COVID-19 and Federal judges have something in common: They both don’t mind killing people!
Federal judges in Alabama and Ohio have blocked attempts to restrict abortions during the coronavirus pandemic.
By classing them “non-essential” medical procedures, the states’ sought to temporarily close down abortion clinics and prohibit terminations until the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. In Alabama, the move was slapped down by District Court Judge Myron Thompson, who heard arguments via video link before postponing the ban until at least April 6. “The State’s interest in immediate enforcement of the March 27 order – a broad mandate aimed primarily at preventing large social gatherings – against abortion providers does not based on the current record, outweigh plaintiffs’ concerns,” the judge said, according to Politico.
In Ohio, a judge ruled that the state’s emergency orders are by definition unconstitutional if they prevent women from obtaining abortions. Judge Michael Barrett subsequently ordered a two-week restraining order on the ban, siding with abortion providers like Planned Parenthood who had launched a legal challenge against the state’s decision.
Despite a similar outcome for Texas earlier in the week, on Tuesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the ban – introduced by Attorney General Ken Paxton – be reinstated. As per the court’s ruling, any abortions that are deemed “not medically necessary to preserve the life or health” of the patient will be prohibited.
“I thank the court for their immediate and careful attention to the health and safety needs of Texans suffering from the spread of COVID-19,” Paxton said in a statement Tuesday, according to CBS News. “The temporary stay ordered this afternoon justly prioritizes supplies and personal protective equipment for the medical professionals in need.”
A Florida court has overturned a circuit judge’s ruling that women should not be expected to adhere to a waiting period before obtaining an abortion.
In a victory for pro-lifers, the First District Court of Appeal effectively re-legitimized a 2015 law requiring women to wait 24 hours before making a final decision to undergo a termination procedure. The case will now be passed back to the Leon County circuit court for reconsideration.
Writing the majority opinion alongside Judge Harvey Jay, Judge Timothy Osterhaus argued that, as per state guidelines, a 24-hour waiting period is needed to ensure “informed consent” from the woman seeking an abortion.
“Rather than singling out and burdening abortion procedures with arbitrary requirements, the state’s evidence indicates that the 24-hour law brings abortion procedures in Florida into compliance with medical informed consent standards and tangibly improves health outcomes for women,” Osterhaus added, according to the Miami Herald.
In January, the now-retired Leon County Circuit Judge, Terry Lewis, argued that the waiting period law was unconstitutional, violated privacy rights and acted as an unnecessary hold-up for women seeking to abort their baby. Lewis also issued a summary judgment without holding a full trial – something the appeals court deemed unfair.
The appeals court majority argued that because a “disputed genuine issues of material fact remain, appellees [the law’s opponents] are not entitled to final summary judgment.” It added that “further consideration of appellees’ constitutional challenge,” must now take place.
“Women claiming particular harms from the 24-hour law based on their specific circumstances may challenge the law’s application to them. But those would be as-applied constitutional challenges. No such challenge has been made here,” Osterhaus noted. “For this facial challenge, the correct legal test is not whether the 24-hour law violates the constitutional rights of some women in some circumstances, but whether it violates the rights of all women in all circumstances.”
Former Florida governor, Republican Rick Scott, signed the waiting period measure into law back in 2015.
At the time, Republican state Representative Jennifer Sullivan, who sponsored the legislation, said that the law “means women will be empowered to make fully informed decisions,” according to Reuters.
“It’s just common courtesy to have a face-to-face conversation with your doctor about such an important decision, she added, “especially for such an irreversible procedure as an abortion.”
Your prospects for a happy marriage may be tied to people other than your soon-to-be spouse. For example, the more people who come to your wedding, the better it bodes for your marital bliss. But the more serious premarital relationships you had before, the less likely you are to be happily married later.
A new report from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, “Before ‘I Do’: What Do Premarital Experiences Have to Do with Marital Quality Among Today’s Young Adults,” highlights those and other findings on how decisions and experiences before marriage can help or hurt future marriage quality.
Individuals who had more sexual partners or more experience cohabitating are not as likely to have high-quality marriages compared with those who had less, said Galena K. Rhoades, study co-author and research associate professor of psychology at the University of Denver. She said experience may provide benefit in some realms, like employment, but not in the case of marital quality.
The study does not prove cause, emphasized Rhoades and her co-author, Scott Stanley, research professor, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver and senior fellow for both the National Marriage Project and the Institute for Family Studies. The results, they said, “may reflect the fact that certain types of people are more likely to engage in certain behaviors.”
The researchers analyzed data from the national Relationship Development Study, tracking more than 1,000 Americans 18 to 34 who were not married but were in a relationship in 2007 and 2008. They followed them for five years, through 11 waves of data collection, then looked closely at 418 who married. The study was controlled for race and ethnicity, years of education, personal income and how religious subjects were.
The report notes a changed sequence of events when it comes to marriage. Courtship once led to marriage, sex and having children, but today as many as 90 percent of couples reportedly have premarital sex, and close to 40 percent of babies are born to unmarried parents. Couples are also more likely to live together before marriage.
The individual relationship histories of two people who will later marry is important, helping shape how satisfying their married life together will be, the study found.
Men and women who had other sexual partners before marrying each other reported less marital satisfaction than those who slept only with each other. In addition, marital satisfaction was higher for women who had fewer sexual partners, and marital dissatisfaction was greater in proportion to the number of partners.
Having been married previously also corresponded to lower marital quality.
The average respondent had five sexual partners before marriage. Only 23 percent of those who got married had had sex only with the future spouse.
“It’s not that when you say ‘I do’ all the other options disappear from life or mind, but you have decided that this is the one. The key factor is how you manage your sense of alternatives and how good you think those alternatives are,” Stanley said.
He and Rhoades speculate that having had more partners provides fodder for comparison and reminds one there are other choices. Plus, someone with a greater history of relationships also has experienced breakups — and may have developed skills not only to cope with them, but to facilitate them.
Children from previous relationships also sometimes complicate future marriage, the research found.
“In general, couples who wait to have sex later in their relationship report higher levels of marital quality,” the study said. “There are many possible explanations for this link. One is that some people who are already more likely to struggle in romantic relationships — such as people who are impulsive or insecure — are also more likely to have casual sex.”
It’s also possible, the study noted, that relationships that began as hook-ups may involve partners not as well matched on factors that promote happy marriages, such as shared values, interests and perspectives.
Slide vs. decide
Talking things through and making deliberate decisions helps couples over the long term in ways that drifting along does not.
“Decisions matter,” the study said. “At times of important transitions, the process of making a decision sets up couples to make stronger commitments with better follow-through as they live them out. This is undoubtedly why all cultures have rituals that add force to major decisions about the pathway ahead. We tend to ritualize experiences that are important. Couples who decide rather than slide are saying, ‘our relationship is important, so let’s think about what we’re doing here.’ Making time to talk clearly about potential transitions may contribute to better marriages.”
Couples who slide without deciding where the relationship is heading may find it harder to get out later when they’re sharing furniture and space and have signed leases, among other things. “In short, living together creates a kind of inertia that makes it difficult to change course,” the report said.
People may be “stuck with someone you might not have otherwise married,” Stanley said.
Cohabitating couples face the pressures of dating and the issues of married couples, effectively “sandwiching” them from both sides as they navigate everything from rent to relationship issues. It’s a lot to deal with, Rhoades said, and those “couples are more at risk for trouble.”
The study also found that people who had some form of marital preparation, such as relationship education, had higher marital quality. Rhoades said people need to talk about their relationships and make deliberate decisions, and that couples who live together should consider relationship education.
When it comes time to make some of those deliberate decisions, the report highlights three factors that “represent a grave problem that could become even worse down the road”: different commitment levels, premarital infidelity and physical aggression. Each factor should “lead to serious consideration about a relationship’s future.”
Big wedding, big reward:
“This study finds that couples who have larger wedding parties are more likely to report high-quality marriages,” said W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project and professor of sociology at University of Virginia, in a written statement.
“One possibility here is that couples with larger networks of friends and family may have more help and encouragement in navigating the challenges of married life. Note, however, this finding is not about spending lots of money on a wedding party; it’s about having a good number of friends and family in your corner.”
The researchers speculate that a well-attended public ceremony may reflect “a clear decision to commit to one’s marriage.” They wrote that “wedding ceremonies ritualize the foundation of commitment.”
They originally thought the association between guests and marital quality was about having good financial resources, but the association remained when they controlled for income and education. It is possible the very public nature of the commitment strengthens marital quality, they said.
Before you continue reading another article, we wanted to let you know that that we are paying Christians up to $100 for a single opinion today.
In their second round of debates, Democratic presidential candidates called for aggressive measures to slow climate change. As Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has said, “We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it.”
Politicians realize that many voters care about this issue. A 2018 survey conducted by Yale and George Mason Universities categorizes 69% of Americans as at least “somewhat worried” about climate change, the highest level these programs had recorded since 2008.
But climate is still an uncomfortable subject for many people. I study environmental communication and the obstacles people encounter when discussing climate change. My new book, “Communication Strategies for Engaging Climate Skeptics: Religion and the Environment,” considers Christians and the variety of ways they incorporate the environment into their faith.
Studying Christianity provides important insights into how to talk productively about climate change with a variety of audiences. I interviewed Christians from many different denominations and found that they don’t all think alike when it comes to the environment. Some reject environmentalism, some embrace it, and others modify it to fit their beliefs.
CHRISTIANITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
In 1967, historian Lynn White Jr. argued that Christian beliefs promoted the domination and exploitation of nature, and therefore were incompatible with environmentalism. Almost half a century later, polls showed that fewer than 50% of all U.S. Protestants and Catholics believe the Earth is warming as a result of human actions.
There are notable exceptions, such as Pope Francis, who called for action to slow climate change in his 2015 encyclical, “Laudato Si’.” Another prominent advocate for action is U.S. climate scientist and evangelical Christian Dr. Katharine Hayhoe. A growing number of Christians are joining the Creation Care movement, which combines Christianity and the environment. But as recently as early 2018, they were outnumbered by Christian climate skeptics.
Atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian married to a pastor, has taken climate science to a broad public platform. In 2016 she discussed climate change with former President Barack Obama and actor Leonardo DiCaprio at a White House ideas conference. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Christians hold a diverse range of attitudes about the environment. I divide them into three categories – separators, bargainers, and harmonizers – based on my study of religious organizations (The Cornwall Alliance, The Acton Institute, and The Evangelical Environmental Network), and interviews I conducted. I chose these three groups because they exhibit primary characteristics of the three categories.
Separators believe that faith and the environment are at odds. They tend to think environmentalism threatens their faith. One separator who I interviewed argued that climate scientists use “good causes to further evil agendas.” This person thought environmentalism was an evil force.
Bargainers adopt some aspects of environmentalism, but reject or modify others. One bargainer I interviewed said, “The climate is changing. It’s been changing for millions of years and will continue to do so.” This person changed the definition of climate change to fit the belief that climate change is natural and nothing needs to be done to address it.
Harmonizers see environmentalism as an important part of being a good Christian. Although they are not climate skeptics, they may or may not actively engage in the environmental movement. One harmonizer I interviewed said that environmentalism “begins on an individual basis.” Another argued that you only “have control over your individual actions.”
Harmonizers sometimes limit their environmentalism to personal behaviors. Most of the harmonizers I interviewed did not call for political or public action to solve climate change.
Before you continue reading another article, we wanted to let you know that that we are paying Christians up to $100 for a single opinion today.