Documents released yesterday show that Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York authorized payments, some as much as $20,000, to priests who sexually abused children as a means of encouraging them to leave the ministry. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) announced the findings after discovering them in the minutes of a Milwaukee archdiocese finance council meeting held in March 2003. The archdiocese called the payments "signing bonuses."
In a press release, SNAP wrote "We know, incontrovertibly, that while Dolan was claiming to heal the Milwaukee Church of the sexual abuse scandal he was instead running a shadow operation to pay off priests who had raped, sexually assaulted or abused children so that they could quietly take this money and disappear into the community unprosecuted, undetected, and unrepentant."
According to the meeting minutes, priests were offered the payouts if they agreed to undergo laicization, "the process of turning an ordained priest into a lay person." Priests were offered $10,000 at the start of the process and another $10,000 at the end. They were also given $1,250 in monthly pension benefits and health insurance until they found new jobs.
Media Resources: Reuters 5/31/12; NPR 5/31/12; SNAP Press Release 5/31/12; New York Times 5/30/12
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
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10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
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Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .