Catholic radio program dropped from Florida station for anti-COVID vaccine stance 

STUART, Florida (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic radio program “without compromise” has been dropped from a Florida radio station for speaking out against COVID-19 shots. 

Virgin Most Powerful Radio was informed on September 15 by Ron Crider that their programming would be “immediately” discontinued on Prince of Peace Radio, WJPP/WPBV, based in Stuart, Florida, because of their “inconsistent” views on the morality of the COVID-19 jabs. 

It is our understanding the church supports vaccinations,” Crider wrote in an email announcing his decision.

“The Pope has been vaccinated and the council of Bishops support vaccination. And yes we are 100% Pro Life and totally are against abortion!” 

Crider continued: “Your program is inconsistent with our station with respect to the ‘vaccination issue’.”

“Otherwise we very much like your daily program.” 

Terry Barber, the founder of several major Catholic media apostolates, including St. Joseph Communications, Lighthouse Catholic Media, and the Catholic Resource Center, formed the Virgin Most Powerful radio network after The Terry and Jesse Show, which he hosts together with Jesse Romero, was dropped from Relevant Radio, formerly known as Immaculate Heart Radio.  

Barber and Romero had been speaking out on moral and health issues of the COVID-19 jabs for months on The Terry and Jesse Show. Just prior to being dropped, on September 13, they had hosted a radio show entitled “Profile in Cowardice: How Catholic Leaders Botched Abortion-Linked COVID Vaccines.” 

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United Airlines is accused of not respecting the religious and medical COVID vaccine exemptions which the company offered to employees who cannot, in good conscience or health, take the vaccine.

2,000 employees of the industry giant are represented in two court cases which have been initiated to stop United from laying-off or indefinitely furloughing workers who have sought COVID vaccine exemptions.

Please SIGN this BOYCOTT of United and send the airline a stong message that you will not support the implementation of these draconian measures.

Many United Airlines employees have sincerely held religious objections to taking the COVID vaccines, while other employees have been told by their doctors not to take the vaccine due to health concerns.

The religious and medical rights of these employees must be respected, and, will hopefully be vindicated by the courts.

But, airlines are for-profit businesses, and apart from the legal incentives, there must also be financial incentives for them to respect their employees’ religious and medical rights, and, indeed, the same rights of all Americans.

And, that’s why we are calling for a boycott.

The CEO of United Airlines, Scott Kirby, and HR Manager, Kate Gebo, need to understand that the American public will not support businesses who force their employees or customers to violate their religious beliefs or their doctors’ recommendations.

Of course, this is totally unnecessary.

United could simply make reasonable accommodations for their employees who are claiming either a religious or medical exemption.

But, until United adopts that policy, we are asking you to consider boycotting the “unfriendly skies” and find another airline for your travel needs. By doing so, you will meaningfully stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these aggrieved United employees.

Thank you for SIGNING and SHARING this petition to boycott United Airlines over the company’s failure to respect religious and medical COVID vaccine exemptions for its employees.


‘Pilots seek restraining order against United Airlines’ ‘unlawful, life-threatening, vaccine-mandate’’ –

‘United Airlines will put employees with religious, medical COVID vaccine exemptions on unpaid leave’ –

**Photo Credit: EQRoy /

Barber’s wife, Mary, who co-hosts another radio show with him, “Bible with the Barbers,” responded by email to Crider’s notice, advising him to look up the article “The Morality of Receiving Abortion-Derived Vaccines” by Fr. Leon Pereira, O.P., a biologist, medical doctor, and moral theologian.  

Mary Barber highlighted several of Pereira’s key points, saying first that the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 “vaccines” had a connection to aborted fetal tissue in stages one and three of development of the shot for its design and testing. 

“In addition to that, he traces the fetal cell lines that were used and makes them personal,” she continued, alluding Pereira’s efforts to identify the babies from which the currently used fetal cell lines originated.

“We are dealing with a medical research method that uses the killing of human beings to develop/design, test or produce pharmaceuticals.”  

Mary Barber  then pointed to the document Dignitas Personae (2008), issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which states that only “morally proportionate” “grave reasons” may justify the use of such normally illicit biological material, such as danger to the health of children. And even then, as Barber noted, “pressure must be put on governments, pharmaceutical companies, researchers, etc., to find an ethically acceptable alternative!”  

In a follow-up response to Crider, Mary Barber quoted from the recent CDF “Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines,” which stated, “Practical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary.” 

She also noted that “It is only permitted to use the vaccine when there is no other means to stop or prevent the epidemic.”  

“Thousands of doctors have testified to treating patients successfully, even patients with comorbidities, without hospitalization or vaccines,” said Mary Barber, adding that The Church is not infallible in matters of medicine/science.” 

In light of Dignitas Personae’s admonition that vaccines developed from aborted fetal tissue are permissible only when the “danger” is real, Mary Barber wrote, “Why is a vaccine necessary for a virus that 99.5% of the people infected recover from? 

Crider’s only response to Mary Barber, in answer to her question about which two vaccines are considered “acceptable to the Catholic Church,” was the text of an article entitled, “Catholic Church encourages people to get Pfizer or Moderna vaccine over Johnson and Johnson.” 

However, Crider gave LifeSiteNews a fuller explanation of the reasons behind his decision. 

“Americans are prolonging the pandemic by not getting vaccinated. I think this is selfish on their part,” he told LifeSiteNews by email.  

“However, the unvaccinated ‘are the greater majority’ of people dying.  Their stubbornness is creating a huge problem for this country,” Crider continued. 

“Stop with the religious excuse. The Popes are vaccinated. Stop with the-side effects excuse. Do you want to drag this out 5 years to see what they are[?] Where is your ‘FAITH’?” 

Crider revealed that his “entire family,” including his children and grandchildren, are vaccinated, and that they are “proud to wear a vaccination bracelet.” He further defended his position by saying that “the majority of the Catholic Church is pro-vaccination.” 

“It is my personal opinion your position makes you part of the problem and not part of the solution,” he declared.  

Many people have made reasonable decision not to take the COVID-19 jabs because of the thousands of deaths and millions of other serious injuries that have been recorded following their use.  

One of the testimonies Mary Barber had shared with Crider was from a nurse who refuses the COVID-19 jab and was made to choose between keeping their job and getting the shot. 

It’s easier to paint us as uncaring, uneducated conspiracy theorists than acknowledge that we are humans just like you, with families, beliefs, doing what we feel in our hearts to be best,” the nurse wrote. 

She emphasized that her entire career was dedicated to putting the needs of her patients before her own, sacrificing time with her own family to serve others.

“I’ve patiently spoon-fed ice cream and one pill at a time for an hour to your confused grandpa, answered hundreds of questions, reassured till I’m blue in the face, rushed in to make sure he didn’t fall,” the nurse said.  

“We forgo bathroom breaks, go 12+ hours without eating, lay down food we’ve reheated 4 times when a call bell rings, even if all that’s needed is moving a drink cup 3 inches to the right,” she continued. 

“But what is a choice if one option leaves every fiber in your being screaming NO and the other steals your livelihood, your passion, and the career you’ve given your heart to for the past 7 years? I don’t call that a choice.”  

The Catholic hierarchy is not wholly united on the morality of the currently available COVID-19 shots. Several bishops and archbishops, including Bishop Joseph Strickland and Bishop Athanasius Schneider, signed a statement on December 12, 2020, declaring their moral opposition to the currently available abortion-tainted COVID-19 “vaccines.” 

“The crime of abortion is so monstrous that any kind of concatenation with this crime, even a very remote one, is immoral and cannot be accepted under any circumstances by a Catholic once he has become fully aware of it,” the prelates’ statement reads. 

“One who uses these vaccines must realize that his body is benefitting from the ‘fruits’ (although steps removed through a series of chemical processes) of one of mankind’s greatest crimes.” 

“God knows these souls by name,” Bishop Athanasius Schneider told John-Henry Westen, referring to the babies used to develop the current COVID-19 shots. 

All of the shows hosted by Virgin Most Powerful Radio, and their accompanying recordings, can be found on their website. Recordings from The Terry and Jesse Show can be found here. 

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Joe Biden criticized by DC archbishop for stance on abortion

The spiritual leader of Washington, DC’s archdiocese says President Biden is “not demonstrating Catholic teaching” when it comes to abortion rights. 

Cardinal Wilton Gregory’s comments come amid the ongoing debate of Biden’s Catholic beliefs and his support for a woman’s right to have an abortion.

Since taking office, Biden, the nation’s second Catholic president, has been scrutinized by many members of the church for supporting policies that go against its teachings. 

Biden, who has been vocal about his Catholic faith throughout his political career, flopped Friday on his belief on when life begins. In 2015, the then-vice president said, “I’m prepared to accept that the moment of conception is a human life and being.”

Six years later, the president revealed that he respects but disagrees with those “who believe life begins at the moment of conception.” Biden added that he would never impose his beliefs on others. 

Cardinal Wilton Gregory has recently said President Biden is not demonstrating “Catholic teaching on life.”
AFP via Getty Images

While at the National Press Club on Wednesday, Gregory was pressed on the president’s change in beliefs. 

“The Catholic Church teaches and has taught that life, human life, begins at conception,” Gregory said, according to the Washington Times. “So the president is not demonstrating Catholic teaching.” 

“Our Church has not changed its position on the morality of abortion. And I don’t see how we could, because we believe that every human life is sacred,” he later added.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory is one of several Catholic priests that have recently come out against Biden's stance on abortion.
Archbishop Wilton Gregory is one of several Catholic leaders who have recently come out against President Biden’s stance on abortion.
Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

In June, US Catholic bishops voted 168-55 for the drafting of a “teaching document” that many of them hope will rebuke Catholic politicians, including Biden, for receiving Communion despite their support for abortion rights.

Those in favor of the measure said a strong rebuke of Biden was needed due to his actions protecting and expanding abortion access.

Following the vote, the USCCB’s doctrine committee was expected to draft a statement on the meaning of Communion in the life of the church that will be submitted for consideration at a future meeting, most likely at an in-person gathering in November.

Cardinal Wilton Gregory
US Catholic bishops voted 168-55 for the drafting of a “teaching document” that would rebuke Catholic politicians for receiving Communion amid their stances on abortion.
AFP via Getty Images

Gregory did not hint at any ecclesiastical consequences for Biden on Wednesday. When introducing the archbishop, Lisa Nicole Matthew with the Associated Press emphasized Gregory’s public stance that he has “no plans to prevent the president from accepting the Eucharist.”

The stance has put the White House on the ropes over the issue. On Sept. 2, White House press secretary Jen Psaki snapped at a male reporter for the Eternal Word Television Network who asked: “Why does the president support abortion when his own Catholic faith teaches abortion is morally wrong?”

After Psaki initially responded that Biden believes “it’s a woman’s right, it’s a woman’s body and it’s her choice,” reporter Owen Jensen asked: “Who does he believe, then, should look out for the unborn child?”

“He believes that it’s up to a woman to make those decisions, and up to a woman to make those decisions with her doctor,” Psaki shot back. “I know you’ve never faced those choices nor have you ever been pregnant, but for women out there who have faced those choices, this is an incredibly difficult thing. The president believes that right should be respected.”

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CANCELLED! Gaming Company CEO ‘Stepped Down’ after Backlash over Pro-Life Stance

Apparently even the highest ranking members of a company can be purged for condemning the murder of the unborn. Tripwire Interactive said that its CEO “has stepped down” after his purported Twitter account caused outrage by making a pro-life stance.

Tripwire CEO John Gibson’s purported account declared on Sept. 4 that he was “Proud of #USSupremeCourt affirming the Texas law banning abortion for babies with a heartbeat.” He explained further that while “As an entertainer I don’t get political often,” he nonetheless, “felt it was important to go on the record as a pro-life game developer” amid an overwhelmingly liberal industry. Companies responded by distancing themselves or even reportedly severing ties and contracts with Tripwire, all over the expressed opinion of the former Tripwire Interactive CEO. 

A CEO stepping down after a public outrage all too often is an indicator they were forced to resign. Forbes reported that former Mozilla Firefox CEO Brendan Eich was “forced to resign” after his donation to California’s Proposition 8 in 2008 became public.

Tripwire released a statement declaring that Gibson’s pro-life statement had somehow “disregarded the values of our whole team, our partners and much of our broader community.” It also claimed that “Our leadership team at Tripwire are deeply sorry and are unified in our commitment to take swift action and to foster a more positive environment.”

In short, the radical progressive left has made clear that no matter how high-ranking a conservative is within a company, he is not safe from censorship. It seems that if a conservative espouses a belief that is popular among millions of everyday Americans — like pro-life legislation — then he is too extreme for the liberal tech world.

Game developer Scott Cawthon created one of the most famous survival horror video games. He retired after reportedly being harassed for donating to politicians the radical left doesn’t approve of. Cawthon “went viral over the weekend after his political donations were publicized on Twitter. The donation list was a who’s who of homophobic and transphobic lawmakers including Tulsi Gabbard, Mitch McConnell, and Donald Trump,” liberal games journalism outlet Kotaku reported June 14.

Kotaku Staff Writer Ash Parrish of Kotaku acknowledged that “Cawthon wrote that in the aftermath of his donation disclosure, he and his family had been doxxed with people threatening to come to his house.” Nonetheless, the Kotaku writer had no issue with scorching Cawthon for “irreparable harm he’s done to the people he purports to love.”

A cyberpunk video game, The Last Night, was blacklisted after old tweets from its creator criticizing feminism were discovered, causing financial backers to pull out and even Microsoft to distance itself from the game in progress. 

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your local representative and demand that Big Tech mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form and help us hold Big Tech accountable.

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CEO of gaming company gets canceled over backlash after voicing pro-life stance, support for Texas law

The CEO of Tripwire Interactive, a Georgia-based video game company, has been canceled after voicing support for the Supreme Court’s decision not to block a controversial Texas abortion law.

The Supreme Court declined last week to block SB8, a Texas bill signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in May. The law essentially bans all abortions after six weeks, or the period of gestation after which a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Enforcement of the bill is carried out by Texans themselves, who can sue abortion providers or anyone who “aids or abets” the abortion procedure. The law, however, does not permit Texans to sue women who seek abortions.

What happened?

On Saturday, Tripwire Interactive’s now-former CEO John Gibson tweeted that he was “proud” of the Supreme Court’s decision.

Working in an echo chamber that mostly reverberates with pro-abortion voices, Gibson explained that he believed it was “important” to publicly state that he is, in fact, a “pro-life game developer.”

“Proud of #USSupremeCourt affirming the Texas law banning abortion for babies with a heartbeat. As an entertainer I don’t get political often. Yet with so many vocal peers on the other side of this issue, I felt it was important to go on the record as a pro-life game developer,” Gibson said.

The tweet triggered an avalanche of backlash, with detractors regurgitating trite pro-abortion talking points.

Cancel Culture then blasted off when at least one company that conducted business with Tripwire Interactive announced plans to sever all existing contracts with Tripwire. Gaming developer Shipwright Studios said it could not “in good conscience continue to work with Tripwire under the current leadership structure.”

What did the company say?

Tripwire Interactive announced Monday that Gibson had “stepped down,” a veiled way to say he was forced out of the company in response to growing outrage over his pro-life stance.

In a statement, Tripwire Interactive said Gibson’s comments “disregarded the values” of the gaming community and issued a mea culpa for Gibson’s remarks.

The comments given by John Gibson are of his own opinion, and do not reflect those of Tripwire Interactive as a company. His comments disregarded the values of our whole team, our partners and much of our broader community. Our leadership team at Tripwire are deeply sorry and are unified in our commitment to take swift action and to foster a more positive environment.

Effective immediately, John Gibson has stepped down as CEO of Tripwire Interactive. Co-founding member and current Vice President, Alan Wilson, will take over as interim CEO. Alan has been with the company since its formation in 2005 and is an active lead in both the studio’s business and developmental affairs. Alan will work with the rest of the Tripwire leadership team to take steps with employees and partners to address their concerns including executing a company-wide town hall meeting and promoting open dialogue with Tripwire leadership and all employees. His understanding of both the company’s culture and the creative vision of our games will carry the team through this transition, with full support from the other Tripwire leaders.

Tripwire Interactive is known for developing the games “Red Orchestra,” “Killing Floor,” “Rising Storm,” and “Maneater.”

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Biden flip flops from 2015 abortion stance on when life begins

President Biden delivered a broadside Friday against the controversial Texas anti-abortion law, at one point saying that he did not agree with the proposition that human life begins at conception.

However, Biden struck a different note while he was vice president, telling an interviewer in 2015, “I’m prepared to accept that the moment of conception is a human life and being.”

The earlier interview, which Biden gave to Fr. Matt Malone, the editor in chief of America magazine, was first reported by The Daily Caller.

The Supreme Court declined earlier this week to block the Texas law — which prohibits women from getting an abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat and allows private citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion.” Fetal heartbeats are generally detected six weeks after conception, before most women know they are pregnant.

On Friday, Biden argued the new law “sort of creates a vigilante system where people get rewards” for pursuing court cases against doctors or abortion clinics.

The Supreme Court voted to deny an emergency appeal filed by abortion providers to block the Texas anti-abortion bill.
Getty Images

“I respect people who think that — who don’t support Roe v. Wade; I respect their views,” the president added. “I respect them — they — those who believe life begins at the moment of conception and all. I respect that. Don’t agree, but I respect that. I’m not going to impose that on people.”

While the latter part of Biden’s statement tracked with what he told Malone in 2015, the then-vice president also said he was “prepared” to accept the Catholic Church’s doctrine on abortion as “de fide,” or an essential part of the faith.

Pro-choice supporters gather to protest the Texas anti-abortion bill in front of Edinburg City Hall in Edinburg, Texas on September 1, 2021.
Pro-choice supporters gather to protest the Texas anti-abortion bill in front of Edinburg City Hall in Edinburg, Texas on September 1, 2021.

“I’m prepared to accept as a matter of faith, my wife and I, my family, the issue of abortion,” he said. “What I’m not prepared to do is impose a rigid view – precise view, rigid sounds pejorative, a precise view that is born out of my faith, on other people who are equally God-fearing, equally as committed to life, equally as committed to the sanctity of life.

“And I’m prepared to accept that the moment of conception is a human life and being,” Biden went on. “But I’m not prepared to say that to other God-fearing, non-God-fearing people that have a different view.”

The Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas.
Republican states are looking to replicate the Texas anti-abortion bill following the Supreme Court’s decision to deny an appeal.
Getty Images

Biden sounded less sure about the issue in a 2007 interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“I am prepared to accept my church’s view. I think it’s a tough one. I have to accept that on faith,” the then-senator from Delaware told moderator Tim Russert. “That is a tough, tough decision to me. But there is a point relatively soon where viability—it’s clear to me when there’s viability, meaning the ability to survive outside the womb, that I don’t have any doubt.”

Pro-choice advocates demonstrate front of the U.S. Supreme Court during the National March for Life rally in Washington, DC on January 22, 2016.
Pro-choice advocates demonstrate front of the U.S. Supreme Court during the National March for Life rally in Washington, DC on January 22, 2016.

Soon after announcing his run for president in 2019, Biden reversed his long-standing support of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds as payment for abortions.

“I can’t justify leaving millions of women without the access to care they need, and the ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right,” he said at the time.

On Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki snapped at a male reporter for the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) who asked: “Why does the president support abortion when his own Catholic faith teaches abortion is morally wrong?”

After Psaki initially responded that Biden believes “it’s a woman’s right, it’s a woman’s body and it’s her choice,” reporter Owen Jensen asked: “Who does he believe then should look out for the unborn child?”

“He believes that it’s up to a woman to make those decisions, and up to a woman to make those decisions with her doctor,” Psaki shot back. “I know you’ve never faced those choices nor have you ever been pregnant, but for women out there who have faced those choices this is an incredibly difficult thing. The president believes that right should be respected.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment from The Post Friday evening.

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Biden’s Pro-Abortion Stance Blows Up in His Face After 6-Year-Old Video Resurfaces

Throughout his long political career, President Joe Biden has made a habit of flipping his positions on many important issues. A video from 2015 that has resurfaced shows his views on abortion were much different six years ago.

At the time, Biden said his religious faith played a large role in his views on the execrable practice of ending innocent human life.

“I’m prepared to accept that the moment of conception is a human life and being,” he said. “But I’m not prepared to say that to other God-fearing and non-God-fearing people that have a different view.”


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Biden implied that while he is not willing to force his religious views on others, he personally believes life begins at conception. This either means Biden was against abortion after that point or if he did accept abortion after conception, he had no problem ending a life.

Even in 2015, there were logical issues with Biden’s argument. While his point about not forcing religion through politics is valid in general, it shouldn’t apply to abortion.

The idea that innocent babies should not be killed should be based on basic morality, not religion. Nonetheless, Biden at least admitted that he himself accepted life began at the moment of conception.

Fast-forward to Friday, when Biden was answering a question from a reporter at the White House. His comments on abortion directly contradicted his previously stated views.

“I respect those who believe life begins at the moment of conception. … I don’t agree, but I respect that,” he said.

In 2015, Biden said he accepted life began at conception but he respected those who disagree. Now, he is saying he respects those who believe life begins at conception, but he is in the crowd who disagrees.

That is a complete and total reversal from the president of the United States on an important political topic.

The reporter’s question was posed in the context of a new abortion law in Texas. That law, SB 8, bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. It went into effect Wednesday, and it allows citizens to sue anyone who violates the law by providing an abortion after a heartbeat is detected.


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Abortion activists urged the Supreme Court to block the law, but it refused to do so by a 5-4 vote in the late hours of Wednesday night, The New York Times reported.

In the same response that Biden flipped his view on the beginning of life, he railed against Texas’ new law to protect innocent lives.

“The most pernicious thing about the Texas law, it sort of creates a vigilante system where people get rewards,” he said. “It just seems — I know this sounds ridiculous — almost un-American.”

Do you think Biden has any moral convictions about abortion?

That doesn’t just sound ridiculous; it is ridiculous. There is nothing “vigilante” or “un-American” about holding someone accountable for breaking the law, especially when that crime involves ending an innocent life.

Biden has shown he is willing to completely abandon his morals and religious convictions in order to gain political power. That is a reprehensible trait for anyone to have, but it’s even more concerning coming from our own president.

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Psaki Scolds Reporter for Asking How Biden Squares Abortion Stance with Catholicism

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., September 2, 2021.
(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki scolded a reporter during Thursday’s briefing for asking how President Biden reconciled his Catholicism with his support for abortion.

“Why does [Biden] support abortion when his own Catholic faith teaches abortion is morally wrong?” EWTN’s Owen Jensen asked.

Psaki dismissed the question on the grounds that Jensen lacked the authority to comment on a “women’s rights issue.”

“I know you’ve never faced that choice,” Psaki said.

“I know you’ve never been pregnant,” she added.

The comment seemed to contrast with the administration’s commitment to gender inclusivity. In June, it was discovered that Biden’s 2022 budget proposal  supplanted the word “mothers,” referring to women who both deliver a baby and raise a child, with the phrase “birthing people.” The CDC has also regularly used the language “pregnant people” in its public health guidance over the last year.

Biden issued a statement Thursday condemning the Supreme Court’s majority decision not to review the Texas law and claiming it will unleash “unconstitutional chaos.”  He argued the law violated Roe v. Wade by encroaching on a women’s right to abortion, which he called “critical reproductive care.”

The law has an unusual enforcement mechanism by which private citizens are empowered to sue medical providers who perform an abortion, rather than deferring enforcement to the state government. Women who undergo the procedure to terminate their pregnancy will not be penalized under the law.

While the bench handed a victory to pro-life advocates Thursday, the per curium, the unsigned court opinion from the majority, acknowledged the possibility that the high court could engage with and grant consideration to the law again if litigation results from its implementation.

“It is unclear whether the named defendants in this lawsuit can or will seek to enforce the Texas law against the applicants in a manner that might permit our intervention,” the opinion read.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

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Federal government takes notice of South Carolina’s stance on masks in schools

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona has sent a letter to South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and Department of Education Superintendent Molly Spearman, warning against policies that prevent school districts from requiring masks.

“South Carolina’s actions to block school districts from voluntarily adopting science-based strategies for preventing the spread of COVID-19 that are aligned with the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) … may infringe upon a school district’s authority to adopt policies to protect students and educators as they develop their safe return to in-person instruction plans required by Federal law,” Cardona’s letter said.

South Carolina was one of eight states – along with Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Utah – to receive a letter Wednesday from Cardona.

McMaster responded to the letter on Twitter, not backing down on his opinion that parents should make the decision on whether their children wear a mask.

“If [President Joe Biden] put as much effort into a withdrawal plan for Afghanistan as he is trying to force masks on our children then we wouldn’t have Americans and allies stuck behind enemy lines. He’s more concerned about Republican governors than he is with the Taliban,” McMaster tweeted.

McMaster and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson have been battling state universities, school districts and municipalities in recent weeks over mask mandates.

The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled against Wilson this week, finding that higher education entities can require masks for all students. Wilson sued the city of Columbia on Thursday over its school mask mandate.

“For the government to mask children to protect adults, who do have a choice, is the wrong thing to do and we are not going to do it,” McMaster said. “Mandating masks is not the answer. Personal responsibility is the answer.”

Spearman, however, disagrees. She said Tuesday local school boards should determine those policies and, to resolve the issues, the Legislature will have to come back into session or the dispute will need to be settled in court.

“Superintendent Spearman has been clear in her support for empowering South Carolina’s locally elected school leaders, with the input from parents and their communities, to make decisions impacting the health and well-being of the students they serve,” Ryan Brown, chief communications officer for the South Carolina Department of Education, said Thursday about Cardona’s letter.

Cardona referenced the state’s funding through the American Rescue Plan Act in his letter. South Carolina was allocated $2.1 billion in ARPA Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief with $1.4 billion received March 24 and $705 million received last week.

“This State level action against science-based strategies for preventing the spread of COVID-19 appears to restrict the development of local health and safety policies and is at odds with the school district planning process embodied in the U.S. Department of Education’s (Department’s) interim final requirements,” Cardona wrote. “As you know, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP Act) requires each LEA that receives Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds to adopt a plan for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services.”

Spearman said the state hoped it could do school without masks this year, but the delta variant has changed that and, “We have statistics to show that this is spreading amongst children where it was not before.”

“Get vaccinated and send your kid to school with a mask on, not just for their protection but for the community of children that they are in the classroom with,” Spearman said.

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Doctor: Illinois threatening medical license over mandatory mask stance

A school board member in Illinois who is also a doctor says state regulators are threatening his medical license over his criticism of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s mask mandate in schools.

Dr. Jeremy Henrichs, a sports doctor at Carle Hospital and sports team physician at the University of Illinois, also sits on the Mahomet-Seymour Board of Education.

Emails obtained by The Center Square indicate a medical investigator requested from Henrichs “a detailed statement on your opinion about masks, and whether you support and will enforce a mask mandate based on your elected position as a school board member?”

In a provided statement, Henrichs said: “I have considered authoritative medical evidence that questions the necessity of mandatory masking in our schools. As a result, the [Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation] has threatened my medical licensure unless I expressly support and enforce a mask mandate for all students.

“The [IDFPR] has commanded me to ‘toe the line’ or suffer personal and professional consequences,” he added.

A spokesperson for the IDFPR didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment on Wednesday.

In a separate email, a state medical investigator, whose name was redacted from the email, said a complaint filed against Henrichs “appears to be a parent or concerned citizen who did not agree with the doctor’s opinion on the masking motion for schools.

“That would fall under the unprofessional conduct part of the medical practice act,” the email said. “What the medical disciplinary board wants to know is if the doctor will support and enforce the mask mandate by the Governor.”

The department’s “actions constitute a direct threat from the state to the well-being of my family and all board members to freely and independently exercise the duties of elected office,” Henrichs said in a statement.

“As an elected member of the Mahomet-Seymour Board of Education, I acknowledge and take seriously my duty to acquire and critically appraise all pertinent information, data, and evidence used to inform my decisions regarding the educational environment provided by the school district.”

Hernrichs’ statement included a prognosis of the situation.

“The health of our student body is something I place first in my public role,” he said. “However, the health of our democratic system is dead if we tolerate the intimidation targeting me and chilling the independence of innumerable other elected public officials.”

Henrichs didn’t immediately respond to a request for further comment.

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Justice clarifies West Virginia’s K-12 mask stance – no mandate yet

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice clarified his stance on mask mandates in K-12 schools at a recent news conference, saying there will be no statewide mandate at this time, but there will be no prohibitions on school districts imposing mandates if they choose to.

Although the governor said last week he was considering a mandate because of the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant, the new announcement increases the likelihood that the upcoming school year will at least start out with no statewide rule. The school year begins in less than two weeks in many districts and Justice said he does not have enough information to justify a mask mandate at this time.

“There are no mandates, there are no plans for mandates and .. we are letting the local people make decisions because one size doesn’t fit all here and we’re going to continue down that pathway until we reach a situation to where the medical community says to me and says ‘governor, you’ve got to move, you’ve got to move in this direction or that direction and then we’ll visit it and look at it in a different light,” Justice said. “And all we can continue to do is hope and pray we don’t reach those levels.”

The governor later criticized governors of other states who have prohibited schools from implementing their own mask mandates. He said the last thing the state needs is “mandating against mandates.” He said not all counties will be in the same health situation and local authorities should determine what’s best for their region.

Justice said he will make an announcement if anything changes.

Official recommendations from the West Virginia Department of Education take a neutral stance on mask mandates. It urged school districts to work with local health officials to determine the best policy in that region. The department urged schools to manage class sizes and promote social distancing, but did not mandate it.

Schools in different regions have taken different approaches. Monongalia County is mandating masks for all students, staff and teachers, regardless of vaccination status. Putnam County announced it would not require masks for any students. Kanawha County is requiring masks from preschool through fifth grade, but not for older students.

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