Good Morning! 

Just last year, tennis legend Martina Navratilova (who identifies as a lesbian) said allowing biological males to compete against women was “insane and cheating.” She later said if the practice were to continue “women’s sports as we know them would cease to exist.” 

Now, at least ten states concur: 

  1. States Where It’s Safest to Be a Girl Athlete 

From The Daily Citizen: 

South Dakota became the first state this year – and the tenth across the country – to pass legislation making it safe to be a girl athlete. Senate Bill 36, “An Act to protect fairness in women’s sports,” was passed by the state Senate with a vote of 77 to 26 and by the House with a 50 to 17 vote. 

The other states where it is safe for girl and women athletes to compete, without unfair competition from male-bodied athletes who believe they are females, are Idaho, Montana, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia and Florida. 

Signed into law by Governor Kristi Noem on February 3, the South Dakota Fairness Act allows only females – based on their biological sex – to participate in girls and women’s interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural and club sports. If a school district or institution of higher education violates the law and allows a biological male to compete in women’s sports, the law allows girls and women to file a lawsuit against the district or institution. 

The state might go even further to protect girls, as House Bill 1005 is also making its way through the legislature. This bill would “provide for the designated use of public school multi-occupancy rooms and sleeping rooms.” It allows schools to continue with single-sex showers, changing rooms, and restrooms, protecting girls from those private places being accessed by boys who claim to be girls. 


Florida Bill Addressing Sex, Gender Conversations in Classrooms is Called ‘Hateful Attack 

From Fox News: 

The Senate Education Committee in Florida approved SB 1834, which critics have dubbed the “don’t say ‘gay’ bill,” which says schools “may not encourage discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.” 

The bill’s sponsor, Republican State Sen. Dennis Baxley, says it clarifies the role of teachers in the classroom. 

“Some discussions are for (having) with your parents,” Baxley said. “And I think when you start having sexual-type discussions with children, you’re entering a very dangerous zone. Your awareness should pop up right away, this isn’t teaching.” 

Baxley also says that his measure does not affect private conversations with teachers and students but only relates to “procedures” and “curriculum.” 

Critics disagree, saying that the bill’s wording does not clearly establish that private conversations are exempt and could alienate or harm gay children in schools. 

  1. School Tells Kids to Stop Sending Valentines Featuring White or ‘Gender Normative’ People.

From the National Pulse: 

A private school in Providence, Rhode Island has recommended that students avoid sending Valentine’s Day cards that portray only white people. Parents and students of Moses Brown Lower School received the following guidelines from Osvaldo Jose Marti, the Head of School: 

“As we approach the month of February, we are writing to share some guidelines for the selection and exchange of Valentines in the Lower School. If your child wishes to bring cards for classmates, please consider these recommendations, which we make in an effort to promote kindness and inclusivity within our community: 

  • If your child would like to bring cards for classmates (this is entirely optional), please bring a card for every other child in the pod or in the grade. 
  • Please coach your child if purchasing commercially produced cards to select something that does not feel ‘gender normative’ (with separate ‘boy cards’ vs. ‘girl cards,’ for instance.) 
  • Also, consider talking to your child about avoiding cards that portray only White human characters. Representation matters and our students of color also deserve to see themselves in some of the cards they receive, unless we can find cards without people pictured at all. 
  • Valentine’s Day celebration at the Lower School level should have a focus on friendship and fun. Please join us in trying to avoid the romantic crush themes that can dominate the day for older students.” 

These recommendations were sent to students from the school’s nursery (starting at $18,770 a year) through to 4th grade (starting at $35,795 tuition per year). Members of the school have refused to comment on the instructions. Students interviewed by NBC 10 noted that they were just glad that the school was not getting rid of the Valentine’s Day tradition altogether. 

  1. Report: Pandemic Caused Smaller ‘Baby Bust’ Than Expected 

From the Daily Wire: 

Provisional data on the number of births in the United States showed that the COVID-19 pandemic might have had less of an impact on a “baby bust” than was originally anticipated.  

The Wall Street Journal reported that the United States experienced around 7,000 fewer births in the initial nine months of 2021 when contrasted with the same time period a year before, per provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). 

“Starting in June 2021, monthly births began to show consistent gains over their year-earlier levels, which reflect pre-pandemic conceptions, and that mostly offset declines in the first two months of 2021, the data show,” the Journal noted, adding that the 2021 numbers are nationwide provisional estimates and “[t]he federal government will issue a final count later this year, a CDC spokesman said. The provisional data are rounded to the nearest thousand and might differ from the final numbers by as much as 2%, according to the NCHS.” 

Some experts believed the COVID-19 pandemic would have a much larger impact on the birth rate across the country. In December, economists Melissa Kearney and Phillip Levine reportedly put forward numbers demonstrating how the pandemic resulted in 60,000 missing births from October 2020 through February 2021. “Earlier in the pandemic, they predicted the health crisis and economic uncertainty would lead to 300,000 to a half million fewer births last year,” the outlet added. 

4. Study: Positive Parenting, Even At Infancy, Can Have Long-Term Effects 

From CBS News: 

A mother’s early interactions with their child can have a big impact on their future health. 

According to a pediatrics study, when children ages 4 and younger receive warmth and “positive parenting” from their mothers, it improves their ability to self-regulate their behavior. 

The findings suggest positive parenting, even at infancy, can have long-term effects. 

For example, children who have positive interactions with their mothers are less likely to become obese later in life. 

Another study by researchers for the Canadian Medical Association Journal found infants exposed to opioids during the first trimester have a slightly increased risk for congenital abnormalities. 

  1. Pro-Life Sidewalk Counselors in Greensboro, N.C., Win Settlement in Unlawful Arrest Case 

From The Daily Citizen: 

A handful of Christians arrested in March and April 2020 for walking and praying in front of an abortion facility in Greensboro, North Carolina, have finally won some vindication of their clear free speech rights following a settlement of their claims against the city as well as Guilford County, which issued the restrictive health order that led to their arrest. 

Lawyers with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) announced the settlement, which involves a payment from the city of $15,000 for legal fees involved in the case, along with an agreement that engaging in peaceful prayer and sidewalk counseling outside an abortion facility is protected by the First Amendment. 

Global Impact Ministries, operating under the name Love Life, mobilized representatives of the organization to walk and pray near A Woman’s Choice abortion facility on three occasions in late March and early April 2020, soon after the county’s health officials had issued a COVID-19 order against congregating with 10 or more people. The sidewalk counselors who showed up on those occasions numbered less than 10 and maintained required social distancing and followed hand sanitizing recommendations also contained in the county’s orders. 

Notably, the county’s order allowed for outdoor exercise. It would have been perfectly fine for anyone to walk the streets of Greensboro to get some fresh air or go shopping. 

  1. Florida bill baits abortion challenge 

From World Magazine: 

John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, drove four hours from his home in Orlando to Tallahassee on Feb. 1. The next morning, he gave a 30-second testimony in the Florida Senate Health Policy Committee. People lined up in the high-ceilinged, white-walled room in the Capitol Complex to speak on a pro-life bill that would protect babies from abortion after 15 weeks of gestation. No one had enough time to say everything on their minds. 

“The problem this bill is solving is that Florida has become a late-term abortion destination state,” Stemberger said. As the committee chair dismissed him, Stemberger pointed out that 15 weeks is the standard set by Mississippi in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, an abortion case before the United States Supreme Court that asks the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade

Florida pro-lifers have their eyes on the federal and state Supreme Courts as they push for pro-life legislation this session. Confident in their conservative state justices, pro-life activists want the Legislature to pass a bill that could challenge a 1989 Florida Supreme Court decision that established a right to abortion.  

  1. Retired pope asks pardon for abuse, but admits no wrongdoing 

From the Associated Press: 

Retired Pope Benedict XVI asked forgiveness Tuesday for any “grievous faults” in his handling of clergy sex abuse cases, but denied any personal or specific wrongdoing after an independent report criticized his actions in four cases while he was archbishop of Munich, Germany. 

Benedict’s lack of a personal apology or admission of guilt immediately riled sex abuse survivors, who said his response reflected the Catholic hierarchy’s “permanent” refusal to accept responsibility for the rape and sodomy of children by priests. 

Benedict, 94, was responding to a Jan. 20 report from a German law firm that had been commissioned by the German Catholic Church to look into how cases of sexual abuse were handled in the Munich archdiocese between 1945 and 2019. Benedict, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, headed the archdiocese from 1977 to 1982. 

The report faulted Benedict’s handling of four cases during his time as archbishop, accusing him of misconduct for having failed to restrict the ministry of the four priests even after they had been convicted criminally. The report also faulted his predecessors and successors, estimating there had been at least 497 abuse victims over the decades and at least 235 suspected perpetrators. 

  1. There’s No Such Thing as a Post Truth World

From the Gospel Coalition: 

Bearing witness to the truth can be exhausting in a world that piles lie upon lie. But Alexandyr Solzenhitsyn was right: One word of truth outweighs the entire world. 

Falsehoods will fall. Reality will resurge. 

The Oxford Dictionaries may have made “post-truth” the word of the year in 2016, but there’s no such thing as a “post-truth world” or a “post-truth society.” There are only those who ignore the truth and those who seek to bring themselves in line with it. And so, more than ever, we must pray for the grace to bear witness to the truth of Christ with the love of Christ, with faithful hope in an outcome secured by the Savior whose heel crushed the father of lies. 

  1. Want to Live Longer? Stop Eating Like an American, Says a New Study. 

From the Daily Beast: 

We might one day be able to live in 150 thanks to some wicked new drugs or biotechnological enhancements. But until then, we have to rely on improving our lifespan the old-fashioned way: staying healthy and eating right. 

It turns out diet might play a more outsized role than we thought. A new peer-reviewed study published in PLOS Medicine on Tuesday suggests that a young adult living in the U.S. could add more than 10 years to their expected lifespan simply by pivoting away from a typical Western diet and closer to a traditional Mediterranean diet. That means eating much less red and processed meat; and eating many more legumes, whole grains, and nuts. 

“Food is fundamental for health, and global dietary risk factors are estimated to cause 11 million deaths and 255 million disability-adjusted life years annually,” Norwegian nutrition researcher and lead study author Lars Thore Fadnes told The Daily Beast. “Understanding the health potential of different food groups could enable people to make feasible and significant health gains.” Though previous studies have sought to characterize how diet is associated with lifespan, none have done so “with the same detail” and this new study, said Fadnes. 

10. 80-Year-old Man Walks Through Blizzard to Rescue 3 Cars of People 

From CBC: 

Andre Bouvier Sr. was doing some genealogy research when he got the call about St. Onge’s plea for help. He decided to help her out, despite his wife’s concern for his well-being heading out in the storm. 

The 80-year-old retiree tried to start his tractor, but it was dead.  

He bundled up, grabbed an LED flashlight and walked about half a kilometre into the raging storm to search for St. Onge’s car. He knew he could walk to where she was as long as he stayed on the road. 

“The worst part was the wind. Halfway there, I had to put my mitts in front of my eyes,” he said. 

To Bouvier’s surprise, he found two other vehicles with people who also needed help stranded alongside St. Onge. 

He led the seven stranded people back to his home and welcomed them in for the evening.  

Bouvier didn’t want much credit for his efforts for a stranger in need. 

“Everybody would have done the same thing,” he said. “You don’t think about it, you just do it.”