Abortions can continue despite Gov. Stitt’s Executive Order judge says

U.S. District Judge Charles Goodwin has blocked Gov. Stitt’s order that abortion is an elective surgery. Judge Goodwin wrote in his decision that the state “has acted in an “unreasonable,” “arbitrary,” and “oppressive” way – and imposed an “undue burden” on abortion access.” It was decided that the benefit of a ban on medication abortions…Read More

Legislature approves emergency declaration, gives Stitt unprecedented power

Oklahoma’s Legislature on Monday gave Gov. Kevin Stitt sweeping power to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a special legislative session, legislators approved Stitt’s declaration of a health emergency in Oklahoma, which grants the governor additional powers under the Catastrophic Health Emergency Powers Act. This is the first time an Oklahoma governor has invoked the…Read More

US religious freedom ambassador calls for release of prisoners of conscience

The U.S. religious freedom ambassador on Thursday called on governments to release prisoners of conscience during the new coronavirus pandemic. “In this time of pandemic, religious prisoners should be released.  We call on all governments around the world to do so,” Sam Brownback, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, said on April 2 during a…Read More

Abortion rights groups sue Stitt over coronavirus-related abortion ban

Reproductive rights groups are suing Oklahoma officials over Gov. Kevin Stitt’s order prohibiting most abortions during the COVID-19 outbreak. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Dechert LLP on Monday asked a federal judge to immediately block Stitt’s order. Stitt and Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter are named in the lawsuit.…Read More

Kentucky AG aims to declare abortion ‘non-essential’ under coronavirus bans

Kentucky’s attorney general has joined the national controversy over whether abortion clinics can continue to operate at a time when other surgeries and procedures have been canceled or delayed to conserve medical resources to combat the novel coronavirus. “Abortion providers should join the thousands of other medical professionals across the state in ceasing elective procedures,…Read More

Hofmeister proposes distance learning to keep school buildings closed

Oklahoma public schools could remain closed for the rest of the school year, as all learning would take place at a distance to protect from the coronavirus pandemic. State schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister announced Monday she would recommend a Continuous Learning Plan for public schools to finish the school year without in-person instruction. Extracurricular activities…Read More

Senator Lankford Introduces Universal Charitable Giving Bill

Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today introduced the Universal Charitable Giving Act, which creates a universal charitable deduction in addition to the standard deduction for individuals and married couples that do not itemize. Currently, only taxpayers that itemize their deductions are able to withhold charitable donations. The Universal Charitable Giving Act incentivizes charitable giving for low-income to…Read More

Trump signs coronavirus relief legislation into law

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law a coronavirus relief package that includes provisions for free testing for Covid-19 and paid emergency leave. The Senate had earlier Wednesday approved the House-passed bill. The move allowed the upper chamber to devote its full attention to passing the next relief package in response to the coronavirus…Read More

Lawmakers push to revise medical marijuana laws

Home delivery of medical marijuana, a shorter dispensary setback from schools and making the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority its own agency are among proposals that survived last week’s first legislative deadline. But a bill banning billboards with medical marijuana advertising failed to make it through committee. The next major deadline is March 12, when bills…Read More

California doubles down on rule forcing Catholic nuns to pay for abortion

Facing the threat of major cuts to federal HHS funds, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has said the state will not back down from its ban on health insurance plans that exclude abortion, even after federal authorities have sided with Catholic nuns who object to the ban. The attorney general has accused the federal government…Read More

CovCath students file 5 lawsuits over Lincoln Memorial incident

A group of Covington Catholic High School students are suing CNN, NBC, the Washington Post, nine media personalities and a New York doctor regarding commentary about the incident at the Lincoln Memorial last year. The group of 12 students filed four separate federal lawsuits and one suit in Kenton County Circuit Court Wednesday. The federal lawsuits against…Read More

Director’s Blog: Why the Death Penalty Is NOT Justice

The State of Oklahoma recently announced its intention to reinitiate capital punishment via lethal injection. To defend their decision, officials declared that we have waited long enough to achieve “justice for the families”. But this defense underscores the profound lack of answers to essential questions about the legitimacy of the death penalty. First, why does “justice for the families”…Read More

How California’s abortion mandate trampled on Catholic nuns

California could lose federal funds for requiring employer health plans to cover elective abortion, federal officials have said. But the Missionary Guadalupanas of the Holy Spirit, the Catholic consecrated women whose legal complaint helped trigger the threat, only want their voice heard and their conscience clear. “They have a ministry that works closely with the…Read More

Oklahoma County judge refuses to temporarily halt two abortion laws

An Oklahoma County District Court judge on Friday refused to temporarily halt state laws that say only physicians can perform abortions in Oklahoma, and they can’t do so using telemedicine. Judge Natalie Mai quashed two motions for temporary injunction challenging longstanding Oklahoma laws. Oklahoma City’s Trust Women clinic, which was represented in court by attorneys…Read More

Opinion: Rural Americans would be serfs if we abolished the Electoral College

Should rural and small-town Americans be reduced to serfdom? The American Founders didn’t think so. This is one reason why they created checks and balances, including the Electoral College. Today that system is threatened by a proposal called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, or NPV. Rural America produces almost all our country’s food, as…Read More

California university reaches settlement with Students for Life in discrimination suit

A California state university has this week agreed to revise its policies and pay more than $240,000 in fees after a federal court last summer found that the university had discriminated against a student pro-life group and had used mandatory student fees to fund only university-favored views. In 2017, legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF)…Read More

Poll: Voters Disapprove of traditional K-12 Public School, Support Publicly Funded Alternatives

A statewide poll of registered voters in Oklahoma conducted by Amber Integrated (AI) shows general dissatisfaction with K-12 public education. At 51 percent, a majority of voters say they disapprove of “the job K-12 public education is doing,” with 29 percent of all voters saying they “strongly” disapprove. Just 36 percent of voters say they…Read More

Congressman Cole Lauds School Choice

As a former educator, I understand how important it is for our children to have access to a quality education. And when it comes to educating our young people in the United States, we are fortunate to have numerous options to ensure the best results and learning for every child. In recognizing National School Choice…Read More

Planned Parenthood announces highest election spending in its history

Planned Parenthood announced this week that it plans to spend $45 million to support pro-abortion candidates at the presidential, congressional, and state levels in the 2020 election. The campaign, entitled “We Decide 2020,” marks the largest election spending in Planned Parenthood’s history. Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes, told CBS News that “The…Read More

Court Case Could Finally End Anti-Catholic Blaine Amendment

Later this month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear one of the most significant education cases in decades: Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. Centering around a modest tax-credit scholarship program in Montana, Espinoza could have major ramifications for educational-choice programs across America, which help nearly half a million students attend private schools. In deciding Espinoza, the Court has the opportunity to do…Read More

Tax-credit scholarship program could shape north Tulsa’s future

According to 2017 data from the National Center for Education Statistics, African-American males have the lowest four-year college graduation rate in the country. Crossover officials note obtaining a bachelor’s degree is one of the strongest predictors of economic stability. But in the north Tulsa community surrounding Crossover, just 15.3 percent of residents have a bachelor’s…Read More

Bill would require racial impact statements for future criminal justice legislation

To address racial disparities in Oklahoma’s justice system, future criminal justice legislation may have to go through an additional step before being approved. State Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City, filed Senate Bill 1184, which requires a racial impact statement to accompany any bill that would lengthen sentences, create a new offense or change penalties for…Read More

Oklahoma City archbishop supports effort to end state death penalty

Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City has announced his support for state legislation that would remove the death penalty from consideration in capital cases. “We don’t end the cycle of violence by committing more violence,” Coakley said in a Jan. 14 press release from the office of State Representative Jason Dunnington (D-Oklahoma City), who introduced…Read More

Pot petitions face pushback from medical marijuana advocates

Two initiative petitions to legalize recreational marijuana in Oklahoma have divided the state’s burgeoning medical marijuana community. Some of the state’s most vocal medical marijuana supporters see the petitions as a threat to their newly legal way of life. Some medical marijuana supporters oppose the specific petitions. Others shun the idea of legalizing recreational marijuana…Read More

Governor Stitt Proclaims Jan. 26-Feb. 1 “Oklahoma School Choice Week”

Gov. Stitt issued a proclamation declaring Jan. 26-Feb. 1 Oklahoma School Choice Week. In doing so, he joined dozens of other governors and hundreds of city and county leaders nationwide in recognizing the historic celebration of education. Oklahomans have planned 665 events and activities to celebrate opportunity in education during the Week, including rallies, roundtable…Read More

Massachusetts bill would let minors obtain abortion without parental consent

In the latest move from Massachusetts state legislators to block abortion restrictions and expand access to the procedure, state Sen. Harriet Chandler has introduced a bill that would remove the longstanding requirement for teens to obtain parental consent before getting an abortion. Currently, Massachusetts state law requires that minors obtain the consent of a parent…Read More

AG Hunter: OK Supreme Court ‘mistaken’ to hear challenges to abortion restrictions

The Oklahoma Supreme Court should stop ruling on lawsuits about abortion restrictions because the state constitution doesn’t recognize a right to abortion, the Oklahoma attorney general argued last week to the state’s justices. “Oklahoma’s founders never intended nor created a right to abortion, nor have Oklahoma’s people ever voted to create such a right,” the…Read More

City council sets hearing on food desert ordinance

The city council plans a public hearing Dec. 17 on a “healthy neighborhoods” zoning ordinance to fight junk-food proliferation in northeast Oklahoma City. The measure would set standards for “small-box” retailers in the 73111 ZIP Code, an area marked by above-average mortality rates and below-average life expectancy. “There is not a single grocery store in…Read More

School for Homeless Children Breaks Ground On New Facility

Positive Tomorrows, Oklahoma’s only elementary school specifically serving homeless children, recently broke ground on a new facility and announced it has met its Building Success Campaign goal of $10.2 million raised from the community. An additional $5 million received in New Market Tax Credits will bring the final project total to $15 million. The new facility will more than double the school’s capacity and expand grade levels served.…Read More

Kansas Catholic Conference says Medicaid expansion needs pro-life revisions

As Kansas considers expanding its Medicaid program, the state’s Catholic Conference said its support is contingent upon the establishment of pro-life safeguards. Last week, the Special Committee on Medicaid Expansion – a joint House and Senate panel – held two days of hearings discussing an expansion of KanCare. Chuck Weber, executive director of the Kansas…Read More

Washington DC drops bill to legalize sex trade

A bill to legalize the buying and selling of sex in Washington, DC, will not move forward after widespread opposition and concern that the bill lacked enough support of the city council to be passed. The Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019 (B23-0318) would have made the capital the first city in the…Read More

Gov. Kevin Stitt’s approval required for refugee resettlement order

Oklahoma’s governor and mayors will soon be required to approve the resettlement of refugees across the state, a new requirement from the Trump administration that potentially adds another layer of politics to immigration policy. An executive order signed by President Donald Trump in September instructs the federal government to “resettle refugees only in those jurisdictions…Read More

Oklahomans with DACA fight to protect the program

Even with their immigration status in question, undocumented Oklahomans are speaking out for the federal program allowing them to stay in the U.S. Rallies in the state and Washington, D.C., shone a light on immigrants who have made Oklahoma their home, in part with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA reached the U.S.…Read More

Ohio bill would target proposal on abortion reversal notification

Two Democratic lawmakers in Ohio have introduced legislation that would prohibit the state from requiring doctors to provide patients with information that is not recognized by expert medical associations or supported through peer-reviewed research. The bill challenges another piece of proposed legislation in the state, which would require physicians to inform patients seeking a medication…Read More

HHS changes rules to protect religious adoption agencies

The Trump administration has announced a change to federal rules to preserve federal funding of faith-based adoption agencies, regardless of their views on same-sex marriage. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Nov. 1 that it would change its enforcement of previous regulations and propose a new rule, allowing faith-based adoption agencies to continue…Read More

Pro-abortion lawsuit seeks to strike down 13 laws in Minnesota

Minnesota’s restrictions on abortion are too important for pro-abortion groups to eliminate through a single lawsuit, pro-life defenders of the 13 challenged laws have said. Paul Stark, communications director with Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, said the state’s current laws are “reasonable and very modest protections for pregnant women and their unborn children.” “Women have…Read More

Will Colorado tax sacramental wine?

A bicameral committee in Colorado’s legislature is considering two bills that would tax sacramental wine and insurance premiums paid to fraternal societies, like the Knights of Columbus, that sell insurance to their members. The Tax Expenditure Evaluation Interim Study Committee of the Colorado General Assembly is tasked with evaluating recommendations regarding Colorado’s tax exemptions and…Read More

Pompeo highlights religious freedom, pro-life goals as among US priorities

The U.S. Secretary of State listed promoting international religious freedom and fighting abortion as among U.S. foreign policy priorities in a Tuesday speech on diplomacy. In his remarks, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned the second annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom hosted by the U.S. State Department in July, with religious leaders and survivors…Read More

Indiana bishops: death penalty does not help convicts or victims

Ahead of a scheduled reinstatement of the death penalty for federal inmates, the bishops of Indiana are calling on U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration to reverse the decision. “The federal government’s decision in July to end a 16-year moratorium on executing federal inmates is regrettable, unnecessary and morally unjustified,” the bishops said in…Read More

Senators introduce bill requiring states to report abortion figures

Senators have introduced legislation that would require states to report abortion statistics to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control, including in all cases where babies survive botched abortions. The Ensuring Accurate and Complete Abortion Data Reporting Act of 2019 would make certain Medicaid family planning funds to states conditional upon their gathering and reporting comprehensive…Read More

Supreme Court to Decide High-Stakes ‘LGBT’ Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court will begin its 2019-2020 term with a thunderclap: a trio of cases that could result in the extension of federal employment protections that now bar discrimination based on “sex” to encompass workers who identify as “gay” or “transgender.” “When Title VII passed in 1964, there is no question that Congress at…Read More

Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Georgia Abortion Ban

A federal judge temporarily blocked Georgia’s abortion ban Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones temporarily blocked the implementation of the law, which was scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1. Jones’s actions follow a June lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, and the Center for Reproductive Rights, according to WSB-TV Atlanta. Jones ruled…Read More

Split ruling for Virginia abortion regulations

A federal judge on Monday overturned two Virginia restrictions on abortion, while upholding several others, saying, “the right to choose to have an abortion is not unfettered.” “In addition to a woman’s personal liberty interest, the state has profound interests in protecting potential life and protecting the health and safety of women,” wrote U.S. District…Read More

Illinois bill would ban government travel to pro-life states

An Illinois state representative has introduced legislation to prevent government employees from traveling to states which have enacted pro-life legislation. The Illinois state Catholic conference told CNA the bill is “absurd.” The bill, introduced last week by Rep. Daniel Didech (D-Buffalo Grove), would ban any Illinois state agency from requiring or approving travel by any…Read More

Catholic Medical Association: fund palliative care, not assisted suicide

The Catholic Medical Association, along with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Health Association, are voicing support for a bill pending in Congress to fund training, research, and education on palliative care. Palliative care involves medical care and pain management for the symptoms of those suffering from a serious illness, and refraining…Read More

California Catholic Conference asks governor to veto college abortion bill

California legislators passed a bill last Friday that would require all state universities to offer medication abortions, despite the objections of pro-life leaders. In a Sept. 16 statement, Andrew Rivas, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, encouraged California Governor Gavin Newsom to oppose the bill. “We urge him to veto this unprecedented and unnecessary…Read More

Opinion: Universal school choice is needed now more than ever

What social institutions have the most immediate and strongest impact on a child’s development and well-being? According to researchers for the Pew Charitable Trust’s Economic Mobility Project, it’s the child’s family circumstances, with schools ranking as the second-most important factor. In the U.S., family circumstances and schools are closely linked, because most cities and counties…Read More

Former death row inmate wins freedom or new trial in 1984 murder case

For decades, two Ada men insisted from prison that they did not kidnap and murder a convenience store clerk in 1984 despite their confessions to police. They claimed their admissions came from a dream. Those innocence claims attracted renewed national attention when the true-crime documentary series, “The Innocent Man,” debuted on Netflix last December. Now,…Read More

White House criticized for push to allow indefinite detention of migrant kids

The White House announced on Wednesday that it would look to terminate court-approved limits on detention of migrant children and families, allowing for indefinite detention. The announcement drew strong criticism from a leading Catholic immigration group. “These changes would expand the number of children who will be detained and are in direct opposition to the…Read More

Bishops call for support for HHS rule change

Public consultation closes Tuesday on a new rule to protect doctors’ and healthcare workers’ right to object to abortion and so-called gender reassignment procedures. August 13 is the last day on which the Department of Health and Human Services will receive feedback on the proposed change to the interpretation of section 1557 of the Patient…Read More

Conservative group: Death penalty goes against conservative principles

Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty released a statement July 25 criticizing the federal reinstatement of capital punishment, arguing the practice goes against the fundamental principles of conservatism. “Resumption of executions by the federal government goes against the trend we have seen in states across the nation, where executions and sentences are at historic lows.…Read More

Judge blocks Arkansas abortion regulations

A federal judge in Arkansas on Tuesday temporarily blocked several new regulations on abortion clinics, which otherwise might have led to the closure of the state’s last abortion clinic. District Court Judge Kristine Baker of the Eastern District of Arkansas issued a 14-day injunction July 23 concluding that the laws “cause ongoing and imminent irreparable…Read More

Gov. Stitt proclaims Blessed Stanley Rother Day

Governor Kevin Stitt has proclaimed July 28, 2019, as Blessed Stanley Rother Day in Oklahoma. The day commemorates the Oklahoma priest’s Feast Day, “which is celebrated every year by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, the Diocese of Tulsa and the Diocese of Little Rock in remembrance of the anniversary of his martyrdom in Guatemala,” officials…Read More

HHS brings Protect Life Rule into effect

The Trump administration announced Monday evening that parts of the Protect Life Rule, which prohibits recipients of Title X family planning funds to refer or provide abortion services, will go into effect immediately. As of July 15, the Department of Health and Human Services informed Title X fund recipients that they will no longer be…Read More

New Gallup Poll Shows Pro-Life Progress

Last week, Gallup released its annual public-opinion poll on abortion policy, and its results contain some good news for abortion opponents. According to the survey, a plurality of Americans now identify as pro-life, with 49 percent of respondents calling themselves “pro-life,” and 46 percent calling themselves “pro-choice.” This is the first Gallup poll since 2013 in which…Read More

Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness builds collaboration

In Oklahoma, almost 4,000 people were officially counted as experiencing homelessness last year. Service providers ranging from shelters and mental health groups to the Department of Education and Department of Veterans Affairs each have a specific need they are trying to meet for that population, whether it be housing, substance abuse treatment or children’s programming.…Read More

Medical marijuana: 1 year later, Oklahoma outpacing other states

One year after state voters surpassed expectations with 57-percent in support of State Question 788, the number of people taking advantage continues to surprise many. “Oklahoma’s been ready. I think they’ve been waiting for the medical marijuana to pass,” said Straiin medical marijuana dispensary co-owner Anthony Lemos. Adrienne Rollins, director of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana…Read More

Wis. Catholic Conference dismayed by veto of abortion bills

As the Democratic Governor of Wisconsin vetoed Friday four bills regulating abortion, Catholics in the state expressed disappointment with the decision. The Republican-controlled state legislature sent Gov. Tony Evers four bills June 20. They would have imposed criminal penalties on doctors who do not provide medical attention to babies born after a failed abortion; bar…Read More

TX Governor Signs ‘Save Chick-fil-A’ Bill into Law

The “Save Chick-fil-A” bill was signed into law on Monday by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. As Christian Headlines previously reported, the bill – SB 1978 – will protect businesses from being discriminated against by government entities because of their “membership in, affiliation with, or contribution, donation, or other support provided to a religious organization.” The…Read More

Lawmakers introduce legislation to make adoption more affordable for families

Three senators, led by Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), have introduced a bipartisan bill to make adoption more affordable for families across the country. Blunt, Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) announced the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act, legislation that makes the current adoption tax credit fully refundable. In a news release Monday, the three lawmakers…Read More

House passes bill to provide legal protection for ‘Dreamers’

The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ migration committee June 4 praised the U.S. House for passing a measure that gives permanent legal protection to “Dreamers” and those covered by the Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure programs in the United States. “Dreamers” are young people who qualify to remain in the country under the Deferred…Read More

Maine advances assisted suicide law

A bill legalizing assisted suicide in Maine moved to the governor’s desk on Tuesday after both houses of the state’s legislature narrowly passed the legislation. The so-called “Dignity With Dying” bill passed the state House of Representatives by a single vote on June 3, before making it through the senate Tuesday by a 19-16 margin.…Read More

Bishop welcomes repeal of death penalty in NH

Bishop Peter Libasci of Manchester welcomed Thursday the New Hampshire legislature’s override of a veto by the governor on capital punishment repeal. “I welcome the vote by the New Hampshire Senate today that repeals the death penalty. As a citizen of New Hampshire, I offer my deep appreciation and sincere empathy to the members of…Read More

Supreme Court upholds Indiana law on fetal remains

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reversed a lower court’s decision invalidating part of Indiana’s abortion law on the disposal of fetal remains, allowing it to go into effect. But the court declined to take up a challenge to a provision blocking abortions on the basis of sex, race or disability, avoiding a major ruling on abortion for the time being.…Read More

House passes Equality Act despite religious freedom concerns

The House of Representatives passed the controversial Equality Act last 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…Read More

‘Unrestricted’ abortion bill passes in Vermont

Legislators in Vermont have passed new measures to enshrine unrestricted abortion access in to law at any time for any reason during a pregancy. The legislature also advanced a measure that would make abortion a constitutional right. As of Friday, H. 57, “An act relating to preserving the right to abortion,” passed both the state…Read More

White House Unveils Rules to Protect Health Workers’ Religious Beliefs

The Trump administration will require hospitals and health organizations to do more to shield medical workers with moral or religious objections to medical procedures such as abortion, assisted suicide or sterilization. A rule released Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services significantly broadens the agency’s enforcement ability and strengthens protections for health care…Read More

Federal judge in Oregon blocks Title X abortion rule

A federal judge in Oregon has issued a temporary nationwide injunction against the Trump administration’s requirement that recipients of Title X family planning funds be separate from abortion facilities. U.S. District Judge Michael McShane of Eugene, Oregon, blocked the changes from taking effect. In his Monday ruling, he called the new regulation “a solution in…Read More

Federal Judge Blocks Pro-life Funding Rule

Pro-life advocates have lamented a federal judge’s preliminary injunction against the federal Protect Life Rule, which bars family planning funds for clinics at the same location as abortion providers and for those which refer for abortion. “Abortion is not healthcare, and that’s how we evaluate these kinds of decisions,” Todd Cooper, executive director of the…Read More

North Dakota bans common abortion procedure

North Dakota’s governor signed into law Wednesday a bill that outlaws the common abortion procedure known as “dilation and evacuation.” Mississippi and West Virginia also outlaw the procedure. Tammi Kromenaker, director of the Red River Women’s Clinic, the sole abortion facility in North Dakota, told reporters that before deciding whether to file suit against the…Read More

Committee Deadline Brings Multiple Victories

The end of this week’s business at the state legislature wraps up the latest deadline for committee hearings on bills from the opposite chamber. All bills approved in committee will be advanced for a potential hearing on the respective chamber floors. Among the bills advanced are a handful of measures supported by the Catholic Conference. Senate…Read More

Dept of Ed: Religious Organizations Cannot Be Blocked from Federal Contracts

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today at the Council for American Private Education (CAPE) State Directors Annual Meeting that the Department will no longer enforce a restriction barring religious organizations from serving as contract providers of equitable services solely due to their religious affiliation. The U.S. Department of Education, in consultation with the…Read More

Illinois Bill To Turn State Into ‘Abortion Capital Of America’

Illinois’ new Democratic governor, and a complicit Democratic legislature, are reportedly “fast-tracking” a pair of identical measures in the Illinois House and Senate designed to greatly extend legal abortion within the state of Illinois, wipe out parental notice requirements, and deny any and all rights to any pre-born individuals in the state. The Federalist reports…Read More

State Senate Advances Abortion ‘Trigger Ban’

Both abortion rights supporters and opponents decried an abortion “trigger ban” approved by a Senate health committee on Monday along mostly partisan lines. Senate Bill 195 would “trigger” a state ban on abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision making abortion a constitutional right. Senate President Pro Tem…Read More

New poll finds ‘dramatic shift’ on abortion attitudes

The recent debate over “late-term abortion,” fueled by state measures in New York and Virginia that loosened, or sought to loosen, abortion restrictions toward the end of a woman’s pregnancy, has caused “a dramatic shift” in public attitudes towards abortion policy, according to Barbara Carvalho who directed a new Marist poll, commissioned by the Knights…Read More

SCOTUS Declines Abortion Clinic Suit Against TX Bishops

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear a lawsuit aimed at forcing Catholic bishops to release internal documents that would show whether they planned to front the costs associated with providing funeral services for aborted fetuses. The decision not to hear the case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Texas Catholic of Bishops, is the latest…Read More

CA Judge Orders State to Pay Pro-life Pregnancy Centers

A federal judge ordered the state of California to pay three pro-life pregnancy centers and a conservative law firm a total of $399,000 after a state law meant to force “crisis pregnancy centers” to promote abortion was struck down. The Supreme Court found the California law requiring pro-life centers to display information about how to…Read More

SCOTUS Blocks Texas Execution of Disabled Man

The Supreme Court practically foreclosed the possibility that a Texas inmate named Bobby James Moore will be executed, finding Tuesday that Moore is intellectually disabled. Moore was convicted and sentenced to death in 1980 for the shooting death of a store clerk. Though friends and counselors say Moore could not tell time and struggled with…Read More

‘Abortion Abolition’ Bill Poses Serious Problems

In ancient Israel, God’s people were surrounded by pagan cultures who worshipped the god Moloch with rituals that included the sacrifice of babies in hopes they might mollify his wrath. Three thousand years later, Western culture still promotes the wanton sacrifice of innocent unborn children in the womb as evidenced by the recent law enacted…Read More

Defunding Statutory Rape Cover-Up Act Passes House

One of the first bills to pass the Oklahoma House this session would restrict healthcare providers convicted of covering up statutory rape from receiving state dollars for five years. House Floor Leader Jon Echols authored House Bill 2591 which creates the Defunding Statutory Rape Cover-Up Act. Continue reading…

Gov. Stitt delivers first State of the State address

On Monday, Gov. Kevin Stitt said teachers deserve another pay raise and asked state lawmaker for the money to fund it in his first State-of-the-State address, which he also used to outline his vision for an economy-focused administration that will produce an efficient and adaptive state government. “The government does not create wealth, only the…Read More

First Things Editorial: Excommunicate Gov. Cuomo

Calls for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s excommunication have echoed across Catholic social media ever since he signed into law one of the most expansive abortion bills ever enacted. Bishops Richard Stika of Knoxville and Joseph Strickland of Tyler have joined the chorus. While noting that Cuomo is under the jurisdiction of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Bishop Edward…Read More

New York bishops react to new abortion law

Catholic leaders in New York have spoken out against the passage of an expansive new abortion law in the state. The Reproductive Health Act was passed on Tuesday, the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade. In a statement from the New York State Catholic Conference, the state’s bishops called the passage of…Read More

New York Passes Law for Expansive Abortion Rights

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is under fire from faith leaders after he signed a bill into law that legalizes abortion up until birth in many cases. The Democratic governor directed the One World Trade Center and other landmarks to be lit in pink Tuesday to celebrate the passage of “Reproductive Health Act.” Cuomo called…Read More

Bills Filed to Limit Teacher Protests, Walkout

Oklahoma lawmakers have filed a host of bills that seek to crack down on the methods educators employed to stage a statewide walkout and Capitol protest last spring. Proposed measures range from criminal penalties for disrupting the Legislature to the mandatory loss of pay and teacher certification for those who strike or shut down schools…Read More

Senate Passes ‘Religious Test’ Resolution on Knights of Columbus

The Senate yesterday passed a resolution saying it would be “unconstitutional” to consider membership in the Knights of Columbus a disqualifying criteria for public office. The resolution passed by unanimous consent, meaning it went unopposed by senators of either party. The Jan. 16 resolution was drafted and introduced by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) in response…Read More

Lankford Spearheads Effort to Redirect Funds Away from Planned Parenthood

U.S. Senators James Lankford and Joni Ernst reintroduced legislation which would divert money away from Planned Parenthood and give it to women’s health providers who don’t provide abortions. “This important bill helps ensure women have numerous options to receive quality and affordable health care while preventing federal dollars from going to Planned Parenthood,” said Lankford.…Read More

New Poll Shows Majority Want More Abortion Restrictions

A new poll shows that while most Americans identify themselves as pro-choice, the vast majority of the same group support increased restrictions on abortion. The poll found that overwhelming majorities of people, even those who identify as “pro-choice” in theory, support major restrictions on abortion. The poll also found only minority support for late term…Read More

Trump Reauthorizes Funding to Combat Human Trafficking

Nationwide efforts to confront human trafficking received a boost in the new year as President Donald Trump signed a bill reauthorizing federal expenditures for prevention and assistance programs across the federal government. The Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act allows $430 million in federal funds for trafficking prevention and education, victim protection…Read More

House Budget Bill Repeals ‘Mexico City Policy’ Ban on Abortion Funding

The budget bill passed by the House of Representatives to try to end the partial government shutdown includes a provision to repeal the “Mexico City Policy” that prohibits U.S. funding of foreign nongovernmental organizations that perform or promote abortion. Some House members and several pro-life organizations criticized the provision in the bill adopted Jan. 3,…Read More

Geographic divide shapes caucus priorities at Capitol

Lawmakers gathered Tuesday at the state Capitol for an organizational day ahead of a new session, which will feature a Legislature increasingly divided along geographic lines that are reshaping the focus for Republicans and Democrats. “After the recent elections we are a larger caucus and we are a more rural caucus,” said House Speaker Charles…Read More

House Democrats Move to Fund Overseas Abortion in First Week

House Democrats are reportedly trying to restore federal funding for overseas abortions Thursday in a spending bill that is supposedly designed to end the partial government shutdown. As the Washington Examiner reports, the legislation is also about providing abortions to third world countries by repealing a Trump administration policy that insists non-governmental organizations agree to…Read More

Federal Govt Shutdown Hits Home After One Week

President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats remained at loggerheads over border security funding as the sixth day of a partial government shutdown came and went Thursday, bringing longer furloughs and more unpaid work for federal workers in the Oklahoma City area. At the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in south Oklahoma City, 1,146 employees are furloughed…Read More

Texas Judge Strikes Down Obamacare As Unconstitutional

A federal judge in Texas said last week that the Affordable Care Act’s individual coverage mandate is unconstitutional and that the rest of the law therefore cannot stand. Legal experts say the ruling won’t immediately affect Americans’ health coverage, and a group of states led by California is already vowing to appeal. But the invalidation…Read More

Satanic Temple statue among displays at Illinois Capitol

A local chapter of The Satanic Temple has been allowed to place a statue in the Illinois Capitol alongside holiday displays of a Nativity scene and a menorah. The sculpture, called Knowledge is the Greatest Gift, depicts the forearm of a woman holding an apple, The State Journal-Register reported. In its application for the display,…Read More

Idabel state Representative switches parties

The number of state House Democrats got even smaller Thursday as Idabel state Rep. Johnny Tadlock announced he was switching to the Republican Party. The switch leaves state House Republicans with a 77-24 majority. Republicans also remain in firm control the state Senate, 39-9. “This to me is not at all about party affiliation,” Tadlock…Read More

Stitt taps politicos for top staff positions

A former U.S. Senate staffer and former state representative will fill two of the top positions in Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt’s new administration, surrounding a first-time governor with a combination of federal, state and even municipal political experience. Michael Junk, Tulsa’s deputy mayor and a former staffer for U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and former U.S. Sen.…Read More

Virginia Catholics praise dismissal of assisted suicide study

Virginia Catholics are praising the decision of a joint commission of the state legislature to take no action on a study on assisted suicide. Last year, Del. Kaye Kory (D-Fairfax) asked the Virginia state legislature to consider legalizing so-called “medical aid-in-dying” or physician-assisted suicide. After receiving public comment, the Joint Commission on Health Care, which…Read More

Stitt announces transition team

Marc Nuttle, a Norman attorney with decades of experience in national Republican politics, will lead the transition team of Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt, who enters office in two months. Nuttle, 69, formerly served as executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee and was national campaign manager for televangelist Pat Robertson’s presidential bid in 1988. Stitt’s…Read More

Kendra Horn upsets Steve Russell in an Oklahoma City stunner

In a political upset for the history books, Kendra Horn broke a 44-year Republican hold on Oklahoma’s 5th congressional district Tuesday, turning the Oklahoma City-area district blue for the first time since the mid-1970s. Defying expectations, polls, experts, opponents and history itself, Horn defeated U.S. Rep. Steve Russell in a race that went down to…Read More

ABC: Controversial adoption law goes into effect Thursday

Depending on whom you talk to, you’ll get a different opinion on Oklahoma’s controversial adoption law that’s about to go into effect. “What the Legislature and the government have done is endorsed discrimination,” said Allie Shin, with the Oklahoma American Civil Liberties Union. “What we’re really asking here is if churches should check their faith…Read More

20 new laws that take effect in Oklahoma today

Thursday, Nov. 1, means a slew of new laws taking effect across the state. Among them is SB1140, championed by the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma, which prohibits a private child-placing agency from being required, to the extent allowed by federal law, to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in any placement of a…Read More

Tulsa World: SQ 800 in Plain English

The Legislature proposes amending the state constitution to create the Oklahoma Vision Fund, which would receive an escalating portion of state gross production taxes beginning with 5 percent in 2020. Additional money could be appropriated to the fund. The fund would essentially be an endowment managed by the state treasurer. It would be exempt from…Read More

Split party power possible at top of state gov

A close gubernatorial race could result in split party representation at the top of state government for the first time in 12 years. Multiple polls show a close contest between Republican Kevin Stitt and Democrat Drew Edmondson in the race for governor. However, the lieutenant governor race is more one-sided with Republican Matt Pinnell holding…Read More

Stitt and Edmondson talk transportation

Gubernatorial candidates Kevin Stitt and Drew Edmondson largely agreed on the state’s continued need for infrastructure spending during a forum Thursday, saying it would be a priority for their respective administrations. “Infrastructure is something that’s going to be key in a Stitt administration,” the Republican candidate said. “I talk about being top 10 and being…Read More

Trump signs law to punish websites for trafficking

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed legislation aimed at penalizing website operators that facilitate online sex trafficking and chipping away at a legal protection for the technology industry. The law is intended to make it easier for state prosecutors and sex-trafficking victims to sue social media networks, advertisers and others that kept exploitative material…Read More

Trump to pick Catholic lawyer as White House counsel

President Donald Trump has reportedly chosen a Catholic lawyer, Pat Cipollone, to replace White House counsel Donald McGhan. In addition to his professional work, Cipollone serves on the board of directors for the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C., and co-founded the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in 2004. According to a Washington Post report published…Read More

School consolidation remains tough political sell

Oklahoma has too many school districts and could save nearly $30 million if it had a number of districts more in line with states of similar size, according to a policy paper recently published by an education professor. In a report titled “Right-sizing Oklahoma Districts,” James Machell, dean of the University of Central Oklahoma College…Read More

Oklahoma begins new era of alcohol availability

[As of Monday], grocery stores and convenience stores across the state are selling their first bottles of wine and cases of strong beer. Liquor stores are turning on coolers to refrigerate products previously sold at room temperature. Mergers and acquisitions between distributors within the state become official — the landscape has changed. All of these…Read More

USCCB Applauds Cancellation of FDA Fetal Tissue Contract

Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, Archbishop of New York and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement today applauding initial steps taken by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to terminate a Food and Drug Administration contract to purchase aborted baby parts for research, but urging…Read More

Candidates for Governor Square Off in Debate

The Democrat trying to capture the governor’s seat in Oklahoma said Monday his government experience is a benefit, but he also quickly pointed out that it’s been eight years since he’s held office in the red state where a dozen incumbents have already lost primary elections this year. Drew Edmondson, a 71-year-old former attorney general…Read More

Oklahoman: Dueling faith campaigns focus on abortion

In a Bible Belt state known for its anti-abortion leanings, billboards touting a faith-based abortion-rights message may cause more than one Oklahoma motorist to do a double take. “People of faith love those who have abortions” and “God loves those who have abortions” are messages featured on eight billboards from a new Oklahoma Call for…Read More

Congressman Russell Assumes Nat’l Security Oversight Chair

A congressional retirement has resulted in U.S. Rep. Steve Russell receiving his first subcommittee chairmanship and better positioned him to take over a headline-grabbing committee. Of course, any potential future committee chairmanship is contingent on Republicans keeping control of the House and Russell winning reelection in November. Russell will chair a House Oversight and Government…Read More

SCOTUS Rejects Appeal from Catholic Social Services

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Wednesday to compel the city of Philadelphia to resume working with Catholic Social Services (CSS) for the placement of foster children. In March, Philadelphia officials announced the city would no longer work with CSS for foster care placement, citing the group’s unwillingness to place foster children with same-sex couples due…Read More

OK Primary Run-off, Winners, Losers and Nail-biters

Oklahoma’s Republican runoff races for attorney general as well as state auditor and inspector appeared neck and neck during most of Tuesday night. Meanwhile, the Republican runoff elections for lieutenant governor, superintendent of public instruction and the Democrat runoff for corporation commissioner featured margins of victory well into the double digits. Results listed below are…Read More

After 95 Years, NY State Forces Catholic Adoption Closure

Adoption and foster services through Catholic Charities of Buffalo are ending because state rules do not allow the agency to maintain its practice of only placing children in homes with a mother and a father. “Because Catholic Charities cannot simultaneously comply with state regulations and conform to the teaching of the Catholic Church on the…Read More

Opinion: Should Oklahoma Kill the Primary Runoff?

August will be a pivotal month for Oklahoma politics, with likely a record number of candidates facing off in runoff primary elections. Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians will decide their nominees on Aug. 28 in nine statewide races and more than two dozen legislative and congressional contests. But if the past is any indication, far fewer…Read More

Doctors Want Stricter Rules on Medical Marijuana

Two medical professionals — one a former state representative — told a legislative working group Wednesday that they favor stricter medical marijuana regulations. But 11 residents who addressed the working group in public comments afterward contended that the physicians’ comments prove they simply aren’t knowledgeable about the benefits of cannabis. Former Rep. Doug Cox, a…Read More

Marijuana State Question Can’t Make November Ballot

Two proposed state questions concerning legalized marijuana will not make the November general election ballot, Secretary of State James Williamson confirmed Tuesday, even if the petitions have enough signatures. “The biggest impediment was clearly the publication notice which requires 10 business days,” Williamson said Tuesday, acknowledging that time no longer remains before Aug. 27, the…Read More

Bipartisan Coalition Leads Effort to Reduce Sentences

A bipartisan coalition is campaigning to reduce the sentences for dozens of people serving time for crimes that no longer carry such severe punishments following criminal justice reform efforts in Oklahoma. Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, a group of law enforcement, lawmakers and business and community leaders, is assisting with what the group considers to…Read More

Russell Participates in Roundtable Discussion on DACA

Congressman Steve Russell joined a roundtable discussion in Oklahoma City Thursday focused on the future of DACA recipients. Russell supports a permanent solution from Congress to keep the DACA program going and preventing the deportation of thousands of people who were brought to the U.S. by their families without documentation. The discussion was held by…Read More

OU, OSU: No Medical Marijuana on Campus

Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma are telling students that even if they become licensed medical marijuana patients in the state’s new legal program, they may not possess or use marijuana on campus. According to a joint news release from OSU and OU, it is because the schools receive federal funding that they…Read More

Cannabis Activists Allege Fake Petition Numbers

The campaign gathering signatures to put recreational marijuana on the ballot grossly inflated its totals in the weeks before turning them over to state officials, a former Green the Vote board member said Monday. Dody Sullivan, who said she left the organization a week ago, said the signature count for State Question 797 on July…Read More

Ballot Question Will Change School Funding Regs

A state question approved by the legislature that would allow school districts to use property tax revenue for teacher pay will be on the November ballot. On Thursday, Gov. Fallin issued an election proclamation that places State Question 801 on the November ballot. State Question 801 would give local school boards the flexibility and options…Read More

Oklahoma Celebrates First Feast Day of Blessed Stanley Rother

On Saturday, parishes across Oklahoma will celebrate the first feast day of the first U.S. born martyr, Blessed Stanley Rother, marking the 37 anniversary of his death. Special masses, relic veneration services, and other events will take place throughout the Oklahoma City-area on the weekend of July 28. Catholics from Guatemala, where Rother served as…Read More

Lankford Joins Senators in Urging President to Keep Families Together

U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), James Lankford (R-OK), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Susan Collins (R-ME) today sent a letter to President Trump, signed by a bipartisan group of more than two dozen senators, stating that the default position of the United States should be to keep families together. The letter is the first bipartisan statement…Read More

Study: Poll Showing Support for Roe v. Wade Is Misleading

A recent poll suggesting widespread support for Roe v. Wade fails to account for the misinformation surrounding the 1973 Supreme Court decision, said the head of a prominent pro-life group this week. “Polling can only be as accurate as the information available to respondents,” said Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of the pro-life group Americans United for…Read More

Recreational Marijuana Unlikely to Make Nov. Ballot

It is highly unlikely that two additional marijuana state questions will make the Nov. 6 general election ballot, Oklahoma Secretary of State James Williamson said Monday. State law allows for a protest to be filed with the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and “if a protest is filed, it is virtually impossible,” he said. State Question 796…Read More

Judge: Catholic Agency Must Adopt to Same-sex Couples

A federal judge has swept away claims of religious discrimination by plaintiffs including Catholic Social Services of the Philadelphia Archdiocese and ruled the church agency must provide home assessments for same-sex couples wishing to provide foster care for at-risk children in Philadelphia. The Catholic agency’s leadership testified in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia that doing…Read More

Tenn. Bishops Speak Out Against Executions

The bishops of Tennessee issued a letter to the state’s governor Friday, encouraging him to halt upcoming executions expected to use a controversial three-drug lethal injection. “It is within your power to establish your legacy as a governor of Tennessee who did not preside over an execution on your watch,” the bishops wrote July 13…Read More

5th Circuit Blocks Order Against TX Catholic Conference

A federal court of appeals sided with the Texas Catholic bishops in a July 15 ruling blocking a request from abortion groups to access the bishops’ private communications regarding abortion. “Hitting churches with subpoenas to win the culture wars was a bad idea from the start,” said Eric Rassbach, vice president and senior counsel at Becket, which represents the…Read More

House Committee Moves to Protect Faith-based Adoption

The House Appropriations Committee moved to protect the conscience rights and religious freedom of faith-based adoption agencies on Wednesday. The committee adopted an amendment to an upcoming funding bill that would preserve federal funding for agencies who do not want to place children with same-sex couples. The amendment was introduced by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL).…Read More

Fallin Approves Controversial Rules on Medical Marijuana

Gov. Mary Fallin has signed emergency rules regulating Oklahoma’s medical marijuana industry a day after they were introduced by the State Board of Health. Although the industry said more regulations were needed to ensure the new law could be effectively implemented, her decision Wednesday set off a firestorm of commentary about controversial provisions that were…Read More

Confirmation Battle Heats Up Over Kavanaugh for SCOTUS

President Donald Trump chose Brett Kavanaugh, a solidly conservative, politically connected judge, for the Supreme Court, setting up a ferocious confirmation battle with Democrats as he seeks to shift the nation’s highest court ever further to the right. A favorite of the Republican legal establishment in Washington, Kavanaugh, 53, is a former law clerk for…Read More

Trump Promises SCOTUS Nominee on July 9th

President Trump says he will begin interviewing potential Supreme Court justices today and that he intends to officially nominate his candidate to the nation’s highest court in just one week. If this timeline plays out, Mr. Trump will have named his nominee ahead of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, which goes into effect on July 31.…Read More

Justice Kennedy’s Retirement and the Future of Roe

As if this week’s elections were not enough for political intrigue, on Wednesday Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement for the U.S. Supreme Court. This eventuality had been rumored for more than a year. His departure sets up a cataclysmic battle in the U.S. Senate over the confirmation of President Trump’s nominee, which has the…Read More

SQ788 Passes Overwhelmingly, Time for Regulations

The big story from the June 26th primary was the overwhelming approval by voters of SQ788. We had hopes that the swing by Republican voters in the last few weeks would push numbers into the ‘no’ category. But there was no way to model for the deluge of voters who showed up to vote on…Read More

Supreme Court Protects Calif. Pregnancy Centers’ Free Speech

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 protecting a pregnancy center’s right to serve women and children according to their religious mission. In National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra, the pregnancy centers pushed back against a 2015 California law that targeted pro-life clinics, forcing them to advertise messaging regarding abortion…Read More

US Bishops Call for Protection of Immigrant Families, Dreamers

The United States bishops have asked Congress to compromise on immigration reform to give legal protections for undocumented youth, known as “Dreamers,” and ensure respect for human dignity and families at U.S. borders. A June 19 letter to the House of Representatives stated that the bishops cannot endorse changes to the immigration system that “detrimentally…Read More

Pope Francis Likens Abortion to Nazi Eugenics

Pope Francis likened abortion to Nazi eugenics practiced “with white gloves,” and said the only real families are those based on marriage between a man and a woman, using uncharacteristically blunt language on two controversial moral issues. Addressing an Italian family association on Saturday, the pope equated the contemporary termination of pregnancies in response to…Read More

Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk: The Smoke over Medical Marijuana

A comprehensive 2015 scientific review found medical marijuana to be useful only for a small number of medical conditions. Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, an international team of researchers found scant evidence to support broad claims for the drug’s effectiveness. Although clinical trials showed that chronic neuropathic pain and cancer-related pain could…Read More