“Trump Administration issues Final Rules Protecting Conscience Rights in Health Insurance”

Here is a link to a news release from HHS discussing the Final Rules issued by the Trump Administration dealing with conscience rights.  The Final Rules were issued on November 7, 2018. This is the latest development in a long running saga that goes back to the Obama Administration’s regulations that required health plans and insurers to cover all FDA-approved contraceptive methods (including methods that many view as abortifacients) and sterilization procedures. Those with conscientious objections to these requirements have challenged these mandates. These challenges led to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case. The controversy has continued and the Trump Administration has now issued final rules addressing the issue. One rule provides an exemption to entities that object on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs. The other rule extends the exemption to nonprofits and small businesses that have non-religious moral objections to covering certain services.  The final rules will take effect in January 2019.

Alabama to take dismemberment abortion case to US Supreme Court

Here is a link to a story in the National Right to Life News discussing the Alabama Attorney General’s decision to seek Supreme Court review of a federal court of appeals court decision striking down Alabama’s ban on dismemberment abortions. The case, Miller v. West Alabama Women’s Center, was decided by the Eleventh Circuit in August 2018. A concurring opinion by Judge Dubina noted his view that Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey have no basis in the Constitution.

As discussed in this article, a case involving Texas’s ban on dismemberment abortions was argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on November 5, 2018.


“Abortion cases are heading toward the Supreme Court”

Here is a link to a story in USA Today discussing the abortion cases that are working their way towards the United States Supreme Court. The article notes speculation that the Court might try to avoid the issue after the highly partisan confirmation battle over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.  Many think the Court may narrow Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey rather than overrule those decisions., at least in the near term.

The AMA and Assisted Suicide

The American Medical Association (AMA) has long opposed physician-assisted suicide. In 2016, the AMA began a process to reexamine the issue. A change in position could have far-reaching consequences because courts often rely on the views of medical societies in considering issues such as the constitutionality of laws banning assisted suicide.  In the summer of 2018, the issue was again referred to the AMA’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA). Alex Schadenberg’s recent blog post explains that the CEJA has recently issued a report recommending that the AMA retain its opposition to physician-assisted suicide.  This is very good news.

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Urges Supreme Court to Overturn Roe v. Wade

Here is a LifeNews.com report on a decision from the Alabama Supreme Court dealing with the state’s unborn victim of violence statute. Such statutes treat unborn children as “persons” and so acts that take the life of unborn children are treated as separate crimes. A person who killed a pregnant women and her unborn child would be guilty of a double murder.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Parker again urged the US Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Here is a quote from Justice Parker’s opinion:

“I concur fully with the Court’s rationale that unborn children are persons entitled to the full and equal protection of the law. I write specially to expound upon the principles presented in the main opinion and to note the continued legal anomaly and logical fallacy that is Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973); I urge the United States Supreme Court to overrule this increasingly isolated exception to the rights of unborn children.”

For more on the opinion, see this LifeNews.com story.

good column by John Conley in America magazine

Here is a link to a good column by Father John Conley SJ. The column is entitled “Can a Pro-Life Scholar Survive in Academia?” Conley discusses philosopher Stephane Mercier’s treatment by a Catholic university (Louvain) in Belgium after Mercier gave a lecture entitled “Against an Alleged Right to Choose Abortion.” Please read Father Conley’s column for the details. Here is Conley’s conclusion: “Once upon a time, academic freedom was a sacred professional privilege. It protected the right of university professors to discuss controversial matters within their field of expertise in the classroom and in print without fear of retribution. No longer, especially if you are a scholar unmasking the culture of death.”