Supreme Court won't hear appeal of Indiana abortion law
The Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear the appeal over an Indiana law requiring women to get counseling in person 18 hours before they undergo an abortion.
That means the law will immediately go into effect, though it was passed eight years ago. The Supreme Court's denial of certiorari lets stand a 2-1 decision from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the law.
"For the first time abortion providers in Indiana will be required to give women information about the risks," Mike Fichter, executive director of Indiana Right to Life, tells the Associated Press. "We're glad that the court battles look like they're finally over."
Ah, but they're never over, Mr. Fichter. Even this case was in many ways a rehash: in 1992, the Supreme Court's Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision allowed mandatory in-person counseling. And a rehash of the debate over Indiana's law is in the works. "Some [abortion] providers began adjusting their operations immediately, but they also are considering an appeal of the law in state court, The Indianapolis Star reports. "The decision on a new legal challenge under the state constitution could be made by early next week."
In the meantime, however, the abortion lobby is seething. "Obviously we're disappointed," Center for Reproductive Rights attorney Janet Crepps tells the Star. "It's not just that it will prevent some women from getting abortions at all, it will also delay a significant number of other women, and that delay could increase their risks."
One note about the counseling: a lot of it won't be from Planned Parenthood. Of the group's 38 clinics and health centers, three provide abortions, and 13 receive federal funding. Those 13 "will not offer the counseling, in order to avoid any conflict with an abortion ban covering groups that receive federal money," the Star reports.
Mississippi, Utah, Louisiana and Wisconsin similarly require women to get in-person counseling from a health care provider before getting an abortion. In Mississippi and Utah, abortions dropped 10 percent to 13 percent after they started requiring in-person counseling, opponents of the law said.
"Costco church," city strike deal
Remember the fight between Cottonwood Christian Center and Cypress, California, which wanted to force the church to make way for a Costco? The two sides finally worked out a deal, the Los Angeles Times reports. "In a three-way agreement made final by a unanimous vote of the city council on Monday, Cottonwood agreed to sell 18 acres of coveted redevelopment land to Cypress for $18.8 million, resulting in a profit of about $5.3 million. With that money, the church will purchase 29 acres nearby for $17 million," writes William Lobdell.
"The way I see it is nothing short of miraculous," Cottonwood Senior Pastor Bayless Conley says.
War with Iraq:
- Williams worried by leaders' religious rhetoric | The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, warned President Bush and Tony Blair yesterday against using religious language to justify war against Iraq (The Daily Telegraph, London)
- Clergy gather to say Iraq intervention wrong for now | More than 30 leaders of different religious faiths and denominations gathered (The Commercial Appeal, Memphis)
- Congregations torn over war | Views of churches, members are divided (The Argus, Fremont, Calif.)
- Faith in the shadow of war | U.S. troops in Kuwait find themselves turning to their God (San Francisco Chronicle)
- Pastor arranges ride into Baghdad | Five Christian Peacemaker Team delegates in Iraq (Daily Record, Parsippany, NJ)
- Threat of Iraq war draws world leaders, with different views, to the Pope's door | In the process, world leaders are demonstrating a faith, or at least hope, in the power of the pope to sway international opinion (The New York Times)
- Pope appeals to Blair against Iraq war | "The Holy Father expressed hope that, in solving the grave situation in Iraq, every effort is made to avoid new divisions in the world," says Vatican spokesman (Associated Press)ons of this world again regard war as an acceptable instrument of foreign policy" (Associated Press)
- The Pope's disapproval worries Blair more than marchers | The Prime Minister's robust Christian convictions and his readiness to take military action have always been intimately linked in his own mind (Matthew d'Ancona, The Daily Telegraph, London)
- World Council of Churches calls Iraq war 'immoral and unwise' | In a statement, the executive committee of the World Council of Churches said it "strongly deplores the fact that the most powerful nations of this world again regard war as an acceptable instrument of foreign policy." (Associated Press)
Faith within the armed forces:
- Soldiers reaffirm their faith before test of war | Ultimate questions of faith have become much more immediate for the soldiers at Fort Campbell Army post (The Tennesssean, Nashville)
- In uncertain times, soldiers find faith (The Fayetteville [N.C.] Observer)
- Almighty rhetoric is eerily similar when it comes to the Lord | God must be on the side of the just, but which side that is is the sticking point (Paul McGeough, The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Farrakhan condemns Bush | "I want to say to President Bush that you are a radical who has hijacked Christianity," he tells black church leaders. "The preachers have always been apologetic for the evils of the white people." (Chicago Sun-Times)
- Seeing God as 'a kind of mascot' | Biblical imagery nothing new for U.S. presidents But Bush critics say he's gone to far with `good vs. evil' (Bruce Nolan, Toronto Star)
- A president's call to prayer | Most Americans appear to appreciate the president's comforting words, drawn easily from his faith (Suzanne Fields, The Washington Times)
- Government may team up with churches to help elderly | Polk County's Elderly Services Division is trying to enlist churches and other religious organizations to join a program that would connect volunteers and the elderly or disabled who need occasional assistance (The Ledger, Lakeland, Fla.)
- Raze the church/state wall? Heaven help us! | With Bush's initiatives, the wall between church and state would become a mere historical marker where separation was once maintained (Jonathan Turley, Los Angeles Times)
- The ministry behind president's drug program | Bush's plan enters gray area between church, state (San Francisco Chronicle/The New York Times)
- Choice and charity | To wholly ignore the significance of faith during recovery would be a sterile interpretation of complex human needs (The Washington Times)
Politics and law:
- Religion and medicine don't mix on fed panel | David Hager is a frightening choice for more than his simple opposition to abortion under any circumstances (Editorial, The Seattle Times)
- Forefathers' belief in God is the foundation of democracy in America | The greatest strength of American democracy lies not in the nation's economics, but in the morals and ethics of its people. (Jerry Fortunato, Philadelphia Daily News)
- Clone claim produces flurry of bills | At least 48 bills to ban or to regulate cloning have been introduced in state legislatures and Congress since the Raelians' announcement in late December (USA Today)
- Also: States address cloning (USA Today)
- Black crosses hang over match | A group of church leaders mounted a protest against the oppressive regime of President Robert Mugabe at the start of Australia's World Cup cricket match with Zimbabwe at the Queens Sports Club ground yesterday (The Australian)
- Also: Protesters pray as long-suffering people await guests (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Dance parties cause rift in church | The problems center on a church-affiliated dance group, the St. John's Divine Rhythm Society, and allegations that it condoned—if not promoted—illegal drug use at a series of all-night parties modeled after raves (Associated Press)
- Churches warned of e-mail scams | The Secret Service is warning local churches that con artists are targeting them via e-mail addresses (Pasadena [Calif.] Star-News)
- Dog-collared | Employment is a real issue now facing the church (Editorial, The Times, London)
- Church sees less as more | Members of Heritage Free Methodist Church have turned a double-wide mobile home into a house of worship (San Antonio Express-News)
- Tornado-hit church moves on, but can't forget Palm Sunday | Goshen members look to sky in spring, back nearly nine years (The Huntsville [Ala.] Times)
- Area churches find new way to share faith | Area churches to attend Alpha conference in Richmond next week (The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va.)
- Prayerfest turnout fails to deter pastor | Testimonies and singing fill the three-hour event. About 10 attend (The Press-Enterprise, inland California)
- Thanks for the rain, hold the flood | From the paddocks to the pulpits, country people have been praying for rain for years and it was time for the congregation of seven at Ilford to say thank you (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Bishop's appointment riles Kannadigas | Complain that they're left out of church leadership (KeralaNext)
- Christian TV show wins Telly Awards | Baptist Press's "Truthquest: California" featured young Christians mixing it up in physical challenges and unusual ministry groups (The Jackson [Tenn.] Sun)
- Ofcom to probe religious programming | Ofcom, the new TV and telecommunications regulator, is expected to launch a fresh investigation into the commitment to religious programming on ITV and Channel 4. (The Guardian, London)
- Catholic Church edits encyclopedia | When the New Catholic Encyclopedia was issued in 1967, rapidly evolving events made it out of date almost immediately (Associated Press)
- Doctor calls on Jesus to deliver USA from the hamburger | Drawing on the inspiration of loaves, fishes, water and wine, a doctor from Florida has published a self-help manual, What Would Jesus Eat?, and a companion volume, the What Would Jesus Eat Cook Book (The Daily Telegraph, London)
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