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New York lawmakers have taken the first step toward amending the state constitution to enshrine abortion rights following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. Both houses of the Legislature approved a resolution to begin the process of passing the amendment, which would expand the state constitution’s Equal Protection Amendment by banning discrimination based on “pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes and reproductive healthcare and autonomy.” The proposed amendment would also preserve gender expression rights. Under the state’s amendment process, lawmakers would have to pass it again during next year’s session to send it to voters in a statewide referendum.

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The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion. The June 24 ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. In anticipation of the decision, several states led by Democrats have taken steps to protect abortion access. The decision also sets up the potential for legal fights between the states over whether providers and those who help women obtain abortions can be sued or prosecuted.

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Archbishop John C. Wester is speaking about the decision to mortgage an iconic Santa Fe cathedral to meet a settlement agreement tied to church sex abuse victims. Wester told the Santa Fe New Mexican on Thursday the archdiocese has “pretty much sold everything.” Parishes were told last month they would collectively need to borrow $12 million to pay for the settlements. Still, the decision to use the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi shocked many. The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection in 2018 as sex abuse claims surged. It agreed in May to a tentative deal totaling more than $121 million and involving 375 claimants.

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New York Democrats are considering enshrining abortion rights in the state constitution following the overturn of Roe v. Wade. It possibly could be part of a broader amendment that would also prohibit discrimination based on gender expression. Lawmakers held a special legislative session Thursday that Gov. Kathy Hochul called primarily to pass an emergency overhaul of the state’s gun permitting rules after they were struck down by a Supreme Court Court ruling. But the Democrats were talking privately about whether to also use the emergency session to launch the process of amending the state constitution to protect the right to abortions.

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The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade at a time when it has an unprecedented Catholic supermajority. That’s not a coincidence. Nor is it the whole story. U.S. Catholics are more ambivalent on abortion than their church leaders. More than half say it should be legal in all or most circumstances. Catholics such as President Joe Biden and Justice Sonia Sotomayor wanted Roe upheld. But the justices who voted to overturn Roe have been shaped by intellectual, spiritual and social currents within Catholicism that are strongly conservative and anti-abortion. “They are particular kinds of Catholics, traveling in particular Catholic circles,” one scholar says.

AP
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U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has received Communion during a papal Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, despite her position in support of abortion rights. Pelosi attended the morning Mass on Wednesday marking the feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul. Two people who witnessed the moment said she received Communion along with the rest of the congregants. Pelosi also met with Pope Francis before Mass and received his blessing, according to one of the people. Pelosi’s home archbishop has said he will no longer allow her to receive the sacrament in his archdiocese because of her support for abortion rights.