Pro-Life Page

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

BY PATRICK B. CRAINE

AUSTIN, Texas, June 26, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Amidst a mob of shouting pro-abortion advocates, a Texas bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks failed to pass despite securing the needed votes because the voting concluded two minutes after the session’s midnight deadline.

Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis successfully filibustered the bill Tuesday for eleven hours. After that a large crowd of abortion advocates, led by Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, took over and interrupted the proceedings by shouting. State troopers were called in and at least one protester was arrested.

 

On Twitter, the bill’s opponents urged fellow abortion advocates to “rush the floor” in order to stop the vote. Richards herself egged them on, tweeting: “Make some noise -- louder!”

The maneuvering won approval from President Obama, whotweeted Tuesday night that “something special” was happening in Austin.

News organizations such as the Associated Press originally reported that the bill had passed in a vote of 19-10.  Then there were several hours of confusion until Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst officially confirmed at 3:00 a.m. local time that the vote was too late.

Dewhurst said "an unruly mob using Occupy Wall Street tactics" had blocked the bill. "I didn't lose control of what we were doing," he said, according to the Texas Tribune. "We had an unruly mob."

Texas Governor Rick Perry, a strong supporter of the bill, could still call a special session to hold another vote.

The new law would ban all abortions after 20 weeks, when medical experts say unborn babies can feel pain.  Unlike the recent law that passed the U.S. House, the Texas law has no exceptions for rape or incest.

The bill also imposes tighter safety regulations on abortion facilities, requiring abortionists to maintain admitting privileges at local hospitals and bring their facilities up to par with other outpatient surgical centers.  Similar laws in other states have driven multiple substandard abortion clinics out of business.  Currently, 37 out of Texas’s 42 abortion centers fail to meet the bill’s standards.

An additional provision requires women who request abortion drugs to take each one of the entire multi-day series of pills in the presence of a medical professional.

Abby Johnson was present at the legislature with her five-day-old baby.

As Davis carried out her filibuster, she said, “I was just thinking, I can’t believe the lives of thousands of children in this state are dependent right now on someone not leaning on their desk or not needing a bathroom break. It was pretty surreal.”

“It’s pretty shameful that these people that are against [the bill] would go to these tactics and do some of these antics … to try to silence the will of the people and the will of the voting body,” she said.

She said she has hope that Gov. Perry will call the special session, but added: “I just tell people, either God is sovereign or he’s not. And we believe that He is and we believe that He is in control no matter what happens.”

Lila Rose, president of Live Action, said this type of behavior should be expected from abortion advocates.

“A lot of people are talking about how the [abortion] movement should be ashamed of its behavior. How shameful it is,” she wrote. “But this is the same movement that champions ripping apart helpless, vulnerable, even pain-capable children in the womb.”

“A movement that's okay with that will have NO SCRUPLES about hijacking the legislative process. We waste time wagging fingers over civility,” she said. “[Gov. Perry], please don't let a screaming mob determine how your state is governed. Please call another session.”

Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, thanked the pro-life Texas Senators “for attempting to protect the lives and health of women and girls routinely victimized by a profit-hungry abortion industry, but sadly a large, well-funded, and powerful anti-woman coalition worked to block these much needed legal protections.”

“Since the trial of ‘house of horrors’ Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, the nation has focused on what all too often takes place behind the closed doors of abortion clinics across America,” said Dr. Yoest. “The time is now to save lives and protect women from an unregulated, unmonitored, and unaccountable abortion industry.” 

 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
By WILL WEISSERT and JIM VERTUNO
A sweeping bill that would effectively shut down most abortion clinics across the nation's second most-populous state has stalled in the Texas Senate, and a Democratic filibuster that will only need to last a seemingly manageable 13 hours Tuesday looks like it will be enough to talk the hotly contested measure to death.

After thwarting two attempts Monday by majority Republicans to bring the abortion bill to a floor vote ahead of its scheduled time Tuesday morning, Democrats are turning to Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, to stage the marathon speech.

"We want to do whatever we can for women in this state," said Sen. Kirk Watson of Austin, leader of the Senate Democrats.

The bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and force many clinics that perform the procedure to upgrade their facilities and be classified as ambulatory surgical centers. Also, doctors would be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles -- a tall order in rural communities.

Although Texas is just the latest of several conservative states to try to enact tough limits on abortions, the scope of its effort is notable because of the combination of bills being considered and the size of the state.

When combined in a state 773 miles wide and 790 miles long and with 26 million people, the measures would become the most stringent set of laws to impact the largest number of people in the nation.

"If this passes, abortion would be virtually banned in the state of Texas, and many women could be forced to resort to dangerous and unsafe measures," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund and daughter of the late former Texas governor Ann Richards.

Outnumbered 19-11 -- with San Antonio Sen. Leticia Van de Putte missing to attend the funeral of her father, who died last week in a car crash -- Senate Democrats held firm Monday to their razor-thin margin of a single vote to block the bill from moving forward.

That's key since the 30-day special legislative session ends at midnight Tuesday, meaning the filibuster Democrats have promised only needs to last the better part of one day, instead of two.

Davis gave a filibuster at the end of the 2011 session to temporarily block $5.4 billion cuts to public schools, and said she was preparing for her upcoming speech but refused to say exactly how.

She will have to speak nonstop, remain standing, refrain from bathroom breaks or even leaning on anything. Other Democrats can give her voice a break by offering questions to keep conversation moving.

"Democrats chose not to negotiate, and we could not get the block undone," said Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, a Republican who controls the flow of Senate legislation. He refused to declare the issue dead -- but others were less optimistic.

Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, said the Democrats never should have been allowed to put Republicans "in a box" and complained that many in the Senate GOP were "flying by the seat of their pants."

But the bill's bogging down began with Gov. Rick Perry, who summoned lawmakers back to work immediately after the regular legislative session ended May 27, but didn't add abortion to the special session to-do list until late in the process. The Legislature can only take up issues at the governor's direction during the extra session.

Then, House Democrats succeeded in stalling nearly all night Sunday, keeping the bill from reaching the Senate until 11 a.m. Monday.

The measure only passed the lower chamber after a raucous debate that saw more than 800 women's rights activists pack the public gallery and surrounding Capitol, imploring lawmakers not to approve it.

While supporters say it will protect women's health, abortion rights groups warn the practical effect of the bill would be to shutter most abortion providers statewide -- making it very difficult for Texas women to have the procedure.

Debate ranged from lawmakers waving coat-hangers on the floor and claiming the new rules are so draconian that women are going to be forced to head to drug war-torn Mexico to have abortions, to the bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Jodie Laubenberg of Spring, errantly suggesting that emergency room rape kits could be used to terminate pregnancies.

In the end, though, the bill passed by more than 60 votes as Republicans and some conservative Democrats approved it.

Still, Legislature rules prohibit the Senate from taking up a bill for 24 hours after it clears the House. Republicans struggled to find a way to break the Democratic roadblock, but the vote swung Monday on Sen. Eddie Lucio, a Brownsville Democrat who voted for the abortion bill when it first passed the Senate a week ago but pledged not to approve suspending the rule with Republicans unless Van de Putte was able to make it to the chamber.

She didn't show and Lucio voted with his party, despite his support for the bill.

If the abortion restrictions go down, other measures could fall with it. A proposal to fund major transportation projects as well as a bill to have Texas more closely conform with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision banning mandatory sentences of life in prison without parole for offenders younger than 18 might not get votes. Current state law only allows a life sentence without parole for 17-year-olds convicted of capital murder.

Watson said Democrats are willing to pass the transportation and 17-year-old sentencing measures but won't budge on abortion.

"Let's get those up, let's get those out of here," Watson said. "Let's not make these victims of red-meat politics."

Patrick said that if the filibuster succeeds, he hopes Perry will summon lawmakers back for a second or even third special session.

"If the majority can't pass the legislation that they believe is important and the people believe is important," he said, "than that's of great concern to me." 
 
 
 
Monday, June 24, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 21, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life activists in New York are breathing a sigh of relief after the Senate successfully blocked Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bill that would have radically expanded abortion in a state already plagued by the highest abortion rate in the union.

A last minute attempt to pass the governor's abortion language as a “hostile amendment” to another Senate bill was defeated by Senate Republicans. 

The abortion provision, which was introduced by Cuomo as part of a 10-point omnibus “Women’s Equality Act,” would have expanded abortions into the third trimester for virtually any reason and opened the door to non-medical professionals performing abortions. 

The New York Assembly passed the omnibus bill, including the abortion language, yesterday. But earlier this week the Democratic Senate leadership had decided to split the Act into 10 separate bills, after acknowledging that they lacked enough votes to pass it with the abortion language intact, to Gov. Cuomo’s intense displeasure. 

While the Senate passed the remaining nine parts of the Act tonight, Assembly Democrats have said they won’t vote to consider the bill in its piecemeal form, without the abortion language. 

“I don’t think it’s going to be possible today," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan said. "If they pass a choice bill, I can assure you our members will be back here doing it. If they don’t pass a choice bill, the governor and our members will be in dialogue and determine what route to take.” 

In a statement today, the state’s Catholic bishops said the defeat of the last-ditch amendment, “is a remarkable victory for unborn children, as well as vulnerable women and girls who so often face unrelenting societal and family pressure to abort.”  

The bishops said the very effort to pass the bill “awoke a sleeping giant” in the state, “a silent pro-life majority that had been discouraged and disheartened from living in the state with the highest abortion rate in the country.”  

The bishops also vowed to stay strong and fight any future attempt to pass the abortion language. 

Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest also commended the Senate in a statement. 

“Education, jobs, and personal safety are women’s issues,” said Dr. Yoest, “but removing the few legal protections that women have in New York should they be harmed by an abortionist does nothing to empower women. Today, the New York Senate has recognized this fact.” 

“The trial of Kermit Gosnell which exposed his ‘house of horrors’  illustrates why New York women need legal protection from the abortion industry,” said Dr. Yoest. “By removing all restrictions on the Big Abortion Industry in New York, women would be less safe.”

Earlier this week, Cuomo had said he especially wanted to force a vote on abortion expansion so that voters know where lawmakers stand on abortion, an issue he said he plans to highlight during his own re-election campaign in 2014.

"New York is the last place where women's rights should be held back; it is the place where they must move forward," Mr. Cuomo said in a news release Tuesday night.

Friday, June 21, 2013

BY JOHANNA DASTEEL

  • Thu Jun 20, 2013 19:15 EST

WASHINGTON, DC, June 20, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – ObamaCare enrollment begins October 1 and Planned Parenthood is already hard at work prepping its 750 facilities across the US to ensure access to the new taxpayer funds. 

One of the leading advocates for the passage of the revolutionary bill which includes funding for abortion, Planned Parenthood is poised to reap the financial benefits of its passage. 

Even without the boost from ObamaCare, Planned Parenthood receives 45% of its income by way of taxpayer dollars.  Last year, that amount totaled $542.4 million.  

Using a wide array of educational materials – from magnets to smart phone apps – the nation’s largest abortion chain will be educating its 3 million customers about benefits available under the new health care law, including “free” contraception, and how to enroll in the newly available insurance plans.  

Some Planned Parenthood locations will even have “navigators”, who are paid using taxpayer dollars, to sit down with clients and guide them through the entire process of applying for health benefits and government subsidies for those plans.  

“Planned Parenthood is among the long list of liberal organizations that are expected to receive taxpayer-funded navigator grants,” Rep. Diane Black told Politico

“The navigator grants would further enable Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in America, to continue its misuse of taxpayer dollars to [supplement] their big abortion business.” 

President Obama had asked Planned Parenthood to promote his health care law during a speech to the abortion giant in April.

"I'm here to ... ask for your help, because we need to get the word out," he told Planned Parenthood supporters gathered in Washington. "We need you to tell your patients, your friends, your neighbors, your family members what the health care law means for them."

"Make sure that they know that there are plans out there right now that cover the cost of contraception and preventative care free of charge," he said. "We've got to spread the word, particularly among women, particularly among young women, who are the ones who are most likely to benefit from these laws."

Last year, a congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood was launched after allegations of extensive fraud in nearly 20% of Planned Parenthood’s national affiliates. A 23-page report issued by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF)  found upwards of $99 million in waste or possible fraud, including the illegal taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion-related procedures. 

In 2011, Planned Parenthood committed 333,964 abortions for a profit of $173,661,280, which makes up 56.9% of income generated by clinic services. 

 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

BY KIRSTEN ANDERSEN Wed Jun 19, 2013 17:21 EST

ALBANY, June 19, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo appears determined to expand abortion in the Empire State, making a last-ditch move this week to resurrect what appeared to be a defunct abortion proposal by separating his “Women’s Equality Act” into 10 separate bills.

On Monday, the Independent Democratic Committee (IDC) had introduced Cuomo’s “Women’s Equality Act” with only nine of the ten original points, excluding the highly controversial provision that addressed abortion. 

An IDC spokesman said the coalition’s decision to drop the abortion provision was a political necessity, since with the abortion provisions intact, the bill would fail in the State Senate.

Said IDC member Sen. Jeff Klein, “The IDC would like nothing more than to bring this provision to the floor, but the votes just are not there.”

That wasn’t good enough for Cuomo, who earlier this month described the ten-point plan as “almost as a bill of rights.” Said Cuomo, in refusing to abandon the abortion plank, “We don’t believe you have to give up any of the ten.”

On Tuesday night, Cuomo agreed to break the ten points into ten separate bills, all of which could be ready for a vote on Friday.

It is unclear whether the state Senate will have the chance to vote on the separate abortion bill.  For that to happen, it must be brought to the floor by Senate Majority Co-Leaders Dean Skelos (R-LI) and Jeff Klein (D-Bronx).  Skelos objects to the bill on moral grounds, while Klein says he doesn’t think it has enough votes to pass.  Neither man can move the bill forward without the other’s approval.

Mr. Cuomo said he especially wants to force a vote on abortion expansion so that voters know where lawmakers stand on abortion, an issue he said he plans to highlight during his own re-election campaign in 2014.

"New York is the last place where women's rights should be held back; it is the place where they must move forward," Mr. Cuomo said in a news release Tuesday night.

New York already has the highest abortion rate of any state in the nation.  According to the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion-industry think tank, one-third of all New York pregnancies end in abortion.  Currently, abortions can be performed up to 24 weeks of pregnancy without restriction.  After that, they can be performed only by doctors to save the life of the mother. 

The new abortion expansion bill would allow third trimester abortions for almost any reason, and would open the door to allowing non-medical professionals to perform the procedure.  

Numerous faith-based and pro-life observers have criticized the abortion expansion plan, including Cuomo’s own spiritual leaders, the Catholic Bishops of New York. 

“I am hard pressed to think of a piece of legislation that is less needed or more harmful than this one,”wrote Archbishop Timothy Dolan, in a letter to Governor Cuomo.  “As we have discussed in the past, we obviously disagree on the question of the legality of abortion, but surely we are in equally strong agreement that the abortion rate in New York is tragically high,” he wrote.

“There was a time when abortion supporters claimed they wanted to make abortion ‘safe, legal, and rare,’” Dolan added. “Yet this measure is specifically designed to expand access to abortion, and therefore to increase the abortion rate.”

New York State Right to Life slammed the bill as "a Trojan Horse - a beautifully gift-wrapped package of death and destruction."

Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life (AUL) said that if the bill passes, "New York will be sanctioning unrestricted, virtually unregulated, and taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand, making it the most radically pro-abortion state in the nation."

 
Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 6/18/13 6:45 PM

The House of Representatives today approved a that bans abortions from after 20-weeks of pregnancy up to the day of birth.

The vote for the bill broke down on mostly partisan lines with Republicans supporting the ban on late-term abortions and Democrats opposing it. The House approved the bill on a 228-196 vote with 7 Democrats voting for the bill and 6 Republicans voting against it. (See end for how members voted).

The bill, if it receives a vote in the Democrat-controlled Senate, is not expected to pass and pro-abortion President Barack Obama has issued a veto threat. But pro-life groups hope to use the measure as an election tool in 2014 in an attempt to wrest the Senate from abortion advocates.

Leading pro-life organizations issued statements praising the House for the vote.

“I would hope that stopping atrocities against little babies is something we can agree to put an end to,” Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota said during the debate. “We’re talking about babies who, if they were born and simply given a chance, they could survive outside the womb.”

Congresswoman Wagner of Missouri added: “As science and technology continue to advance, we are changing hearts and mind. It is not only the pain of the child we must consider, but also the pain of the mother. Everyone talks about the right to choose, but no one discusses the implications of that choice. I am for life at all stages. I am

 for the life of the baby, and I am also for the life of the mother. I will continue to work for a day when abortion is not only illegal, but absolutely unthinkable.”

Rep. Chris Smith, the head of the pro-life caucus in the House, spoke eloquently from the House floor.

“The brutality of severing the spines of defenseless babies—euphemistically called “snipping” by Gosnell—has finally peeled away the benign façade of the billion dollar abortion industry” he said.

“Like Gosnell, abortionists all over America decapitate, dismember and chemically poison babies to death each and every day. That’s what they do. Americans are connecting the dots and asking whether what Gosnell did is really any different than what other abortionists do. A D&E abortion—a common method after 14 weeks—is a gruesome, pain-filled act that literally rips and tears to pieces the body parts of a child,” he added. “The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is a modest but necessary attempt to at least protect babies who are 20 weeks old—and pain-capable—from having to suffer and die from abortion.”

One leading expert in the field of fetal pain, Dr. Kanwaljeet S. Anand at the University of Tennessee, stated in his expert report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, “It is my opinion that the human fetus possesses the ability to experience pain from 20 weeks of gestation, if not earlier, and the pain perceived by a fetus is possibly more intense than that perceived by term newborns or older children.”

“Surgeons entering the womb to perform corrective procedures on unborn children have seen those babies flinch, jerk and recoil from sharp objects and incisions. Ultrasound technology shows unborn babies at 20 weeks post-fertilization and earlier react physically to outside stimuli such as sound, light and touch,” Smith continued. “Surgeons routinely administer anesthesia to unborn children in the womb before performing lifesaving surgeries, and this has been associated with a decrease in the baby’s stress hormone levels during the medical procedure.”

A recent national poll by The Polling Company found that, after being informed that there is scientific evidence that unborn children are capable of feeling pain at least by 20 weeks, 64% would support a law banning abortion after 20 weeks, unless the mother’s life was in danger.   Only 30% said they would oppose such a law.

During the hearing, former abortion practitioner Anthony Levatino told members of the committee the gruesome details of his former abortion practice and how he became pro-life following the tragic automobile accident of his child.

Another bombshell dropped during the hearing came from Dr. Maureen Condic, who is Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She testified that the unborn child is capable of reacting to pain as early as 8-10 weeks. This is when most abortions in America take place.

The committee also saw graphic pictures of babies who were killed by Douglas Karpen, who is considered the second Kermit Gosnell.

The late-term abortion ban would allow abortion after 20 weeks post-fertilization if the mother’s life is endangered, or in cases of rape and incest reported prior to the abortion to appropriate authorities.

H.R. 1797 contains congressional findings of fact regarding the medical evidence that unborn children experience pain at least by 20 weeks “post-fertilization age,” or the start of the sixth month.

The bill relies on the science of fetal pain to establish a Constitutional reason for Congress to ban abortions late in pregnancy. The science behind the concept of fetal pain is fully established and Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, is one of the leading researchers into it. He first published reports in the 1980s to validate research showing evidence for it.

He has testified before Congress that an unborn child could feel pain at “eight-and-a-half weeks and possibly earlier” and that a baby before birth “under the right circumstances, is capable of crying.”

He and his colleagues Dr. Vincent J. Collins and Thomas J. Marzen  were the top researchers to point to fetal pain decades ago. Collins, before his death, was Professor of Anesthesiology at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois and author of Principles of Anesthesiology, one of the leading medical texts on the control of pain.

“The functioning neurological structures necessary to suffer pain are developed early in a child’s development in the womb,” they wrote.

“Functioning neurological structures necessary for pain sensation are in place as early as 8 weeks, but certainly by 13 1/2 weeks of gestation. Sensory nerves, including nociceptors, reach the skin of the fetus before the 9th week of gestation. The first detectable brain activity occurs in the thalamus between the 8th and 10th weeks. The movement of electrical impulses through the neural fibers and spinal column takes place between 8 and 9 weeks gestation. By 13 1/2 weeks, the entire sensory nervous system functions as a whole in all parts of the body,” they continued.

With Zielinski and his colleagues the first to provide the scientific basis for the concept of fetal pain, Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand of the University of Arkansas Medical Center has provided further research to substantiate their work.

“The neural pathways are present for pain to be experienced quite early by unborn babies,” explains Steven Calvin, M.D., perinatologist, chair of the Program in Human Rights Medicine, University of Minnesota, where he teaches obstetrics.

Dr. Colleen A. Malloy, Assistant Professor, Division of Neonatology at Northwestern University in her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in May 2012 said, “[w]hen we speak of infants at 22 weeks LMP [Note: this is 20 weeks post fertilization], for example, we no longer have to rely solely on inferences or ultrasound imagery, because such premature patients are kicking, moving, reacting, and developing right before our eyes in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.”

“In today’s medical arena, we resuscitate patients at this age and are able to witness their ex-utero growth and development. Medical advancement and technology have enabled us to improve our ability to care for these infants…In fact, standard of care for neonatal intensive care units requires attention to and treatment of neonatal pain,” Dr. Malloy testified. She continued, “[t]hus, the difference between fetal and neonatal pain is simply the locale in which the pain occurs. The receiver’s experience of the pain is the same. I could never imagine subjecting my tiny patients to horrific procedures such as those that involve limb detachment or cardiac injection.”

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jun. 18, 2013 6:55am 

 

WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — The abortion wars return to Congress in a big way with House legislation to ban almost all abortions after a fetus reaches the age of 20 weeks. The proposal — a controversial one — has fired up both sides of the debate.

The legislation expected to pass the Republican-controlled House as early as Tuesday has no chance of becoming law in the near future: The Democratic-led Senate will ignore it and the White House has issued a veto threat. But the measure gives social conservatives a rare chance to promote their anti-abortion agenda and lays the groundwork for what could be a future challenge to the 1973 Supreme Court decision that confirmed a woman’s right to late-term abortions.

The two sides in the abortion debate agreed at least on the importance of the measure.

National Right to Life Committee legislative director Douglas Johnson said it was the “most significant piece of pro-life legislation to come before the House since the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act” that was enacted in 2003. Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said the bill “clearly is an attack on women’s constitutional right to choose and is one of the most far-reaching bans on abortion this committee has ever considered.”

The legislation defies the 1973 ruling which made most abortions legal up to the point that a fetus is viable, generally considered to be at least 24 weeks.

Some 11 state legislatures have passed similar measures. Several have been challenged in court and a federal court last month struck down a slightly different Arizona law that banned abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Anti-abortion groups said the time frame in the House bill and other state laws, which ban abortion 20 weeks after conception, is equal to 22 weeks of pregnancy.

The sponsors of the bill, named the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, also cited evidence — which opponents say is disputed — that fetuses can feel pain after five months.

House GOP leaders, stymied by a Democratic Senate and a Democrat in the White House, have chosen to focus on economic issues rather than contentious social topics such as abortion. “Jobs continue to be our number one concern,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said last week when asked about the abortion bill. But he said that “after the Kermit Gosnell case and the publicity that it received, I think the legislation is appropriate.”

Gosnell was a Philadelphia abortion provider who last month received a life sentence for what prosecutors said was the murder of three babies delivered alive. The case energized anti-abortion groups, who said it exemplified the inhumanity of late-term abortions.

The original House bill, sponsored by anti-abortion leader Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., was aimed only at the District of Columbia, but was expanded to cover the entire nation after the Gosnell case received national attention.

Pro-choice groups argued that the 20-week ban, in addition to being unconstitutional, would affect women just at the point of learning of a fetal anomaly or determining that the pregnancy could put the mother’s life in danger.

As introduced, the bill provided for an exception to the ban only in cases of a physical condition that endangers the life of the mother. In the Judiciary Committee last week, Republicans rejected Democratic attempts to include rape, incest and other health problems as grounds for exceptions.

But Franks, during debate on the rape exception, angered Democrats and drew unwanted publicity to the bill when he stated that cases of “rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.”

Franks later rephrased his remark, but GOP leaders rushed to impose damage control. A provision was inserted in the bill heading to the House floor including a rape and incest exception, and Franks, who heads the Judiciary subcommittee on the constitution and civil justice, was replaced as floor manager for the bill by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who is not a member of the Judiciary Committee.

Democrats had pointed out that every Republican on the Judiciary Committee that approved the anti-abortion bill was a man.

With the changes, said NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue, “the GOP is desperately trying to hide that the party has a deep hostility to women’s rights and freedom.”

 

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Komen for the Cure breast cancer charity has a new president and CEO, following the backlash it has faced after initially stopping funding to the Planned Parenthood abortion business and then reinstating funding days later.

However, it’s new president may cause more controversy for Komen, which is facing financial problems and cancelling events in the wake of the Planned Parenthood funding scandal.

From AP:

The breast cancer charity named Judith A. Salerno to replace founder Nancy Brinker, whose promise to her dying sister begat a fundraising powerhouse that invested hundreds of millions of dollars in cancer research. Brinker announced last summer she would step down following an onslaught of criticism over Komen’s quickly reversed decision to stop giving grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings.

Salerno, 61, is executive director and chief operating officer of the Institute of Medicine, a prestigious independent group that advises the government and private sector about health and science.

“Komen’s commitment has helped countless numbers of low-income and medically underserved women and men get care they might otherwise have gone without, and Komen’s research program is one of the most highly respected in the nation,” Salerno said in a statement released by Komen.

Brinker, 67, announced in August that she would move from the CEO role, which she’d held since 2009, into a new one focused on fundraising and strategic planning.

In late 2011, the Dallas-based charity decided to halt grants to Planned Parenthood, which received about $680,000 that year. News of the move caused a torrent of questions about the decision and calls for its reversal, angering Komen supporters on both sides of the abortion debate.

Three days after the initial disclosure, Komen reversed its course, which led to more harsh criticism, this time from abortion opponents accusing the charity of caving to public pressure.

Karen Handel, the group’s vice president and a conservative, resigned the following week and later wrote a blistering account of the episode entitled “Planned Bullyhood.”

As if the Planned Parenthood funding controversy wasn’t bad enough, Salerno headed the Institute of Medicine, which approved the Obama HHS mandate that forces religious groups to funds birth control and drugs that may cause abortions.

As LifeNews reported in February 2012, the committee that made the recommendation to the Obama administration to adopt its new controversial health care mandate and found the panel is dominated by pro-abortion groups.

According to Human Life International, “Through a search of public records, HLI America has been able to substantiate the claim that members of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee who wrote Recommendation 5.5 have ideological commitments that raise serious questions about the supposed objectivity with which they considered the scientific evidence that led to their recommendation that the HHS mandate contraception and sterilization coverage as “preventive care.”

“The IOM members below have strong relationships with both Planned Parenthood and NARAL, and have actively supported pro-abortion candidates for public office,” the pro-life group adds. “This is by no means an exhaustive list of the involvement of the IOM committee members in pro-choice advocacy groups and pro-choice political campaigns. But these eleven members—out of a total of fifteen—demonstrate a more than casual commitment to the furthering of the abortion lobby.”

HLI determined that “not a single member of the committee has financially supported a pro-life candidate.”

The Institute of Medicine recommendation, opposed by pro-life groups, called for the Obama administration to require insurance programs to include birth control — such as the morning after pill or the ella drug that causes an abortion days after conception — in the section of drugs and services insurance plans must cover under “preventative care.” The companies will likely pass the added costs on to consumers, requiring them to pay for birth control and, in some instances, drug-induced abortions of unborn children in their earliest days.

The HHS accepted the IOM guidelines that “require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services” and those services include “FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling” — which include birth control drugs like Plan B and ella that can cause abortions. The Health and Human Services Department commissioned the report from the Institute, which advises the federal government and shut out pro-life groups in meetings leading up to the recommendations.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

BY TONY PERKINS

May 28, 2013 (FRC) - Liberals are more than happy to welcome illegal immigrants to America--it's their unborn children they object to. Last week, Democrats tried to defend taxpayer-funded abortion as part of the long list of "perks" that detainees enjoy in Homeland Security's federal detention centers.

The issue boiled over last spring when the office of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tried to slip new guidelines past Congress that would have extended a host of benefits to illegal aliens that rival the average citizens'! And these aren't your garden variety detainees. Most of the immigrants in ICE's care are convicted criminals who were transferred out of prison, where they were serving time for other charges. Even so, the Left has fought to give these detainees the best care that (taxpayers') money can offer. Before FRC drew attention to the issue last March, ICE was even prepared to offer government-sponsored hormone therapy for transgenders!

Under the Carter amendment, co-sponsored by our friends Reps. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) and Rep. Alan Nunnelee, (R-Miss.), Homeland Security would be barred from spending a single cent of government funding on abortion. The Committee passed a similar rider last year, but--like most appropriations measures--the abortion ban didn't carry over from the 2013 funding bill. A day after Rep. Carter offered the amendment, it passed: 25-21. Now it heads to the House floor--along with the rest of the 92-page budget. "I will always support and remain committed to preserving the sanctity of life," Carter vowed, "and as a committed member of the Pro-Life Caucus, I will continue to defend human life at all stages. The provision in this amendment will continue to ensure that federal taxpayer dollars will not fund abortion."Now, the same Homeland Security that claims it doesn't have enough money for detention beds is ready to finance abortions. As Rep. Hal Rodgers (R-Ky.) pointed out, "These are grim budget times. We don't have carte blanche for even our most important security programs." All the more reason, says Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), to put the brakes on ICE's abortion funding. Last Wednesday, Congressman Carter, Chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, introduced language to stop the agency's $46 billion funding bill from getting bogged down with the President's radical social policy.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood, who never met an abortion debate it didn't like to distort, criticized the bill for denying access to immigrant abortions. In a press release, the country's biggest abortion cartel intentionally mischaracterized Carter's amendment, claiming that it "prevents immigrant women... from making extremely personal, medical decisions."

False. It only prevents taxpayers from funding those decisions. Women in ICE's custody are not only free to abort at outside clinics--they're assigned government "escorts" for the trip. All House leaders have done is bring Homeland Security in line with the other federal appropriations provisions that block taxpayer dollars for abortion. So it's more than a little ironic when Planned Parenthood complains, "Abortion has no business being debated as a part of a Homeland Security funding bill." We agree! In fact, abortion has no business being debated as part of any government funding bill. That's why FRC supports the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7 and S. 946), just introduced by Rep. Chris Smith and Sen. Roger Wicker. And if Planned Parenthood were sincere about women's health, they'd join us.

 

 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

 

by Operation Rescue | Austin, TX | LifeNews.com | 5/15/13 10:31 AM

After the conviction of late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell on murder charges, Operation Rescue has been repeatedly asked if there is any evidence that similar practices exist at abortion clinics elsewhere in the nation. That documentation has now been released.

Operation Rescue arranged to have Life Dynamics, Inc. produce a video interview, released yesterday, with three informants who came to Operation Rescue as the result of our Abortion Whistleblowers Program, which offers a reward of $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of abortionists who are breaking the law.

The three informants, Deborah Edge, Gigi Aguliar, and Krystal Rodriguez, have come forward to tell of their horrific experiences working for abortionist Douglas Karpen, at one of three of his Texas abortion clinics, the Aaron Women’s Clinic in Houston. A fourth informant has co-operated with Operation Rescue, filing an affidavit about her experiences, but remains at this time anonymous.

As shocking as their stories are, these women did more than just talk; they brought forward evidence of illegal late-term abortions in the form of photos taken on their cell phones at the Karpen’s clinic on Schumacher Lane in Houston.

The photos were scandalous. They depicted two babies aborted well beyond the legal limit of 24 weeks in Texas. Their necks had been cut.

 

“The photos show babies that are huge, with gashes in their necks, indicating that these babies were likely born alive, then killed, just as Kermit Gosnell did at his ‘House of Horrors’ clinic in Philadelphia,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “In fact, there are numerous similarities between Karpen and the Gosnell case, including the disregarding of complaints by the authorities that allowed both men to continue their illegal operations.”

Signs of life

In both cases, the babies’ skin is pink, noting a lack of masceration, an early form of decomposition that happens in babies that die in the womb. Massive bruising on the extremities of one of the babies indicates the baby’s heart was pulsing with life when the trauma was inflicted likely when grasping instruments latched on to bring the baby down into the birth canal. The eyes of the other child are open in a nightmarish expression of pain, revealing development greater than 26-28 weeks. Both sets of photos were taken sometime in 2011.

The video interview of the three informants verified the worst.

 

“When he did an abortion, especially an over 20 week abortion, most of the time the fetus would come completely out before he cut the spinal cord or he introduced one of the instruments into the soft spot of the fetus, in order to kill the fetus,” said Deborah Edge, who worked as a surgical assistant for Karpen for about 15 years until leaving in March, 2011.

“I thought, well, it’s an abortion you know, that’s what he does, but I wasn’t aware that it was illegal…Most of the time we would see him where the fetus would come completely out and of course, the fetus would still be alive,” Edge continued.

How often did this happen?

“I think every morning I saw several, on several occasions,” she said. “If we had 20-something patients, of course ten, or twelve, or fifteen patients would be large procedures, and out of those large procedures, I’m pretty sure that I was seeing at least three or four fetuses that were completely delivered in some way or another,” said Edge, acknowledging that these babies would be alive.

She described how some babies would emerge too soon and would be alive, moving, and breathing. She also told of how Karpen would sometimes deliver the babies feet first with the toes wiggling until he stabbed them with a surgical implement. At the moment the toes would suddenly splay out before going limp. Sometimes he would kill the babies by “twisting the head off the neck,” according to Edge.

Women would be given doses of Cytotec, a drug that causes strong and unpredictable uterine contractions, and would deliver while they were waiting in line to see Karpen, some in toilets, one in the hallway.

“He just picked it up with one of those [chux] pads and put it in the trash bag,” said Krystal Rodriguez of the baby born in the hallway.

“As long as the patient had the cash, he was going to do it past 25 weeks,” she said.

But not all the babies came out intact. When there was difficulty, Karpen would dismember them, a process that was, according to the surgical assistant Deborah Edge, a bloody mess.

“Sometimes he couldn’t get the fetus out” she explained. “He would yank pieces – piece by piece – when they were oversize. And I’m talking about the whole floor dirty. I’m talking about me drenched in blood.”

Undercover investigation and a troubled past

It all began in early 2011, when Operation Rescue was conducting an undercover investigation of several Texas abortion clinics when it discovered that Karpen appeared to be violating the Texas informed consent law that required that abortionists give the state-mandated information personally on patient conference calls set up for that purpose. In addition to the improper use of a recording, he was not on the line to answer questions, as the law required. Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger filed a complaint with the Texas Medical Board concerning this violation.

Sullenger submitted a statement to the TMB noting Karpen’s documented history of problems, including series of botched abortions stretching back to 1988 when 15-year old Denise Montoya hemorrhaged and died after a 26-week abortion done by Karpen.

She told the TMB of a documented incident on February 6, 2005, when a sewer broke at Karpen’s Texas Ambulatory Surgical Center, located at 2421 N. Shepherd in Houston, causing sewage to spill into the parking lot of a neighboring car dealership. Maribeth Smith, an employee of the car dealership said she is convinced she saw human body parts mixed in with the sewage. She took photographs, believing the human tissue came from the clinic.

“Whether it’s legal or not, it’s not right,” Smith said. “This whole area is nothing but raw sewage and bloody pieces. There were little legs coming out from one side.”

A Health Department worker called 911 to report a second spill at the same abortion clinic. When asked who she was with she told the dispatcher, “Health Department…and we handle normal medical waste, but this is beyond us. He says he can see fetuses and fingers and everything.” (Emphasis intranscript.)

Sullenger hoped that the history of documented abuses would help convince the TMB to act swiftly to protect the public.

Whistleblower comes forward

 

The following month, Deborah Edge contacted Operation Rescue with her first-hand account Karpen’s practices after she had smuggled one of Operation Rescue’s Whistleblower flyers out of his clinic, knowing that she needed to call.

In addition to the accounts of the illegal late-term abortions, other abuses Edge witnessed included:

  • Falsification of ultrasounds to produce younger fetal ages of babies over the legal limit or older fetal ages to extract more money out of women.
  • Fraudulent billing practices.
  • Surgical equipment not properly sterilized.
  • Reuse of disposable instruments.
  • Unqualified workers drawing and administering drugs.
  • Late-term abortions done at 28 weeks and later. (Texas law permits only to 24 weeks.)
  • Lack of adequate nursing staff.
  • Concealing poorly kept logs from inspectors to prevent deficiency citations.
  • Hiring nurses through a temp agency to work only on days when inspections are scheduled.
  • Mistreating heavy women and inappropriately touching attractive women while under sedation.
  • Sexual harassment.

Edge explained that Karpen was able to evade detection by having his workers hide sanitation logs and other incriminating documentation from inspectors on the occasions they would come by the clinic.

“Karpen might have a little newer equipment and a little cleaner clinic, but his shoddy practices certainly mirror those of convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell. Certainly if anyone deserved Board discipline, it was this guy,” said Sullenger.

 

Excel Spreadsheets

Another piece of evidence was an Excel file that contained four months of abortion billing information for 2011. That file was given to Operation Rescue by an anonymous informant. The abortions listed all indicated that several abortion funds, including the National Abortion Federation Fund, the Hershey Fund, the Lilith Fund, and others had been billed for part of the abortion fee. The allegation made by the informant was that Karpen was bilking the funds out of money by over-billing them. While that allegation could not be substantiated by Operation Rescue, the list was revealing as to the price of the late-term abortions that the women all said were done beyond the legal limit and the amount of cash taken in to the clinic.

March, 2011, listed 33 abortions that were partially paid for with abortion funds or other sources. Over $38,000 in cash was paid by patients. The file showed 5 abortions that cost under $1,000, 7 abortions that were between $1,000-2,000, 12 abortions that cost between $2,000-$3,000, and 3 abortions that were over $3,000.

The greater the gestational age, the higher the abortion fee. How old were the two babies whose abortions cost $3,700? The file didn’t say, but the high figure seemed to confirm the allegations that abortions were being done very late — much later than 24 weeks.

Working together

Due to legal issues raised by the former clinic workers, Operation Rescue contacted attorneys atAlliance Defending Freedom, which handled many of the women’s legal concerns. Once the women quit their jobs, finances became an issue. Newman contacted Abby Johnson, whose new organizationAnd Then There Were None, which offers support to former abortion clinic workers. She agreed to help the women with some financial assistance.

Amended complaint

The additional information gathered from Edge and the other women was quickly added to the original Texas Medical Board complaint filed earlier. Sullenger discussed the new information with TMB Inspector, Leslie Coe, who seemed to be conducting an investigation. As the other Karpen employees came forward with similar stories, their affidavits were submitted to Coe along with the video of violations taken inside the clinic and the photos of the huge babies Karpen had aborted.

Everything seemed to be progressing through the investigative process. The women were interviewed and Sullenger spoke on and off with Coe, who seemed cooperative and willing to take more information as it came in.

Settlement conference hearings were scheduled and hopes rose, but the hearings were repeatedly delayed and reset over the course of months until finally they were simply were not rescheduled.

“I thought that the additional information had sent the case back to the investigative phase and that the Board just needed more time to process everything. Medical Boards take a very long time to work through things. After being involved in numerous Board actions against abortionists, the delays seemed normal,” said Sullenger. “But apparently they weren’t.”

Mysterious dismissal

But then something changed.

“It was like someone turned the spigot off. Ms. Coe stopped returning my calls and did not acknowledge my e-mails. I could not account for the change in attitude,” said Sullenger. “Then I got the letter dismissing the case and was completely stunned by it.”

The letter, dated February 8, 2013, stated:

The investigation referenced above has been dismissed because the Board determined there was insufficient evidence to prove that a violation of the Medical Practices Act occurred. Specifically, this investigation determined that Dr. Karpen did not violate the laws connected with the practice of medicine and there is no evidence of inappropriate behavior, therefore no further action will be taken.

“I couldn’t believe what I was reading,” said Sullenger. “How could anyone look at those pictures of the two babies and still say ‘there is no evidence of inappropriate behavior’? No one even bothered to sign the letter.”

Going public

With the TMB out of the picture, Sullenger sought an opportunity to get the women’s stories recorded and evidence released to the public, an effort that required her to negotiate unexpected delays.

Then, while Sullenger was in Philadelphia reporting on the Kermit Gosnell murder trial, Mark Crutcher of the Texas-based Life Dynamics, Inc., a close associate of Operation Rescue’s, was able to make arrangements to get the interviews recorded.

The Gosnell trial and his convictions on 3 counts of first degree murder for severing the spinal cords of babies born alive during abortions at his filthy West Philadelphia abortion clinic has focused the national abortion debate onto the question of whether Gosnell’s behavior was an anomaly. Often in the courtroom conversation amongst reporters, many with very liberal world views, would shift to questions about whether others like Gosnell were out there breaking the law and subjecting women – and their viable babies that the law was supposed to protect – to unspeakable atrocities.

“Douglas Karpen is so like Kermit Gosnell that it is uncanny, from the illegal late-term abortions, to killing babies born alive, to even the sewers clogged with fetal remains,” said Sullenger. “But the most disturbing thing is that we know there are others out there who are maybe even worse than Gosnell and Karpen, who just have not been caught yet. How many? There’s just no way to tell, but that thought should give everyone pause to think. Can we really afford to allow abortion clinics to run amok without accountability? When we do, we get places like Gosnell’s ‘House of Horrors” and Karpen’s apparently illicit operation. The ones that pay the price for the lack of enforcement and oversight are those who can’t defend themselves from exploitation by men like them.”

Enforcement elusive

While states continue to enact pro-life laws that are designed to provide greater oversight and accountability to an out-of-control abortion industry, the matter of enforcement still remains the biggest challenge to bringing abortionists like Gosnell and Karpen to justice.

For years, Gosnell evaded accountability, shielded by a political atmosphere that ignored complaints and refused to inspect clinics out of fear of limiting access to abortions. That political climate was one in which Gosnell thrived. Karpen appears to enjoy the benefits of a similar political climate in Texas, which has inexplicably chosen to ignore a total of four former employees and the images of the babies Karpen dispatched in a similar manner that earned Gosnell two life sentences in prison.

Operation Rescue has finally made public Karpen’s identity in order to attempt bypass the stonewalling of the TMB and bring him to justice.

“We are asking all those who were appalled by the details of Gosnell’s behavior that have come out throughout the trial to take action to bring Karpen to justice in a court of law,” said Newman. “We know that it is possible to prosecute him because of the outcome of the Gosnell trial. We just need prosecutors like those in Philadelphia who are willing and courageous enough to enforce the law.”

Please take the time to contact the authorities below and ask for a full-scale investigation into Douglas Karpen’s abortion business.

Mike Anderson, District Attorney Harris County, Texas

1201 Franklin Street, Suite 600, Houston, Texas 77002-1923

Voice: (713)-755-5800

E-Mail: Armand_Stephanie@dao.hctx.net

Greg Abbott, Attorney General of Texas

Office of the Attorney General

PO Box 12548

Austin, TX 78711-2548

Voice: (512) 463-2050

E-Mail: robert.allen@texasattorneygeneral.gov

Texas Medical Board

333 Guadalupe

Tower 3, Suite 610

Austin, TX 78701

Voice: (512) 305-7010

E-Mail: verifcic@tmb.state.tx.us

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