by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 8/6/13 10:26 AM
The Government Accountability Office’s (GAO), a Congressional agency, has indicated it will conduct an investigation of the Planned Parenthood abortion, business, which was recently busted for millions of dollars of Medicaid fraud in Texas.
The abortion giant has engaged in at least $12.5 million in fraud over multiple states — that has become public knowledge so far.
Representatives Diane Black (R-TN), Pete Olson (R-TX), Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Senator David Vitter (R-LA) issued states late Monday saying they are grateful the agency will look into the abortion corporation and its financial dealings.
“The federal government providing funding to abortion providers is a serious problem in our nation,” Rep. Black said.
She added: “I am pleased with the decision from GAO to investigate the use of taxpayer money designated to any abortion provider, particularly Planned Parenthood. This independent study of how much and for what purpose these dollars are allocated to all abortion providers is necessary for Congress to ensure accountability and oversight. I look forward to reviewing the results and ultimately, mobilizing the support needed to stop federal funding of abortion providers once and for all.”
Senator David Vitter added: “Planned Parenthood performed a record 333,964 abortions last year – almost 1 million in the past three years. At the same time, they also received more federal taxpayer dollars than ever before – a record $542 million, an 11 percent increase over the past two years. Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortions clearly benefit from Uncle Sam, but there’s no accounting to prove how they actually use that money. This GAO report would shine a light on how our tax dollars are being spent.”
“I’m thrilled that GAO has agreed to again investigate the amount of taxpayer funding that has been allocated to Planned Parenthood and similar groups that perform or promote abortions,” Rep. Pete Olson said.
Olson continued: “Federal tax dollars are legally prohibited from being used for abortions. Under the U.S. constitution, the Obama Administration has a duty to enforce these laws. And under that same constitution, Congress has a duty to ensure that the executive branch follows the law of the land. I look forward to seeing the report and following up on behalf of all American taxpayers.”
“Despite the best and slickest market branding money can buy, the stubborn fact remains that Planned Parenthood clinics are among the most dangerous places on Earth for a child. It is deeply troubling that despite the fact that Planned Parenthood claims direct responsibility for killing over 6 million unborn babies, including a record 333,964 abortions in 2011 alone, they still receive taxpayer money—since Obama’s election, U.S. subsidies to the abortion industry at home and abroad, have significantly increased,” Olson added.
These members of Congress led a group of more than 50 members of Congress requesting a report from the GAO on how taxpayer funding is specifically used by Planned Parenthood and other federally funded organizations that perform or promote abortion. Black and Vitter are the lead sponsors of the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act (H.R. 217/S. 135), legislation to block any Title X federal funding from going to organizations that perform abortions, such as Planned Parenthood.
Congressman Chris Smith concluded: “It’s time for Americans and especially Congress to take a second look and defund Planned Parenthood. I’m pleased that the GAO will be investigating how much taxpayer money the abortion industry is receiving. Hopefully this will help us finally put an end U.S. taxpayer support, funding and complicity with this violence against children.”
BY SUSAN MICHELLE TYRELL
August 2, 2013 (Live Action News) - Sometimes people march on the streets, and sometimes they march on Twitter. In this generation, a hashtag goes a long way in changing a situation. Live Action is now using this media to gain media attention. #MarchOnMedia is a Twitter rally taking place on Thursday, August 8, “ to protest the mainstream media’s censorship of the truth regarding abortion.”
Live Action has contacted the major media outlets, ABC, NBC, and CBS, asking for fair and accurate reporting of abortion-related issues. This Twitter rally, and a corresponding actual physical rally at ABC studios in Washington DC, aim to expose the partnership of the media with the abortion industry.
“The media has flinched from the reality of abortion for decades,” said Live Action President, Lila Rose, “we call on the press to end the censorship of what abortion actually does to our smallest children and women as well as an end to the lionizing of abortion advocates.
Live Action seeks to point the media in a new direction. The rally will focus both the dangers of the existing bias and on calling for change. As Ms. Rose commented, “A change is long overdue for our big news distributors. It’s time for these networks to end their blackout of the truth on abortion – how it irreparably harms women, babies, and society.”
While the accusations of medial collusion may seem to some mere paranoia from pro-lifers, the facts themselves prove otherwise. This page cites numerous recent stories in which the media blatantly displayed its bias—in just the past few months.
One example took place with the Texas pro-life legislation, one of the largest and most respected news services, the Associated Press (AP), tweeted with the hashtag #StandWithWendy, which was being used to support the Texas senator who became a household name overnight with her attempt to filibuster the legislation. Hailed a hero by Planned Parenthood, the AP seemed to get caught up in the whirlwind of hail Wendys until readers called the news association out on its tweet. The tweet disappeared—and so did they. No public apology was issued for a supposedly objective news organization with strong anti-bias policies at its core taking a decidedly pro-abortion stand on its public Twitter.
Davis seems to steal of a lot of the limelight, as other analysis showed she received three times the coverage as did abortionist Kermit Gosnell, the man who was convicted of three counts of murder and whose trial revealed details of destruction of babies far beyond our imaginations, all while running an abortion clinic. For some reason, a filibuster that supported the right to take a baby’s life and hold off legislation to prevent murder was worth more national media attention than this destruction which revealed the truth behind the pretty pink industry.
Live Action says, “enough” and says “participants are asked to join Live Action (@LiveActionFilms) in barraging the presidents of ABC, NBC, and CBS with tweets regarding the truth about abortion and calling for an end to media bias.” Use the hashtag #MarchOnMedia.
For further information see this page. Here’s the summary of what you need to know to participate:
What: Life March on Media Rally Twitter Rally for an end to the media cover-up of abortion.
Who: Everyone concerned about ending the media cover-up of abortion
Where: Twitter #MarchonMedia
When: Thursday, August 8, at 12:00 to 1:30 PM
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 1, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Despite pledges to “get to the bottom” of the IRS harassment of Tea Party groups, pro-life activists, and Christians, the tax agency continued to ask inappropriate questions, allow interminable delays, and engage in “illegal” tactics, according to substantial evidence presented by a legal watchdog group.
The Thomas More Society submitted a new memo and 250 pages of additional evidence to Congressman Aaron Schock, R-IL, today.
The Chicago-based law firm had delivered a different 150-page memo to Rep. Schock in May, showing that the IRS asked such probing questions of one of the Society's clients, the Coalition of Life for Iowa, as, “Please detail the content of the members of your organization's prayers.”
The new evidence shows the agency has not reformed, using the same methods to deny or delay tax-exempt recognition to pro-life groups from 2009 until the present day.
“Even after public disclosure of this wrongdoing, the Obama administration’s IRS has refused to cease its illegal activity,” said Peter Breen, the society's vice president and senior counsel.
The 250-page exhibit involves three of the firm's client organizations: Cherish Life Ministries, LIFE Group, and Emerald Coast Coalition for Life.
Two of them, Cherish Life and LIFE Group, had multiple similarities:
Both were contacted by “Mrs. R. Medley” of the Cincinnati office of the IRS;
Both received identical denial letters on the same day, April 8;
Both were asked how much time they would spend being a “presence” in front of abortion facilities; and
Both were asked if they would present a competing view alongside the pro-life view.
For instance, Medley asked the LIFE Group on February 2, “Does your organization provide information regarding other alternatives to 'pro-life'? If so please indicate where.”
The group responded on February 15, “Any alternatives to pro-life would run directly contrary to the organization's beliefs, mission, and purpose…The ultimate purpose is to save the lives of both the mother and the child in a life-affirming way.”
The question outraged Peter Shinn when an agent asked him by phone. “Do you think that Planned Parenthood teaches pro-life?” he told LifeSiteNews.com in May. “I don’t think so.”
The IRS seemed keen to learn whether the right to life groups would standing in front of abortion facilities, asking all three the extent of their involvement outside such offices.
On June 19, IRS agent Tyrone Thomas asked ECCL, “Will you promote demonstrations and/or rallies at clinic and/or hospitals to stop abortions in your community? If yes, Please [sic] explain.”
However, nothing in the tax code prevents peaceful assembly or prayer.
After enduring months of harassing treatment, all three groups received the legal assistance of Sally Wagenmaker, special counsel at the Thomas More Society.
When Wagenmaker asked Medley why she asked unauthorized questions of Peter Shinn, the agent tried asked the same questions of the lawyer.
“First, Mrs. Medley asked more questions about the organization's activities, particularly whether CLM would have a 'continuous presence in front of abortion mills,'” Wagenmaker wrote. “I asked her about why, if that were true, that would be a problem given the CLM’s participants’ First Amendment rights of assembly, free speech, and religious liberty. She would not respond.”
Upon hearing the same line of questioning in the ECCL case, Wagenmaker wrote IRS officials on July 9, “Frankly, most of your questions do not appear to be warranted here.”
Both CLM and LG ultimately received 501(c)3 tax-exempt status. However, all three groups have experienced bureaucratic foot-dragging, as agents sometimes did not contact the organization for nine months at a time.
LG, best known for running alongside highways with t-shirts that bear a pro-life message as LIFE Runners, waited 15 months for its application to be approved. CLM's petition lingered with the agency for 16 months.
ECCL has waited 14 months and has not yet received the tax authorization to which Wagenmaker says it is entitled.
“We have now produced irrefutable evidence of six clients whose First Amendment rights were trampled upon by the IRS because of their position upholding the sanctity of life,” Breen said this afternoon.
Although the Obama administration's defenders have tried to portray this action as confined to “rogue agents” in the Cincinnati office of the IRS, the six groups had also received such treatment from agents in Chicago, and El Monte, California.
One of the agents who wrote to ECCL was Lois Lerner, who oversaw whether non-profits were granted tax-exempt status. Lerner, who had a history of harassing Christian organizations in the Federal Election Commission, has since been placed on administrative leave.
When called before Congressional investigators, she invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination – but prefaced the motion by saying she was innocent.
Congressmen believe such a statement invalidates the Fifth Amendment's protection. She is now asking for immunity before testifying before the body.
Most Americans would favor sweeping new national restrictions on abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. But the poll also shows many Americans remain conflicted in their views on abortion.
By a margin of 59 percent to 30 percent, respondents to the new poll said they would favor a federal law banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
A recent United Technologies/National Journal poll found Americans divided over the possible ban, with a narrower plurality of 48 percent to 44 percent supporting it.
Respondents to the HuffPost/YouGov poll were split in their views on whether abortion should usually be legal or illegal, with a large number falling somewhere in the middle -- a finding consistent with other surveys. Nineteen percent said they think abortion should always be legal, while 27 percent said it should be generally legal, but with some restrictions. Another 17 percent said that abortion should always be illegal, while 30 percent said it should be generally illegal, except in special circumstances.
Wide variation in poll results is not unusual when pollsters ask about public policy issues, but the reason is usually public disengagement. Most Americans are unfamiliar with the details of many issues and legislative proposals, and so when asked about these, survey respondents often form opinions on the spot based on question wording.
With abortion, however, poll results frequently appear to vary for another reason. Americans have a variety of firmly held attitudes about abortion -- often grounded in personal experience or the experience of friends or family -- that are sometimes in conflict.
Results from the HuffPost/YouGov poll illustrate two of the most important conflicting attitudes. When asked about the morality of abortion, for example, roughly half say they consider abortion "morally wrong" (49 percent), while more than one-third say it is either "morally acceptable" (12 percent) or "not a moral issue" (24 percent). Another 15 percent are unsure.
At the same time, however, a large majority (63 percent) say that the statement "decisions on abortion should be made by a woman and her doctor" comes closer to their opinion on abortion, while only 26 percent say "government has a right and obligation to pass restrictions on abortion."
Combining responses to these two questions shows that a third (33 percent) take the "pro-choice" position in both instances, nearly a quarter (24 percent) take the "pro-life" position both times, but the largest group (38 percent) is conflicted. Most of these conflicted respondents (30 percent of the total) say that abortion is morally wrong (or are uncertain about its morality), but also believe that decisions on abortion should be made by a woman and her doctor, not the government.
These conflicting attitudes among the middle group help to explain the variation on polling results, and the receptivity of many Americans to "some" (but not all) restrictions on abortion. Most respondents who held consistently anti-abortion or pro-abortion rights views on the morality and role of government questions also fell into the corresponding categories on whether abortion should be generally legal or illegal. But the conflicted respondents tended to fall into the middle two categories -- saying that abortion should be legal in some situations, but not in all.
On a 20-week abortion ban, 70 percent of conflicted respondents said they were in favor of the measure, along with 30 percent of respondents who gave pro-abortion rights responses to both questions and 89 percent of those who gave anti-abortion responses to both.
But the underlying clash of values -- on morality and government's role -- tells only part of the story. "These kind of up-or-down [questions] on 20-week bans don't capture what happens in real life," Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg explained in a recent interview with The Huffington Post, "because in real life, people think abortion is a very complicated issue." Greenberg, who conducted a recent poll on the issue for the Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that in focus groups, voters say "that you can never really know what somebody's individual circumstances are, and they can almost always think of some set of circumstances where it would be okay to have an abortion, whether that's rape, incest, life, health or other reasons."
Put it all together, and questions that focus on specific policy changes on this issue can be highly sensitive to question wording and the specifics of how a proposal is portrayed. (A proposal viewed as one that might shut down abortion clinics entirely, for example, might be viewed in a less favorable light.)
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted June 27-28 among 1,000 adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.
The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling.
July 23, 2013|2:41 pm
A federal judge has granted a temporary injunction Monday blocking North Dakota's ban on abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur as early as six weeks of pregnancy.
The law, combined with three other abortion measures passed earlier this year, would have given the state the strictest abortion laws in the country, had it gone into effect on August 1 as originally planned.
U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland granted the temporary injunction to the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the only abortion clinic in the state, Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo.
The new law would require the state's only abortion clinic to perform ultrasounds on women seeking an abortion 24 hours before the scheduled procedure.
Hovland wrote in his opinion of the law that the six-week abortion ban is "clearly an invalid and unconstitutional law" based on the 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade.
"There is no question that [the North Dakota law] is in direct contradiction to a litany of United States Supreme Court cases addressing restraints on abortion," Hovland wrote in his ruling.
"[It] is clearly an invalid and unconstitutional law based on the United States Supreme Court precedent in Roe v. Wade from 1973 […] and the progeny of cases that have followed," Hovland added.
Although the office of North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) declined to comment on Monday's ruling, Gov. Dalrymple previously has said that the purpose of the law was to test the boundaries of Roe v. Wade.
"Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade," Dalrymple said in a statement when he signed the bill into law in March.
Tammi Kromenaker, director of the Red River Women's Clinic, told MSNBC in an interview that she was "pleased and relieved" of the temporary injunction granted to the abortion clinic, which would have had to stop performing 90 percent of its abortion procedures, had the law been put into effect on August 1.
"I don't think any of these laws have anything to do with women's health," Kromenaker told MSNBC on Monday.
"Six weeks is extremely early, before many women even know they're pregnant. By stopping this law, it will give women an opportunity to find out they're pregnant and think through their decision," Kromenaker added.
In addition to challenging the fetal heartbeat law, the suit filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights also contests two other pro-life measures passed by North Dakota legislature earlier this year, the first barring abortions due to genetic defects, and the second barring abortions due to gender selection.
Nancy Northup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, told the Daily Kos that these measures "seek to interfere directly in personal, private medical decisions that the Constitution and more than 40 years of U.S. Supreme Court precedent guarantee to women as a fundamental right."
So far, a dozen states have approved bans on abortions after 20 weeks in pregnancy. Arkansas also passed a law earlier this year giving it the second-strictest abortion laws, behind North Dakota, in banning most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy; this law, like North Dakota's, was temporarily blocked by a judge in May.
A series of pro-life legislation is currently being debated in several states; the most publicized being the recent debate in Texas regarding a bill which bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Although the bill was initially filibustered, Republican Gov. Rick Perry called a special session of the state legislature to have the bill reconsidered.
The bill passed, and Perry signed it into law last Thursday, saying it further cemented the pro-life culture in Texas.
"This is an important day for those who support life and for those who support the health of Texas women," Perry said in a statement. "In signing House Bill 2 today, we celebrate and further cement the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built."
Read more at http://global.christianpost.com/news/six-week-abortion-ban-halted-temporarily-by-judge-in-north-dakota-100691/#0GaJOesvBdOQB2Bm.99
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 22, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – Georgetown University, a Jesuit-affiliated Catholic school, has capitulated to the Obama administration’s demand that it offer full coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-causing drugs to its female students and faculty, without co-pay.
Catholic teaching forbids the use of such drugs and procedures, but a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) requires all employers offering health care coverage to include them at no extra charge. The controversial mandate has led to dozens of lawsuits by Catholic-owned schools and businesses against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), seeking to overturn the new rule.
But Georgetown says it is satisfied with an “accommodation” offered by the Obama administration which requires the insurance companies of religious-affiliated employers who oppose contraception or abortion to provide the coverage for “free.”
Under the arrangement, Georgetown’s students and faculty will get the contraceptive coverage through their school-sponsored plans, but Georgetown won’t directly pay for it. Additionally, the student health center will not offer sterilizing drugs or procedures, meaning those desiring them will have to go off campus to get them.
“These regulations give us the opportunity to reconcile our religious identity and our commitment to providing access to affordable healthcare,” University President John J. DeGioia wrote in an email to staff and students last week.
However, the administration’s “accommodation” has been derided by numerous groups, including the country’s Catholic bishops, who have argued that it amounts to little more than an accounting gimmick. Critics have said while the coverage is being offered “for free” on paper, the insurance companies will simply pass the extra costs onto their customers in the form of higher premiums.
Georgetown junior Evelyn Flashner, who serves as the marketing chair for the campus Right to Life group, told the school newspaper that she thinks the university is making a mistake.
Flashner borrowed an analogy from Bishop William Lori to explain the problems with the Obama administration’s attempt at compromise, telling The Hoya, “There is a Jewish deli that doesn’t sell anything but kosher meat, but the government says, ‘You have to sell non-kosher meat.’ Everyone freaks out, but the government says, ‘Never mind, I take it back. Instead of having you sell kosher meat, we’re going to put a little kiosk in the middle of your store and sell non-kosher meat.’”
Said Flashner, “The university is violating its own principles as a Catholic institution on this issue … Georgetown is diverging from the opinion of the Catholic Church. The new accommodation does not solve all the problems, and according to the [U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops], it doesn’t present a feasible version of religious liberty.”
In an email to LifeSiteNews, Cardinal Newman Society spokesman Adam Wilson also criticized the university’s choice to accept the Obama administration’s accomodation. Wilson quoted Catholic author G.K. Chesterton, who wrote, “A dead thing goes with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”
“There's a strong correlation between the state of a university's Catholic identity and its ability and willingness to defend its religious freedom,” said Wilson. “At Georgetown, Catholic identity has eroded over the last few decades. But many faithful Catholic universities, like those in our Newman Guide, are courageously fighting for religious freedom with lawsuits and public opposition to the HHS mandate.”
By Jonathan Stempel
Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:20pm EDT
(Reuters) - A federal judge has temporarily exempted Hobby Lobby Stores Inc from a requirement in the 2010 healthcare law that it offer workers insurance coverage for birth control, which the retailer said violated its religious beliefs.
The preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton in Oklahoma City, where Hobby Lobby is based, covers the arts and crafts chain and its affiliated Mardel Christian bookstore chain.
He put the case on hold until October 1, giving the federal government time to decide whether to appeal.
"There is a substantial public interest in ensuring that no individual or corporation has their legs cut out from under them while these difficult issues are resolved," Heaton said at a hearing, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a nonprofit law firm representing Hobby Lobby.
A U.S. Department of Justice spokesman had no immediate comment. The government has said contraception coverage is needed to promote public health and gender equality.
The Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, said that providing coverage to workers for the morning-after pill and similar contraceptives violated its Christian beliefs.
It also said it could have under Obamacare faced $1.3 million in daily fines by not providing such coverage. Hobby Lobby has 556 stores in 45 U.S. states.
On June 27, a federal appeals court in Denver let Hobby Lobby challenge the mandate on religious grounds, and said there was a good chance the company would prevail.
It said Hobby Lobby had "drawn a line at providing coverage for drugs or devices they consider to induce abortions, and it is not for us to question whether the line is reasonable."
The Becket Fund said there are 63 lawsuits challenging the mandate. It called Heaton's decision a victory for "the religious liberty of all for-profit businesses."
The case is Hobby Lobby Stores Inc et al v. Sebelius et al, U.S. District Court, Western District of Oklahoma, No. 12-01000.
(Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Andrew Hay)
| by KEN KLUKOWSKI
18 Jul 2013, 11:15 AM PDT 7POST A COMMENT
Today Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed into law a pro-life bill which will very likely be upheld by the Supreme Court. The law disallows most abortions after 20 weeks, the point by which an unborn child can fully feel physical pain and therefore would actually experience the agony of dying during the abortion procedure.
It also requires the doctor performing the abortion to be credentialed to admit patients at a local hospital, so if anything goes wrong during the abortion the doctor can personally get the mother immediate medical attention.
“This is an important day for those who support life and for those who support the health of Texas women,” said Perry. “In signing [this bill], we celebrate and further cement the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built.”
Pro-life advocates praised Perry and the Texas legislature. Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said, “We applaud the brave state leaders—including Gov. Perry—who refuse to back down from defending human dignity, even in the face of pressure and harassment.” He was referring to the nationwide efforts of abortion supporters who portrayed this law as a “war on women” by requiring a woman who wants an abortion to make that decision before she’s five months along in her pregnancy.
This law—or one of the other 20-week abortion laws that have recently been enacted and are being challenged in court—is very likely to be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. In one of its most infamous decisions, the Supreme Court declared a right to abortion in its 1973 case Roe v. Wade, even though nothing related to abortion is mentioned in the Constitution.
Abortion had always been an issue that state legislators decided at the local level in accordance with the voter’s wishes, which is the constitutional norm in our democratic republic. Roe instead made this an issue to be decided by unelected judges.
In 1992, the Court revisited abortion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. By a 5-4 vote, the Court declined to overrule Roe, but held that although it is a right, abortion is not a fundamental right such as free speech, religious liberty, or the right to own a gun, and therefore opened the door for heavy regulations and restrictions on abortion.
The test for abortion cases is whether the law imposes an “undue burden” on a woman seeking abortion before the child could live outside the womb (which has been at 24 weeks in recent years, but with advances in medicine that line continues to move sooner in the pregnancy). After that point—called “viability”—Casey allows abortion to be completely banned so long as the pregnancy does not endanger the life or health of the mother.
Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy were the key votes in Casey. Of the two, O’Connor was pro-abortion and Kennedy leans against abortion. With the solidly-conservative Samuel Alito taking O’Connor’s seat in 2006, the new reality is that any abortion restriction that is good enough for Kennedy should survive a court challenge.
This Texas law (or one of its counterparts in Wisconsin or another state) will show whether this theory is correct. If you carefully study Kennedy’s jurisprudence—not only regarding abortion but many other issues as well—it seems Kennedy does not like the idea of completely shutting the door on federal courts saying women can abort their pregnancies—but wants to leave the door cracked open, not wide open.
If that is true, this law and many other restrictions should be upheld. One of these laws should be before the Supreme Court in the next 18 months, with a decision by summer 2015.
Breitbart News legal columnist Ken Klukowski is senior fellow for religious liberty at the Family Research Council and on faculty at Liberty University School of Law.
by William Saunders and Mailee Smith | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 7/17/13 4:08 PM
So much for Free Speech. The City Council of Baltimore is currently entangled in litigation as it attempts to defend an ordinance forcing Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) to speak in favor of abortion.
Such ordinances represent an agenda by the abortion industry to compel its “competition” in the pro-life community to advertise an abortion message. Smearing PRCs with false claims about the nature and accuracy of the information available at these centers, the abortion industry is pushing for the passage of these ordinances across the nation, requiring signs and pro-abortion speech inside the walls of PRCs.
Clearly, the abortion industry feels threatened by the success of PRCs. After all, every time an abortion-minded woman changes her mind and carries her child to term, the abortion industry loses money and loses the hearts of minds of more Americans.
Let’s consider some numbers to put this in perspective. In 2004, Focus on the Family (Focus) initiated a program to help convert PRCs into medical clinics that offer ultrasound – a window into the womb. Focus estimates that at least 133,000 babies have been saved since that time. Planned Parenthood estimates that an abortion costs between $300 and $950 in the first trimester. Assuming Focus’ estimate is correct and assuming even the lowest cost, Focus’ success represents a loss of almost 40 million dollars for the abortion industry.
And for an industry more concerned with profit than with women’s health, this number is a threat—hence the effort to thwart the good works of PRCs through draconian regulation.
Of course, the Baltimore ordinance is a clear infringement on the constitutionally-guaranteed free speech rights of PRCs and on their mission. A local Maryland PRC, the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, filed suit, and a federal district court struck down the ordinance as unconstitutional. The City of Baltimore appealed, and a Fourth Circuit panel initially affirmed the lower court’s decision. However, the City asked for the entire Fourth Circuit to reconsider the appeal—resulting in the Fourth Circuit’s recent decision to reverse the lower court based on a perceivedprocedural flaw in the court below.
The Fourth Circuit did not rule on the merits—so the lower court could still determine that the ordinance unconstitutionally interferes with the First Amendment rights of PRCs—but it did instruct the lower federal court to allow the City to scrutinize PRCs through depositions and other legal “discovery” (investigation processes) to get a better idea of whether the PRCs are entitled to heightened First Amendment protection.
This investigation, however, will only reveal that PRCs provide professional and compassionate care to their clients—both women and men who seek information about sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, abortion, and parenting.
National PRC umbrella organizations like Care Net, Heartbeat International, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, and others require compliance with comprehensive standards of care. In order for local PRCs to affiliate with these organizations, PRCs must abide by stringent guidelines in order to maintain affiliation. For example, PRCs must abide by a detailed ethical code of practice, entitled the “Commitment of Care and Competence,” which includes the following:
- Clients are treated with kindness, compassion, and in a caring manner.
- Clients always receive honest and open answers.
- Client information is held in strict and absolute confidence.
- Clients receive accurate information about pregnancy, fetal development, lifestyle issues, and related concerns.
- All advertising and communication are truthful and honest and accurately describe the services offered.
- A safe environment is provided through screening all volunteers and staff who interact with clients.
- Medical services are provided in accordance with all applicable laws, and in accordance with pertinent medical standards, under the supervision and direction of a licensed physician.
The national organizations also provide hundreds of detailed forms for affiliates’ daily interactions with clients, staff, and volunteers, including the following: client appointment forms (reminding volunteers to explain that the first appointment lasts approximately 45 minutes); client “request for services” forms (alerting clients to the services provided, that volunteers provide peer counseling but not professional counseling, and that the PRC does not perform nor refer for abortion); client intake sheets (asking clients whether they may be contacted by the PRC); and client comment surveys.
But despite—or because of—the high ethical standards of PRCs, these centers have come under attack from pro-abortion forces.
These attacks will ultimately fail, and women will continue to benefit from the compassion and sound advice provided by PRCs. Forcing people to say something doesn’t make it true.
AUL has filed an amicus brief twice in the Greater Baltimore case on behalf of Care Net, Heartbeat International, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, and local PRCs.
Cortney O'Brien | Jul 15, 2013
NOVA Women’s Healthcare of Fairfax County was one of the largest and most frequented abortion clinics in the state of Virginia. It performed more abortions than any other provider in the Old Dominion in the last few years, including 3,066 in 2012 alone. But, thanks to new abortion regulations in the state and a denied permit, it has seen its last patient.
It’s speculated that new Virginia regulations which require clinics to meet new hospital-grade standards had forced NOVA to find a new location. The clinic never got the chance though, for the city denied its permit for being one parking space short of city laws and therefore forced the business to close its doors.
NOVA is one of many clinics affected by new abortion regulations sweeping across the country. In Texas, the state legislature successfully passed HB2, which bans abortion after 20 weeks and requires an abortionist to have admitting privileges to a surgical center within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. Thirty-seven of the state’s 42 clinics fail to meet these standards and are therefore likely to be shuttered.
With NOVA’s closing, it is one of 30 to close so far this year, already doubling that of last year’s. Since 1991, the number has dropped from 2,176 to 625. As for crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), which serve pregnant women and infants and do not provide abortions – their numbers are staying strong. There are 2,200 CPCs spreading a pro-life message across the country.
While it’s hard for many to stomach the number of abortions performed since Roe v. Wade, the statistical comparisons between abortion clinics and CPCs are figures worth celebrating.