Ripple Effects: A New Serving of Positive News

Welcome to The Stream's new weekly roundup of positive news events that (hopefully) will have far-reaching effects.

By Nancy Flory Published on June 12, 2024

Louisiana Classifies Abortion Drugs as ‘Controlled Substances’

Louisiana has a new law that limits the distribution and possession of abortion drugs.

On May 24, Governor Jeff Landry signed a bill classifying chemical abortion drugs as controlled substances. This means anyone possessing them without a prescription and who gives them to a pregnant woman without her knowledge is guilty of coerced “criminal abortion by means of fraud” — a crime punishable by up to 10 years in jail with fines up to $100,000. Anyone possessing the drugs without a prescription can be sentenced to jail and fined up to $5,000. Pregnant women who take the drugs on their own are exempted from prosecution.

State Sen. Thomas Pressly (R-Shreveport), the chief sponsor of the bill, named it “The Catherine and Josephine Herring Act” for his sister, Catherine, whose husband dosed her with mifepristone without her knowledge. When she discovered she had been poisoned, she took an abortion-reversal pill and later gave premature birth to a daughter.

Mason Herring, Catherine’s husband, admitted he had obtained the drug in Mexico and attempted to cause his wife to miscarry their child. He pleaded guilty to assaulting a pregnant person and injuring a child, for which he was sentenced to 180 days in jail.

Pressly told Washington Watch with Tony Perkins that it was a horrible act of domestic violence.

“It was a personal issue for me,” he said. “[L]ook at the risk to the public, not only to the unborn babies, but also to the mothers, who could be poisoned with these pills as my sister was. It’s untenable that we don’t do more to protect women and the unborn in these situations. We’ve got to put more protections in place, and that’s exactly what we did in Louisiana. I hope other states will continue to follow our lead on that.”

Landry said classifying mifepristone and misoprostol as Schedule IV substances is only “common sense.” Schedule IV drugs — which, unlike Schedule I or “street” drugs, generally don’t cause dependence — are used mostly for pain control and are not available to the general public without a prescription.

Abortion is now illegal in Louisiana with few exceptions. Doctors will need a special license to prescribe the drugs, which are to be stored in special facilities. The law will take effect October 1.

Texas Supreme Court Unanimously Strikes Down Bid to Expand Abortion 

On May 31, the Texas Supreme Court struck down a lower court’s order that expanded abortion to include “any ‘unsafe’ pregnancy” and fatal fetal anomalies. The lower court order also changed the standard of determining whether an abortion is necessary from a “reasonable medical judgment” to a “good faith belief,” which would allow doctors to abort more babies at their own discretion. The Texas Supreme Court also struck that down.

Twenty women petitioned the lower court to broaden the scope of legal abortion, claiming the law was confusing and unconstitutional. They complained that did not receive “emergency” abortions because their doctors were confused about the Texas Human Life Protection Act, which took effect in August 2022. It outlaws abortion in Texas, with an exception for mothers with life-threatening conditions.

The high court made clear that the law already clears doctors to abort a baby when the mother’s life is in danger. The plaintiffs wanted legal abortion to include situations in which a baby is not expected to survive outside the mother’s womb, even when her life is not in danger. The court rejected that argument.

Promise Keepers Issues ‘Proclamation on Godly Masculinity’

Promise Keepers is asking pastors to publicly declare their position on biblical masculinity. 

On June 3, the longstanding men’s ministry issued a “Proclamation on Godly Masculinity,” outlining biblical stances on masculinity, femininity, gender roles, and men’s role in the culture. Among the authors are Samuel Rodriguez, A.R. Bernard, Gene Getz, Chad Hennings, Doug Stringer, David and Jason Benham and Wingmen Ministries. The proclamation “establishes 10 truths regarding masculinity, the unique callings God places on men, and the ways men must step up and lead in their churches, families and communities,” according to a press release. 

“The 10 specific responsibilities of a godly man declared in this proclamation are not newly curated ideas,” says Promise Keepers Chairman Ken Harrison. “Rather, they are an affirmation of truth since the beginning in the Garden of Eden. Each affirmation is backed by Scripture to serve as a reminder that this is not merely man-made, but supported by the eternal truth of Scripture.”

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Rodriguez says the Church must refute the confusion surrounding gender roles. “By blurring these roles, some men fail to embrace the masculinity for which they were created. Failing to do so dishonors women and the uniqueness with which God created them. This proclamation endeavors to restore the foundational aspects that define manhood and masculinity.”

By not recognizing the unique roles men and women have, society has raised a generation of men to be confused, apathetic and purposeless. 

“Too many pastors and leaders have failed to clearly communicate their position on the issue, instead playing both sides of the issue to ensure they aren’t ‘canceled’ and that their pews remain full,” says Harrison. “We need to clarify what it is to be a man and what it is to be a man of God.”

Actress and Husband Say Their Faith Sustained Them After Stillbirth

Actors Alexa PenaVega (Spy Kids) and her husband, Carlos (Big Time Rush) recently lost a child — their fourth —  to stillbirth. The couple told Fox News Digital they leaned on their faith to get through the difficult season.

“I don’t know how people do it without God because we can’t explain it other than it was like supernatural peace that didn’t make sense,” said Alexa. “It’s beyond understanding. [O]bviously we were devastated. It was heartbreaking. And yet we felt like God was just telling us, ‘Hey, I am so sorry you had to go through this, but I am here for you, and I’m going to make a way for you.’”

Alexa doesn’t blame God for the death of the child, named Indy Rex. “I think that’s one of those things that, you know, things happen in life … just because you go through something bad, sometimes I hear people say like, ‘I can’t believe God let that happen.’ I’m like, God didn’t let that happen, but God is going to make a way for you to get through that.

“Just because the enemy throws fiery arrows at you doesn’t mean that God isn’t going to make a way. Those arrows are still going to come at you, but He’s going to provide shelter. He’s going to help you with some shields. He’s going to get you through the seasons. And He got us through that season.”

On April 15, the couple posted about their loss on social media.

“There are never the right words to say when it comes to loss. After a beautiful and peaceful delivery our daughter ‘Indy’ was born at rest. It has been a painful journey. But in the pain we have found peace. God continues to comfort us and hold us in his arms.”

They went on to say they were sustained by prayers of their community and that their little girl has already changed their lives in more than one way.

“She was absolutely beautiful. And looked just like daddy. Dark hair and all. Grief has come to us in waves. Moments of feeling absolutely gutted … then moments of feeling blessed by just getting a moment with her.

“We can’t understand why things like this happen and we may never get those answers. Indy Rex PenaVega, you completely changed our world. You moved us to a new place. You gave us the community we have been longing for. We love you can’t wait to see how many other lives you change.”

The couple has been posting about the pregnancy since November. They have three other children: Ocean, 7; Kingston, 4; and Rio, 2.

Christian Lifeguard Threatened with Dismissal Gets Partial Exemption

The lifeguard who sued the Los Angeles County Fire Department May 24 for threatening to fire him because he refused to raise a gay-pride flag last June has received a partial accommodation. The Stream first reported on this case May 31.

The Los Angeles Fire Department agreed to “partially accommodate” Capt. Jeffrey Little and not require him to personally raise the “Progress Pride Flag” at his station; however, he still must command his subordinates to raise it. 

The LAD refused to provide Little with a full religious accommodation as requested in the lawsuit. Little asked for a “standing religious accommodation to permanently and comprehensively protect [his] religious liberty rights,” according to a press release. 

Little is still required to renew his request for a religious accommodation each year before June, or “Pride Month.” Thomas More Society attorneys will file motions for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief. 

“My hope is that this lawsuit encourages productive dialogue between employees of faith and their employers,” Little said in a statement. “No employee should be expected to abandon their faith when entering the workplace and unfortunately, I felt backed into a corner where my faith was incompatible with the requirements of my job. My prayer is that people of faith will flourish in the workplace and not feel as if they need to hide that part of themselves in order to be successful in their jobs.”

The Thomas More Society will continue to pursue the case in federal court.


Nancy Flory, Ph.D., is a senior editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.


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