Category archives: Abortion

Students for Life Holds #Sockit2PP Rally Outside U.S. Capitol

by Joshua Denton

April 27, 2017

323,999.

That is the number of babies that were killed by Planned Parenthood in 2015.

To clearly illustrate the immensity of this tragedy, the #Sockit2PP campaign was started by Students for Life in March with the intent of creating a simultaneously impressive and shocking visual appeal while also sending a clear message to Congress: now is the time to defund Planned Parenthood.

The #Sockit2PP campaign efforts culminated yesterday as members of the Students for Life team hosted a rally outside the United States Capitol in which they displayed 196,543 socks. The socks have been collected as a result of their campaign to collect 323,999 socks—representative of the number of babies killed in 2015 (the latest numbers available) by the nation’s largest abortion purveyor, Planned Parenthood.

The campaign was inspired by a tiny baby sock which was pinned to the backpack of a Students for Life college group member. Kristan Hawkins, Founder and President of Students for Life, realized the visual symbol could become a powerful national rallying cry.

The campaign has reached over half of its goal in numbers of socks, but decided to hold a rally outside of the United States Capitol now in spite of not yet reaching their final goal.

I think it’s really important to create a visual for people to see,” said Missy Stone, National Field Director for Students for Life. “323,999 is a lot more than people anticipate. People just don’t understand; people say that number flippantly.” Missy noted that when people just hear a number, it doesn’t really resonate, but when they get a visual of over 190,000 empty infant socks, it gives people an idea of the awful reality of how many abortions are truly happening.

Missy said that the campaign created a very real way of providing the pro-life generation a channel with which to generate a national message to Congress that enough is enough—that it’s time to defund Planned Parenthood now.

Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life, talked about the effects the demonstration had on people who were walking by as the display was being set up in preparation for the rally. “I was telling them and their jaws dropped because this is the [visual] reality of what happens when we don’t defund Planned Parenthood,” Hawkins said prior to the rally. She noted that the socks on display were only a representation of roughly half of the babies who are aborted every year by Planned Parenthood. “This is the reality of the GOP not acting to defund Planned Parenthood, and we are here today letting them know we expect them to hold to your word to defund Planned Parenthood,” remarked Hawkins.

The rally featured various speakers such as Alison Howard, Director of Alliance Relations for Alliance Defending Freedom; Sue Thayer, former abortion facility director; and U.S. Senator Ben Sasse. During the rally, Sue Thayer noted that “we still have a lot of work to do. Think of what we could do with the 500 million dollars we funnel into Planned Parenthood [if it were] in the hands of pregnancy care centers.”

A number of high school and college students also spoke briefly. Purity Thomas, a young teen, collected over 1,000 baby socks for the initiative. She told the story of her sister who became pregnant at 19 and dropped out of college and the National Guard to carry and raise her child, who is now three years old. “[Planned Parenthood]’s workers ‘have to hit the gym’ in order to crush the skulls of preborn boys and girls. This is a[n] organization that kills our brothers and sisters,” she said, urging students to get involved in spreading the pro-life message. “How as a nation have we allowed this? … This is the time in our country when we need to stand up and look in the face of Planned Parenthood and say enough is enough.”

Senator Ben Sasse emphasized the importance of being charitable when speaking the truth about abortion: “America exists to fight for the most vulnerable. It shouldn’t be a Republican or a Democratic proposition, but a human proposition. The first thing we are trying to do is to persuade our brothers and sisters to look at the gift of life and look at the glories of what is actually happening inside the womb, and tell the truth about how each baby has dignity. This picture that you’re trying to create today is another special way to tell the story of what we’re about, because what we are about is about love, what we are about is about neighborly-ness, what we’re about is about dignity.”

Emily Brown, the Youth Director at American Life League, reminded the audience that Planned Parenthood is on the defense right now. “The pro-life generation is stronger than ever before,” Brown said.

Deanna Wallace, Staff Counsel for Americans United for Life, posed the question, “Planned Parenthood markets themselves as ‘care no matter what’ but what kind of care are they actually giving women?” Wallace then cited multiple health violations such as failing to ensure a safe and sanitary environment, failing to document and protect patient recordings, failing to properly train staff, failing to dispose of expired medications and supplies, and failure to comply with health measures like making sure a gurney can reach a patient if she goes into distress. “It’s … important to remember that this ‘care’ [Planned Parenthood] is offering to women is not care at all. They are endangering women every day, and women deserve better!”

To wrap up the rally, Kristan Hawkins introduced Maddi Runkles, an 18-year-old student at Heritage Academy in Hagerstown, Md. “I’m eighteen years old and I found out back in January that I was pregnant,” Runkles said. As a senior in high school with her whole life ahead of her, she admitted to briefly considering abortion because of the lies that Planned Parenthood tells girls like her.

I look at all these socks and that could have been my baby, but I choose to let my baby wear these socks. I know it’s going to be hard, I know it’s going to be really hard to still accomplish all my goals and all my dreams,” Runkles said, her voice shaking with emotion. “But I get to have a little guy following right next to me and we get to do it together.” Runkles went on to point out that girls like her are perfect targets for Planned Parenthood, which ironically claims to be all about women’s rights, but instead pushes a less than empowering message by telling a woman that she can’t do it. “I chose life for my baby and I chose not to believe the lies that Planned Parenthood told me. Congress needs to defund Planned Parenthood and take all their tax money away,” Runkles concluded.

The #Sockit2PP rally was a sobering yet encouraging demonstration, showing that there is a strong chorus of voices speaking up for the voiceless in our nation’s capital. With more creative displays of this nature, more and more hearts and minds will change and realize that women deserve better than Planned Parenthood and abortion.

Where Are the “Equal Rights” of Unborn Babies?

by Daniel Hart

April 26, 2017

Equality. Equal rights.

In the last few years, these terms have become inescapable in America. Everything from workplace pay for women to LGBT rights has been framed in these terms. “Equality” has become a powerful idea in the American imagination. I’m not entirely sure exactly when the term became so omnipresent, but it’s not hard to see where its origins lie—the preamble of our Declaration of Independence declares these immortal words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”

While we continue to grapple as a society with what “equality” really means in every human context, there is one entire class of people that currently does not have the most basic right among rights. I am speaking of the unborn child, who does not even have the right to live, under our laws. The mother of an unborn child, if she so chooses, can supersede the most basic right of her own offspring. Anyone who honestly assesses this state of affairs would have to admit that abortion is far and away the most egregious example of “inequality” that currently afflicts our society. (For more on this, be sure to tune in to our lecture, “The Equal Rights Argument for Fetal Personhood” on April 27 at noon.)

Recent events continue to put this issue in stark relief. In a study published in Nature Communications, it was revealed that researchers had for the first time suspended premature baby lambs in artificial wombs (equivalent to 23-week-old human fetuses) and successfully nurtured them for four weeks, in which they “opened their eyes, fattened up, and grew coats of white wool.” After another two years of study, and if the method is approved, “the wombs can be tested on human preemies within three to five years.” This new technology could potentially save the lives of thousands of premature babies who are born every year—currently, only about half of the 30,000 babies born before 24 weeks survive.

All of this raises the question: if we are using cutting-edge technology to save the lives of some 24-week-old babies, how can other 24-week-old babies be legally killed? Don’t the 24-week-old babies who are scheduled for abortion deserve the same “equal rights” as the 24-week-old babies who are being cared for in neonatal intensive care units?

Hopeful Signs of Resurrection in America

by Daniel Hart

April 12, 2017

This Sunday, Christians all over the world will celebrate the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. Easter is the church’s greatest feast day because it encompasses Christ’s fulfilment of his mission on earth: by dying on a Roman cross on Friday, April 3rd, A.D. 33 and rising from the dead on the following Sunday, he conquered human sin and death. The astonishing enormity of this event in history cannot be overstated enough. In one fell swoop, Christ offered the fullness of redemption to every person for all of eternity—namely, release from the chains of our fallen human nature and the prospect of a meaningless death. In and through Jesus, we can become cleansed of our sin and hope in the eternal life that is to come in heaven after our earthly lives are over.

To contemplate these truths for even a moment does wonders in lifting one’s spirit, which can be easily bogged down when considering the tremendous challenges that our country faces with regards to protecting all human life, cultivating natural marriage, and defending religious liberty. And so, in the spirit of Our Lord’s Resurrection, let’s reflect on some very hopeful recent signs of rebirth in America.

Life

In January, it was reported that the U.S. abortion rate is currently at its lowest level since Roe v. Wade was foisted on the country in 1973. There are a number of different factors that have contributed to this welcome decline, but the tireless work of the pro-life movement in state legislatures has undoubtedly been crucial—334 pro-life laws have been passed in the last five years.

Also in January, President Trump signed an executive order that reinstated the “Mexico City Policy,” which halts federal funds from going to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that commit abortions or “actively promote” abortion. This is wonderful news, as it stops a staggering $600 million from funding the destruction of unborn human life annually.

This past week, Judge Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to serve on the Supreme Court, filling Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacant seat. As we have pointed out in recent weeks, Judge Gorsuch will be a true Constitutionalist Justice who believes that life is “intrinsically valuable and that intentional killing is always wrong.” While he has not directly ruled on abortion, he has stated in the past that “the right to terminate a pregnancy… involves the death of a person.”

Marriage

The current divorce rate is at a 40-year low, while the marriage rate has risen to its highest level since 2009. While the overall rates of divorce and marriage are still depressingly high and low (respectively), recent trends are encouraging for the immediate future.

Another hopeful trend that bodes well for America’s future is, surprisingly, the marriage preferences of millennials. New research has shown that millennials aren’t as obsessed with the progressive talking point of “gender equality” as one would think. As Ashley McGuire points out in Family Studies, “Many of us also feel more comfortable embracing what Pew continues to find, decade after decade: namely, that women consistently say that part-time work is our ‘ideal work situation.’ Millennial women seem to be asserting our autonomy against a culture that turned opportunity for women into a shackle.” McGuire further notes:

The reality is that many married millennial couples with children will readily admit that two full-time working parents is not ideal for a litany of reasons, including marital happiness, individual stress, financial strain, and familial sanity. That’s not to say that lots of couples don’t make it work, but just a gander over to my city’s most-read parenting blog, and you will find plenty who will call the arrangement of two full-time parents “hell.” Many millennial women, like me, take pride in making choices that feel best for their family at that particular time.

That a rising generation of young people feels more comfortable expressing a preference for a male breadwinner is not a setback to equality in a marriage. Rather, it suggests that both millennial men and women are increasingly respectful of what it is that women want most when they have small children. I would call that a step forward for authentic marital equality. It’s only a setback to equality if we measure women in a marriage against their husbands, and not against women’s own benchmarks for happiness. And it’s only a setback for equality if we refuse to allow women to be the ones to set those benchmarks because of antiquated feminist notions about gender neutrality or because it somehow hurts the GDP’s bottom line.

This simply underscores what has historically been common practice: that most families do best when the mother is a stable, nurturing presence in the home for her children, while the father engages in the majority of paid work to support the family financially. As the studies cited previously have shown, this arrangement is what most men and women naturally prefer anyway.

Religious Liberty

The confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is a tremendous uplift not only for the protection of life, but for the defense of religious liberty. He will now be seated on the High Court in time to hear the case of Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley, which will decide whether state governments can discriminate against churches and religious organizations in favor of nonreligious organizations in the context of receiving public money.

Another sign of hope is the fact that the Trump administration is currently considering signing an executive order that would strengthen religious liberty protections for Americans of faith. A letter signed by 52 House Republicans underscores the urgency of the situation: “We look forward to coordinating with your administration on these efforts so that critical religious liberty and conscience protections may finally be restored to millions of Americans who have been harmed and left unprotected for far too many years.” The proposed executive order would ensure that government persecution of Christians for their beliefs about abortion, same-sex marriage, public prayer, and other concerns would cease, and that their First Amendment rights would be restored.

All of this should be a great source of encouragement for believers. But even if all of these hopeful signs fail to come to fruition, our hope in Christ cannot fail. Christ suffered, died, and rose again for all of humanity. Therefore, Christ is the Lord of history, who “is intent on remaking and saving his world, binding up its wounds and setting it right.” This wonderful reality will forever resurrect our fallen human hearts.

The U.S. No Longer Funds Overseas Abortions. Canada and Europe Grind Their Teeth

by Daniel Hart

March 8, 2017

On January 23rd, President Trump signed an executive order that reinstated the “Mexico City Policy.” The policy, which was originally issued by President Reagan in 1984, halts federal funds from going to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that commit abortions or “actively promote” abortion.

The order ensures U.S. aid will continue to go to health care, humanitarian relief, and even family planning in the millions of dollars. It just will not subsidize abortion overseas.

Prior to President Reagan’s actions, American policy on paper was to never promote abortion overseas, however in practice U.S. tax dollars directly supported organizations which advocated and performed abortion. It remained in effect until 1993 when President Clinton rescinded the Mexico City policy on January 22, 1993 for the entirety of his tenure in office. On January 22, 2001, President Bush issued an executive order restoring the Mexico City policy. President Bush had also determined that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was complicit in China’s forced abortion and sterilization program, and withdrew its U.S. funding. President Obama ignored such facts and rescinded the policies.

The principal behind the Mexico City Policy is simple: abortion is not health care. Therefore, there is absolutely no reason why the U.S. should fund the killing of babies in the womb by giving taxpayer money to NGOs that participate in or promote abortion.

In response to the U.S. policy’s reinstatement, the Netherlands announced in February that it has launched a new fund to replace the money that the Mexico City Policy withholds from funding abortions overseas. Dubbed the “She Decides Global Fundraising Initiative,” the fund will solicit donations from other countries in order to bankroll “ongoing initiatives that improve access to lifesaving contraceptives, family planning, sexuality education and/or safe abortion,” according to the initiative’s website. So far, seven other countries (Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, and Cape Verde) have officially joined the fund.

If there was ever proof of the extent to which the pro-abortion mentality has taken over in Canada and Europe, this is surely it. When no quarter is given to withholding taxpayer money from be used to directly fund the killing of unborn children, the true colors of those who tout their support of “family planning” are revealed. What was completely glossed over in the media furor over Trump’s Mexico City Policy reinstatement is the fact that it still fully funds all forms of family planning that does not involve the active promotion of abortion. “Active promotion” is defined as providing advice and information regarding the availability of abortion or encourage women to consider abortion; lobbying a foreign government to legalize or make abortion more available; or conducting a public information campaign regarding the benefits and/or availability of abortion.

In a country that is roughly 58 percent “pro-life” (according to a 2015 CNN poll), the Mexico City Policy is a common sense rule that establishes a solid middle ground regarding abortion and the rights of taxpayers in America. If other countries want to protest this by feigning “human rights” for women and girls in the form of abortion, as the “She Decides” initiative does, that is their inhuman prerogative. Meanwhile, the pro-life movement is thankful for President Trump’s pro-life action and will continue to fight for the human rights of unborn girls.

Voiceless: Christians Must Engage the Culture to Fight Abortion

by Daniel Hart

March 3, 2017

In the powerful new film Voiceless, a war veteran starts a new job in the inner city of Philadelphia as a community outreach leader for a church. He soon discovers that an abortion clinic is located directly across the street. As he wrestles with what to do about it, he has a tragic personal experience which convicts him to take action and start a pro-life ministry. When he asks for support from his pastor, the church community, and even his wife, he is met with resistance. Finally, he is faced with a choice between backing away, or fighting for what he believes is right and risking everything he has.

In a panel discussion about the film, Executive Producer Stuart Migdon boiled down the point of Voiceless to this: to motivate Christians to engage the culture in the fight to end abortion. He cited a sobering statistic that found that over 90 percent of evangelical churches do not have a pro-life presence. Another study found that 90 percent of Christians want to hear their church speak on how to confront abortion. This displays a clear disconnect between what believers know is a grave evil and what their churches are doing about it.

As Migdon pointed out, if more Christians were to “wrap their arms around these men and women who are in these situations where they have an unplanned pregnancy, and they were to help them emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, if they were to give their all to these people, then we would see a change in this country that we have not seen, even before Roe v. Wade.” Migdon continued: “Eighty-four percent of women that have had abortions … say that they never felt they had a choice. The church is designed to be that voice to give them that choice.”

While Voiceless is a thoroughly pro-life film with a clear message, Pat Necerato, the Writer, Producer, and Director, noted that he wanted to make a “character-driven movie about a real person having these struggles and not make it about throwing pie in the pro-choice people’s face.” He also pointed out that he wanted the film to “inspire people to take a stand for what they believe is right.” Necerato believes that the message of Voiceless could really be applied to any cause that people feel passionate about: “If that [any cause] is what you truly believe, you can watch this film and say, ‘You know what? I need to do something about this. I need to get out there and put a stake in the ground.’”

Stuart Migdon’s wish for Voiceless is that it may inspire Christians to act on their pro-life beliefs: “Be passionate, know that we can make a difference … We can have a pro-life ministry in every church in America, and make a huge difference; so much so, I believe, that it won’t be about making abortion illegal, it will be about making abortion unthinkable.”

Resources For Churches

  • Care Net’s Making Life Disciples is a 6-part DVD curriculum that trains churches on ministering to folks in the church facing unplanned pregnancies (20% Off Promotion Code: FRC20). 
  • The Human Coalition’s Church Toolkit provides pastors and churches with resources to address the issue of abortion with grace and compassion, clear biblical understanding, and concrete steps for the congregation. 
  • Voiceless is coming out on DVD on March 7 and it will help any church and pro-life member jumpstart a pro-life ministry. It can be pre-ordered here.

40 Days for Life Speech in Front of D.C.’s Planned Parenthood

by Arina Grossu

March 1, 2017

Note: The following is Arina Grossu’s speech for the February 28, 2017 40 Days for Life vigil in front of D.C.’s Planned Parenthood. Arina Grossu is the Director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council.

Good evening. Thank you for being here today. I wish we did not have to be here and I hope that one day soon we will no longer have to be when abortions are no longer committed. Let’s make abortion unthinkable. Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women and children, and Planned Parenthood, America’s number one abortion chain is also the abortion lobby’s number one perpetrator.

Planned Parenthood is in the business of lies. Here are some facts containing numbers from its own annual reports. Planned Parenthood commits 35 percent of U.S. abortions, close to 325,000 abortions annually. Planned Parenthood is a scandal-ridden organization that needs to be defunded. It was at the center of the controversy involving the sale and trafficking of baby body parts as revealed by the Center for Medical Progress videos. It has also been caught promoting abortion quotas, and it failed to report statutory rape at a number of its affiliates. It has shown support for race- and sex-selective abortions. It targets minority populations: 79 percent of its surgical abortion facilities are located within walking distance of African-American or Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods.

While it advertises its non-abortion services, a closer look at its annual reports reveal a shocking reality. Abortion is on the rise, but their other services have dropped to over half in the past five years. From 2009 to 2014, cancer screening and prevention programs have consistently dropped by 63 percent. In those same years breast exams have consistently dropped by over half (56 percent). These do not include in-house mammograms because Planned Parenthood does not do mammograms, a fact that Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards admitted in a September 2015 House Oversight Committee meeting, contradicting her 2011 claims that it did.

From 2009 to 2014, prenatal services have steadily dropped by more than half (57 percent). LiveAction’s January 2017 sting videos reveal that out of 97 Planned Parenthood facilities that they talked to, only five said they provided prenatal care. One abortion worker at the Merrillville, Ind. Planned Parenthood said, “No, we don’t do prenatal services. I mean, it’s called Planned Parenthood, I know it’s kind of deceiving.”

Another LiveAction January 2017 video revealed that of 68 Planned Parenthood facilities that were asked if they do an ultrasound in order to check the health of the baby, only three Planned Parenthood facilities said they did.

In 2014, if a pregnant woman walked into a Planned Parenthood facility, she was 160 times more likely to receive an abortion than an adoption referral.

So here we are standing in front of this $20 million state of the art mega-center that opened in September 2016 and is dedicated to child-killing. It is tragically located next to and across the street from Two Rivers Public Charter School. While children are being taught in those buildings, other children are being killed in Planned Parenthood’s building.

Here they do medication abortion up to about 9 weeks for $475 and surgical abortion up to 14 weeks for $525.

This Planned Parenthood, like other Planned Parenthoods and abortion facilities in each town and city, stands as an enemy against human dignity, an enemy against women and children, an enemy against human decency. Folks, we are looking at the gas chamber of our generation. It is a blight on our nation.

But you are here, and this gives me hope for the future. 40 Days for Life is a great opportunity to witness to vulnerable mothers and fathers and abortion workers the truth about human dignity and the lies of abortion.

Our presence matters. Not only does it matter, but it is crucial. Between 2004 and 2016, some 675 cities in 40 nations have conducted 40 Days for Life campaigns with measurable, lifesaving results.

Do you want to know what a difference prayer and witness makes? Through prayer and fasting, peaceful vigils and community outreach, 40 Days for Life has inspired 725,000 volunteers. With God’s help, during 19 coordinated campaigns:

  • 12,668 babies were saved from abortion
  • 143 abortion workers were converted
  • 83 abortion centers were closed
  • More than 19,000 church congregations were activated and united for life.

Wow! Do you realize how powerful we are when we unite for life? Together we will bring about an end to abortion. From March 1 until April 9, our community will unite with many others from coast to coast—and internationally—for another major simultaneous pro-life mobilization.

It is a very exciting time to be in the pro-life movement right now. Did you know that there have been a torrent of pro-life laws in the U.S.? In the last five years alone, 334 laws have been passed, which account for 30 percent of all pro-life laws enacted since 1973.

In 2015 Planned Parenthood closed 33 centers in a total of 18 different states. Planned Parenthood currently operates around 625 centers in the United States. At its height in 1995, there were 938 Planned Parenthood facilities. Both the numbers of facilities and affiliates are at an all-time low.

We are also going to witness the defunding of Planned Parenthood. The over $500 million in annual taxpayer funds that currently goes to Planned Parenthood annually should be redirected to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) that actually provide comprehensive and true health care for women, men, and children. Abortion is not health care.

But we need your continued presence here—we need boots on the ground—and an active voice in contacting your members of Congress for the passage of pro-life bills.

Your physical, peaceful presence stands as a beacon of light in a very dark place. Whenever we stand at the foot of the abortion facility, at the precipice where unspeakable evil takes place, in whatever city we find ourselves, we are the conscience of the world, the last lifeline of support for a mother facing an unplanned pregnancy, and the first to embrace her if she goes through with an abortion. We are also there to help abortion workers leave this wretched business.

I encourage you to be part of this sacred task and sign up to pray and witness outside of this Planned Parenthood by going to 40daysforlife.com or just show up at any of its locations. You don’t have to say a word. You can come here to just pray and witness with your presence. Or if the Spirit so moves you in gentleness and love, to reach out to the mothers and fathers in unplanned pregnancies and abortion volunteers and workers and show them another way—the life-giving way. Your mere presence and witness speaks more than you can imagine.

One final word of encouragement. When you come here or any other abortion facility for peaceful witness, please remember that you are not alone. When you stand here, either by yourself or with a group, you are not alone. You are joining in solidarity with brothers and sisters in cities all around the world, helping to rescue other brothers and sisters from the grip of abortion. We are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness. God’s power and strength will carry us.

Ephesians 6 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:10-20).

For more coverage of this event, see here.

Big Abortion” Wants the Dangerous Pregnancy-Destroying Drug Mifepristone (RU-486) Sold in Local Pharmacies

by Chris Gacek

February 28, 2017

Dr. Thomas Price, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, please take note. Your U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will soon be cooperating (conspiring) with abortion activists to relax important health regulations so that America’s only approved abortion regimen can be sold by local drug stores. In fact, the process may well be underway as I write.

Big Abortion’s aggressive push for evermore abortion, despite great health concerns for the mother (not to mention the baby), appears to know few bounds. Mifepristone, also known as RU-486, is incontrovertibly an embryo and fetal-destructive chemical. Mifepristone (also, Mifeprex®) blocks the chemical action of progesterone, the key hormone that drives pregnancy forward. Mifepristone is taken with a second drug, misoprostol (Cytotec), which causes uterine-emptying contractions when taken by a pregnant woman. This two-drug abortion regimen was first approved by the FDA in 2000.

There are many details related to the distribution of this regimen, but the key points to note are that access to the mifepristone itself is still pretty tightly controlled. The current 2016 regulations for the mifepristone regimen do not allow it to be sold in pharmacies. Rather, mifepristone may be distributed only by certified healthcare providers (originally, it had to be a physician). Such providers must have the ability to assess the duration of the pregnancy accurately, be able to diagnose ectopic pregnancies, be able to get the patient to surgical intervention in case of an incomplete abortion or severe bleeding, and, finally, must have read the prescribing information about the regimen. Clearly this sort of patient assessment cannot take place at pharmacies. The regimen may not be prescribed after the 70th day of pregnancy (LMP).

On February 23rd, a group of ten abortion activists calling themselves the “Mifeprex REMS Study Group,” most of whom are physicians, argued that the Mifeprex regulatory scheme is obsolete and that the regimen should be sold in pharmacies. This piece of abortion advocacy appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine.

REMS” is an FDA acronym that stands for “Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy.” The REMS for the Mifeprex regimen—the use requirements put in place to mitigate dangers to patients from a drug’s use—were already weakened by the Obama administration less than a year ago as it was going out the door. It was at that time that the FDA allowed for the amount of mifepristone in the regimen to be cut by two-thirds, and for the regimen’s use to be extended from 56 to 70 days when the failure rate at the earlier marker was already significant. Furthermore, a second office visit was also eliminated from the requirements—which was simply shocking given the complications that can occur, including incomplete abortion and ongoing pregnancy.

My colleague Arina Grossu and I also called on the FDA to release the study citations and data that was used to justify the 2016 changes. (See pp. 2-3 of “The FDA Adopts the Abortion Industry Standards for the Mifeprex® (RU-486) Abortion Regimen.”) To the best of our knowledge, the FDA still has not produced a list of citations for twenty-two studies used to justify the relaxation of the regimen’s requirements less than one year ago.

As our paper indicated, serious health complications from the Mifeprex regimen can arise. We know that from May 2000-2011, there have been 14 deaths, 612 hospitalizations, 58 ectopic pregnancies (suggesting inadequate screening), 339 cases of blood loss requiring transfusions, and 256 cases of infection (48 of which were considered severe).

Dr. Price’s team at HHS and FDA needs to stop any effort that Big Abortion is attempting to slip through the agency before the Trump team is in place. Major articles like this one in the NEJM do not appear by accident, so the chances are that an application to effect this change has already been filed or is about to be filed.

Furthermore, an independent medical and statistical review of the 2016 label change needs to be conducted for the purposes of determining whether that previous set of changes was politically and not scientifically motivated. As a gesture of good faith and transparency, FDA should release the most recent summary of Mifeprex regimen adverse events that it produces internally every quarter, so we can see the trend lines since the last data became available to the public.

The Condescension of the Establishment Media Regarding Life

by Chris Gacek

January 31, 2017

Last Friday, the annual March for Life took place here in Washington, D.C. It was a successful, peaceful, non-vulgar event as it has been for over forty years. This year, Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the event, making him the highest ranked government official to ever address the March. Hundreds of thousands of people participated—this time-lapse video of the attendees processing toward the Supreme Court gives some idea of the crowd’s significant size.

Crowds of this size have been typical at the March for Life for many years, but the establishment news media has pretty much ignored the March because they support abortion on demand as a policy and have little regard for the pro-life movement. Typical of this disregard and disdain was a short announcement in the New York Times by Jeremy Peters the day before the March indicating that Mr. Pence would speak there the next day.

Peters begins his description of the news in the first paragraph by saying “Vice President Mike Pence will speak on Friday to a gathering of anti-abortion activists on the National Mall…” The description reeks of an attempt to diminish the March.

The largest annual event for those who hold to a range of values about defending life is described merely as a “gathering.” This is technically true—but in the same way that the Rose Bowl game is a “gathering” of football fans near a playing field in Pasadena.

Next we see the annual March described as a meet-up for “anti-abortion activists on the National Mall,” a description that is inadequate, to say the least. There may be a large number “activists” at the March, but, unless you are going to employ the tautology that any attendee who wants abortion ended is an activist, there were tens of thousands of participants who come merely to express concern and sorrow about the loss of lives abortion has caused. They are not political or social activists—they may be priests, pastors, and everyday Americans who “act” by praying tirelessly for abortion’s demise.

Were all those who marched with Dr. King in 1963 “activists”? I think that would be an inaccurate characterization of that group as well. Does standing in public against injustice make you an “activist”? I don’t think so. Christians are exhorted “to stand” and reject the perception that something is accepted by the church when it is not in actuality (see Ephesians 6:13 and Daniel 3). Many of those who attend the March for Life do so merely to leave their normal walks of life for a day “to stand” with the unborn. Many men and women also come to stand as acts of contrition for abortions in which they have participated.

Finally, the usage of the terms “anti-abortion” and “anti-abortion activist” by the media is a characterization that allows for the easiest stereotyping and dismissal of those marchers. This phrasing might be acceptable if those who support abortion, like many who attended the Women’s March held here on January 21st, were always referred to as “pro-abortion,” but they are not. Euphemisms like “pro-choice” have been used for decades to misdirect from the reality of abortion.

At the very least, the people at last Friday’s event were concerned with many bioethical issues beyond abortion like euthanasia, fetal tissue harvesting, cloning, and the creation of human-animal hybrids. “Anti-abortion” is an easy but incomplete way to characterize the depth and breadth of the pro-life movement.

The March for Life is a beautiful thing that deserves better treatment. I don’t mean to batter Mr. Peters—he seems like an able journalist who was probably working on a deadline and a word-count. But with that said, the time is long overdue when America’s “paper of record” should be able to write ably and fairly about a critical component of the pro-life movement, a social movement that is winning the argument.

The Pro-Life Movement Cares About All Babies, Born and Unborn

by Daniel Hart

January 26, 2017

With the somber anniversary of Roe v. Wade this past Sunday and the youthful energy of the March for Life that will happen today, we as a nation are rightly confronted once again with what many would prefer not to think about: In America, one’s unborn offspring can legally be killed.

With abortion front and center this week, it seems like the perfect time to once and for all quash a lie that has been continually regurgitated year after year by those who are in favor of abortion. The falsehood goes something like this: “Pro-lifers only care about the baby when it’s in the womb. Once it’s born, you no longer care about it, even when that child is born into poverty” yada, yada, yada.

Dr. Brian Clowes of Human Life International recently gave a succinct rebuttal of this falsehood at an FRC Policy Lecture:

 “My wife runs one of the 3,000 crisis pregnancy centers [there are actually over 4,000] all around the country. She and her volunteer counselors do everything, including driv[ing] them [women with unplanned pregnancies] to ultrasound appointments, finding them clothes, finding them jobs, finding them housing, and all the rest. No pro-abortion group does that. So I like to ask people, go ahead and pretend that you’re pregnant outside of marriage and can’t deal with this child; call up a pro-abortion group, any pro-abortion group, and say ‘I need help with baby food, with formula, I need help finding a job,’ and they’ll either laugh at you or refer you to a social service agency. Then try any pro-life CPC (crisis pregnancy center) and look at the contrast there. Who really cares about the women?”

To illustrate this point, Live Action recently released a video detailing how abortion groups like Planned Parenthood are the ones that don’t provide care for women if they choose to give birth to their babies—not only do they not provide services for women after birth, the vast majority don’t even provide basic prenatal care.

So next time you run into the baseless “pro-lifers only care about unborn babies” line, be sure to set the record straight: the pro-life movement cares about women and their babies, period—whether born or unborn. The facts speak for themselves.

Pro-Life Bills You Should Know About in 2017

by Family Research Council

January 26, 2017

As we approach the March for Life tomorrow, we have an unprecedented opportunity before us to advance the culture of life with a unified pro-life House, Senate, and president. Here are some bills you should know about for 2017 that will defend the innocent and protect the consciences of the American people. This year, like never before, let your representatives know of your support for these crucial measures that will save lives.

1. S.184/H.R.7 - No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would permanently codify the Hyde Amendment and apply it across all federal government programs, preventing federal funds from paying for elective abortion and health care plans that include elective abortion coverage. This bill (H.R.7) passed the House on January 24, 2017, and its Senate companion bill (S.184) is currently pending a vote in the Senate.

2. H.R.37/S.220 - Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

This bill requires health care practitioners to treat babies born alive after failed abortion attempts with the same care they would provide to a baby born at the same gestational age. Additionally, it includes penalties for the intentional killing of infants born alive. The bill also gives the mother of a child born alive a private right of action to seek relief in case an abortionist were to kill her born-alive infant.

3. H.R.36 - Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

This bill will ban abortions after 20 weeks’ post-fertilization, the point at which science tells us a child can feel excruciating pain.

4. Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act (pending introduction)

With this budget reconciliation bill, a special legislative vehicle that can pass the Senate with just 51 votes, pro-lifers can see Obamacare gutted, stopping subsidies for health care plans that cover abortion and see over $400 million rescinded in annual mandatory spending that currently funds Planned Parenthood. These taxpayer dollars would then be reallocated to other federally-qualified health centers that do not provide abortion. This bill passed the House and Senate in 2016, but unfortunately former President Obama vetoed it. President Trump has indicated that he would sign this legislation.

5. Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act (pending introduction)

This bill would ban dismemberment abortions in which unborn children are brutally torn apart limb from limb (also known as dilation and evacuation abortion).

6. Conscience Protection Act (pending introduction)

This bill would stop discrimination against pro-lifer Americans, by the government and entities it funds, who object to being forced to participate in abortion (such as doctors). This bill would codify abortion conscience laws like the Weldon Amendment that have to be re-added to annual spending bills, and the bill would give pro-life victims of discrimination the right to sue in court.

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