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Access Denied

On Oct. 22, Texas health investigators raided Planned Parenthood clinics across the state. Representatives of the Texas Office of the Inspector General demanded patient and billing records from clinics in Dallas, Austin, Houston and San Antonio and gave them 24 hours to comply.

Advocates for women’s health swiftly condemned the raids. Read more

Jesus vs. Mr. Magoo In Court?: Ky. County Official Hangs Drawings Of Cartoon Characters To Save Devotional Portrait

A Kentucky county courthouse may become the scene of a new First Amendment battle.

The Breathitt County Courthouse has displayed a charcoal sketch of Jesus since 1981, and Judge-Executive John Lester Smith says it’s not coming down – despite a recent letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).

“‘Til a federal judge tells me otherwise, I intend for it to be as it is,” Smith told the Lexington Herald-Leader. Read more

Okla. Officials Remove Ten Commandment Monument

A six-foot-tall granite monument of the Ten Commandments no longer stands at the Oklahoma State Capitol after workers removed it Oct. 5.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in June that the monument’s presence on Capitol grounds violates the state constitution, which prohibits the government from endorsing religion. The tablets were moved to private property owned by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, a conservative group. Read more

Americans United Joins Lawsuit Challenging Broad Nevada Voucher Program

Three civil liberties organizations, including Americans United, recently filed suit in a Nevada court to challenge a school voucher program signed into law in June by Gov. Brian Sandoval.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United sued Aug. 27 on behalf of a group of parents, clergy and others who oppose the program’s effort to divert taxpayer money to private, religious schools. Read more

Calif. Catholic Hospital Performs Tubal Ligation

Mercy Medical Center in Redding, Calif., agreed to perform a tubal ligation after the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California threatened a lawsuit. Rachel Miller sought to have the procedure performed after undergoing a cesarean section at the facility. Read more

Gulag Appalachia?: Ky. Clerk Claims Persecution, Refuses To Obey Supreme Court Verdict

Kim Davis is many things – an Apostolic Christian, the Rowan County, Ky., clerk and now, to some, a political prisoner.

Just not to U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning. “In this country, we live in a society of laws. Our system of justice requires citizens – and significantly, elected officials – to follow the rules of the courts,” he told the clerk on Thursday. He then ordered Davis to jail for her refusal to issue marriage licenses.
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Texas Supreme Court Hears Cheerleaders Case

Americans United, the ACLU and the ACLU of Texas have urged the Texas Supreme Court to rule against a group of public school cheerleaders seeking the right to display Bible verses at football games. The groups filed a friend-of-the-court brief in July, arguing that the Kountze Independent School District should be able to prevent official representatives from endorsing religion at school events. Read more

Court Rejects Mich. Catholic Hospital Policy Suit

A federal court has dismissed a suit claiming that a Catholic hospital’s refusal to perform abortions negatively impacted patient care.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Holmes Bell ruled against Tamesha Means, who had sued the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), arguing that Muskegon, Mich.,-based Mercy Health Partners had caused her “severe, unnecessary, and foreseeable physical and emotional pain and suffering” by adhering to USCCB policy on abortion care. Read more