Daily Dispatches
Former Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich.
Associated Press/Photo by Alex Brandon
Former Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich.

Midday Roundup: Is it possible to support Hobby Lobby and Obamacare?

Newsworthy

Conscientious objector. One of Obamacare’s biggest backers has come out in support of two businesses fighting the healthcare law’s contraceptive mandate. In an op-ed in USA Today, former U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan said he does not believe the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties should be forced to violate their “conscience and moral convictions in order to implement the Affordable Care Act.” While still in Congress, Stupak, a pro-life Democrat, voted for Obamacare and still supports it now. But he said it is possible to stand for healthcare reform without forcing companies or individuals to pay for drugs that may take human life at its earliest stages. The conscience protection laws cited by the owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga have deep roots in American democracy, Stupak wrote, adding, “These laws are evidence of a strong American tradition of protecting those who conscientiously object to playing any role in taking a human life at any stage of development. We must honor the abortion conscience principle which the Green and Hahn families are fighting to uphold as well as like-minded Americans who wish to continue to provide health care coverage and preventive care for their employees.”

Russian aggression. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with his Russian counterpart in London tomorrow in an attempt to avert further escalations of the tension in Ukraine. Voters in Crimea will decide on Sunday whether to join Russia or remain a semi-autonomous part of Ukraine. U.S. and EU officials have already said they will not recognize any decision that gives Russian President Vladimir Putin more control in the region. A new U.S. Senate bill would impose tough sanctions on Russia in response to Putin’s refusal to pull military forces out of Crimea. The bill would impose economic penalties on Russian officials responsible for the military takeover and would pledge $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine’s new, pro-Western government. Despite Putin’s claims that he’s only defending Russia’s interests and those of ethnic Russians living in Crimea, the Ukrainian government says the massive military buildup near Ukraine’s border raises the threat of an invasion. They claim Putin has deployed more than 80,000 troops in preparation for military action.

Case closed. Maryland officials say they have found no evidence of a connection between a teenager who opened fire at a mall in January and his two victims. Darion Aguilar, 19, shot and killed two employees at a skate shop. But the attack wasn’t personal, investigators say. Instead, extensive searches of computers, cell phones, and other records indicate Aguilar may have had a fixation with the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. Police said investigators found thousands of searches on Aguilar’s computer related to mass murder.

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Resigned. After more than 20 years with the network, one of CBS News’ top investigative journalists has resigned. Sharyl Attkisson has a reputation as a tough reporter. She earned awards for her reporting on the Obama administration’s Fast and Furious scandal, as well as hard-hitting reports on President George W. Bush’s bank bailouts and Republican fundraising. Attkisson describes herself as a “political agnostic,” but her skepticism of the Obama White House may have led to her stories getting stonewalled. CBS News gave her less and less airtime over the past three years.

Break in. Leaders at prosperity preacher Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston announced Monday that someone broke into a safe Sunday night and made off with about $600,000 in donations collected during the day’s services. The thief also stole credit card slips that could make congregants vulnerable to identity theft. The church has warned members to monitor their bank and credit card accounts for any illegal activity.

The Associated Press and Kent Covington of The World and Everything in It contributed to this report.

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