The Associated Press

Las Vegas diocese to add religious schools

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas is developing a plan to add religious schools to the region, shifting focus from adding churches as local growth slows.

Bishop Joseph Pepe said the diocese has spent the last decade adding new parishes to accommodate the demands that come with a concurrent building boom in southern Nevada.

But Catholic officials now are developing a three-year master plan to add schools. An estimated 700,000 Catholics live in Las Vegas, and 3,700 students attend the eight schools affiliated with the diocese.

“With that kind of exponential growth, our first task was to identify areas, buy property and establish parish centers,” Pepe said. “Once you build the worshiping community, then you begin to get the requests for schools.”

The diocese has added one school in the past decade, and its capacity for the entire district is about the same as the student body at one of the larger Clark County high schools.

Pepe said the diocese might shift toward regional schools, rather than smaller schools run by individual parishes. Officials say the plan could lead to existing schools closing.

Groups condemn UW plan to perform abortions

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Anti-abortion groups condemned a University of Wisconsin plan to provide second-trimester abortions at a Madison clinic and questioned whether it was legal.

UW Health spokeswoman Lisa Brunette said its gynecologists plan to begin performing abortions for patients between 13 and 22 weeks pregnant at the Madison Surgery Center. She said the plan needs final approval from the center’s board, which could take action this month.

The Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based conservative Christian legal group, publicized the plan and sent a letter asking UW officials to stop it. The group said the plan might violate a state law that prohibits state or federal money from being used to pay doctors or clinics to perform abortions.

Brunette acknowledged state-paid doctors working for the university would provide the services but she said its lawyers were comfortable the plan is legal. She said the abortions themselves would be paid for by insurance and patient fees, not public money.

ADF lawyer Thomas Bowman said the group was researching the arrangement and would “take quick legal action in the event that any legal violations are uncovered.”

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