Category archives: Abortion

Question of the Week - June 28, 2016

by Daniel Hart

June 28, 2016

Question: I don’t understand how [The Supreme Court’s Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision] is an attack on women or children. It seems this ruling was intended to remove burdensome obstacles for women needing a safe and legal medical procedure. There seems to be a disconnect between what you find safe and legal and what the Supreme Court deemed safe and legal. Could someone tell me why admission rights make this procedure more safe? Thank you.

FRC: The law in question [Texas’ H.B. 2] that was struck down would have required abortion facilities to have the same health and safety standards as ambulatory surgical centers (such as trained staff, corridors that could accommodate a stretcher in case of an emergency, up-to-date fire, sanitation, and safety codes) and for abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital not further than thirty miles from the abortion facility. This law would have helped to provide women protection from substandard medical care and in many cases criminal activity of abortion facilities. Over the last six years, “more than 150 abortion providers in at least 30 states and the District of Columbia have faced criminal charges, investigations, administrative complaints, and/or civil lawsuits” related to substandard practices or substandard operation of these abortion facilities. When abortion facilities are not held to the same standards as other facilities, women’s lives are endangered. For example:

  • In 2011 alone, 26,500 women experienced abortion-related complications, and close to 3,200 women required post-abortion hospitalization. 
  • As Federal Judge Edith Jones noted in her opinion for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on this case: “Planned Parenthood conceded that at least 210 women in Texas annually must be hospitalized after seeking an abortion.”

Further, abortionists with admitting privileges in hospitals could seamlessly assist their patients to a hospital in case of an emergency and no precious time would be lost that could cost the woman her life. Twenty-nine year old Jennifer Morbelli died at the hands of abortionist LeRoy Carhart following complications. After the abortion, Carhart released her to return to her hotel and he left town. Morbelli’s condition deteriorated, but Carhart could not be reached by family members or by hospital emergency room staff.

These are just a few of the reasons why the Supreme Court’s decision is so tragic for women. The pro-life movement is pro-woman and pro-child. We will continue our efforts to protect them both.

We will be releasing more information on this topic in the coming days.

Abortion Distortion” at work in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt

by Travis Weber

June 28, 2016

Once again, we saw the “abortion distortion” at work in our nation’s high court. The majority opinion first distorted the law governing whether a claim should be procedurally barred in order to let these claims against the Texas law proceed, then it distorted its own abortion jurisprudence governing whether there was actually an undue burden here to find one where one doesn’t exist. The majority went out of its way to support a lower court’s basis for striking down the law (and in doing so, tried to give courts authority to interfere where they shouldn’t), when it actually should have simply deferred to the legislature. The majority’s opinion leaves the state of abortion law more muddled than ever. As Justices Thomas and Alito (joined by Chief Justice Roberts) pointed out in dissents, there can be no doubt that our nation’s high court simply does not apply the law fairly and neutrally when it comes to the issue of abortion. This can only serve to discredit it as an institution.

Majority opinion

Justice Breyer wrote the majority, joined by Justices Kagan, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kennedy. In its opinion, the Court bent the typical rules governing claim preclusion to permit the claims against HB 2 to proceed, then even bent its abortion jurisprudence a fair bit to conclude they imposed an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional “right” to obtain an abortion.

Claims not procedurally barred

The first issue was whether any of the plaintiffs’ claims were procedurally barred under res judicata, a doctrine which prohibits raising the same claim if it has already been raised by the party to the case. The Court said they were not. The Court first held that the plaintiff’s admitted privileges claims were not barred because changed circumstances made the claims raised in this case different than those raised in an earlier case challenging the Texas statute (a dubious holding). It also held that the surgical center claims were not barred even though they were not raised in the earlier case because they were based on a different portion of the statute (also dubious).

Undue Burden

The Court began by laying out its standard: “We recognize that the ‘State has a legitimate interest in seeing to it that abortion, like any other medical procedure, is performed under circumstances that insure maximum safety for the patient.’ Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113, 150 (1973). But, we added, ‘a statute which, while furthering [a] valid state interest, has the effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman’s choice cannot be considered a permissible means of serving its legitimate ends.’ Casey, 505 U. S., at 877 (plurality opinion). Moreover, ‘[u]nnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion impose an undue burden on the right.’ Id., at 878.”

The justices held that neither the admitting-privileges nor surgical-center requirement “offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes. Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, Casey, supra, at 878 (plurality opinion),” and thus “each violates the Federal Constitution. Amdt. 14, §1.”

The Court of Appeals had held that (1) the courts should not consider and balance medical benefits against the burden when applying the undue burden standard (but rather just look at the burden issue), and (2) a standard of lower constitutional scrutiny should apply to abortion issues. The majority in Hellerstedt reversed the Court of Appeals on both these points.

Undue Burden – Admitting Privileges Requirement

The Court heavily deferred to the determinations of the district court (and affirmed the ability of courts in general to make such determinations) on these issues, and claimed that courts can resolve questions of medical uncertainty—not just legislatures. The Court held that courts can and should balance the medical benefits of a law against its burdens.

The Court found that the evidence in the record indicates that the admitting privileges requirement places a “substantial obstacle in the path of a woman’s choice” (quoting Casey). The Court again deferred to district court findings that facilities were closing at the time the law began to be enforced, which meant women had to travel further to obtain abortions, and there were fewer doctors (doctors were also unable to obtain admitting privileges for reasons unconnected to their ability to perform medical procedures), longer wait times, and more crowded facilities. Taken together, and viewed in light of the absence of a health benefit, this list of effects causes an undue burden.

The Court also noted the statute here does not have legislative findings, which weighs in favor of a court having to scrutinize findings more carefully, and heavily deferred to the district court’s evaluation of the evidence—and concluded it found nothing in the record “that shows that, compared to prior law (which required a “working arrangement” with a doctor with admitting privileges), the new law advanced Texas’ legitimate interest in protecting women’s health.”

The government argued facilities may have closed for reasons unrelated to this law, but the Court found that that the plaintiffs had “satisfied their burden to present evidence of causa­tion by presenting direct testimony as well as plausible inferences to be drawn from the timing of the clinic clo­sures.” When faced with the example of Gosnell, the Court said “there is no reason to believe that an extra layer of regulation would have affected that behavior. Determined wrongdoers, already ignoring existing stat­utes and safety measures, are unlikely to be convinced to adopt safe practices by a new overlay of regulations. Regardless, Gosnell’s deplorable crimes could escape detection only because his facility went uninspected for more than 15 years. Pre-existing Texas law already contained numerous detailed regulations covering abortion facilities, including a requirement that facilities be inspected at least annually.”

Undue Burden – Surgical Center Requirement

Again, the Court deferred to the district court and found that the health and safety concerns are not advanced by the surgical center requirement, especially in light of the existing regulation imposed by Texas. The Court credited evidence and deferred to an expert witness at the district court level, and found that many of the law’s requirements were not necessary to regulate abortion, and had the additional effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the face of a woman’s ability to obtain one by making them travel further and disrupting the medical care they would receive. In making these findings, the Court recognized it assumed that medical facilities operate at or near full capacity, and credited what it viewed as “commonsense inferences” by the district court. The court held that Texas had not shown that remaining facilities could accommodate many more women.

In essence, the Court nitpicked the evidence for ways Texas had not perfectly shown HB 2 would advance women’s health, and even when it had shown health benefits, claimed the burden outweighed these benefits (and the law was thus unconstitutional).

Other arguments

The Court rejected the argument that facial invalidation was precluded by the law’s severability clause. It also rejected Texas’ argument that the law did not impose a substantial obstacle because the number of women affected by the law is not a “large fraction” of Texan women of reproductive age. The Court finally rejected Texas’ argument, based on Simopoulos v. Virginia, that surgical center requirements could be applied to second-trimester abortions. The Court noted this was before Casey, which discarded the trimester framework.

Ginsburg Concurrence

Justice Ginsburg concurred, focusing on the claim that child-birth and other medical procedures are “far more dangerous” than abortion, and yet not subject to the requirements Texas attempts to impose here. “Given those realities, it is beyond rational belief that H. B. 2 could genuinely protect the health of women, and certain that the law ‘would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions.’ Planned Parenthood of Wis., 806 F. 3d, at 910. When a State se­verely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners, faute de mieux, at great risk to their health and safety. See Brief for Ten Pennsylvania Abortion Care Providers as Amici Curiae 17–22. So long as this Court adheres to Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113 (1973), and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U. S. 833 (1992), Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers laws like H. B. 2 that ‘do little or nothing for health, but rather strew impediments to abortion,’ Planned Parenthood of Wis., 806 F. 3d, at 921, cannot survive judicial inspection.”

Thomas Dissent

Justice Thomas criticized the majority for “perpetuat[ing] the Court’s habit of applying different rules to different constitutional rights—especially the putative right to abortion.”

Quoting Justice Scalia, he said this decision “exemplifies the Court’s troubling tendency ‘to bend the rules when any effort to limit abortion, or even to speak in opposition to abortion, is at issue.’ Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U. S. 914, 954 (2000) (Scalia, J., dissenting).”

Thomas continues, “[u]ltimately, this case shows why the Court never should have bent the rules for favored rights in the first place. Our law is now so riddled with special exceptions for special rights that our decisions deliver neither predict­ability nor the promise of a judiciary bound by the rule of law.”

He criticizes third-party standing, which permits plaintiffs to sue on behalf of others (and which permitted the claims to be brought in this case in the first place). He observes the Court has made special exceptions for this doctrine in the case of abortion, noting: “There should be no surer sign that our jurisprudence has gone off the rails than this: After creating a constitutional right to abortion because it ‘involve[s] the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy,’ Casey, supra, at 851 (majority opinion), the Court has created special rules that cede its enforcement to others.”

Even under Casey, Justice Thomas notes that the majority alters the undue burden test here by (1) telling courts to balance burdens and benefits of the law instead of just assessing the burden, by (2) making their own medical assessments as opposed to deferring to the legislature, which is permitted to enact a law in the face of a debate within the medical community (Stenberg, supra, at 971 (KENNEDY, J., dissent­ing) (“the right of the legislature to resolve matters on which physicians disagreed” is “establish[ed] beyond doubt”), and by (3) scrutinizing laws for more than a reasonable relation to a legitimate state interest even when the law does not impose a substantial obstacle to obtaining an abortion (“Where [the State] has a rational basis to act and it does not impose an undue burden,” this Court previously held, “the State may use its regulatory power” to impose regulations “in furtherance of its legiti­mate interests in regulating the medical profession in order to promote respect for life, including life of the un­born.” Gonzales, supra, at 158 (emphasis added)).”

Justice Thomas criticized the majority for writing an opinion without any clear standard, which will “mystify” lower courts trying to figure the matter out. The Court merely highlights certain parts of the record, and announces that there is an undue burden. In Justice Thomas’s view, this opinion looks like it’s applying the strict scrutiny standard that Casey had rejected.

He proceeds to criticize the Court’s seemingly ad-hoc application of different standards of review, based on the Court’s preference for the issue, which leads to unpredictability among other issues: “Likewise, it is now easier for the government to restrict judicial candidates’ campaign speech than for the Government to define mar­riage—even though the former is subject to strict scrutiny and the latter was supposedly subject to some form of rational-basis review. Compare Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar, 575 U. S. ___, ___–___ (2015) (slip op., at 8–9), with United States v. Windsor, 570 U. S. ___, ___ (2013) (slipop., at 20)).”

Thus, “[t]he Court should abandon the pretense that anything other than policy preferences underlies its balancing of constitutional rights and inter­ests in any given case.”

Indeed, the Court’s preference for special rights and inconsistent application of its standards to cases based on the rights at issue poses significant problems for the Court as a judicial body—this case being only one example. “The Court has simultaneously transformed judicially created rights like the right to abortion into preferred constitu­tional rights, while disfavoring many of the rights actually enumerated in the Constitution … Unless the Court abides by one set of rules to adjudicate constitu­tional rights, it will continue reducing constitutional law to policy-driven value judgments until the last shreds of its legitimacy disappear.”

He concludes: “Today’s decision will prompt some to claim victory, just as it will stiffen opponents’ will to object. But the entire Nation has lost something essential. The majority’s em­brace of a jurisprudence of rights-specific exceptions and balancing tests is ‘a regrettable concession of defeat—an acknowledgement that we have passed the point where ‘law,’ properly speaking, has any further application.’ Scalia, The Rule of Law as a Law of Rules, 56 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1175, 1182 (1989). I respectfully dissent.”

Alito Dissent

Justice Alito also dissented, with Chief Justice Roberts, and Justice Thomas joining.

Claim is procedurally barred

Justice Alito first criticized the majority for bending the rules of res judicata to accommodate the claim at issue because it concerned abortion. “When we decide cases on particularly controversial issues, we should take special care to apply settled procedural rules in a neutral manner. The Court has not done that here.”

In essence, the majority’s basis for permitting the claims to proceed here is weak, has holes, and has insufficient supporting authority. “The Court awards a victory to petitioners on the very claim that they unsuccessfully pressed in the earlier case. The Court does this even though petitioners, undoubtedly realizing that a rematch would not be allowed, did not presume to include such a claim in their complaint. The Court favors petitioners with a victory that they did not have the audacity to seek.”

Justice Alito observed the majority failed to even address the many elements of res judicata, and in ruling that the claims here were not the same, even erred when it addressed that element!

In essence, the claims are bound together by the law’s impact on the present or future closure of facilities. The claim in this case therefore is the same, had already been raised by the plaintiffs, and therefore should be barred. It doesn’t matter that the plaintiffs have new and better evidence; this doesn’t get around the issue that the claims are the same. The new and old claims are based on the same acts and set of circumstances, and new evidence does not transform them into different claims. The authority cited by the majority—the Comment F to Section 24 of the Second Restatement of Judgments—says a claim may be a different claim, not that it always is. This leeway should be applied sparingly, in Justice Alito’s view, and the majority does not have the authority to conclude as it does. There are no new “acts” here by Texas which even could make these claims different, but only new consequences, if at all. The plaintiffs here knew what the effects of the law would be, and thus have no basis to assert their claims are now different.

The plaintiffs could have provided evidence in their first case to show that facilities would close, yet now “the Court attempts to argue that petitioners could not have shown at that time that a sufficient number of clinics had already closed. As I have explained, that is not what petitioners need to show or what they attempted to prove.”

Even if the Court thinks that petitioners’ evidence in the first case was insufficient, the Court does not claim that petitioners, with reasonable effort, could not have gathered sufficient evidence to show with some degree of accuracy what the effects of the admitting privileges requirement would be. As I have just explained, in their first trial petitioners introduced a survey of 27 abortion clinics indicating that 15 would close because of the admitting privileges requirement. The Court does not identify what additional evidence petitioners needed but were unable to gather. There is simply no reason why petitioners should be allowed to re-litigate their facial claim.”

In sum, the Court’s holding that petitioners’ second facial challenge to the admitting privileges requirement is not barred by claim preclusion is not supported by any of our cases or any body of lower court precedent; is contrary to the bedrock rule that a party cannot re-litigate a claim simply because the party has obtained new and better evidence; is contrary to the first Restatement of Judgments and the actual rules of the second Restatement of Judgment; and is purportedly based largely on a single comment in the second Restatement, but does not even represent a sensible reading of that comment. In a regular case, an attempt by petitioners to re-litigate their previously unsuccessful facial challenge to the admitting privileges requirement would have been rejected out of hand—indeed, might have resulted in the imposition of sanctions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11. No court would even think of reviving such a claim on its own. But in this abortion case, ordinary rules of law—and fairness—are suspended.”

The majority erroneously holds that these claims are separate based on weak and inapplicable authority. In reality, these claims are based on the same bill, both impose now requirements on facilities, both seek to protect women, both challenged as imposing the same kind of burden, and are treated by the plaintiffs as a package in terms of their claim that they are trying to “shut down” abortion facilities. There is no doubt they are part of the same litigation.

No Undue Burden

Even if the claims are not barred, there is no undue burden here.

Since plaintiffs assert rights on behalf of their patients, they must show an impact on a “large fraction” of impacted women to obtain facial relief. They fail to do that. They only show that certain facilities closed, but make “little effort” to show why they did.

Justice Alito noted that this law may impact facilities, which is understandable, and even desired in the aftermath of situations like the Gosnell matter. Indeed, “the Philadelphia grand jury that investigated the case recommended that the Commonwealth adopt a law requiring abortion facilities to comply with the same regulations as ASCs.”

However, facilities may have closed because of (1) H. B. 2’s restriction on medication abortion, (2) the withdrawal of Texas family planning funds, (3) the nationwide decline in abortion demand, and (4) physician retirement (or other localized factors).

The plaintiffs could have made precise findings regarding each facility in Texas, and had the burden of proof to do so, but didn’t.

In addition, the plaintiffs simply didn’t put on any evidence of actual facility capacity as it concerned facility access. The majority let them off the hook on this point, even though this was important to determine an undue burden.

Finally, the majority failed to recognize that under Casey, traveling 150 miles is not an undue burden, and a significant majority of Texas women didn’t have to travel that far.

Justice Alito also wrote that even if the claims were not precluded, in applying the severability clause here, the law’s requirements must be held in every city in which it does not impose an undue burden.

Sadly, the Court has to again apply the “abortion distortion” to argue that the severability clause does not apply here, and invalidate the entire statute. Indeed, many non-abortion related provisions of the law are now struck down too.

He concludes: “When we decide cases on particularly controversial issues, we should take special care to apply settled procedural rules in a neutral manner. The Court has not done that here.” The Court’s “patent refusal to apply well-established law in a neutral way is indefensible and will undermine public confidence in the Court as a fair and neutral arbiter.”

We Are More than “Born Equal,” Mr. President

by Rob Schwarzwalder

February 8, 2016

In a speech at a Baltimore mosque last week, President Obama said, “We’re all born equal, with inherent dignity.”

He’s right. But his chronology is inadequate.

Our Declaration of Independence says we are “created equal.” That’s an important piece of phrasing in that it accurately represents the true origin of our humanity. Our Creator, from the moment of our conception, bestows on us His image and likeness. From that fraction of time on, we are persons. All the DNA that composes our beings is there at the union of the sperm and egg. As my colleague Cathy Ruse and I wrote a few years ago, “the scientific evidence is quite plain: at the moment of fusion of human sperm and egg, a new entity comes into existence which is distinctly human, alive, and an individual organism — a living, and fully human, being.”

Throughout his time in elective office, in the Illinois and U.S. Senates and now as President, Mr. Obama has been a consistent and strident proponent of unrestricted access to abortion-on-demand. His health care plan subsidizes it. He is suing in federal court to demand that everyone from faith-based colleges to an order of Catholic nuns provide contraception to their employees. He wants birth control with potentially abortifacient action made widely available. It is thus difficult not to see his assertion of our being born with inherent dignity as a turn of phrase calculated deliberately to avoid dealing with the humanness of the unborn child.

We are created with dignity from the moment when our humanness starts. That’s called conception. It takes place in the womb. No clever phrasing can ever diminish what the conscience cannot deny and science cannot but confirm: That life within the womb isn’t some collection of tissue and blood — he or she is a baby who should be protected by law and welcomed into life.

Millennials Across the United States are More Likely to Identify as Pro-life Than Previous Generations

by Joshua Denton

February 8, 2016

The nation has seen a 12 percent decline in abortions, according to a recent study published in the Associated Press. Improvements in pro-life attitudes are reflected in these encouraging statistics and show the rising popularity of alternatives to abortion among millennials.

The study shows the decline is nearly equal in both the most pro-life and pro-choice states.

The decline in the least pro-life states:

Vermont – Down 9%

New York – Down 15%

Connecticut – Down 21%

New Jersey – Does not collect abortion data

Montana – Down 18%

Washington – Down 17%

Oregon – Down 18%

Nevada – Down 22%

California – Does not collect abortion data

Hawaii – Down 30%

 

The decline in the most pro-life states:

North Dakota – Down 8%

Nebraska – Down 8%

Kansas – Down 13%

Missouri – Down 18%

Indiana – Down 20%

Oklahoma – Down 19%

Arkansas – Down 6%

Texas – Down 12%

Mississippi – Down 6%

Louisiana – Up 12%

This summer, in an article for the Boston Globe entitled American Millennials Rethink Abortion, For Good Reasons, author Jeff Jacoby explained some of the reasoning behind these trends. One factor is “an empathy-driven reaction” that views abortion negatively because of improvements in medical technology such as vivid ultrasound images, which humanize the issue of abortion.

Additionally, improvements in neonatal medicine have changed what constitutes a viable unborn baby. Jacoby explains that because of medical advances, babies born extremely prematurely are able to “survive and flourish,” whereas a generation ago survival might not have been possible.

Jacoby relates a statistic that may be surprising to many. Of all age groups, young adults are now the most likely to think abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. That position connotes a very strong negative opinion of abortion that the majority of millennials share.

According to Students for Life of America, the Marist poll data shows that 59 percent think abortion is “morally wrong”; 58 percent think abortion “does more harm than good”; and 64 percent think the abortion rate is “higher than it should be.” In previous generations, those under the age of 30 were the most vocal proponents of abortion.

On a more personal level, today’s millennials have friends and family members who regret denying their children the chance at life. The Silent No More campaign calls this the Shockwaves of Abortion and has dedicated each month to the healing of various people who have been affected by abortion including the parents, grandparents, siblings, abortion providers, and others. Millennials may also be more hesitant to think about abortion positively simply because they have survived Roe v. Wade. Regardless of the motivations, the increasing support for the protection of the unborn and their right to life is a most encouraging trend.

Joshua Denton is a senior in college and works with the Indiana Family Institute in Indianapolis. Follow Joshua Denton on Twitter @1776Josh.

Peas in a Rotting Pod: Woodrow Wilson and Margaret Sanger

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 24, 2015

So, Woodrow Wilson was a racist. This is indisputable. It’s also why many black students at the school for Wilson was once president, Princeton, are calling for a renewed assessment of his legacy there and as president of the United States.

We don’t want Woodrow Wilson’s legacy to be erased,” said Wilglory Tanjong, a member of the protesting Black Justice League, told the New York Times. “But we think that you can definitely understand your history without idolizing or turning Wilson into some kind of god, which is essentially what they’ve done.”

In my view, that’s a good balance. We need not unduly lionize prominent people, especially people like Wilson whose moral narcissism, disdain for constitutional government, and ineptitude in foreign policy resulted in tragedy and political chaos. Yet we can’t scrub our history of all unsavory aspects of its past. Stalinized portrayals of history, in which people who for whatever reason have fallen out of favor are airbrushed-out of photographs and deleted from written accounts, are dishonest and chilling. Such an approach not only invites fascism and statist control, it embodies such.

Across the street from my building, a bust of the late eugenicist and Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger sits in honored glory in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Here is one choice giblet of insight from Mrs. Sanger for inclusion in the gravy of her secular adulation:

We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” Woman, Morality, and Birth Control. New York: New York Publishing Company, 1922, page 12

As historian Paul Kengor notes, “Was Sanger plotting to eliminate all blacks? Of course not. But she was plotting to control the reproduction of blacks and of the human race generally.”

And as my distinguished colleague Ken Blackwell writes, “Sanger sought to recruit Black pastors because she did not want the word to get out in our churches that she wanted to eliminate America’s Black population. Sanger constantly denied any such intent, but she argued incessantly for creating ‘a race of thoroughbreds.’ Not since the days of Slavery had such language been used, comparing human lives to horse breeding.”

Later in life, Sanger seems to have changed her tune, at least a wee bit. “The Negro race has reached a place in its history when every possible effort should be made to have every Negro child count as a valuable contribution to the future of America. Negro parents, like all parents, must create the next generation from strength, not from weakness; from health, not from despair,” she wrote in 1946.

Yet one must ask, who did Sanger think she was to determine which baby was or wasn’t a “valuable contribution” to America’s future? Her concerns about the health and well-being of black mothers and their children, expressed elsewhere in the 1946 piece quoted above (“Love or Babies: Must Negro Mothers Choose?”) were in themselves admirable, yet her solutions — widespread use of contraceptives to alleviate the suffering of black women and their babies and compulsory sterilization of “defectives” — hardly constitute a compassionate approach.

In many other writings, Sanger wrote of “human weeds” and advocated widespread forced sterilization. In sum, her belief in coercive population control and her apparent desire to “exterminate” the “Negro race” (note: she wrote this at the age of 43, not as an immature young woman) should animate her bust’s removal from the Smithsonian every bit as much as Wilson’s racism in belief and practice should temper Princeton’s reverential recognition of him as one of its greatest sons.

Turning Bad News into Action

by Jamie Dangers

November 24, 2015

There’s a lot of bad news these days. It can be hard to know how to process the global, national, and local tragedies that we hear with unsettling frequency. Headlines, tweets, and statuses are overrun with urgent cries of outrage, fear, and blind accusation. Truly, it can be crushing if we get caught under the weight of endless waves of tragedy and languish there.

What is the alternative? We could, I suppose, pretend everything is fine. We could steel our hearts and mind our own business.

But what good is there in that?

We can’t fix problems we don’t acknowledge. Pretending problems don’t exist will not make them go away. In fact, ignoring them will only allow them to persist.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who lived through times of evil and persecution we can only imagine, said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

I suggest when we read or hear or see bad news, we do so actively and intentionally. Use the hard things to remind us to pray, to inspire a discontent that leads to firm and compassionate action.

I would also ask you to read this article by David Altrogge, writer and producer of 3801 Lancaster: An American Tragedy. FRC was privileged to join Congressmen Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) in hosting in the U.S. Capitol a reception and screening of 3801 Lancaster, a profound documentary that shows what happens when people choose to do nothing in the face of evil. I would ask you to consider hosting a screening of the movie yourself, at your church, community center, or campus. Atrocities are being committed against unborn children and women across our country, in our own back yards, and we cannot afford to pretend this isn’t happening. It is a hard movie. But watch it with hope — when evil is exposed, it can be vanquished.

What will you do?

A Sheikh, the Supreme Court, and an Abortion Center: Matters of Life and Death

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 6, 2015

This could be the beginning of a bad joke: What do a Palestinian sheikh, the Supreme Court, and an abortion center in Indiana have in common?

The answer: Life and death.

The Palestinian sheikh, Muhammad Salakh, is one of many Palestinian leaders urging Muslims in Gaza and the West Bank to slaughter Israelis. “Restrain the victim while others attack him with axes and butcher knives,” he said to his followers recently “as he brandished a knife in a sermon that was widely viewed within the territories. ‘Do not fear what will be said about you. Oh men of the West Bank, next time, attack in a group of three, four, or five. Attack them in groups. Cut them into body parts.’”

The “knife of jihad” has, thus far, led to “a dozen dead and at least 19 seriously wounded in 59 separate stabbing attacks, mainly in Jerusalem. Some 72 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces, including 45 who Israel said were involved in attacks and another 27 Palestinians killed in clashes between stone-throwers and security forces.”

Next, the Supreme Court: The Justices have agreed to “hear another challenge to the Affordable Care Act, this time to decide whether religiously affiliated organizations such as universities, hospitals and charities should be free from playing any role in providing employees with contraceptive coverage.”

The court accepted seven cases from around the country, including one challenge involving the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington and the other from an order called the Little Sisters of the Poor, which runs homes for the aged,” reports the Washington Post.

The Post story excerpts an important comment by U.S. Circuit Judge Roger Wollman who, writing for a unanimous panel, “that the issue is whether the groups ‘have a sincere religious belief that their participation in the accommodation process makes them morally and spiritually complicit in providing abortifacient coverage. Their affirmative answer to that question is not for us to dispute.’”

Note the word “abortifacient.” This is not just about contraception, but about an Obamacare mandate that requires those with deeply held, faith-based objections to abortion to facilitate it. Abortion is a matter of life and death, and participation in it in any way would be heinous to millions of Christians in this country. It is wise the Supreme Court takes it seriously.

Finally, in South Bend, Indiana, that city’s last abortion center is shutting its doors—possibly permanently—tonight.

According to TV station WNDU, “Last June, the Indiana Department of Health moved to revoke the license of the Women’s Pavilion in South Bend citing numerous violations. Since then, the clinic has remained open as management appealed the license revocation. This week, the appeal was dropped on the day the clinic was scheduled to begin defending itself.”

Murder in Israel. Abortifacient drugs. The destruction of unborn life and the cruel abuse of their mothers.

All matters of life and death. All critically important. And all evidence that God-given human dignity matters wherever and however it is threatened.

The image of God we all bear is a thing of wonder. In the womb and outside it, all persons merit the protection of law and the respect of every culture. Christians must always bear in mind that their duty to safeguard life is a sacred one. Let’s never neglect it.

Beware of False Rhetoric on Chinese Population Control Modifications

by Chris Gacek

November 5, 2015

Last week, news came out of China that its “one-child” population control strategy was being “abandoned.” This is ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE. The PRC has merely adopted a “two-child” policy. The entire institutional structure of coercion has been left in place, and the government will still require birth permits. Also, existing second children are not going to lose their non-person status.

That said, this relatively minor change is being forced on the central planners by the complete demographic cataclysm they have brought upon their own nation. See my colleague Rob Schwarzwalder’s excellent article in the Christian Post for background information.

The Communist Party is not going to relinquish coercive population control because this policy and its implementing apparatus lie at the core of the Chinese security state.

Lucy Hornby discussed a different aspect of the news in her article for the FT Weekend entitled “Bleak Future for China’s Hated Family Planners.” It appears that forcing people to abort their children with violence, threats of familial torture, and demands for bribes is not the Dale Carnegie way.

I think Hornby’s fascinating article probably overstates the gravity of the threat to the population control bureaucracy. That said, there are some great observations describing the way the Chinese people feel about these population thugs. She notes that there are “millions of hated government officials” working at this. They cause “heartbreak” to the population by “enforcing abortions and sterilizations, meting out crippling fines and punishments…” Their actions include “even removing infants from their families on behalf of the state.” (It’s probably more like killing them on behalf of the state.)

She observes, “Family planning workers are not required to have any medical education – and they are hated.” Apparently, “[i]n the 1980s, when the forced abortion campaign was at its peak, hostility ran so deep that family planning officials travelled by convoy into villages where they were sometimes greeted with a hail of stones….” In social media, one person wrote an excellent question: “Why do we hate the Japanese army but not the family planning officials?”

And, of course, the officials are incredibly corrupt. Bureaucrats have to grant permission to have even the first child. Villagers are “fined” arbitrarily for random infractions that can be leveraged for a bribe. In thirty-five years since 1980, the government has accumulated $315 billion (with a “b”) one analyst estimates. That is a massive amount of money given the poverty in China’s rural areas, and the money has never been audited.

The expert Hornby consulted believes the whole system will be terminated in three years. We shall see. I have my doubts. It is hard to imagine a bureaucracy this evil going softly into the night.

Clearly, the “two-child” policy makes no sense, and the legitimacy of the program has been shattered. An American administration that cared about human rights might be able to push it over, but that would not be this cold-hearted, inhumane administration. That will have to wait until 2017.

A Surprising, Pro-Life Lesson from Dr. Seuss

by Katelin Myers

October 30, 2015

A person’s a person, no matter how small!”

Many children grow up reading Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who, the classic story of a brave elephant who works to protect the tiny people of Whoville from destruction. At the end of the tale, the Whos are saved because Horton believes he has a duty to protect those who can’t protect themselves. Horton famously states, “A person’s a person, no matter how small!” Though Dr. Seuss may not have intended it, this story teaches a timeless lesson on the value of life, no matter how small it is.

It is interesting that such a simple and eloquent pro-life statement was spoken by a fictional elephant. If only some Members of Congress would think like Horton and see the value inherent in all lives. If only they would see that a child is a child no matter how small and that we all have a duty to protect life from those who wish to take it away.

There was a time when the abortion industry thrived on the lie that life does not begin at conception, and therefore an abortion does not kill a child. However, science caught up and debunked this claim, so next the industry took refuge in the belief that unborn children do not feel pain, which has now also been disproven. Now, with their foundation crumbling beneath them, the abortion lobby has elected to ignore the life matter altogether and focus on women’s rights (or, as was the case during a recent Planned Parenthood hearing, the need for gun control, better sex education, and various other off-topic subjects).

According to Planned Parenthood supporters at the hearing, the investigation into the abortion giant’s alleged illegal activities is nothing more than a campaign against the “right of a woman to choose what to do with her own body.” Based on this false characterization of the effort to bring the truth to light, Planned Parenthood has done nothing wrong – that is, if you don’t count selling body parts for profit (which is illegal according to 42 U.S. Code § 274e), the daily butchering of innocent babies, failing to report on victims of rape or incest, endangering and permanently injuring their patients, and continuously profiting off government funding, just to name a few examples of the harm this organization does.

Just to be clear, I believe in and support women’s rights—the right to vote, to bear arms, freedom of speech, and all those rights specifically laid out in the U.S. Constitution. Killing an unborn child via abortion is not a human right, but the right to life is. We must also recognize the predatory nature of the abortion industry: Women experiencing great difficulty are exploited by those purveying the death of an unborn little one for profit.

Moreover, if pro-abortion activists want women’s rights protected, shouldn’t that protection extend to women in the womb? Thousands of voiceless girls have lost their lives as others have spoken for them, but thankfully, there are women who choose to hear and protect the vulnerable ones they carry. Brianna was one of these voiceless girls.

When Brianna was in her mother’s womb, she was diagnosed with gastroschisis, a defect in which the developing abdominal wall does not close and thus allows internal organs—in Brianna’s case, her small intestine—to develop outside the body. Her mother’s doctor advised her to have an abortion, saying it would be “kinder to terminate” the child than for Brianna to live a physically challenging life. By God’s grace, Brianna’s mother believed her child was a “person, no matter how small” and chose to carry and deliver her child. Though the pregnancy and recovery was difficult, Brianna is a healthy, thriving eighteen year old woman today.

So what about Brianna? Did she, as a woman, get a say in whether she should be allowed to live or not? Unfortunately, in our nation, a person is only a person when she can survive outside the womb. If only we could remember that God made all people in His image and that they deserve to be protected, since “a person’s a person, no matter how small!”

Katelin Myers is currently an intern at Family Research Council and a senior studying Pre-Law at Liberty University. She was formerly the assistant program director at Greater Grace World Outreach and has spent time abroad in Asia and South America.

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