Should pro-life organizations be forced to hire pro-abortion employees? That’s the question the House of Representatives will answer on Friday when it votes on a resolution to condemn a measure the District of Columbia City Council approved.
The local government of the nation’s capital approved the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA), which prevents employers from denying employment based on “their reproductive health decision-making.” Because the language provides no exemption for religious or political groups, it could be used to force pro-life groups to hire abortion advocates.
“We can’t exist if our purpose is to advocate for a pro-life position and we’re living under a regime which is telling us you can’t structure yourself as an organization and hire people to advocate for these issues,” Travis Weber, an attorney and Director of Family Research Council’s Center for Religious Liberty, told The Daily Signal. “It’s very controlling and it brings to mind an oppressive government monitoring of groups’ purposes.”
But, the House of Representatives will vote Friday on H.J. Res. 43, a resolution of disapproval sponsored by pro-life Rep. Diane Black to prevent implementation of the Reproductive Health Nondiscrimination Act (RHNDA). A preceding debate on the resolution is scheduled for Thursday.
A leading pro-life member of Congress says the vote is necessary to protect the religious liberties of pro-life groups.
“The upcoming House vote on the resolution to disapprove of the D.C. Council’s encroachment on religious liberty is a direct result of the persistent efforts of Republican Study Committee members,” Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) said.
He told LifeNews: “We first flagged this issue when the D.C. Council passed the law and have been resolute in our belief that Congress has the right and the responsibility to act in defense of our constitutional freedom of belief. This is not about one city, but rather about preserving the First Amendment right to religious liberty for all Americans.”
A top pro-life advocate in Washington provides more background on what’s happened and how RHNDA abrogates the rights of pro-life groups.
“RHNDA was adopted by the D.C. City Council late last year and transmitted to Congress on March 6 for a Congressional review period of 30 legislative days. The law will be enacted at the expiration of the 30 day period unless a joint resolution of disapproval is enacted. On April 21 H.J. Res. 43 was approved by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on a party line vote of 20-16,” says Jonathan Imbody, Vice President for Government Relations for the Christian Medical Association.
He explains: “RHNDA could restrict the First Amendment freedoms of pro-life organizations in two ways: Force a religious or pro-life advocacy group to make personnel decisions inconsistent with their sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions about the sanctity of human life. Mandate that religious and pro-life advocacy organizations provide insurance coverage for surgical abortion.”
The resolution, H.J. Res. 43, disapproves of the District’s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA), which requires employers to provide health insurance covering the termination of unborn children and to hire individuals who may advocate for those practices, even if that goes against the employer’s religious beliefs.
These days, one of the most dangerous places to be pro-life is California. The Golden State has mandated churches to cover abortion, and is now seeking to turn pro-life pregnancy centers into abortion counseling centers.
On April 14, the state Assembly Health Committee passed AB 775, also known as the “Bully Bill,” on a 12 to 5 vote. AB 775 would mandate pregnancy care clinics to post a notice stating: “California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services, prenatal care, and abortion, for eligible women.”
AB 775 would also require pregnancy care centers that provide counseling but not medical care to note that the clinic “is not licensed as a medical facility by the State of California.” Both types of pregnancy care facilities would also be required to use the statements in all advertising.
Jonathan Keller, executive director of the California Family Council and California Family Alliance (CFA), says:
“Remarkably, AB 775 would turn every Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) into a state-mandated abortion referral service. The bill would force over 160 PRCs in California to use their lobbies, websites, and literature to promote state-funded ‘free’ abortions, a direct violation of their moral standards. Violators would face heavy fines of at least $500 for each infraction.”
CFA notes there was “passionate testimony from over 80 pro-life citizens who attended the hearing” for AB775, yet it passed on a party-line vote with Democrats in favor of the bill.
CFA reports: “As currently amended, the bill would force over 160 PRCs in California to use their lobbies, websites, forms and literature to promote state-funded ‘free’ abortions, a direct violation of the moral standards of most PRCs. Violators face heavy fines of $500-$1,000 for each infraction.”
Attorney Heather Hacker from Alliance Defending Freedom said:
“AB 775 unconstitutionally compels pro-life pregnancy centers and licensed medical clinics to espouse a government-sponsored message about abortion. This violates the First Amendment and other similar laws have been struck down across the country.”
However, there are free legal resources for these pro-life pregnancy resource centers, too. Keller from CFA talked with Brad Dacus with the Pacific Justice Institute, a law firm prepared to help PRCs fight this unconstitutional mandate pro-bono.
Above all, it is vital that pro-lifers speak out unceasingly against this bill, which would force pro-life clinics to promote abortion against freedom of conscience and religious liberty. Without a vocal outcry, bills like this advance and lead to other types of legislation. This is an example of the true “anti-choice” mentality, which forces individuals into the promotion of death. CFA recommends:
“If your representative serves on the committee, CFA is asking that you make a brief appearance at the lawmaker’s district office to register your concern in person. We are facing well-heeled opposition by pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice California.”
Breast cancer. Two of the scariest words a woman can hear.
You’d think people who claim to advocate for women would do everything possible to educate them about their risks. You’d think they’d offer all the information and all the research.
But the abortion industry has a vested interest in making sure women don’t hear about the link between abortion and breast cancer. In fact, they deny it exists, even in the face of another medical entity warning young girls of the risk.
Earlier this month, after considering research, the American College of Pediatricians firmly reiterated its stand on the abortion and breast cancer (ABC) link. The president of the College flatly stated, “When one considers the normal anatomy and physiology of the breast it becomes clear that this link is causal not merely correlational.”
Here’s the link in a nutshell: before pregnancy, lobules in the breast are immature and undifferentiated—not yet milk-producing cells. Days after conception, though, estrogen levels start rising, triggering changes. By the end of the first trimester, estrogen is up by 2,000 percent. By 20 weeks into pregnancy, lobules have increased so much that breast volume doubles. In the last 20 weeks, the lobules mature until they can produce milk. At 40 weeks, 85 percent of the lobules have differentiated and matured into Type 4 cells, known to be more cancer-resistant.
The exposure of immature lobules to estrogen is when they’re quickly growing and changing. It’s at this time they’re most vulnerable to breast cancer. If a woman has an abortion before 32 weeks, her lobules and ducts have increased and been exposed to an estrogen bombardment, but they never get the chance to mature into the protective Type 3s and 4s. She only has more Type 1s and Type 2s—more places for cancer to form.
Metastatic breast cancer is on the rise in the US among women ages 25 to 39. And it’s not just here: other countries where abortion has increased also show a rise in breast cancer. Studies also show that risk increases with every subsequent abortion, as the lobules are stimulated again and again with estrogen but never allowed to mature. Learn more about the ABC link on our website.
Both Planned Parenthood and—amazingly—Susan G. Komen for the Cure deny the link. Planned Parenthood calls it a myth. Planned Parenthood and Komen don’t have any trouble talking about other risk factors for breast cancer. But they won’t talk about abortion. Planned Parenthood starts its explanation by smearing those who do want women to have full information. Komen lumps abortion right up there with “left-handedness” as a non-factor.
Komen’s recent experience with Planned Parenthood’s mafia thuggery explains why they deny the ABC link. But Planned Parenthood’s zeal for all things abortion is understood by the millions of dollars they rake in by committing abortions.
Imagine the loss of income to Planned Parenthood should the truth about the ABC link be widely known. Killing babies is their cash cow and they’ll protect it at all costs, even when Komen gets in the way. It’s not about safeguarding the health of women. It’s all about the money.
Each year thousands more are diagnosed with those two frightening words, “breast cancer.” Imagine the number of women who could be spared this horrible and often deadly experience if the abortion industry would come clean and stop putting ideology over the lives of countless women. Sounds like a real war on women, if you ask me.
Begin helping women today. Get informed and then share your life-saving knowledge with others. We’re on the side of more information to empower women. You can read the College’s full statement here.
Monday, April 27, 2015
by Steven Ertelt | LifeNews.com | 4/24/15 3:34 PM
On April 21st, Carafem, a new abortion facility in Washington D.C., launched an ad campaign that attempts to destigmatize abortion. Their 30-second video ad features three women who are trying to avoid using the word “abortion” when another woman interrupts their conversation and boldly says, “wait a minute, you guys are talking about abortion.” The video ends with Carafem’s motto, “Abortion. Yeah, we do that.
As LifeNews previously reported, the facility, CaraFem, is opening this month and will offer hot tea and comfy robes. The “clinic” will also feature wood floors, plush upholstery and resemble a high-end salon or spa.
CaraFem president, Christopher Purdy, said, “We don’t want to talk in hushed tones. We use the A-word.” He added, “It’s fresh, it’s modern, it’s clean, it’s caring. That’s the brand we’re trying to create.” Planned Parenthood, of course, praised the new approach. Eric Ferrero, a spokesman for the abortion giant, said, “We still do a lot of work with people who are less supportive of abortion, and one way we need to communicate is in a more empathetic framework that kind of says, ‘Look, these are really complicated personal issues.”
However, pro-life groups believe the “fresh” approach will fail.
The president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, Marjorie Dannenfelser, said “Even people who support abortion rights don’t necessarily see it as something to celebrate. They want to think about [abortion] as a necessary evil.” National Right to Life president, Carol Tobias, added, “Abortion is not pleasant and trying to put pretty wrappings around the procedure isn’t going to make any difference.”
Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, the director of a group called Third Way, acknowledged that most people still don’t see abortion in a positive light. She said, “Most people in this country do not think abortion is a good thing on its face, even if they deeply believe it should be legal.” Nevertheless, Hatalsky still believes the group’s efforts to destigmitize abortion will attract young passionate activists who will help change public opinion.
I don’t know about you but I think it’s going to take a lot more than pretty floors and furniture to change public opinion on abortion. First of all, whether an abortion takes place at a run-down Gosnell-like facility or at a “high-end salon,” abortion always, 100% of the time, kills an unborn child and hurts the family involved.
Secondly, after abortion over 65% of women suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and post abortive women are six-times more likely to commit suicide than women who have given birth. Also, many women describe their abortion experience as ‘a nightmare,’ with 60% reporting that it felt like ’Part of me died.’
So to put it mildly, better branding, “abortion spas,” and all the positive talk in the world will never change the horror of abortion or the devastation it brings.
Friday, April 24, 2015
by Steven Ertelt | LifeNews.com | 4/23/15 11:26 AM
A Colorado state Senate committee approved on a party-line vote a bill that would provide justice for unborn children who are killed or injured in violent crimes against their mother.
With Republicans supporting the pro-life bill and Democrats voting against it 3-2 the Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB 268, the Offenses Against Unborn Children Act. Colorado Citizens for Life, along with Colorado Family Action, Alliance Defending Freedom and other local and national pro-life groups, stood in support of the legislation.
Sarah Zagorski, the Executive Director of Colorado Citizens for Life said, “This horrific case highlights the need for an Unborn Victims of Violence law in Colorado, which would recognize the unlawful killing of an unborn child as homicide. This woman’s baby was viable and suffered a cruel and violent death. Colorado should have laws punishing perpetrators of these innocent, defenseless victims.”
She added: “SB 268 will bring justice to unborn babies who are injured or killed in violent crimes against their mother. The importance of this legislation came to light in March when Dynel Catece Lane was arrested in Longmont, Colorado after she attacked Michelle Wilkins and cut her seven-month-old unborn baby out of her womb. In this unbelievable act of violence, Wilkins’ baby, Aurora, died but she survived. However, after the incident, a spokeswoman from the Boulder Country District Attorney’s Office said Lane won’t face murder charges for the baby’s death.”
“Recent shows that 76% of American’s support Unborn Victims of Violence legislation. This should show Colorado lawmakers that it’s time for our state to catch up with the rest of Americans and implement laws that reflect what the majority of our citizens believe. It is outrageous that Colorado prosecutors were not able to bring murder charges against Lane but if passed, Cadmen’s bill will prevent this from happening in the future,” she said.
During the committee hearing, pro-abortion groups attempted to claim that the bill would somehow be used to prosecute women for miscarriages, even though federal law and similar laws in dozens of other sates have only been used to provide justice for pregnant women an their unborn children.
“Although Planned Parenthood and the ACLU argued that Colorado’s 2013 “Crimes Against Pregnant Women” law, is sufficient for our state, it didn’t bring Michelle Wilkins or her baby Aurora the justice they deserve. Now SB 268 is headed to the Senate floor,” Zagorski said.
The bill creates a number of crimes against unborn children who are killed or injured in the process of an assault or homicide against the baby’s mother. The measure is similar to bills that have been used in the past to prosecute criminals for two crimes against both mother and child. Unborn victims laws have repeatedly been upheld as constitutional in court.
Senate president Bill Cadman is the sponsor of the unborn victims bill, Senate Bill 268, that mirrors federal law and the laws of dozens of states.
“This is a sad day for the mothers of Colorado, and for the fathers of Colorado,” Cadman said in a statement after no murder charge for Baby Aurora was brought. “And for every Coloradan who was stunned to learn that no murder charges will be brought on behalf of a Longmont infant savagely cut from its mother’s body in one of the most horrific crimes in recent memory.”
“Where’s the justice for that baby?” said Cadman.
“That’s very simple,” he said. “It doesn’t call into question anybody’s rights over their own body. It absolutely protects the right of the mom and of her baby.”
“This really is a horrific situation. . . we need equal protection for the 60,000 plus babies who are born in Colorado every year; protection that they don’t have now; protection that is afforded to them in 38 states, including some of the most liberal like California. That’s what this bill does. This is not new. This is an issue that’s come before us. Frankly, it was a discussion that I had with a house member, Representative Joshi, about two months ago, and it certainly is timely now,” Cadman said.
Current state law in these kinds of cases is governed by a 2013 law called the Unlawful Termination of a Pregnancy Act, that merely attaches a sentence enhancement for crimes against pregnant women — while ignoring the death of or injury to the unborn baby. That law provides no justice for unborn children.
Please thank the Senators who supported SB 268 and tell the two Senators who voted against the legislation that you’re disappointed they didn’t vote to protect unborn children who are victims of violent crimes!
by Mark Bradford | LifeNews.com | 4/22/15 11:28 AM
How many babies prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome (DS) are aborted in the United States each year? Well, we don’t know.
While new data suggesting lower numbers has recently been published, we continue to see most often in print a statistics of 90% – 92%. While that certainly draws attention to the horrifying reality that the majority of children prenatally diagnosed with DS are aborted, it is not accurate. That number relies on a 1999 European study with little data drawn from the U.S. There are good reasons for advocates to use the best data available to raise awareness of the problem that exists in the link between prenatal diagnosis and abortion.
A new study conducted by Gert de Graaf, Frank Buckley, and Brian Skotko and recently published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics applies rigorous statistical modeling to diverse data sets in an attempt to provide the most accurate number possible. It is important to know over time what impact relatively new noninvasive prenatal screening (NIPS) technologies, only available since October 2011, will have on the already high termination rate after a prenatal diagnosis of DS.
These new NIPS tests are able to identify cell-free DNA from the placenta in the mother’s blood as early as 10 weeks into her pregnancy, and claim to inform women – with near 99% sensitivity and specificity – if the baby she is carrying might have DS. Recent reports have indicated that some women are using these tests to make the decision to end their pregnancy without having the result confirmed with an invasive diagnostic test. To understand the impact this new technology will have over time on birth rates of children with DS, it is essential to establish a benchmark that can be used for future comparison.
Unlike the U.S., some countries track birth defects in national registries along with prenatal diagnosis and termination rates, so there are little or no vagaries around this question. For example, the National Down Syndrome Cytogenetic Register (NDSCR) is a part of the larger British Isles Network of Congenital Anomaly Registers. Both of these are part of EUROCAT, the broader European network of population-based registries that compiles epidemiological data on congenital anomalies across Europe. The NDSCR collects information on all diagnoses of trisomies 13, 18, and 21 in England and Wales. With a few clicks of a mouse, anyone can access the database and learn the prevalence, prenatal detection rates, and other key public health indicators related to genetic anomalies.
For example, using information gathered from all member registries, from 2008 to 2012, there were 4,288 live births of children with DS, 231 natural fetal deaths, and 5,215 terminations. DS live births as a percentage of total diagnosed pregnancies was 44%. Fifty-three percent of all pregnancies were aborted following prenatal diagnosis and a small percentage were lost to natural causes. We can also learn that during the same four-year period, 65.1% of the total DS cases were prenatally diagnosed.
In the United States, we have no such data collection. And given how polarized we are as a nation around the topic of abortion and the strong value placed on the right to privacy, there is little chance that this level of data collection will ever be possible.
The authors of this study gathered data that is available and devised a sophisticated statistical model to estimate as closely as possible the impact of prenatal diagnosis on abortion rates. They then asked this question: How many children with DS have been born, and what has been the net effect of pregnancy terminations following prenatal testing on live birth prevalence during the period from 1900–2010? Given that prenatal diagnosis and legal abortion weren’t available before about 1974, the authors focused on the years from 1974 to 2010 to develop their estimates.
In brief, the answer to their question is that for the most recent years, 2006–2010:
The estimated live birth prevalence for DS was approximately 12.6 per 10,000, or a total of around 5,300 births each year;
The number of pregnancy terminations following prenatal diagnosis is estimated at 3,100;
Taking natural losses into account, the authors estimate that there would have been 7,600 live births each year in the absence of prenatal diagnosis that resulted in abortion;
Their estimate of live-birth prevalence for 2010 is around 1 in 792, or slightly fewer births than the 14.47 per 10,000, or 1 in 691, live-birth prevalence published by the Centers for Disease Control (2004–2006 estimates).
The net result of their research is that abortion after prenatal diagnosis has reduced the population of individuals living with DS in the U.S. by approximately 30%.
This should not be confused with the percentage of women who abort following a prenatal diagnosis. That number would certainly be higher. This reflects the overall reduction in the DS population, and takes into consideration total DS pregnancies, whether prenatally diagnosed or not. The authors state that prior to October 2011 and the availability of NIPS, about 72% of women elected to have traditional prenatal screens and only an estimated maximum of 2% went on to have invasive diagnostic procedures, i.e., amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. If prenatal screening becomes more widely available, as seems to be happening, then one would expect the number of terminations to increase.
As an interesting aside, the authors estimate the total case prevalence of DS in the U.S., excluding elective termination and natural loss, to be 1 in 365. This number correlates closely with the reported live birth incidence of DS in the Arab world where abortion for DS is not permitted. The birth prevalence in Dubai is estimated at 1 in 449 overall, but much greater among the Emiratis: 1 in 319.
In this publication, the authors have identified regional and racial/ethnic differences in the prevalence of abortion following prenatal diagnosis by drawing data from 12 states that maintain live birth data of DS births by racial/ethnic group. The group with the highest number of terminations was Asians/Pacific Islanders (61%) followed by non-Hispanic whites (39%), non-Hispanic blacks/Africans (27%), Hispanics (18%), and American Indians (16%). Regionally, Hawaii and the Northeast states have the highest termination rates compared to other regions of the US at 62% and 46%, respectively. The South is the lowest with an overall reduction rate of approximately 23%.
The authors of this study have provided valuable baseline data that should help frame the discussion of the impact of prenatal diagnosis on future termination rates.
The fact that there have been no clear-cut statistics in the U.S. regarding how many women receive a prenatal diagnosis for DS, their subsequent decision regarding birth, termination, or adoption is frustrating. It is equally frustrating that there is no accurate census of the population living with DS in the U.S. Another statistically based study published in 2013 revised the estimated population of those living with DS in the U.S. in 2008 from a previously estimated number of 400,000 to around 250,000 – that represents a 25%–40% reduction in population that could substantially impact services and supports, and also potential funding made available for research.
Using the statistic of 90% or 92% when citing abortions of babies with DS indeed presents a horrifying scenario, but in truth so do the numbers derived from more recent and presumably accurate surveys. DS advocates should consider the impact using old and inaccurate data might have on those considering their options following a prenatal diagnosis of DS. Hearing that 90% to 92% of parents opt for termination might have the opposite effect from what advocates desire and even encourage those who would consider abortion after a prenatal diagnosis.
Advocates would be far better served by using the statistics provided in this new study, i.e., that it is estimated that abortion following a prenatal diagnosis of DS results in a 30% reduction in overall DS births. Jamie Natoli, et al., proposed another statistic that correlates well with this study. In a 2012 publication in Prenatal Diagnosis, their research calculated a weighted mean across the U.S. of a 67% termination rate following prenatal diagnosis.
Whatever the statistical realities may be, the number of those who choose abortion after a prenatal diagnosis is far too high. It should be none. To paraphrase the recently deceased disabilities rights activist, Dr. Adrienne Asch, the only thing prenatal diagnosis can provide is a first impression of who a child will be. Making such a radical decision as to end the life of a child based upon a first impression is a most horrible and violent form of discrimination. It has no place in an American society that is committed to ending discrimination in any form and that has intensified that effort for persons with disabilities over the last 25 years since the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in July 1990.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
by Eric Metaxas | LifeNews.com | 4/21/15 12:21 PM
Do you think that it’s impossible to reverse an abortion? Well, praise God, think again!
A young woman ten weeks pregnant walks into her local Planned Parenthood office, grieving the death of her father. She thinks she just can’t cope with a pregnancy right now. Planned Parenthood gives her the abortion pill RU-486. She takes it and leaves the office, but hours later, she regrets her decision.
What does she do?
As we all know, there’s a growing body of literature documenting the emotional devastation, depression, and guilt many woman suffer after having an abortion. Some, like this woman in Arizona, start having regrets during the several days it can take for the abortion pill procedure to complete its course.
In this case, the woman goes back to Planned Parenthood the next morning looking for help. But she’s told that the abortion pill cannot be reversed, and she could face complications if she doesn’t finish off the series of pills.
Well, right there in the waiting room she Googles “abortion pill reversal” on her cell phone, and reaches a national call center that links women in the midst of this kind of abortion with physicians willing to help save the lives of their unborn babies.
Within 45 minutes, she is in the office of Dr. Allan Sawyer (pictured above), an Arizona OB-GYN. He shows her an ultrasound of her two-and-a-half-month-old unborn baby, which has a heartbeat and is moving around in her womb. He says it might be possible to save the child and prescribes the hormone progesterone to reverse the effects of RU-486. Now safely through the first trimester, this grateful woman’s baby is due in September.
According to the pro-life Center for Arizona Policy, this is no fluke. Although the Abortion Pill Reversal protocol is pretty new, already, 80 children have been born because of it, and more than 60 pregnancies, like this woman’s, are ongoing due to this procedure.
Dr. Sawyer cannot be written off as a fly-by-night character, either. He is the former president of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and he has delivered more than 10,000 babies on three continents. In testimony before a state legislative committee, he said the abortion pill works by attacking progesterone in the pregnant woman, which kills the baby in utero. This effect can be reversed if progesterone is given to her quickly.
Who could be against that? Only those who say it infringes on a woman’s “right to choose.” Except that they don’t seem so eager to guarantee the right of a woman to choose to have her baby.
Now, one lawmaker who opposed the bill said administering high doses of progesterone to block the abortion pill’s effects has not been studied and is an unproven medical procedure. In his testimony, however, Sawyer dealt with that objection, saying, “The safety of progesterone supplementation during pregnancy has been well established, and this is used routinely for high risk pregnancies such as those conceived through in vitro fertilization and also for pregnancies at risk of preterm labor.”
Thank goodness that we still have doctors like Allan Sawyer, and legislators willing to vote their consciences as well as common sense in support of the dignity of human life. Women deserve all the facts. Especially when it might save a life.
Isabell Akers is about to graduate from Hampton-Dumont High School in Hampton, IA, and she’s fighting for a legacy of life to continue for years to come.
The mission statement of the school “is to create a safe, caring culture of high expectations where all reach their greatest potential”; however, Akers may disagree after more than two years of failed attempts to start a pro-life club. Akers is a high school senior who has been fighting for a school-recognized pro-life club since she was a sophomore.
Thomas More Society, the legal group defending Akers, calls the decision by school officials an act of “discrimination”:
“After a series of delays and denials, the school eventually allowed Isabell’s club to meet periodically in the spring and fall of 2014, but not to advertise or host events. As Isabell will soon graduate, she tried once again in February to acquire school club status for her Students for Life club, to leave an established club in place for future high school leaders. However, the principal once again denied Isabell’s application, claiming that the Students for Life club is too ‘controversial.’”
Thomas More Society issued a demand letter to Principal Steve Madson of Hampton-Dumont High School on behalf of Akers and Students for Life of America. The letter says the principal has “unconstitutionally discriminated against Isabell by denying her the right to form a Students for Life club at Hampton-Dumont High School.”
As the Thomas More Society notes, “By law, Hampton-Dumont High School administrators must give their pro-life students the same opportunities as they give all these other school clubs.”
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, has joined in the complaint:
“High school administrators have no right to discriminate against pro-life students,” Hawkins said. “On the contrary, high school students have the right to form Students for Life clubs to educate and inform their peers on the tragedy of abortion and to help those facing unplanned, crisis pregnancies.”
Though Akers is graduating next month, she doesn’t want to give up the fight for a pro-life club.
“I wanted to spend my high school career educating my fellow students on the beauty of human life and providing resources to girls at my school, but instead I have been fighting for my First Amendment rights,” Akers said. “By forbidding our Students for Life club from putting up posters and not letting us be included in the yearbook with other clubs, the school administration has been treating us like second-class citizens.”
And the Thomas More Society says that’s unacceptable because “the District’s refusal to officially recognize the Students for Life club as a proper student organization constitutes a violation of the students’ rights under both the federal Equal Access Act and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. All students who wish to form non-curricular clubs must be treated equally, even if the clubs they wish to form are religious or political.”
A demand letter issued to the principal asks for an immediate reversal.
Unfortunately for pro-life students, the Thomas More Society has been exceptionally busy lately because of principals denying them the right to form pro-life clubs (the same issue arose in North Dakota). These conflicts are a reminder that young people see the value of life and are willing to fight for their constitutional rights so they can speak out for those who cannot.
A poll from last month also shows this. A CBS News poll includes a section titled “The deal-breakers: What rules candidates in or out?” Second to ISIS (61 percent), just over half (51 percent) of Republicans would not vote for someone who had a different opinion on abortion as them.
The poll also asks:
Q16. Which of these comes closest to your view? 1. Abortion should be generally available to those who want it. 2. Abortion should be available but under stricter limits than it is now. 3. Abortion should not be permitted.
One-quarter of all voters fall into the latter view in believing that abortion should not be permitted. While 38 percent of voters think that abortion should generally be available. A majority of Democratic voters support available abortion, but not overwhelmingly, at only 54 percent.
Thirty-four percent of all voters fall into the second view, including a plurality of Republicans at 39 percent. Such a view is encouraging for pro-life bills which take a gradual approach when it comes to eradicating abortion through limits which a considerable amount of voters support. Such limits may not save all preborn children from abortion, but are nevertheless effective in that they can save many, while still being supported by the American voter and thus being likely to pass.
In reporting on the CBS poll results, The Washington Times suggests that abortion is one of “the biggest litmus test for GOP voters.”Thus this is an issue the candidates cannot afford to ignore during the campaign.
It is also worth noting that a Gallup poll from last May shows that those who considers themselves pro-life, compared to those the poll describes as pro-choice, are more likely to “only vote for a candidate who shares [their] abortion views.”
Pro-lifers should remain hopeful though this time that abortion will get the attention it deserves in the 2016 presidential election. If the back-and-forth between Rand Paul and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is any indication, it very well could happen.
Friday, April 17, 2015
by Steven Ertelt | LifeNews.com | 4/16/15 2:49 PM
The Supreme Court issued an order today preventing the Obama administration from forcing religious groups in Pennsylvania to obey the HHS mandate that requires them to pay for abortion-causing drugs for their employees. This is the fifth time the Supreme Court has rebuked the Obama administration and prevented it from making such a mandate.
In an order issued last night, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito prevented the federal government from enforcing its contraceptive mandate against a range of Pennsylvania-based religious organizations including Catholic Charities and other Catholic schools and social service organizations connected with the Diocese of Erie and the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The Supreme Court has previously protected the Little Sisters of the Poor, Hobby Lobby, Wheaton College, and the University of Notre Dame.
According to the Becket Fund, Justice Alito’s order is similar to the preliminary order Justice Sotomayor provided to the Little Sisters of the Poor on New Year’s Eve in 2013. The group said order requires the government to brief the Supreme Court next week on why it should be allowed to fine these organizations for refusing to distribute abortion-inducing drugs and devices and other contraceptives.
Lori Windham, Senior Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, told LifeNews: “How many times must the government lose in court before it gets the message? For years now the government has been claiming that places like Catholic Charities and the Little Sisters of the Poor are not “religious employers” worthy of an exemption.”
“That argument has always been absurd. Every time a religious plaintiff has gone to the Supreme Court for protection from the government’s discriminatory mandate the Court has protected them. That’s what happened to the Little Sisters of the Poor, Wheaton College, Notre Dame, and Hobby Lobby,” Windham continued. “The government really needs to give up on its illegal and unnecessary mandate. The federal bureaucracy has lots of options for distributing contraceptives–they don’t need to coerce nuns and priests to do it for them.”
The Supreme Court will be considering a similar case involving an order of Nashville Dominican nuns and several Tennessee — and Michigan –based Catholic charities at a conference of the Justices on April 24.
“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.”