OK ban on abortion procedure OK'ed by Federal judge
In 2015, the state of Oklahoma passed a new law called the Oklahoma Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. This bill was intended to ban dilation and extraction abortions, described in a story at The Washington Times as a common but controversial procedure typically used in pregnancies after 14 weeks.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Tulsa Women’s Clinic and just last week, Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong allowed the law to stand. The article said that the procedure is "typically used in pregnancies after 14 weeks." In a statement, Attorney General Mike Hunter stated, “Dismemberment abortions are barbaric, brutal and subject unborn children to more cruelty that we allow for death row inmates,” adding, “It is unconscionable to think that we would allow this practice to continue.”
The law now goes into effect, but it is unsure how long - the Oklahoma Supreme Court, as the Times states, "has blocked various anti-abortion measures in the past few years, including in April when it blocked a law that restricted access to drug-induced abortions in a 7-1 decision."
New Bible distribution rules put in place at VA hospitals
The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced new regulations regarding religious expression in the aftermath of the Peace Cross ruling in June from the U.S. Supreme Court. A Christianity Today article said that, "The VA said the case 'reaffirmed the important role religion plays in the lives of many Americans and its consistency with Constitutional principles.'"
The article states:
The revised policies “allow the inclusion in appropriate circumstances of religious content in publicly accessible displays at VA facilities.”
They also permit patients to request and be provided with sacred texts, symbols and religious literature during treatment at facilities or visits to VA chapels. And they allow the VA “to accept donations of religious literature, cards and symbols at its facilities and distribute them to VA patrons under appropriate circumstances or to a patron who requests them.”VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said, "We want to make sure that all of our Veterans and their families feel welcome at VA, no matter their religious beliefs. Protecting religious liberty is a key part of how we accomplish that goal." Mike Berry of First Liberty, which had contacted Wilkie about allowing Bibles to be part of POW/MIA remembrance displays, said, "This new VA policy is a welcome breath of fresh air...The Supreme Court recently upheld the constitutionality of religious displays with historic roots such as those commonly found in VA facilities. We commend the VA for taking this necessary and positive action.”
Over a hundred churches recognized as legal in Egypt
In 2016 in Egypt, a law had passed that promised that churches in the nation would have a smoother process to be approved by the government, and now that law may be starting to bear fruit, based on a a CBN.com story, which says that, "Since the law passed, some 1,021 have been granted permits by the committee, according to International Christian Concern."
That includes the "legalization of 127 churches which were previously being run in an illegal capacity." The article also says:
While the committee still has many churches to legalize, this is a promising start for a country in which Coptic Christians have faced fierce levels of violence and persecution for decades.
According to Persecution watchdog Open Doors USA, the country's Christians still face daily persecution from groups within the Islamic-majority population, as well as mistreatment from the government itself.
The Islamic culture "fuels discrimination and creates an environment causing the state to be reluctant to respect and enforce the fundamental rights of Christians," Open Doors explains on its Egypt fact page.The CBN article notes that prior to the passage of that 2016 law, "it was notoriously difficult to approve state approval and, therefore, congregations could find themselves at risk of prosecution." Perhaps there is now some measure of relief.