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Evan Wilt/WORLD News Service

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Fed. judge blocks Texas dismemberment abortion ban

AUSTIN, Texas (BP) -- A federal judge on Nov. 22 blocked a Texas law protecting unborn babies from dismemberment abortions. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel placed a permanent injunction on Senate Bill 8, calling the legislation unconstitutional. Texas lawmakers passed the bill earlier this year to ban the procedure typically used in the second trimester. See related report. "The act intervenes in the medical process of abortion prior to viability in an unduly burdensome manner," Yeakel said.

Incoming N.C. gov. negotiates restroom law repeal

RALEIGH, N.C. (BP) -- After months of angry debate over North Carolina's restroom law, state lawmakers are planning to repeal it. North Carolina Republicans passed HB2 in response to a Charlotte ordinance that forced city businesses to open their restrooms based on gender identity. Signed in March, HB2 superseded the ordinance before it took effect. The state law requires persons to use restrooms and locker rooms according to the sex listed on their birth certificates and applies to government buildings, schools and universities. It blocks municipalities, such as Charlotte, from adopting their own restroom rules.

Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast referred for prosecution

WASHINGTON (BP) -- The House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives referred Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast for criminal prosecution to the Texas attorney general Dec. 1 over allegations it sold aborted babies' body parts. "There is so much that we the American people didn't understand and still don't understand about this industry," said Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, on the House floor. "However, since then, the panel's investigation has uncovered alarming revelations about the fetal tissue industry."

Advocates aim to give porn the tobacco treatment

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (BP) -- As more research links pornography to psychological and physiological damage, advocates hope it will soon generate the same national antipathy as smoking cigarettes.

Transgender directive challenged by 10 more states

LINCOLN, Neb. (BP) -- Ten more states have signed on to sue the Obama administration over its transgender directive that forces schools to allow students to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their perceived gender identity rather than their biological sex.

First Amendment Defense Act gets a hearing

WASHINGTON (BP) -- Republicans and Democrats may agree on the need for religious liberty but not on the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). After stalling in Congress for more than a year, FADA had its first public hearing July 12 in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Introduced shortly before the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges, FADA prohibits federal government discrimination based on marriage beliefs -- including in tax treatment, accreditation and federal licensing.

Lawmakers to HHS: investigate StemExpress, Planned Parenthood

WASHINGTON (BP) -- The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to investigate StemExpress and Planned Parenthood affiliates for potentially illegal activity that generated profit from selling baby body parts. In April, the congressional panel found evidence linking StemExpress to illegal profits from the sale of aborted baby body parts. Panel investigators uncovered StemExpress documentation of fetal tissue technicians stationed inside abortion centers to round up tiny livers, kidneys, hearts and lungs for buyers -- selling them for pure profit.

Military ministries: 1st Amendment threat addressed

WASHINGTON (BP) -- The House Armed Services Committee has approved an amendment to ensure faith-based ministries can continue to serve America's men and women in uniform. "We need to level the playing field; we have a First Amendment and it says 'the free exercise thereof,"' said Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., who introduced the amendment during an annual defense bill mark-up. "This rule affirms prior policy that faith-based organizations are no less eligible than secular organizations to deliver federally funded services."

Canada removes religious freedom office

CANADA (BP) -- Canada's new Liberal government decided the country no longer needs an office dedicated to religious freedom, allowing it to expire on March 31. "We now have one less strong partner and one less voice for religious freedom," Katrina Lantos Swett, commissioner of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, told WORLD News Service. "This is a very unfortunate message to send out to the rest of the world at this time."

Ind. law protects babies with Down syndrome from abortion

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (BP) -- Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has signed a bill into law protecting babies from abortions based solely on genetic conditions such as Down syndrome. "When it comes to genetics, it's easy for us to say 'if it isn't perfect let's abort,'" said Len Reynolds, the president of Indiana Right to Life's Lake County affiliate. "I have had the opportunity to meet many families with Down syndrome children. Yes, they have ...