Tag archives: Abortion

No Communion for Thee: Nancy Pelosi, Abortion, and Pastoral Authority

by David Closson

May 26, 2022

In an explosive announcement last week, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone declared that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may no longer receive the sacrament of the Eucharist because of her outspoken support for abortion. The surprising news was released in a series of letters published by Cordileone, the Archbishop of San Francisco. The decision amounts to a rare public rebuke of one of the nation’s most recognized politicians who identifies as Catholic and raises questions about pastoral authority, discipleship, and spiritual responsibility.

In a letter to Pelosi published on Friday, Cordileone, who oversees Pelosi’s home diocese, explained his rationale to the Catholic lawmaker. Citing the Second Vatican Council and Pope Francis, Cordileone explained, “A Catholic legislator who supports procured abortion, after knowing the teaching of the Church, commits a manifestly grave sin which is a cause of most serious scandal to others. Therefore, universal Church law provides that such persons ‘are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.’” According to the archbishop, Pelosi’s “extreme position” on abortion combined with her regular public comments identifying herself as Catholic necessitated Cordileone take pastoral action.

Although there is precedent for Catholic bishops not admitting politicians to communion over abortion (Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has been unable to receive the Eucharist in his home diocese for 17 years), it is rare. Moreover, Pelosi’s role as Speaker of the House (and third in line for the presidency), makes the archbishop’s decision particularly noteworthy. Thus, even for non-Catholics like myself, the story deserves attention.

First, Archbishop Cordileone underscored in his letter the “scandal” caused by Pelosi’s public support for abortion. In Roman Catholicism, a “scandal” refers to behavior that leads others to do evil. Cordileone used the word “scandal” four times to refer to Pelosi’s abortion advocacy, noting that the Speaker’s support for abortion has not only endangered her own soul but has caused harmful confusion among practicing Catholics and other Catholic politicians about the church’s teaching on abortion.

Specifically, the archbishop noted Pelosi’s regular practice of referring to her Catholic faith in the context of championing abortion. For example, as recently as May 4, Pelosi referred to herself as a “devout Catholic” and described opposition to abortion as “appalling.” Cordileone mentioned Pelosi’s recent efforts to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law after Texas passed a heart-beat bill in September. Under Pelosi’s leadership, the House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act in September, legislation that if enacted into law would weaken conscience protections for medical professionals, jeopardize prohibitions on taxpayer funding for abortion, enshrine late-term abortion into law, strike down many pro-life laws passed in the states, and equate the death of unborn children with routine medical procedures.

Second, Archbishop Cordileone noted Pelosi’s “resistance to pastoral counsel.” In letters published on Friday to the Catholic community and fellow priests serving in the archdiocese, Cordileone explained that the Speaker’s “resistance to pastoral counsel has gone on for too long.” He noted that he has prayed and searched his conscience for years about how to respond pastorally to Pelosi’s abortion stance and has attempted—without success—to speak with her privately on at least six occasions within the previous year.

On the point of pastoral care, it is worth noting the theological implications of Cordileone’s decision to bar Speaker Pelosi from the Eucharist. The Catholic Church holds to a sacramental theology which teaches that to be in a state of grace members must regularly receive the sacraments. Among the seven sacraments recognized in Catholicism, the Eucharist (known as the Lord’s Supper or communion in other Christian traditions) is seen as the most important, as members encounter and receive the literal body and blood of Jesus in communion. However, Catholics may not receive the Eucharist if they are conscious that they have committed a grave sin and have not first made a sacramental confession (1 Cor. 11:27).

Thus, while critics in the media were swift to allege Cordileone had “weaponized” the sacrament and waded into politics, the archbishop’s decision was an unmistakable sign to Pelosi and other Catholics that he is gravely concerned about the Speaker’s soul. As he explained in a subsequent letter, his motives were “pastoral, not political.”

Third, Archbishop Cordileone’s decision to forbid Nancy Pelosi from receiving communion was motivated in part by how radical the Speaker’s abortion advocacy has become. Although Pelosi has supported abortion rights for decades, the Speaker (along with many in her party) has adopted positions in recent years that make previous support for abortion look moderate in comparison. For example, since assuming the speakership for the second time in 2019, Pelosi has strongly advocated for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment which prohibits taxpayer funding for abortion. The Hyde Amendment has been in place for over 40 years and has been supported by both her and President Biden in the past. Moreover, as noted earlier, the Speaker’s support for the radical Women’s Health Protection Act highlights an extraordinary commitment to the abortion lobby. According to Cordileone, this commitment puts the Speaker clearly outside what is permissible for someone claiming Catholic faith. 

A final point to consider from this story is the broader question of how church leaders (Catholic and non-Catholic) ought to exercise their spiritual authority when church members (particularly government officials and policy makers) are implicated in the sin of abortion. In the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, bishops and priests bear a personal responsibility to care for the spiritual needs of the people in their diocese or parish. In 2021, Archbishop Cordileone himself explained this responsibility, saying, “I tremble that if I do not forthrightly challenge Catholics under my pastoral care who advocate for abortion, both they and I will have to answer to God for innocent blood.” In my view, Cordileone is exactly right about his responsibility to his people, and it is appropriate for him to publicly call Speaker Pelosi to repentance for her support of abortion. The Bible teaches that ministers will one day give an account for how they stewarded their spiritual oversight of the church (Heb. 13:17). Thus, church leaders have a special obligation to hold members accountable, especially those who are highhandedly flouting church teachings in the public square.  

While politicians like Pelosi may sincerely believe they are “devout,” true devotion, in the context of a confessional community like a church, is proved by commitment to the church’s actual teachings. As Andrew Walker observes, “To purport to be a Christian politician who can believe and advocate for things contrary to the Christian faith is a complete repudiation of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.” When Christian politicians support policies that contradict clear biblical teaching (and, in the case of the Catholic Church, clear authoritative interpretations of Church doctrine), it brings into question the authenticity of their faith. Put another way, rejecting, denying, and working against core convictions of one’s professed faith undermines the credibility of that faith and raises questions about one’s desire to remain affiliated with a church that someone has no desire to submit to or obey.   

In conclusion, the Catholic Church has been consistent in its opposition to abortion. Pope Francis has called abortion a “grave sin” and the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to abortion as a “moral evil.” Additionally, the Bible affirms the personhood of the unborn from cover to cover. Thus, from the perspective of Catholic social teaching, Archbishop Cordileone’s decision to forbid Nancy Pelosi from receiving communion is in line with the Church’s longstanding teaching on abortion.

The outrage expressed by many in the media over the archbishop’s decision demonstrates once again how disconnected most Americans are from basic Christian teachings on ecclesial authority. Thus, while commentators like entertainer Whoopi Goldberg have told Archbishop Cordileone that denying communion to Speaker Pelosi is “not your job,” Christians following this story should be grateful that the archbishop seems to know exactly what his job is in this situation—to extend pastoral care to a wayward member while courageously defending church doctrine.

Pensacola Abortion Business Closed Following Report of Three Women Hospitalized

by Deborah Laker

May 25, 2022

Florida health officials issued an emergency order last Friday closing an abortion business in Pensacola after a report by Reprotection, a pro-life investigative organization. The group found that within the last nine months, three patients had been hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after their abortions. Extensive blood loss, a “big hole” in the uterine wall, and loss of pulse are just some of the horrors inflicted on patients that the report uncovered.

American Family Planning of Pensacola is the only operating abortion center on the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and Tallahassee. But as of May 20, Florida’s Agency on Health Care Administration (AHCA) suspended the facility’s license and issued an immediate closure until an administrative hearing is held in the state capital. This news comes a month after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a new law that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks, effective on July 1.

Missy Martinez-Stone, CEO of Reprotection, who led the investigation into the abortion business said, “The standard of care at American Family Planning of Pensacola was non-existent, and we are elated that the clinic has been shut down before more women are seriously harmed.”

The report revealed that in November 2021, one patient’s abortion procedure was so badly botched that it later “required the repair of uterine perforation, a colon resection, a colostomy, a sigmoidectomy, and a cystoscopy.” The clinic failed to report these complications in accordance with Florida’s laws.

In March 2022, another patient who had a second-trimester abortion at 20 weeks experienced severe injuries. During the laminaria procedure to open the cervix she began to bleed excessively. The patient was given Pitocin and Methergine but there are no records of her vitals being monitored as required by law. When she was finally transferred to the ER, physicians discovered she had no pulse and there were two “big holes” on the left and right walls of the uterus. The patient was forced to undergo a total hysterectomy since doctors were unable to save any of her reproductive organs.

The third incident took place earlier this month with another patient who was 19 weeks pregnant. When she arrived at the abortion facility, she was given drugs and told to wait in the car with her husband. The patient’s vitals were not monitored. When she began to bleed excessively because of a uterine rupture and cervical lacerations, the clinic reportedly told her spouse to take her to a hospital an hour away in Mobile, Alabama rather than rushing to a hospital in Pensacola. According to the order, once they arrived at the hospital, she had “undetectable blood pressure” and her blood oxygen level was at 80%. Physicians were able to resuscitate her and perform a mass blood transfusion to save her life.

The abortionist who carried out the procedures on the last two patients told AHCA officials that he was “unfamiliar” with emergency medical procedures and sought guidance from the office manager, who had no medical or clinical licenses.

Our investigation into this specific abortion clinic has been going on for two years and we have utilized every avenue possible to work to protect the health and safety of women from dangerous abortion clinics like this one,” said Martinez-Stone. “While we don’t know why AHCA did not shut them down earlier, we are grateful the state of Florida has taken decisive action to protect women from dangerous abortion clinics who seek profit over safety.”

Dobbs Leak: A Leftist Pastor Takes on Abortion

by Joshua Arnold

May 9, 2022

When words are many, transgression is not lacking” (Proverbs 10:19), so it’s little surprise that among all the ink spilled over the leaked Dobbs decision draft, there were at least a few shockingly poor takes.

One such take came from Leftist pastor Brandan Robertson, “God has given all human beings authority and autonomy over our own bodies. And if Roe v Wade is struck down, this will be yet another assault on women’s authority and autonomy over their own bodies.” No Psalm 139 for him. I guess consistency requires anyone ignoring “you knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (verse 14) to also ignore “you hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me” (verse 5) and “search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” (verse 23)—not to mention the rest of the Bible.

It’s difficult to even call him a ‘Christian’ pastor,” said David Closson, Director of FRC’s Center for Biblical Worldview. “At one level, yes,” we do have autonomy over our own bodies, he noted. “That’s one of the reasons I was against the vaccine mandates…. But do we have unlimited autonomy? No. And do we have the unlimited right to do something with someone else’s body? Absolutely not.”

Closson explained Robertson’s beliefs track with the worldly perspective identified by Carl Trueman in his mighty book, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. That worldview lauds “being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want. You follow the dictates of your feelings, your emotions, your desires. And so it’s disconnected from any understanding of accountability or responsibility to God.”

The secular world says, ‘my body, my choice,’” added Joseph Backholm, host of Friday’s Worldview Conversation on “Washington Watch.” “Scripture says the opposite.” Christians are called to live as if their body belongs to Jesus, not themselves. Paul says, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20), and “present your bodies as a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1), and “you are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). “The starting assumption is that I am submitted to Christ,” Backholm explained.

In previous eras, even non-Christians in America understood that each person is accountable to God; this assumption undergirded oath requirements for holding certain offices or testifying in court. Accountability and rights are two sides of the same coin—a coin God minted. Today, people pick and choose which parts of religion to believe (a.k.a. inventing their own), embracing rights and jettisoning responsibility. So, President Joe Biden could say (in defense of abortion), “I believe I have the rights that I have not because the government gave them to me, which you believe, but because I’m just a child of God, I exist.” Rights do come from God, remarked Closson, but “President Biden doesn’t really believe that.” If he did, he would show more fear wielding such an argument to justify denying unborn children the rights God gave them.

Robertson had another zinger, “If we are going to bend the moral arc of this nation towards God’s vision of justice and equity, we must demand that women’s rights are protected and abortion is health care.” Backholm warned that Robertson employed “buzzwords” to “generate sympathy,” and “linguistic maneuvers like that can be persuasive unless we have a framework” for understanding what the Bible actually teaches. “When that’s our framework, then we can look at somebody who’s well intentioned [but wrong]… and we can say, ‘well, maybe a nice guy, but the things that he’s saying are not true.’”

Abortion activists “have an idea of what they think justice or equity should look like,” which they “superimpose… on holy Scripture,” said Closson. “We don’t start with our own ideas of justice…. We want to go to the Bible first and foremost and ask, what is God’s idea of justice?” Someone who fixes up cars in his spare time won’t get hoodwinked by a dishonest mechanic because he knows what he’s talking about. In the same way, a Christian who studies the Bible regularly, and understands it, won’t be misled by someone trying to twist it to mean something it doesn’t.

The Bible is not a philosophical textbook” where “we go just to debate…. It’s God’s revealed word, and so we go to it for belief and obedience,” said Closson. He has authored a publication on Biblical Principles for Pro-Life Engagement that starts with what the Bible teaches, not what man’s faulty reason has invented.

Emotional manipulation… ad hominem attack… these tactics are employed so often in public policy debates,” said Backholm. But “[blessed is the man whose] delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:2-3). How firmly are you planted on God’s word?

Pregnancy Resource Center in Manassas, Va. Targeted by Vandals

by Dan Hart

May 9, 2022

In the wake of the leaked draft Supreme Court decision that would reverse the Roe v. Wade decision if handed down, extremists have carried out acts of property destruction against pro-life organizations and have disrupted religious services.

Sunday night, a pregnancy resource center (PRC) in Manassas, Va. became another target of vandals. The First Care Women’s Health Center was defaced, with the messages “Liars,” “Fake Clinic,” and “Abortion is A Right” being spray-painted on a door and on the outer walls of the facility.

I was in disbelief,” said Becky Sheetz, CEO of Life First, a nonprofit organization that operates the First Care Women’s Health Center that was hit with the graffiti. She noted that similar vandalism of PRCs is quite rare in the northern Virginia area where Life First operates, and that she was only aware of one other unrelated incident of vandalism to a PRC in Culpepper, Va. some time ago. Sheetz went on to say that her and local law enforcement’s assessment of the incident was that it was very likely in reaction to the impending Dobbs Supreme Court decision.

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares condemned the vandalism. “It is never acceptable to resort to intimidation, vandalism, or destruction in our political discourse. This is what makes America so unique—we should embrace diversity of opinion and civil dialogue and debate,” he said. His office went on to state that it will be monitoring the investigation.

Did the defacement succeed in intimidating Life First? “If we were cut from a different cloth, it might succeed in shaking us up a little bit,” Sheetz said. “But we’ve been through COVID, we’ve been through fear that we were going to have to be shut down. We lived in fear of, ‘What’s the government going to do to pregnancy centers’? Are we going to be able to operate day to day? … This [incident] by comparison is very small. If the intention was intimidation, it was not successful.”

Sheetz had a clear message for anyone who would attempt to vandalize a PRC. “You’re hurting women,” she said. “You’re hurting good people who work at very meager salaries to try to do the right thing and to try to honor God. Even if you don’t believe in God, can you believe that women have a right to make a fully informed choice to talk to somebody about their pregnancy, the opportunity to see an ultrasound if they want an ultrasound, the opportunity to get an actual accurate pregnancy diagnosis before they take an abortion pill? Can we confirm that they’re pregnant before they take an abortion pill? Can we confirm that it’s not ectopic? Can we give them a bare minimum of medical care and compassion? You’re standing in the way of that. It’s counterproductive to women’s health.”

Sheetz also underscored another important but often unpopular aspect of the debate surrounding unplanned pregnancies. “[Fathers] deserve to see that baby. They deserve to be part of a pregnancy decision. [Vandals] are just standing in the way of truth.”

Sheetz went on to observe that much of the rhetoric related to the Supreme Court’s pending abortion decision is missing a key component. “Read through the yelling and the shouting and the polarizing and look at the actual facts and actual data,” she said. “The abortion pill is making so much of [the controversy surrounding the Dobbs decision] irrelevant, because she can just get that abortion pill from some other country … and terminate her pregnancy without any standard of medical care.”

What would she say to women with unplanned pregnancies who are feeling apprehensive about the pending Dobbs decision? “Please do not make the abortion clinic your first stop. Don’t make the abortion pill your first option … If you are struggling with an unplanned pregnancy, go to a pregnancy center first, get honest information [and] find out all of your options.”

Divisiveness Over Roe v. Wade Shakes Corporate America

by Deborah Laker

May 6, 2022

WASHINGTON D.C.– Late Monday night, Politico’s leaked early draft of the Supreme Court’s vote to potentially overturn Roe v. Wade sent shock waves across the nation. Some corporations like Starbucks and Lyft rushed to make public statements on the matter while other major businesses such as Disney and Walmart have been largely silent.

Amazon announced, in response to the leaked document, that it will pay employees up to $4,000 annually to travel for out-of-state abortions. Since Amazon is the second-largest U.S. private employer, their decision to fund abortion travel has sparked debate. Yelp, Uber, and Citigroup also promised to help their staff bypass newly established pro-life legislation in Republican states by covering abortion travel expenses. These corporate decisions have been met with strong disapproval from conservative employees and consumers.

Last month, dozens of House Republicans demanded the chamber drop Citigroup as their credit card provider. All 435 members of the House are issued Citibank credit cards to cover travel expenses, office supplies, and other goods as part of the company’s exclusive partnership with Congress. However, after the banking corporation committed to covering workers’ abortion-related costs, many conservative legislators no longer want to be associated with Citibank.

Representative Mike Johnson (R-La.) along with 44 Republican colleagues wrote a letter to the House’s chief administrative officer, who oversees logistics such as the issuing of credit cards.  “By choosing to underwrite travel to abortions for its employees, Citi has explicitly staked out its position to advance the liberal agenda of abortion on demand and has shown no regard for whether a particular state’s laws are in place to protect the safety of a woman and her child,” wrote GOP lawmakers.

Another divisive social issue that is putting corporations at odds with consumers is the LGBT agenda.

In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) feuded with Disney over recent legislation that limits conversations on sexual orientation and gender identity in K-3 classrooms. Although Disney is one of the state’s major economic contributors, DeSantis responded to the conflict by signing a bill stripping the theme park’s long-standing special tax privileges.

Corporations that take bold political stances are engaging in risky business. A recent poll by Rasmussen revealed that 59 percent of Americans believe that when companies make political statements, it “adds to the divisiveness in the country”. Over half of the poll’s self-identified Democrats agreed. Another similar poll found that 66 percent of Americans thought businesses should not be taking political positions. Eight percent believed it is better for corporations to weigh in on topics related to their businesses.

In these polarized times, there is not only fierce debate over social issues but also what position corporations should take on the matters. Everyday transactions such as ordering something off Amazon or using a credit card are no longer just simple purchases; they are becoming acts of political alliance. Many consumers are increasingly conscious of whether they are spending their hard-earned money in businesses that align with their values and political opinions.

Whether or not corporations should take political stances is up for debate, however, the DeSantis-Disney squabble has kept the theme park from commenting on the leaked opinion in Dobbs. It is possible that pressure like this from lawmakers could keep more businesses out of politics.

FDA Acknowledges Prenatal Screening Risks, But Fails to Condemn Eugenic Abortion

by Mary Szoch

April 28, 2022

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a statement warning of the “risks associated with non-invasive prenatal screening tests.” The statement reads:

While genetic non-invasive prenatal screening tests are widely used today, these tests have not been reviewed by the FDA and may be making claims about their performance and use that are not based on sound science … Without proper understanding of how these tests should be used, people may make inappropriate health care decisions regarding their pregnancy. We strongly urge patients to discuss the benefits and risks of these tests with a genetic counselor or other health care provider prior to making decisions based on the results of these tests.

Of course, by “inappropriate health care decisions,” the FDA likely means the decision to kill an unborn child.

The statement continues:

Many laboratories offering these tests advertise their tests as “reliable” and “highly accurate,” offering “peace of mind” for patients. The FDA is concerned that these claims may not be supported with sound scientific evidence.

This simple acknowledgment that these tests are not approved by the FDA and their inaccuracy could be leading to abortions that otherwise would not take place comes as a welcome surprise—especially since this is the same agency that just months ago loosened health and safety protocols governing chemical abortion pills despite evidence that these pills are unsafe for pregnant mothers. Although it is riddled with euphemisms and disingenuous word choices, the FDA statement will likely decrease the number of abortions that occur in the United States. However, the FDA is far from adopting a philosophy of respect for life.

In its statement, the FDA also writes:

Conditions caused by a missing chromosome or an extra copy of a chromosome are more common and may be easier to detect, such as Down syndrome, which can cause physical and intellectual challenges. A missing or extra piece of a chromosome may result in rarer conditions, such as DiGeorge syndrome, which can cause heart defects, feeding difficulties, immune system problems and learning difficulties. … Pregnant people have ended pregnancies based on the results of genetic prenatal screening alone, without understanding the limitations of the screening tests and that the fetus may not have the genetic abnormality identified by the screening test.

The failure to acknowledge that only women can be pregnant is not the only problem with this statement. It implies that if the tests were correct—if the unborn child had the genetic abnormalities indicated by the tests—the decision to kill the unborn child would not be “inappropriate.” Although not explicitly stated, the subtext of this statement is that the FDA sees nothing wrong with eugenic abortions.

Sadly, other parts of the world have accepted eugenic abortions as well. For example, in multiple countries, nearly every unborn baby prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome is aborted, and in Western countries, around 95 percent of babies prenatally diagnosed with a severe form of spina bifida are aborted.

The FDA is correct; many—including the authors of the statement—do not understand “the limitations of the screening tests.” A screening test may be able to tell parents if their child is at greater risk of a genetic abnormality. Further testing may be able to state more conclusively if a child is at risk of having a genetic abnormality. But no test can measure the worth of a child. No test can predict the love, joy, and suffering a child will endure. No test can predict the impact a child will have on the world.

Although the pro-life community should be grateful for the lives that will be saved as a result of the FDA’s warning, the fight against eugenics must continue. As long as abortion is legal in the United States, people with disabilities will be targeted in the womb. Every life has equal dignity and worth. We must pray for the day when our laws reflect that fact by completely protecting life.

No, Amnesty International: Ukrainian Refugees Do Not Need Abortion

by Arielle Del Turco

April 27, 2022

Even as the world watches in shock and horror while the Russian military targets Ukrainian civilians, certain activists are taking advantage of global concern for Ukraine to push radical agendas. On March 17, the same day that survivors were being rescued from the wreckage of the Mariupol theater bombing, Amnesty International and the International Planned Parenthood Federation joined dozens of European organizations in signing a statement urging the countries helping Ukrainian refugees to prioritize—of all things—abortion.

The “Call to Action” recommends that European Union (EU) countries “take swift and effective measures to facilitate and support urgent access to early medical abortion” for refugees. It singles out Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia as countries with strong pro-life protections who are taking in Ukrainian refugees and calls on the EU to provide “urgent political support, guidance and technical assistance” to the governments of these countries “to facilitate the removal of legal and policy barriers that are impeding the provision of essential sexual and reproductive health care.”

While the Russian military continues to kill thousands in Ukraine, Amnesty International and Planned Parenthood are campaigning for more abortions, which will kill even more innocent Ukrainians.

The coercive tone taken by European activists is far from unusual. Many Western elites are quick to criticize Poland, Hungary, and other Central and Eastern European countries that, after gaining independence from the oppression of communist regimes, have worked to protect life in the womb. These same countries have been a shining example of hospitality to Ukrainian refugees; governments are taking unprecedented steps to welcome Ukrainians, and many citizens are opening their homes to refugees. These countries are the heroes in this story, but the Call to Action is treating them like villains because they value both women and unborn children.

The reality is that pregnant Ukrainian women and unborn children do need increased assistance. Within Ukraine, there has been a spike in premature births, and the stress of war is taking a physical toll on pregnant women. Some doctors have guided their patients through labor at home when fighting made it impossible to travel to the hospital. The difficulty for doctors to access certain medication or medical equipment also poses a risk to women and children’s well-being.

Thankfully, some are already working to support expectant mothers. Private organizations and even UN agencies are sending medical kits into Ukraine designed to help midwives support mothers giving birth. This is increasingly necessary, as births are often taking place in homes, shelters, and other less-than-ideal situations. Even hospitals aren’t always safe; Russian forces have attacked over 100 hospitals and medical facilities. The bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol produced one of the war’s most striking images; it showed a pregnant woman on a stretcher gripping her bloodied belly as she was carried across rubble. Sadly, neither she nor her baby survived.

A writer for WIRED asserted that among Ukrainian women, “Pregnancies that were previously desired may no longer feel sustainable.” This view illustrates a failure to uphold human dignity. In times of war, the birth of a child is a sign of hope for the future. As Ukrainian Ivan Korol, whose baby girl was born in a bomb shelter this February, said, “Last night under the roar in Gostomei, my wife gave birth to me a daughter, like a star in the dark in such a difficult time!”

Indeed, pregnant Ukrainian women, whether they remain in the country or flee as refugees, are encountering many challenges that could not have been foreseen a few months ago. They need Western countries and NGOs to offer robust assistance—food, shelter, and medical attention—not pressure to kill their own children.

Amnesty International knows the gravity of the situation faced by Ukrainians. Their own investigators document allegations of war crimes committed by Russian soldiers. This is valuable work. However, it’s beyond comprehension that during these ongoing tragedies, Amnesty International and other European organizations that purport to care about human rights would seize the opportunity to criticize democratic countries over their social policy. Human rights groups should be focused on ensuring accountability for the many human rights violations Russia is committing in Ukraine, not pressuring other countries to violate the right to life.

Russia is bombing maternity hospitals—an act that is recognized as especially egregious because it kills both mothers and children. Our response should not double down on that death and destruction by encouraging mothers to kill their own unborn children. Rather, we should do everything in our power to save lives, including the most vulnerable lives—those in the womb.

The Push to Normalize Infanticide

by Mary Szoch

April 27, 2022

A month has passed since the bodies of five fully developed babies were recovered from Cesare Santangelo’s abortion business, Washington Surgi-Clinic, and still, the D.C. medical examiner has not performed autopsies on them, despite the suspicious circumstances of their deaths.

All five babies appear to have been old enough to survive outside the womb, and it is widely speculated that Washington Surgi-Clinic might have broken the law in bringing about their deaths. Since there is no evidence to suggest they were aborted legally, multiple physicians have suggested that the babies’ deaths might have been caused by partial-birth abortion, infanticide, or a violation of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act.  

Sadly, in Washington, D.C., abortion is legal through birth. However, partial-birth abortion (i.e., when an abortionist intentionally kills a child after the child has already partially emerged from the birth canal) is illegal per federal law. And D.C. has several city laws that could apply if any of the five babies were, in fact, born alive (such as prohibitions against murder, prohibitions against “cruelty to children,” and a newborn safe haven law).

D.C. officials’ decision not to investigate the deaths of these five babies is consistent with the lack of concern for—and even promotion of—infanticide around the country.

In recent months, there has been a disturbing increase in efforts to legalize infanticide. A bill being considered in California, AB 2223, would allow mothers to escape criminal charges if they killed their children within the “perinatal period.”  The radically pro-abortion World Health Organization’s definition of the perinatal period includes “until 7 completed days after birth.” Notably, similar legislation was introduced in Maryland this year and failed.   

The push to legalize infanticide should not come as a shock. After all, infanticide is not that far removed from abortion—and is literally inches removed from partial-birth abortion. Federal laws protect unborn children from partial-birth abortions. However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, whose stated mission is to “enhance the health and well-being of all Americans,” is led by former Attorney General of California Xavier Becerra, who has repeatedly refused to acknowledge that partial-birth abortion is illegal.

When asked by Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), “Do you concede that partial birth abortion is illegal per the law?” Becerra responded, “Under the Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade, women have reproductive rights that they are entitled to enforce and that they are entitled to have the government respect. I will do everything I can to make sure a woman’s rights and reproductive care are defended.”

Banks’ question was never about women’s rights; it was about whether an infant can be legally killed halfway through the birthing process.

Yet, the lack of respect for life isn’t just a California problem; it is mirrored by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives who refuse to support legislation protecting infants who have completed the birthing process.

Currently, not a single House Democrat has signed on to a discharge petition in support of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a bill that would require health care practitioners to provide the same medical care to infants born alive after a failed abortion that they would to any other infant born at the same gestational age. And so, as it stands, there is no federal requirement that medical assistance be administered to any baby born alive after an abortion attempt. Thankfully, some states (18) have their own laws requiring medical care to be given to abortion survivors; however, D.C. has no such law. This fact makes it even more necessary that the D.C. medical examiner perform an autopsy on the five babies found to determine if they suffered an illegal abortion or an act of infanticide.

The slow push to legalize and normalize infanticide is already underway. Unsurprisingly, those leading the charge are accusing pro-life activists (who are working to bring justice and save babies born alive) of “tampering with fetal remains” and “absurd and disingenuous” arguments.

America must turn back. There must be justice for the five babies whose remains were recovered from Cesare Santangelo’s abortion business, and the legislative efforts to legalize infanticide in California must be stopped.

If you are a California resident, click here to ask your state legislator to vote “NO” on AB 2223, a bill decriminalizing infanticide.

The New Wave of Pro-Life Legislation

by Family Research Council

April 19, 2022

In the last seven days, an impressive number of Republican states have raced to send pro-life legislation over the finish line. Of course, the backdrop to these gains is the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Mississippi’s abortion law (expected in June) that could potentially overturn Roe v. Wade. Thanks to the bold leaders in Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida, and Kentucky, we’re witnessing a cultural shift that will have generational impact—regardless of what the justices decide.

Arizona’s Governor Takes Major Stride in Protecting the Unborn

On March 30, Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey (R) signed a bill that criminalizes abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This bill, sponsored by state Senator Nancy Barto (R), also prohibits the prosecution of women who undergo an abortion.

Abortion businesses that breach this law, however, could face felony charges and lose their medical licenses. Physicians can carry out abortions past the 15-week mark only during medical emergencies. The bill does not allow exceptions for instances of sexual abuse.

In a letter, the Republican governor wrote, “In Arizona, we know there is immeasurable value in every life—including preborn life. I believe it is each state’s responsibility to protect them.”

In 2020, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported that 13,186 abortions were carried out in the state. Recent data reveals that 636 were after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Conservatives consider Senate Bill 1164 a victory for the unborn. However, abortion business advocates have condemned the legislation as part of a long-term effort to make abortion illegal in Arizona. 

Senate Bill 1164 will become effective by late summer.

Making Oklahoma the Most Pro-Life State

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R) promised his constituents that he would sign every pro-life bill that hit his desk. On April 12, the Republican lawmaker kept his word by signing Senate Bill 612 into law.

The bill makes it a felony for doctors in Oklahoma to carry out abortions with a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines. Similar to the recently passed bill in Arizona, Senate Bill 612 has no exemption for rape or incest. Women can only undergo abortions if the pregnancy is life-threatening.

This legislation passed both the state House and Senate and was approved by more than 80 percent of elected officials.

Earlier this week, Tony Perkins interviewed Stitt and asked him what political statement various GOP legislators are making by passing pro-life bills.

The United States has some of the most egregious abortion laws in any of the civilized countries,” said Stitt. “For me, personally, standing for godly values, standing for what’s right, I’m more and more emboldened to represent the people of Oklahoma. Every state can do things a little bit differently, but I represent all four million Oklahomans and we overwhelmingly support life.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called Senate Bill 612 an attack on women’s rights and “one of the most extreme state laws signed into law to date.” But Stitt has declared he is committed to making Oklahoma “the most pro-life state in the country.”

Florida Legislators Stand up for the Defenseless 

We are here today to defend those who can’t defend themselves,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) in a press conference on April 14, after signing pro-life legislation.

Similar to Arizona, House Bill 5 bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Previously, abortions in Florida were allowed until 24 weeks of pregnancy.

This law applies even in cases of rape, incest, or human trafficking. This sparked debate in the state Senate, with Democrats strongly objecting and sharing stories of women who decided to undergo an abortion after enduring trauma.

There are only two exemptions to the 15-week ban of abortions. House Bill 5 does not come into effect in instances where a pregnancy is a “serious risk” to the mother. Furthermore, this legislation does not apply in cases where fatal fetal abnormality is detected. A written confirmation from two physicians is required.

Life is a sacred gift worthy of our protection,” DeSantis said in a statement. “I am proud to sign this great piece of legislation which represents the most significant protections for life in the state’s modern history.”

In March, when this bill passed the state Senate 23-15, President Joe Biden called it “a dangerous bill that will severely restrict women’s access to reproductive health care.”

Florida has the third highest rate of abortions in the country with 18.5 abortions per 1,000 women. In 2019, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventions reports that 71,914 abortions were carried out in the state. Once this law goes into effect in June, abortions are expected to decrease drastically.

Kentucky’s Battle to Preserve Life

In Kentucky, unlike the Arizona, Florida, and Oklahoma legislatures, the path to passing pro-life legislation was not easy. Democratic Governor Andy Beshear vetoed House Bill 3, faulting the bill for excluding exemptions for rape and incest.

The governor wrote, “Under House Bill 3, a 12-year-old child that is raped and impregnated by her father would not have the option of a procedure without both the consent of her mother and without also notifying her rapist—her father—at least 48 hours prior to obtaining a procedure.”

On April 13, Kentucky’s Republican-dominated state House and Senate voted to override Gov. Beshear’s veto. The results were 76-21 in the House, and the Senate concurred with a vote of 31-6.

Kentucky’s House Bill 3 echoes Oklahoma law by banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy with exceptions for the life of the mother. This measure also requires additional reporting requirements for medication abortions. It stipulates that abortion businesses must work with a funeral home to bury or cremate the fetal remains.

Since the bill has an emergency clause, the law is effective immediately. Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union announced they will be filing lawsuits in Kentucky federal court.

We Don’t Want Abortions in Our State,” Says Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt

by Deborah Laker

April 18, 2022

WASHINGTON D.C.– On April 12, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R) signed into law SB 612, a bill that makes it illegal to carry out an abortion in the state except for medical emergencies.

The bill not only makes it a felony for doctors in Oklahoma to carry out abortions but has a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines. Senate Bill 612 was approved by more than 80 percent of the state legislature.

This pro-life legislation has been labeled “extreme” and “disturbing” by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. In a “Washington Watch” interview, Gov. Stitt supported SB 612 saying, “Other states can do things differently, but in the state of Oklahoma, we want to protect life.” The Republican lawmaker emphasized that he is representing all four million Oklahomans by taking a “stand with life” and is prepared to “push back against the federal government.”

Watch the full interview with Gov. Stitt on tonyperkins.com at 5 p.m. EST.

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