Yesterday Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was elected to replace Pope Benedict XVI.
After two days of discussion, the conclave announced that they had selected Cardinal Bergoglio to lead the Catholic Church and assume the name Pope Francis. He is the first Latin American pope, as well as the first Pope selected from outside Europe in more than a millennium.
Despite being lauded as a champion for social justice and the poor, Pope Francis shares the very conservative social views of his predecessor. Vocal in his opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage, and the ordination of women, Pope Francis frequently came into conflict with the Argentine government. During the debate to legalize same-sex marriage in Argentina, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner criticized the then-Cardinal, "It's worrisome to hear phrases such as 'war of God' and 'projects of the devil,' which are things that send us back to medieval times and the Inquisition."
Pope Francis takes the helm of the church amid scandal of the previous Pope's involvement in cases of priest pedophilia and corruption within the Vatican. During his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI came under scrutiny for the Vatican's handling of sexual abuse by priests in the United States and throughout Europe. In 2011, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Survivor Network of Those Abused By Priests (SNAP) filed a case against the pontiff in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity in a cover up by Vatican leadership in cases of sexual abuse of children by priests. In addition, the Vatican came under financial scrutiny in 2012 when the Pope's personal butler released private documents of the pontiff in an attempt to expose the corruption of the church.
Media Resources: New York Times 3/13/2013; Washington Post 3/13/2013; Feminist Newswire 2/12/2013, 7/15/2010
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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. . . .