By Ben Johnson| Thu Jun 11, 2015 - 4:14 pm EST| LifeSiteNews|
TALLAHASSEE, FL, June 11, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – No sooner had the ink dried on a bill that would give women in Florida time to consider their decision before having an abortion than the abortion industry sued to block the law.
If it prevails in court, Florida will become the 27th state to require a waiting period. Late last night, Gov. Rick Scott signed H.B. 633, which requires an abortionist to provide women with accurate information about the abortion in person 24 hours before performing an abortion.
The bill lifts the 24-hour waiting period in the cases of rape, incest, intimate partner violence, or human trafficking, but only if the woman produces documentation of the fact, such as a police report or restraining order. It is scheduled to take effect on July 1.
"Florida mandates waits of three days before getting a marriage license, 20 days before divorce, and three days before buying a handgun. Rarely is any surgery done the same day as the consultation,” wrote Jim Styer, the president of Sarasota-Manatee Right to Life. “So, why not a short wait before an abortion, certainly an irreversible decision?”
One of the bill's supporters said he had a very personal stake in its passage. State Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, said his wife, Victoria, nearly had an abortion three decades ago. They now have a 29-year-old daughter named Erin.
“I’m glad she had 24 hours to think about it,” Sen. Gaetz said during debates in April.
Nonetheless, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is based in New York, filed a lawsuit today in Leon County Circuit Court, saying the bill violates a woman's “right to privacy.”
“It’s clear that the sole purpose of this law is to make it more difficult for a woman who has decided to have an abortion to get one, and to punish and discriminate against those who do,” said Renée Paradis, senior staff attorney for the ACLU. “Furthermore, it’s flat-out offensive.”
Autumn Katz, staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said, “We are confident this demeaning measure will be struck down as a blatant violation of the state’s strong constitutional protections for women’s rights.”
Lois Backus, the executive director of the Philadelphia-based Medical Students for Choice – which is also part of the lawsuit – said the law made it “impossible” for abortionists to provide “care” for their patients. She also worried the pro-life law threatened future generations. “If allowed to go forward, this law will make it more difficult for women in Florida to obtain the quality health care they deserve for generations to come,” Backus said.
Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora, who sponsored the bill, said, "I am confident precedent will be respected, and I look forward to seeing this effort to protect life and a women's health become the law of Florida.”
Rebekah Nancarrow had an ultrasound at Planned Parenthood (for which she paid $80), but wasn’t allowed to see the image. She was told by a Planned Parenthood worker that seeing the fetus on the screen “will only make it harder on you.”
Nancarrow later went to a crisis pregnancy center and was given a free ultrasound. This time she was allowed to view it. Nancarrow was so moved by what she saw on the ultrasound screen that she changed her mind about having an abortion and decided to have her baby. She says:
Had I not had the sonogram, I would have had the abortion. But that sonogram just confirmed 100% to me that this was a life within me, not a tissue or glob.
Nancarrow’s story reveals two things. One, that pregnancy resource centers are lifesavers and should be supported by pro-lifers. Two, that there is a reason why pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood fight against laws allowing women to see their baby on the ultrasound screen. These abortion providers know that if more women saw the baby moving in their wombs, there would be fewer abortions.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
by Steven Ertelt | LifeNews.com | 6/10/15 6:02 PM
The pro-life group Priests for Life was one of the earliest organizations to file a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its HHS mandate. The mandate compels religious groups to pay for birth control drugs and drugs like ella that can cause very early abortions.
A federal appeals court has responded today to its appeal of a lower court decision on its lawsuit and the ruling protects Priests for Life from having to comply. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit concluded that Priests for Life does not have to obey the HHS mandate – or pay steep fines for refusing to do so and it granted the pro-life organization a stay late today.
Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said: “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted our motion to stay the mandate, meaning that the injunction protecting us from the mandate will remain in place while the Supreme Court considers our case.”
Pavone told LifeNews that Priests for Life’s attorneys filed the cert petition asking the Supreme Court to hear its case, on the merits, challenging the HHS mandate, after the appeals court refused a petition to give the case a hearing before the full court.
“Without the stay granted today, we would have been in the position of being fined for failing to comply with the mandate,” Father Pavone said. “But no matter what happens, we will not obey the mandate, nor will we pay fines to the government.”
“The government is using the same kind of arguments it has used in other lawsuits against the mandate brought by religious groups, namely, that because they have a religious exemption and in the light of promised changes in the mandate, these groups really aren’t being harmed, have nothing to worry about, and therefore no basis to sue the government,” Pavone added.
“The case of Priests for Life is different from that of the other religious entities, however. We were not covered by the ‘religious exemption,’ and therefore the mandate was to be effective for us this past January 1,” he said.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a favorable ruling in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a landmark case addressing the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of business owners to operate their family companies without violating their deeply held religious convictions. But that ruling applies only to Hobby Lobby and similar businesses.
Writing for the 5-4 majority, Justice Samuel Alito handed down the decision for the high court, saying, “The Supreme Court holds government can’t require closely held corporations with religious owners to provide contraception coverage.”
The court ruled that the contraception mandate violated the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, a 1993 law and it held that the mandate “substantially burdens the exercise of religion” and that HHS didn’t use the “least restrictive means” to promote this government interest, tests required by RFRA.
Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy joined in the majority decision. Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.
The Hobby Lobby decision only applies to companies, including Conestoga Wood Specialties, which had a companion case pending before the Supreme Court. Non-profit groups like Priests for Life and Little Sisters are still waiting for a Supreme Court ruling about their right to opt out of the mandate.
“Half of voters now oppose a government requirement that employers provide health insurance with free contraceptives for their female employees,” Rasmussen reports.
The poll found: “The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 38% of Likely U.S. Voters still believe businesses should be required by law to provide health insurance that covers all government-approved contraceptives for women without co-payments or other charges to the patient.
Fifty-one percent (51%) disagree and say employers should not be required to provide health insurance with this type of coverage. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure.”
Abortion facilities across Texas are expected to shutter after a federal appeals court upheld a state law requiring abortion facilities to meet hospital safety standards.
The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Texas may enforce provisions of H.B. 2, a pro-life law passed by the state legislature and signed into law by former Governor Rick Perry.
The mandate requires Texas abortion mills to meet ambulatory surgical center standards. Facilities that perform abortions must upgrade spaces in order to comply with uniform criterion, such as minimum requirements for facility hallways, doorways, ventilation systems, and rooms.
The provision would effectively shutter abortion facilities across the Lone Star State, protecting women from unregulated and shoddy mills that only catch public attention after botched abortions or Gosnell-like barbarity.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton praised the ruling:
“H.B. 2 both protects the unborn and ensures Texas women are not subjected to unsafe and unhealthy conditions,” Paxton said. “I am proud to have both supported this law in the legislature and defended it in the courts.”
The decision by the three-judge panel relied on the U.S. Supreme Court Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision, which gives states the right to curb abortion if those restrictions are “reasonably related” to a “legitimate state interest.” In a ruling released Tuesday, the court wrote:
“In plain terms, H.B. 2 and its provisions may be applied throughout Texas, except that Supreme Court precedent requires us to partially uphold the district court’s injunction of the [ambulatory surgical center] requirement as applied to the Whole Woman’s Health abortion facility in McAllen, Texas, and to uphold the district court’s injunction of the admitting privileges requirement as applied to Dr. Lynn when he is working at the McAllen facility.”
Abortion advocates claim the law’s requirements on facilities in McAllen and El Paso places an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion, forcing them to drive hundreds of miles to facilities located in San Antonio or Houston. The court, however, said women in El Paso seeking an abortion may leave the state to neighboring New Mexico, an abortion wild west where abortions are legal up to birth.
“The closest Texas abortion facility that will remain open is in San Antonio, over 550 miles away,” the court wrote. “There is an abortion facility approximately twelve miles away in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Prior to H.B. 2, more than half of the women who obtained abortions at the Santa Teresa facility were from El Paso. The State argues the closure of the El Paso abortion facility will not impose an undue burden because women in this area can travel to the Santa Teresa facility.”
The court ruling, however, exempts the last open abortion facility in the Rio Grande Valley.
The Fifth Circuit decision overturns a lower court ruling, nullifying a decision by District Judge Lee Yeakel, who said the requirement had no compelling interest for public health. Abortion advocates vow to take the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Prior to H.B. 2, there were roughly 40 abortion facilities in the state. Yeakel said the number of abortion mills is expected to dip in the state to about eight with the new provision in effect.
H.B. 2 also requires abortionists to have hospital admitting privileges with 30 miles of their abortion facility.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
by Steven Ertelt | LifeNews.com | 6/8/15 9:54 AM
The governor of North Carolina has signed into law a pro-life bill that will help the state save more babies from abortions. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill that would put in place a 72-hour waiting period before an abortion — allowing women more time to find abortion alternatives and choose life for their unborn child.
“McCrory’s office sent an email Friday evening which announced that he had signed pardons for two brothers wrongfully imprisoned for three decades in the killing of an 11-year-old girl. At the bottom of the email, it was noted that McCrory had also signed nine bills, listing each bill by their number without referring to their specific title,” AP reported.
Republican lawmakers filed House Bill 465, which would ban healthcare facilities owned by the University of North Carolina and East Carolina University from performing abortions. Additionally, the legislation would increase the required waiting period prior to an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hour.
North Carolina joins Missouri, South Dakota and Utah in requiring a 72-hour waiting period, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion advocacy group funded by Planned Parenthood. Overall, 26 states require a waiting period, usually 24 hours.
Republican Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer of Charlotte told members that her bill, which would extend the waiting period from 24 to 72 hours, “empowers women.”
“We truly believe that this is a bill women who are both pro-choice and pro-life can get behind,” she said.
“Seventy-two hours is not asking for too much for something this important,” GOP Rep. Pat McElraft said during the debate. “Why do we not want (women) to have the opportunity to change their minds? Please let women have this opportunity to reach out to pregnancy clinics to guide her … for alternatives.”
“Once conception occurs, you’re talking about the rights of two human beings,” said GOP Rep. Debra Conrad of Winston-Salem. “I want to hear about the rights of these young babies.”
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, today praised North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory for signing legislation to protect unborn babies.
“Governor McCrory and the North Carolina legislature, by enacting the new abortion waiting period, have saved countless women from a lifetime of regret,” said Fr. Pavone. “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,” added Fr. Pavone, “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. Thank you, Governor McCrory, for doing the right thing.”
Naturally, abortion proponents oppose the bill.
The vice president of public policy at Planned Parenthood, Melissa Reed, commented on the legislation and said, “This delay, coupled with the additional restrictions, further demonstrates that politicians are attempting to practice medicine with absolutely no understanding of the scope of practice of abortion care.”
She continued, “In reality, these bills have nothing to do with patient safety and are just attempts by politicians to insert their own political agendas into medical care, It is shameful North Carolina legislators continue to sacrifice women’s health in their ideological attempts to take this state backwards.”
As LifeNews previously reported, in 2013 a North Carolina abortion facility was shut down after the Department of Health and Human Services found that it “present an imminent danger to the health, safety and welfare of the clients and that emergency action is required to protect the clients.” TheBaker Clinic for Women, located in Durham, failed to perform adequate quality control in blood banking as well as controlled testing on 108 patients that received Rh(D) (Rhesus) testing.
ACTION: Please call the Governor at (919) 814-2000 to thank him for signing the bill.
A survey released Sunday by the Associated Press (AP) shows that abortion rates are dropping nationwide: the overall decrease was roughly 12 percent. The survey shows in states with significant pro-life legislation, such as Indiana, Missouri, Ohio and Oklahoma, the drop is closer to 15 percent; however, pro-life states were not alone. The report notes that “more liberal states such as New York, Washington and Oregon also had declines of that magnitude, even as they maintained unrestricted access to abortion.”
AP conducted the survey by acquiring abortion data from all the states that had numbers available (California, Maryland, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Wyoming do not compile abortion data). Most of the information collected came from 2013 to 2014, which as AP writer David Crary notes, the numbers provide “a unique nationwide gauge of abortion trends during a wave of anti-abortion laws that gathered strength starting in 2011.”
The only increases reported were in Louisiana (12 percent increase), and Michigan (18.5 percent increase). Crary reports:
“[T]he increases were due in part to women coming from other states where new restrictions and clinic closures have sharply limited abortion access. Anti-abortion groups said many Ohio women were going to Michigan and many Texas women to Louisiana.”
However, some states have seen a great decline in abortions even without passing legislation. Thereport says, “Five of the six states with the biggest declines — Hawaii at 30 percent, New Mexico at 24 percent, Nevada and Rhode Island at 22 percent, Connecticut at 21 percent — have passed no recent laws to restrict abortion clinics or providers.”
While both sides of the abortion issue dispute why abortions are dropping, the fact is, they are. Less preborn babies are dying now in virtually every state.
Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, said:
“There’s an entire generation of women who saw a sonogram as their first baby picture. There’s an increased awareness of the humanity of the baby before it is born.”
But the President of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, disagreed:
“Better access to birth control and sex education are the biggest factors in reducing unintended pregnancies. More restrictive abortion laws do not reduce the need for abortions.”
While the idea of “needing” an abortion is abhorrent to anyone who understands the humanity of the preborn baby, Richards’ view is also much too narrow, denying the power of the pro-life voice, as well as legislation nationwide. Just as Richards and her organization use rhetoric to sing a happy tune about abortion, pro-lifers have risen to the call to show the reality of the preborn baby.
As Yoest notes, the sonogram changes everything. Even in states that have not passed more restrictive abortion laws, it is becoming harder for women to deny anything but the humanity of their preborn babies.
The political disputes in the battle are also notable. When Barack Obama was elected for his first term as President, many called himthe most pro-abortion president the nation has ever seen. In the mid-term elections in 2010, though, a mass of pro-life legislators came into office, and by 2011, pro-life laws began increasing. This survey simply shows how the political climate has influenced the abortion issue: by doing the opposite of what Obama and those supporting him on the abortion issue had hoped would happen. Abortion is declining and the pro-life voice is rising.
It’s easy to look at numbers and statistics, but beyond that are the babies who are actually alive today. That’s the most vital reality on the other side of the percent sign.
Friday, June 5, 2015
by Liberty Pike | LifeNews.com | 6/4/15 6:18 PM
Women peacefully praying outside the Planned Parenthood on MLK Jr. Blvd in Portland, Oregon saw a new sign on the front door of the abortion business (one of the largest in the nation). The sign (pictured) reads
“Planned Parenthood is a safe space. We respect and honor all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender expression, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, age, religion, body shape, size and ability.”
Planned Parenthood is far from a “safe space.” They are America’s largest provider of abortion. They provide one third of all abortions performed in the United States, at the rate of one abortion every 96 seconds. In fact, while the women were there praying, five women left the back door of the business after apparently having abortions. They spoke with one woman who was taking a preschooler to lunch while “his mom has an abortion.” The child’s mother had a one-night stand and, upon discovering she was pregnant, went to Planned Parenthood to have her child violently torn from her womb.
Planned Parenthood can say whatever they want about being a safe space. But there is a disclaimer they don’t print on that sign: “However, a person is exempt if they are still inside their mother’s womb, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender expression, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, age, religion, body shape, size and ability.” Not only are babies in the womb not safe in Planned Parenthood, but they are marked for death. One’s humanity, in Planned Parenthood’s eyes, is all about where one is located.
Not only are innocent children unsafe in Planned Parenthood, but women are as well. At a Houston Planned Parenthood, four women were injured in botched abortions in just 30 days (1/31/15-2/26/15). This year alone, Operation Rescue has documented 14 abortion-related medical emergencies in Planned Parenthood facilities in 8 states.
If women and babies are not safe inside Planned Parenthood, who is? Men? A cursory look through Silent No More’s many testimonies from fathers of aborted children demonstrates otherwise.
Since neither children, women, nor men are safe inside Planned Parenthood, another sign should go up in the doors and windows of their businesses around the nation:
“Planned Parenthood is an unsafe space. We are a threat to all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender expression, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, age, religion, body shape, size and ability.”
Thursday, June 4, 2015
KATIE MCCANN JUN 3, 2015 | 12:27PM COLUMBUS, OH| Life News.com
Yesterday, the House Committee on Community and Family Advancement heard opposition testimony on our Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act which protects pre-born babies from the discriminatory violence of abortion.
As expected, NARAL and the ACLU came out in full pro-discrimination form to oppose our legislation, once again proving themselves as out of touch and irrelevant as the day is long. For organizations that would claim to defend the interests of minority and disadvantaged communities, their opposition testimonies smacked of hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy, as they shared that they would support sex-selective and eugenic abortions on babies with disabilities.
A century ago, Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, began her eugenic crusade to “exterminate” the spawning “human weeds” of society–to include the poor, the disabled, and African Americans. Turns out some things don’t change.
Conveniently, NARAL and Planned Parenthood were busy Tweeting their non-answers to the seemingly simple questions being asked by our pro-life representatives in committee. When asked about their position on eugenics by pro-life Representative Niraj Antani, NARAL spokesperson replied that they support “choice.”
Following this sideshow of a testimony, we have just one question for Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the ACLU: What other kinds of discrimination do you support? Turns out–all of it:
We’ve known for decades that abortion advocates take a much stronger position than the kind of mushy laissez-faire pro-choice-lite version that they try to sell to broaden their tent. But they truly are pro-abortion, permitting any abortion whatsoever up and through birth.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
REBECCA DOWNS JUN 2, 2015 | 1:12PM AUSTIN, TX| LIVENEWS
The decision by the Lone Star State would axe funding for over a dozen Planned Parenthood facilities that don’t provide abortions on-site. Planned Parenthood received $1.2 million in taxpayer dollars under the program last year. A finalized budget will be decided on before June 1.
In January, key budget writers state Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) and state Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) acknowledged that they want to keep state money away from health care providers that also perform abortions.
The state sent a similar message in 2011 when abortion providers were cut off from state funding. Although the Obama administration threatened to cut off Medicaid funding for the state’s women’s health program, then-governor Rick Perry still committed his state to run and fully fund the program.
Unfortunately, Texan values, and, more importantly, the truth, are lost on Planned Parenthood— from its CEO to its supporters.
In favor of funding legitimate providers, as long as Planned Parenthood continues to provide abortions, that’s reason enough to bar it from the program.
While it is technically true that federal dollars are not supposed to go towards abortion, the amount of tax dollars Planned Parenthood receives, and an increase in abortion services, makes it clear where our tax dollars are going. While taxpayer funds cannot (legally) be used for abortion, such funds allow the organization to use monies for the procedure more easily.
Not only did Planned Parenthood increase abortion services, it has decreased “Cancer Screening and Prevention Services.” This information comes straight from Planned Parenthood’s 2012-13 and2013-14 annual reports.
From an objective level, wouldn’t it make sense for such productivity levels to send that program to the bottom of the list, or off of it completely? It’s not just about saving money then, but sending a message that Texans do not want their money going towards abortion providers.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion business, and it very much operates on an abortion-centric model. Let’s see Planned Parenthood for what it really is: a abortion business and not a champion for health care
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
by Rebecca Kiessling | LifeNews.com | 6/1/15 12:14 PM
A new federal law, the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, will protect women who are victims of rape and decide to keep their baby. Shauna Prewitt, an attorney who co-founded Hope After Rape Conception, first spearheaded the idea along with rape survivor Analyn Megison
Rebecca Kiessling, who has been working to protect mothers across the country who decide against having an abortion after they were victimized, has helped pushed the legislation on a state level. Kiessling tells LifeNews that the new law “provides an incentive to states to pass legislation providing for a means to terminate the parental rights of rapists, using the “clear and convincing evidence” standard from the U.S Supreme Court case of Santosky v Kramer.”
“My custody case in Florida against my rapist started in 2010 and went on for a little over two years. Though I had a restraining order and had pursued prosecution, he was not convicted of rape,” Megison has said. “At the time he sued for custody, I did not know how many states had no or limited legal protection at that time from a rapist biological father when the child was conceived from his attack. Those states which had laws required a rape conviction. For me, all that counted at the time was that Florida had no legal protection at all for this. I recall the judge asking if there was any law to prohibit this — even a federal law –and me replying: ‘Not yet, but I am working on it.'”
Megison sprung into action and Florida approved a law that became the basis for the federal legislation.
“In Analyn’s home state of Florida, she got the legislature to pass this legislation unanimously, which is how Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz heard of our model legislation. Several states are currently working to pass this law, including Michigan and Maryland, while some states’ legislation, like Pennsylvania, are insufficient because those bills require a rape conviction,” Kiessling said.
Other states are expected to approve their own laws.
“Another board member, Angi Grogg, has been working on getting our model legislation passed in many states, ever since her family endured a court battle fighting her 14 year old daughter’s rapist for custody,” Kiessling said. “Several members of Save The 1 who were conceived in rape suffered molestation by their rapist fathers because they were not protected by law, including Darlene Pawlik and Rowena Slusser. Other women from our organization, such as Robyn McLean and Darlene Pawlik’s mom, were repeatedly raped as their rapist used contact with the child to continue raping her.”
Kiessling is urging pro-life advocates to get involved in the battle to protect mothers from rapists who seek custody of their children after the rape and abortion rejection.
“We encourage every pro-life organization to get behind this legislation, as Right to Life of Michigan is currently championing this bill. Not only is it pro-life in effect — because pregnant rape victims will be more likely to choose life if they know they’ll be protected from the rapist, but you’ll be able to demonstrate that you really care about these women and their children, and you’ll also have the advantage of seeing rape survivor mothers testifying before the legislature,” she explained.
She said “the testimonies of these rape survivors and the love they have for their children” is “very powerful.”
“Only a couple of states have this clear and convincing evidence standard, and many states still have nothing at all. With this new law from Congress, it’s the perfect time to begin working with your state legislators to properly protect rape survivor mothers and their children,” she concluded.