THE BRIEFING | More than 65,000 protesters gathered outside Planned Parenthood Clinics across the U.S. August 22. The protesters demanded the halt of government funding for the organization which performs abortions, provides birth control medications, and other women’s health services.
The protests follow the release of several videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress which show Planned Parenthood employees bargaining over the sale of aborted infants’ body parts to research facilities.
The reported 342 demonstrations were organized by the Pro-Life Action League.
Gov. Rauner signs gay-conversion therapy ban into law
With little to no fanfare, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has signed a bill into law which bans therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of anyone younger than 18.
Providers who don’t comply could face disciplinary action which could include losing their license to practice in Illinois.
California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia already have such bans in place. Read more in the next issue of the Illinois Baptist newspaper on Aug. 31.
Chick-fil-A blocked from Denver airport
A committee of the Denver City Council has stalled what was expected to be routine approval of a Chick-fil-A restaurant at the Denver International Airport after at least four council members expressed disapproval of the company’s alleged opposition to same-sex marriage.
During an Aug. 18 hearing, council member Robin Kniech said she was concerned about a local franchise generating “corporate profits used to fund and fuel discrimination,” The Denver Post reported. Councilman Paul Lopez compared the pro-family stances of some Chick-fil-A leaders to presidential candidate Donald Trump’s comments about immigration and other issues, calling opposition to the airport restaurant “really, truly a moral issue.” Read more at BPnews.net
Critics ask president to abolish faith-based hiring bias
A coalition of 130 groups have petitioned President Obama to eliminate what they believe to be a faith-based hiring bias for organizations receiving federal funding.
The groups cite a “flawed” 2007 Justice Department memo which said the Religious Freedom Restoration Act provides for an override of nondiscrimination laws for government-funded religious organizations. They request the president direct a review of the memo by Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Signatories include Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.
Injunction extended while GuideStone awaits appeal
The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 21 it would keep in place the preliminary injunction won by GuideStone earlier at the District Court level while GuideStone’s appeals it case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The preliminary injunction, which protects certain ministries from providing abortion-causing drugs or devices in their health plan, or face crippling fines, was first issued by a federal judge in December 2013. Upon the government’s appeal, a three-judge panel of the Tenth Circuit of Appeals ruled 2-1 to end the injunction. GuideStone, along with its co-plaintiffs appealed the Tenth Circuit’s ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court in July.
Churches and integrated auxiliaries of churches, including GuideStone, are exempt from the mandate and its penalties as religious employers. The current litigation was sought to protect other ministries it serves, such as children’s homes, colleges and other ministries not controlled by a church or association of churches, from the mandate and its penalties.