In preparation for oral arguments in March, Alliance Defending Freedom has submitted its opening brief in the case Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius. Conestoga Wood Specialties is a business owned by the Hahn family (“the Petitioners”), a Mennonite Christian family who believe that paying for abortion-inducing drugs would be a violation of their religious convictions. They chose to file a lawsuit when Obama’s HHS Mandate required them to provide insurance covering abortion-inducing drugs to their employees.
The brief explains that the “Hahns consider it an abortion to prevent the implantation of a human embryo into its mother’s uterus after its fertilization.” According to the brief:
The Mandate substantially burdens Petitioners’ religious exercise. It directly commands Petitioners to buy a healthcare policy that funds abortifacients in conflict with their religious beliefs regarding the destruction of human life. It also imposes ruinous fines and authorizes lawsuits if Petitioners fail to surrender and comply.
Typically, “coming out of the closet” has to do with one’s sexual orientation. But “coming out” also means ’fessing up to something you’ve kept secret in order to avoid embarrassment.
When it comes to the subject of abortion, having a vehemently radical pro-choice advocate in the White House has emboldened militant abortion and even latent infanticide supporters to slowly inch their way of the closet.
A prime example of someone who’s no longer embarrassed is Melissa Harris-Perry. Melissa is the tampon-earring-wearing, Mitt Romney black-grandson-mocking talking head from MSNBC.
No longer ashamed of embracing the unthinkable, Melissa joined the ranks of bioethicists when she said she believes that life begins when parents “feel” life begins. Harris-Perry came out of the antiquated first-trimester closet when she answered her own question: “When does life begin?” Melissa’s answer: “[it] depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents.”
A rash of mandatory ultrasound laws across the country have had abortion advocates outraged. To them, it’s unnecessary and akin to rape, and it pressures and guilts the poor, poor women who just want to kill their unborn children and get on with their lives. Far from ultrasounds being medically necessary, they argue, it’s all just a ruse by us evil pro-lifers to guilt women into not going through with the abortion. And now, Katy Waldman at Slate is arguing that they really don’t make a difference anyway:
This latest study is much larger. Researchers analyzed 15,575 medical records from an urban abortion care provider in Los Angeles. Each patient seeking an abortion was asked how she felt about her choice: Those who made “clear and confident” replies were rated as having “high decision certainty,” while those who seemed sad, angry, or ambivalent were said to show “medium” or “low” decision certainty. (Only 7.4 percent of the women fell into the latter categories.) Patients underwent ultrasounds as part of the standard procedure, and 42.5 percent of them opted to see the images. Of those, 98.4 percent terminated their pregnancies; 99 percent of the women who did not look at the photographs ended their pregnancies. But here’s the thing: The women who viewed the sonograms and then backed out were all part of that 7.4 percent of women with low or medium decision certainty. Women who knew abortion was the right decision for them continued with the procedure whether they were shown the images or not.
… Yet viewing the ultrasound images did influence some of the wavering women to stick with their pregnancies. Even though the number is very small, this is important to acknowledge. It means not only that forcing or pressuring women to look at their fetus will probably prevent a sliver of abortions—which is relevant for those who oppose and want to reduce abortions—but also that some women do respond to these pictures.
Today we have a tragic pregnancy situation out of Fort Worth, Texas. At LifeNews, Rachel Cox summarizes:
In November, Erick Munoz’s wife Marlise, who was 14 weeks pregnant, suffered a blood clot and is still in the hospital hooked up to machines. Doctors say she is brain dead and will never recover. Erick Munoz believes the baby will have defects and the baby’s life won’t be worth living. Her husband says his wife clearly stated she never wanted to be on life support. Erick Munoz wants to “honor his wife’s wishes” and remove her from life support which would kill her and their unborn baby. However, Texas law prevents the removal of a pregnant woman from life support and Erick Munoz is publicly voicing his opposition. Continue reading →
I’ll never forget the sonogram I had of my now 2-year-old daughter at around 10 weeks pregnant. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I was ambivalent. Part of me felt certain that I wanted to have the baby. On the other hand, I struggled with the reality of rearranging my life in order to take on motherhood at age 25. I questioned every day whether I was making the right choice.
Then I saw my 8-week-old fetus arching her back, rolling around, and extending her arms and legs in the womb. Although no one was pressuring me to “keep it,” I decided on my own that I had passed the point of no return. I was continuing the pregnancy. After seeing the sonogram, I finally felt confident that it was what I wanted.
Kirsten Breedlove was the administrator of the now closed A-Z Women’s Health [abortion] Clinic in Dallas. Her clinic did late-term abortions. When pro-life activists started demonstrating at A-Z in the early 90s, Breedlove was initially very hostile to them. The pro-life protesters were very aggressive. Breedlove had Mark Gabriel, one of the activists, frequently arrested and jailed.
But it in an article in World magazine, Breedlove told writers Joe Maxwell and Roy Maynard that things began to change.
“Around January I noticed a definite change,” [Breedlove] she says. Mark and other protesters started asking her to pray with them; something clicked in her and she started talking with them. “They would show me a lot of love. … they would be out there praying for me.”
Breedlove ended up responding to the the pro-lifers’ efforts. She said:
“Every day I would go in the clinic and hear the same thing over and over again, and I started thinking about what they were saying; questioning my own self.”
It’s something most every pregnant woman or father-to-be says: “I don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl, as long as it’s healthy.” Or, “All I want is a healthy baby.” It seems so natural, so caring, so perfectly the right thing to say. After all, no one wants his or her baby to be unhealthy. No one wants to look at a tiny infant and hear that he is sick. But is a healthy baby really all we want? Is it really what we want parents to want? Is it what we want parents of “unhealthy” children to hear us say?
I had a healthy baby for two days. She spent her first four days after birth in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit being tested for anything that might have caused the fever she had during labor. Nothing was found, and we were sent home with our healthy baby. Two days went by, and on the evening of that second day, we were told our baby had cystic fibrosis. She was not the “healthy” baby we had prayed for, spoken about, or expected.
But she was still our baby. And she was and is very much wanted.
The children around us today — in fact, anyone under the age of 40 — are the lucky ones. They escaped a roughly one-in-four chance of having been killed by abortion before they were ever born. Children today may grow up with the same responsibility that the generations since abortion was legalized in 1973 have had: to stand up and speak out on behalf of their peers whose lives were snuffed out by abortion. It is essential that children grow up with an understanding of this responsibility and sense of justice.
Children are inquisitive, but also very innocent. So what is the appropriate way to introduce a child to the harshest of realities, abortion? Father Frank Pavone founder and president of Priests for Life, has addressed this question in his article, Speaking to Children About Abortion.
An academic study published this month reveals that about 25% of women seeking an abortion had been abused by their partners. The meta-analysis researched and analyzed 74 previous studies from across the world to determine whether there was an association between intimate partner violence (IPV) and abortion. The results show a clear connection between the two, which must be addressed in any culture that offers its women abortion as an option. Women must be helped in the process.
Researchers from the Women’s Health Academic Centre, King’s College London undertook the meta-analysis and focused on what the World Health Organization defines as IPV: “’behavior within an intimate relationship that causes physical, sexual or psychological harm, including acts of physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological abuse and controlling behaviours’ encompassing both current and past intimate partners.”
In a move that can only be described as incomprehensible and utterly tragic, Israel’s cabinet approved a new health policy that will cover all abortions for women from age 20-33 in the year of 2014. The government will pay for abortions at a cost of $4.6 million dollars. These state funded abortions will seek to provide funding for up to 6,300 women.
The Jewish Chronicle Onlinedescribes this decision as one that showcases how progressive and forward-leaning the country’s political stance can be, despite still having a dominant religious lobby, and a conservative prime minister.
Before this ruling, subsidized abortions in Israel were allowed only through approval of a special committee and in cases of sexual abuse, life endangerment or for women under 20 or over 40. Although women will still be required to go before a committee before aborting they now have access to free abortions for any reason. A Daily Beast article highlighting abortion in Israel explains that while abortions have to be approved by committee virtually every case is approved and doctors who perform abortions illegally outside of the state system are never prosecuted.
Proctor and Gamble has released a video ahead of the 2014 winter Olympics, which begin next month. The ad portrays the role of moms in helping their children achieve their goals.
The video opens with moms around the world helping their children learn the very first basics of physical independence, like walking. As their children grow older and begin to experiment with outdoor sports, the role of the mom shifts as she is now the one to pick them up and clean them off after they fall. Their children continue to grow and progress in their respective sports, and mom’s job becomes more hands-off, moral support. Ultimately their children make it to the winter Olympic games, thanks to the unfailing support of their mothers from their earliest days. The video concludes, “For teaching us that falling only makes us stronger. Thank you, Mom.”
On January 22, 2012, a former clinic worker named Clarissa gave her testimony before a church congregation. Her speech appears on YouTube here.
Clarissa became involved in abortion work almost by accident. She explains:
I was just finishing my medical assisting courses and my internship was at a women’s health center. I was going to be taking vital signs, answering phones, checking patients in and drawing blood. I showed up to work and I was shocked to find out they did abortions there.
When I asked to be assigned to a different location, they told me there was nowhere else to go.
Clarissa soon discovered that the clinic was a place of pain and sorrow.
In the weeks that followed, I was gradually introduced to the horrors of that place. The girls that came to the door were sometimes crying, they were sometimes quiet and sometimes they were laughing. But they all had sadness in their eyes.
At the end of my internship, I was offered a job. As a single mother with bills to pay, I thought that I had no choice.
Abortion advocates have a strange obsession with elevating abortion. Depending on whom they’re talking to, abortion is a terrible decision that no woman ever wants to have to make, but sometimes has to…or, like, totally the most awesome thing ever!
Last week, the Guttmacher Institute (a non-profit, pro-abortion entity founded by Planned Parenthood) released a synopsis of pro-life legislation in the last thirteen years, pointing out in a “quasi-hysterical” manner that more pro-life laws were passed between 2011 and 2013 than in the entire decade preceding that period.
The synopsis has made its rounds by now, but to recap, Guttmacher summarized the results as follows (emphasis added):
Reproductive health and rights were once again the subject of extensive debate in state capitols in 2013. Over the course of the year, 39 states enacted 141 provisions related to reproductive health and rights. Half of these new provisions, 70 in 22 states, sought to restrict access to abortion services [in other words, they were "pro-life" laws].
We are living in a society that is obsessed with perfection. Case in point: a bullied teenager wanted several plastic surgeries because she was being teased about her looks. But her mother couldn’t afford it. So how was this possible? Well, she received a grant from a nonprofit organization in New York City that provides free plastic surgery for children with deformities. That’s right: things like a big nose now evidently make you deformed.
Renata had been taunted so cruelly over her appearance that she stopped attending school altogether; she’s been home-schooled for the last three years.
“They were just calling me ‘that girl with the big nose,’” Renata told NBC News. “It just really hurts. And you can’t get over it.”
… The organization’s intent hasn’t changed since its inception: correcting low-income children’s facial deformities, such as a cleft lip, or facial palsy, says Romo. If a child seeks the gratis surgery simply because he’s being teased over his features, he won’t be chosen unless the problem meets the medical definition of a facial deformity.
… Romo believes that once the deformity is gone, the bullying will likely stop, too.
Marquita Southall was born in Mobile, Alabama, to a 19-year-old single mom, who delivered in her fifth month of pregnancy. Born at just a one pound and three ounces, Marquita stayed in the hospital for three months. The doctors weren’t certain she would live. Marquita fought for her life and survived.
When Marquita was 13, a friend’s mother took her to church. One day, at a youth service, she answered an altar call and gave her heart to Jesus Christ. Marquita remembers feeling a battle in her soul over that decision. Once the choice was made, she felt that burdens had been lifted off her. After her encounter, she got up in front of her class and told them she had given her life to God.
Years later, Marquita participated in a prayer gathering named ‘The Call Alabama.” During the Call, she heard about the pro-life movement Bound4Life. She got one of their red “Life” bands to remind her to pray daily for the ending of abortion.
Back in November, we discussed troubling signs that Wisconsin Republican leaders were angling to ditch two pieces of pro-life legislation for fear that the state’s abortion champions would blow a gasket over them. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald attempted to reassure pro-lifers that the bills (banning sex-selection abortions and protecting against involuntarily subsidizing abortion) just needed some fine-tuning, after which Republicans would bring them back.
Well, it now looks like Fitzgerald is already trying to weasel out of that New Year’s resolution:
The leader of the Wisconsin Senate said votes are unlikely next year on two anti-abortion bills that were originally scheduled to be taken up in November but hastily pulled after a Democratic senator [Jon Erpenbach] promised “all out hell” if they were debated. Continue reading →
Those of us involved with pro-life blogging have all stumbled upon a particular “pro-choicer” online: the one who has designated himself the ultimate judge of who should be allowed to have children.
You know the type. It’s gay activist Dan Savage, who said in November that women should be forced to have abortions as he sees fit: “There’s too many goddamn people on the planet. You know, I’m pro-choice, I believe that women should have a right to control their bodies. Sometimes in my darker moments, I’m anti-choice. I think abortion should be mandatory for about 30 years.” This type of pro-choicer is scolding and self-righteous, castigating parents for being “selfish” and bringing children into less-than-perfect circumstances – instead of choosing their preferred option, abortion.
I recently wrote a piece for The Institute on Religion & Democracy’s Juicy Ecumenism about those who are pro-choice and claim to be religious. I do think it is worth bringing up this topic for a site and readership that may not be distinctly religious. After all, it was through Live Action News where I first made the claim that you can’t be Christian without being pro-life. And, in mentioning God and abortion in other articles, I have gotten some interesting responses.
I do think that Christians should be pro-life, because if you’re a pro-choice Christian, what you’re basically saying is, “I think Jesus would be okay with tiny humans being dismembered in the womb,” and I think Jesus made it pretty dang clear that He was NOT someone who would approve of any human beings being dismembered anywhere. The guy knew about suffering and death. I can’t imagine Him going through death by crucifixion and then saying, “Yeah, having gone through a horrible bloody death myself, this is something I recommend people should force other people to do.”