What to know about Oklahoma’s redistricting process as Census delays create complications

One of the most important issues Oklahoma lawmakers face this year is redrawing the state’s congressional and legislative districts for the next decade. But it’s likely the redistricting process won’t be complete during the regular legislative session that runs from February through May. Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, predicted it could take months…Read More

South Carolina Legislature Passes Bill to Ban Abortions When Unborn Baby’s Heartbeat Begins

A South Carolina bill that bans abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable may become law this week. WMBF News reports the state House passed the South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act in a 79-35 vote Wednesday following its approval in the state Senate in late January. The pro-life bill prohibits abortions…Read More

New York’s commercial surrogacy legalization will exploit women, critics say

New York state this week legalized commercial surrogacy, prompting concerns about the exploitation of women and commodification of children. The law, passed during April 2020, took effect Feb. 15. Prior to the law’s implementation, New York was one of only a few states including Louisiana, Nebraska and Michigan that did not allow commercial surrogacy. The…Read More

Effort to ease public-school transfers advances

Legislation to ease the state’s open-transfer process for students wanting to attend another public-school district has gained committee approval. The legislation was prompted, in part, by the refusal of several major school districts to provide parents with the option of full-time, in-person instruction. “I would support this policy no matter what year, but I think…Read More

Schools use parents’ tax dollars to fight pro-parent bill

Fed up with local school boards that have been unresponsive to parental requests for full-time, in-person student instruction, parents across Oklahoma have urged state lawmakers to change Oklahoma law to allow recall elections for school-board members. While parents anticipated opposition to that effort, few expected to have their own education taxes diverted from the classroom…Read More

Democrats Block the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Bill

For the third year in a row, Senate Democrats have blocked a bill that would require doctors to care for newborn infants who survive an attempted abortion procedure. Late Thursday night, the Senate voted on an amendment from Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) containing his Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which he has introduced each…Read More

Texas judge extends suspension of Biden deportation moratorium plan

A federal judge in Texas extended the suspension of President Biden’s 100-day moratorium on deportation through Feb. 23. U.S. District Court Judge Drew Tipton in the Southern District of Texas extended his suspension of the White House’s deportation moratorium for 14 days, which the judge says will give parties more time to “provide for a…Read More

Movement to ‘Fund Students Instead of Systems’ Hits 21 States

West Virginia legislators have introduced a bill to secure direct funding to students through Education Savings Accounts (ESA). Education Savings Accounts allow parents to use money set aside for their child on many different possible approved K-12 expenses, including private school tuition, technology, home tutoring, and online schools. Garrett Ballengee, executive director of the Cardinal…Read More

OSDE directs teachers to controversial organization

During the week of the 2020 presidential election, the official Facebook page of the Oklahoma State Department of Education encouraged teachers to use materials produced by an organization that critics say has actively worked to brand orthodox Christians and mainstream conservative organizations as “hate groups.” On Nov. 3, 2020, the Oklahoma State Department of Education…Read More

Supreme Court rules California must allow churches to reopen at 25% occupancy

The Supreme Court issued a ruling late last Friday night that California must immediately allow churches to reopen at 25% of occupancy — ending the state’s ban on indoor worship. The court’s splintered ruling leaves in place some of California’s restrictions, like a ban on singing during worship. Justice Neil Gorsuch noted that California favors…Read More

Virginia House advances bill repealing protections for faith-based adoption agencies

The Virginia House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill to remove conscience protections for child-placing agencies, prompting worry that the state’s Catholic adoption and foster care agencies could be forced to shut down because of their views on marriage. HB 1932 would repeal a section of the Code of Virginia which reads, in part:…Read More

CDC: Schools Can Reopen Safely Without Vaccinating Teachers Against COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reiterated on Wednesday that schools can safely reopen even if teachers are not vaccinated against COVID-19. Last week the CDC weighed into the ongoing debate over whether to reopen schools for in-person instruction, noting that schools that are currently welcoming students into classrooms with certain safety precautions…Read More

Oklahoma Senate panel approves 4 abortion bills, rejects 1

An Oklahoma Senate panel approved four anti-abortion bills on Wednesday but defeated one far-reaching abortion measure that would give a fetus equal protection under the law. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved a so-called ” trigger bill ” that would make abortion illegal in Oklahoma if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe…Read More

Oklahoma Senate Bill 704 – Sentence Enhancement Reform

Authored by Senator Dave Rader, SB704 is OCJR’s most ambitious legislation this session. SB704 has the potential to help Oklahomans serving excessive sentences for truly non-violent crimes while saving the state over $100 Million dollars over the next ten years. Oklahoma has one of the highest imprisonment rates in the country, driven by long sentences…Read More

Kansas lawmakers advance constitutional amendment to exclude ‘right to abortion’

The Kansas Senate on Jan. 28 passed a measure that, if approved by voters, would amend the state’s constitution to exclude a “right to abortion” and reserve the right to regulate abortion in the state to the legislature. The proposed “Value Them Both” amendment would codify that “the constitution of the state of Kansas does…Read More

As heartbeat bill passes key hurdle, Charleston diocese welcomes progress

A proposed South Carolina ban on abortion after an unborn child’s heartbeat can be detected has won approval from the state senate for the first time, drawing praise from the Catholic Diocese of Charleston. “The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston fully supports legal protection for unborn children, so we are extremely pleased that the South…Read More

Iowa lawmakers advance constitutional amendment to exclude ‘right to abortion’

Lawmakers in Iowa this week passed a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the state constitution which would exclude a “right to abortion” or to public funding for abortion. House Joint Resolution 5 would amend the Iowa state constitution to clarify that it “does not recognize, grant, or secure a right to abortion or require…Read More

Despite being virtual, “Rose Day” hopes to make a difference

‘Rose Day,” a series of activities aimed at promoting and supporting anti-abortion legislation in Oklahoma, will be virtual this year. Brian Hobbs, Rose Day committee chairman, said the 2021 rally will be a video livestreamed program at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday but instead of taking place at the state Capitol, Oklahomans are being encouraged to…Read More

Courts side with Catholic groups over transgender mandate

Last week, a federal ruling in North Dakota flew under the radar that allows Catholic medical professionals, hospitals and organizations the right to refuse performing or providing insurance coverage for gender transition procedures, or insurance coverage for gender transition drugs, if it violates their religious beliefs. The ruling was on a 2016 lawsuit filed by…Read More

U.S. bishops welcome Biden’s order not to release census citizenship data

The leaders of two U.S. bishops’ committees applauded President Joe Biden’s executive order reversing a policy of the previous administration that excluded unauthorized immigrants from the census count. “We welcome this return to more than a century of American precedent that ensures all residents will be counted and included in the census and apportionment,” said…Read More

Iowa Senate Passes Educational Choice Legislation

This evening, the Iowa State Senate passed SF 159 by a 26-21 vote. The legislation is a comprehensive education reform package which expands charter schools and public school open enrollment, doubles the tuition tax credit for parents, and creates an Education Savings Account program which will allow families to customize their child’s education. Statement from…Read More

Senators speak out for the unborn on the day before the March for Life

The day before the March for Life, several senators emphasized protecting the human dignity of the unborn. In remarks on the Senate floor on Thursday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said that “being pro-life isn’t just the right to be born; it also means the right to live and to thrive,” arguing that policies like an…Read More

Appeals court rules on California churches that challenged Covid restrictions

An appeals court last week ruled for a second time against a California church which challenged the state’s rules barring in-person worship services for much of the state, deciding that a total ban on indoor worship services in most areas of the state is justified to block the spread of coronavirus. The same court ruled…Read More

Pro-Lifers Pleasantly Surprised at Kentucky’s Enactment of ‘Born-Alive’ Bill

A Kentucky bill requiring appropriate medical care for babies surviving attempted abortions became law on Friday. Gov. Andy Bashear, D, neither signed nor vetoed the “Born-Alive” bill that passed the state legislature. The bill, SB9, requires that infants who are born alive after an attempted abortion be given appropriate medical care. Kentucky’s legislature passed the…Read More

Sens. Lankford, Inhofe Pledge Support for Student’s Right to School Choice

“Every child deserves the opportunity to dream of a bright future regardless of their zip code or socioeconomic status,” said Lankford. “Students should not be limited in their educational opportunity as they wait for improvement in their local school. I support the right of every parent and student to have open access to the best classrooms that…Read More

Oklahoma school district says diploma is no indicator of learning

In a court filing, an Oklahoma school district has declared the issuance of either a passing grade or a high school diploma is not—“and never has been”—an indicator that a student mastered state-mandated core courses. Lone Grove Public Schools also stated that any court order tethering a high-school diploma to mastery of high-school core course…Read More

School choice program proves dramatic success

The “Stay in School” program launched by Gov. Kevin Stitt last summer, which used some federal COVID-19 funds for private-school scholarships, has allowed over 1,000 low-income Oklahoma students to attend private schools at substantially lower cost than what would have been spent on those same students in traditional public schools, a new report shows. “Critics…Read More

Court: Vermont can’t exclude Catholic school student from college tuition program

A federal court of appeals has sided with a Catholic high school student who challenged a State of Vermont policy that excludes students at private religious secondary schools from a no-cost college credit program. “Today’s decision levels the playing field by ensuring that Vermont parents and students who have chosen a faith-based education can enjoy…Read More

Catholic saints among those to be honored in garden of American heroes announced by Trump

The National Garden of American Heroes will include statues of many notable Catholic figures, including five saints and numerous people who are on the path to sainthood. President Donald Trump announced in an executive order Jan. 18 that a garden will be built to “reflect the awesome splendor of our country’s timeless exceptionalism,” and to…Read More

US Supreme Court directs Nevada governor to respond to Covid church limit challenge

The Supreme Court has given the governor of Nevada eight days to file a response to a church which argued that the state’s COVID-19 protocol was discriminatory against houses of worship. In an order published Jan. 11, the Supreme Court directed Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) to respond to Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley before noon on…Read More

Sen. Standridge files school choice legislation to better protect students

State Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, has filed legislation aimed at providing greater educational choice for families dealing with bullying and health issues, particularly during the pandemic. “The physical and mental health of Oklahoma students is the focus of each of these bills. We should always put children, their futures, and what their parents believe is…Read More

Biden’s Electoral College victory certified — hours after Capitol chaos

The U.S. Congress early Thursday certified the Electoral College vote that gave Democrat Joe Biden his presidential victory — after a day in Washington that was marred by pro-Trump protesters storming the U.S. Capitol. Vice President Mike Pence, who had announced he would not overturn the will of voters, confirmed the Biden victory at 3:41…Read More

Analysis: Pro-lifers will have to fight hidden abortion funding battles in the Senate

With Democrats projected to win Tuesday’s Senate races in Georgia, the political landscape for pro-lifers is now clear—they will be defending on multiple fronts against an emboldened abortion lobby. With Democrats holding 50 Senate seats plus Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote, they will have the slimmest of majorities in the Senate. While 60 votes…Read More

Catholic advocates against death penalty urge clemency for woman on federal death row

The execution date of Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row, is currently undecided. In late December a federal judge said the Justice Department unlawfully rescheduled her execution while there had already been a stay in effect, granted because one of her attorneys tested positive for the coronavirus. The federal government is appealing…Read More

Catholic bishop in Iceland appeals for lifting of 10-person Mass limit

Iceland’s only Catholic bishop has called on the government to lift the country’s 10-person limit on Mass attendance, arguing that it is an “unfair discrepancy” within the current coronavirus measures. Bishop David Tencer of Reykjavik, the country’s sole Catholic diocese, issued a statement on Jan. 4 calling for the COVID-19 restrictions to be changed “where…Read More

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Signs Bill Recognizing Humanity of Unborn Babies Killed in Abortions

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has signed into law a new pro-life bill recognizing the humanity of unborn babies killed in abortions. The legislation requires the Ohio Department of Health to establish rules for the proper and humane burial or cremation of unborn babies who are killed in abortions. It creates penalties for violations and requires…Read More

After abortion is legalized in Argentina, Catholic bishops decry chasm between politicians and the people

After the senate in Argentina legalized abortion in the early hours of Wednesday, December 30, the Argentinean Bishops’ Conference released a statement accusing the country’s political leadership of being far away from the sentiment of the people and vowed to continue working “with firmness and passion in the care and service of life.” The long-debated…Read More

Trump signs executive order expanding school choice for in person classes due to pandemic

President Trump signed an executive order Monday aimed at expanding school choice options during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing “emergency learning scholarships” for any child without access to in-person learning. The money will be offered through block grants under the Health and Human Services Department to cover tuition and fees for private or parochial schools;…Read More

Congressional COVID-19 Relief Bill Brings Urgent Aid for Catholic Schools in New York

Private Catholic schools will be eligible for federal pandemic aid through the COVID-19 relief bill approved by Congress yesterday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops confirmed today. Congress has approved $82 billion for public and private K-12 schools, and the vast majority of those federal dollars will go to a $54.3 billion fund for public…Read More

Citing timing, SCOTUS declines to allow in-person learning to resume in Kentucky

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a Kentucky Christian school’s plea to reopen for in-person learning, upholding a health order from the governor that barred in-person K-12 education in most areas until January. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s Nov. 18 executive order, which applied to both public and private schools, closed elementary, middle, and high schools…Read More

After long delay, Christian school’s application approved

After months of delay, the State Board of Education has quietly approved Christian Heritage Academy’s application to serve children who are beneficiaries of a state scholarship program. The approval was part of a consent docket voted on by board members at the group’s regular December meeting and came after an opinion by Oklahoma Attorney General…Read More

US Supreme Court: government agents violating religious liberty liable for monetary damages

Three Muslims who claim the FBI wrongly pressured them into becoming informants on Muslim communities may seek monetary damages as part of their lawsuit under a federal religious freedom law, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in a decision that strengthens legal action on religious freedom problems. “This unanimous decision from the Supreme Court makes…Read More

Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Bill to Block Abortion of Fetuses Capable of Feeling Pain

Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) introduced a bill on Wednesday that would outlaw abortions for fetuses capable of feeling pain. The pro-life group Democrats for Life in America announced the content of the bill on Facebook and in an online petition. Formally known as the Late Term Abortion Ban Act, the bill would outlaw abortion…Read More

US bishops approve use of coronavirus vaccines with ‘remote connection’ to abortion

The United States bishops’ conference has said that Catholics can take two of the three available COVID-19 vaccines, even though they were developed with a “remote connection” to “morally compromised” cell lines. In a statement released Monday, the bishops also said it is morally permissible in some circumstances to receive a third vaccine, developed in…Read More

DC archdiocese sues over Christmas Mass restrictions

The Archdiocese of Washington is suing the District of Columbia over restrictions on public worship during the coronavirus pandemic. The lawsuit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia. “From the start of the pandemic,” the lawsuit argues, “the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington has worked with the District of Columbia…Read More

Gov. Kevin Stitt announces new COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, youth sports

Gov. Kevin Stitt on Thursday announced new restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19. In a news conference at the state Capitol, Stitt detailed new limits on public gatherings and indoor sporting events. Public gatherings, including weddings, funerals and holiday parties at event centers, will be limited to 50% capacity. Churches will be exempt from…Read More

US bishops praise judge’s decision to reinstate DACA, call for path to citizenship

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) applauded a federal judge’s recent decision to restore the full Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, including the resumption of new applicants. Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville of Washington, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, praised the decision in a Dec. 8 statement. He emphasized the Church’s…Read More

Federal Executions Pit The Trump Administration Against The Catholic Church

For the ninth time in six months, the Trump administration is preparing to put a federal prisoner to death. Brandon Bernard, 40, is due to be executed Thursday evening at the U.S. Penitentiary Terre Haute in Indiana, as punishment for the murder of a young couple in Texas in 1999. The Justice Department plans another…Read More

After adding major abortion expansions, Mass. lawmakers send budget bill to governor

Legislators have sent to the Massachusetts governor a $46.2 billion full-year budget plan that includes provisions to expand access to abortion, additions which have drawn strong pro-life criticism. An amendment to the budget bill would allow 16-year-olds to obtain an abortion without parental consent, a change from the current age of 18 years. Minors under…Read More

Pro-life leaders react to Biden’s ‘extreme’ HHS pick

Pro-life leaders have warned against Joe Biden’s “aggressively pro-abortion” pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has a long track record in taking legal action against pro-life organizations. Early Monday morning, President-elect Joe Biden announced he would tap Becerra as the next Health Secretary. If confirmed, Becerra…Read More

GOP legislative leaders open to altering Oklahoma’s initiative petition process

Republican legislative leaders on Wednesday said Oklahoma’s constitution is too long and agreed they’re open to changing the state’s initiative petition process to make it harder for citizens to amend the governing document. Altering the initiative petition process could be a priority during the 2021 legislative session that begins Feb. 1, 2021, Senate Pro Tem…Read More

Attorney General: Oklahoma Department of Education acted illegally

An official opinion issued by the office of Attorney General Mike Hunter concludes the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) acted illegally when it imposed new regulations on a state scholarship program for children with special needs. To serve beneficiaries of the Lindsey Nicole Henry (LNH) Scholarships for Students with Disabilities program, the OSDE regulations…Read More

Biden admin plan takes aim at faith-based adoption agencies, to press Equality Act

Following the media’s projection of his victory in the 2020 presidential election, former Vice President Joe Biden has made “sweeping promises” to LGBT activists, according to The Associated Press. Biden, a Democrat, plans to “carry out virtually every proposal” that LGBT activists have pushed for in recent years, the AP said. Biden’s agenda includes allowing individuals…Read More

Kentucky dioceses keep Masses open despite governor’s request

Kentucky’s four Catholic dioceses will not suspend public Masses despite the governor’s request that religious services be held online only until December 13. Gov. Andy Beshear (D) requested that houses of worship stop having in-person services in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Kentucky has been experiencing a spike in the number…Read More

US Bishops announce team to address divergencies with next US President

Archbishop José Gomez said Tuesday evening that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is setting up a team to deal with policies the future president may put in place which diverge from Church teaching. He announced the move at the conclusion of the public portion of the USCCB Fall plenary assembly, which was…Read More

US Bishops renew call to stop executions

In the wake of more federal executions scheduled in coming weeks, two bishop chairmen have issued a statement calling on the Administration to act as a witness to the dignity of all human life. Archbishop Paul S Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and…Read More

Bishop Daly: Catholic schools should embrace faith, never compromise

The U.S. bishops’ new chairman-elect for Catholic education says he hopes to bring his experience as a Catholic school teacher and president, as well as pastor of two parishes, into his new position. In an increasingly secular society, when people’s lives seem more and more to lack meaning, “our schools remind us of Christ’s love…a…Read More

State board of education on shaky legal ground

One of the bright spots in Oklahoma’s education system is the Lindsey Nicole Henry (LNH) Scholarship program, which provides private-school vouchers to children with disabilities, children in the foster care system, and children adopted out of state custody. Named after former-Governor Brad Henry’s daughter, the program has more than 1,000 students and 62 schools participating.…Read More

State Education Department under fire for ‘hiding memo’ warning of illegal activity

The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) has stripped its website of a memo issued by the state attorney general, which warns that the agency has acted illegally in its administration of a state program for children with special needs. An OSDE spokesperson said the document is shielded from public view by attorney-client privilege. The…Read More

Government restrictions on religion reach new peak, Pew Research Center says

Government restrictions on religion are at their highest since tracking began in 2007, the Pew Research Center has said in its new report, finding that 56 countries reached “high” or “very high” levels of restrictions on religion in 2018. “In 2018, the global median level of government restrictions on religion – that is, laws, policies…Read More

Governor says he will work with lawmakers who want audit of Oklahoma Department of Education

Gov. Kevin Stitt is vowing to heed a call by 22 GOP lawmakers Wednesday to seek an investigative audit into state education officials’ oversight of public school cost accounting. The move comes on the heels of State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd’s recent findings, which questioned the oversight of Epic Charter Schools’ use of taxpayer…Read More

Public School Enrollment Plummets as Private Schools See Gains

Ongoing and renewed shutdowns of public schools across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in astonishing public school enrollment drops. NPR recently reported that public school districts in at least 20 states have seen shrinking numbers of students this fall, with Orange County and Miami-Dade County in Florida down 8,000 and 16,000…Read More

Planned Parenthood abandons lawsuit challenging Arizona pro-life laws

Planned Parenthood on Tuesday dropped a lawsuit challenging several abortion restrictions in Arizona, including a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions, laws that bar non-physicians from carrying out abortions, and state laws against telemedicine abortions. In a notice dated Nov. 3, Planned Parenthood Arizona voluntarily and without explanation dismissed its lawsuit against Arizona attorney…Read More

Opinion: Another flip in Oklahoma’s 5th District

Oklahoma’s 5th District representative in Washington next year will once again be a Republican, the result of a solid campaign, considerable outside financial support and perhaps a little good luck. State Sen. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City, defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Kendra Horn by 4 percentage points Tuesday, ending Horn’s tenure after one term. Horn had…Read More

Washington approves sex-ed measure, despite objection from state’s bishops

Voters in Washington approved a ballot measure that will require “comprehensive sex education” in public schools. Washington’s Catholic bishops opposed the measure. Nearly 60% of Washington voters approved the measure. The Catholic bishops in Washington said the measure promoted an educational program detrimental to young people, and contrary to the truths of human dignity, human…Read More

Despite concerns raised, New Zealand voters back assisted suicide

A strong majority of New Zealand voters approved the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia for the terminally ill Oct. 30. Foes of legalization said many voters appeared confused about the measure’s far-reaching effects and warned that the move will have consequences for the vulnerable. The nationwide referendum passed with support from 65% of voters…Read More

Opinion: Our Anti-Catholic Administrative state

Notwithstanding the all-consuming salience of the election, one day afterward the Supreme Court will consider another fateful question in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. On the surface, the case concerns a city commissioner’s candid animosity toward traditional Catholicism. But it also involves a much deeper problem—the systemic administrative slant against orthodox Americans. In Fulton, the…Read More

Citing pope’s warnings about drugs, Catholic bishops speak on ballot proposals

This Election Day, voters in multiple U.S. states will consider several proposals to legalize drugs, ranging from medical and recreational marijuana to harder drugs. Catholic bishops in several states have said voters should look to Pope Francis’ warnings that legalization is ‘highly questionable,’ as it becomes a compromise with drug addiction. The Oregon Catholic Conference…Read More

As Coloradans consider late-term abortion ban, statistics shed light on Colorado clinic

Coloradans are preparing for a ballot referendum that would ban abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy in the state. While abortion advocates argue that such abortions are “extremely rare,” statistics recorded by a longtime Colorado abortionist shed light on the late term abortions performed at one Boulder clinic. The data reveals hundreds of late-term abortions…Read More

Oklahoma lawmakers consider changing laws surrounding capital punishment as the state prepares to resume executions

It’s been five years since Oklahoma has executed a death row inmate after the botched execution of Charles Warner; now, Oklahoma lawmakers are considering making changes in capital punishment trials and the execution process. On Wednesday, several people embedded in the process spoke to the House Public Safety Committee for an interim study. “I have…Read More

Pro-life, no apologies, no partiality: Amy Coney Barrett praised on day 3 of hearings

Sen. Lindsay Graham hailed Judge Amy Coney Barrett for her convictions and religious beliefs Wednesday morning, while emphasising her ability to be an impartial judge. Graham spoke at the opening of the third day of Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I think it’s pretty clear to everybody that’s been watching…Read More

Appeals court rules against Texas ban on ‘dismemberment abortions’

A three-judge appeals court panel on Tuesday struck down a Texas law that bans dilation-and-evacuation abortions. Judge James Dennis, writing for the 2-1 majority on the 5th Circuit panel, said the Texas law “unduly burdens a woman’s constitutionally-protected right to obtain a previability abortion.” He said the law “confers no medical benefit for women patients while…Read More

Judge rules DC COVID restrictions ‘substantially burden’ religious freedom

A Protestant church suing the District of Columbia over coronavirus restrictions held an outdoor service on Sunday, following a court injunction permitting the socially-distanced service. Capitol Hill Baptist Church, which is one of the largest in Washington, DC, sued the district in September, saying that it unfairly targeted religious institutions by capping outdoor gatherings at…Read More

Federal judges decline to block New York worship restrictions

Two federal judges on Friday declined to block new restrictions on public worship in New York City, which both Catholic and Jewish leaders in the city had challenged in court. The restrictions by Gov. Andrew Cuomo cap indoor religious services in Brooklyn and Queens at 10 people in the areas deemed most seriously affected by…Read More

US Catholic bishops urge resumption of coronavirus stimulus talks

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Wednesday urged the Trump administration to resume negotiations for further COVID-19 financial relief, after President Trump reportedly ordered negotiations to cease Tuesday. The bishops on Oct. 7 urged reconsideration “in light of the acute needs of millions of Americans for immediate assistance.” “In this moment of crisis, let…Read More

Supreme Court judges say Obergefell a ‘problem’ for religious liberty

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito on Monday said that the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling is already posing problems for religious freedom. “By choosing to privilege a novel constitutional right [to same-sex marriage] over the religious liberty interests explicitly protected in the First Amendment, and by doing so undemocratically, the Court has created a problem…Read More

Catholic Mobilizing Network Lauds Denunciation of Death Penalty in “Fratelli Tutti”

In “Fratelli Tutti,” the latest papal encyclical released by Pope Francis on Oct. 4 on the topic of “fraternity and social friendship,” the Holy Father makes an unequivocal reaffirmation of the inadmissibility of capital punishment in the eyes of the Catholic Church. “There can be no stepping back from this position,” Pope Francis writes. “Social…Read More

Lankford Denounces Attacks on Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Faith

Lankford: “Faith is not something that Americans should demand nor the Senate should demand that people have to take off to be able to serve the American people.’ Senator James Lankford (R-OK) recently addressed the Senate with an impassioned affirmation of the US Constitution’s protections for all Americans to have a faith and live that…Read More

Dolan says Barrett is ‘best candidate’ for SCOTUS seat

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York called Judge Amy Coney Barrett the “best candidate” for the Supreme Court vacancy, and said she, like her potential predecessor, faces biases due to her sex, family, and faith. Speaking on his Sirius XM show “Conversations with Cardinal Dolan” on The Catholic Channel September 29, Dolan…Read More

After litigation, new HHS policy ends prohibition on abortion for undocumented minors in federal custody

Federal officials announced on Tuesday a new policy that will make it possible for undocumented teenage immigrants in federal custody to procure abortions, after nearly three years of litigation regarding the matter. In a memorandum released on Tuesday, the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said that…Read More

School district can’t hide student gender identity ‘transition’ from parents, Wis. judge says

A temporary injunction has halted the Madison School District from following gender identity guidance that critics said concealed from parents whether teachers and staff were affirming students in transgenderism. Judge Frank Remington of the Circuit Court of Dane County issued a Sept. 28 court order barring the district “from applying or enforcing any policy, guideline,…Read More

U.S. Bishops Decry Exclusion of Catholic Schools, Students in Revised HEROES Act

As soon as today, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider House Democrats’ new COVID-19 aid package, the revised Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. The bill includes $225 billion for education, including $182 billion for K-12 schools. However, the bill provides no equitable services for students in non-public schools and maintains…Read More

State may face lawsuit for anti-Christian discrimination

A member of the Oklahoma State Board of Education suggested Thursday that private schools should not be allowed to participate in a state program for children with special needs unless they substantially abandon their Christian identity. During the board’s monthly meeting, Altus Christian Academy and Christian Heritage Academy both applied to participate in the Lindsey…Read More

With schools closed, school-choice support surges

With several large Oklahoma schools remaining closed for in-person instruction, parental opposition to school closures has become more vocal as parents sign petitions and hold protests. A new national poll indicates Oklahoma parents are not alone as support for school-choice policies has surged nationwide amidst school shutdowns. The American Federation for Children, which advocates for…Read More

Trump announces ‘Born Alive’ executive order for abortion survivors

President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced an executive order that would require medical care be given to infants who are born alive after failed abortion attempts. “Today I am announcing that I will be signing the Born-Alive Executive Order to ensure that all precious babies born alive, no matter their circumstances, receive the medical care…Read More

Catholic Amy Coney Barrett front-runner as Trump signals Supreme Court nomination plans

President Donald Trump on Saturday signaled he would soon nominate a potential replacement to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last Friday evening at 87. Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a Catholic mother of seven, is widely reported to be the front-runner in the president’s deliberations regarding a nominee. “.@GOP We were…Read More

Opinion: OSF scholarships – not everyone wants the good news

Most people, one hopes, appreciated the public efforts of my colleague Rob Sellers, the executive director of the Opportunity Scholarship Fund, to inform families seeking better school options for their children about available opportunities to apply for scholarships that enable children to attend a private school. These privately funded scholarships and the organizations that administer…Read More

Court sides with Trump on right to end TPS

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit sided Sept. 14 with President Donald Trump’s plan to end a particular immigration protection status that would have allowed people from six countries that have suffered disasters to remain in the United States. The court said the president was within his rights to revoke what’s called…Read More

US bishops commend HUD plan to allow homeless shelters to serve on basis of sex

The US bishops’ conference on Friday applauded the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s proposal to allow single-sex homeless shelters to serve only those whose biological sex aligns with that of their residents. The proposal would reverse an Obama-era rule that requires single-sex homeless shelters to accommodate clients based on their gender identity. The…Read More

Petition to legalize recreational marijuana withdrawn

Proponents of an initiative petition to legalize recreational marijuana and implement sweeping criminal justice reforms say they have withdrawn the measure. Although proponents of State Question 807 were given the go-ahead to collect signatures, they say collecting the 177,958 signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot is unfeasible given the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic also…Read More

Court halts Education Department’s rule for pandemic relief money to private schools

A federal judge has blocked a rule by the Department of Education for allocating pandemic relief money to private schools. U.S. District Judge James Donato in San Francisco issued a preliminary injunction against the rule Thursday. He said the Education Department had exceeded its authority in issuing guidelines for funding distribution beyond what Congress had…Read More

Texas asks court to allow dismemberment abortion ban until further ruling

Texas officials have asked the Fifth U.S. Court of Appeals to allow the state to enforce its ban on a certain type of second-trimester abortions, pending further court decisions. The rule in question bars “dismemberment abortions,” known medically as “dilation and evacuation” abortions. The procedure uses forceps and other instruments to kill and remove the…Read More

Catholics denounce federal execution of Navajo tribe member

Catholic leaders have joined their voices with members of the Navajo Nation in opposing the Aug. 26 scheduled execution of Lezmond Mitchell, the only Native American on federal death row. “The federal government’s planned execution of Mr. Mitchell violates the Navajo Nation’s cultural values, serves as a manifestation of the racial oppression inflicted upon Native…Read More

Justice Department: Vermont college tuition program can’t exclude Catholic school student

The U.S. Department of Justice has sided with a Vermont Catholic high school student who has said a state program wrongly excluded her participation in a college credit coursework program because she attends a religious private school. The Vermont Education Agency’s Dual Enrollment Program allows high school students to take college courses with tuition paid…Read More

Infanticide ok with 90% of NICU docs and nurses in Belgian survey

A new survey of neonatal medical professionals in the Belgian region of Flanders has found that nearly nine out of ten approve of euthanizing newborn children diagnosed with serious, non-lethal, medical conditions. The article, titled, “Healthcare professionals’ attitudes towards termination of pregnancy at viable stage” was published in the journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica…Read More

US Senators issue call to end tax breaks for abortion under the guise of healthcare

Citing that abortion is not healthcare, Senator Mike Braun and Representative Warren Davidson (R-OH) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin calling for new regulations to end tax breaks for abortion under the guise of healthcare. Joining Senator Braun and Representative Davidson are 101 other signers: 22 Senators and 79 Representatives. “Abortion is not healthcare.…Read More

Nebraska passes dismemberment abortion ban

The Nebraska legislature on Thursday passed a ban on dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions in the state, a move hailed by the Nebraska Catholic Conference. “Life has won today in Nebraska. By ending dismemberment abortion, our state has demonstrated and reaffirmed its deep respect for the human dignity of preborn children and their mothers,” said…Read More

More than two dozen senators call for federal government to investigate Planned Parenthood

A group of senators is calling upon the Department of Justice and the U.S. Treasury to investigate abortion provider Planned Parenthood over its alleged misuse of coronavirus stimulus funds, with the politicians also requesting updates on the government’s investigations into Planned Parenthood’s purported sale of fetal tissue in violation of federal law. Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler…Read More

Boston archdiocese pushes back after Trump says Boston bomber ‘deserves death’

After President Donald Trump said Sunday that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, perpetrator of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, should be put to death, the Archdiocese of Boston said justice calls for life in prison, not the death penalty. “Catholic teaching does not support the taking of life as a means of achieving justice,” in Tsarnaev’s case, a…Read More

State Question 805 qualifies for November ballot

A controversial state question that would reform the state’s criminal justice system has qualified for November’s general election ballot, supporters say. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that State Question 805 qualifies for the Nov. 3 ballot because supporters gathered enough signatures. Also, the initiative petition didn’t face any challenges within the prescribed window. Supporters…Read More

US Supreme Court upholds Nevada’s coronavirus rules for houses of worship

By a 5-4 vote last Friday the Supreme Court upheld Nevada’s coronavirus regulation that limits attendance at indoor religious services to 50 persons. Some businesses in the state, such as casinos, may admit 50% of their capacity. Chief Justices John Roberts and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan decided July…Read More

OCPA Blog: OEA’s bogus math

The Oklahoma Education Association’s national parent, the National Education Association, is known for bizarre actions like working to give boys access to girls’ bathrooms and endorsing Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden. Recently the OEA added to the bizarre by trying to give the impression that public schools are receiving only half of Oklahoma’s education-related federal…Read More

Americans agree: abortion is not a ‘desirable good’

A new abortion study has revealed the complexity of Americans’ views on abortion, and an openness to discussion. But among the report’s key findings was a unanimous agreement that abortion is not a “desirable good.” The interview study “How Americans Understand Abortion” was published on Monday by the University of Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for…Read More

Transgender lawsuit against Catholic hospital cites new US Supreme Court precedent

A Catholic hospital in Maryland faces a lawsuit from a person who presents as a transgender man because it would not perform a hysterectomy on the person’s healthy uterus. The lawsuit, whose backers have for decades opposed Catholic ethics in Catholic-run hospitals, cites a 2020 Supreme Court decision that holds employment discrimination on the basis…Read More

Planned Parenthood acknowledges Margaret Sanger’s ‘racist legacy’, continues abortions

The New York affiliate of the nation’s largest abortion provider said Tuesday it will remove the name of its founder, Margaret Sanger, from its Manhattan building because of her support for eugenics. “The removal of Margaret Sanger’s name from our building is both a necessary and overdue step to reckon with our legacy and acknowledge…Read More

Education opportunity to increase statewide under Stitt plan

In an announcement that gained praise from national education leaders, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced last week he will use millions of dollars in federal COVID funds to increase educational opportunity across Oklahoma, boosting financial resources for students, families, and schools across the state. Among other things, Stitt’s plan will boost online course offerings in rural…Read More

US Catholic bishops lament end to federal limits on payday loans

The revocation of restrictions on payday lenders by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau exposes poor and vulnerable persons to ‘predatory and abusive lending practices’, the US bishops’ conference said last week. On July 7 the CFPB removed requirements that lenders ensure borrowers can repay a loan before issuing it, and limited how many successive loans…Read More

Judge shoots down Indiana abortion reporting law, upholds clinic inspection requirement

A federal judge ruled against an Indiana law requiring medical providers to inform the state if they treat any complications connected to a prior abortion. U.S. District Judge Richard Young ruled Wednesday that the law was “unconstitutionally vague.” He said the legislation was unclear about how and when doctors should report potential complications, as well…Read More

Catholic bishops join 1,000 faith leaders to oppose federal executions

Several U.S. bishops, along with clergy and religious brothers and sisters from around the country, have signed a statement opposing federal executions that are scheduled to resume this month. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Bishop William Medley of Owensboro, Kentucky, Bishop Oscar Solis of Salt Lake City, Bishop Thomas Zinkula of Davenport, Iowa, and Bishop Richard Pates…Read More

Trump to seek funds for private, religious school scholarships in COVID recovery bill

The White House plans to ask Congress to earmark money in the next stimulus bill for scholarship programs for private and religious schools, which the administration is promoting as a way to help families affected by COVID-19 pay their children’s tuition this fall. President Donald Trump will ask for a “one-time, emergency appropriation” for a…Read More

What the SCOTUS decision on anti-trafficking rules means for pro-life policies

The Supreme Court is deciding major life and religious freedom cases this term, but one less-recognized ruling could impact billions of dollars in U.S. foreign aid. In USAID v. Alliance for Open Society International, the court ruled on Monday in a 5-3 decision that foreign entities of international humanitarian organizations do not have free speech…Read More

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