Tag archives: Abortion

Do You Know Which 2020 Obamacare Plans Cover Abortion on Demand?

by Patrina Mosley

December 9, 2019

The 2020 Obamacare Open Enrollment Period spans November 1 through December 15, 2019 for most states. During this time, Americans will be able to sign up for Obamacare plans and many will receive taxpayer-funded subsidies to help pay for these plans.

FRC and the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) have completed the sixth annual review of elective abortion coverage in individual health insurance plans offered on state exchanges under Obamacare at Obamacareabortion.com.

Our investigation found that more locales than ever before are providing abortion-only plans. This means that Americans have much less choice over whether their healthcare plan covers abortion or not. Since last year’s open enrollment, the total number of plans increased modestly from 1,000 to 1,120. The percentage of total plans covering elective abortion rose 4 percent over this period from 65 percent of plans (650) in 2019 to 69 percent of plans (777) in 2020. While 26 states have opted out of abortion coverage by prohibiting plans that cover elective abortion on their Obamacare exchanges, 24 states and the District of Columbia continue to allow abortion-funding insurance plans. An estimated 777 plans cover elective abortion for the 2020 enrollment period.

A majority of Americans still strongly oppose the use of their tax dollars to fund abortion. Unfortunately, several states have acted against American attitudes towards abortion funding. This year alone, Illinois and Maine passed state abortion mandates that force every insurance carrier in the state to cover elective abortions. Now, residents in these states join the residents of California and New York who are also forced to pay for abortion in their healthcare plans.

Consumers have a right to know where exactly their money is going to make truly informed healthcare decisions that do not conflict with their conscience. Obamacareabortion.com was designed to help you determine if a health insurance plan covers elective abortion before you decide which plan to select. To find out if a health insurance plan covers elective abortion, click on your state on the interactive map. After clicking on your state, a summary of all the insurance carriers offering individual and family plans in your state (or federally-facilitated) exchange will appear. The page identifies each of the offered exchange plans in your state, and whether or not those plans cover elective abortion.

By law, insurance companies on the Obamacare exchanges must disclose whether their plans cover elective abortion. The disclosures should be appearing in each plan’s Summary of Benefits and Coverage. Unfortunately, there were a few carriers whose number of plans and whether they covered elective abortion were inconclusive. If you find an insurance carrier marked “Unknown,” this means that we have searched their publicly available online documents and contacted them, but still have no clear information about their coverage. We encourage you to contact us at info@obamacareabortion.com if you find any additional or conflicting information regarding the abortion coverage policy of your plan.

Introducing Lecture Me! - A New Podcast from FRC

by Family Research Council

October 15, 2019

We all need to be lectured sometimes.

Family Research Council’s new weekly-ish podcast Lecture Me! features selected talks by top thinkers from the archives of the FRC Speaker Series. Our podcast podium takes on tough issues like religious liberty, abortion, euthanasia, marriage, family, sexuality, public policy, and the culture—all from a biblical worldview.

Listen with us to the lecture, then stick around afterward as we help you digest the content with a discussion featuring FRC’s policy and government affairs experts.

The first three episodes are now available. They include:

  • Nancy Pearcey: Love Thy Body

FRC’s Director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview David Closson joins Lecture Me! to discuss Author Nancy Pearcey’s lecture about her book Love Thy Body, in which she fearlessly and compassionately makes the case that secularism denigrates the body and destroys the basis for human rights, and sets forth a holistic and humane alternative that embraces the dignity of the human body.

  • Military Mental Health Crisis

Currently, an average of 21 military veterans are taking their lives each day. FRC’s Deputy Director of State and Local Affairs Matt Carpenter joins the podcast to discuss Richard Glickstein’s lecture as he shares the compelling evidence that proves faith-based solutions reduce suicides, speed the recovery of PTSD, and build resiliency.

  • Repairers of the Breach

How can the conservative movement help restore America’s inner cities? FRC’s Coalitions Senior Research Fellow Chris Gacek joins the podcast to discuss Robert L. Woodson, Sr.’s lecture on how the conservative movement must identify, recognize, and support agents of individual and community uplift and provide the resources, expertise, and funding that can strengthen and expand their transformative work.

Lecture Me! is available at most places you listen to podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and Castbox.

Life-Affirming Title X Recipients Will Now Receive Even More Funding Thanks in Part to Planned Parenthood

by Connor Semelsberger

October 1, 2019

The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Protect Life Rule, which separates abortion activities from federally-funded family planning clinics, is currently in effect, as further court proceedings play out in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In response to this rule, Planned Parenthood and several pro-abortion states decided that performing abortions is more important than providing family planning services to underserved women when they voluntarily withdrew from the Title X Program on August 19th.

This week, HHS announced that $33.6 million of the funding forfeited by pro-abortion grantees will now be awarded to 50 current Title X grantees that do not promote abortion as a method of family planning.

This supplemental funding will enable current grantees to better meet the family planning needs of underserved women across America. Contrary to what opponents of the Protect Life Rule claim, Title X patient coverage will not suffer. Clinics like Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Centers (RHCs), which do not promote or perform abortions, will now be able to provide high-quality and affordable family planning services to even more women and families in need than they did before.

Here is the list of Planned Parenthood entities and pro-abortion states that chose to reject millions of dollars in federal funding rather than stop referring patients for abortion:

Grantees Voluntarily Terminated

  • AK     Planned Parenthood of Great Northwest & Hawaiian Islands
  • CT     Planned Parenthood of Southern New England
  • ID     Planned Parenthood of Great Northwest & Hawaiian Islands
  • IL     Illinois Department of Health
  • IL     Planned Parenthood of Illinois
  • MA     Health Imperatives Inc.
  • MA     Massachusetts Department of Public Health
  • MD     Maryland Department of Health
  • ME     Family Planning Association of Maine Inc.
  • MN     Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota
  • NH     Planned Parenthood of Northern New England
  • NY     Public Health Solutions
  • NY     New York Department of Health
  • OH     Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio
  • OR     Oregon Health Authority
  • UT     Planned Parenthood Association of Utah
  • VT     Vermont Agency of Human Services
  • WA     Washington State Department of Health

Grantees Receiving Supplemental Award

  • AL     Alabama Department of Public Health
  • AR     Arkansas Department of Health
  • AZ     Arizona Family Health Partnership
  • CO     Colorado Department of Public Health
  • CT     Cornell Scott-Hill Health Corporation
  • DC     Unity Health Care Inc.
  • DE     Delaware State Department of Health
  • FL     Primary Care Medical Services of Poinciana Inc.
  • FL     Community Health Centers of Pinellas Inc.
  • GA     Neighborhood Improvement Project Inc.
  • GA     Family Health Centers of Georgia Inc.
  • IA     Family Planning Council of Iowa
  • ID     Idaho Department of Health & Welfare
  • IL     Aunt Martha’s Health and Wellness Inc.
  • IN     Indiana Family Health Council Inc.
  • KS     Kansas Department of Health & Environment
  • KY     Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services
  • MA     Action for Boston Community Development Inc.
  • MD     The Community Clinic Inc.
  • MS     Mississippi State Department of Health
  • MN     Ramsey County
  • MT     Montana Department of Public Health
  • ND     North Dakota Department of Health
  • NE     Family Planning Council of Nebraska
  • NM     New Mexico Department of Health
  • NV     Nevada Primary Care Association
  • NV     City of Carson City
  • NV     Washoe County
  • NV     Southern Nevada Health District
  • NY     The Floating Hospital Inc.
  • OH     Ohio Department of Health
  • OK     Community Health Connection Inc.
  • OK     Oklahoma Department of Health
  • PA     AccessMatters
  • PA     Family Health Council of Central Pennsylvania Inc.
  • PA     Maternal and Family Health Services Inc.
  • PA     Adagio Health Inc.
  • RI     Rhode Island Department of Health
  • SC     South Carolina State Department of Health
  • SD     South Dakota Department of Health
  • TN     Tennessee Department of Health
  • TR     FSM Department of Health & Social Affairs
  • TR     Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.
  • TR     Family Planning Association of Puerto Rico
  • TR     American Samoa Medical Center Authority
  • TX     Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas
  • TX     City of El Paso
  • WI     Wisconsin Department of Health Services
  • WV     West Virginia Department of HHS
  • WY     Wyoming Health Council

You may find more information about the Title X program here.

What the New Guttmacher Report Tells Us About Chemical Abortion

by Patrina Mosley

September 20, 2019

Abortion research hub the Guttmacher Institute has released its latest report on the trends and incidence of abortion in the United States. This abortion surveillance report covers abortion occurrences from 2014-2017 and documents what we’ve seen consistently: abortion rates are in decline, but the percentage of chemical abortions continues to rise.

The trend continues, with the abortion rate dropping to its lowest point since 1973 at 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women for 2017, dropping eight percent since 2014. In 2014, the abortion rate was 14.6.

The estimated total number of abortions for the year 2017 was 862,320, and 339,640 of those were chemical abortions, which means they accounted for approximately 39 percent of all abortions. That’s a 25 percent increase in the use of chemical abortions (the report refers to them as “medication abortions”) from 2014!

Unsurprisingly, abortion advocates and Guttmacher have attributed the steady decline of abortions to contraceptive use, abortion facility closures, and pro-life protections – never to women choosing better options and rejecting the disempowerment of abortion. But this report added a second layer to their reasoning: “[I]ncreases in the number of individuals relying on self-managed abortions outside of a clinical setting.”

What does that mean? It means that Guttmacher is attempting to account for women who are performing their own chemical abortions at home. This type of abortion cannot, for obvious reasons, be accounted for through traditional methods of abortion reporting.

The report admits that the majority of “medication abortions” were seen in clinics for the year 2017. But the percentage of abortion clinics reporting that they “had seen one or more patients for a missed or failed abortion due to self-induction” increased from 12 percent in 2014 to 18 percent in 2017.

The questionnaire used to collect this data changed from the year 2014 to 2017. The 2014 survey question asked whether “any patients had been treated for missed or failed abortions due to self-induction and if so, how many?” For 2017, the questionnaire removed the yes/no screener and only asked for the total number of patients treated for missed or failed self-managed abortions. Only 55 percent of abortion facilities (808) responded, but the report states that 106 facilities (seven percent) answered, “I don’t know.” The survey concluded that an “I don’t know” response meant the facility was unsure what they were treating – self-induced abortions or miscarriages – so the data here is sure to be incomplete.

It is also not unheard of that illegal abortion pill peddlers have encouraged women to lie and say they’ve had a miscarriage when going to an emergency room or clinic for follow up on complications.

According to one study, women who undergo chemical abortions experience roughly four times the rate of complications compared to women who underwent surgical abortions.

So, if 18 percent of these women were seeking follow-up care at an abortion clinic, then the question is: where were these women getting abortion pills in the first place?

It is reported that some Texas women have walked over the border to Mexico to purchase one portion of the abortion pill regimen, misoprostol, which is available without a prescription there.

What is even more shocking from this report is the implied support for the sale of illegal abortion pills from outliers like Aid Access:

More recently, drugs similar to those used in the U.S. medication abortion regimen—a highly effective combination of mifepristone and misoprostol—have become available on the internet, as have websites providing accurate information about how to safely and effectively self-manage abortion using drugs obtained outside of a clinical setting. In particular, Aid Access, an international organization that provides medication abortion pills via mail order to people living in the United States, launched their website in March 2018 (after the study period) and reported filling 2,500 prescriptions in that year. The majority of patients obtaining abortions are poor or low-income, many lack health insurance that will cover the procedure, and many live in states with numerous abortion restrictions.

These factors, along with the increased accessibility of resources to help individuals safely self-manage their abortions outside of a clinical setting, likely account for some of the decline in abortions that we have documented.”

This is the same Aid Access that the FDA instructed to cease dispensing abortion pills and comply with their drug safety procedures through the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS), which essentially prohibits the distribution of the abortion pill regimen by mail or online.

Aid Access has pursued a lawsuit against the FDA. Aid Access is no doubt just another pawn of the abortion industry in their efforts to get the REMS lifted and have abortion pills accessible over-the-counter.

The abortion pill carries severe risks such as hemorrhage, infection, retained fetal parts, the need for emergency surgery, and even death. An incomplete abortion can occur up to 10 percent of the time; a chemical abortion is nothing to play with and should not be “self-managed.”

A total of 4,195 adverse effects from chemical abortions were reported from 2000 to 2018, including 24 deaths, 97 ectopic pregnancies, 1,042 hospitalizations, 599 blood transfusions, and 412 infections (including 69 severe infections). These are just the adverse events reported to the FDA, so the data is certain to be incomplete.

In spite of these devastating realities, the abortion industry proudly admits that their ultimate goal for the future of abortion in the United States is “self-management.”

Abortion advocates claimed that legalized abortion would eliminate “do it yourself” abortions! Now they want to return to the days of “back-alleys,” this time with “chemical coat-hangers.” This business model places the heavy burden and liability of abortion on the women and not on the abortion industry themselves.

At first, Guttmacher seems to suggest that the apparent decrease in abortion rates is not a true decrease at all, but rather an increase in unreported, self-induced abortions. But after dedicating an entire section of the report to analyzing what it calls “medication” and “self-managed” abortions, Guttmacher concludes the report by backtracking its earlier assessment, saying it is “unlikely” that unreported abortions could account for most of the decline.

No matter what the abortion industry’s propaganda might say, the real reason abortion rates are in decline is that women are choosing life, and pregnancy resource centers providing life-affirming care—often at no cost to the women—are prevailing.

Ross Douthat Exposes the Abortion Hypocrisy of the Left

by Quena Gonzalez

September 18, 2019

The inimitable New York Times columnist Ross Douthat recently wrote a column titled, “The Abortion Mysticism of Pete Buttigieg: How the party of science decided that personhood begins at birth.” Read the whole thing here. It’s a master-class in opinion writing.

In a single, cohesive essay, Douthat pulls together several disparate threads to demonstrate the Democratic Party’s abortion extremism, including Pete Buttigieg’s recent comments that perhaps “life begins with breath,” the recent firing of Planned Parenthood’s Leanna Wen over the politics of abortion, and last weekend’s revelation that Buttigieg’s hometown abortionist had stored over 2,200 dead unborn children in his home.

The only thing I might add is that Democrats do not actually draw the line on abortion when, as Buttigieg suggested, the baby draws his or her first breath. Witness Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and the Democrat state legislators who in 2019 undid or blocked protections for abortion survivors in New York, Illinois, and North Carolina, and came harrowingly close to doing so in Virginia and New Mexico. Witness the House Democrats who may soon vote for the 100th time to block protections for abortion survivors. When it comes to abortion, no baby is safe from the Democrats unless he or she is wanted by his or her mother.

While the destructive force of the sexual revolution rolls on to enthusiastic cheering from the Left, its unfortunate casualties—both unborn and born children—are discarded.

The Unintentionally Powerful Pro-Life Message of One Child Nation

by Laura Grossberndt

August 30, 2019

One Child Nation co-director Nanfu Wang stands with her son in front of a Chinese propaganda mural.

Faced with a national population approaching one billion, the People’s Republic of China instituted a one-child-per-family policy in 1979. This policy was in effect until 2015, when the government expanded the birth limit to two children per family. While the policy may have “succeeded” at slowing the national birthrate, it also forcibly violated the bodies of millions of women and resulted in the death or disappearance of millions of pre or post-born children, most of them female.

One Child Nation, winner of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize, is a heart-rending, eye-opening account of China’s one-child policy and the human rights violations that ensued. The documentary is narrated and co-directed by Nanfu Wang, a Chinese-American immigrant who was born in China while the policy was in effect. In the film, she conducts a series of interviews with victims of the one-child policy, former government officials and midwives entrusted with enforcing the policy, citizens who defied the policy, and members of her own family (some of whom supported the policy and others who opposed it). The result is a vivid portrayal of Chinese life and a compelling critique of government authoritarianism. Because of this, the documentary One Child Nation is the rightful recipient of much critical acclaim and deserves a wide viewership. However, a surprising moral inconsistency and a false comparison in the closing minutes of the film prevents this otherwise superb documentary from having its fullest impact.

A Heartbreaking Account of State-Enforced Brutality

Aspects of the film worth commending include Wang’s compelling first-hand experiences about the one-child policy. She explains that propaganda supporting the policy was woven into virtually every facet of life while she was growing up: from murals and advertisements to entertainment and music. She recalls feeling shame for having a sibling (some rural families were allowed to have two children). Her family felt immense relief when her younger brother was born—if he had been a girl, the family most likely would not have kept the baby.

Wang expresses frustration that her family and the Chinese people did little to stop the practices that she believes are morally reprehensible. In terms of presentation, little of the documentary’s runtime is dedicated to expressing her own feelings. Instead, she and her co-director Jialing Zhang allow the interviews to speak for themselves, without inserting commentary.

The people Wang interviews have varying attitudes towards the one-child policy. Some, like Wang’s mother, maintain that the Chinese government was right and that the policy was necessary to prevent wide-scale starvation. Others, like the village midwife, deeply regret the policy and their participation in its enforcement. This particular midwife performed an estimated 60,000 abortions in her career. Now she tries to atone for her past by offering medical care for infertile couples and delivering babies.

The first-person accounts of One Child Nation appeal to the viewer’s humanity again and again. The documentary successfully communicates an important moral point: What may have begun as a government’s sincere attempt to raise a nation’s standard of living has resulted in a human rights crisis. The blood of discarded children practically cries out from the ground. During one interview, Wang talks with an artist committed to documenting the horror of infant bodies left to rot under bridges and on top of trash heaps. The artist shows the camera one such body he has managed to preserve in a glass jar and marvels about how the baby resembles his young son.

An Incoherent Conclusion

As the documentary draws to a close, Nanfu Wang reflects on her journey, including the shocking brutality and human rights abuses perpetrated in the name of the one-child policy. However, as she discusses everything she’s learned about China, her family, and the one-child policy, she arrives at a surprising conclusion: the horrors of the one-child policy are parallel to abortion restrictions in the United States.

Despite over an hour carefully describing the horrors of forced abortions, sterilizations, and the horror associated with abandoning one’s child, Wang argues that both countries are guilty of policing a woman’s sovereignty over her body, albeit in different ways. In an interview with Vox, she expressed much the same sentiment:

I remember when I first came to the US and learned about the restriction on abortions in the US. I was very shocked. It wasn’t the free America that I had thought it would be. I was surprised by the government control on reproductive rights and the access to reproductive health care.

Making this film, I also had a lot of conversations with people about the topic, and I was surprised. Sometimes people couldn’t see how forced state abortions and the state limiting access to abortions are quite similar; they are both the government trying to control women’s bodies and trying to control women’s reproductive rights.

I hope that the film reminds people what would happen if their government takes away women’s choice, or any individual’s choice. And sadly I think it’s happening in China, it’s happening in the US, and it’s happening in a lot of countries throughout the world, where women do not have the freedom to make their own reproductive decisions.

These statements are stunning because of the inconsistency with the moral appeals for the humanity of the pre and post-born throughout the documentary. After seeing footage of babies preserved in jars and thrown onto trash heaps, is the viewer supposed to believe that the sole atrocity of the one-child policy is the violation of reproductive choice?

The policy’s crimes against adult women—such as forced abortions and sterilizations—are horrific, and Wang is right to expose and censure them. But as One Child Nation clearly depicts, adult women were not the policy’s only victims. The countless children killed in the womb or immediately after birth, as well as the children abandoned in marketplaces, on roadsides, or in dumps were also victims. Furthermore, the Chinese government’s one-child policy, paired with the culture’s preference for male children, practically guaranteed that most of the slaughtered or discarded children were girls. Women—both adult women and infant girls—were the victims most deeply harmed by the policy.

It is worth noting that sex-selective abortions are a type of misogyny that is often ignored by the pro- “reproductive rights” wing of feminism because it doesn’t neatly fit their narrative of abortion-on-demand. But as long as some cultures value male children over female, sex-selective abortions and other crimes against female children will continue to be a problem.

An Inadvertently Pro-Life Message

While One Child Nation adeptly exposes the tragedy of China’s one-child policy to a wide audience, a moral inconsistency and a false comparison in the closing minutes prevents this otherwise superb documentary from having its fullest impact. Both children and adults are clearly victims of China’s government-imposed birth restrictions. Furthermore, China’s birth restrictions and America’s abortion restrictions are far from parallel policies. The former kills children, while the latter seeks to prevent the killing of children. The Chinese policy violates women’s bodies with forced sterilization, while abortion restrictions seek to protect the bodies of all women: adult women from risky abortion procedures and pre and post-born girls from being aborted.

Harrowing and poignant, One Child Nation illuminates the problems with China’s one-child policy while making a strong pro-life case that perhaps its own directors do not even fully understand.

One Child Nation is rated R for some disturbing content/images and brief language (via subtitles).

A New Pro-Life Law in Missouri Was Partly Blocked. Here’s What You Can Do.

by Quena Gonzalez

August 29, 2019

On Tuesday, a federal judge blocked parts of Missouri’s “omnibus” pro-life law. Here’s what you need to know, and what you can do about it. First, what does this law say?

Missouri’s “Omnibus” Pro-Life Law, HB 126

This spring Missouri legislators introduced a slew of pro-life bills; these were largely rolled up into a single bill (hence the term “omnibus”), House Bill 126, which was signed into law by Governor Mike Parson on May 24th.

Here are the parts of the law that Planned Parenthood challenged:

  • Bans an abortionist from doing an abortion at the point when medical science indicates the unborn child is capable of feeling pain in the womb (20 weeks*), except in cases of a medical emergency for the mother, and requires that every effort be used (including the attendance of a second physician) to preserve the life of the baby (188.375)
  • Recognizing fetal heartbeat and other markers of fetal development (188.026), it bans an abortionist from doing an abortion after 8 weeks (188.056), 14 weeks (188.057), and 18 weeks (188.058)
  • Bans abortionists from doing an abortion if the mother is motivated by the sex or Down syndrome diagnosis of her baby (188.038)

(Each of these bans is “severable,” meaning the law was written so that if any of the bans at 8, 14, 18, and 20 weeks is struck down by a court, the remaining provisions stand. The clear legislative intent of the bill was to force the federal courts to consider each ban individually, in order to ban as many abortions as the courts will allow.)

Here’s what else the law did that Planned Parenthood didn’t challenge:

  • Expands parental consent to require other-parent notification for minors seeking abortions (with an emergency clause) (188.028)
  • Requires abortionists to first tell mothers that their unborn child can feel pain at 20 weeks (188.027)
  • Requires that all informed-consent materials be made available to women referred for an out-of-state abortion (188.033)
  • Increases the amount of medical malpractice insurance that abortionists must carry (188.043-44)
  • Increases reporting requirements for abortionists to include the gestational age, method of abortion, results of test for fetal heartbeat, etc. for each abortion (188.052)
  • Extends the existing 50 percent tax credit for donations to pregnancy resource centers (135.630)
  • Bans all abortions (except in cases of certifiable medical emergency for the mother) if Roe is overturned, or the Constitution is amended to permit this provision to take effect, or if Congress passes a law which would permit this provision to take effect (188.017; see also bill Section B)

All of the unchallenged portions of the law, as well as the ban on sex-selective or Downs diagnosis-motivated abortions, went into effect Wednesday.

What Did the Court Do?

On Tuesday, a federal district court preliminarily enjoined the first two provisions of the law mentioned above, preventing any of the bans on abortion at 8, 14, 18, and 20 weeks from going into effect while the law is being litigated in court. A preliminary injunction is not a final ruling; it means the judge finds it likely, at this stage, that—among other factors—the enjoined provisions will cause “irreparable harm” to Planned Parenthood, and that under current Supreme Court precedent those provisions will probably not be allowed to stand in the lower courts.

What Did the Court NOT Say?

The preliminary injunction is not a final ruling, and the judge could change his mind and rule differently based on further evidence or argument.

The judge declined to block the ban on sex-selective abortion and abortion on the basis of a Down syndrome diagnosis, at least for now.

And he did not enjoin those portions of the law not challenged—notably, an expansion of parental notification, two important expansions of the informed-consent law (making sure abortion-minded mothers have as much information as possible), increasing reporting requirements and insurance requirements on abortionists, and extending an existing state tax credit for donations made to pregnancy resource centers.

Perhaps most notably of all, Missouri’s post-Roe abortion ban is now on the books, looking forward to the day when Roe v. Wade (which improperly injected an abortion “right” into the Constitution) is overturned.

What Can I Do?

Average Americans do not have as much of a direct role in the court case, but you can always pray for justice to prevail, and for the travesty of abortion in America to become unthinkable. Missourians can also click here to thank their elected representatives for protecting life and passing HB 126!

Vermont Nurse Forced to Participate in an Abortion Despite a Conscience Objection

by Connor Semelsberger

August 28, 2019

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today that they are issuing a violation notice to the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) because they forced a nurse to participate in an abortion despite a conscience objection.

In 2017, UVMMC (located in Burlington, Vt.) began performing abortions on site without notifying their employees. A nurse had expressed objection to assisting in abortions for many years, and was even included on a list of staff with objections. However, UVMMC purposefully assigned the nurse to assist in an abortion despite her objection to the horrific procedure. The nurse did not know that the procedure was an abortion until the nurse walked into the operating room and the abortionist said, “Don’t hate me.” The nurse then objected to assisting in the abortion. There were other staff on site who could have assisted with the abortion, but UVMMC forced the nurse to participate in the abortion or be subject to discipline that could include loss of licensure. In the end, the nurse decided to participate over fear of harsh retaliation by the health center.

Choosing between your sincerely-held religious or moral beliefs and your career is a decision that no health professional should have to make. When someone is pressured to violate their conscience or lose their livelihood, it leaves the health care provider in a situation that creates great emotional and spiritual turmoil. Even though abortion has been legal in America for over 40 years, our federal laws have fortunately protected the conscience rights of health care providers. In the 1970s, the Church Amendments were enacted to protect the conscience rights of individuals and entities that object to performing or assisting in the performance of abortion or sterilization if it would be contrary to the providers’ religious or moral convictions.

On May 9, 2018, the nurse from Vermont filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at HHS. HHS responded by fulfilling their duties to enforce the Church Amendments and launched an investigation into the complaint, contacting UVMMC to seek cooperation, but the hospital refused to conform its policies to the law and would not produce witnesses to be interviewed about this incident. Now, UVMMC has 30 days to notify HHS that they will change their current policies that force staff to participate in abortions and take steps to remedy the effects of their past actions. If they do not comply in this timeframe, they could be barred from the $1.6 million in federal funding they received.

This is now the third conscience compliant that OCR has investigated since President Trump took office. The other complaints dealt with the states of California and Hawaii forcing pregnancy resource centers to post materials that advertise for abortion. Because of action by OCR, both complaints have been resolved. The enforcement of these conscience protections is yet another example of how the Trump administration has followed through in protecting life, conscience, and religious liberty. These enforcement actions should encourage health care providers who feel like their employer is coercing them to participate in an abortion to file a complaint with OCR, for as we see above, the Trump administration will certainly enforce our conscience laws and defend their rights.

Why It’s Wrong to be “Personally” Pro-Life and Publicly Pro-Choice

by Bailey Zimmitti

August 21, 2019

On my college campus, one of the most common pro-choice arguments that I hear from other students is that they are “personally pro-life,” but don’t think that they can tell women what to do with their bodies. While this may seem like a way to tip-toe around the abortion debate, it is still a dangerous ideology because it frames the abortion debate in a completely misleading context.

The “personally pro-life” perspective operates under the framework of moral relativism—the idea that there is no objective standard by which we can assess the moral quality of certain actions. This kind of “you do you” mantra encompasses an attitude which deems certain actions that were historically given moral quality as in fact morally neutral—right for some, wrong for others. Don’t get me wrong—there are some actions that are morally neutral. Taking evening walks, wearing sandals, listening to Beethoven’s Für Elise—these are all morally neutral actions. Some people may like these activities and some may not, but there is no moral consequence either way.

The question is this: is abortion a morally neutral action? Pro-lifers say no, and here’s why.

There are two premises that one must accept in order to be pro-life:

1.    The killing of an innocent human person is objectively wrong.

This premise is easy to accept. Killing an innocent human person is widely understood to be wrong—not only because of Scriptural authority like the Ten Commandments, but also because we recognize the inherent dignity of the human person under U.S. law.

2.    Abortion is the killing of an innocent human person.

This premise is a little harder for people to accept, but it is the key to being pro-life. Once the personhood and inherent dignity of all humans is recognized—even the unborn ones—then the logical conclusion that abortion is objectively wrong can’t be denied.

When we talk about the “right to choose,” we completely bypass this fundamental point of disagreement between pro-lifers and pro-choicers. When we dance around the abortion debate with words like “choice” that sound nice, we often fail to ask the key question that Lila Rose asks: “What is being chosen?” Pro-lifers believe that abortion is the killing of a human person. How then can someone who is “personally pro-life” call this a “right”?

What if we applied this kind of argument to other kinds of moral wrongs? What if we said, “I mean I personally wouldn’t rob a bank, but if you really need the money, you do you!” That obviously makes no sense. That’s because in 2019, we don’t politicize robbing banks in such a way where it is framed as a “right” or “choice.”

Those who take the “personally pro-life” stance may feel like it’s an empowering position to take, but it’s important to recognize that holding others to a lower moral standard than that to which we hold ourselves actually disempowers us by implying that we are worth more than others are and that our children are worth more than other people’s children are.

The bottom line is this: in order to have a true sense of the common good, one cannot believe that abortion kills an innocent person and also believe that others can claim it as a choice worthy of the title “right.”

Bailey Zimmitti is an intern at Family Research Council.

Planned Parenthood Forgoes Title X Funding, Choosing Abortion over Women’s Healthcare

by Connor Semelsberger

August 19, 2019

Today, Planned Parenthood officially withdrew from the Title X Family Planning Program, choosing to reject millions of dollars in federal funding rather than stopping referrals for abortion. This announcement came after their fifth failed attempt to find a court that would block the Protect Life Rule from going into effect while litigation over the legality of the rule continues. Ultimately, this shows the upside-down world of Planned Parenthood, in which abortion is prioritized more than women’s care.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the Protect Life Rule to require physical separation between clinics that receive Title X federal funds for family planning services and facilities that perform abortions. It would also prohibit physicians at Title X family planning clinics from referring patients for abortions.

After five months of mudslinging, Planned Parenthood is out of legal ammunition, and the Protect Life Rule is still squeaky clean. HHS has now won before numerous federal courts – a federal district court in Maine, a panel of the 4th Circuit, and two panels in the 9th Circuit. The last straw came on Friday, when not a single judge on the infamously liberal 9th Circuit was willing to block the Protect Life Rule. In other words, Planned Parenthood’s favorite court sent their lawyers home with their tails between their legs. This decision by the 9th Circuit allows HHS to begin enforcing the Protect Life Rule while the merits of the case are litigated.

Soon after the 9th Circuit lifted the nationwide injunction blocking the Protect Life Rule, HHS announced that all grantees that seek to comply in good faith must certify by August 19th that they do not provide abortions and do not include abortion as a method of family planning.

Yet rather than comply, Planned Parenthood backed out of the family planning program altogether. With their decision to withdraw, Planned Parenthood is sacrificing $16,120,000 in direct Title X grants, in addition to the millions more they receive as subgrantees of Title X funds.

Planned Parenthood and the mainstream media are already trying to spin the Protect Life Rule as a “gag rule” that is “forcing” Planned Parenthood out of a federal program that they have participated in for 50 years, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Despite Planned Parenthood’s loud protestations, The Protect Life Rule does not ban physicians from discussing abortion with their patients. The rule does prohibit physicians from referring patients for abortions, but it permits doctors to provide non-directive counseling on the risks and benefits of all options, including abortion.

Planned Parenthood has had every opportunity to comply with the new rules regulating the Title X program. HHS provided proper guidance and would have assigned them a project officer to help them comply with the regulations. Despite all this, Planned Parenthood chose abortion over helping provide family planning services to their clients. The organization touts itself as a leading women’s health provider, but Planned Parenthood turned their back on the needs of women when they opted to forego millions of dollars to fund critical family planning services so that they could keep promoting abortions.

The Title X statute is clear, “None of the funds appropriated under this act shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” The Protect Life Rule does nothing more than fully enforce the Title X program as it was written into law. No matter what Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates say, the Title X program was never intended to subsidize an industry that finds value in ending innocent human life.

Aside from harming the many women Planned Parenthood will no longer be able to serve, the main outcome of this decision is to make clear what Planned Parenthood’s true priority is: abortion.

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