By Christy Barritt
Christian After-School Club Wins Appeal
A school district in Minnesota was found to have discriminated against a Christian club meeting within one of its schools.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed an earlier decision by a lower court that said the club could not pray on campus.
The Good News Club has been meeting after school for 12 years. In 2009 a district employee claimed that since the club included prayer, the leaders were “proselytizing.”
The school district removed the club from its after-school programs. The club, which is a ministry of the worldwide Child Evangelism Fellowship, sued the school system for violating its constitutional right to free speech.
“Christian viewpoints are constitutionally protected,” said Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel, which legally represented the club. “Public schools must provide equal access for Christian viewpoints and Christian clubs.”
Non-physicians Okayed to Perform California Abortions
The California Senate passed a bill making it legal for non-physicians to perform abortions.
The bill primarily focuses on extending a pilot program already being conducted at the University of California, San Francisco that trains nurse practitioners, midwives, and physician assistants to perform first-trimester aspiration abortions.
The bill was rejected three times before it finally passed.
Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) proposed the bill and said it was necessary to fill the gaps in the availability of abortion caused by the shortage of doctors in parts of the state.
The University of California, San Francisco has not released information on the program or the people taking part in it yet.
Federal Judge Orders Taxpayer-Funded Sex Change for Murderer
In September, a federal judge ordered state prison officials in Boston to provide a taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgery to a transgender inmate serving life in prison for murder.
U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf ruled in the case of Michelle Kosilek, who was born as a man but has received hormone treatments and lives as a woman in an all-male prison.
Robert Kosilek was convicted of killing his wife in 1990. He has sued the Massachusetts Department of Correction on numerous occasions throughout the years over his gender identity.
Wolf is believed to be the first federal judge to order prison officials to provide the surgery for a transgender inmate. In a 126-page ruling, he said that not allowing Kosilek a medical procedure to address her “serious medical need” would violate her rights against cruel and unusual punishment. He also noted that doctors have been in favor of Kosilek receiving the procedure.
Study: Coffee Reduces Pain
Scientists in Norway accidentally discovered that coffee can reduce physical pain.
The study involved 48 volunteers who agreed to spend 90 minutes performing fake computer tasks meant to mimic office work. The tasks were known to cause pain in the shoulders, neck, forearms, and wrists. Researchers wanted to compare how people with chronic pain and those who were pain-free tolerated the tasks.
Scientists allowed the volunteers to drink coffee before taking the test to “avoid unpleasant effects of caffeine deprivation, [such as] decreased vigor and alertness, sleepiness, and fatigue.”
Researchers were surprised when they analyzed the data that the 19 people who drank coffee reported a lower intensity of pain than the 29 who didn’t.
The study was published in the journal BMC Research Notes, and cautioned that since the study wasn’t designed to test coffee’s influence on pain, there are still many uncertainties surrounding the results.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.