Partial-birth abortion ban gets Congressional push
House Republicans are again pushing for a total ban on partial-birth abortion, the Associated Press reports.

"It's time for Congress to act and place this bill in front of the president so that we can finally end this national tragedy," says Rep. Steve Chabot, sponsor of H.R. 760. "While I expect that some of the Senate's most zealous pro-abortion advocates will again attempt to block this legislation, I am confident that we will finally be able to pass this ban into law."

House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner says House Republican leaders hope to have the bill passed before the Easter break.

But "some lawmakers hoped to counter the bill with legislation introduced Thursday that would ban the late-term abortions except when they are performed to protect the mother's life," the AP reports. Supporters of this bill say such an exception will make it more likely to stand up to a Supreme Court challenge (the court struck down a Nebraska ban on the procedure in 2000). But prolife organizations criticized this alternative bill a counterfeit when it was introduced in earlier conferences.

Yesterday, the Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee, which The Roanoke Times notes is "historically hostile to anti-abortion measures," approved a partial-birth abortion ban and a parental consent bill. "This year's legislative agenda contains 10 years worth of prolife legislation rolled into one," Delegate Richard H. Black told The Washington Times.

More life ethics news:

  • Nurse nabbed in abortion clinic shooting | Brenda Kaye Phillips, 44, of Murphy, was charged with one misdemeanor count of damage to property for shooting at the Femcare Women's Clinic early Thursday (Associated Press)

  • School pulls Granholm lunch from auction | Mercy Catholic parents protest her pro-choice stance (The Detroit News)

  • Panel approves ban on cloning | Legislation to ban human cloning for any purpose, including medical research, was approved yesterday on a party-line vote by the House Judiciary Committee (The Washington Times)

  • Advances make ban on human cloning hot issue in Congress | But because of sharp divisions within Congress and even within the parties over how sweeping a cloning ban should be, the legislation may not become law, even though virtually everyone supports some sort of a cloning prohibition (Chicago Tribune)

  • Life can win | The nation's most permissive cloning bill gets pulled (Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online)
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Pat Robertson has prostate cancer
Broadcaster Pat Robertson announced yesterday on his 700 Clubbroadcast that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will undergo surgery Monday to remove his prostate gland.

"Hopefully, I will be back up and around in two weeks and all will be well, but I would appreciate everybody's prayer," he said.

A press release on his website says that "after extensive tests, it has been determined that the cancer does not appear to have metastasized beyond the prostate."

Several media outlets note that Robertson has long been on a health kick, and one of his most recent campaigns is for "Pat's Age-Defying Protein Pancake," which he designed to "help protect against breast, uterine, and prostate cancer."

He has also written on the effects of prostate surgery.

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Church and state:

  • Pledge bill sails through House | Opponents of Senate Bill 105 have argued forcing school children to utter the pledge phrase "under God" promotes religion in violation of the principle of the separation of church and state. (The Salt Lake Tribune)

  • Also: Bill wants pledge to start each school day | Religious schools would be exempt from the requirement if administrators felt it violated their religious doctrine (Sioux City [Iowa] Journal)

  • Controversy brews over Senate prayers | For some lawmakers, the state's staggering budget deficit seemed to have taken a back seat recently to a brewing controversy over injecting the name of Jesus in the state Senate's daily opening prayers (The Gazette, Frederick County, Md.)

  • U.S. Department of Justice appeals ruling on cross | In a move that will keep the Mojave Cross up for at least a few more months, the U.S. Department of Justice appealed the ruling that declared the cross unconstitutional because it is on government-owned land (San Bernardino County Sun)

  • S.C. high court: Jurors aren't required to swear oath to God | The court ruled unanimously yesterday that Circuit Judge Marc Westbrook was wrong to dismiss a Lee County juror who said he couldn't agree to the phrase "so help you God" when taking his oath (Associated Press)

Banned Bible club approved at Colorado school:


  • Religion and jails | The Orange County Jail shouldn't have rewarded inmates for religious attendance (Editorial, The Orlando Sentinel)

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Persecution and religious freedom:

  • Turks edge toward faith freedom | Turkey gradually seems to adjust its religious freedoms to European norms as it tries to win acceptance into the European Union, a top Roman Catholic expert says (UPI)

  • Report: China detains underground priest | The Rev. Dong Yingmu, 37, was picked up in Baoding, a city in the central province of Hubei with a large underground church, said Joseph Kung, president of the Cardinal Kung Foundation (Associated Press)

  • Zimbabwe police free bishop | Bishop Trevor Manhanga and four human rights activists were arrested when police armed with batons stormed into a meeting aimed at discussing the role of the church in Zimbabwe's crisis (BBC)

Politics and law:

  • And on the 7th day, State Stores opened | Pennsylvania's age-old blue laws, it seems, are finally fading away (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • Faith can compromise presidency | Sociological studies on the nature of professional conduct in organizational settings suggest that leaders who rely on religious templates when making decisions are less likely to make good decisions than those who consult experienced authority (Paul R. Henggeler, Newsday)

  • Joe saves face | Lieberman abandons End Time Christians (Hartford Advocate)

  • Sharia law moves to Nigeria's Christian south | Islamic sharia law is making inroads into the predominantly Christian south of Nigeria at a time when religion is expected to be a crucial issue in looming general elections (Independent, South Africa)

War with Iraq:

Sexual ethics:

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Clergy sex abuse:

Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism:

  • A cudgel called fundamentalism | If you really want to stick it to someone you disapprove of -- say, President George W. Bush -- then call him a fundamentalist (Uwe Siemon-Netto, UPI)

  • Sizing up evangelicals | Fundamentalism persists but shows signs of moderation (Scientific American)

Christian growth:

Missions and ministry:

  • Slowly, Africa rethinks a tradition | Some villages stop the practice of female genital mutilation as aid workers try persuasion, not coercion (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Doan heading up Vietnam missionary work | Truc Doan, a South Vietnamese citizen who is spending a year studying at Concordia University, is also the head of the Lutheran Hour Ministries office, Voice of Hope, in Ho Chi Minh City, South Vietnam (Seward County (Neb.) Independent)

Prayer and spirituality:

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Interfaith relations:

Church life:

  • Fired pastors 'no longer a good fit' | Irreconcilable differences between the ruling elders of Covenant Presbyterian Church and its pastor and assistant pastor led to their removal last month, the chief spokesman for the governing body of regional Presbyterian churches said Thursday (Scranton (Pa.) Times Tribune)

  • Judge cautions feuding congregants | Church members warned that they could wind up in jail on contempt of court charges if they "speak out of turn" at service. (The Birmingham News)


Other stories of interest:

  • God bless Ted Turner | You might be surprised who bankrolled Gods & Generals, a film that centers on the role personal faith played in the Civil War. (Rod Dreher, National Review Online)

  • Religion news in brief | Clergy pay, N.T. Wright's new position, Methodist belt-tightening, and other stories (Associated Press)

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