Americans United for Separation of Church and State has come out against President Bush’s initiative to direct more federal funds to “faith-based” social service programs that would rally “armies of compassion,” and his plan to establish a White House Office of Faith-Based Action that will remove roadblocks religiously affiliated groups face when receiving federal money. Americans United challenges the constitutionality of Bush’s initiative and Rev. Barry Lynn, head of Americans United said, “The Constitution created a separation between religion and government. The very existence of a federal office whose principal purpose is to give tax dollars to religious groups is in an irreparable conflict with the First Amendment.”
In addition to being unconstitutional, the proposal opens the doors for employment discrimination based on religious preference or non-belief—a private religious group could receive federal funds, but could require all employees to follow the same religion as the organization. The foundation of Bush’s proposal is “charitable choice,” an idea initiated by former Sen. John Ashcroft in 1996.
Media Resources: Americans United for Separation of Church and State press release – January 25, 2001; Washington Post – January 26, 2001
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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
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.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
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. . . .