Christian Coalition

Crisis pregnancy centers in California could soon be forced to promote abortions.

Legislation currently being pushed through by state Democrats would require all licensed centers to notify their clients of state programs that offer abortion services.

The Reproductive FACT Act, or AB 775, was approved by the California Assembly Health committee in April.

"We're not asking them to speak the word abortion. We're asking them to post the information, to provide the information and the only information we're asking them to provide is that there are low cost and free options available and a phone number," Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, one of the bill's authors, said.

Critics note, however, that the bill fails to offer a conscience clause or opt out for centers that offer pregnant women assistance without abortions or abortion referrals.

Those who violate the mandate would face a $500 fine for first offense and a $1,000 penalty for each subsequent offense.

"What this bill does in a nutshell is to force crisis pregnancy centers to publicize abortion," Vicki Evans, the archdiocese's Respect Life coordinator, told Catholic San Francisco.

Lori Arnold, with California Family Alliance, emailed her concerns about the bill to LifeNews.com.

"California's grisly abortion industry is in the midst of a government-sponsored boom," she said.

"In 2013, the state waived safety regulations for abortion clinics and reduced the medical standards required to perform abortions by allowing certain nurses to do the surgeries," she said. "And last year, the California Department of Health cut all medical reimbursements by 10 percent while increasing taxpayer funding of abortions providers by 40 percent."

If passed through the Judiciary Committee, the bill will then move to the Appropriations Committee before being sent to the Assembly floor. No timeline has been announced for the follow-up hearing.

Obama administration attorneys are urging a federal judge to throw out an election-year lawsuit by House Republicans over the president's health care law. 

Attorneys for the House counter that their unusual suit deals with critically important issues related to the separation of powers and should be allowed to continue. 

The two sides meet in court for the first time Thursday in a hearing before U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer, a 2003 appointee of George W. Bush. It comes as the Obama administration and lawmakers of both parties anxiously await a Supreme Court ruling on a different lawsuit that challenges other portions of the health law and threatens insurance subsidies for millions of Americans. 

The House suit, authorized by frustrated House Republicans last summer over strenuous objections from Democrats, may not make it that far. Previous attempts by members of Congress to sue past administrations have been tossed out, although the House health law suit is the first by the full House against a sitting president. 

In the lawsuit the House contends that the Obama administration usurped the legislative role reserved for Congress by acting administratively to approve certain payments to insurers and delay deadlines in the law without Congress' say-so. 

"This case addresses fundamental issues regarding the limits of executive power under our constitutional form of government," attorneys for the House said in court filings ahead of Thursday's hearing. "One fundamental tenet of our divided-power system of government is that all legislative power is vested in Congress, and Congress alone." 

Government attorneys argued that the House could show no direct injury and instead based its lawsuit on general objections to how the Obama administration is implementing the law, which they said doesn't justify its suit. 

"This novel tactic is unprecedented, and for good reason: the House has no standing to bring this suit," Justice Department attorneys argued. "The House here asserts only that the executive branch is implementing statutory provisions, which were enacted by a previous Congress, in a manner different from what the current House would prefer." 

The lead attorney for the House is prominent George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley, who took the case on after two previous attorneys had bowed out. 

In a statement ahead of the hearing, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said: "The very fact that the administration wants to avoid scrutiny - judicial or otherwise - shows you why this challenge is so important.  No one - especially no president - is above accountability to the Constitution and the rule of law." 

House Republicans have voted more than 50 times to uproot all or pieces of the law known as "Obamacare," but have no hope of prevailing legislatively as long as President Barack Obama is in the White House. 

"Over 16 million people now have health care.  Women are no longer discriminated against.  There's no longer discrimination for preexisting conditions.  Young adults can stay on their parents' plan.  So we are very proud of the Affordable Care Act, notwithstanding Republican partisan attempts to dismantle it," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Wednesday.

JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a visiting U.S. senator a nuclear-armed Iran is 1,000 times more dangerous than the Islamic State.

"As horrific as ISIS is, once Iran, the preeminent terrorist state of our time, acquires nuclear weapons, it will be a hundred times more dangerous, a thousand times more dangerous and more destructive than ISIS," Netanyahu told Sen. William Cassidy, R-Louisiana, during his visit.

The deal, Netanyahu believes, will also provide Iran with tens of billions of dollars to fund its aggressive pursuits.

"I see no reason to rush to a deal and certainly not a bad deal that paves Iran's path to the bomb, but also fills Iran's coffers with tens of billions of dollars to pursue its aggression throughout the Middle East and around Israel's borders," he said.

Netanyahu says a better deal is possible.

"I think it's important to apply pressure to get a better deal, one that avoids these two pitfalls, and I believe that this is necessary and urgent and possible for both our countries," Netanyahu told the U.S. lawmaker.

"I think we have to resist both ISIS and Iran," he said. "ISIS should be fought. Iran should be stopped."

The prime minister began the meeting by affirming U.S.-Israeli relations.

"We welcome the partnership, bipartisan, with the United States because we think that the relationship between Israel and the United States is a precious asset for both countries," Netanyahu said. "Everyone in Israel thinks as I do."

The State Department filed a proposal Tuesday to resume the release of emails from Hillary Clinton’s private account next month.

The agency proposed in a court filing that it would begin posting the former Secretary of State’s emails on the department’s website on June 30 and continue posting them every 60 days, with the goal of making all of them publicly available by Jan. 15, 2016.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras is considering a Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit filed by Vice News reporter Jason Leopold.

The agency is still reviewing about 55,000 pages of emails from Clinton’s private account. Last Friday, it released nearly 300 emails relating to the Benghazi attack in 2012.

"The Department is keenly aware of the intense public interest in the documents and wants to get releasable materials out as soon as possible," the Justice Department lawyers representing State wrote in the filing.

"Further, the Department will continue to explore ways to devote more resources to this effort, consistent with its other obligations, to complete the review even earlier," the lawyers wrote.

Ryan James, Leopold’s lawyer, said in a statement Tuesday that he intended to file a response calling on the State Department to release emails every two weeks.

"I do not believe that additional rolling productions every 60 days is sufficiently frequent to enable the public to engage in fully informed discussion about Secretary Clinton's leadership style and decisions while at the helm of the State Department," James said in a statement.

The Islamic State's takeover of Ramadi in Iraq is raising more questions about the Obama administration's strategy to defeat the terrorist group.
    
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., criticized the president's lack of strategy this weekend.

"There is no strategy. And anybody that says that there is, I'd like to hear what it is, because it certainly isn't apparent now," McCain, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said this weekend on "Meet the Press."

"Right now we are seeing these horrible reports are now in Palmyra. They're executing people and leaving their bodies in the streets. Meanwhile, the president of the United States is saying the biggest enemy we have is climate change," he said.

The Obama administration's approach in Iraq is a blend of retraining and rebuilding the Iraqi army, without committing American ground combat troops.

HD Commentary by Earl Cox 

 


It is Memorial Day 2015. In cemeteries across the country flags flutter, flowers grace the graves of the departed, and bugles sound the mournful notes of Taps. The crowds paying tribute, however, have grown sparse.

Begun as a way to honor Civil War dead, the commemoration was long called Decoration Day from the practice of decorating graves. The observance was held on May 30 no matter the day of the week. Since 1971, Memorial Day has been observed on the last Monday in May as the end of a federally mandated three-day weekend. Now firmly ingrained as the traditional start of the summer season, the solemn reasons behind the day have faded despite the continuing sacrifices of so many.

Seventy years ago, it was very different. Memorial Day 1945 marked an uneasy time of mixed emotions. There was celebration, remembrance, and dread. World War II in Europe was over by three weeks and no more battle casualties would join the rows of crosses planted from North Africa to the beaches of Normandy and across France into Germany. But the war in the Pacific still raged. Many Americans who had fought in Europe feared they would be going to the other side of the globe to continue the fight against Japan rather than back to the States for a victorious homecoming.

In the far Pacific, forces led by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz battled to wrap up the invasion of Okinawa, a long and bloody struggle that cost the lives of more than 12,000 American soldiers, sailors, and marines, including U.S. Tenth Army commander Simon Bolivar Buckner. In the southwest Pacific, having fulfilled his promise to return to the Philippines, General Douglas MacArthur sought to complete his occupation of the islands and plan the final assault against Japan.

In the Pacific that year, Memorial Day observances were particularly solemn. Fresh graves were decorated in cemeteries with names largely unknown a year earlier: Saipan, Peleliu, Leyte, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. The question that could not yet be answered was how many more graves and cemeteries would be required to end the war. On Saipan, a special service was held for crews of B-29 bombers lost in the air war against Japan’s home islands. Their final resting places were unknown.

In the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt intended to pay a quiet visit to her husband Franklin’s fresh grave at Hyde Park, but found instead an overflowing crowd of well-wishers. Among the tributes to the fallen leader was a wreath sent by the current president, Harry Truman. It was laid on Roosevelt’s grave to honor the man who had led America longer than any other president and died within sight of victory.

Truman also sent a message to a “Salute to the GI’s of the United Nations” rally in Madison Square Garden. The new president emphasized the four essential human freedoms long articulated by Roosevelt: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. The American Secretary of State and the Soviet Ambassador to the United States were in attendance. Each praised American-Soviet cooperation in the war and expressed hopes for a long-lasting peace.

In Chicago, an estimated 750,000 citizens turned out to cheer General Mark W. Clark, a veteran of the long, frustrating Italian campaign. Clark had made a surprise flight from Paris to Chicago to lead a parade down State Street to observances at Grant Park. Clark expected to receive orders momentarily to report to the Pacific.

On the West Coast, ports and shipyards continued to fill supply lines with men and materiel in anticipation of bitter and costly invasions to come. Yet, there was also the anticipation of hordes of returning servicemen. Newspapers warned veterans to be wary of scams that purported to offer college benefits.

In the tiny hamlet of Airmount west of New York City, Jesse Tompkins was one of the few Civil War veterans still living. Two weeks shy of 98, he spent the day at his home reading newspapers and listening to the radio. Quoted as saying he had seen enough parades, Tompkins would not live to see Japan’s surrender. Mercifully for all, it came later that summer.

On that Memorial Day seventy years ago—a day one newspaper called “a day of dedication”—there was indeed hope that battlefields would become relics of the past. Such has not been the case. No one foresaw then the places American soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, as well as coast guard personnel, firefighters, and law enforcement officers, would be required to make a stand. To the World War II names would be added Chosin Reservoir in Korea, Khe Sanh and Pleiku in Vietnam, Kirkuk in Iraq, the Korangal Valley of Afghanistan, the World Trade Center, and a thousand others at home and around the world.

On this Memorial Day, we honor the sacrifices of prior generations. We honor the sacrifices of the men and women next door who have served or continue to serve our country. And we pledge never to forget the true meaning of Memorial Day. We would not have the privilege of celebrating this day and honoring so many memories without the sacrifices of those who gave their last full measure of devotion.

By a large majority, Americans believe media coverage of the 2016 presidential race will be biased. Sixty-one percent of likely voters don't trust the news they are getting on the campaign, according to a new Rasmussen poll.

The survey was taken shortly after ABC News host George Stephanopolous admitted he didn't report large campaign donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Voter trust in media coverage has dropped 15 points from last October. Thirty-six percent of those surveyed said reporters will try to help Hillary Clinton win the White House, while 23 percent said they would try to hurt her.

Only 14 percent believe 2016 coverage will be unbiased, and 46 percent say ABC should ban Stephanopolous from covering the race. Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to believe that reporters will try to remain unbiased.

The Rasmussen survey was conducted May 17-18 and has a sampling error of 3 percent, plus or minus.

The State Department has released 296 emails from Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, in the first batch of emails to be made public. 

Spokeswoman Marie Harf said the emails were given to a House committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.

She said redactions were made according to Freedom of Information Act standards.

The documents cover emails between 2011 and 2012 related to the Benghazi facility and its security, and to the broader issue of a U.S. diplomatic presence in Libya.

Harf says the emails don't provide new facts about how four Americans were killed on Sept. 11, 2012.

The State Department is still reviewing 55,000 further pages of emails from Clinton's private email account. They'll be published on a rolling basis.

A federal court of appeals has rejected the University of Notre Dame's request to be exempt from the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate.

The provision requires the school's insurance providers to cover the costs of contraceptives for students and staff, which violates the Catholic school's religious beliefs.

The university argued that the mandate imposes a substantial burden by forcing it to "identify and contract with a third party willing to provide the very services Notre Dame deems objectionable."

But the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling 2-1 Tuesday that since the university doesn't have to pay the cost for contraceptives directly, the school is not being forced to violate its religious convictions.

"The very word 'accommodation' implies a balance of competing interests," the court noted.

"And when we compare the burden on the government or third parties of having to establish some entirely new method of providing contraceptive coverage with the burden on Notre Dame of simply notifying the government that the ball is now in the government's court, we cannot conclude that Notre Dame has yet established its right to the injunctive relief that it is seeking before trial," the court said.

Eric Rassbach, senior counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, expressed disappointment with the ruling.

"The 7th  Circuit's decision today does not do justice to Notre Dame," the Wall Street Journal quoted Rassbach.

"The cases will continue as they have. Every time these issues have reached the Supreme Court, the government has lost and the religious plaintiffs have been granted relief," he said.