TIME Religion

Pro-Life Nurse Sues Family Planning Clinic for Hiring Discrimination

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Birth control pills Raymond Forbes—age fotostock RM/Getty Images

She said she would not prescribe birth control

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This article originally appeared on Patheos.

We have a new frontrunner in the race for dumbest Christian Right lawsuit.

Sara Hellwege, a pro-life nurse, applied for a job at Tampa Family Health Centers (in Florida) this past April. TFHC is a Title X clinic, meaning they’re all about things like family planning, contraception, and birth control.

So when Hellwege mentioned her affiliation with the “American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists” in her resume, the interviewer (Chad Lindsey) asked her if that would be a problem since, you know, conservative Christians + birth control = crazytown.

Hellwege said she couldn’t prescribe birth control since, in her unscientific mind, it caused abortions. Lindsey, knowing that all of the job openings involved prescribing birth control, told her there were no other positions available and that there was no reason to proceed with the interview process.

So she’s suing him.

I repeat: She’s suing him because he’s not hiring her for a job she refuses to do.

It makes as much sense as a vegetarian suing Taco Bell for not hiring him even though he told the manager he couldn’t be near meat.

The misnamed Alliance Defending Freedom reiterated the whole misunderstanding about how birth control works while completely ignoring the job description:

Willingness to commit an abortion cannot be a litmus test for employment,” added ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden. “All we are asking is for the health center to obey the law and not make a nurse’s employment contingent upon giving up her respect for life.”

I know we’re talking about birth control, and most forms of birth control are not abortifacients, but let’s roll with it for a second. If the job involves helping women obtain abortions, and you don’t want to help women obtain abortions for whatever reason, go find another job. Hellwege can’t do the very thing they need her to do.

No one owes her a job when she refuses to do it.

Maybe I should apply for an attorney position at ADF. My own sincere beliefs prevent me from defending Christians who have martyr complexes, but screw it. ADF owes me a paycheck.

Gregory M. Lipper of Americans United for Separation of Church and State put it simply: “Even after Hobby Lobby, this lawsuit retires the trophy for chutzpah.”

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. His latest book is called The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide.

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TIME Family

Couples With Marital Stress More Likely to Have Daughters

Parents Baby Daughter
Mother and father are shown kissing their baby daughter. Chris Ryan—OJO Images RF/Getty Images

“Girls may well be surviving stressful pregnancies that boys can’t survive”

They’re always blaming the children. After years of research showing that couples with daughters are more likely to divorce, Duke researchers Tuesday offered up an interesting explanation as to why: female embryos are better at toughing it out.

Duke economist Amar Hamoudi co-authored the study, which analyzed longitudinal data from a random sample of Americans between 1979 and 2010. Their results showed that women who reported higher levels of relationship stress, linked to a increased prevalence of later divorce, were more likely to give birth to girls.

“Girls may well be surviving stressful pregnancies that boys can’t survive,” Hamoudi said. “Thus girls are more likely than boys to be born into marriages that were already strained.”

Research has widely documented men’s higher mortality rates from birth to age 100, and recent studies have shown that the “female survival advantage” may even begin in the womb. Hamoudi suggests that science needs to take a closer look at this critical life stage.

“It’s time for population studies to shine a light on the period of pregnancy,” Hamoudi said. “The clock does not start at birth.”

TIME Family

3-Year-Old Helps Rescue Elderly Man Trapped in Overheated Car

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He's a hero

A three-year-old boy in Tennessee called for help just in time when an elderly man was overheating and could not open the door of his car on a 90-degree day, Good Morning America reports.

Bob King, 68, had been sitting in the car waiting for his wife to come back from an event at Vestal Baptist Church in Knoxville. He was having trouble opening the door, which gets stuck a lot, when he saw Keith Williams, 3, pass by. He yelled for help, and the youngster went and got Pastor Jack Greene who was finally able to open the door. He took King into the church to cool off.

The amazing coincidence of this story: Williams’s mother Jessie said she had just taught Keith hot car safety.

 

TIME Family

This 4-Year-Old Girl Went Around the City Clerk’s Office Asking Brides If She Could Be a Flower Girl

A different kind of proposal

A four-year-old Brooklyn girl wanted to be a flower girl so badly that she walked around the Manhattan City Clerk’s Office asking couples if she could participate in their weddings, NBC News reports.

Decked out in a floral dress and white gloves, Annabelle Earl carried a dozen pink and purple roses purchased at a bodega and held up a green poster that said “Can I Be Your Flower Girl.”

Finally, one bride said “yes.” When the moment finally came, the youngster was briefly overcome with stage fright, but got through the rest of the ceremony without a hitch. Afterwards, her mother Kim bought her “wedding cake” at a nearby bakery.

No word on whether the Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio will invite her to be a flower girl at the weddings he officiates.

 

TIME Crime

15-Year-Old Shooting Survivor Quotes Harry Potter at Memorial for Her Family

The teen says her family is "in a much better place" and that she "will be able to see them again one day"

The sole survivor of a shooting rampage that killed her parents and four siblings, quoted a line from the Harry Potter series at a memorial for her family on Saturday.

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times,” Cassidy Stay said, citing Dumbledore’s advice in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, “if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

More than 400 people attended the “celebration of life,” NBC News reports, which took place following Wednesday’s shooting in the Houston area.

TIME justice

Police Say They Won’t Take Explicit Photos of Teen in Sexting Case

Following a wave of backlash.

Police in Virginia have backed away from a controversial plan to take sexually explicit photos of a 17-year-old to corroborate the images with evidence in a sexting case, the Associated Press reports.

The teen in question faces two felony charges in juvenile court for manufacturing and distributing child pornography after exchanging sexts with his then-15-year-old girlfriend. Police and prosecutors received a warrant to take the sexually explicit photos to compare against photos he allegedly sent.

But amid a wave of backlash, Manassas Police Lt. Brian Larkin told the AP Thursday that his department would not move forward with the plan and will let the search warrant expire. He did not give a specific reason.

A day earlier, the Manassas Police Department issued a statement saying it was not their policy to “authorize invasive search procedures of suspects in cases of this nature.” That statement did not elaborate on whether the images would be taken.

[AP]

TIME Family

Guy’s Grandma Hated His Beard So He Shaved It For Her 100th Birthday

She's so excited

Copywriter Scott Cleveland had been sporting a beard for the last four years, and his grandmother hated the look. He promised he would shave it for her 100th birthday. Watch her applaud him as he shaves it.

(h/t Reddit)

TIME justice

Virginia Police Issued Search Warrant For Photos of Sexting Teen’s Genitals, Lawyer Says

For evidence in a sexting investigation

Local police have issued a search warrant for explicit photos of a Virginia teenager accused of sexting his former girlfriend, lawyers for the teen said.

The Manassas City Police and Prince William County prosecutor are seeking pictures of the teen’s genitals, lawyer Jessica H. Foster told the Washington Post.

The teen faces two felony charges for manufacturing and distributing child pornography after exchanging sexts with his then-15-year-old girlfriend, whose mother filed the initial complaint with authorities. The case was dismissed in juvenile court in June, because prosecutors neglected to certify the teen’s juvenile status, the Post reports, but new charges were filed by the police.

The teen’s aunt told NBC Washington last week that local officers have already taken photos of her nephew’s genitals, but now want photos of an erection, too, to compare with evidence. The police reportedly told the teen that, if necessary, they would take him to a hospital for an injection that induces an erection.

“The prosecutor’s job is to seek justice,” Foster told the Post. “What is just about this? How does this advance the interest of the Commonwealth?”

If charged, the teen could face incarceration and would be forced to register as a sex offender.

Foster added, “I don’t mind trying the case. My goal is to stop the search warrant. I don’t want him to go through that. Taking him down to the hospital so he can get an erection in front of all those cops, that’s traumatizing.”

Carlos Flores Laboy, the teen’s appointed guardian ad litem told the Post that he found authorities’ desire to create more sexually explicit photos of a teenager, in the name of an investigation into child pornography allegations, both ironic and troubling.

“They’re using a statute that was designed to protect children from being exploited in a sexual manner to take a picture of this young man in a sexually explicit manner, said Flores Laboy. “The irony is incredible.”

He added, “As a parent myself, I was floored. It’s child abuse. We’re wasting thousands of dollars and resources and man hours on a sexting case. That’s what we’re doing.”

Calls to the Manassas City Police Department and the Prince William County prosecutor’s office were not immediately returned to TIME.

[Washington Post]

TIME Opinion

Losing a Child and Learning to Grieve

Ten years ago, I was catapulted headfirst into a gutting grief by the sudden death of my six-year-old daughter, Charlotte. I was desperate for guidance. Conventional wisdom at the time relied upon Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance — developed in the 1960s while she was working with terminally ill and aging adults. These have become the accepted route for those facing their own death and those grieving the loss of loved ones.

It’s time we rethink grief.

Delving into resources that detailed “grief work,” I found no discussion of joy or happiness as an endpoint, no allusion to a deepening of heart and mind, and little talk of the freedom that settles into one’s soul when all but the most basic desire are stripped away. Yet, that is the closure I came to: That it is entirely acceptable and possible to find joy, happiness, and a more deeply fulfilling life than one had prior to a devastating loss.

At the time, the mere thought of wanting to want to find a place of resilience made me feel I was doing the whole thing wrong. Surely, if I did not stay in a persistent state of woe then it must be due to denial, conflicted emotions about Charlotte, or an inability to feel.

In those early months of grief that stretched into years, I was encouraged by the reserves of bravery and resilience I discovered I had, and equal parts concerned that I wasn’t overcome 24/7. I perceived I was doing it differently and isolation pervaded much of my grief. Moving back into the natural rhythm of life in the face of such a ruining loss just felt plain old wrong. Did going forward make me a callous and unfeeling monster? This brought on more investigative therapy.

Today, I’ve largely made peace with the early death of my daughter. By no means easy, it has not been the relentless march that I had feared. Psychotherapy and grief groups did not uncover buried levels of denial. In our home there were plenty of pizza dinners and hollow conversations, but I never did have the gothic meltdowns or unrelenting mourning. I was sometimes happy. Not to say that I wasn’t deeply sorrowful. I wept daily and struggled with thoughts of where my daughter had gone. My belief system was called into question regularly.

Recently I was introduced to Dr. George Bonanno’s explorations of grief and his book, The Other Side of Sadness. His basic premise is that loss pervades the animal kingdom and none of us moves through life untouched by it, yet we are programmed genetically to be resilient. Even ten years out, his work offered a great sense of relief and comfort. Maybe I was not the outlier I suspected.

It is impossible to be unchanged by grief. It deepens us. Perhaps hardens us, but also opens doors and softens bits of us, as well. Mine is a story of moving through the pain of losing a loved one I thought I could not live without and coming back on the other side with a better appreciation for life, as a more deeply loving and engaged human being. I would give all of my hard-won wisdom back in a nanosecond if it would mean the safe return of my daughter (hello, bargaining), but that is not to be.

We are marked by grief for life, yet if we are open to its gifts, we can be healed by it. Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, “Sorrow makes us all children. Destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest knows nothing.” Laid bare, grief gives us an opportunity to rebuild and grow up a second time. We may find our way to new lines of thinking. These can ultimately leave us comfortable in our own skin in ways we had never thought possible.

Consider that we do ourselves a disservice by not working hard enough to stand up, move forward, and be strong and courageous. We give ourselves too much permission to suffer. I don’t for one second mean to imply that people should deny emotions of any sort while experiencing the grief process. It comes in different forms for different people and lasts for varying amounts of time. But what I do believe is the place of relative comfort with the loss comes more quickly than conventional wisdom would have led us to believe. And yes, that place does come for almost everyone.

Sukey Forbes runs an art, antiques, and interior design company near Boston. Her book, The Angel in My Pocket, was recently published.

TIME Family

This Kid Is Not Impressed With a Surprise Trip to Disney World

Someone doesn't like surprises

This dad and his wife thought they were the best parents ever for surprising their kids with a trip to Disney World. One of them is thrilled and starts screaming, while the little boy starts to sob and yell “I don’t want to.”

Usually these stunts are successful. Tears of joy, however, are seen in this 2011 video of a girl whose mom surprised her with a trip to Disneyland that has racked up close to 6 million views.

PHOTOS: The Newest Walt Disney World Ride

LIST: The Disney Garage and 6 Other Influential Garages Throughout History

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