Welcome to G3 Weekly—a summary of this week’s top news stories on Christianity and the public square.
This week, voters in Ohio rejected a critical ballot measure and thereby increased the odds of new abortion measures passing in the fall. Book publishers filed suit against the state of Texas over a new law meant to ban sexually explicit content from school libraries. Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics moved to reconsider transgender surgeries for children.
Ohio Amendment Paves Road for New Abortion Measures
“Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression” (Isaiah 10:1).
Residents of Ohio voted against a ballot measure meant to increase the difficulty of voter-led initiatives amending the state’s constitution, a move which could more easily allow voters to decrease restrictions on abortion in the fall.
Some 43% of voters cast their ballots in favor of the elevated standards for constitutional amendments while 57% of voters cast their ballots against the effort. The threshold for approving the “Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety” constitutional amendment in November will therefore be lower than if the effort had passed.
End Abortion Ohio, a Christian organization seeking to abolish abortion in the state, said that pro-life entities had attempted to frame the ballot measure around parental rights rather than abortion. “When there is purposeful avoidance of the issue of abortion, and a lack of clarity on what is at stake,” the group said, “there will be confusion amongst voters.”
Many conservative-leaning states have introduced new regulations on abortion since Roe v. Wade was overturned, although no state has enacted laws that would prosecute abortion as murder or extend equal justice under the law to preborn children. Democratic officials have meanwhile encouraged residents to continue receiving surgical abortions in their jurisdictions.
Publishers Sue Texas for Purported Crackdown on Free Speech
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Book publishers filed suit against the state of Texas over a new law that prohibits “sexually explicit” books in government schools.
The lawsuit, which included entities such as the American Booksellers Association and the Authors Guild, contended that the regulation is an “overbroad and vague content-based law that targets protected speech.” The organizations claimed that the law offers “subjective and vague standards” and noted that some schools have stopped buying certain books because of the law.
The new statute in question, however, defines “sexually explicit material” as any communication that describes or depicts sexual conduct “in a way that is patently offensive.” The Texas State Library and Archives Commission was tasked with adopting the standards for school libraries.
The lawsuit comes as parents across the nation discover explicit books in government school libraries. Leading progressives such as former President Barack Obama have meanwhile claimed that moves to purge libraries of the graphic content would also target classic novels.
Pediatrics Association Reconsiders Transgender Surgeries for Children
“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female?” (Matthew 19:4).
Board members at the American Academy of Pediatrics voted to authorize a “systematic review of the evidence” surrounding transgender surgeries for children.
The professional organization, while affirming earlier commitments to endorse so-called gender-affirming care for minors, said in a press release that an “updated policy statement” would consider new research on the medical procedures and “offer updated guidance.”
Critics of transgender surgeries for minors, beyond noting the permanent impacts of hormones and surgeries on children, have observed the lack of studies showing long-term health impacts. Other skeptics have observed the lucrative nature of the experimental treatments: officials at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center were captured on video last year admitting that the gender transition business is a “big money maker” because the surgeries require many “follow ups.”
Other prominent medical organizations, such as the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the World Health Organization, continue to assert the validity of transgender medical procedures.