The controversial Planned Parenthood lobbyist who put the Florida chapter of the nation’s largest abortion business on record supporting infanticide was once a member of the board of directors for a local Catholic Charities branch.
Now, representatives of that group say Alisa Lapolt Snow lied to them by saying she was pro-life while she worked for the organization.
As LifeNews initially reported, Snow defended the practice of allowing babies not killed in an abortion to be allowed to die afterwards. She said the decision on whether to provide such children with medical care is between the mother having the abortion and the abortion practitioner.
Now, a report by the Catholic News Agency has officials with the Catholic group Snow worked for before joining Planned Parenthood saying she misled them.
Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida says it is saddened that a former board member has become a Planned Parenthood lobbyist, noting that she had affirmed Catholic teaching in applying for the board.
“We were appalled and equally saddened and disappointed to learn of her advocacy on behalf of Planned Parenthood, and want to reiterate Catholic Charities’ absolute commitment to upholding Catholic teachings on abortion and other issues threatening the sanctity of human life,” Mark Dufva, executive director of Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida, told EWTN News April 9.
Dufva said former board member Alisa Lapolt Snow underwent a vetting process that included a detailed application, checking personal references, an interview, and approval by the local bishop.
The process concluded with an orientation that Dufva said “clearly explains Catholic social teaching on a number of issues, including abortion.”
“At several times throughout the process, potential board members are asked if they have any conflicts with these teachings,” he said.
“At no time during the process did Ms. Snow express any disagreement with the Church’s teaching on these subjects, and she signed a board member agreement wherein she reiterated that understanding.”
Dufva noted that Snow resigned from the Catholic Charities affiliate’s regional advisory board on January 21. He said her activities on behalf of Planned Parenthood began after she resigned.
He said members of the Catholic Charities’ regional advisory board serve as “ambassadors” for the organization and help raise funds to provide “vital assistance” to those who are vulnerable.
“All of us at Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida are praying for Ms. Snow and are deeply saddened by this turn of events,” Dufva said.
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Snow was opposing a bill in the state legislature that would provide medical care and legal protection for babies who are born alive after failed abortions.
This is the same legislation President Barack Obama refused to support during his time in the Illinois legislature and it mirrors a national law President George W. Bush signed after nurse Jill Stanek exposed how her Chicago-area hospital left babies to die in utility closets after botched abortions.
During the same hearing, a Florida legislator noted how more than 1,200 babies died following a failed abortion and their whose deaths were reported as “mortality subsequent to an abortion.” As the representative emphasized, those are only the number of reported deaths following botched abortions, and the actual figures could be higher.
The federal health care law enacted in 2010 imposes unprecedented limits on what Americans are allowed to spend to save their lives and the lives of their family members. Now, Maryland officials have unveiled a proposal that would impose even lower limits in that state.
While the plan still awaits action from the Federal government, Maryland Health Secretary Joshua M. Sharfstein said there will be continuing discussions with hospitals and insurance companies about the plan. However, he has said that he believes that spending needs to be curbed to prevent health care from becoming unaffordable. This is the same fatal reasoning at the heart of the Obama health care law, popularly known as ObamaCare.
Under Federal law, in 2018 and later, the government would limit Americans to health care spending that rises only at the increase in per capita Gross Domestic Product plus 1%.
In Maryland, state officials have applied for a special Medicare waiver that would further limit Marylanders to health care spending that rises only at the rate of per capita State Domestic Product. This proposal, currently awaiting Federal approval, targets the rates that hospitals may charge patients – placing growth limits on the rates.
In practice, forbidding prices from growing faster than the overall economy will mean a reduction of about half in the annual increase in what Marylanders would otherwise be likely to spend in hospitals.
While it might seem reasonable to some that the resources devoted to saving lives grow only at the rate of the general economy, in fact productivity increases in other areas of the economy have consistently freed up resources that can be used to reduce the death rate and increase health.
A government-imposed straightjacket forcing any one sector of the economy to grow no more than the average rate of economic growth is as foolish as would be a rule allowing no student to receive a grade higher (or lower) than the average grade in the class. In a free market economy, the share of resources devoted to each sector constantly shifts based both on increases in the efficiency of production and on changes in demand for products and services.
Imagine the impact on our overall well-being if, in 1960, a law had been enacted preventing spending on computers from rising any more than the average growth in the economy. Probably personal computers – desktop or laptop—could never have been developed. And we certainly would not have smartphones. The Internet could never have been developed.
The consequence would have been clear. Without the dramatic developments in computer technology over the past half-century, our standard of living, and overall economy, would have been far lower than it is today – frozen at a level not much different from that available in the 1960s.
Americans have to date enjoyed dramatic drops in mortality from cancer, heart disease, and a host of other illnesses and injuries precisely because our increasingly productive economy has allowed us to devote more resources to saving our lives. Now, however, the government is slamming on the brakes, with the consequence that medical progress will – at best – slow to a crawl.
The Maryland plan aggressively takes aim at what its citizens are permitted to spend to obtain medical treatment in hospitals
When the state, as Maryland is proposing to do, limits by law what can be charged for hospital prices, it limits what people are allowed to pay for medical treatment at those hospitals. While everyone would prefer to pay less – or nothing – for health care (as for anything else), government price controls in fact prevent access to lifesaving medical treatment that costs more to supply than the price set by the government.
What will happen under a scheme of hospital price controls? Hospitals will be forced to reduce lifesaving medical treatment as they are squeezed more and more tightly each year by the declining “real” (that is, adjusted for health care inflation ) value of the payments they take in. These day-to-day rationing decisions will have the most direct and visible impact on the lives – and deaths – of people with a poor “quality of life.”
The similar measure in the Obama health care law is an 18 member cost cutting board known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board or IPAB. In addition to having authority to limit Medicare reimbursement rates, IPAB also has a key role in suppressing nongovernmental health care spending. IPAB is instructed by the health care law to make recommendations to limit what all Americans are legally allowed to spend for their health care so as to hold it below the rate of medical inflation through 2017, and thereafter to the per-person growth in the Gross Domestic Product plus one percent.
The health care law authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to implement these recommendations by imposing so-called “quality” and “efficiency” measures on health care providers, limiting what treatment doctors are allowed to give their patients.
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The documentation can be found here.
What happens to doctors who violate a “quality” standard by prescribing more lifesaving medical treatment than it permits? They will be disqualified from contracting with any of the health insurance plans that individual Americans, under Obamacare, will be mandated to purchase. Few doctors would be able to remain in practice if subjected to that penalty.
This means that treatment a doctor and patient deem advisable to save that patient’s life or preserve or improve the patient’s health — but which exceeds the standard imposed by the government — will be denied even if the patient is willing and able to pay for it.
This may soon be the case in Maryland. The plan that the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene submitted to Kathleen Sebelius and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is an effort to update its current Medicare waiver. Maryland is one of many states who take a unique approach in order to have more direct control on its Medicare spending. But such proposals require special waivers. Crafted by Maryland’s Health Services Cost Review Commission, the plan, once approved by HHS could be implemented as early as next year.
While state officials claim to have worked with hospitals and insurers on the Maryland plan, hospitals and insurers have expressed deep reservations. According to Chet Burrell, president and CEO of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, “You have the makings of a potential disaster.” And the executive Director of the Maryland Hospital Association (representing 46 state hospitals) said, “If we are going to look at having targeted spending levels we need to make sure those levels are reasonable.”
The state’s Health Services Cost Review Commission, which sets hospital rates, would be responsible for finalizing a lot of the details under the state’s plan. Sharfstein said state officials wanted to leave some amount of flexibility in the process – although the legislature will not need to be involved.
Though we will all be subject to cuts under the Federal Health Care Law, the situation in Maryland could be even more dire. If the Maryland waiver is granted, it will mean even more severe limits on health care services for Maryland citizens.
While input from state legislators and stakeholders will be taken under advisement, the proposal has already been sent to the Federal government – and merely awaits approval. Concerned citizens of Maryland could contact Gov. Martin O’Malley‘s office ((410) 974-3901 ) to urge them to withdraw the proposal, and reconsider the hospital price caps. Also, Maryland citizens might contact Marilyn Tavenner (1-877-4MD-DHMH) at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to whom the proposal was submitted.
LifeNews: Burke Balch, JD, and Jennifer Popik, JD are with the Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics at the National Right to Life Committee and this column originally appeared in NRL News Today.
A pro-life legal group is calling on the Alabama health department to take further action against an abortion practitioner who continues to do abortions in the state despite losing his medical license.
The Life Legal Defense Foundation is urging the Alabama Department of Public Health to permanently shut down the unlicensed New Woman, All Women abortion clinic in Birmingham and revoke the medical license of Bruce Norman, who is still performing abortions there.
This is happening in spite of a previous health department closure of the site. In March of 2012, the Alabama Department of Public Health shut down the clinic and obtained signed consent agreement from all involved parties.
The pro-life legal group has authored a letter to Brian Hale, Deputy General Counsel at the Alabama Department of Public Health. The letter from LLDF senior legal counsel Allison Aranda indicates Bruce Norman is prohibited from performing any abortions at the Birmingham clinic by previous order of the health department
The letter says that, because Norman has knowingly been an employee of an unlicensed facility, under state law his license should be revoked, permanently prohibiting him providing any medical services in Alabama.
The letter says that although abortion clinic owner Diane Derzis was banned from operating the facility and although the clinic was closed by the health department in March of 2012 for numerous cited deficiencies, for which no proof of remedy has been offered, Derzis has ignored her obligations under the agreement. LLDF calls for Derzis to be enjoined from operating a business in Alabama and points out she has maintained the website and voicemail that both advertise that the clinic provides abortions, in defiance of the clinic’s forced closure last year.
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Life Legal Defense Foundation has requested that the Alabama Department of Public Health enforce its own rules by issuing an emergency administrative order of closure against the illegal clinic. The law provides that Derzis’ and Norman’s deliberate and perpetual violations are grounds for this illicit facility to be forcibly closed.
Aranda stated, “What is particularly troubling in this matter is Derzis’ and Norman’s blatant disregard for the law. Derzis and Norman have scoffed at the terms of the consent agreement and persist in putting the lives of women at risk. Further, Derzis has deceived the public into thinking that New Woman All Women is a licensed abortion clinic.”
Read Life Legal Defense Foundation’s letter to the Alabama Department of Public Health here.
Pro-life advocates are urged to contact the Alabama Department of Public Health and demand they take immediate action to halt New Woman All Women’s illegal abortion operations.
Brian Hale, ADPH Assistant General Counsel
Voice: 334-206-5209 | FAX: 334-206-5874
The mainstream media has become a target of frustration for those wishing it would provide more coverage of the dramatic trial of abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell. But one congressman is upset President Barack Obama is apparently not paying much attention to it — since the president hasn’t commented on the gruesome live-birth abortion deaths.
“Mr. President, your silence is deafening,” Perry said on the House floor today. “Are you so blind, are you so intractable, are you so extreme that you yourself can’t even call this out for what it is, something that is reprehensible? Pro-life or pro-choice, this is reprehensible.
“It is worthy as a father, as I am, of two little girls. It is worthy of your attention, it is worthy of your leadership, it is worthy of your direction.”
According to a report in The Hill, Perry said prosecutors suspect Gosnell may have been involved in dozens of illegal abortions, and said the U.S. Attorney General should be looking into the Gosnell case as well.
“This does fall into the purview of the United States Attorney General because these patients often time travel across state lines,” Perry said.
The Hill indicates he also went after the media.
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“The media doesn’t want to talk about it,” Perry said. “Not NBC, CBS, ABC, CNBC, not Fox, and not the leaders of our nation, not the President.”
“He perforated bowels, cervixes and uteruses, and he left women sterile,” he said.
“It gives me great pain and sorrow to have this entered and read into the record,” Perry concluded. “But since the media outlets refuse to cover this because it’s uncomfortable, because it might not meet with their agenda, and because many of the leaders of this country refuse to discuss it, I think it’s important that we have it read into the record, so that this history and their stories don’t remain untold.”
When RU-486, the abortion pill, was approved for sale in America in September of 2000, this two-drug chemical abortion technique didn’t simply appear out of the blue. It was the result of the years of planning, research, and market analysis by the abortion industry, the culmination of a long term strategy put in place decades earlier. Today, that strategy is playing out in clinics all across America and around the world.
So what was it the abortion industry saw? And what did they hope to accomplish by adding chemical abortifacients to their already deadly arsenal? Here are five reasons behind the abortion industry’s push of the abortion pill and an indication of how far they’ve gotten in fulfilling their awful aims:
Reason 1. The Need for an Abortion Makeover
Those working every day aborting women knew that whatever ignorance existed about surgical abortion in the early days after abortion’s legalization, it quickly began to die off once women experienced the pain, the indignity, the intimidating reality of surgical abortion.
Not surprisingly, therefore, the fact that chemical abortions were not surgical abortions was one of the major selling points in the press release the abortion pill’s sponsor put out announcing the beginning of trials in 1994. Calling use mifepristone “safe,” telling women it was like a “natural miscarriage,” the Population Council assured people that “medication abortion avoids a surgical procedure,” specifically claiming, “There are no risks of anesthesia or uterine perforation or cervical canal injury, rare complications of surgical abortion” (Population Council release, 10/27/94).
That the pill did not live up to the hype, that it took longer, was indeed bloodier, more painful, and far more dangerous than women had been led to believe, was of little consequence to the abortion industry, which was able to market the “new and improved” product to a new, though largely misinformed customer base.
Reason 2. Seeing Earlier Babies as Easier Targets
In October of 1989, Harrison Hickman, a pollster for what was then called the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), told attendees at NARAL’s 20th anniversary conference
“Probably nothing has been as damaging to our cause as the advances in technology which have allowed pictures of the developing fetus, because people now talk about the fetus in much different terms than they did 15 years ago. They talk about it as a human being, which is not something I have an easy answer on how to cure.”
Early promoters of the abortion pill, like Lawrence Lader, explicitly linked the push for the abortion pill with efforts to shift the argument to earlier stages of fetal development in his 1991 book, RU-486.
“… RU-486 works at such an early stage that moderate opponents of abortion might be persuaded to reexamine their objections in light of the drug’s biological significance.”
Lader goes on to argue, falsely, that the aborting woman encounters “no sign of personhood,” quoting a doctor who researched the pill saying that, at this stage of fetal development, “You can’t even find it.”
Yet women who’ve had these abortions report seeing not “blobs of tissue,” but fetuses with “tiny fists” (Newsweek, 9/18/95), “two dark spots like eyes and a little skeleton not quite formed” (Health, Jan-Feb, 1995). The New York Times talked to women who took the abortion pill who warned women who did not want know when the embryo came out that they would not like the procedure. “With this method, you are aware of everything that is happening,” one women told the Times (NY Times, 10/28/94).
Unless they have done their own research, or found more comprehensive material from reputable pro-life sources, women are not likely to hear about this until maybe after they’ve paid their money and actually encountered their aborted child.
Reason 3. Finding New Allies, Expanding to New Areas
Though they imagine themselves as heroes, at their more candid moments, abortionists acknowledge their doubts and admit that they are not well respected in the medical profession. Colorado Abortionist Warren Hearn told the New York Times in 1990 that abortionists “are treated as a pariah by the medical community… At best, we are tolerated” (NY Times, 1/8/90).
Despite the new packaging and the promise of easy money with chemical abortions, doctors continue to resist. Some for moral reasons, others for practical ones. But one of the explicit aims of those who pushed to bring RU-486 to America was to recruit new allies, to make doctors feel like they were somehow less direct agents of the killing, to make abortion something that could be more cheaply and discreetly added to a doctor’s practice.
Though phrased in terms of “increased access,” the clear aim is to increase the numbers of doctors and locations offering abortion. Promoters of methotrexate and misoprostol–an alternative chemical abortion regimen uses as a stop gap before RU-486 and misoprostol obtained FDA approval in 2000–said it more directly:
“Perhaps the greatest advantage of medical abortion is that it can take abortion out of the clinics and distribute it among many physicians’ offices, particularly in many areas of our country that do not have abortion services.”
Eleanor Smeal, head of the Fund for the Feminist Majority, a major fundraiser for U.S. trials of RU-486, told the San Francisco Examiner, “More doctors will be willing to write a prescription… It’s easy to administer, and they don’t have to do an invasive procedure” (SF Examiner 8/3/94).
Despite initial expressions of interest, however, once government approval came, few doctors ordered and offered the pills when they found out what was involved. Costs of the pills ($90 a pill for the recommended three pill dose of RU-486) were an issue, as were the three expected visits over a two week period. Few wanted to be responsible for answering the phone should a woman call in the middle of the night with an emergency.
Some of these were addressed by the abortion industry which pushed an alternative off label protocol (see Reason 4 below).
But where growth took off was not so much at the offices of private practice Ob-Gyns, general practitioners, or pediatricians, but at smaller “family planning” clinics which previously were neither equipped nor staffed to offer surgical abortion.
For example, by 2010, Planned Parenthood, the nation’s biggest abortion chain, had added chemical abortion to more than a third of its clinics, including 122 which offered only chemical and not surgical.
Planned Parenthood giant Midwest affiliate, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, took the expansion to its horrible, but logical extreme. PP of the Heartland offered “web-cam” abortions at sixteen of its smaller, often rural Iowa affiliates.
Women teleconference with an abortionist back in Des Moines via the internet, who looks at the woman’s records and conducts an “interview.” If satisfied, he clicks his mouse, triggering the release of a drawer at the woman’s location, in which the abortion drugs are found. She is never actually physically examined by the doctor and simply calls a hotline – or maybe travels miles to the closest ER – if she has problems.
It is a situation fraught with risk, but others in the industry have expressed interest in trying something similar with their own affiliate networks.
So while the medical profession hasn’t welcomed chemical abortion with open arms, the new product has enabled the abortion industry to expand its reach into many new communities.
Reason 4: Increase Income
For all the talk about “choice” and women’s health care, never forget that those who are peddling these abortion pills are operating a business. It is a fact that explains why a business that was losing customers was anxious to come up with a new product; it explains why they have promoted a different protocol than the one approved by the FDA; and it explains why they are pushing web-cam abortions.
After abortions peaked in the U.S. in 1990 with 1.6 million, the number has dropped as low as 1.2 million. Abortion rates among younger customers had been in decline for some time and women were being more and more turned off by surgical abortion. Prices for abortions had not kept up with inflation and more and more doctors were getting out of the business.
A “new and improved” product offered the industry a chance to attract new customers or win back older ones (somewhere around 45% of all abortions are repeat abortions) who were intimidated by the risks and indignities of surgical abortion or upset about aborting unborn babies medical technology was clearly showing them to be both human and alive.
The FDA approved protocol called for women no more than 49 days past their last menstrual period to receive three pills of RU-486 after being screened and being counseled about the process (which they take there in the doctor’s office) which is to shut down the baby’s support system and cause the child’s demise. Under the protocol, the woman is to return to the doctor two days later to receive two pills of misoprostol, taken by mouth, to stimulate powerful uterine contractions to expel the tiny corpse. She is to return on day 14 to confirm whether or not her abortion is complete.
It was under this protocol that the FDA declared the drug “safe” and “effective.”
There were several things the industry did not like about this protocol, however, and it was arguing for alternate protocols even before the FDA gave final marketing approval.
RU-486 (or mifepristone) is a complex drug to manufacture and is imported from China, so it is expensive, about $90 a pill. With three of those pills running $270, the cost of three office visits, the personnel to screen and counsel the patients, this left a slim profit margin, if any. And if priced significantly higher than the surgical method, they might have difficulty selling the new product.
In the name of increasing effectiveness and decreasing side effects, the industry offered several modifications to the protocol, modifications dubiously offering improvements in either safety or effectiveness, but clearly increasing the abortionist’s profit margin and decreasing requirements for office time, space, or personnel.
The newly promoted protocol reduced the number of expensive mifepristone pills from three to one, but doubled the dose of the misoprostol, which ran only a dollar or so a pill. The National Abortion Federation (NAF) protocol allowed the woman to take the prostaglandin (misoprostol) at home, rather than returning to the office, eliminating at least one office visit. That industry protocol also extended the cutoff date by two weeks, from 49 days LMP to 63 days LMP, thereby opening the doors to a whole new group of customers. Reports indicate that many are performed even past this limit.
Web-cam abortions present an even greater potential for revenues. Rather than wasting time and gas traveling between multiple small clinic offices, an abortionist can sit at a computer at a central administrative office and, with the click of a mouse, dispense pills to different women in dozens of remote location around the state. Any place with an Internet connection can be set up as an abortion clinic.
As a consequence of such changes, chemical abortions now account for 199,000 abortions a year, or at least 16.4% of all abortions performed in the U.S. (as of 2008). How many of these women would have gotten surgical abortions had chemical ones not been available is unknown, but chemical abortion has certainly expanded the reach of the industry into whole new communities.
Reason 5: Taking Abortion to the Developing World
Though America was indeed a large market that the abortion industry wanted to tap into with chemical abortions, from the beginning the abortion pill’s promoters had a much bigger plan in mind. Early on, Etienne Emile Baulieu, the so-called “father of the abortion pill,” talked about the need for something to deal with the “demographic” problem in the world.
Supporters were happy to see RU-486 sold in France, Britain, and China, but they knew that clearing the hurdle of American approval was the key to worldwide use. A handful of European countries approved the pill in 1999, when it was on the cusp of approval in the U.S., but approvals in Africa and Asia came after that approval in 2000. Today, RU-486 is approved for use in over 40 countries around the world.
Ominously enough, however, the spread of the concept may be more deadly than government approvals. What promoters of these pills want most of all is for women to get the idea that there are drugs that they can buy and use to put an end to their pregnancies, whether their governments have approved the pills or not.
This is why there is a website, www.womenonweb.org, where women from countries where abortion is not legal can go, click “I need an abortion,” go through a short cursory medical interview, promise not to hold the organization liable, and order abortion pills to be sent to their home with instructions. There is no specific charge, but a minimal donation of 90 euros is requested (about $118).
Women with Internet access or a mobile phone can access and order from the website in twelve different languages.
Though cell phones today are found in some of the remotest sections of the planet, promoters of the abortion pill are not depending on their customers being technologically savvy or even literate. Abortion and family planning groups are promoting a special prepackaged blister pack of RU-486 and prostaglandin developed by an Indian pharmaceutical firm and marketed as “Medabon.”
What is remarkable about this packet is that it comes with step-by-step cartoon graphics illustrating not just how and when to take the pills, but also expected side effects.
Instead of the expensive RU-486 pills that may be harder to bring into some countries, several groups are promoting the use of the considerably cheaper prostaglandin (PG) misoprostol, which is normally used in the second step of a RU-486/PG abortion, as a stand alone abortifacient.
Because misoprostol has other non-abortifacient uses (e.g., as an anti-ulcer drug), it is much more widely approved and available around the world. Even where it cannot be officially prescribed for abortion, women can either get it on the black market or obtain a prescription for other purposes.
Groups like Women on Waves have set up hotlines where women in such countries can call and find out how to get it. Other groups like Gynuity are marketing “Instructions for Use: Abortion Induction with Misoprostol in Pregnancies up to 9 Weeks LMP,” a pamphlet very similar in outline and structure to the official labels or lengthy package inserts that come with most medications.
If women are in a country where abortion is illegal, they are told not to worry about their abortion attempt being discovered. If they have to go to the hospital, the Women on Waves website tells women “You could say that you think you had a miscarriage… it is not necessary to tell the medical staff that you tried to induce an abortion, you can also say you had a spontaneous miscarriage. The doctor CANNOT see the difference” (www.womenonwaves.org/en/page/702/how-to-do-an-abortion-with-pills-misoprostol-cytotec, accessed 4/10/13).
Whether their ultimate aim was more revenues or more abortions, there is no question that chemical abortion has opened up a whole new market in the U.S. and around the world. Also, sadly, there is little doubt that, whatever the new sales pitch or packaging, the result will be the same: more dead babies, more mothers’ lives in danger.
The packaging is different, but the product and the people pushing it are the same.
Criticism of the mainstream media is reaching such a level that even some Democrats are upset it has failed to provide adequate coverage of the Kermit Gosnell controversy. Today, pro-life Democrat Kirsten Powers has a well-received article in USA Today bemoaning the lack of media coverage.
Her column follows research from the media watchdog group Newsbusters, which found the three major network newscasts have covered the Gosnell trial a total of zero minutes, compared to 41 minutes worth of coverage for the controversy at Rutgers university over how coaches were treating players.
As Powers writes in her column:
Infant beheadings. Severed baby feet in jars. A child screaming after it was delivered alive during an abortion procedure. Haven’t heard about these sickening accusations?
It’s not your fault. Since the murder trial of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell began March 18, there has been precious little coverage of the case that should be on every news show and front page. The revolting revelations of Gosnell’s former staff, who have been testifying to what they witnessed and did during late-term abortions, should shock anyone with a heart.
A Lexis-Nexis search shows none of the news shows on the three major national television networks has mentioned the Gosnell trial in the last three months. The exception is when Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan hijacked a segment on Meet the Press meant to foment outrage over an anti-abortion rights law in some backward red state.
The Washington Post has not published original reporting on this during the trial and The New York Times saw fit to run one original story on A-17 on the trial’s first day. They’ve been silent ever since, despite headline-worthy testimony.
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Let me state the obvious. This should be front page news. When Rush Limbaugh attacked Sandra Fluke, there was non-stop media hysteria. The venerable NBC Nightly News’ Brian Williams intoned, “A firestorm of outrage from women after a crude tirade from Rush Limbaugh,” as he teased a segment on the brouhaha. Yet, accusations of babies having their heads severed — a major human rights story if there ever was one — doesn’t make the cut.
You don’t have to oppose abortion rights to find late-term abortion abhorrent or to find the Gosnell trial eminently newsworthy. This is not about being “pro-choice” or “pro-life.” It’s about basic human rights.
The deafening silence of too much of the media, once a force for justice in America, is a disgrace.
Sarah Palin was attacked mercilessly for her claims that the Obamacare legislation would lead to death panels — where bureaucrats would make treatment decisions for patients or ration their expensive medical care.
Since her warning salvo was fired, numerous examples have come up involving Obamacare rationing medical care or putting in cost containments that would lead to rationed care or prohibit patients from spending more of their own money on lifesaving medical treatment or wanted care.
Now, Jacqueline Halbig, principal at Sovereign Global Solutions and former senior policy adviser for the Dept. of Health and Human Services, has a guest post at the pro-life blog run by Jill Stanek about another Obamacare rationing example.
Parents of children with disabilities should pay particular attention because Halbig says “babies, especially those born prematurely, now face an even greater uphill battle – receiving needed health care” thanks to Obamacare. The rest of her column follows:
Every year between November and March, there are outbreaks of Respiratory Syncytial Virus, an illness similar to the flu.
RSV is the leading cause of pneumonia and bronchiolitis, and hospitalization for children under the age of one; premature infants and children before the age of two with congenital heart or chronic lung disease are considered to be at highest risk.
Each year RSV causes two million hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths. In addition, RSV disproportionately affects minority and especially African American babies, who, according to the Centers for Disease Control, are 59% percent more likely to be born prematurely than white infants.
While there is no vaccine for RSV, there is an FDA-approved treatment available. When it became available in 1997, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued evidence-based guidelines for its use, recommending that the treatment be administered once per month during outbreak season (an average of five months total).
But in 2009, with no clear medical evidence for doing so, the AAP both shrunk the pool of eligible infants and reduced the number of RSV treatments that would be made available – for some babies down to 3 doses, while for others as low as 1 dose. The only clear reason given was cost.
Unfortunately, the AAP’s guidelines are widely implemented by Medicaid and insurance providers, who in turn followed suit and greatly reduced coverage.
In response, concerned groups of parents, prenatal advocates, and medical providers such as the National Perinatal Association, the National Medical Association, and the National Black Nurses Association have pointed out that there is no definitive research to support these changes (indeed, these are not FDA-approved doses) and are urging the AAP to reconsider their recommendations.
If cost is the issue, let’s consider the cost of non-treatment. A 2010 study by the NMA and NBNA showed the rate of hospitalization and emergency room visits without proper treatment for RSV is astronomical.
For example, a child not properly treated for RSV is five times more likely to be hospitalized and more than twice as likely to visit an emergency room visit than with the flu.
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But for those premature infants who received treatment, hospitalization decreased by 55-80%. Furthermore, infants who received the recommended treatment had decreased emergency room and physician office visits. As a result, there are cost savings associated with proper treatment.
Since RSV disproportionately affects African American, Hispanic and premature babies, there is great concern that this rationing policy will further increase health disparities in these communities.
So what’s the real benefit of limiting this treatment? If Obamacare’s objective is to make health care more accessible and affordable, an honest cost benefit analysis would respect the bottom line and acknowledge that an ounce of RSV prevention is cheaper than a pound of emergency room cure – unless their bottom line equates death as the cheapest option.
Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, Portland, Oregon
Catholic Speaker & Founder of Dynamic Deacon
From his Article entitled “Put Out Into The Deep”
On Tuesday, April 2, 2013, the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, welcomed its new shepherd, Alexander K. Sample. You can read more about Archbishop Sample and the installation Mass here: The Catholic Sentinel and Catholic World Report
I was truly inspired and heartened by Archbishop Sample’s fantastic homily (see an excerpt of it HERE) which he preached with conviction, authority, and zeal. The Archbishop outlined the pastoral priorities that will define his magisterium, including the “dictatorship of relativism”– a significant challenge since moral relativism, radical individualism, and subjective truth are woven into the fabric of Pacific Northwest culture, even in the Church. For example, there is a growing so-called “Catholic” women’s ordination movement (that has been publicly endorsed by several archdiocesan priests and lay leaders), as well as strong support and encouragement of the homosexual lifestyle in a number of Catholic parishes and educational institutions. His Excellency definitely has his work cut out for him and the honeymoon period will be short.
I, for one, am excited about Archbishop Sample’s presence here, and his commitment and dedication to the New Evangelization (as articulated by Blessed John Paul II) and to building a culture of life, both major themes in his installation homily. The Archbishop has my full and complete obedience, support, and respect.
Archbishop Sample’s episcopal motto is Vultum Christi Contemplari (“To Contemplate the Face of Christ”) and, in his homily, challenged us to duc in altum: put out into the deep. We cannot be afraid to cast the nets of objective truth, natural law, and the Good News of Jesus Christ far and wide into the deep waters of contemporary society. Like the fisherman of the Gospel, it may feel at times as if our evangelizing efforts are not bearing fruit–that our nets are empty–and we become frustrated. But if we continue to contemplate the face of Christ and persevere, encouraged by the bold and faith-filled leadership of our new Archbishop, our nets will be filled to breaking.
Please pray for Archbishop Sample and all of our shepherds.
Alliance Defending Freedom made public its latest report to Congress Wednesday identifying waste, abuse, and potential fraud by Planned Parenthood, state family planning programs, and other organizations. The report updates the original Alliance Defending Freedom report submitted in October 2011 and urges Congress to continue its investigation into the misuse of taxpayer dollars.
“American tax dollars should be used responsibly and for the common good, and taxpayers deserve to know if their hard-earned tax money is being funneled to groups that are abusing it,” said Litigation Counsel Catherine Glenn Foster. “When it comes to accountability and transparency, Planned Parenthood’s publicly-funded, billion-dollar abortion empire has to play by the same rules as everyone else.”
The updated report to Congress explains, that “Planned Parenthood is far less concerned with providing competent healthcare to women than it is with padding its bottom line with taxpayer dollars, which in fiscal year (FY) 2012 totaled $542 million.”
The report details the 12 known audits or other reviews of Planned Parenthood affiliates’ financial data and practices as well as 45 audits of state family planning programs and one audit of a family planning organization. The audits found a total of more than $108 million in waste, abuse, and potential fraud.
The report also identifies 12 types of potential fraud being committed by Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide. The potential fraud includes billing and being reimbursed by Title XIX agencies for medications and/or services provided in connection with an abortion, which is illegal under federal law.
Other billing violations include billing in excess of actual acquisition cost or other statutorily approved costs for contraceptives and Plan B products, inappropriately billing for services that were not medically necessary, billing for multiple initial prenatal care visits, and incorrectly billing initial, follow-up, and postpartum services.
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The report comes on the heels of the unsealing of yet another federal lawsuit against Planned Parenthood.
LifeNews Note: Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
A pro-life activist with the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform sits in a Juneau street to prevent a State of Alaska van from obstructing the public view of graphic abortion images [Photo by Lisa Phu of KTOO]
Some State of Alaska employees, however, seem to be a bit confused on this point.
Last week a group of pro-life activists with the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform displayed large graphic images of aborted babies outside the State Capitol building in Juneau. And in response to “complaints” about the pictures, some state employees ordered state vehicles to park in front of the signs, thus completely blocking them from public view.
But these stalwart pro-life activists weren’t about to be steamrolled.
See for yourself:
It didn’t take long for news of the incident to reach elected officials, with the Anchorage Daily News reporting that it “occupied a significant portion of a Senate majority news conference Friday.”
These protesters were not yelling and screaming. They were not saying anything. They were standing there silently. Yet we had several vans – state of Alaska vans – park in front of those protesters. We had one of the protesters – it’s on the video – that was manhandled. This is an outrage.
What’s more, Sean Parnell—Alaska’s Governor—himself issued a press release in which he voiced his strong support on behalf of the pro-life activists’ constitutional rights:
“It was totally inappropriate that employees of the Department of Administration, the Court System and the Legislature were involved in parking state vehicles in front of the peacefully assembled demonstrators, who were violating no state law,” Governor Parnell said. “I do not condone infringing on Alaskans’ constitutional liberties. I have given direction to the Department of Administration to ensure this does not happen in the future unless public safety is at risk or the rule of law violated. I urge the Legislature and the Court System to do the same for their employees.”
Good on Governor Parnell!
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Attempt to Censor Abortion Pictures Fails Miserably
There is a great irony in this story:
In an attempt to prevent abortion pictures to be seen by members of the public in the vicinity of the Alaska State Capitol, a handful of State of Alaska employees took it upon themselves to violate the First Amendment rights of the individuals displaying the pictures and treat them deplorably. As a result, exponentially more people have been confronted with the reality of abortion, now that this story has received national—yea, international—attention.
LifeNews Note: John Jansen writes for the Pro-Life Action League.
The local YMCA in Waco, Texas has kicked out the nation’s biggest abortion business from an event, after pro-life advocates raised a stink about its cooperation with Planned Parenthood.
After little more than 24 hours following an alert to its members, Pro-Life Waco persuaded the Waco YMCA to divorce from Planned Parenthood for its April 6 youth program for girls. Although the national women’s branch, YWCA, has a relationship with Planned Parenthood, the local YMCA event went on without the abortion giant.
Katie Wolfe, Waco Planned Parenthood education director, was to speak at the Waco YMCA’s Girl’s Day 2013. Her youth topic was “building healthy relationships.” She was also slated to speak to parents. At mid-day on Thursday, April 4, John Pisciotta, Director of Pro-Life Waco, sent an e-mail plea to participate in “shock and awe” by sending e-mail messages to 16 employees of the Waco YMCA.
E-mail flew off pro-life keyboards, Pisciotta told LifeNews and the digital onslaught was supplemented by YMCA members calling to complain — with one person canceling their YMCA membership in protest.
At 2:45 p.m. on Friday April 5, pro-lifers who wrote received this e-mail response:
We thank you for your concerns. As of Thursday afternoon, Planned Parenthood will not be attending the YMCA of Central Texas’ Girls Day at Doris Miller Family Y. As an organization that serves the Central Texas community, it is our utmost priority to adhere to our mission of putting Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. We look forward to the impact that Girls Day will have on the young women of this community. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact either myself or CEO/President Patrick Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate Executive Director
YMCA of CENTRAL TEXAS
Pro-Life Waco is grateful for support in shielding Waco’s precious girls from the dangerous deceptions of Planned Parenthood. John Pisciotta stated, “This victory helps lower the public image of Planned Parenthood Waco toward the depths they so richly deserve. This shows what we can accomplish when we work together.”
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The Pro-Life Waco challenge to Waco YMCA follows many prior encounters with those who aligned themselves with Planned Parenthood. In 2004, Pro-Life Waco launched a successful boycott of Girl Scout cookie sales because of local Girl Scout entanglement with Planned Parenthood. In 2010, Pro-Life Waco protested periodically in front of Central National Bank because of their public endorsement of Planned Parenthood youth programs. Like YMCA, the bank responded by severing ties with Planned Parenthood.
ACTION: Thank the YMCA of Central Texas for dropping Planned Parenthood by going to http://www.ymcaofcentraltexas.org/CONTACTUS.aspx
Pro-choice counselors at abortion clinics occasionally have to deal with a woman who asks, point blank: “Is abortion killing my baby?” Many former clinic workers have said that the expected response is “no.”
Carol Everett, former owner of two abortion clinics and administrator of four, said that:
Every woman has these same two questions: First, ‘Is it a baby?’ ‘No’ the counselor assures her. ‘It is a product of conception (or a blood clot, or a piece of tissue)’ Even though these counselors see six week babies daily, with arms, legs and eyes that are closed like newborn puppies, they lie to the women. How many women would have an abortion, if they told them the truth?” (1)
Another former clinic worker, Linda Couri, who worked at Planned Parenthood, described how she responded when a teenager considering abortion asked her the following question: “If I have an abortion, am I killing my baby?”
‘Kill’ is a strong word, and so is ‘baby.’ You’re terminating the product of conception. (2)
But Couri was haunted by the girl’s question and troubled about her response. She began questioning whether providing abortions was really moral. She recalls asking her supervisor if she had done the right thing. The supervisor did not deny that abortion was killing a baby but told her that in the teenager’s case, abortion was a “necessary evil.” Struck by the use of the word “evil,” Couri continued to question her position at the clinic. Eventually, she left, and now she is a pro-life speaker.
Clinic worker Peg Johnston, who works in an abortion clinic in New York, revealed how she dealt with women who said they were killing their babies in a 2005 article:
She first says that when the women came asking if they killing their babies, she thought they were repeating what they heard from pro-life protestors and sidewalk counselors who spoke to them as they entered the clinic. But as she talked to more and more women who repeated the question:
They weren’t mouthing an anti-choice message – they were acknowledging that this was serious stuff. How can I want one kid and not the other? (3)
In the article “In Search of New Words: Redefining the Abortion Debate,” Johnston speaks about this at length:
“I would go out there and scream at them. [pro-life protesters] Then I would come back in and listen to a woman talk. Frequently the words were almost the same. The protesters would be saying, ‘You’re murdering your baby,’ and the women inside would be saying, ‘I feel like I’m killing my baby.’ I used to think, well, they’re just echoing what they are hearing. There was a time when I would correct them if they used those words.”
“The word killing was hard. It was so difficult to see women that guilty or distressed,” continues Johnston, who has run the clinic since 1981. “But eventually we got into conversations about the difference between murder and killing. Now our reaction is more: well, does it feel like killing to you and how are you going to make peace with that?”
Human embryo about 7 weeks after fertilization.
Johnston acknowledges that many women suspect that having an abortion is killing a baby. It seems that when directly misleading women fails, she uses semantics to separate the concept of “murder” from “killing.”
On the blog “Abortion Witness” in a post entitled “Talking about the babies: saying the things we cannot say,” a clinic worker discusses a similar situation when she describes a conversation with a patient.
“You’ve written in your chart that you feel guilty.” I say to the patient I am screening. “Can you tell me more about this? Why do you feel guilty?”
“I feel guilty because I am killing my baby,” she answers. “That’s why I feel guilty.”
The first time an abortion patient said this to me, I was completely unprepared for it. Although I was a long-time pro-choice activist, a Ph.D. who had studied feminist theory , and a former abortion patient myself, nothing in my experience had prepared me to talk with a woman about killing babies. “Oh no,” I said to her as gently as I could. “It’s not a baby- it’s just tissue.”
But the clinic worker later came to feel that her response was wrong.
She describes how pro-choice activists have trouble with using the word “baby” to describe the child who is killed in an abortion and says:
We all know that an unborn child dies in each abortion. And the majority of abortion care workers accept responsibility for our roles in these deaths. We have, for various reasons, determined for ourselves that having a part in these deaths is an important- and ethical- thing for us to do[.]
The blogger describes how a female abortionist who was 18 weeks pregnant performed an abortion on an 18-week-old unborn baby and felt her wanted baby kick just as she was pulling a leg off of the baby she was aborting. The blogger says:
We might start these honest conversations by asking what differentiates these two eighteen week unborn babies? The short answer – which is both incredibly simple and very complicated – is that the unborn baby moving inside the physician/mother is being carried by someone who has chosen to complete her pregnancy and deliver a living child, and the other unborn baby is being carried by someone who, for reasons that we may or may not understand, has decided that she cannot complete her pregnancy. In other words, the life or death of the unborn baby is determined by the mother’s decision about whether she wants to share her body with another being[.]
The blogger admits that “the distinction can feel unsatisfying to many people” but reiterates that it is moral to kill an unborn baby whose mother does not want her. She goes on to say:
… We should never deny that abortion kills an unborn child. When the topic comes up, a simple “yes, I know – and so do women who have abortions” will often suffice. Several years ago, the director at the clinic where I worked was on a radio talk show about second trimester abortion. A caller said, “You can’t tell me it’s not a baby. And you can’t tell me that baby won’t die!” Yes, she said calmly, it is a baby and yes, it is killed. Women know this, and they have abortions anyway. This is exactly why abortion is complicated, like many of life’s challenges. We must remember, though, that complicated does not necessarily mean wrong.
The clinic worker now suggests that the proper response to a woman in an abortion clinic who says “I feel like I’m killing my baby” is something like:
“Ok. Let’s talk about how you are going to cope with knowing that you’ve killed your baby. What do you believe happens to us when we die?” From this point, the woman and I could have an honest conversation about how she understood her abortion decision within the context of her own life circumstances, beliefs, and ethics.
The blogger then finishes her post by saying:
Women have always known that pregnancy means a baby and abortion means the baby will die. When women care enough about the lives of their children – born and unborn – and about the role lives to make that decision, we owe them the respect and support that honesty conveys.
Such honesty is becoming more and more common. A number of articles from Live Action have documented both pro-choice activists and abortion providers admitting that abortion is murder. As horrific as it is to imagine a clinic worker telling a woman that yes, abortion will kill her baby, but that she should abort anyway, perhaps pro-lifers can take comfort in the fact that even many pro-abortion people are beginning to reject euphemisms and talk about abortion as what it really is – the killing of an innocent unborn child. Their honesty leaves no doubt about what is at stake in the abortion debate.
1. Carol Everett “A Walk Through an Abortion Clinic” ALL About Issues magazine Aug-Sept 1991, pg. 117
2. TIM GRAVES “From Planned Parenthood to Pro-Life” National Catholic Register Aug 24, 2011
3. “Listening to women about abortion” Fairfield County Weekly May 26, 2005
4. David Daleiden and Jon A. Shields “Mugged by Ultrasound: Why so many abortion workers have turned pro-life”. The Weekly Standard JAN 25, 2010, VOL. 15, NO. 18
LifeNews.com Note: Sarah Terzo is a pro-life liberal who runs ClinicQuotes.com, a web site devoted to exposing the abortion industry. She is a member of the pro-life groups PLAGAL and Secular Pro-Life. This originally appeared at Live Action News.
President Barack Obama has done it again — eliminating funding for abstinence education from his budget he released to Congress today.
Today, President Obama sent his proposed FY 2014 budget to Congress. In an unfortunate, but predictable move, the budget calls for the elimination of discretionary funding for Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) abstinence education.
According to an analysis from the National Abstinence Education Association, the budget directs the US Department of Health and Human Services to repurpose a portion of the Congressionally-established Title V state block grant for abstinence education to yet another new program that focuses on contraception rather than on avoiding all risk.
The NAEA tells LifeNews President Obama does this by using Title V funds for programs that are not compliant with the Congressional definition for abstinence education is a violation of congressional intent and therefore, outside the authority of this budgetary directive.
The FY 2014 budget will only increase the current 1:16 funding disparity between SRA abstinence education and so-called ‘comprehensive’’ sex education. This is despite the fact that polling shows parents, regardless of party, strongly support abstinence education.
NAEA indicates nearly 7 in 10 Democratic parents would like to see more equality in funding for abstinence education and almost 60% specifically oppose the president’s efforts to eliminate SRA funding.
Valerie Huber, President/CEO of NAEA states: “The President’s move to eliminate Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) abstinence programs is completely out of touch with what his base wants, what parents want, and what is in the best interest of America’s youth.”
“In addition, since nearly 75% of teens targeted for sex education classes (age 15-17) are not sexually active, one would expect federal sex education policy to reinforce these good decisions and encourage more teens to make the same healthy choices. Sadly, the President’s recent budget ignores these compelling facts in favor of making a wrong-headed policy statement that serves the narrow agenda of special interest groups,” she said.
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Huber says research shows that students benefit from abstinence programs, regardless of their sexual experience, or lack thereof. Students in successful SRA programs are more likely to delay sex than their peers, and if they are sexually active, have fewer partners and are no less likely to use a condom.
Huber continues: “It’s troubling that the President would want to prevent students from receiving the encouragement and skills to avoid sexual risk.”
NAEA calls on Congress to ignore the President’s sex education policy recommendations and instead choose the common sense position of supporting SRA programs and the positive results they are achieving among youth.
The pro-life movement draws individuals of all ages into its fold. From the movement’s beginning there have been young and old involved in the fight to protect innocent human life. There are currently thousands of pro-life student groups across the country in high schools and on college campuses. Surging across the country are innovative and creative efforts by pro-life groups to raise awareness about life issues among young professionals.
Katie Wilcox, a pro-life attorney from Michigan is involved with Young Professionals for Life in Michigan. Wilcox helped organize the group’s successful 5th annual reception, an event directly marketed to pro-life young professionals. The event was a seamless mix of social interaction and pro-life education.
“The value of networking within the pro-life community cannot be emphasized enough. It is invigorating to be in a room full of people like yourself. We are more likely to continue our pro-life activism if we have friends who share our passion,” Wilcox told National Right to Life News Today.
“Our reception recrui
ts and informs young professionals about how they can use their talents to benefit the pro-life cause,“ Wilcox said. “Young doctors, lawyers, engineers, and business, government, and nonprofit professionals attended the reception to meet with pro-life community leaders from crisis pregnancy centers, right to life affiliates, and sidewalk counselors. We have unique talents to offer these organizations and the unique ability to reach other young people.”
Young Professionals for Life
Young Professionals for Life also serve as mentors to a younger generation of pro-life leaders. Christen Houck, Executive Director of Students for Life of Michigan, says, “Young Professionals for Life is a critical part of maximizing students’ success on campus by networking students with the local pro-life community to meet their needs.”
Operating in the DC metro area, Beltway Right to Life, a chapter of the Virginia Society for Human Life and National Right to Life, also holds events marketed to young professionals. In January, the group held a reception to mark 40 years since the Roe v. Wade decision and for St. Patrick’s Day, the group held a pro-life happy hour. The proceeds of the events benefited a local pregnancy resource center and ongoing pro-life projects.
“The events have been tremendously helpful in cultivating new members for our chapter, keeping them connected to our group and keeping them informed. There is minimal stress in getting the events planned out, especially if you have a couple people to help. And we all get to have a good time together while promoting the cause of life,” said Luis Zaffirini, president of Beltway Right to Life.
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“By hosting events at popular local venues in the D.C. area Beltway Right to Life is able to reach out to new groups of people that, while pro-life, maybe were not hooked into the local pro-life community activities,” he added.
Coming up on Beltway Right to Life’s calendar is a pro-life happy hour on Earth Day with the theme of “Save the Baby Humans.” Anyone wishing to attend can find out more information on the group’s Facebook page.
For more information on jumpstarting a young professionals outreach with your chapter, please contact the State Organization and Development Department of National Right to Life. You can reach me here.
Centralized control of health care is catastrophic. The classic example is the Liverpool Care Pathway, originally created to ensure that NHS patients receive good pain control, under centralized control it often became a form of connect-the-dots medicine, even, back door involuntary euthanasia. (I write about the Pathway in detail in this just published Human Life Review article.)
The NHS encouraged the use of the Pathway with payments, which some critics saw as a encouraging abuses. Now, the Daily Mail reports, that is about to end. From the story:
Cash bribes to hospitals to put patients on to the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway will be ended, families have been told. The disclosure means that the NHS payments – which amount to at least £30million – are likely to be stopped later this year. A Health Department inquiry is underway into the Pathway, which was originally developed to ease the last days and hours of dying patients.
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Care Minister Norman Lamb spoke to families of Pathway patients in Leeds in the first of a series of meetings designed to feed their views into the inquiry, which was launched in February and will report in the summer. One family at the meeting said that their 82-year old grandmother died over a period of 12 days after fluids and food were withdrawn. They said that their grandmother, who had early stage cervical cancer, was eating and drinking before being put on the Pathway.
“Bribes” is too strong a word, but “debacle” certainly isn’t. This is all a warning for us under Obamacare–not that the technocrats will give a fig.
LifeNews.com Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at Secondhand Smoke.
Lynda Williams told a jury Tuesday that her boss, Kermit Gosnell, was aware she suffered from bi-polar disorder and depression when he hired her to work at his “House of Horrors” abortion clinic in West Philadelphia assisting with late-term abortions. In fact, she was being treated by Gosnell for the mental health illnesses.
Another clinic worker, Elizabeth Hampton, previously testified she suffered from depression and anxiety in addition to alcohol abuse, and that she once had a “nervous breakdown.” Yet another former Gosnell employee to testify, Sherry West, also admitted to being treated for mental health disorders.
Williams told the court that the practice of snipping the spinal cords of newborns through the back of the neck was “routine” at Gosnell’s clinic as a means of ensuring “fetal demise.”
“The problem with this notion is that newborn babies are not considered ‘fetuses’ anymore and killing them classified as murder. Gosnell never bothered to tell that to his undereducated and emotionally troubled clinic workers,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue.
Williams has already pled guilty to two counts of third degree murder for killing babies via Gosnell’s neck-snipping procedure and to conspiracy. By testifying against her former boss, she hopes to avoid the death penalty or life in prison. She will be sentenced after Gosnell’s trial concludes and face the possibility of 100 years in prison.
Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore asked Williams if she knew what she did was murder. To that Williams responded, “No, I didn’t.”
“I only do what I’m told to do,” she told the court. “What I was told to do was snip their neck.”
One news report described Williams as testifying “in a flat, emotionless voice and at times seemed catatonic, taking several seconds before reacting to questions.”
She told the court how Gosnell was absent one day when an abortion patient spontaneously delivered her baby into a toilet after heavy doses of Cytotec, a drug that causes strong uterine contractions. As instructed by Gosnell, Williams turned the baby over and inserted the scissors into his neck.
“It jumped, the arm,” Williams testified, demonstrating the arm motion to the jury.
The News Journal described William’s testimony:
When Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore initially pressed Williams to describe what she saw when she cut the neck of the child delivered in a toilet, Williams responded with a blank stare and silence.
Williams also responded the same way when asked about seeing Gosnell cut the necks of babies who were delivered before abortion procedures, admitting after reviewing earlier statements that she had seen Gosnell do this at least 30 times.
Gosnell is currently standing trial on 7 counts of first degree murder for killing newborn babies delivered during abortions. Gosnell has also been charged with one count of third degree murder for the overdose death of his abortion patient, Karnamaya Mongar. If convicted, Gosnell could face the death penalty.
Williams, 44, told jurors that she went to work for Gosnell after her husband was murdered in 2007 and she could no longer keep the hours required of her job sterilizing surgical instruments at an abortion clinic in Wilmington, Delaware, where Gosnell also worked. Desperate for money, Gosnell gave her a job “under the table” even though she only had an eighth grade education and a certificate as a “phlebotomist.” Despite her troubling lack of education and training, after two weeks on the job she was doing ultrasounds and inserting IVs.
Williams began assisting with abortions and said Gosnell taught her how to turn the babies over and snip their spinal cords with surgical scissors.
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Williams was present during Karnamaya Mongar’s abortion and testified that she repeatedly administered Demerol to her because Mongar was in pain. During the abortion, Williams mentioned to Gosnell her concern that Mongar’s breathing had slowed and she had turned gray. Williams testified that Gosnell continued with the abortion procedure then began to administer CPR. He told Williams to call 911.
Williams also testified that Gosnell would often alter medical records to make it appear that the babies he was aborting were under the legal limit in Pennsylvania of 24 weeks. She said that drugs were often out-of-date and ineffective. Williams told the court that if a woman squirmed in pain during the procedure, Gosnell would slap her leg hard enough to leave a handprint.
“The testimony from this trial is a rare look into abuses inflicted upon women daily by the abortion industry. As grisly as it is, it is important to understand this case because many of the abuses Gosnell inflicted upon women are also committed at abortion clinics around the nation. Many aspects of Gosnell’s seedy abortion operation are the rule and not the exception at U.S. abortion clinics. This trial is helping to expose that fact,” said Newman.
LifeNews.com Note: Cheryl Sullenger is a leader of Operation Rescue, a Kansas-based pro-life that monitors abortion practitioners and exposes their illegal and unethical practices. The group is known for serving as a watchdog of Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses.
A Planned Parenthood abortion clinic has been closed down after botched five abortions this year alone — but additional reports show the clinic in question was so filthy women were at risk of contracting the AIDS virus.
LifeNews reported on the closing of the clinic but an ABC news report highlights the horrific conditions at the clinic. Two former Planned Parenthood nurses are speaking out about how unsanitary the conditions were at the abortion clinic.
Werbrich alleges conditions inside the facility were unsanitary.
“He didn’t wear gloves,” said Werbrich.
Another former employee, Joyce Vasikonis told Action News, “They were using instruments on patients that were not sterile.”
The former nurses claim that a rush to get patients in and out left operating tables soiled and unclean.
Werbrich said “It’s not washed down, it’s not even cleaned off. It has bloody drainage on it.”
“They could be at risk of getting hepatitis, even AIDS,” added Vasikonis.
Both of these nurses said, they quit to protect their own medical licenses, stunned by what they called a meat-market style of assembly-line abortions.
Vasikonis said, “I felt I could be held liable if a patient was harmed.”
“Planned Parenthood needs to close its doors, it’s needs to be cleaned up, the staff needs to be trained, said Werbrich.”
In Delaware, abortion clinics are not subject to routine inspections and Mary Peterson from the Delaware Department of Health and Human Services admitted in the report, “I am not going to lie to you, we don’t have the manpower to do routine inspections.”
She claims the state inspected the abortion clinic in October and found no problems.
Responding for the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life women’s group, Marjorie Dannenfelser told LifeNews that Planned Parenthood’s claims to care about women’s health are false.
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“Planned Parenthood cannot claim to be truly concerned for women’s health while at the same time opposing laws aimed at securing women’s safety inside abortion clinics. America’s number one abortion business cannot claim that the Kermit Gosnell ‘house of horrors’ is an isolated incident while their own employees expose them for conditions they call ‘ridiculously unsafe,’” she said. “The abortion industry cannot be relied upon to police themselves and repeatedly opposing efforts to strengthen health and safety standards in abortion clinics does not reflect true concern for women and girls.”
“Delaware has a grisly history on abortion. Kermit Gosnell, now on trial in Philadelphia for the murder of infants born-alive, practiced in Wilmington at the Atlantic Women’s Medical Center for years, as did two of those testifying against him,” said Ellen Barosse, founder of the Delaware pro-life group A Rose and A Prayer.
She added: “It is a tragedy that in the state where we have the highest abortion rate in the country, these abortion clinics are not even subject to routine inspection. ‘Safe, legal, and rare’ has long been the mantra of the abortion industry and its supporters. It’s clear that in Delaware only legal matters—patient safety is not a concern.”
The defense attorney for embattled abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell has a claim for the jury that is weighing the multiple counts of murder against him for several “live-birth” abortions.
Jack McMahon claims no babies were ever killed in the gruesome abortion process, which involved “snipping” the spinal cords of the children by jabbing medical scissors into the backs of their necks, because the babies were supposedly already dead.
That’s not what two staffers for Gosnell admitted in court — with one saying she heard a baby scream and another saying the baby “jumped” when the newborn was stabbed in the neck with the scissors.
According to a news report today, McMahon is attempting to get the jury to buy a story that Gosnell used a drug called Digoxin to kill the baby in utero and then to deliver a dead child. He claims Gosnell just wanted to “snip” the spinal cords to ensure the baby was dead already. The Gosnell staffer admitted that’s what the abortion practitioner told her he was doing.
Testifying under a plea agreement with prosecutors, Williams, 44, told the Common Pleas Court jury of one time when she followed Gosnell’s practice of “snipping” the spines of late-term fetuses who were born alive during abortions.
One of her duties, Williams said, was to clean up and dispose of fetuses women sometimes spontaneously aborted in the waiting room after getting large doses of drugs to dilate the cervix.
One day, Williams testified, a woman expelled a fetus into the toilet and she saw its arm moving. Williams said she took a pair of scissors and snipped the spine as Gosnell showed her.
“I did it once and I didn’t do it again because it gave me the creeps,” Williams said.
Questioned today by McMahon, Williams testified that Gosnell had reassured her that the movement she saw was “involuntary movement, a last breath” and that abortion drugs had already doomed the fetus.
“He told you that it was dead already,” said McMahon.
“Yes,” Williams quietly replied.
“So when you snipped the neck, you didn’t think it was a live baby, you thought you were snipping a dead baby?”
“Yes,” said Williams.
Although the defense attorney claimed the babies were dead and that jabbing them in the neck with scissors was needed to make sure that was the case, Gosnell staffers also told the court one at least two occasions that the babies were not dead when their necks were stabbed.
The report also indicates “expert witnesses testified there was no medical reason for Gosnell to cut the spines of aborted fetuses.”
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Determining if the children were alive or dead at the time their spinal cords were “snipped” is crucial to prosecuting Gosnell and his staff.
Gosnell faces 43 criminal counts, including eight counts of murder in the death of one patient, Karnamaya Monger, and seven newborn infants. Additional charges include conspiracy, drug delivery resulting in death, infanticide, corruption of minors, evidence tampering, theft by deception, abuse of corpse, and corruption. Gosnell could face the death penalty if convicted and he faces a mandatory minimum 20 years.
The trial of the abortion practitioner has been so gruesome and vivid in its accounts of the late-term and live-birth abortions that it has shocked the conscience of the nation, despite a relative lack of media coverage outside of local media and conservative and pro-life news outlets.
Gosnell, whose squalid “house of horrors” abortion clinic has surprised even investigative officials, has had almost flippant attitude toward his macabre abortion practices shocked the nation.
“The Gosnell case is a watershed moment for the issue of abortion,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation. “The discovery of his horrific practices helped shed light on an abortion industry that has run amok without oversight or accountability for decades, and has prompted significant changes in abortion laws and attitudes toward enforcement in several states.”
Previously, Gosnell’s wife Pearl pleaded guilty to assisting her husband at his Philadelphia abortion center where he killed a woman in a botched abortion and has killed hundreds of babies in abortion-infanticides.
Pearl Gosnell was considering a plea deal similar to the one several of Gosnell’s former abortion center employees have made where they have pleaded guilty to receive a lesser sentence in exchange for testifying against Gosnell. Pearl also worked at the abortion center Gosnell ran that had him kill and injure women in failed abortions and kill perhaps hundreds of babies in grisly infanticides by birthing them and “snipping” their spinal cords.
She worked at the Women’s Medical Society abortion business her husband ran as a full-time medical assistant from 1982 until she married Kermit Gosnell in 1990, when she switched to only working on Sundays. At that time, the abortion business was officially closed but would do its latest-term abortions possible.
The grand jury report indicates Pearl Gosnell testified that she alone helped Kermit do abortions on Sundays when she would “help do the instruments” in the operating room despite no medical training.
Previously, Judge Lerner ruled two other former employees, Eileen O’Neill and Madeline Joe, are not allowed to have their cases separated from that of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Neither O’Neill nor Joe are charged with killing babies in infanticides and, although their attorneys argued the horrifying allegations against Gosnell could unfairly taint their cases, they were not allowed to plead guilty in deals as was the case with six other former employees.
The murder charges also came in connection with the botched abortion death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, who died at Gosnell’s abortion clinic after a failed abortion. Mongar died November 20, 2009, after overdosing on anesthetics prescribed by the doctor. Mongar’s family filed a lawsuit against Gosnell’s abortion business seeking damages.
Gosnell and several staffers at his abortion center, including Pearl, were arrested in January after a grand jury indicted them on multiple charges after officials raided his abortion business following a woman’s death and discovered a “shop of horrors” filled with bags of bodies and body parts of deceased unborn children and babies killed in infanticides. Pearl Gosnell, Kermit’s 49-year-old wife who has no medical license, faces a charge of providing an abortion at 24 or more weeks and conspiracy and other charges.
Authorities searching the facility last year found bags and bottles holding aborted babies scattered around the building, jars containing babies’ severed feet lining a shelf, as well as filthy, unsanitary furniture and equipment.
Gosnell’s abortion center was inspected only after a federal drug raid in 2010. It was the first time the facility had been inspected in 17 years because state officials ignored complaints and failed to visit Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society for years.
The abortion industry has been forced to suspend two abortion businesses that employed embattled abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell, who has been the subject of national controversy over his abortion business in Philadelphia.
Following revelations that Gosnell is associated with two other abortion centers in Louisiana and Delaware, the National Abortion Federation made the decision to suspend the memberships of both. Atlantic Women’s Medical Services, the Delaware abortion business that employed Gosnell one day a week to do abortions, and the Delta Clinic abortion center of Baton Rouge, have both had their memberships suspended. Leroy Brinkley owns both abortion businesses. Atlantic operates abortion centers in Wilmington and Dover.
The pro-life group Priests for Life was one of the earliest organizations to file a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its HHS mandate. The mandate compels religious groups to pay for birth control drugs and drugs like ella that can cause very early abortions.
Priests for Life national director Father Frank Pavone released the following statement to LifeNews today in advance of tomorrow’s court hearing on its lawsuit, one of many dozens that have been filed against the mandate and that will eventually reach the Supreme Court.
“The Priests for Life lawsuit against the HHS mandate — the fourth such lawsuit to be introduced (in February 2012) in what are now dozens of cases — takes another step forward in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y. tomorrow as attorneys will argue that the Obama administration has no basis for dismissing the suit.
“The government is using the same kind of arguments it has used in other lawsuits against the mandate brought by religious groups, namely, that because they have a religious exemption and in the light of promised changes in the mandate, these groups really aren’t being harmed, have nothing to worry about, and therefore no basis to sue the government.
“The case of Priests for Life is different from that of the other religious entities, however. We were not covered by the ‘religious exemption,’ and therefore the mandate was to be effective for us this past January 1.
“On December 20, attorneys Robert Muise and David Yerushalmi presented oral argument requesting that the court immediately halt enforcement of the mandate. The court strongly urged the government to enter into a stipulation to that effect. If an agreement was not reached by December 21, the court scheduled a hearing for December 26, at which time it was evident that the court would order an injunction against the mandate. The very next day, the federal government entered into a stipulation that it would not enforce the HHS mandate against Priests for Life for the year 2013.
“But January 1, 2014 is fast approaching.
“Tomorrow (April 11) our attorneys will argue that because the mandate is the law of the land right now, and because no actual or proposed changes from the government resolve our objections to the mandate, the court should move forward and judge this case on its merits (recognizing its ‘standing’ and ‘ripeness’) and protect our rights by issuing an injunction against the mandate.
“The Priests for Life lawsuit, the fourth of its kind, was actually the first to be filed after the Obama Administration announced, in February 2012, its ‘accommodations’ to those who object to the mandate. We realized from the outset that these were not accommodations at all, and neither were those promised more recently. No matter how one looks at it, we are still being forced to be the gateway to employees having access to products and services that we teach are immoral.
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“Just this past Monday, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, who chairs the U.S. Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, expressed ‘deep gratitude’ and ‘solidarity and appreciation’ for all those who have challenged the mandate in court. He said, ‘Their goal is nothing less than securing the freedom of the Church to continue to obey the Lord’s command—and, in turn, to serve the common good—by providing charitable ministries health care, education, and service to the poor, all without compromising Catholic beliefs…We continue to pray for the success of all of these lawsuits.’
“Priests for Life is grateful to our two lead attorneys on this case, Robert Muise (American Freedom Law Center) and Charles S. LiMandri, and their respective teams, for their expert and dedicated work on this lawsuit.
“Let’s move forward to victory.
After intense national pressure and a strongly-worded letter from a pro-life legal group, Johns Hopkins University is finally recognizing a pro-life student group that had been denied official status.
Voice for Life (VFL) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) has officially been granted recognized group status after members of the student government initially likened it to a white supremacist group. This unanimous decision by the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Judiciary Committee overturns the SGA Senate’s rejection of VFL
The pro-life group had been denied official status because the SGA had deemed sidewalk counseling “harassment” under JHU rules and because of a link on VFL’s website to an organization that posts graphic images of aborted babies. Internal SGA emails had also revealed a bias among members against pro-lifers.
Despite the action, HU administration agreed with Students for Life of America and Voice for Life and gave an opinion that sidewalk counseling was protected free speech – as the Supreme Court has ruled – and did not violate any university rules or codes.
Andrew Guernsey, President of JHU VFL told LifeNews: “We commend the SGA Judiciary for honoring Johns Hopkins’ institutional commitment to free speech by overturning Voice for Life’s rejection by the SGA Senate. Today is a victory not only for pro-life students here at Johns Hopkins, but for pro-life students around the country. ”
He added: “We hope that our story of rising above discriminatory opposition can inspire pro-life students around the country to courageously take a stand for life at their own college campuses. On behalf of JHU Voice for Life, I wish to thank all our supporters in the Hopkins-Baltimore community and around the country. I especially want to express my gratitude to Students for Life, FIRE, and the Thomas More Law Center for their support in helping us win approval from the SGA. It is important that pro-life students like us who face unjust discrimination on their college campuses know that they are not alone, and that there are powerful resources to help them win the battle for free speech in order to win the war of defending the dignity of every human life.”
Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America, told LifeNews she is elated by the decision.
“We are so proud of our students in Voice for Life for courageously standing up to the pro-abortion forces in their student government and on their campus that sought to silence them for their beliefs,” she said. “In this case, the private personal character attacks on pro-lifers as racists and misogynists that we know go on all the time were exposed for the world to see.”
She said, “The national outcry these revelations provoked forced the JHU student government reconsider its anti-free speech stance, but this is the kind of discrimination pro-life students face across the country every day. Students for Life will always fight for students who are attacked and have their rights violated as they peacefully spread the positive Culture of Life on their campuses.”
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“We stand with Andrew, Monica, and other Voice for Life students as they fight to abolish abortion despite the harassment and hateful allegations hurled their way. They are the leaders of this pro-life generation and we look forward to helping VFL continue to change hearts and minds at Johns Hopkins,” she added.
Monica Rex, Vice President of JHU VFL also commented: “Now that the SGA Judiciary Committee has approved us, we are ready to begin the real work of saving lives! While the road was difficult, we have learned just how much this fight for life means to us, and how important it is that students at Johns Hopkins have the opportunity to hear our pro-life message. Johns Hopkins has always stood for the very best in higher education, and we look forward to bringing our pro-life message to future leaders in the medical industry here at Hopkins.”
The Thomas More Law Center, a pro-life legal group that aided VFL, chimed in as well.
Richard Thompson, TMLC’s President and Chief Counsel, commented: “This is a great example of courageous students facing tremendous opposition, sticking to their deeply held pro-life principles and advancing those principles based on their right to free speech so deeply engrained in our culture, enshrined in our constitution, and fostered at Johns Hopkins University.”
TMLC, whose mission includes defending the constitutional rights of pro-life groups and individuals, representing VFL, authored an April 4th letter to top Johns Hopkins University officials and the SGA Judiciary Committee laying out the legal basis requiring recognition of VFL.