California Gov. Gavin Newsom sued over banning Bible studies, a victory for religious liberty in New York (and other stories)

Another roundup of culture war news from around the interwebs:

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According to Vice, the demand for at-home abortions spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Between March 20 and April 11, Aid Access, an organization that ships abortion-inducing pills across the United States, saw a 27% spike in the rate of requests for the pills, a team of researchers led by the University of Texas at Austin found in a study released Tuesday. During that time period, Aid Access would normally expect to field about 2,638 requests for abortion-inducing pills. Instead, it received 3,343 requests.

The 11 states that saw what the team called “significant increase” in requests all tended to have either particularly high rates of COVID-19 — like New York and Washington state — or tried to use the coronavirus as a reason to impose restrictions on people’s ability to access abortions in clinics. In Texas, where government officials successfully banned almost all abortions for a time, requests for abortions rose by nearly 94%.

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First Things excerpted Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion in the Supreme Court’s May 28 decision in Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, which declined to review a pro-life law in Indiana that banned abortion on the basis of race, sex, or disability:

This case highlights the fact that abortion is an act rife with the potential for eugenic manipulation. From the beginning, birth control and abortion were promoted as means of effectuating eugenics. Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was particularly open about the fact that birth control could be used for eugenic purposes. These arguments about the eugenic potential for birth control apply with even greater force to abortion, which can be used to target specific children with unwanted characteristics. Even after World War II, future Planned Parenthood President Alan Guttmacher and other abortion advocates endorsed abortion for eugenic reasons and promoted it as a means of controlling the population and improving its quality. As explained below, a growing body of evidence suggests that eugenic goals are already being realized through abortion.

Like many elites of her day, Sanger accepted that eugenics was “the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems.” She agreed with eugenicists that “the unbalance between the birth rate of the ‘unfit’ and the ‘fit’” was “the greatest present menace to civilization.” Particularly “in a democracy like that of the United States,” where “[e]quality of political power has . . . been bestowed upon the lowest elements of our population,” Sanger worried that “reckless spawning carries with it the seeds of destruction.”

Read the whole thing.

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On that note, CNN recently reported that at long last, elements of racist and Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s legacy are finally be examined more closely:

On Tuesday, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York (PPGNY) announced that it would be removing Sanger’s name from their Manhattan Health Center.

“The removal of Margaret Sanger’s name from our building is both a necessary and overdue step to reckon with our legacy and acknowledge Planned Parenthood’s contributions to historical reproductive harm within communities of color,” said Karen Seltzer, the chair of PPGNY’s board. “Margaret Sanger’s concerns and advocacy for reproductive health have been clearly documented, but so too has her racist legacy.”

Apparently a new name will be announced soon. Of course, that won’t change the fact that untold thousands of African American baby boys and girls die horribly in Planned Parenthood clinics.

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More good news for religious liberty, this time in New York, of all places. From The Christian Post:

An appeals court has revived a Christian adoption agency’s lawsuit against officials in New York state who are seeking to force the charity to place children with unmarried and same-sex couples instead of referring them to other providers. New Hope Family Services filed a lawsuit against state officials after it was told that its policy of only placing children in married heterosexual homes violated a 2013 state law.

In 2018, New York’s Office of Children and Family Services concluded that New Hope violated a 2013 state law prohibiting discrimination against applicants for adoption services on the basis of sexual orientation and marital status. A three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Tuesday to send the case back down to the district court, ruling in favor of the Christian charity.

Circuit Judge Reena Raggi authored the panel opinion, writing that New Hope had a valid “suspicion of religious animosity” in light of how state law was being used against the Christian adoption agency. “… for New Hope to continue its adoption ministry in New York, OCFS insisted that it ‘compromise’ — i.e., abandon — its own religious views about family and marriage and subscribe to the state’s orthodoxy on such matters,” wrote Raggi. “Construed in this light, the allegations cannot be dismissed for failing to state a plausible Free Exercise claim.”

A similar case out of Philadelphia will be heard at the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Another Democratic politician is clashing with religious people over pandemic restrictions:

A California church filed a federal lawsuit Saturday challenging the state’s restrictions on houses of worship, including what the suit says is a ban on “in-home Bible studies.” At issue are prohibitions by Gov. Gavin Newsom and state officials on “in-person religious gatherings” in 30 counties, as well as bans on corporate singing statewide. 

Liberty Counsel filed the suit on behalf of Harvest Rock Church and an associated organization, Harvest International Ministry. Each is headquartered in Pasadena. Harvest Rock has multiple campuses.  Harvest Church requires masks, takes temperatures of attendees and requires the proper social distancing, the lawsuit says. Despite that, the state has imposed a “total prohibition” on religious activities, thus violating its constitutionally protected freedoms of religion, speech and assembly, the suit alleges.

“While the Governor has unilaterally and significantly restricted the number of individuals permitted to ‘gather’ in Plaintiffs’ churches, he has imposed no similar restrictions on the untold thousands of protesters who have gathered all throughout California cities with no threat of criminal sanction, and no social distancing or restrictions whatsoever.” the suit says. “And, the Governor explicitly encouraged such large gatherings of protesters while condemning churches for singing hymns in their churches.”

The hypocrisy of permitting enormous protests while banning religious gatherings—as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio did when he supported protests while condemning the city’s Jews—has gutted the government’s credibility. Preferential treatment destroys public trust.

 

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