All posts by Jordan Hooker

Jordan Hooker helps faith-based non-profits develop effective fundraising campaigns. Aside from writing, he enjoys worshiping with his church family and playing guitar. Jordan and his wife, Jennifer, live in Dallas, TX.
ultrasound

Governor Walker signs ‘ultrasound before abortion’ legislation in Wisconsin

ultrasoundOn Friday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker took a stand for life. According to Wisconsin Right to Life, Governor Walker signed Sonya’s Law, known as Senate Bill 206, into law. The law, which has already brought threats of lawsuits from Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services, requires that women seeking an abortion be given the option to see an ultrasound of their unborn children. After all options are explained, the woman has the opportunity to choose which type of ultrasound she prefers.

Susan Armacost, Legislative Director for Wisconsin Right to Life, thanked Governor Walker for signing the bill. According to Armacost, “Sonya’s Law will empower women to make truly informed decisions regarding how they will proceed with their pregnancies and will protect the lives of women who experience complications after their abortions.” In response to threats of lawsuits by Planned Parenthood, Armacost says the threats are “no surprise to anyone.”

An additional portion of Sonya’s Law requires doctors performing abortions to have hospital admitting privileges no more than 30 miles from the clinic where they perform abortions. Armacost says the challenge by Planned Parenthood appears to be focused “on the hospital admitting privileges requirement. Apparently, Wisconsin’s abortion clinics don’t believe their abortionists need to have hospital privileges at a hospital located within 30 miles of their clinic…or anywhere at all.”

Wisconsin Right to Life reports that nine other states require doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges and that Missouri’s law was upheld by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Live Action will continue to cover this developing story.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer

National pro-life women’s caucus launched

On Monday, the Susan B. Anthony List announced the start of a National Pro-Life Women’s Caucus. According to the Susan B. Anthony List, leadership for the Caucus includes Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, among others.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

According to the Susan B. Anthony List, the Caucus “will foster community between pro-life women lawmakers across the country, and connect them with the resources they need to pass pro-life laws.” Susan B. Anthony List vice president for government affairs and former Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave will direct the Caucus.

Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona stated, “Women are the best messengers when it comes to defending the lives of unborn and the integrity of motherhood. I am proud to be a part of this national effort to highlight the leadership of lawmakers who are leading the charge to protect innocent unborn human life and women from the violence of abortion.”

Congressional leaders had high praise for the mission of the National Pro-Life Women’s Caucus, with Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska noting, “We need strong, articulate women in Washington and in state legislatures who will boldly support policies that respect and promote life. I’m excited to support the National Pro-Life Women’s Caucus as it builds up the next generation of pro-life women leaders.”

The National Pro-Life Women’s Caucus, which will complement the Congressional Pro-Life Women’s Caucus, will exist to “recruit and organize prolife women in state legislatures and statewide offices nationwide.”

Susan Martinek

Pro-life advocate testifies about IRS discrimination

On Tuesday, the founder of Coalition for Life of Iowa testified before the House Ways and Means Committee.

According to the Thomas More Society, Susan Martinek testified about the IRS discrimination against her organization so that it “may not happen to others.” Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, acted as counsel for Martinek at the hearing.

According to Brejcha, “Coalition for Life of Iowa’s testimony today, coupled with the many other pro-life organizations we’ve represented against the IRS, make it undisputedly clear that pro-life organizations were systematically treated in an unfair and biased manner by the IRS.”

In her testimony, Martinek noted how her organization were told they had to assure the IRS, via a signed declaration, that they would not picket Planned Parenthood. If the organization signed the declaration, they would receive their determination letter from the IRS.

According to the Thomas More Center, New York Representative Charles Rangel, a liberal Democrat, spoke of a “cancer” inside the IRS.

Tea Party advocates and the chairman of the National Organization for Marriage also delivered testimony.

You can read Susan Martinek’s testimony here or watch it below.

forecepts

California looks to authorize non-physician performed abortions

According to the Life Legal Defense Foundation, the California Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection approved a bill by a vote of 9 to 4 that would increase non-physician abortion in the state of California. The bill, AB 154, would require a training course for nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and physician assistants, but would then allow them to perform aspiration abortions. According to LLDF, the bill would open up the door to producing more abortionists.

foreceptsThe training would be based on a pilot project, HWPP No. 171. But reports show a higher danger to women; under HWPP No. 171, a December 2011 report showed an 80% spike in complications when non-physicians performed a surgical abortion. The report showed that physicians reported 78 complications, while non-physicians reported 141. Those complications included “incomplete abortion, failed abortion, hemorrhage/excessive bleeding, hematometra, infection, cervical injury, and uterine perforation.”

According to Dana Cody, the president and executive director of LLDF, “AB 154 is based on flawed and incomplete research and will increase danger to women. It is horrific that unborn children are dying in abortion clinics everyday – now women’s lives are put at further risk. My prediction is that this type of ‘training to perform abortion’ will ultimately become a mandate under Obamacare. God have mercy on our nation.”

Proponents point to a recent American Journal of Public Health article that applauded HWPP No. 71, but according to LLDF, in that project, a physician was present at all abortions. If AB 154 were to be made law, non-physicians would be able to perform abortions without a physician present. According to LLDF, that is a flaw in the American Journal of Public Health article, which does not take into account the presence of a physician in the pilot project during an abortion.

“California sees far too many unqualified physicians performing abortion in sub-standard clinic environments,” said Cody. “Expand that to non-physicians practicing without effective physician oversight, and it is not a pretty picture.”

silent tape

Thomas More Law Center aids pro-life students facing discrimination at John Hopkins University

According to the Thomas More Law Center, the John Hopkins University Student Government Association has turned down a pro-life student organization seeking to be officially recognized as a student club. The case brings up the controversy of students’ free speech rights at a private university.

The group, called Voice for Life, saw its request to be recognized voted down on March 12, and the Student Government Association’s Senate affirmed that vote on March 24. Voice for Life appealed to the student Judiciary Committee, and the case was to be heard on April 9.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel at the Thomas More Law Center, commented, “The actions and comments by members of the Student Government Association are puzzling and in stark contrast to the public statements of University officials who thus far have clearly come out in favor of free speech.” On April 4th, the Thomas More Law Center sent a letter to officials at John Hopkins University laying out the legal reasons Voice for Life must be recognized. You can read that letter here.

“Moreover,” Thompson continued, “the University’s Office of Institutional Equality has already issued a written opinion stating that VFL’s proposed sidewalk counseling activities are in full keeping with the University’s policies that value free expression and open debate.”

Live Action will continue to cover this developing case.

planned parenthood

Autocam Corporation calls on Planned Parenthood to retract false statements

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund is being called on to retract a charge that Autocam Corporation has not paid property taxes since 1997. According to CatholicVote.org, Planned Parenthood leveled the claims in its “The Bosses Who Want to Deny Your Birth Control Coverage” campaign.

Last Monday, attorneys for Autocam’s CEO John Kennedy sent a letter showing the false statements in the campaign. According to public records, Autocam has paid nearly $10 million in real property and personal property taxes since 1997 in the State of Michigan. In 2012, $961,386.74 was paid. “Autocam not only provides well-paying jobs and award winning benefits for hundreds of Michigan families, they also pay their fair share of property taxes,” said Brian Burch, Executive Director of CatholicVote.org Legal Action Fund. The Fund is representing Kennedy in his federal lawsuit against the ObamaCare Health and Human Services Mandate, which requires employers to provide contraception and some abortion-inducing drugs in health plans, even if the owners of the company object on religious or moral grounds.

“Planned Parenthood evidently considers Autocam and the Kennedys fair game for political smearing because they wish to provide health care benefits to their employees consistent with their deeply held moral and religious beliefs and therefore do not cover abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations, and other medical services. Autocam already provides first class benefits, including a $1,500 match contribution to each employee’s health savings account. But compliance with the mandate would require Autocam and the Kennedys to pay millions of dollars in fines, which would destroy their company,” said Burch.

The letter sent by Kennedy’s attorneys demands that Planned Parenthood eliminate all of the false claims from their campaign.

holding-baby-infant

Kansas abortion numbers drop to lowest in 25 years

In the state of Kansas, abortions dropped by around 5.4 percent in 2012, according to the Department of Health and Environment. According to the Associated Press, pro-life and pro-choice advocates are pointing to tougher abortion restrictions under Republican Governor Sam Brownback. Brownback took office in January 2011.

The executive director for Kansans for Life says the decrease is evidence that an approach supported by the group to implement laws incrementally is working. According to Mary Kay Culp, “this is good news for women and unborn babies.” The group has encouraged lawmakers to avoid enacting legislation that is more likely to end up in court battles. Culp believes that the work of crisis pregnancy centers is helping with the decline of abortion numbers.

According to the health department, 7,457 abortions were reported in 2012. That is down by 428 from the 7,885 reported by doctors in 2011. The highest year was in 2001, when doctors reported 12,422 abortions, and the lowest year was 1987, when only 6,409 abortions were reported. However, that was before medical facilities were required to report abortions.

And while pro-choice advocates such as Elise Higgins, a lobbyist for the National Organization for Women, say laws in Kansas have “decreased” women’s “ability to get the health care they need,” pro-life Kansans such as Mary Kay Culp continue to believe that the pro-life Kansas laws are savings lives by helping to lower the number of abortions.

governor-jack-dalrymple

North Dakota Governor receives death threats after signing pro-life legislation

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Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

On Tuesday, North Dakota’s Gov. Jack Dalrymple took a stand for life and signed the nation’s most restrictive ban on abortion. According to the Christian Post, the law makes abortions in North Dakota illegal if a heartbeat is detected in the unborn child. In addition, Dalrymple also signed a law banning abortions because of genetic defects. Doctors caught performing abortions after six weeks of pregnancy could face a felony charge. The governor said he does expect a court challenge. The laws will be implemented beginning on August 1.

Threats of lawsuits abound, according to Personhood USA. Even before the legislation was signed, threats of lawsuits by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU were prevalent. Apparently, though, pro-choice advocates aren’t satisfied to simply threaten a lawsuit; rather, they have begun to threaten the life of the North Dakota governor. According to Personhood USA, a statement on the Stand up for Women ND Facebook page said, “We have received word that Governor Dalrymple is receiving death threats.” The post urged the pro-choice advocates to cease the death threats. “We want stoic, respectful solidarity or we will not be taken seriously,” the post continued.

Jennifer Mason, Personhood USA spokesman, noted of the various threats, “When the threat of lawsuits isn’t enough to force their agenda, it seems that pro-choice supporters think that death threats will accomplish their goals. These threats are deplorable. North Dakota legislators should not have to fear outrageous lawsuits for voting pro-life, nor should they have to fear for their lives.”

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuseeger/4253303916/in/photostream/

Federal Judge blocks Missouri Law that protects the religious rights of pro-life Missourians

A federal judge has struck down a Missouri law that protected pro-life Missourians. According to the Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissing cited a portion in the U.S. Constitution to the effect that federal laws override contradictory state laws. The Missouri law contradicts President Obama’s health care overhaul by allowing pro-life Missourians to object to providing contraception and some abortion-inducing drugs if they object on religious or moral grounds.

According to LifeNews.com, the Missouri legislature overrode a veto by pro-choice Governor Jay Nixon last September that blocked the law. The House vote was 109 to 45, and the Senate vote was 26 to 6. In December, Fleissing issued an order restraining the law. In the recent ruling, the federal judge wrote that the state law “is in conflict with, and pre-empted by, existing federal law” and “could force health insurers to risk fines and penalties by choosing between compliance with state or federal laws.” Fleissing did not issue a permanent injunction of the law because the Missouri state insurance department had agreed not to enforce it.

An attorney for Our Lady’s Inn, a St. Louis non-profit that provides housing and counseling for pregnant women, noted that “the point of the law was to tell health insurance companies that they’re supposed to honor the wishes – pro or con – of people who have religious or ethical objections to what’s in the policy.”

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri praised the ruling, with President and CEO Peter Brownlie saying it ensured “that all Missouri women – no matter who their boss is – have access to basic preventive health care without a co-pay, including birth control[.]”

Live Action will continue to cover this developing story.

Planned Parenthood Clinic Sign

Alliance Defending Freedom files fraud suit to expose Planned Parenthood’s handling of taxpayer dollars

According to Alliance Defending Freedom, Planned Parenthood submitted “repeated false, fraudulent, and/or ineligible claims for reimbursement” to Washington State’s Department of Social and Health Services. ADF filed suit against Planned Parenthood in July 2011, and the lawsuit was made public on Tuesday. Federal law protects “whistle-blowers” by keeping such cases under seal until federal authorities decide whether to be involved in the case.

ADF Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton stated, “Americans deserve to know, especially in economic times like these, if their hard-earned tax money is being funneled to groups that are misusing it. Compliance with the law should not be sacrificed for the sake of Planned Parenthood’s bottom line. They have cheated the American taxpayer for too long. It’s time the abortion giant is held accountable.”

Alliance Defending Freedom filed the lawsuit on behalf of a Washington resident who used state open records requests to uncover the misuse by Planned Parenthood. According to the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest filed at least 25,000 false claims with HRSA for reimbursements. The claims were in excess of the amount allowed for oral contraceptive pills. Total damages from those claims and other falsely filed claims could be as much as $377,134,130.

The complaint by Washington resident Jonathan Bloedow is consistent with a 2011 Government Accountability Office report that found HRSA’s monitoring of the 340B program, under which Planned Parenthood filed for the reimbursements, inadequate. The 2011 report recommended that “HRSA take steps to strengthen oversight regarding program participation and compliance with program requirements.”

minnesota-flag

Minnesota House votes to make health care exchange pro-life

In a 71-57 vote, the Minnesota House of Representatives removed abortion coverage from the state’s health care exchange bill this week. The health care exchanges are a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare, which was passed in 2010.

The PPACA requires states to offer an online source of insurance plans, or allow the federal government to do it for them. According to Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), “the health care exchange bill in the House now reflects the will of the Minnesota House of Representatives and the will of the people of Minnesota, the majority of whom oppose abortion and abortion coverage.”

The Minnesota Senate has a version of the bill, known as S.F. 1. The bill must become law by March 31, but the legislature will break from March 25 to April 1, therefore the bill must pass before then.

MCCL Legislative Associate Andrea Rau notes that “abortion is not health care and it should not be among the procedures covered in the state exchange’s insurance plans. MCCL is pleased to see the House recognize that abortion is outside the realm of health care.”

You can read the MCCL press release here.

Live Action will continue to cover this story.

diane-black

Thirteen female congresswomen join doctor in calling for conscience protection

diane-black
Rep. Diane Black (R-TN)

Thirteen female members of Congress have called on House GOP leadership to protect conscience and religious liberty in legislation to continue funding the government through fiscal year 2013. According to the Susan B. Anthony List, Representative Diane Black (R-TN) and Representative and M.D. John Fleming (R-LA) led the letter. The letter was addressed to Representatives John Boehner, Hal Rogers, Eric Cantor, and Jack Kingston.  The letter read, in part:

As fellow Members of Congress committed to protecting the individual’s rights of conscience, we are writing to bring to your attention egregious violations of long-standing civil rights and religious freedoms by the current Administration. We respectfully request that you ensure that adequate protections for these fundamental liberties are codified in U.S. law as the Appropriations Committee drafts legislation to fund the federal government through the remainder of the current fiscal year, FY2013.

The letter called for specific steps, including “full conscience protections consistent with sections 537 and 538 of the House draft FY2013 Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill. Section 537 includes protections regarding insurance coverage as it relates to recent conscience violations being carried out under the authorities granted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).”

The representatives use the story of Cathy Decarlo as an example of the violations. According to the letter, Decarlo, a nurse at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, “was forced to take part in the gruesome dismemberment of a 22-week-old unborn child.” The examples continue, as the representatives note that “nurses have also been told by Vanderbilt University and by a state-run medical center in New York that they must assist in abortions that violate their deeply-held convictions.”

You can read the full letter here and also view the list of the thirteen signing representatives.