Sterk Responds to United Methodist Church’s Ban on Gay Clergy

Members of the United Methodist Church voted on Tuesday to keep its ban on same-sex in the clergy at a church conference in St. Louis, according to the New York Times. The current church policy states that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching,” according to the Times. University President Claire E. Sterk said in a campus-wide email on Feb. 26 that “Emory will continue to promote, celebrate and honor the voice of each and every member of our community,” adding that “respect and equal opportunity are fundamental to who we are.”

Trump Administration to Block Usage of Title X Funds for Abortions

The Department of Health and Human Services announced on Feb. 22 that it plans to block Title X family planning funds to organizations that provide abortion referrals, a move which would divert funds away from Planned Parenthood and toward anti-abortion groups, according to The New York Times. Title X is a federal grant program meant to provide individuals with family planning and related medical resources. Planned Parenthood and similar organizations are already prohibited from using Title X funds to perform abortions, and the change means that they would not be able to refer patients for abortions. Planned Parenthood, which serves about 41 percent of Title X patients, could lose $60 million in funding, according to the Washington Post.

North Carolina Calls for New Election

Election officials in North Carolina ordered a new election on Feb. 21 for its ninth congressional district after an evidentiary hearing convened by the North Carolina Board of Elections revealed that Republican candidate Mark Harris’ campaign funded an illegal absentee ballot scheme to shift the election in his favor, according to The New York Times.

The elections board refused to certify Harris as the winner of the election in November 2018 and opened an investigation a few weeks after the conclusion of the race. Witnesses revealed that a political operative, L. McCrae Dowless Jr., illegally submitted absentee ballots.

Harris announced on Feb. 26 that he will not contest the new election, which has not yet been scheduled. The district, which includes parts of Charlotte, N.C., and the Southeastern portion of the state, will remain without a representative until the new election is conducted. This is the first time in nearly 40 years that a congressional election will be conducted twice, according to the Times.

Ga. State Rep. Files ‘Heartbeat’ Bill

Georgia state Rep. Ed Setzler introduced a bill on Monday that proposes outlawing abortions once a doctor is able to detect a heartbeat in a mother’s womb, according to the AJC, with a similar bill expected to be introduced to the state Senate in the coming week. Georgia law currently allows for abortions for up to 20 weeks of gestation.

Abortion rights groups called the bill “blatantly unconstitutional,” and that it would restrict abortions before women even learn of their pregnancy, according to the AJC.

Emory Opens New Women’s Clinic in Johns Creek

Emory opened a new women’s center in Johns Creek, Ga., on Feb. 19, aimed at providing gynecologic and obstetrics services, according to the Johns Creek Herald. The clinic, located at 12000 Findley Road, is near the Emory Johns Creek Hospital, and is staffed with board-certified OB-GYN’s and nurse midwives.

President Trump meets with Kim Jong-un in Vietnam

President Donald J. Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Vietnam on Tuesday, their second summit in eight months. The topics of discussion included declaring an official end to the Korean War, North Korea dismantling a nuclear facility and creating liaison offices which would act as diplomatic missions, according to the New York Times. The U.S. reportedly wants a verifiable disassembly of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction.

The two leaders last met in Singapore in June 2018 but did not achieve any concrete solutions.

Marla F. Frederick Named Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Religion and Culture

Marla F. Frederick, professor of African and African American studies and the study of religion at Harvard University (Mass.), will join the faculty at the Candler School of Theology in Fall 2019, according to a Feb. 26 University press release. Frederick was elected vice president of the American Academy of Religion in October 2018 for 2019-20.