By Christy Barritt
Taxpayers No Longer Funding Georgia Abortions
The Georgia Department of Community Health voted to restrict state employee insurance policies from covering abortions.
The change, which is scheduled to take effect in January, will ban elective abortion coverage for approximately 650,000 past and present employees in Georgia who are covered by the State Health Benefit Plan.
Governor Nathan Deal said the policy change means that taxpayers will not have to pay for something that may violate their beliefs.
In 2011, 366 Georgia state employees received surgical abortions and 47 received medical abortions. This cost taxpayers nearly $223,000.
On a federal level, several members of Congress have introduced a bill called the No Taxpayer Abortion Act (H.R. 7) that would ban the funding of abortions using taxpayer dollars nationwide.
Big Families Reduce Divorce Rate
A new study has found that children who grow up in large families have lower rates of divorce.
The study was done by Ohio State University. The study’s researchers said that with every additional sibling, up to seven siblings, a child’s risk for being divorced as an adult is reduced by 2 percent.
“When you compare children from large families to those with only one child, there is a meaningful gap in the probability of divorce,” said Doug Downey, coauthor of the study and professor of sociology at Ohio State.
He explained that the more siblings you have, the more people skills you obtain.
“Growing up in a family with siblings, you develop a set of skills for negotiating both negative and positive interactions,” said Downey. “You have to consider other people’s point of views and learn how to talk through problems. The more siblings you have, the more opportunities you have to practice those skills.”
Judges Waive Parental Consent for Abortions Most of the Time
A new report by the Arizona Department of Health Services shows that judges in the state grant minor girls’ requests to bypass parental consent laws when seeking abortions the vast majority of the time.
Since 2003, Arizona has required at least one parent to give consent for any abortion performed on a girl under 18 years of age. Girls can petition the court for a waiver of that requirement, however.
According to the report, 95 out of 128 requests by young girls to have an abortion without parental consent were approved since 2010.
Supporters of judicial bypass argue that the waiver protects the girl who fears her parents would retaliate with physical violence or other negative consequences.
Helena Silverstein, a Lafayette University researcher who specializes in abortion law, told the Associated Press that the higher number of approvals in Arizona was in line with other states she has studied.
Regulation of Church and Political Speech Untenable
A new 60-page report by the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations found that laws regulating the political speech of churches, religious organizations, and other nonprofits are an “untenable mix.”
The commission, which was formed by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, said that the guidance related to the law is too vague, infringes on free speech, and is unevenly enforced.
They recommended freedom of speech for nonprofits and ministers without fear of a reprisal from the Internal Revenue Service, which has the power to revoke their tax-exemption status.
The report also advises preserving the current IRS policy, which prohibits use of tax-exempt donations for political campaign activities.
The commission’s goal is to bring clarity to current IRS restrictions on political expression by nonprofits.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.