The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, January 19, 2018, WEEKEND EDITION, Page 6A, Image 6

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Associated Press
Pence has long
pushed for Trump
policies on Israel
WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike
Pence is making his fifth visit to Israel, return-
ing to a region he’s visited “a million times” in
his heart.
An evangelical Christian with strong ties to
the Holy Land, Pence this time comes packing
two key policy decisions in his bags that have
long been top priorities for him: designating
Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and curtailing aid
for Palestinians.
Since his days in Congress a decade ago,
Pence has played a role in pushing both for the
shift in U.S. policy related to the capital and for
placing limits on funding for Palestinian causes
long criticized by Israel.
Traveling to Israel just as Palestinians have
condemned recent decisions by President Don-
ald Trump’s administration, Pence will arrive
in the region as a longtime stalwart supporter
of Israel who has questioned the notion of the
U.S. serving as an “honest broker” in the stalled
peace process.
“The United States certainly wants to be
honest but we don’t want to be a broker,” Pence
once told the Christian Broadcasting Network
in 2010. “A broker doesn’t take sides. A broker
negotiates between parties of equals.”
Trump steps to
forefront of anti-
abortion movement
WASHINGTON — He once called himself
“pro-choice.” But a year into his presidency,
Donald Trump is stepping to the forefront of
his administration’s efforts to roll back abortion
And though his record is mixed and a mid-
term election looms, abortion opponents say they
have not felt so optimistic in at least a decade.
“I don’t think anybody thinks that the White
House is a perfectly regimented and orderly
family ... but that doesn’t change their commit-
ment to the issue,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser,
president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which
is expanding its door-knocking operation across
states with Senate incumbents who have voted
for abortion rights.
With a Republican-controlled Congress at
his back on this issue, Trump is cementing his
turnaround on abortion with a video address
today to the annual March to Life. That’s a sym-
bolic change from last year, when Vice President
Mike Pence — in practical terms, the leader of
the anti-abortion movement in the United States
AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd
A group of indigenous men waits today for the arrival of Pope Francis in Puerto
Maldonado, Madre de Dios province, Peru.
Pope shocks Chile by accusing
sex abuse victims of slander
SANTIAGO, Chile — Pope Francis accused victims of Chile’s most notorious pedophile
of slander Thursday, an astonishing end to a visit meant to help heal the wounds of a sex
abuse scandal that has cost the Catholic Church its credibility in the country.
Francis said that until he sees proof that Bishop Juan Barros was complicit in covering
up the sex crimes of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, such accusations against Barros are “all
The pope’s remarks drew shock from Chileans and immediate rebuke from victims and
their advocates. They noted the accusers were deemed credible enough by the Vatican that it
sentenced Karadima to a lifetime of “penance and prayer” for his crimes in 2011. A Chilean
judge also found the victims to be credible, saying that while she had to drop criminal charges
against Karadima because too much time had passed, proof of his crimes wasn’t lacking.
Today, the pope traveled deep into the Amazon rainforest, demanding an end to the relent-
less exploitation of its timber, gas and gold and recognition of its indigenous peoples as the
primary custodians to determine the future of “our common home.”
Speaking to a coliseum filled with indigenous men, women and children, many of whom
were bare-chested and wearing brightly-colored headdresses, Francis declared the Amazon
the “heart of the church” and called for a three-fold defense of its life, land and cultures.
— addressed the group in Trump’s absence.
“In one short year, President Donald Trump
has made a difference for life,” Pence told
march leaders Thursday night.
New Trump office
would protect conscience
rights of doctors
WASHINGTON — Reinforcing its strong
connection with social conservatives, the
Trump administration announced Thursday a
new federal office to protect medical providers
refusing to participate in abortion, assisted sui-
cide or other procedures on moral or religious
Leading Democrats and LGBT groups
immediately denounced the move, saying “con-
science protections” could become a license to
discriminate, particularly against gay and trans-
gender people.
The announcement by the Department of
Health and Human Services came a day ahead
of the annual march on Washington by abortion
opponents. HHS put on a formal event in the
department’s Great Hall, with Republican law-
makers and activists for conscience protections
as invited speakers.
The religious and conscience division will be
part of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, which
enforces federal anti-discrimination and privacy
laws. Officials said it will focus on upholding
protections already part of federal law. Viola-
tions can result in a service provider losing gov-
ernment funding.
No new efforts to expand such protections
were announced, but activists on both sides
expect the administration will try to broaden
them in the future.
Although the HHS civil rights office has
traditionally received few complaints alleg-
ing conscience violations, HHS Acting Secre-
tary Eric Hargan,painted a picture of clinicians
under government coercion to violate the dic-
tates of conscience.
“For too long, too many health care prac-
titioners have been bullied and discriminated
against because of their religious beliefs and
moral convictions, leading many of them to
wonder what future they have in our medical
system,” Hargan told the audience.
Anti-smoking plan may
kill cigarettes — and
save Big Tobacco
WASHINGTON — Imagine if ciga-
rettes were no longer addictive and smoking
itself became almost obsolete; only a tiny
segment of Americans still lit up. That’s the
goal of an unprecedented anti-smoking plan
being carefully fashioned by U.S. health
But the proposal from the Food and Drug
Administration could have another unexpected
effect: opening the door for companies to sell a
new generation of alternative tobacco products,
allowing the industry to survive — even thrive
— for generations to come.
The plan puts the FDA at the center of a
long-standing debate over so-called “reduced-
risk” products, such as e-cigarettes, and whether
they should have a role in anti-smoking efforts,
which have long focused exclusively on getting
smokers to quit.
“This is the single most controversial —
and frankly, divisive — issue I’ve seen in
my 40 years studying tobacco control pol-
icy,” said Kenneth Warner, professor emeri-
tus at University of Michigan’s school of pub-
lic health.
The FDA plan is two-fold: drastically cut
nicotine levels in cigarettes so that they are
essentially non-addictive. For those who can’t
or won’t quit, allow lower-risk products that
deliver nicotine without the deadly effects of
traditional cigarettes.