Trump says abortion should be left to states; Vatican takes stance on gender theory

Former President Donald Trump made a long-awaited announcement regarding his position on abortion policy. In a video released on Monday on Truth Social, Trump said that “you must follow your heart” on the issue of abortion, and that the issue of abortion should be left to the states. Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade In 2022, voters have repeatedly voted in favor of greater abortion rights in state-level ballot measures, even in red states like Kansas and Kentucky.

Trump’s in a tough spot when it comes to abortion, NPR’s Domenico Montanaro explains on Up First. That’s because Trump appointed three conservative justices during his presidency, which made it possible for Roe v. Wade to be overturned. Trump also knows that this ruling hurt Republicans in the elections that came after Roe V. Wade was overturned. “Trump is very much aware of the mobilizing effect of the Supreme Court actions, in favor of the Democrats,” Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion said. With this recent announcement, Trump is essentially abandoning the issue, Montanaro explains. But that doesn’t mean voters will too. NPR’s polling shows that college educated white women are shifting towards Biden this election.  

The Vatican released a new document calling abortion, surrogacy, and gender theory “grave threats” facing humanity today. The document argues that if a person is made in God’s image, gender theory and gender reassignment surgery call into question why God would create a person with the wrong gender. The document also argues that the understanding of humanity as two sexes — male and female — is biblical and deeply meaningful, especially in terms of procreation.

  • NPR’s Jason DeRose explains that the Vatican does not see this as a move away from its existing teachings. Just last year, Pope Francis allowed priests to bless people in same-sex marriages. This new document continues to allow priests to bless same-sex couples. But it makes a clear distinction between the issue of sexual orientation – whether a person is gay, lesbian or bisexual – and the issue of gender identity – whether a person’s sex assigned at birth matches what that person understands his or her gender to be. DeRose explains that while the church may have more progressive views about sexual orientation, the language in this document is very similar to how conservatives often talk about being transgender as a choice, which is something major medical and psychological groups dispute. 

Missouri Governor Mike Parson has said that Brian Dorsey will be executed in Missouri tonight despite a coalition advocating against his execution. Dorsey pleaded guilty to killing his cousin and her husband in central Missouri in 2006. Advocates for Dorsey argue that he shouldn’t be executed for two reasons: First, Dorsey’s attorneys were paid a flat fee of $12,000 by the Missouri Public Defenders office, which his current lawyers say incentivized them to do as little work as possible and push Dorsey to plead guilty without trying to get the death penalty off the table. The second reason is whether Dorsey was in a drug induced psychosis when he committed the murders. If he was, then his attorneys argue that he wouldn’t fit the confines of first-degree murder — and is therefore not eligible for the death penalty.

  • Roughly 62% of Missourians support the death penalty in the case of first-degree murder, according to a  SLU/YouGov poll. And both Republican and Democratic governors in Missouri have supported capital punishment. Death penalty opponents, like State Rep. Tony Lovasco, says that the only way to change that attitude is if someone innocent is executed. And though this is definitely not the case for Dorsey, his case does prompt some big questions about the legal system in the state. “I think it’s important that we focus on the technical aspects of the case and the criminal justice system and really how this fits into public policy at large,” Lovasco told NPR.



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