3 - Appeals Court rules against Little Sisters of the Poor in contraception mandate case
The mandate, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, that employers provide free contraception and drugs that could cause abortion in their health care plans, is still being contested in court, and non-profit organizations are attempting to find some relief from having to comply.
This week, the Little Sisters of the Poor received a ruling against them in the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. According to the DailySignal.com website, the organization, with is a nonprofit, religious organization that serves the elderly worldwide, must abide by the mandate. The ruling also applied to four Christian universities in Oklahoma joining them in the suit.
The judges wrote: "Although we recognize and respect the sincerity of plaintiff’s beliefs and arguments, we conclude the accommodation scheme relieves plaintiffs of their obligations under the mandate and does not substantially burden their religious exercise under [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] or infringe upon their First Amendment rights.”
Talk about a scheme - here's how the accommodation works for non-profit organizations, according to the Daily Signal website. The scheme "requires religious organizations that object to the contraception mandate to notify the Department of Health and Human Services of religious-based objections. The government will then notify the insurance company or third-party administrator, which then provides coverage directly to the employees."
Little Sisters of the Poor says that participating in this “contraceptive delivery scheme” made them complicit and thus violated their religious beliefs. Instead, the group sought to be treated the same as houses of worship, like churches, which can exclude contraceptive coverage from insurance plans.
According to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, there are 56 non-profit lawsuits against the mandate, with injunctions being granted in 23 of those, and 13 being denied. Becket Fund attorney Daniel Blomberg, said in a statement, according to the Daily Signal: “We will keep on fighting for the Little Sisters, even if that means having to go all the way to the Supreme Court.”
Also, ChristianityToday.com reports that in the coming school year, Wheaton College will not offer a student health insurance plan (SHIP) due to the federal requirement under Obamacare that the plan offer "morally objectionable" products and services—abortifacient drugs and intrauterine devices (IUDs). Earlier this month, the 7th Circuit had denied a request for a preliminary injunction to exempt the school from the mandate.
2 - Duggars' television show will not continue
Not surprisingly, the TLC cable channel announced that the reality show, "19 Kids and Counting," featuring the Duggar Family, has been cancelled, according to a report on the ChristianityToday.com website, which said that TLC also announced a new partnership with sex abuse prevention group Darkness to Light and anti-sexual violence organization RAINN to “raise awareness and educate parents and families about the issue.” The channel plans to produce a documentary, and 2 members of the Duggar family, sisters Jill and Jessa, who were molested by their older brother, will be part of it.
The unfortunate series of events leading to the cancellation of the show can be accurately traced back to the teen years of Josh Duggar, the oldest child in the family, who inappropriately touched a number of young girls, including several of his sisters. In attempting to emphasize to Josh the seriousness of these indiscretions, the parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, took him to the police. Recently, the police report was publicized, and that led to the eventual cancellation of the show.
CT reported that in a statement posted on their website, Jim Bob and Michelle thanked the film crew who’d worked on the show, which first aired in 2008.
They said, "With God’s grace and help Josh, our daughters and our entire family overcame a terrible situation, found healing and a way forward. We are so pleased with the wonderful adults they have all become,” adding, "It is our prayer that the painful situation our family went through many years ago can point people toward faith in God and help others who also have lived through similar dark situations to find help, hope and healing, as well.”
1 - Planned Parenthood exposed for profiting from pre-born babies' bodies, lawmakers vow to investigate
Despite attempts by the nation's largest abortion provider to spin the story otherwise, members of Congress are calling for an investigation of Planned Parenthood after an undercover video was revealed, showing senior director of medical research at Planned Parenthood, Deborah Nucatola, discussing how to maintain parts of a fetus for medical research during abortion procedures, according to a report on the ChristianHeadlines.com website, publishing a report from Religion News Service.
According to the site, the video was made by the Center for Medical Progress, which used two actors posing as employees at a biotech firm who met with Nucatola over lunch to discuss how to access the fetal tissue for research purposes. The center calls itself a group of citizen journalists dedicated to exposing injustices in the medical field.
The article says that the Center for Medical Progress’ two main claims are that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue to medical researchers and that the abortion rights group violates the Partial-Birth Abortion Act, which prohibits late-term abortions and certain procedures. Planned Parenthood says neither claim is true.
Now, it appears Congress will look into the matter. House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday that a congressional committee would investigate the claims. He is quoted as saying, "When anyone diminishes an unborn child, we are all hurt, irreversibly so,” adding, “When an organization
monetizes an unborn child – and with the cavalier attitude portrayed in this horrific video – we must all act.”