Oklahoma voters approve Medicaid expansion at the ballot box

Oklahoma voters narrowly approved a state question to expand Medicaid to cover more low-income residents. With all precincts reporting Tuesday, State Question 802, which asked voters to expand Medicaid, passed by 6,488 votes. The question will enshrine Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma’s constitution — effectively preventing Oklahoma’s GOP-controlled Legislature and Republican governor from limiting or undoing…Read More

Supreme Court makes religious school education eligible for public aid

The Supreme Court delivered a major victory Tuesday to parents seeking state aid for their children’s religious school education. The court’s conservative majority ruled that states offering scholarships to students in private schools cannot exclude religious schools from such programs. The decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, who has joined the liberal justices in…Read More

Bishops: ‘No justice, no peace’ reflects Catholic principles for police reform

As police reform legislation is currently stuck in the Senate, leading U.S. bishops wrote members of Congress on Wednesday outlining Catholic principles of policing. Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, Bishop Mario Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington, and Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux sent a joint letter to members of Congress on Wednesday “in the…Read More

Lankford Leads Effort to Expand Federal Tax Deduction for Charitable Giving

U.S. Senator James Lankford is leading a bipartisan group of Senators hoping to expand the federal tax deduction for charitable giving. The bill is called the Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act. It expands the above-the-line deduction for donations to non-profits, houses of worship, religious organizations  and charities. “Nonprofits uphold Americans in our times of greatest…Read More

Supreme Court Rules Against Trump Administration In DACA Case

A narrowly divided Supreme Court extended Thursday a life-support line to some 650,000 so-called DREAMers, allowing them to remain safe from deportation for now, while the Trump administration jumps through the administrative hoops that the court said are required before ending the program. The vote was 5-to-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts casting the decisive…Read More

Trump calls school choice the civil rights issue of ‘all-time in this country’

President Trump on Tuesday said school choice is the civil rights issue of “all-time in this country.” Speaking to reporters while announcing an executive order on law enforcement reform, Trump said: “We’re fighting for school choice, which really is the civil rights [issue] of all-time in this country. Frankly, school choice is the civil rights…Read More

1889 Institute: America’s Public Schools Fail Black Children, School Choice Empowers Them

A consistent feature of racists through history is that they have fully understood the power of education, or the lack of education, as a tool of oppression. Extraordinary efforts were taken to keep black slaves illiterate, including killing those who deigned to learn to read. After the Civil War, black schools were frequent targets of…Read More

US Catholic bishops: Supreme Court has ‘redefined’ the meaning of ‘sex’

The president of the U.S. bishops’ conference on Monday lamented the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in a case that considered whether federal civil rights law considers sexual identity and gender identity to be covered by laws prohibiting employment discrimination based upon sex. “I am deeply concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court has effectively redefined the…Read More

Pa. Catholic Conference appeals diversion of coronavirus relief from private schools

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference is asking the U.S. Department of Education to reverse state authorities’ decisions that the conference says gives insufficient coronavirus relief funds to Catholic and other private schools. “We are appealing the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s decision because Congress was clear when it unanimously passed the CARES Act education funding,” Sean McAleer,…Read More

Sen. McConnell condemns First Amendment ‘double standard’ for churches

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that a “constitutionally dubious” double standard is being applied to religious communities and protestors during a Senate session on Tuesday. “I have no criticism for the millions of Americans who peacefully demonstrated in recent days. Their cause is beyond righteous,” said McConnell. “It is the inconsistency from leaders that…Read More

Trump signs order on international religious freedom after JPII shrine visit

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order “to advance international religious freedom,” after he visited the St John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, DC. The order calls religious freedom “a moral and national security imperative” and declares it “a foreign policy priority of the United States.” The order calls for “robust” engagement…Read More

Critics: Briefing shows ACLU has abandoned religious freedom for ‘culture wars

Longtime critics of religious freedom protections, among them the American Civil Liberties Union, have formed a partnership to oppose the Trump administration policies and actions that aim to protect several Catholic institutions. But for Matthew Franck, a Princeton University politics lecturer and senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute, this course will advance conflict and coercion,…Read More

Inhofe, Lankford want COVID-19 aid to Planned Parenthood investigated

U.S. Senators James Lankford and Jim Inhofe were upset last week because of what they say were improper COVID-related Small Business Administration loans to Planned Parenthood. On Friday, Lankford joined 32 Republican senators and more than 90 Republican House members in demanding an investigation into how 37 Planned Parenthood local affiliates were approved for $80…Read More

Planned Parenthood Admits in Court That It Sold Body Parts From Aborted Babies

The preliminary hearing for undercover journalist David Daleiden began Tuesday in California with Planned Parenthood admitting that it harvested aborted babies’ body parts and supplied them to human tissue procurement companies, according to the Center for Medical Progress. Daleiden and Sandra Merritt face 15 felony charges for invasion of privacy because they exposed the abortion…Read More

US Coronavirus Relief Bill Would Discriminate Against Private Schools

Bishop David O’Connell of Trenton lamented Thursday that the U.S. Congress’ latest coronavirus relief bill would bar private schools’ access to financial relief. The New Jersey Catholic Conference is encouraging Catholics to ask their senators and representatives to include aid for private school families in the stimulus. The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions…Read More

Oklahoma may launch marijuana breathalyzer pilot program

Oklahoma could launch a pilot program to conduct marijuana breathalyzer tests to determine if people are driving under the influence. Oklahoma’s Legislature passed legislation last week to require the Department of Public Safety use $300,000 to pay for a medical marijuana pilot program to test out marijuana breathalyzers. Rep. Scott Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee, said Oklahoma could…Read More

Bishops Bashing Pornography to Barr Have the Facts to Back It Up

On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop Paul Coakley, and Bishop David Konderla recently wrote to U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, asking him to vigorously enforce the obscenity laws. They also called upon him to launch an “investigation of pornography producers and website owners for criminality.” “The current…Read More

Hofmeister announces nearly $145 million headed to Oklahoma schools as part of CARES Act

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister announced on Monday that nearly $145 million in emergency federal relief is headed to Oklahoma school districts. The funds are Oklahoma’s portion of the $13 billion Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) designated for states after the CARES act was signed into law in March. Like…Read More

Helen Alvare: Where Are the Women?

This week’s Supreme Court argument in the Little Sisters of the Poor case featured an impassioned statement by Justice Ginsburg about contraception. Several times during the argument, she claimed that the federal regulations offering religious freedom for the Little Sisters and others “tossed to the wind” congressional intent to provide women free contraception. She invoked…Read More

White House: Planned Parenthood was excluded from COVID19 rescue funds

White House officials told Fox News on Thursday that steps were taken to ensure Planned Parenthood is excluded from the Paycheck Protection Program, which was set up to provide coronavirus relief funds to small businesses. “Through the Paycheck Protection Program, President Trump is delivering vital relief to help small businesses keep employees on payroll,” a senior…Read More

Planned Parenthood president hails ‘silver lining’ to coronavirus

Planned Parenthood’s president has hailed an increase in telehealth services, including access to chemical abortions, as a “silver lining” of the coronavirus pandemic. “It is actually a silver lining in this pandemic, that Planned Parenthood and many other health providers have actually been able to really lean into telehealth infrastructure and provide service,” said Alexis…Read More

Lankford Urges Discretion, Relief for Refugees and Immigrants During COVID-19 Crisis

Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) are urging Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf to exercise discretion and automatically extend the validity periods of critical documents for refugees and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders approved for resettlement in the United States until COVID-19…Read More

Archbishop Coakley, pro-life leaders call for coronavirus vaccine without abortion ties

Development of an effective, safe and widely available vaccine for the novel coronavirus is deeply important, but its development should avoid unethical links to abortion, said pro-life leaders in a letter to the Trump administration. “It is critically important that Americans have access to a vaccine that is produced ethically: no American should be forced…Read More

Medical groups express strong reservations about elective surgeries

The Oklahoma Hospital Association on Thursday came out against Gov. Kevin Stitt’s goal of resuming elective surgeries next week, saying the focus should remain on preserving resources to fight the pandemic. Because models are now predicting a later surge in Oklahoma hospital patients with COVID-19, “we believe it is too soon to consider resuming elective…Read More

California churches sue governor to allow public worship services amid coronavirus

Three Southern California ecclesial communities have filed a lawsuit against Governor Gavin Newsom, alleging that social distancing orders he imposed amid COVID-19 violate their first amendment right to freedom of religion. Newsom imposed a stay-at-home order for the state March 19, mandating that nonessential businesses close their doors and restricting gatherings. Newsom’s order does not…Read More

Christian leaders united in support of Oklahoma abortion order

Catholic dioceses in Oklahoma joined other Christian leaders on Monday to ask a federal court to let stand a state order halting elective abortions during the pandemic. “Abortion is not an absolute right,” said a friend-of-the-court brief filed April 6 by Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, the Diocese of…Read More

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