The anti-love boat. A Dutch “abortion boat” bound for the Moroccan port of Smir was blocked from entering the harbor last week. A group called Women on Waves sails to countries where abortion is illegal and was due to arrive in the Moroccan port today to carry out abortions and provide advice to women, but the Moroccan authorities stopped them from docking, sealing the area, and citing “military maneuvers” as the reason. One of the ironies here is that the Dutch birthrate, partly as a result of abortion, is in decline. The Dutch population is holding steady, but mainly because of immigration from predominantly Turkey and Indonesia. All of which is to say that perhaps Morocco has prohibited Women on Waves because it doesn’t want them to do to Morocco what they and their sisters have done to the Netherlands.
Clogging the courts. On Monday a Michigan business owner filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration challenging the mandate requiring companies to offer contraceptives and potential abortion-inducing drugs under their insurance plans. John Kennedy, president of Autocam Automotive and Autocam Medical, said the government’s healthcare law forces him and his family to abandon their religious beliefs, which motivated them to offer high wages and quality benefits. The company was named one of Michigan’s healthiest employers this year for its benefits plan. Kennedy said the Obamacare mandate left him with only three bad choices: “We are forced between violating our religious convictions, stripping our associates of benefits, or shutting down our business.” Autocam’s suit is one of dozens in the courts now challenging the Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate.
Religious liberty at home. Legislative leaders from nine states announced Tuesday they are launching a series of caucuses to help legislators strengthen religious liberty in their respective states. The new caucuses currently include lawmakers from Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. The Ethics and Public Policy Center’s American Religious Freedom Program (ARFP), which is dedicated to protecting religious rights nationwide, plans to expand the caucuses to all 50 states by the end of 2013. “Faith communities across the nation have begun working together to secure and strengthen our cherished religious liberties on behalf of all Americans of all faiths,” said ARFP executive director Brian W. Walsh. “Today the movement to defend religious freedom is being joined by a bipartisan group of highly effective legislators in nine state capitals who will provide unifying leadership on these caucuses.” Tennessee state Rep. John J. DeBerry Jr., D-Memphis, one of the founders of his state’s religious freedom caucus, said, “Religious diversity in America is increasing greatly, and the only way we will hold together as one people is by continuing to ensure robust religious freedoms and rights of conscience for all Americans.” DeBerry added that “some government leaders seem to have forgotten that freedom of religion includes keeping government out of matters that properly belong to America’s faith communities.”
First act of airline terrorism? Lockerbie. 9/11. Shoe bombers. Underwear bombers. Long airport security lines. These words and phrases require no explanation for the frequent airline traveler. The possibility of airline terrorism or sabotage is with us to stay. What we may not know is that we were first awakened to this threat on this date, Oct. 10, in 1933, when a United Airlines Boeing 247 crashed near Chesterton, Ind., killing three crew members and four passengers. The 247 is often called the world’s first airliner, and aviation histories generally acknowledge this as the first proven act of air sabotage. This flight’s route was from Newark, N.J., to Oakland, Calif., with re-fueling stops along the way. On the Cleveland to Chicago leg, it blew up in mid-air. Investigators demonstrated conclusively that an explosive device containing nitroglycerine caused the explosion, but those responsible were never identified. The case remains unsolved to this day.