ACLU Sues Catholic Hospitals
Catholic hospitals' refusal to perform birth control services that run counter to the Church's beliefs came under fire from the American Civil Liberties Union this week as it launched a lawsuit aimed at compelling these institutions to comply with federal policy on this subject.
"We're taking a stand today to fight for pregnant women who are denied potentially life-saving care because doctors are forced to follow religious directives rather than best medical practices," Brooke Tucker, an ACLU attorney, said. "That the Catholic Church considers abortion and sterilization intrinsically evil must not be allowed to grant them an exemption from abiding by rules laid down by the Affordable Care Act."
Tucker dismissed First Amendment objections to the federal rules as "misguided. The First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom pertains to worship. The Catholic Church's freedom to conduct religious activities is not at issue here. What is impermissible is for the Church to impose its beliefs in the field of medical services. A person seeking medical care has a right to all the benefits and procedures guaranteed by law. Every hospital must adhere to that law. If the Church cannot follow the law it should get out of the business of operating hospitals."
In related news, claiming he is acting to implement the wishes of Pope Francis, Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill) has introduced legislation that would guarantee Obamacare to all undocumented immigrants. "The Pope made it clear that it is our moral obligation to ensure that everyone, no matter where they were born, has a right to medical care," the Congressman declared. In contrast, Gutierrez denied that his support of women's abortion rights conflicted with the Pope's position against this practice saying that, "if there is a conflict between the rights of a woman and the rights of the unborn, the woman's rights take precedence."
Kerry, Power Join Muslim Boycott of Netanyahu's UN Speech
U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power joined representatives of Muslim nations who walked out on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech. In his speech Netanyahu chastised the UN for its continued silence in the face of Iran's repeated threat to wipe Israel off the map.
The Secretary characterized his actions as "simple common sense once you look at the numbers. Israel itself has about six million Jews. Worldwide there are maybe another six million. On the other hand, there are over a billion Muslims. Siding with the larger contingent is both the more prudent and democratic option."
Ambassador Power seconded Kerry's remarks and added "while it is understandable that the Israeli Prime Minister would get worked up over the prospect of his country being wiped off the map, from a broader perspective it is not such a big issue. Israel was wiped off the map by the Romans nearly 2,000 years ago and the rest of the world got along without it until 1948. So, in that sense, the world obviously doesn't need to fret over whether the region is called Israel, Palestine, or something else."
Iran's Permanent Representative to the UN, Gholamali Khoshroo, praised Ambassador Power's "incisive depiction of both the current and historical realities" and ventured that "it is a good harbinger of the benefits to be achieved through the continued cooperation between our two nations."
Consensus for War with Russia Building
Russian intervention against opponents of the Assad government in Syria appears to have sparked a rising tide of bipartisan support for US countermeasures. Initially, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina called for the US to resist the Russian initiative by force if necessary.
Determined not to be outflanked, Democratic presidential contender, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed Fiorina by urging President Obama to establish a "no fly zone" over the rebel positions in order "to protect our investment in the anti-Assad rebels."
Sen. John McCain (R-Az) reminded everyone that "I'm the only one who has met with these rebels. Though by our standards they may not be good people, they are fighting for freedom as they see it." McCain argued for "a subtler approach. Rather than an overt 'no fly zone' why don't we just arm the rebels with Stinger missiles they could use to shoot down the Russian jets that are bombing them?"
In Congress, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif), the projected favorite to succeed Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) as Speaker of the House, endorsed the idea that "we've got to do something to counter the Russian intervention. For us to sit by idly while the President's carefully crafted Middle East policy is disrupted will do incalculable damage to our nation's credibility as the world's leading superpower."
Thus far, the only high-profile objection to going to war with Russia has come from GOP presidential contender Donald Trump who has suggested that "the Russians bombing the Islamic barbarians doesn't seem so bad. To me, Putin seems the lesser evil. I can't see fighting him to save fanatics who would behead you if they could."
In related news, Jürgen Todenhöfer, a German journalist who spent 10 days living behind ISIS lines in Syria, reports that "the terrorists are eager to carry out the largest religious cleansing operation in human history. If they get their hands on nuclear weapons they will have no hesitation in using them to unleash a nuclear tsunami against the West. This is no 'JV' team. They are dangerous and determined."
NYC Honors Rosenburgs
The New York City Council took the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ethel Rosenburg to honor her and her husband Julius for demonstrating "great bravery." The Rosenburgs were executed for treason in 1953 after they were convicted of passing atom bomb secrets to the Soviet Union.
Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Queens) averred that "it took a lot of courage for the Rosenburgs to buck the anti-communist hysteria that was sweeping the nation during the post war period. From a parochial perspective, sharing the atom bomb appears traitorous. But from a more ecumenical standpoint it can be seen as an effort to establish a balance of power between reactionary and progressive forces."
"An American monopoly in nuclear weapons would have allowed the promulgation of reactionary social policies around the world to go unchecked," Dromm maintained. "By assisting Stalin to obtain equivalent weapons the Rosenburgs helped to counter this US dominance. And as we can see today, history has vindicated their action. It's time that their sacrifice gains a measure of well-deserved recognition."
Planned Parenthood Denies Possibility of Abortion Survivors
Planned Parenthood's chief executive officer Cecile Richards told Congressional investigators that she had never heard of such a thing as an "abortion survivor," calling the concept "totally nonsensical."
"When a woman comes to us to terminate her pregnancy it would be a gross dereliction of duty if we were to permit a fetus to survive the procedure," she said. "We take every conceivable precaution to ensure that this doesn't happen."
One precaution that Richards touted as fool proof was the harvesting of organs from the fetus. "Once the fetus has been dismembered and the organs extracted there is no chance of survival," Richards pointed out. "So, in this regard, I think the videos made by the Center for Medical Progress would tend to confirm what I'm saying."
The existence of apparent abortion survivors like Gianna Jessen didn't faze Richards as she observed that "Ms. Jessen's mother was not a patient at one of our facilities. I would argue that if the abortion were performed properly, as it would have been at Planned Parenthood, Gianna wouldn't be going around today trying to undo the hard-won rights of women in America."
Richards also argued that "we wouldn't be earning over $400 million a year from abortions if we didn't do a quality job. And an outcome in which the fetus isn't terminated is not a quality job, in my opinion."
US to Close Last Uranium Plant
The Obama Administration has ordered the last remaining uranium processing facility in the United States to be closed. The final day of operations for the American Centrifuge project in Piketon, Ohio was September 30th.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) was aghast. "This is beyond belief," he asserted. "While this administration is green-lighting uranium enrichment in Iran and legitimizing 6,000 Iranian centrifuges, they're shutting down our only domestic production facility here in America."
Secretary of State John Kerry belittled Wenstrup's concern. "There are uranium processing facilities in Russia, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Holland," Kerry said. "If we need any we could always buy it from one of these other sites."
"What the Congressman is overlooking is mollifying effect this closure will have on Iran and the world," the Secretary added. "The urge of others to get into the nuclear arms racket has got to be dampened by our example. If we are winding down our program others may feel less threatened and may similarly turn away from such weapons."