By Christy Barritt
Planned Parenthood Receives Millions from Government
According to Planned Parenthood’s annual report, the organization received $542 million from government sources during the 2011-2012 fiscal year, an 11 percent increase from the previous year.
The organization also reported performing 333,964 abortions in 2011 and nearly a million (995,687) abortions from 2009-2011. Forty-five percent of their funding comes from taxpayers, and, while they do provide other services such as contraception and cancer screening and prevention, those services have been dropping in use over the past three years while abortions have increased.
“While government subsidies to Planned Parenthood have reached an all-time high, so too has the number of lives ended by this profit-driven abortion business,” said Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser in a press release. “Destroying nearly one million children in three years is not healthcare and does not reflect a concern for vulnerable women and girls.”
Many conservative lawmakers and pro-life groups are calling on the government to end their funding of this organization.
Atheists Sue IRS Over Church Tax Exemption
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based atheist organization, has filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service, saying that it gives “preferential treatment” for churches regarding taxes.
The complaint said that while the IRS requires nonchurch tax-exempt groups like itself to file “detailed, intrusive, and expensive annual reports to maintain tax-exempt status
. . . such reports are not required for churches and certain other affiliated religious organizations.”
FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a statement, “Having tax-exemption status is a great privilege, and in exchange for that privilege, all other groups must file a detailed report annually to the IRS and the public on how we spend donations.”
The suit aims to convince the IRS that churches also need to file the same paperwork as other nonprofits.
Pro-Life Legislation Strong in 2012
The proabortion group Guttmach-er Institute recently released a report titled “Law Affecting Reproductive Health and Rights: 2012 State Policy Review.” The report detailed the pro-life provisions passed in the United States last year.
According to the Institute, a total of 43 new pro-life laws went into effect in 19 states, which made 2012 the year with the second highest number of pro-life laws passed at the state level.
Arizona enacted seven provisions, more than any other state. Following Arizona were Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Most of the restrictions focused on stopping late-term abortions and limiting health insurance coverage in chemical abortions. Other states began requiring ultrasounds before abortions, which is said to make a woman 60 percent more likely to proceed with the pregnancy.
The year with the highest amount of pro-life legislation passed was 2011 with 92 laws in favor of the unborn.
New York Town Fights for Prayer
The town of Greece, New York used to open each of its city meetings with prayer given by local clergy and others from the community.
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State filed a lawsuit against the town in 2008 on behalf of two residents who were offended by the practice.
An appeals court struck down the policy and directed the town to invite non-Christians from other communities to pray.
Forty-nine members of congress and 18 attorneys general have signed briefs that were sent to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to review the case.
“Antireligious groups cannot be allowed to force local governments to implement unusual hurdles that effectively eliminate prayers by making them too cumbersome to take place,” said David Cortman, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the town in this case.
There’s no word yet on whether the U.S. Supreme Court will look at the case.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.