LOOP: Judge blocks Trump’s religious protection rule

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MONDAY, JANUARY 14
JUDGE BLOCKS RELIGIOUS PROTECTIONS   A federal judge has prevented a Trump administration rule from going into effect in 13 states. The rule would protect employers from having to provide contraception if they have a moral or religious objection. The Obama administration issued the HHS contraceptive mandate in 2012 which forces most employers to provide sterilizations, abortifacients, and contraception.  READ
U.S. FERTILITY DROPS  The fertility rate in the United States has hit a 30-year low, according to a new report by the Center for Disease Control. South Dakota and Utah were the only states with total fertility rates above replacement.  READ
SUPPORT FOR WALL GROWS   A majority of Americans hold President Donald Trump responsible for the partial government shutdown. But a new poll by ABC News/Washington Post also shows support for the border wall growing, with 42% supporting and 54% opposing.  READ
RACE COMMENT  House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said that Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican, will face disciplinary action for his comments where he questioned why the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” were considered offensive. McCarthy said: “That language has no place in America.” King addressed the House saying that the one sentence was “my mistake” and that he meant to condemn the “evil ideology” of white supremacy, but he reiterated his support for nationalism.  READ
DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD  Three pro-life women introduced legislation to defund organizations like Planned Parenthood from receiving Title X funding. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-TN introduced the bill in the Senate, while Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-NC, and Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-MO. “Hardworking taxpayers do not want to subsidize the business of abortion providers and entities such as Planned Parenthood,” said Sen. Blackburn. READ
HISPANIC VOTE   Sen. Rick Scott, R-FL, eked out a narrow win over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson. Crucial to his victory was overperforming with Hispanics, winning 48% of their vote. “As governor, what I found is most issues come down to one of three things: They want a job, everybody does. They want their kids to get a good education. And they want to live in a safe community. And so what I did was I showed up, and I showed up and I talked to everybody,” said Scott.  READ
DEBATE OVER CONSERVATISM   Ross Douthat weighs in the debate in conservative circles over Tucker Carlson’s recent monologue on economics, populism, and the family. Conservatives have long emphasized that policies don’t always work as we intend. But Douthat said one of Carlson’s insights was to challenge conservatives for taking this skepticism to the point of inaction or despair. “If marriages and intact families and birthrates declined as the family wage crumbled, perhaps we should try rebuilding that economic foundation before we declare the crisis of the family a wound that policy can’t heal,” said Douthat.  READ
MANCHIN OUT?   Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, is considering a run for governor in 2020. If elected governor, Manchin would be able to name someone to replace him in the Senate who would serve until a special election in 2022. Manchin was the only Democrat who voted to confirm Justice Kavanaugh.  READ
2020  Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-HI, both announced presidential bids for 2020. Castro was a former congressman from San Antonio. He was considered a top vice presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Gabbard was a strong supporter of Bernie Sanders in 2016, and sparked controversy by meeting Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad. READ
CALLING OUT ANTI-CATHOLIC BIGOTRY  Catholics are grateful for Hawaii Democrat Tulsi Gabbard for calling out two Democratic senators who hounded a federal judicial nominee for his membership in the Knights of Columbus. READ
CATHOLIC COLLEGES FIGHTING SMUT   Students at Notre Dame have petitioned the school to filter out pornography on the university’s network, but so far the administration is still making up their mind. Other Catholic campuses, like Christendom College and Belmont Abbey College, have established filters against pornography and have provided resources for students to life chastely. READ
SAINT OF THE DAY  Saint Gregory Nazianzen paid a huge price for his faith. In conflict with the Emperor, Valens, who defended the Arians, Saint Gregory worked hard to defend the Catholic faith. Toward the end of his life, Saint Gregory gained some peace and quiet as he gardened and wrote religious poetry. READ
DAILY READINGS  “Let all his angels worship him.” (Ps 97:1)  READ
NEW FEATURE  Today, CatholicVote is introducing another way for Loop readers to stay on top of the week’s news: CatholicVote TV, or CVTV for short! Like The Loop, CVTV episodes are quick and to the point. Just straight news about American politics and culture, from a Catholic perspective. Watch your first episode now!  SHARE
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The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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Joshua Mercer is a co-founder of CatholicVote.org, where he serves as Political Director. Mercer is also regular contributor with Catholic Pulse. Mercer previously served as Washington Correspondent for the National Catholic Register and Chairman for Students for Life of America. He lives in Michigan with his wife and six children.

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