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Los Angeles (AFP) - A social media campaign launched by three US activists to denounce the stigma surrounding abortion has gone viral as women have shared their experiences, though pro-life campaigners have hit back.
The hashtag "#ShoutYourAbortion" was started on Twitter over the weekend after the US House of Representatives voted to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest women's health care ser vices provider, as Republicans pushed for a probe of the organization.
Lindy West, Amelia Bonow and Kimberly Morrison said they began the campaign in a bid to encourage women to reclaim the conversation about abortion.
Bonow shared her own story on Facebook along with the hashtag and since then thousands of women across the globe have detailed their experience.
"I had an abortion at Planned Parenthood last year and it was a great experience," Bonow, who lives in Seattle, told AFP. "Not only am I not ashamed, but I know I'm incredibly lucky to have access to this choice and we need to keep it that way."
West also recounted her abortion experience on Facebook, saying she had no regrets.
"I set up #ShoutYourAbortion because I am not sorry and I will not whisper," she wrote on Twitter.
Tens of thousands of women were thought to have shared similar stories with the hashtag, based on web analytics sites.
But some, who believe abortion is tantamount to murder, have lashed out at the women.
"I'm sure the babies would love to participate in the #ShoutYourAbortion campaign, but they've been murdered and sold for parts," wrote blogger Matt Walsh on Twitter.
Abortion is a hot-button issue in the United States and the latest debate comes as Pope Francis begins a historic visit to the country, during which he will address Congress.
The pontiff tackled the prickly issue ahead of his visit telling priests that they could forgive women the "sin of abortion" if they express remorse.
Just hours before his arrival to Washington, Republican senators tried and failed to break a filibuster on legislation banning late-term abortions.
The controversy over Planned Parenthood erupted after a series of secretly recorded videos were released showing top members of the organization discussing in graphic detail the use of fetal tissue for research.
The House of Representatives stripped the group of federal funding for one year pending a congressional probe.
Friday, August 28, 2015
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Monday, June 29, 2015
By Rosa Nguyen Globe Correspondent June 29, 2015
Cori Connor-Morse stood among the white columns of Parkman Bandstand, voice quavering as she recounted the loss of her unborn child.
“My baby should not be in heaven. My baby should be all grown up and living his life here, with us, as it was intended by our creator,” Connor-Morse said, recalling the abortion she had and the regret she later felt.
A crowd of about 600 abortion opponents rallied around her Sunday, huddling under umbrellas as they shouted their support. The rally and subsequent Massachusetts March For Life, sponsored by walkers’ family and friends, raised money for 16 pregnancy resource centers across the state, including Operation Rescue in Boston and New Women’s Center Inc., in Springfield.
Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston, was among several speakers who addressed the crowd.
Waving signs and tambourines as they were pelted by rain, the activists looped 2 miles around the Boston Common and the Public Garden, pausing for a moment of silence at the State House.
Anne Fox, president of Massachusetts Citizens For Life, said, “1.2 million babies have been aborted in Massachusetts since Roe v. Wade in 1973. That’s a lot of deaths.”
State Representative James Lyons of Andover, who attended the march, said the Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion 40 years ago, was a mistake.
“We have a responsibility to protect human life,” Lyons said.
Four bills addressing abortion are being considered by state legislators, march organizers said. Their policies include more health regulations in abortion clinics, they said, options that allow taxpayers to fund Baby Safe Havens instead of abortion clinics, banning abortions of fetuses who can feel pain 20 weeks after conception, and banning partial-birth abortions, which occur while the fetus is being born.
The Rev. Matt Williams, director of Faith Formation in the Archdiocese of Boston, said the law classifies the murder of a pregnant woman as a double murder but doesn’t classify abortion as a criminal act.
“All men are created equal. All life is sacred and deserves to be protected under the Constitution,” Williams said. “There are 7 billion people, but no one has your fingerprints. You are unique.”
Kelley McCormick, who emceed the rally, also emphasized unborn children’s constitutional rights.
“The Constitution promises life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” she said. “If you don’t get a chance at life, then you don’t get an opportunity for liberty and happiness.”
Standing in front of the State House, children, parents, and Franciscan nuns prayed, chanting, “I believe that we vote life.”
Kimberlyn Santana, 13, wore a trash bag over her clothes as she marched, a star-speckled tapestry of the Lady of Guadalupe draped, cape-like, across her shoulders.
“Life before you’re out of the womb is important,” Kimberlyn said. “The child that was in your womb could have been an amazing person.”
NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts and Planned Parenthood officials could not be reached for comment.
Friday, June 26, 2015
Sarah Zagorski Jun 26, 2015 | 9:25AM Washington
A 26-year-old woman who wants to remain anonymous has shared online that she is seven-weeks-pregnant and plans to have an abortion on July 10th. However, if pro-lifers can raise one million dollars in 72-hours she says she will not have the abortion and place the baby for adoption. She selected 72-hours intentionally because she wanted to draw attention to the laws that recently passed requiring women to wait 72-hours prior to an abortion.
The 26-year-old who is demanding money to save the life of her child believes these laws are intended to control women’s rights rather than to help women and save unborn children. She said, “The backward direction this country is headed in terms of its treatment of women I feel is due in large part to the influence of the religious right disguised as the pro-life movement. The pro-life movement cares very little about saving lives and far more about controlling women by minimizing their choices in a wide variety of ways not the least of which is readily available reproductive health care.”
She concluded, “I hope to give the American public a concrete example that the conservative right in America doesn’t actually care about the life of a child, they care about controlling the lives and choices of women. We have to acknowledge this and we have to stop it.” Additionally, the woman said that if the funds are raised she will put the money in a trust fund for her baby that he or she will have access to on their 21st birthday.
Lila Rose, the President of Live Action, went on the HLN TV show Dr. Drew to explain why this woman’s request is upsetting. She said, “This website that this woman’s putting up about killing a child in 72-hours disturbs us because we know it’s a child, it’s a baby.”
As LifeNews previously reported, in the United States, South Dakota, Utah, Missouri and North Carolina all have three-day waiting periods while 26-states require women to wait 24 or 48 hours. Pro-life lawmakers believe these laws are critical because sometimes abortion involves coercion and women feel they have no other choice than to kill their unborn child. The new laws can give these women time to reconsider their options and potentially pursue other sources for help.
After the pro-life law was enacted in North Carolina, Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life said the following about waiting periods: “As pastoral director of the world’s largest ministries for healing after abortion — Rachel’s Vineyard and the Silent No More Awareness Campaign — I know that many mothers weep for their aborted children years, even decades later. A three-day wait cannot compare to a lifetime of emotional pain. Making sure that abortion clinics meet the minimum health and safety standards is just common sense, except to the abortion industry, which is wildly unregulated, and to its advocates, who think that keeping women safe and doctors accountable is somehow antithetical to women’s rights and health.”
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Steven Ertelt Jun 24, 2015 | 11:07AM Washington, DC
Today, the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services heard additional testimony for and against the legislation and ultimate voted for the bill to move out of committee and on to the Senate floor.
The legislation is sponsored by Senators Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and Jay Hottinger (R-Newark). Between the House and Senate, thirty-three legislators signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation.
“In Ohio, I was fortunate enough to work with Ohio Right to Life for the enactment of our post-viability abortion ban in 2011,” said Senator Peggy Lehner in her testimony. “Since passage of that legislation, abortions after 19 weeks gestation have decreased by 40%. While we are encouraged by this trend, there is more to be done and frankly I see no reason why we cant do it together, setting aside our hardened positions on abortion rights and seeking a law that more clearly reflects our understanding of fetal development.”
“The Hippocratic Oath says, First do no harm,” said Representative Roegner, another bill supporter. “I would think everyone could agree to err on the side of caution, in light of the overwhelming scientific evidence, when it comes to the question of whether a five month pre-born baby can feel pain.”
Ohio Right to Life strongly supports the bill and says public opinion is solidly on the side of protecting unborn babies from abortions.
“With Kermit Gosnell’s House of Horrors marked indelibly on the collective American conscience, it’s no wonder there’s a groundswell of support for legislation that protects 5-month pre-born babies from the pain of being dismembered,” said Stephanie Ranade Krider, executive director of Ohio Right to Life. “The passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will chronicle the end of late-term abortion-on-demand in Ohio, bringing us in line with the rest of the developed world.”
Krider said the legislation challenges the viability limit on abortion restrictions, commonly triggered at 24 weeks, that the U.S. Supreme Court imposed in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. As of 2011, abortions in Ohio are prohibited at 24 weeks or the point of viability, which must be tested for at 20 weeks gestation.
Supporters of the bill say it is important to help keep the focus on how abortion victimizes unborn children.
“Human growth in the womb is truly amazing,” said Dr. Dennis Sullivan, director of the Center for Bioethics at Cedarville University. “Most fetal organs are fully formed by the end of the first three months of development. We also know that unborn babies react to external stimuli very early on, and pull away from probes and operating instruments when procedures are done late in pregnancy. I am so thankful that society is finally recognizing the need to protect its most vulnerable members from unnecessary and horrific pain and suffering. It is our solemn duty to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.”
A national poll by The Polling Company found that, after being informed that there is scientific evidence that unborn children are capable of feeling pain at least by 20 weeks, 64% would support a law banning abortion after 20 weeks, unless the mother’s life was in danger. Only 30% said they would oppose such a law.
A November 2014 poll from Quinnipiac found that 60 percent of Americans support legislation limiting abortions after 20 weeks, including 56 percent of Independents and 46 percent of Democrats.
During a Congressional hearing on the federal bill, former abortion practitioner Anthony Levatino told members of the committee the gruesome details of his former abortion practice and how he became pro-life following the tragic automobile accident of his child.
Another bombshell dropped during the hearing came from Dr. Maureen Condic, who is Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She testified that the unborn child is capable of reacting to pain as early as 8-10 weeks. This is when most abortions in America take place.
The bill relies on the science of fetal pain to establish a Constitutional reason for Congress to ban abortions late in pregnancy. The science behind the concept of fetal pain is fully established and Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, is one of the leading researchers into it. He first published reports in the 1980s to validate research showing evidence for it.
He has testified before Congress that an unborn child could feel pain at “eight-and-a-half weeks and possibly earlier” and that a baby before birth “under the right circumstances, is capable of crying.”
He and his colleagues Dr. Vincent J. Collins and Thomas J. Marzen were the top researchers to point to fetal pain decades ago. Collins, before his death, was Professor of Anesthesiology at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois and author of Principles of Anesthesiology, one of the leading medical texts on the control of pain.
“The functioning neurological structures necessary to suffer pain are developed early in a child’s development in the womb,” they wrote.
“Functioning neurological structures necessary for pain sensation are in place as early as 8 weeks, but certainly by 13 1/2 weeks of gestation. Sensory nerves, including nociceptors, reach the skin of the fetus before the 9th week of gestation. The first detectable brain activity occurs in the thalamus between the 8th and 10th weeks. The movement of electrical impulses through the neural fibers and spinal column takes place between 8 and 9 weeks gestation. By 13 1/2 weeks, the entire sensory nervous system functions as a whole in all parts of the body,” they continued.
With Zielinski and his colleagues the first to provide the scientific basis for the concept of fetal pain, Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand has provided further research to substantiate their work.
One leading expert in the field of fetal pain, Dr. Kanwaljeet S. Anand at the University of Tennessee, stated in his expert report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, “It is my opinion that the human fetus possesses the ability to experience pain from 20 weeks of gestation, if not earlier, and the pain perceived by a fetus is possibly more intense than that perceived by term newborns or older children.”
“The neural pathways are present for pain to be experienced quite early by unborn babies,” explains Steven Calvin, M.D., perinatologist, chair of the Program in Human Rights Medicine, University of Minnesota, where he teaches obstetrics.
Dr. Colleen A. Malloy, Assistant Professor, Division of Neonatology at Northwestern University in her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in May 2012 said, “[w]hen we speak of infants at 22 weeks LMP [Note: this is 20 weeks post fertilization], for example, we no longer have to rely solely on inferences or ultrasound imagery, because such premature patients are kicking, moving, reacting, and developing right before our eyes in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.”
“In today’s medical arena, we resuscitate patients at this age and are able to witness their ex-utero growth and development. Medical advancement and technology have enabled us to improve our ability to care for these infants…In fact, standard of care for neonatal intensive care units requires attention to and treatment of neonatal pain,” Dr. Malloy testified. She continued, “[t]hus, the difference between fetal and neonatal pain is simply the locale in which the pain occurs. The receiver’s experience of the pain is the same. I could never imagine subjecting my tiny patients to horrific procedures such as those that involve limb detachment or cardiac injection.”