Bishops' Denial of Communion for Pro-Choice Catholics Sparks Criticism
Democrats in the House of Representatives sent a letter last week to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington criticizing the recent decision of some bishops to deny communion to pro-choice Catholics. The letter, signed by 48 Catholic House members, including some with anti-abortion voting records, warned that the Church will suffer if bishops continue to speak out against allowing pro-choice politicians or even Catholics who vote for such politicians to receive communion, according to the Washington Post.
The letter was sent to Cardinal McCarrick because he heads a task force of bishops that are considering what the Church should do about Catholic politicians whose voting records and positions on issues go against Catholic doctrine, the Post reports. Anti-abortion groups such as the National Right to Life Committee and the American Life League have been urging the tactic of denying communion for years.
The letter, written and circulated by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Nick Lampson (D-TX), states that the bishops are “allowing the church to be used for partisan purposes,” the New York Times reports. Furthermore, “…attempts by Church leaders today to influence votes by the threat of withholding a sacrament will revive latent anti-Catholic prejudice, which so many of us have worked so hard to overcome,” the Post reports.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .