In today’s News:
Christian persecution up worldwide
2020 continued a trend of rising persecution around the world, with governments often using COVID-19 restrictions as tools of repression, Christian persecution watchdog Open Doors USA announced in its annual report. Open Doors’ 2021 report revealed two important persecution trends in 2020. The number of Christians killed has increased by 60 percent this year, mostly because of Islamic violence against Nigerian Christians. Secondly, anti-Christian governments around the world use COVID-19 restrictions to persecute Christians. In Nigeria, more than 2,200 Christians were murdered by radical Islamists. This number makes up slightly less than half of the 4,761 Christians killed for their faith worldwide, according to Open Doors statistics. Most of the Christians killed in 2020 gave up their lives to extremist groups, not governments
New York considers assisted suicide
The state of New York is one of the latest to consider embracing assisted suicide. Senate Bill S3151A, or the Medical Aid in Dying Act, was originally introduced in 2017, but died in committee in March of 2018. Another version failed in 2019, yet Assemblyman Kevin Cahill has announced his intentions to resubmit the bill for consideration in 2021 — and one Planned Parenthood political action affiliate is showing its support. Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts released its 2021 legislative priorities, which largely consisted of expanding abortion — but buried at the bottom was a passage linking abortion and assisted suicide under the “bodily autonomy” umbrella.
North Dakota considers spiritual advisors must break confidentiality
Three North Dakota state legislators introduced a bill this week that would oblige clergy to violate the confidentiality in cases of confirmed or suspected child abuse, on penalty of imprisonment or heavy fines. The bill was introduced Jan. 12 by state senators Judy Lee, Kathy Hogan and Curt Kreun, and state representatives Mike Brandenburg and Mary Schneider. The current mandatory reporting law in North Dakota states that clergy are considered mandatory reporters of known or suspected child abuse, except in cases when “the knowledge or suspicion is derived from information received in the capacity of spiritual adviser”, such as in the confessional. The bill, SB 2180, would amend that law to abolish this exception.
Supreme Court rules against mail in abortion drugs
The United States Supreme Court reinstated a requirement enacted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that women seeking to obtain abortion drugs must pick them up in person from a hospital or medical office rather than receiving them by mail. The High Court ruled 6-3 in Food and Drug Administration v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that the FDA abortion drug rule may go into effect and lifted a nationwide injunction against it. It granted the FDA request to reinstate enforcement for the “Elements to Assure Safe Use” in the Risk Evaluation Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for the chemical abortion pill mifepristone.