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CULTURE DIGEST: ‘Soul surfer’ Bethany Hamilton marries

NASHVILLE (BP) — Bethany Hamilton, known for continuing her surfing career after losing an arm in a shark attack 10 years ago, married a Christian youth minister in Hawaii Aug. 18.

Even People magazine noted the wedding between the star of the 2011 film “Soul Surfer” and Adam Dirks, reporting that the event took place in front of 300 friends and family members at a secluded 130-acre estate on Kauai’s north shore near the town where Hamilton grew up.

Hamilton and Dirks, 25, met on a blind date last year. He works on Kauai with the Christian-based Young Life organization as a youth ministry volunteer, according to People.

“I know Adam and I are right for each other and that God has us together for Him,” Hamilton, 23, said, according to WORLD magazine.

Hamilton expressed hope and excitement for her marriage.

“To open up your heart to a complete stranger and learn to love a new person, it’s different; it’s beautiful. I believe it’s what God has created for us; but it can be intimidating,” she said, according to WORLD.

Hamilton added that she is learning from God how to love well.

“Christ is the greatest definition of love and it’s been amazing to learn from the greatest.”

In a blog post about her wedding, Hamilton wrote, “Today was the most beautiful, wonderful best day of my life! God is more than good.”

Parental consent laws often bypassed

Teenage girls in Arizona are highly likely to obtain abortions without their parents’ approval if they are able to appear in court.

Statistics compiled by a state judicial office show 74 percent of underage girls who petition a court successfully receive bypasses of Arizona’s parental consent law, according to an Aug. 11 report by the Associated Press. The state’s Superior Court judges have approved 95 of 128 such petitions since July 2010, when the Administrative Office of the Courts was required to begin reporting such orders.

Arizona requires a parent of a female under 18 years of age to provide consent before she can undergo an abortion. Its law, however, allows a minor to seek a bypass of the requirement from a judge.

The frequency of judicial bypass in Arizona apparently is not unusual among states with parental involvement laws.

“In every state I have studied, or other people have studied, the pattern is the same, and the pattern is that a minor who makes her way to a court and gets before a judge to petition for a bypass is very likely to get her petition granted,” said Helena Silverstein, professor at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., according to AP, which based its article on reporting by the Arizona Capitol Times.

Twenty-nine states have valid parental involvement laws that are in effect, according to the National Right to Life Committee.

Americans consider abortion moral issue

Americans consider abortion a moral issue whether they approve or disapprove of the lethal procedure’s legality.

A new public opinion poll by the Pew Research Center found only 23 percent of those surveyed think abortion is not a moral issue. Of those who consider it a moral issue, 49 percent say undergoing an abortion is morally wrong, while only 15 percent say it is morally acceptable.

Among religious groups, white evangelical Protestants provide the strongest moral opposition to abortion. The breakdown by groups who say abortion is morally wrong is: white evangelical Protestants, 75 percent; Hispanic Catholics, 64 percent; black Protestants, 58 percent; white Catholics, 53 percent; and white mainline Protestants, 38 percent.

By sex, a slightly higher percentage of women consider abortion morally wrong, 50-48 percent.

Public opinion on abortion as a moral issue contrasted with the views expressed on embryonic stem cell research (ESCR), which requires the destruction of days-old human embryos. More than a third of Americans (36 percent) say such research is a moral issue, according to the poll.

Of those who consider ESCR a moral issue, only 22 percent consider it morally wrong, while 32 percent think it is morally acceptable.

Wash. A.G.: Public hospitals must offer abortion

Public hospitals that deliver babies must also offer abortion and contraception services, even if they are affiliated with Catholic health care institutions, says Washington state’s attorney general.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a written opinion Aug. 21 a public hospital would violate state law if it “provides ‘maternity care benefits, services, or information to women’ and fails to provide the ‘substantially equivalent benefits, services, or information’ required.” Those “substantially equivalent benefits” include abortion and birth control under a 1991 initiative approved by Washington voters, he said.

Ferguson’s opinion does not address exclusively private hospitals.

An increasing number of public hospitals are becoming affiliated with Catholic hospitals.
Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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