In today’s News:
Defeat for Missouri pro-life
Last Friday, the pro-life movement received some disappointing news out of Missouri, when the state’s Administrative Hearing Commission determined that the state must renew the license of the Planned Parenthood facility in st. Louis. In May 2019, citing multiple health and safety violations, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services refused to renew the facility’s license. Local pro-life activists have documented that at least 80 ambulances have been called to the St. Louis Planned Parenthood facility since 2009. However, since this Planned Parenthood facility has performed more than 4,000 abortions since 2018, the commissioner ruled that it was substantially compliance with the rules and is therefore “entitled to renewal of its abortion facility license.” Multiple aspects of the decision concern pro-lifers. The state’s expert witness included Dr. Randall Williams, Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and Dr. Donna Harrison, Executive Director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The commissioner acknowledged that both Williams and Harrison had provided “important testimony regarding gynecological care,” but he discounted their testimony because, unlike Planned Parenthood’s expert witnesses, they did not have extensive experience performing abortions.
Supreme Court ducks religious liberty case
On Friday in a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court rejected an emergency appeal by the Thomas More Society on behalf of a California church fighting for religious rights in the face of ongoing gubernatorial restrictions during the covid-19 crisis. San Diego-area South Bay United Pentecostal Church sued California Governor Gavin Newsom for prohibition of in-person worship, after deeming churches “nonessential” and on par with tattoo parlors. After the case was submitted to the high court, Newsom pulled back, changing his ban to an arbitrary cap on the number of people allowed to gather at a church. Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote a dissent in which he noted that supermarkets, restaurants, hair salons, cannabis dispensaries, and other businesses are not being subjected to the same restrictions. Justices Clarence Thomas A\and Neil Gorsuch joined the dissent. Justice Alito joined them in voting to grant relief to the church.
The U.S. Denies an international right to abortion
During the recent virtual meeting of the World Health Assembly,-the decision-making body of the World Health Organization,-the U.S. submitted its written explanation of position on the covid-19 response resolution, disassociating itself from a number of paragraphs, including two related to “sexual and reproductive health”. The U.S. statement expressed regret at the failure to achieve consensus language in all areas of the resolution. The U.S. letter stated in part, “the United States strongly supports women reaching the highest attainable outcomes for health, life, dignity, and well-being throughout their lives. However, we do not accept references to “sexual and reproductive health,” or other language that suggests or explicitly states that access to abortion is included in the provision of population and individual level health services.