According to a recent study, around nine in ten British women who are told they are going to have a baby with Down syndrome decide to terminate the pregnancy, resulting in 1,100 abortions each year. Diagnoses of Down's have also increased significantly, from 1075 in 1989-90 to 1843 in 2007-08, due largely to the rising number of women who wait until their 30s and 40s to have children, the study reports.
Abstinence-only sex education at risk
Newsweek reports on "The Future of Abstinence" as President Obama's 2010 budget cuts funding for the Title V grant program and all abstinence-only programs. The Senate Finance Committee voted to restore funding to the budget, but the measure is unlikely to pass in the House. "The open question is whether these organizations will continue to thrive when federal funding is no longer available," says Alesha Doan, author of The Politics of Virginity: Abstinence in Sex Education (Greenwood Publishing, 2008). "What is the underlying support in society for this?" Many programs may now have to turn to private donations and funding in order to continue.
German Protestants choose first woman leader
Margot Kaessmann became the first female leader of the roughly 25 million German Protestants, and only the third female to head a major Christian church. She is a particularly controversial choice for the EKD, an umbrella group for 22 Lutheran, Reformed, and United Churches, because she is divorced, but she received 132 of 142 possible votes, and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) welcomed the choice.
"The election sends a signal to the church worldwide that God calls us to leadership without consideration of gender, color or descent," LWF general-secretary Ishmael Noko told the Ecumenical News International news agency at the synod in Ulm. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church in the United States and National Bishop Susan Johnson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada are the only other female heads of large churches.
Georgia football fans bring Bible to the stands
A month after the Catoosa County Public School District barred cheerleaders at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School (LFO) in Georgia from displaying banners decorated with Bible verses, the team's fans have taken up the eight-year-old tradition.
Calling themselves "Warriors for Christ" (a twist on the school's Warrior mascot), a group of LFO fans have held rallies, sold T-shirts, and now bring their own Bible banners to the games. The New York Times reports that the religious presence at games is even stronger than before. One cheerleader's mother called it a win for the school's Christians, noting that students "who may never have even heard these Scriptures are thinking about them and maybe going home and looking them up in their Bibles."