In the News: Breaking Religious Freedom Stories Across the Country

January 13, 2023
Fli Insider | In the News V3

Catch up on the latest and most important religious freedom headlines around the web.

Religious Liberty Update on U.S. Congress and Executive Branch Actions

In this article written for The Federalist Society, First Liberty attorney Christine Pratt provides a thorough update on actions from our nation’s capital impacting religious freedom.

FDA Says Pharmacies May Distribute Abortion Pills

The Biden administration approved distribution of abortion pills by retail pharmacies, a regulatory change that could negatively impact religious freedom and religious employees. The Baptist Messenger reports that the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and 40 other organizations recently sent a letter calling on members of Congress to seek a “robust pro-life agenda” through the passage of laws and the protection of spending measures that must be approved each year.

Oklahoma Attorney General Delivers a Win for Religious Freedom

The Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs reports: In a win for Oklahomans’ constitutionally protected First Amendment right to religious freedom, Attorney General John O’Connor has reached an agreement with St. John Health System over its past practice of threatening employees with suspensions or the loss of their jobs when they chose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine due to religious beliefs. The hospital system faced potential legal consequences for alleged violations of the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act and the Civil Rights Act.

U.S. Marine Corps to Allow Sikh Americans to Begin Basic Training With Turbans, Beards

PBS reports: In a milestone for religious freedom and against employment discrimination, a federal court of appeals granted a preliminary injunction last month that requires the Marine Corps to immediately allow two Sikh Americans to enlist and begin basic training without shaving their heads and beards, while also allowing them to wear turbans, patkas, and other religious articles that their faith requires.

Catholic Hospital Can’t Refuse to Remove Uterus from Trans-Identified Patient, Judge Rules

The Christian Post reports: A federal court ruled the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center broke the law by refusing to remove the uterus of a trans-identified patient due to the religious beliefs of the Institution, which is committed to Catholic principles while also being part of the public medical system. U.S. District Court Judge Deborah K. Chasanow ruled that the hospital violated the Affordable Care Act and discriminated against plaintiff Jesse Hammons, diagnosed with gender dysphoria, by refusing to conduct a planned hysterectomy because it doesn’t conduct those procedures to address gender dysphoria.

Federal Judge Upholds West Virginia ‘Save Women’s Sports’ Law Barring Trans Athletes from Girls’ Sports Teams

Fox News reports: A federal judge in West Virginia has upheld a state law that prohibits male student athletes who identify and present themselves as female from playing on girl’s school sports teams. Judge Joseph R. Goodwin of the Southern District of West Virginia ruled that the “Save Women’s Sports Bill,” which defines “girl” and “woman” as biologically female for the purpose of secondary school sports, is “constitutionally permissible.” The court found that West Virginia’s definition of “biological sex” for school sports is “substantially related to its important interest in providing equal athletic opportunities for females.”

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