by FRC Media Office
September 17, 2014
FRC President Tony Perkins joins Bret Baier discussing abortion coverage in the Affordable Care Act
FRC President Tony Perkins joins Bret Baier discussing abortion coverage in the Affordable Care Act
In 2008 Planned Parenthood of the Heartland in Iowa began performing what has been termed “skype abortions.” A skype abortion is where the physician never actually physically examines a patient, rather, diagnoses them via a webcast and if the patient qualifies to have a chemical abortion, pushes a button which allows RU-486 to be dispensed to the women seeking an abortion.
In August 2013 the Iowa Board of Medicine passed regulations to ban skype abortions. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland challenged the Iowa Board of Medicine’s decision, and this week Polk County District Jude Jeffrey Farrell, thankfully upheld the state Board of Medicine’s regulations to ban skype abortions.
The Board of Medicine regulations do not ban chemical abortions or the use of RU-486; rather, it places common sense regulations on the practice of dispensing RU-486, specifically requiring a doctor to physically examine the patient before prescribing RU-486 and requiring a follow-up visit, among other provisions.
As more people learn more about the practice of skype abortions, more states will take action to preserve health and safety standards for their citizens and ban this practice.
There are a number of disturbing facts about a homicide story coming out of Michigan, not the least the gory acts of violence surrounding the deaths of a man and a pregnant woman. The story leaves a lot of disturbing questions unanswered about the nature of the encounter that resulted in this tragedy.
It is interesting to note that the reporting ABC affiliate recently called it a “triple homicide.” “Why triple?” you may ask. Michigan law (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 750.322) defines the willful killing of an unborn child by any injury to the mother of the child as manslaughter. It is one of 38 statesto have fetal homicide laws. The rights of this unborn child as a person are accepted and defended.
In a previous article, I outlined the logical inconsistency of abortion laws in light of fetal homicide laws. What’s the difference between this unborn child whose life was taken from him and the 3,000 children who die every day because they are aborted? The only difference is not their level of development or any other factor, but rather the consent of the mother.
This dark and senseless act which claimed the lives of three people and the suicide of the perpetrator not only underlines the present culture of death, but the logical inconsistency in not defining the killing of unborn children as homicide in all states and under all circumstances.
Last week, we witnessed the Left’s determination to enforce abortion-on-demand as the highest good of American society. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) held a hearing on his legislation that would “make it harder when not impossible for states to enforce measures that protect women as well as unborn children,” writes Thomas Messner. “In provision after provision S. 1696 puts not a thumb but a fist on the scales in favor of abortion providers and against both unborn children and mothers who face the fear and uncertainty of unexpected pregnancy.”
The Left has been losing the battle for the sanctity of life and the well-being of their mothers. Repeatedly, state and federal courts have upheld the right of states to limit access to elective abortion according to legal precedence, the Tenth Amendment, and simple decency.
Enraged, liberals like Sen. Blumenthal are seeking to vitiate entire bodies of law so as to impose their radical agenda of sexual autonomy and abortion at any stage of pregnancy (subsidized by the federal government, no less) on the American people.
This mentality informs not only the Left’s approach to abortion; it is much broader than that, sweeping across the political horizon: Liberalism’s illiberalism, its insistence on a program of extreme social change through whatever means — the courts, legislation, regulatory and tax policy, etc. — can achieve it, regardless of the will of the people or their elected representatives.
Following are some compelling quotes about illiberal liberalism, about the Left’s tantrum-like emphasis on coercing their fellow citizens into a regime of profound social transformation.
“Government leaders routinely ignore laws they are sworn to uphold. This is more than intolerant. It is illiberal. It is a willingness to use coercive methods, from government action to public shaming, to shut down debate and censor those who hold a different opinion as if they have no right to their views at all.” Kim R. Holmes, Distinguished Fellow, Heritage Foundation
“In some respects the Obama Democrats want to go further — and are complaining that they’re having a hard time getting there. Their form of liberalism is in danger of standing for something like the very opposite of freedom, for government coercion of those who refuse to behave the way they’d like.” Michael Barone, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
“Why are you expected to abandon your conscience the moment you step into the commercial world? Why is it mandatory to violate your liberty in order to protect the wishes of others? Indeed, why would a gay couple want, say, a Christian opposed to gay marriage to photograph their wedding or prepare their cake? It hardly seems the best way to ensure a satisfactory job. One suspects that it is an exercise in humiliation, an attempt to force those with unfashionable scruples to affirm what they reject. It is, in short, a calculated effort at intolerance.” Doug Bandow, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute
“Conservatives are put into awkward positions of critiquing liberal ideas on grounds that they are impractical, unworkable, or counterproductive. Yet rarely, at least outside the religious sphere, do they identify the progressive as often immoral. And the unfortunate result is that they have often ceded moral claims to supposedly dreamy, utopian, and well-meaning progressives, when in fact the latter increasingly have little moral ground to stand upon.” Victor Davis Hanson, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution
A bill introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), the “Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act” to override the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby ruling failed to get cloture in the Senate today. The Supreme Court ruled in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell that family business owners do not have to violate their consciences in order to earn a living by providing drugs and services to their employees in their healthcare plan, to which they morally object.
This bill seeks to overturn what the Supreme Court ruled earlier this month, and would force family business owners to provide their employees in their healthcare plan drugs and devices that have the potential to kill an unborn child even if they may have moral objections, and despite the protections afforded to them by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). It failed to get the sixty votes that were needed to move the bill forward, coming up short at 56-43 votes. We are thankful to the Senators who voted against cloture on this bill, thus protecting the religious freedom of all family businesses.
All this talk about S1696 protecting women’s rights? Down-right deceiving. If passed in the Senate, what has been referred to by National Right to Life’s President as “the most radical pro-abortion bill ever considered by Congress” would undo pro-life laws across the nation. It is because of the carefully-drafted and rightfully enacted pro-life laws that currently exist that women’s health and unborn children are protected.
Hundreds—yes, hundreds—of pro-life laws have been passed in states, including 21 measures this year alone.
The very essence of this bill is destruction, not protection. What would be the ramifications of passing S1696?
This bill would overturn these pro-life and pro-woman laws—laws that protect babies who are capable of feeling pain—laws that prevent sex-selection abortion—laws that ensure the medical competency of health providers—laws that hold abortion clinics to the same standards of ambulatory clinics. These laws are important and are being passed in states across the country.
S1696 is a serious unconstitutional attack on states’ rights. Last year, I was on the grounds of the Texas Capitol when HB2 and SB1 were debated. These measures have helped to protect the lives of numerous Texan mothers and their unborn children. It was a year ago when the Lone Star legislature demonstrated to the nation the truth of Lt. Governor David Dewhurst’s words, “At the end of the day, life can’t be stopped.”
However, S1696 seeks to end life. It seeks to stop the heartbeat of the child who is being nurtured in his or her mother’s womb. It seeks to make profit off of the woman in crisis. Is this protecting? No, it’s degrading. After all, what is honorable about intentionally lowering medical and health standards? Friends, this bill seeks to silence the voice of states like Texas that have raised their voice for life. It’s time to kill the bill and protect the mother and her unborn child.
Each of us has been blessed with mothers who showed us true love and protection when they made the choice to grace us with the gift of life. This bill is not about health rights; it’s about destroying the very inalienable right that we all have been given—the right to life.
Most of us don’t expect to hear a sales pitch when we go to a healthcare appointment.
However, that’s what women get when they go to Planned Parenthood.
A Planned Parenthood clinic in Aurora Colorado has recently received an award for “exceeding abortion visits [in the] first half of FY12 compared to the first half of FY13,” from the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains,
Why should women care that Planned Parenthood is giving its satellite clinics a pat on the back?
Because this clinic’s certificate for being an abortion “over achiever” confirms that Planned Parenthood has minimum quotas for abortions.
Abortion quotas put clinics in the business of promoting these life-ending procedures instead of serving women according to their needs. The abortion award in Colorado only further verifies testimonies about Planned Parenthood’s agenda from previous employees, such as Marianne Anderson. Marianne Anderson, who worked at a Planned Parenthood in Indianapolis for two and a half years, told The Criterion:
“You have to have so many [abortions] a month to stay open. In our meetings they’d tell us, ‘If abortions are down, you could get sent home early and not get as many hours.’”
Planned Parenthood being in the business of peddling abortions above other options is nothing new. A pamphlet by Family Research Council states:
According to estimates, a first trimester non-subsidized abortion costs approximately $550. As reported in their 2010 annual report, Planned Parenthood performed 329,445 abortions, yielding approximately $181,000,000 in revenue—solely from abortions performed that year. In contrast, Planned Parenthood made 841 adoption referrals in 2010.
Last year Planned Parenthood performed 327,166 abortions and raked in revenue of $1.21 billion dollars last, 45% of which was funded by tax payers, according to their annual report.
Planned Parenthood, like any other business, wants to make as much money as possible. But it is disingenuous—if not immoral—for this organization to claim it has women’s health as its top priority while also setting incentives for employees to push one (lucrative) option on women.
When vulnerable women enter a clinic they expect to meet a professional who values their health. Not a salesperson, eager to pawn off a product. It is clear, then, that Planned Parenthood cares more about its profit margins than the women it claims to serve.
Last week’s World Cup soccer match between Germany and the U.S. was a loss for Old Glory, which nonetheless advances in World Cup competition.
Of note to pro-lifers are the names and backgrounds of some of the German players, names that would have made the late and unlamented Fuhrer rather unhappy:
Shkodran Mustafi, a Muslim man of Albanian descent who was born and raised in Germany.
Jérôme Agyenim Boateng, born in then-West Berlin to a Ghanian father and German mother.
Mesut Özil, a third-generation German Turk and practicing Muslim known to recite the Quran before games.
Sami Khedira, son of a Tunisian man and German woman. Also a Muslim.
Why should people who care about the sanctity of life be interested in these men? Because within living memory, Germany’s Nazi government operated on the basis of severe racial and ethnic bigotry. “(Hitler) loathed Arabs (and) once described them as ‘lacquered half-apes who ought to be whipped.’”
It is therefore quite gratifying to see that the German national soccer team hosts four men Hitler would have considered sub-human. Why? Because as taught in Scripture and affirmed in America’s charter text, the Declaration of Independence, all men are created equal: Arab or Jew, German or Ghanian, every person has been endowed by his Creator with the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The image and likeness of God exist in all people, whatever their complexion, hair texture, stature, or any external characteristic, racial heritage, or national background. That Germany now seems to have adopted this principle should be welcome news to all of us who care about that most sacred of human rights, the right to life.
Yet like America, abortion is all too available in Deutschland. As one commentator notes, “German abortion laws are not especially restrictive. Abortion is legal during the first trimester of pregnancy and available if medically or psychologically necessary in the later trimesters.”
Two nations with a rich, profound Judeo-Christian heritage affirm the dignity of everyone – except, ironically and tragically, when it comes to the unborn. As Senator Marco Rubio noted in May, “Science is settled, it’s not even a consensus, it is a unanimity, that human life begins at conception.” Don’t the smallest and most vulnerable among us, the unborn, deserve the same protection in law the rest of us enjoy?
Let’s keep working and praying for the day when not only Germany and America but all nations will acknowledge the simple but profound truth articulated by Senator Rubio. When they do, and when they enact laws that ban legalized bigotry not only on the basis of race or ethnicity but on the basis of size or place of residence (in the womb or outside of it), World Cup celebrations will suddenly seem very small.
Today, a unanimous Supreme Court held that a statute which limits access to traditional public forums outside abortion facilities violates the First Amendment. While the ruling is a victory for free speech rights in America’s public spaces, it’s only a halfhearted victory, and one which does not alleviate concern regarding treatment of free speech in the context of abortion.
How did we get here?
In Massachusetts, Eleanor McCullen and other women desired to stand outside of abortion clinics to be able to interact with women seeking abortions and dissuade them from having abortions. They politely shared their beliefs with the women seeking abortions. Eleanor would usually initiate a conversation with: “Good morning, may I give you my literature? Is there anything I can do for you? I’m available if you have any questions.” If a woman appeared receptive, Eleanor would provide additional information. Eleanor and other counselors believe it is important to maintain a caring demeanor, a calm tone of voice, and direct eye contact with the women considering abortions. Because their love and care is conveyed to these women, Eleanor and others claim to have persuaded hundreds to forgo abortions.
Yet many in Massachusetts did not like the fact that women were being dissuaded from having abortions. In an attempt to restrict Eleanor’s activity, the Massachusetts legislature passed a statute making it a crime to knowingly stand on a “public way or sidewalk” within 35 feet of an entrance or driveway to any place, other than a hospital, where abortions are performed. Employees acting within the scope of their employment and several other groups of people are exempt from this restriction. Massachusetts claimed its statute furthered public safety and order, but the real aim was restricting pro-life speech.
Eleanor did not fall within any of the categories of people exempted from the statute’s effect. Indeed, the statute was aimed at restricting people exactly like Eleanor, because abortion providers did not like having potential customers deterred from having abortions. Eleanor and others challenged the statute on constitutional grounds.
What did the Supreme Court say?
While the Supreme Court held that the Massachusetts statute violated the First Amendment, this ruling is not a strong victory for pro-life speech. The Court held that the statute in this case was not narrowly tailored—which is required when restricting speech in a “traditional public forum” like the sidewalk areas here—but it refused to rule that the statute contained a content-based restriction in that it only discriminated against abortion-related speech. If the statute contained a content-based restriction, it would have been subjected to strict scrutiny, a desirable standard for those seeking to communicate pro-life views in the face of hostile legislatures. The Court reasoned that the statute could be violated by someone standing in the restricted area outside abortion facilities, regardless of what subject or message they conveyed. Yet such thinking overlooks the issue of who is likely to stand outside abortion facilities.
Massachusetts argued that it had an interest in promoting safety and order in these sidewalk areas, and the Court recognized that this was a significant government interest. The Court merely ruled that this statute was too broad and restricted too much speech in addition to promoting safety—the statute had to be “narrowly tailored” to address Massachusetts’s safety concerns. The statute could be constitutional if it was modified to address safety concerns without catching people like Eleanor or others within its net.
Despite its unfortunate reasoning, the majority opinion does tell us something helpful. In several places Chief Justice Roberts makes note of and seems to lend support to the style and method of the speech at issue here—that of a quiet, compassionate counselor engaging in one-on-one interactions. While loud and abrasive speech is clearly protected just like other speech (of course subject to constitutional restrictions), the Court’s apparent support (if it can be deemed that) for this type of speech could be helpful to keep in mind when future free speech issues arise in the abortion context.
Troubling Majority Opinion, but Heartening Concurrences
While this case featured a good result, the Court is wrong to not find that the restriction here was content—and even possibly viewpoint—based. As Justice Scalia (joined by Justice Thomas, and importantly, Justice Kennedy) noted in a concurring opinion, “[e]very objective indication shows that the provision’s primary purpose is to restrict speech that opposes abortion.” It is not hard to believe that clinic employees—who are exempted from this law—will speak in favor of abortion near and around clinics when speaking to clients or potential clients. The majority avoided ruling the statute was unconstitutionally content-based because there was no evidence in this case of such activity occurring. Yet the majority opinion got this wrong. Justice Scalia’s point here is valid, as it is hard to believe that clinic employees would avoid speaking approval of abortion in the course of interacting with their clients. It is even harder to believe they would speak opposition to abortion.
Justice Scalia notes that contrary to Massachusetts’ assertion that it is concerned with safety and order, Planned Parenthood itself points to certain types of speech as the problem outside clinics. Planned Parenthood claims these protestors “hold signs, try to speak to patients entering the building, and distribute literature that can be misleading.” Justice Scalia rightly observes that the “safe space” provided by the Planned Parenthood escorts is protection from that unwelcome speech. He accurately ascertains that “[t]he obvious purpose of the challenged portion of the Massachusetts Reproductive Health Care Facilities Act is to ‘protect’ prospective clients of abortion clinics from having to hear abortion-opposing speech on public streets and sidewalks.”
Justice Alito went further in his concurring opinion, stating that the statute unconstitutionally discriminated against speech based on viewpoint by permitting clinic employees (who are of course going to express pro-abortion viewpoints) in the restricted zone, while excluding counselors from the zone who may express pro-life viewpoints.
What to make of all this?
The Court’s result is pleasing, but its opinion is troubling. The reasoning in the McCullen concurring opinions is solid and much more encouraging for pro-life free speech, and indeed, for free speech in general. The Massachusetts statute clearly aims at speech regarding a certain topic, and ultimately at a certain viewpoint on that topic. It is good to see that some justices agree with these conclusions. It is even more heartening to see Justice Kennedy so supportive of pro-life free speech.
While it is not heartening to see the Court issue such a weak ruling, a decision striking down this statute on First Amendment grounds is certainly better than the alternative. Hopefully next time the Court more clearly calls out content and viewpoint based restrictions on speech when it sees them.
In its latest undercover investigation, the exploratory pro-life organization Live Action has revealed a shocking glimpse of what Planned Parenthood is really teaching minors about sexual behavior.
It is a known fact that Planned Parenthood unashamedly promotes promiscuous sexual behavior. In a recent blog post, Planned Parenthood stated that “there’s nothing bad or unhealthy about having a big number of sexual partners.” A new exposé by Live Action, released June 10, catches a Planned Parenthood counselor giving an underage girl advice on violent sexual practices. When the 15-year-old girl expressed concerns about how painful types of torture sex (also known as BDSM, which includes the use of whipping, bondage and pain) would be painful, the counselor vaguely replied, “Oh, you know, it’ll feel good to you.”
“It’s so offensive and disgusting,” Live Action President Lila Rose stated in a recent interview. “She’s coaching this girl how she can work up to more intense stuff during sex to increase the level of pain and domination.”
There are two things we can take from this. First, this exposé reveals just how far our culture has fallen. As stated in Genesis 2:22-24, God intended sex for a marriage relationship between one man and one woman. While the human body is indeed a beautiful creation, our society has exchanged the truth of God for lies. Romans 1:25 reads, “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator Himself.” Our society’s obsession with sexual pleasure at any cost has led to the acceptance of sexual practices that disregard not just morality and respect, but even safety. Live Action News reports that their “investigative footage include[s] a clip from the video series ‘A Naked Notion,’ sponsored by Planned Parenthood, where the hostess explains the principles of BDSM, which involves sex partners beating, whipping, or otherwise inflicting pain on each other.”
Second, this discovery sheds new light on Planned Parenthood’s double standard. While PPFA claims to be there for every woman, Planned Parenthood is now revealed to be supporting incredibly degrading and violent sexual practices. Out of one side of their mouth, Planned Parenthood claims to be the staunchest supporter of women, and out of the other side, they encourage sexual practices that hurt those same women. “It just depends on what type of pain you can take,” the Planned Parenthood counselor said about BDSM.
This latest atrocity of Planned Parenthood demands attention and action by the people of God. We must fervently pray for all those involved in Planned Parenthood’s web of deception and lies, both their counselors and those who come to them for help.
In a world that is so dark, it is our duty as Christians to be instruments of light and life. Our witness can bring hope to those living in darkness; our witness can bring freedom to those who have been caught in the clutches of the culture of death. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)