nothing to protect children.”
As amended, he said, “SB 360 still denies the sanctity of confession to every priest in the state and to thousands of Catholics who work with priests in parishes and other Church agencies and ministries.”
According to Angelus News, more than 1,300 people contacted California state senators before the May 16 hearing on the bill, encouraging senators not to require priests violate the confessional seal. Gomez expressed gratitude for those calls.
Clergy in California are already required to report knowledge or suspicion of child abuse in most circumstances, though penitential conversations like sacramental confession are exempted, as are other kinds of privileged conversations, including those covered by attorney-client privilege.
The bill’s sponsor, California state Senator Jerry Hill (D-Calif. 13), has claimed that “the clergy-penitent privilege has been abused on a large scale, resulting in the unreported and systemic abuse of thousands of children across multiple denominations and faiths.”
The senator has claimed that such abuse has been revealed through “recent investigations by 14 attorneys general, the federal government, and other countries.”
In response to questions from CNA about those investigations, Hill’s office provided two resources to CNA. One was a news article from PBS, reporting that several states have undertaken investigations into clerical sexual abuse, but not explicitly mentioning abuse of the sacrament or seal of confession.
The other was a 2017 report from Australia’s Royal Commission, appointed to investigate child sexual abuse in that country.
The Royal Commission report suggests that there should be no exemption from abuse reporting for religious confession. While the commission's executive summary states that "the practice of the sacrament of reconciliation (confession) contributed... to inadequate institutional responses to abuse," it does not provide data detailing the frequency of that contribution.
Hill’s office did not respond to follow-up questions about that report, or about whether the senator considers attorney-client privilege, which is not challenged by the bill, to represent a potential problem of equal proportions.
Gomez, for his part, called Catholics and lawmakers to try other approaches to fighting the child abuse in California.
“Even as amended, SB 360 remains an unacceptable violation of our religious freedoms that will do nothing to protect children. As a Catholic community, let us continue to work with lawmakers for a bill that truly advances our shared goals of fighting the scourge of child sexual abuse in our society,” he wrote.
The bill could be subject to a Senate vote as early as May 21.
Posted on 05/19/2019 10:09 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., May 19, 2019 / 03:09 am (CNA).- Leaders of the U.S. bishops’ conference voiced concern over President Donald Trump’s new immigration plan, stressing that families should be strengthened and promoted in the immigration system.
“We oppose proposals that seek to curtail family-based immigration and create a largely ‘merit-based’ immigration system,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, who heads the conference’s migration committee.
“Families are the foundation of our faith, our society, our history, and our immigration system,” they said. “As Pope Francis notes: ‘Family is the place in which we are formed as persons’.”
DiNardo and Vásquez responded May 17 to the immigration plan announced by Trump the previous day. They said that although they appreciate the effort to address concerns in the current immigration system, the new plan falls short in several areas.
Trump said his plan prioritizes American values and workers, while attracting “the best and brightest from all around the world.”
The proposal would not seek to cut back on total annual legal immigration numbers, but would significantly reduce the current family-based portion of the immigration system, instead focusing on applicants with high education and skill levels.
The current system awards a majority of immigration visas based on family connections in the U.S. About 12% are approved based on skill level – a number that would be increased to more than 50% under Trump’s proposal.
According to the New York Times, officials said this would result in nearly 75% of immigrants to the United States holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, and would increase the average immigrant salary from $43,000 to $96,000.
Nuclear families would be prioritized under the proposal, while it would be harder for extended family members to immigrate based on family connections.
The plan also involves the completion of a border wall and new technology to monitor the southern border. It would “a permanent and self-sustaining border security trust fund,” financed by border crossing fees, Trump said.
Critics of the proposal argue that it fails to address the root causes of the migration crisis at the southern border and inhumanely turns away those in need. Democrats in Congress have indicated that they will oppose the plan.
The plan does not provide legal status for Dreamers, those brought to the United States illegally as children. Nor does it provide a clear path forward for Temporary Protected Status holders.
In their statement, DiNardo and Vásquez called these omissions deeply troubling.
They also said that “securing our borders and ensuring our safety is of the utmost importance, but this will not be achieved by heightening human misery and restricting access to lawful protection in an attempt to deter vulnerable asylum-seeking families and children.”
“Instead, we must confront the root causes of migration and look to humane and pragmatic solutions, such as improving our immigration courts, expanding alternatives to detention, and eradicating criminal networks,” they said. “We urge lawmakers to put aside differences and engage in meaningful action on humane and just comprehensive immigration reform.”
Posted on 05/17/2019 22:35 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Denver, Colo., May 17, 2019 / 03:35 pm (CNA).- On a warm Friday morning in May at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Littleton, Colorado, about 40 Knights of Columbus dressed in full regalia flanked the entrance of the church as friends and family of Kendrick Castillo filed in to commend him to God at his funeral.
Each attendee was handed a small card - on one side, Kendrick smiling, dressed in a Christmas sweater and sitting on a Jeep. On the other side, a simple tribute including his birth and death dates, funeral location, and the bible verse John 15:13 that seems to capture the way his life ended: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Kendrick was the lone casualty in the STEM high school shooting on May 7 in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. He died, witnesses say, after he jumped up in the line of fire and ran to stop one of the shooters with a couple other students.
His funeral was attended by relatives and friends that filled the large Catholic church, and included an honor guard of 80 Knights of Columbus, about half of whom dressed in the old feather-capped regalia, and half in the new uniform with a beret.
The Knights lined the aisles and drew their swords in tribute to Kendrick during the processional and recessional, honoring a young man who spent hundreds of hours volunteering for the Knights of Columbus with his dad. A group of Kendrick’s close friends from high school served as pallbearers.
Bishop Jorge Rodríguez, auxiliary bishop of Denver, and five other priests and deacons presided at the Mass.
In his homily, Rodriguez talked about how Kendrick imitated Christ and “pleased God” throughout his life as a selfless, loving person.
Kendrick was “a holy young man,” Rodriguez said. “A young man who was a good disciple of Jesus Christ. We call ‘saints’ those able to love to the end. Kendrick gave everything he is, and everything he had -family, a future, a degree, his life- so other young men and women could go back to their families, have a future, graduate and live.”
“Kendrick’s life is like the echo of Jesus’ words: ‘Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends,’” he added, again referencing John 15:13.
The bishop referenced Scripture throughout his homily, noting how Kendrick was pleasing to and loved by God.
“Only a young man with God in his heart and possessing a big good heart can do what he did: to lay down his life to save his friends. I’m sure John and Maria, that you feel proud of your son: God too is very proud of his child, Kendrick,” Rodriguez said.
“The Book of Wisdom repeats: ‘His soul was pleasing to the Lord.’ The soul is the center of our consciousness, freedom, the seat of love and will; that self that makes us God’s image and touches who we really are. God loves Kendrick’s soul because he is a good young man,” he added.
He noted that Kendrick was only a few days from his high school graduation when he was killed, and could have accomplished many more things on earth with his “big good heart,” but that he was now with God, where “all the evil of this world will not be able to touch him again.”
Instead, Kendrick experienced a much more profound kind of graduation, Rodriguez said.
“Kendrick graduated not for an academic degree, but he graduated in humanity and in Christian life,” he said.
At the end of life, everyone will be examined not on their academic knowledge or worldly success, the bishop noted, but on how well they loved.
“Kendrick passed this test with honors,” he said. “He accomplished in a short time a great career in honorableness, love and holiness. As Scripture says, the greatness of a man ‘cannot be measured in terms of years.’”
Even though Kendrick was a good person and is loved and cared for by the Lord, his death still causes “unbearable” pain, especially for his family, Rodriguez said.
The bishop encouraged John and Maria, the parents of Kendrick, to hold fast to the Gospel of John 6:40: “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him [on] the last day.”
That passage, Rodriguez said, contains two promises for Kendrick: that he is enjoying eternal life in heaven, and that he will be raised with Jesus on the last day.
“Dream with that moment, when you will see Kendrick right in front of you, radiant, smiling and coming to you for a big hug,” he said.
He then encouraged everyone in attendance to follow the example of Kendrick’s faith and love, and thanked John and Maria for their son.
“John and Maria, Kendrick, your son, is a gift for all of us. And we all must commit to keep his legacy and to praise God for the gift of Kendrick’s years among us.”
“God loves your child. Now, he is with him. And he left, keeping you in his heart.”
Posted on 05/17/2019 18:12 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., May 17, 2019 / 11:12 am (CNA).- The House of Representatives passed the controversial Equality Act on Friday, amid heated opposition from those who argue it would pose serious threats to critical constitutional freedoms.
“This bill undermines human dignity by threatening the fundamental freedoms of speech, religion, and conscience that the First Amendment guarantees for every citizen,” said Kristen Waggoner, senior vice president of the U.S. legal division for Alliance Defending Freedom. “Americans deserve better than the profound inequality that this intolerant, deceptively titled legislation offers.”
In a May 17 statement, Waggoner said the legislation would harm women.
“It undermines women’s equality by denying female athletes fair competition in sports, depriving women of business opportunities designed for them, and forcing them to share private, intimate spaces with men who identify as female,” she said.
Waggoner added that the legislation would force Americans to participate in events and message that go against their deepest convictions.
“Many activists want to con Americans into believing that disagreement on important matters such as marriage and human sexuality is a form of discrimination that requires the government to enforce one view over another, but that is obviously wrong,” she said.
The House approved the bill by a 236-173 vote. Eight Republicans voted in favor of the bill. Seven Democrats refrained from voting for or against.
The legislation would add anti-discrimination protections for sexual orientation and gender identity to existing protections for race, color, national origin, sex, disability and religion.
It would apply not just to employment, but other areas like housing, jury duty, credit, and education, as well as at retail stores, emergency shelters, banks, transit and pharmacies, among others. It would also specify facility access for self-identified transgender persons, such as access to male and female bathrooms.
Critics have argued that the bill’s concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity are too broad and would penalize the appropriate recognition of difference between the sexes or differences between married heterosexual couples and other couples.
Representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had opposed the measure in a March 20 letter. They said that while they support efforts to ensure that all people are treated with dignity and respect, the legislation would fail to advance those goals and would instead harm society.
“The Act’s definitions alone would remove women and girls from protected legal existence,” they said. “Furthermore, the Act also fails to recognize the difference between the person – who has dignity and is entitled to recognition of it – and the actions of a person, which have ethical and social ramifications. Conflating the two will introduce a plethora of further legal complications.”
The bishops also warned that the Equality Act would harm free speech, conscience, and exercise of religion. It would require that homeless shelters place biological men with vulnerable women and adoption agencies place children with same-sex couples, even if this violates their beliefs and the birth mother’s wishes. It could threaten professionals in the wedding industry who will serve all customers but cannot express messages to which they object. And it would require health professionals to provide “gender transition” treatments and surgeries in violation of their medical and ethical judgments, they said.
Furthermore, the Equality Act would exempt itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a move that the bishops noted is “unprecedented.”
The Equality Act now moves to the GOP-led Senate. Supporters of the bill will need to pick up more than a dozen Republican votes to advance the legislation. President Donald Trump has said that he opposed the measure, but has not indicated whether he would veto it if it came to his desk.
Posted on 05/17/2019 17:15 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Frankfort, Ky., May 17, 2019 / 10:15 am (CNA).- Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) is urging his fellow governors to “be bold” on the issue of life.
The first-term governor made the call during an interview Thursday on EWTN Pro-Life Weekly, as states across the country continue to debate abortion related legislation.
In recent weeks, Gov. Roy Cooper (D-N.C.), Gov. Tony Evers (D-Wisc.), and Gov. Steve Bullock (D-Mont.) all rejected their states’ versions of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. Shortly after, Bullock launched a bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. In contrast, Gov. Brian Kemp (R-Ga.) and Gov. Kay Ivey (R-Ala.) signed major pro-life legislation.
Speaking to Pro-Life Weekly host Catherine Hadro, Bevin said that arguments against Born-Alive laws are “weak,” and that such measures are far from redundant.
“It would seemingly be the same argument you might say for ‘why have airbags in a car if we already have a seatbelt,’” Bevin argued.
“Not to protect a human life, and to ask a doctor to take responsibility for protecting that human life, and to hold them accountable if they do not—especially given that they have taken an oath to do so, and in fact are licensed to do so—would be irresponsible.”
Urging his fellow governors to stand in defense of unborn life, Bevin said, “Don’t be politically opportunistic, don’t be beholden to outside interests that are going to help you politically, but be bold and do the right thing.”
Alabama's Governor signed the Human Life Protection Act into law.
Georgia's Governor signed the Heartbeat Bill into law.
We speak with another pro-life governor on @EWTNProLife, @GovMattBevin, who says - while there is pressure - being pro-life is the right thing to do. pic.twitter.com/0BCxEIm8Mc
— Catherine Hadro (@CatSzeltner) May 16, 2019
While discussing his work to pass pro-life legislation in Kentucky, Bevin called the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision a “travesty,” and said he believes the issue of abortion will ultimately be returned to the states.
“In the meantime, states like ours have passed very intentional laws related to things like informed consent and ultrasounds performed in advance,” Bevin said.
Bevin also pointed to a recent bill he signed into law prohibiting abortions based on the race, gender, or a disability diagnosis of an unborn child. He said that the “non-eugenics bill” might reach the Supreme Court and “may very well be involved in the ultimate decision making as it relates to Roe v Wade.”
“We passed a bill here in this past session in Kentucky that says you can’t kill a child based on its race, based on its gender, or based on some perceived disability. We used language very similar to what we find in the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal statutes that are already on on the books.”
After the anti-eugenics bill passed into law earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky promptly announced they would sue over the legislation, but the governor said he is undeterred.
We will see the state of Kentucky in court (again) after they attempt to ban abortion (again) #HB5 #stopthebans #kyga19 https://t.co/dJGMYRBCpc
— ACLU of Kentucky (@ACLUofKY) March 13, 2019
Kentucky will always fight for life...
Always!#WeAreProLife #WeAreKY https://t.co/mFfqhGhAWe
— Matt Bevin (@MattBevin) March 13, 2019
Critics of the discrimination abortion ban, Bevin said, “think that they’re defending folks when in fact they’re standing in the way of human life.”
“I’m grateful for the fact that ours is a strongly pro-life state, and that people are standing in the gap on the side of the vulnerable and those who cannot speak for themselves.”
The governor said he was bullish about the state’s prospects defending the law in court. “The gild is coming off the lily on the other side of this issue,” he said.
“We are standing firm and we will continue to do so regardless of the money, and the reasons, and just the evil, frankly, that is opposing us on the other side of the equation,” he said.
Bevin acknowledged that “there is pressure of course, politically” on governors who sign pro-life legislation, “but here’s the thing, to do the right thing is the right thing.”
“Sometimes of course, in politics and in other areas, it’s easier for some to do the easy wrong than to do the difficult right,” Bevin continued. “But I think we have a moral obligation, and for many it’s maybe a religious obligation, but I think for those for whom it’s not religious based, it’s moral to save a human life.”
Kate Scanlon is a producer of EWTN Pro-Life Weekly
Posted on 05/17/2019 07:32 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Cincinnati, Ohio, May 17, 2019 / 12:32 am (CNA).- An Ohio bill seeking to limit insurance coverage of non-lifesaving abortions erroneously states that a procedure exists in which a doctor can reimplant an ectopic pregnancy in a woman’s uterus. No such procedure yet exists that has been proven safe and effective, two pro-life OB-GYNs told CNA.
“It astounds me that people would be writing law like this who don’t know the basics,” Dr. Lorna Cvetkovich, an OB-GYN with the pro-life medical practice Tepeyac Center, told CNA.
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when an embryo implants somewhere other than the uterus - usually in a fallopian tube. Ectopic pregnancies cannot survive outside of the uterus and pose a serious threat to the mother’s life, Cvetkovich said.
The legislation in question in Ohio is HB182, a bill that was introduced in April by state Rep. John Becker (R), and was co-sponsored by 19 other state legislators.
The bill seeks to limit insurance coverage for “nontherapuetic abortions” - elective abortions that are not performed when a doctor determines that the mother’s life is at risk.
The legislation states that it would still allow insurance companies to cover certain exempted procedures, including: “A procedure for an ectopic pregnancy, that is intended to reimplant the fertilized ovum into the pregnant woman’s uterus."
“I don’t know of any way that we can technologically, surgically put that embryo through the trauma (of reimplantation),” Cvetkovich said.
The doctor said the procedure has reportedly been tried three times, but it has not worked, and there is no approved, standard medical procedure for reimplantation that has undergone the appropriate steps to ensure it is safe and effective.
Journals reporting on two such cases are posted on John Becker’s Facebook page. One case occurred in 1915, before ultrasounds were invented, and another in 1980.
Cvetkovich said of the 1915 case that not enough documentation of the procedure exists to confirm its scientific validity, and that the 1980 case was found to have used falsified research.
The reason reimplantations have yet been impossible for doctors, Cvetkovich said, is that once an embryo implants into either the uterine or the tubal lining, it begins creating microscopic blood vessel connections with the mother.
“It’s like a microscopic heart-lung machine, and you can’t just disrupt that and redo it,” she said.
In rare cases, ectopic pregnancies have reimplanted themselves in the liver or bowel, causing an abdominal pregnancy, but there has not been a successful surgical reimplantation in a uterus, Cvetkovich noted.
Dr. Donna Harrison is an OB-GYN with the American Association of Pro-Life OB-GYNs (AAPLOG).
Harrison told CNA that AAPLOG would support an ectopic transfer procedure if it “were scientifically validated through the usual channels of animal studies to prove safety and efficacy, and then human trials to prove safety and efficacy. If such a procedure followed that protocol, and if such a procedure were then validated to be safe and effective in a human being, AAPLOG would support that,” she said.
“We would love to be able to save the baby if we could,” she said.
But to date, an ectopic pregnancy transfer procedure does not yet exist that has gone through the required safety and efficacy procedures to Harrison’s knowledge, she said.
However, she added, Dr. Stephen Sammut at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio is currently investigating such a transfer in animal models.
“So there is research being conducted in animal models right now, but it is very preliminary right now and there are no conclusions of that research yet,” she said. “And as far as I know that is the only research being conducted so far in the animal model.”
Because ectopic pregnancies can pose a serious threat to the life of a mother, pro-life doctors can morally perform a procedure in which they remove the fallopian tube or other organ where an ectopic pregnancy has implanted, Cvetkovich said.
This allows doctors to remove a malfunctioning organ of the mother in order to save her life, which has the secondary but unintended effect of terminating the pregnancy, she added.
“It’s what we call the principle of double effect,” she said. “You can go in to do the procedure that will save the mother’s life. Your intent is not to destroy that pregnancy, your intent is to keep her healthy. In the process of doing that, you accept but do not want that there’s a fetal demise. So that’s how we would handle this rare, rare situation where you would have...a viable fetus with a heartbeat in the tube.”
This kind of procedure is permitted by the Catholic Church, she said, which states that abortion is never permissible, though a procedure to save a woman’s life that has the unintended effect of an unborn baby’s death is morally permissible.
“Operations, treatments, and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child,” the U.S. Catholic bishops state in the fifth edition of their Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.
This kind of procedure would also be exempted under the Ohio bill, which states that insurance companies could still cover: “A procedure, in an emergency situation, that is medically necessary to save the pregnant woman's life.”
Cvetkovich added that it was concerning that the Ohio legislators apparently did not consult with medical experts or research before writing the bill.
Legislation that contains erroneous scientific statements makes the pro-life movement “look bad, it makes us look silly, it makes us look stupid,” she said.
“I wish these guys would do some consultation before they wrote this,” she added.
On the other hand, Harrison said the bill could spur further research into developing a scientifically valid transfer procedure.
“I think the bill could encourage the appropriate research needed to develop such a procedure,” she said.