Category archives: Life & Bioethics

11 Reasons Why Assisted Suicide Must End

by Daniel Hart

July 26, 2017

A measure legalizing assisted suicide in Washington, D.C., which was recently passed by the city council and signed by the mayor, has now officially taken effect as of July 17. Thankfully, the federal government has jurisdiction over the District’s laws, and the House Appropriations Committee has advanced a measure that would repeal the assisted suicide law. Republican congressman are currently working to include this measure in an upcoming must-pass omnibus bill that will ultimately need House and Senate approval and a signature by President Trump before D.C. can once again return to sanity on this issue.

D.C. now joins six states (California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington) that have legalized assisted suicide. In a culture increasingly awash in the narcotic of moral relativism, let’s review why assisted suicide is such a grievous blow to our shared humanity and to common sense in general.

1. New cures and treatments for diseases are constantly discovered. Congressman Andy Harris (R-Md.) made this point while proposing the amendment to repeal the D.C. assisted suicide measure: “New, stunning cures in medicine occur each and every day. Encouraging patients to commit suicide deprives them of the opportunity to potentially be cured by new treatments that could ameliorate their condition and even add years to their lives, if not cure them completely.”

2. Taking lethal drugs is cheap and easy. Committing assisted suicide is a much cheaper alternative (about $300 on average) to often highly expensive (and sometimes experimental) medical treatments and procedures that can potentially extend the lives of (or cure) those who are gravely ill. It should go without saying that money should be no object to extending or saving someone’s life. But apparently it is, according to health insurance companies in states where assisted suicide is legal, who would rather cover cheap lethal drugs than more expensive medical treatments that could potentially extend or save lives.

3. Doctors are often wrong about predicting how long a patient has to live. As with assisted suicide measures in other states, the D.C. law stipulates that only those with six months or less to live can get a lethal medication prescription. But doctors admit that it is very difficult to precisely determine how long a patient has left to live, and they are often surprised by how long patients outlive their diagnoses, or in some cases recover completely. It is also important to note that there are numerous types of cancer that will immediately mean that a patient has “six months to live” if the cancer is left untreated. In other words, many patients with six-month diagnoses could just as easily be cured from their cancer after treatment, meaning that assisted suicide policies create a whole patient subset who do not have a terminal illness that can still legally commit suicide.

4. It corrupts the patient-doctor relationship and the Hippocratic Oath. Every patient deserves to have trust in their doctor that they will do what’s best for their health. When a doctor recommends suicide, it is an inhuman violation of the implicit trust that a patient should have in their caretaker. In the Hippocratic Oath commonly taken by doctors, the primary rule is to “do no harm.” Recommending assisted suicide is the most grievous breach of this oath.

5. Assisted suicide limits patients’ access to high quality care. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Oh.), a doctor, related the story of one Oregon resident with prostate cancer who applied for an expensive form of chemotherapy through the state-run healthcare system that his doctor had recommended. He was denied the treatment; he instead received a letter from the state of Oregon offering to pay for his assisted suicide.

6. It preys upon the weak and vulnerable. Those who are terminally ill are understandably in a very fragile mental state. This makes them more vulnerable to give in to the “compassionate” advice of family members and doctors to end their lives, convincing them that they are creating a monetary and psychological “burden” on their families. Assisted suicide also gives those people who value money over the lives of their family members a convenient way to kill them off.

7. It is a violation of equality before the law. As Ryan Anderson has written, “Classifying a subgroup of people as legally eligible to be killed violates our nation’s commitment to equality before the law—showing profound disrespect for and callousness to those who will be judged to have lives no longer ‘worth living,’ not least the frail elderly, the demented, and the disabled.”

8. Comforting those who are dying is actually life-affirming. Numerous accounts of families drawing closer together around the bedside of a dying family member abound. Here is just one that I found particularly moving. Here is another one from a woman who worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, illustrating the fact that standing up against assisted suicide does not have to be a partisan issue.

9. “Until the day we take our last breath, we have something to offer.” Rep. Wenstrup learned this lesson when he examined an AIDS patient in 1985, who died the next day. “He taught me something for a lifetime on his last day,” he said. The man told Wenstrup that he was the first person to fully examine him, because everybody else was too afraid to because of his mysterious disease (at that time). Wenstrup learned a valuable lesson about the dignity of every human life from this man, and what it must feel like to be cast aside and rejected by your fellow man.

10. Human life is cheapened in the minds of everyone. When we declare a certain category of people as not worthy of life, we as human beings begin to doubt the value of human life in general. This phenomenon has been verified statistically in a study in Oregon, Washington, and Vermont, where assisted suicide is legal. After these laws were passed, the suicide rate amongst the general population went up in all three states.

11. Everyone is needed. In the words of Rep. Wenstrup (who gave a superb policy lecture about assisted suicide at FRC headquarters): “With laws like this [assisted suicide laws], we promote the idea that you just aren’t needed here, and I think that’s hurting America across the board … As we go forward, we have to continue to discuss how important every life is, and the positive effects that you can have even in your struggles, not only for yourself, but for those around you. Life brings us together, and so does death; and I believe that until you take that last breath, you continue to give. And then who you were continues to give, forever—that will never perish. We need to take a long hard look at who we are as a society and what we want to be, where we want to go, what’s important to us. I imagine everyone that’s listening today hopefully feels that they have some value. You do have value. You need to feel necessary. We need to talk to each other, and tell each other how necessary each one of us is.”

In concluding his lecture, Rep. Wenstrup related a true story he read in which the author was offered a sandwich by a homeless man while he was hitchhiking. “[The author] didn’t know what to say. He accepted it … What that [homeless] gentleman was doing was making himself needed. Everyone is needed. Everyone plays a part in our lives, and we need to respect that, and hopefully [on the issue of assisted suicide] we can drive that home, because we’re all better served if we value human life and emphasize its importance each and every day.”

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.

D.C.’s Inhuman Assisted Suicide Law Must Be Repealed

by Daniel Hart

February 22, 2017

With barely a murmur from the major news media, Washington, D.C. became just the sixth jurisdiction in America to legalize assisted suicide this past Saturday.

As discussed previously, assisted suicide is an abhorrent illustration of how far we have fallen as a culture, where death can now be chosen as if it were a legitimate choice among a variety of medical options.

It is therefore extremely disappointing, to say the least, that Congress did not use its constitutional authority to block the D.C. assisted suicide legislation from becoming law through a joint resolution of disapproval.

Congress can and must exert its constitutional authority to nullify this harmful and deeply flawed D.C. legislation, which undermines the dignity of human life, lacks commonsense safeguards against abuse, and endangers poor, sick, disabled, and elderly people.

Although the D.C. law has already taken effect, doctors will not be able to prescribe lethal drugs for several months, possibly not until October, while D.C. creates the administrative forms, oversight, and studies for assisted suicide under their law.

Congress’ latest spending bill funds the government until April 28 of this year. This gives Congress another chance to act to repeal the D.C. assisted suicide law by attaching a repeal provision to must-pass spending legislation, before patients begin to end their lives in our nation’s capital. We support Dr. Andy Harris (R-MD)’s efforts to that end.

Assisted suicide is an inhuman act, pure and simple. It short-circuits the universal experience of death that every human being deserves at the natural end of their life. Further, anyone who has sat at the bedside of a dying person will tell you that death gives new meaning and insight into our humanity.

One of the most beautiful recent illustrations of this was written for The New Yorker, of all places (a publication whose editorial board is almost certainly in favor of assisted suicide). Kathryn Schulz’s piece is a stunningly poetic and perceptive account of her experience of witnessing her father’s death. Here is an excerpt:

Even so, for a while longer, he endured—I mean his him-ness, his Isaac-ness, that inexplicable, assertive bit of self in each of us. A few days before his death, having ignored every request made of him by a constant stream of medical professionals (“Mr. Schulz, can you wiggle your toes?” “Mr. Schulz, can you squeeze my hand?”), my father chose to respond to one final command: Mr. Schulz, we learned, could still stick out his tongue. His last voluntary movement, which he retained almost until the end, was the ability to kiss my mother. Whenever she leaned in close to brush his lips, he puckered up and returned the same brief, adoring gesture that I had seen all my days. In front of my sister and me, at least, it was my parents’ hello and goodbye, their “Sweet dreams” and “I’m only teasing,” their “I’m sorry” and “You’re beautiful” and “I love you”—the basic punctuation mark of their common language, the sign and seal of fifty years of happiness.

One night, while that essence still persisted, we gathered around, my father’s loved ones, and filled his silence with talk. I had always regarded my family as close, so it was startling to realize how much closer we could get, how near we drew around his dying flame. The room we were in was a cube of white, lit up like the aisle of a grocery store, yet in my memory that night is as dark and vibrant as a Rembrandt painting. We talked only of love; there was nothing else to say. My father, mute but alert, looked from one face to the next as we spoke, eyes shining with tears. I had always dreaded seeing him cry, and rarely did, but for once I was grateful. It told me what I needed to know: for what may have been the last time in his life, and perhaps the most important, he understood.

It is easy for those who have never experienced the death of a loved one to say that people should have a “right to die.” When real-life accounts of death come to light, assisted suicide quickly becomes unthinkable. Here is one final excerpt:

Eventually, we decided that my father would not recover, and so, instead of continuing to try to stave off death, we unbarred the door and began to wait. To my surprise, I found it comforting to be with him during that time, to sit by his side and hold his hand and watch his chest rise and fall with a familiar little riffle of snore. It was not, as they say, unbearably sad; on the contrary, it was bearably sad—a tranquil, contemplative, lapping kind of sorrow. I thought, as it turns out mistakenly, that what I was doing during those days was making my peace with his death. I have learned since then that even one’s unresponsive and dying father is, in some extremely salient way, still alive.

Why True Feminism Means Skipping the Women’s March on Washington

by Brynne Krispin

January 3, 2017

On January 21, women from around the country will come together in our nation’s capital for the Women’s March on Washington. Hundreds of thousands of women will fill the streets near the U. S. Capitol with their Rosie the Riveter arms flexed and their “woman power” signs bouncing in the air. They’ll stand tall and confident, filled with determination for their voices to be heard during the next four years of a Trump presidency.

A march like this has great potential for admirable goals, but its mission is a bit vague – standing in solidarity together for the protection of women’s rights and sending a bold message to the new administration that “women’s rights are human rights.” The mission statement ends in all caps, “HEAR OUR VOICE.”

But while this information alone has prompted thousands to register for the event already, it’s purpose has left many of us confused and disappointed. It’s upsetting to read the three paragraph mission statement and not be able to answer the most basic question: What rights are we fighting for? And to take it a step further, are we even speaking in unison?

Nowhere on the website does it list plans for what they hope to accomplish by marching in Washington, nor do they discuss goals for the next four years.

Motivating hundreds of thousands of women to come together and fight for a cause is compelling, but if you’re organizing a women’s movement, it needs to be for a specific cause that affects many women in our country and around the world – the gender wage gap, equal rights to education, the list could go on and on. We need to know what we’re fighting for and have a clear strategy to get things done. 

Feminism encourages women to think for themselves – get the facts, use our brains, and make smart decisions. So why should we show up to march? According to the logic of the organizers for the Women’s March, simply because we’re women. They expect us to say, “Oh cool, I’m going to go to this awesome event with hundreds of thousands of women because… I’m a woman!” This dumbs us down to one-dimensional human beings; it is the exact opposite of feminism.

Feminism celebrates the diversity of all women and appreciates them for who they are. Our unique minds, personalities, race, culture, etc. cannot be easily lumped into one category or even one cause.

If women are being asked to take a stand, we should be certain we know exactly what we’re standing for. 

I know it’s tempting to still attend – you want to make Susan B. Anthony proud with a selfie at the Supreme Court surrounded by hundreds of your new best friends to prove to the world that you are a true feminist. But it’s time to move past the “I am woman, hear me roar” approach. Roaring is not the agent to affect change – strong, articulate ideas are. Being the loudest person in the room is not leadership. We need less women with noise makers and no agenda and more women with a vision and a strategy to move us forward.

To anyone who is attending the Women’s March and completely disagrees with this argument, gather your thoughts and comment below. Your opinion has value, and we want to hear it. We must work together in order to advance the desperate need for women’s equality and respect for women and girls in our nation and around the world. But we must be smart about how we do it, otherwise our cause will fall on deaf ears and no progress will be made.

The problem isn’t with our volume, it’s with our message.

As we stand on the shoulders of the great female leaders before us – Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and others – let’s make sure it isn’t merely our voices that are heard and our message itself actually sinks in.

Note: Already made your pro-woman sign and still want to march in January? Consider the March for Life, which stands for the most basic human right – the right to live. After all, this is the cause Susan B. Anthony would have marched for if she were alive today.

Adoption: How One Life Touches Countless Others

by Elizabeth Hance

November 11, 2016

I’ve had a baby, and I keep wanting to hold her. But she’s gone. I miss her.” A teenager named Bonnie wrote those words in August of 1990. Months before, she had been surprised and scared to learn she was pregnant. As a 17-year-old on the brink of beginning her higher education, she knew she was not equipped to be a parent. But instead of ending the life inside her, she made the bravest, most selfless decision possible: giving up her child for adoption.

I struggle to comprehend the difficulty of entrusting a biological child with new parents, but I am so thankful that Bonnie did so, because that child, Christine Marie, is now one of my dearest friends and has since shared this story to encourage countless others. The day that Bonnie gave up Christy was one of pain, as the words she wrote testify, but Christy’s life as well as innumerable other lives have benefitted as a result of Bonnie’s courageous sacrifice.

Many preconceived ideas and awkward questions often surround adoption. Can a parent’s bond with an adopted child ever be as strong as the one with a biological child? Will an adopted child ever secretly wish his or her birth parents had kept him or her? Are birth parents depriving their child by giving him or her to non-biological parents? These concerns all have valid elements to them, but I have had the privilege of witnessing many adoption stories and can say with certainty that adoption is one of the most beautiful and courageous decisions a woman could make in the face of an unplanned pregnancy.

My dear friend Christy grew up always knowing her adoption as a precious gift—her birth parents loved her and wanted the best for her, but knew that someone else could give that to her when they could not. And now, Christy has the joy of an ongoing relationship with both of her birth parents and has deep gratitude to them for giving her the best family for which she could have asked. Her parents and brother are her rock, and she now also has a wonderful husband who encouraged her to make contact with her birth father.

In her everyday work, Christy now counsels women like Bonnie, using her own story to show them the good that can come from adoption. She works for an adoption agency that comes alongside women with unplanned pregnancies to help them give the best future for themselves and their children.

Christy’s story shows me that abortion and adoption are not only about the child and the birth parents. If Bonnie had not carried Christy to term and then given her to her new parents, I likely wouldn’t be able to call Christy my friend, college roommate, or confidant. I know many other girls who are also blessed with her friendship and mentoring because Bonnie gave her up for adoption. What’s more, Christy’s parents wouldn’t have had the joy of raising her, and her brother wouldn’t have had her as his sister if not for Bonnie’s sacrifice. Christy’s husband William and his family would never have known her. And the vulnerable women who are blessed by Christy every day would not have her in their lives right now.

One life touches innumerable others, and I’m grateful to Christy’s birth mother for giving her baby girl the chance to touch so many lives that she wouldn’t have encountered without her adoption.        

 

Elizabeth Hance is an intern at Family Research Council.

Passing Driver Buys Chair for 40 Days for Life Team Member

by JP Duffy

October 16, 2015

40 Days for Life reports that 339 babies have been saved from abortion so far during the campaign taking place now through November 1st in 307 cities. The impact of 40 Days for Life continues to grow each year as thousands of Christians gather to provide a prayerful presence outside abortion centers across the nation. 

This morning, my family and I joined the 40 Days for Life gathering outside the late-term abortion facility in Germantown, Maryland. We hoped to encourage and thank those praying for life, but little did we know how much encouragement we would receive! One car after another honked in support, with numerous drivers giving the thumbs-up, waving, and offering words of encouragement. Not a single negative reaction was seen from any driver.   

One passing driver saw an elderly gentleman sitting on the ground holding a “Pray to End Abortion” sign and was compelled to go to the store to buy him a chair. She had the brightest smile on her face as she walked over to hand him the chair and thank him for praying. I have participated in many such prayer gatherings over the years, but today the public’s support seemed to hit a new high. 

Maryland has long been known as having some of the most radical pro-abortion laws in the world, but like the rest of the nation, it appears to be moving in a pro-life direction. The Planned Parenthood videos have so horrified the American people that an increasing number of states are redirecting those funds from the abortion giant to community health centers. With its poll numbers in a free fall, Planned Parenthood is even finding it difficult to keep its hold on Maryland taxpayer funds.

To those of you involved in 40 Days for Life: Be encouraged. You are doing the Lord’s work and are changing hearts and saving lives. Keep it up! If you haven’t yet participated in 40 Days for Life, I encourage you to check out 40DaysforLife.com and join a prayer gathering in your local area between now and November 1. You can save lives where you live.

Adoption Agency Gets Techie

by Maize Pyburn

October 14, 2015

A recent article from Live Action News details a new approach being taken by an adoption agency to get the pro-life message out to women about to have an abortion. The article explains that Bethany Christian Services (BCS), a global nonprofit organization that provides services such as adoption, foster care, and pregnancy counseling, will use geo-fencing to reach out to women in abortion clinics.

For those unfamiliar with the term “geo-fencing,” it’s a location-based service that can send messages (i.e., advertising) to anyone who enters a pre-set location. A company or organization can select particular locations — in this case, BCS selects abortion centers — into which to send their ads.

So, when someone enters a particular abortion clinic and opens up the internet or an app, geo-fencing allows BCS ads to appear in the app or on the webpage. The intended end result, of course, will be that the woman leaves the clinic and seeks out the assistance of BCS or another pregnancy care center.

Thinking outside the box by creatively using technology is just what the pro-life movement needs to propel its message further — even to the darkest corners of abortion clinics.

A Planned Parenthood Lexicon

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 13, 2015

To understand Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s (PPFA) public statements concerning the videos released this past summer showing its coarse and predatory sale of the body parts of unborn children, reflection on two passages from a couple of great books is worthwhile:

When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of (the state), but to make all other modes of thought impossible. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods.”

George Orwell, 1984

Language shapes thought. It defines the content of our thinking such that we revert, by mental default, to using words we are used to hearing regarding various subject matter.

An example: When I think of the Grand Canyon, I think of the amazing canyon in Arizona whose depth, variety, and sheer size are both beautiful and remarkable. However, had I been conditioned to think of this geographical wonder as dangerous and hideous, my mental conception would be starkly different.

Words are used to depict or describe; when they are used dishonestly — when they distort one’s understanding of a person or event or idea — they are weapons against intellectual integrity and morality itself.

Planned Parenthood has developed a lectionary, accepted pro forma by the secular Left, to describe its various activities. Not unique to PPFA — this same set of words and phrases is used by the popular media and liberal politicians, as well — nonetheless the brazenness of the organization in using its specialized and euphemized vocabulary has elevated verbal and intellectual misrepresentation to a new level of hypocrisy.

This lectionary is articulated in an announcement made today by PPFA President Cecile Richards. In a letter for National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, Richards said “the organization’s affiliates will no longer accept any reimbursements for costs associated with procuring tissue from abortions.”

Consider just one of the terms used in the letter: “fetal tissue.” When one thinks of tissue, usually it is of the flesh around our bones. Tissue samples are removed and studied; innocuous and common, right?

PPFA is not referring to a “donation” of such “tissue.” It’s speaking of the scavenging of organs of unborn children aborted late in their pregnancies. Dr. Deborah Necotola, Senior Director of Medical Services for the PPFA, explains what her organization really means by “tissue:”

You try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that, you know, we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver … so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m going to basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact … I’ll actually collect what you want sometimes, and put it aside … Why not? I’m right there. Oh, for sure, I mean to me, I don’t know, it makes the procedure that much better.”

Then there’s the term “reimbursement.” PPFA’s decision to end its “reimbursement” scheme amounts to the employment of another euphemism, at best; the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress imply that PPFA has a high profit motive for its organs-for-sale business.

The reality is that there is no cost to PPFA in providing infant cadavers to tissue procurement organizations (TPOs). As David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress wrote to congressional leaders in August,

We now know from Cecile Richards’ letter that $60 per collected tissue specimen is what will “get a toe in” to harvest baby parts at Planned Parenthood Pacific Southwest. Like other TPOs, (Advanced Bioscience Resources) handles all dissection, packaging, and shipping of fetal organs and tissues, and so it is unclear for what PPPS could be receiving “reimbursement.” This is especially suspicious given that Ms. Richards says the $60 fee is paid “per tissue specimen.” Thus, if ABR harvests a liver and a thymus, a common fetal tissue order, from an 18-week fetus aborted at the San Diego clinic, Planned Parenthood receives a total payment of $120 from that case. It stretches credulity to believe that ABR’s technician harvesting two organs from a fetus costs Planned Parenthood $120 — this is a new revenue stream off of fetal tissue with no real cost to Planned Parenthood, and thus a criminal profit.

In sum, as Notre Dame Law School professor O. Carter Snead told the Associated Press today, “Planned Parenthood’s decision is clearly an effort at damage control — to preserve its carefully cultivated (and ferociously defended) image as merely a women’s health care organization. Nothing Planned Parenthood has done today will change its role as the world’s leading abortion provider.”

Indeed. In the words of Tennessee Republican Congresswoman Diane Black, quoted in the same AP story as Snead, “It is curious that, while Planned Parenthood officials maintain there has been no wrongdoing, they still find it necessary to change their policy following the recent undercover videos. Clearly, this was a decision motivated by optics rather than the organization’s conscience.”

And as Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said, “It is clear that Planned Parenthood knows it is wrong to profit from the sale of baby body parts, but their decision to stop selling organs doesn’t change the fact that Planned Parenthood still profits from the death of children. This organization still engages in the inhumane treatment of children, and our federal government forces taxpayers to give them their hard-earned money. Congress must continue all investigations into their grotesque practices and remain committed to defunding them.”

At this stage, even Big Brother would walk away from trying to market Planned Parenthood. Will Congress? Will the White House? Let us pray to that end.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day” and Planned Parenthood

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 5, 2015

Since 2006, October 15 has been designated by Congress as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in the United States.

This day is intended for the remembrance of “pregnancy loss and infant death, which includes but is not limited to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, or the death of a newborn.”

This is a lovely recognition of the painful loss of a baby, something millions of Americans have experienced.  It’s a loss no parent ever wants to know.

Exactly one week before this date, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Planned Parenthood Exposed: Examining Abortion Procedures and Medical Ethics at the Nation’s Largest Abortion Provider.” The hearing, which will take place in the Rayburn House Office building, will address issues raised by the release this summer of a series of videos showing Planned Parenthood officials haggling over the details of harvesting organs from aborted unborn children — and even discussing techniques for aborting those children so as to optimize the collection of their body parts.

The irony is almost overwhelming: We are rightly compassionate toward women whose loss of their littles ones causes such pain, but the Left is fiercely defending the nation’s largest provider of abortion by trying to discredit the organization that revealed its evil behaviors and minimizing the gravity of what Planned Parenthood does to almost-born babies.

The late Anglican theologian John R.W. Stott, writing about abortion and its related wrongs, wrote this more than 25 years ago:

Any society which can tolerate these things, let alone legislate for them, has ceased to be civilised. One of the major signs of decadence in the Roman Empire was that its unwanted babies were ‘exposed’, that is abandoned and left to die. Can we claim that contemporary Western society is any less decadent because it consigns its unwanted babies to the hospital incinerator instead of the local rubbish dump? Indeed modern abortion is even worse than ancient exposure because it has been commercialised, and has become, at least for some doctors and clinics, an extremely lucrative practice. But reverence for human life is an indisputable characteristic of a humane and civilised society.

The only thing that has changed is the further coarsening of our culture and the greater number of unborn deaths.  And that’s why the battle for life and for the dignity of women preyed upon by the abortion industry goes on.

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