Month Archives: May 2013

Unborn Victims of Violence Act Used in Tampa

by Chris Gacek

May 19, 2013

History may have been made last week when federal prosecutors used the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (UVVA) to indict a man who is alleged to have killed his own unborn child.  It is quite likely that this is the first use of the UVVA.

The news of this terrible crime spread across the nation after the federal government announced an indictment of John Andrew Welden in Tampa, Florida.  Welden tricked his pregnant girlfriend, Remee Lee, into taking a drug, misoprostol (Cytotec®), which produces abortions in early pregnancy.  Lee was six weeks pregnant and refused to have an abortion as Welden had demanded.

Welden’s father is an obstetrician-gynecologist who performed the ultrasound and blood tests that confirmed Lee’s pregnancy.  (Welden’s father, apparently, was not involved in the crime.)

After confirmation of the pregnancy, John Andrew Welden told Lee that her blood tests revealed that she had an infection.  He gave her a bottle of pills in an orange plastic bottle of the type one receives from a pharmacy.  Welden falsified a label somehow to indicate that the bottle contained amoxicillin and that a prescription from Welden’s father called for her to take the medicine three times daily. 

In fact, the bottle contained misoprostol, the second drug in the RU-486 abortion regimen.  Misoprostol is used primarily to prevent patients who take large quantities of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) from developing ulcers.  Very late in pregnancies it has legitimate obstetrical uses that, roughly speaking, have to do with inducing the delivery of a healthy full-term baby.  However, early, in pregnancies a pregnant woman who takes misoprostol will begin to have uterine contractions that can kill the baby by causing the uterus to expel its contents.

That is what happened in this case.  Lee says she woke up on Easter Sunday in a pool of blood.  The staff at a nearby hospital told her that her baby had died.  It was quickly apparent to these medical professionals that the drug she had been given was not the antibiotic.  Interestingly, Welden had gone so far as to eliminate drug-identifying features from the tablets.  It was quickly determined that she had, in fact, been given misoprostol.

I am not sure how the case developed – optimally this matter would be handled by state authorities who would prosecute the matter.  Unfortunately, Florida law is archaic when it comes to the protection of the unborn.  According to Americans United for Life (see Defending Life 2012), “[u]nder Florida criminal law, the killing of an unborn child after ‘quickening’ (discernible movement in the womb) is defined as manslaughter.”  Prior to quickening, killing an unborn baby is not a crime in Florida.

Remee Lee’s baby was only six week’s old gestationally.  Typically, quickening occurs from weeks 13 to 16.  A manslaughter prosecution would not have been possible in this case.  It may be this fact that brought about the federal government’s involvement. 

 On May 14th a federal grand jury indictment was unsealed against Welden that contained two counts.  Count One charges Welden with tampering with consumer products (18 U.S.C.§ 1365(a)) – in this case, the drugs taken by Remee Lee which relied upon a falsified prescriptive drug label and tablets that were defaced.  Count Two, relying upon the drug tampering, then proceeds to charge Welden with violations of the federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act (18 U.S.C.§ 1841) and the federal murder provision (18 U.S.C.§ 1111(a)). 

 The UVVA is a federal act.  Federal jurisdiction in a Florida murder depends on the violation of an underlying federal law.  Typically, this will involve interstate commerce, and, in this case, it is tampering with a consumer product.  That provision is referenced in the UVVA.

 Praise needs to be given to the federal officials involved:  Robert E. O’Neill (U.S. Attorney - Middle District of Florida), W. Stephen Muldrow (Assistant, U.S. Attorney), and A. Lee Bentley, III (First Assistant U.S. Attorney, Chief, Criminal Division – Tampa).

No cheers for the state of Florida which needs to amend its abortion statute.

See the story from the Tampa Bay Times by Patty Ryan and Will Hobson.  Go to this link for a PDF copy of the unsealed indictment.

Can’t afford an abortion? Lie to a friend or family member to get their money or take on credit card debt.

by Family Research Council

May 17, 2013

If you don’t work in policy or the pro-life movement, or if you’re not particularly passionate about the issue of abortion, you may never have heard of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions (with the usual exceptions of cases of rape or incest or where a mother’s life is at risk).

Regardless of whether or not you’re familiar with the ins and outs of this federal policy, you probably appreciate the logic behind it. Many of us consider abortion nothing less than taking the life of an innocent person. Not using federal tax dollars to fund it is a no-brainer.

And then there is the National Network of Abortion Funds.

Apart from repealing Hyde, the folks over at NNAF have lots of suggestions for women who cannot afford to procure an abortion. Here are a choice few:

  • Do I have a credit card? Does a friend or family member have one? (If I have time, can I apply for a new card? Could I request a limit increase, which can often take effect on the next business day? I can put just a portion of the cost on a credit card if my limit isn’t high enough.)
  • Can I get a line of credit at my bank?
  • Is there an emergency fund at my church?
  • Can I use my cable bill money toward my abortion and then ask someone else for help with my cable bill?
  • Are there people who might not help me cover the cost of an abortion, but would help me cover other costs? Am I comfortable lying to a friend or family member, telling them that I had an unexpectedly high electric bill or gas bill due to heating or A/C costs?
  • Are there bills that I can pay late or skip this month? Can I talk to the electric company about changing the due date for my bill? (Note that it’s illegal for utilities to shut off the heat source for non-payment during the coldest winter months.)

So: there you have it. Taking on credit card debt, not paying your bills in the knowledge that your utility company may still have to supply you with their service, dipping into the emergency fund at your church (which may or may not strongly oppose abortion), or lying to a friend or family member are all acceptable solutions if you are struggling to pay for an abortion.

P.S. If you have a moment, consider contacting the NNAF’s board members and the organizations that these individuals represent to see if they’re actually comfortable encouraging women to use all these strategies. See the list below:

Sarah Audelo, Senior Manager, Domestic Policy, Advocates for Youth; Washington, D.C.

Veronica Bayetti Flores, Assistant Director, Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program, Hampshire College; Member, New Leadership Networking Initiative; Amherst, MA

Margaret Chapman Pomponio, Executive Director, WV FREE; Charleston, WV

Carol Cohan, Consultant, Women’s Emergency Network; Miami, FL

Marlene Gerber Fried, Senior Advisor to the President and Faculty Director of the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program, Hampshire College; Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts; Amherst, MA

D. Lynn Jackson (President), Assistant Professor/Field Coordinator, University of North Texas; Network National Case Manager; Texas Equal Access Fund; Dallas, TX

Karen Law, Executive Director, Pro-Choice Resources; Minneapolis, MN

Shanelle Matthews, Communications Manager, Forward Together; Oakland, CA

Eesha Pandit, Executive Director, Men Stopping Violence; Member, New Leadership Networking Initiative; Atlanta, GA

Sue Steketee (Secretary/Treasurer), Director of Surgical Services and Operations, Planned Parenthood of New Mexico; Abortion Assistance Fund of Planned Parenthood New Mexico; Albuquerque, NM

Adoption—A Beautiful Choice

by Anna Higgins

May 16, 2013

Tomorrow, I will be participating in the Step Forward for Orphans March to bring awareness to the more than 10 million children around the world who live outside a family setting, in an institution, or even on the street. Adoption in the United States is often hindered by delays, bureaucracy, and prohibitive costs. Overseas adoptions are also expensive and filled with seemingly insurmountable barriers. One major benefit for families hoping to adopt is the adoption tax credit. The adoption tax credit “offsets qualified adoption expenses.” Any U.S. taxpayer who adopts an eligible child will qualify for a credit, which is currently a maximum of $12,650.

Another major hurdle for the adoption process is the lack of genuine understanding of adoption in general. In her Washington Post column, “A Mother’s Day Plea to Stop Equating Adoption with Abandonment,” Nina Easton discusses the very serious bias facing birthmothers and the adoption decision in our society. Because adoption is not readily celebrated in our society, birthmothers face misunderstanding and are often stigmatized.Easton reveals some sobering facts about adoption in her discussion. She notes, “Birth mothers in the United States each year number in only the thousands, compared with approximately 1.2 million abortions performed annually… Women bucking the cultural tide generally do not publicize their choice. They are much more willing to admit they have terminated a pregnancy, adoption advocates say, than to say they have placed a live newborn with loving parents.” Easton goes on to say that in order to turn the tide, we must ensure that adoption becomes an “empowering” option for young women in crisis through the knowledge that they are supported and honored by their friends, family and church.

One website, ichooseadoption.org, maintained by the National Council for Adoption, presents a great forum for birthmothers and families to learn more about adoption. The site lays out resources, from contacts with representatives to videos and stories from birthmothers who chose adoption.

In order to provide homes for children who are currently without families and support for women in crisis pregnancy, proponents of the sanctity of life should do all we can to advocate for the beautiful choice of adoption. We need to celebrate adoption and promote policies that make this life-changing and life-affirming option more readily accessible.

Try to Discourage Her From Seeing the Baby”

by Robert Morrison

May 14, 2013

Pro-abortion groups are reacting to the Gosnell verdict with predictable spin. It’s all the fault of those anti-choice people, they say. If more women had greater access to free abortion, things like Gosnell’s abattoir would never have happened, they claim.

Brenda Pratt Shafer is a nurse who once worked in a facility that does late-term abortions. In 1996, she testified under oath before Congress about what a day is like in one of those well-appointed, well-lighted, clean, approved centers, the kind that are being offered to Americans today as the answer to Kermit Gosnell’s filthy house of horrors.

The abortionist in Nurse Shafer’s story did not want his patient to see what he had done to her unborn child. “Try to discourage her from seeing the baby,” he said.

The what? Didn’t he let his mask slip here? Isn’t he supposed to maintain the fiction that it is just a fetus? A mass of cells? A clump of tissue? Or is it alright to call it a baby after the unborn child’s dead body has been removed from the womb and thrown in a cold metal pan?

The late ABC News Anchor Peter Jennings once reminded us of how you are supposed to talk about such stories. In one of his evening broadcasts, Jenningsdescribed a new advance in pre-natal surgery. Through ultra-sound, it was determined that an unborn child had a condition known as hydrocephaly, water on the brain. Mr. Jennings said the fetus was surgically removed from the mother’s womb. A shunt was placed in the skull of the unborn child, relieving the pressure on that child’s developing brain. The unborn child was replaced in its mother’s womb. And the woman carried the fetus to term.

Fetus—Unborn child—Fetus, it all depends on where this baby is at the specific moment we are talking about him. In the following testimony, Nurse Brenda Shafer takes us inside a late-term abortion center, just like one of those facilities operated and approved by Planned Barrenhood and blessed by President Obama.

Nurse Shafer’s sworn testimony:

This one particular lady didn’t want the abortion. She had this Downs Syndrome baby, she was unmarried, her boyfriend didn’t want the baby, and her parents didn’t want the baby. She cried the whole three days she was in there. So we did her first to get her over with. We brought her in, prepped her, started an I.V. of Valium to calm her down. We did not use a general anesthesia and knock her out. …We brought the ultrasound machine in and hooked it up to her stomach.
  

I could see the baby…

I could see the baby. I could see the heartbeat. And the doctor wanted me to stand right beside him, because he wanted me to see everything there was about partial-birth abortion. So I stood there. He went in, guided by ultrasound. He took a pair of forceps and went in and turned the baby because it wasn’t in this position at the time. He found a foot and he pulled the baby’s foot down through the birth canal, bringing it down and grabbed another foot, and literally started pulling the baby out, breech position, feet first. And he kept pulling it down, and I’m seeing this baby come pulled out of the mommy, his butt, his chest, and then, he delivered both these arms. And the lady’s in stirrups, just like you have a baby or just like you’re having an ob/gyn examination. And the baby, the only thing that was supporting the baby was the doctor was holding it in with his two fingers, holding the neck so the head was just inside the mommy.

And the baby was kicking his feet, hanging there, moving his little fingers and his little arms. I couldn’t believe — I don’t know what I thought killed it in three days, but he was moving and I kept watching that baby move. And I kept thinking to myself, this isn’t happening and I thought I was going to pass out. And I kept telling myself, I’m a professional, I can handle this, you know, this is right, this is supposed to be, and I supposed to handle this, I’m a nurse. He then took a pair of scissors and jammed them into the back of the baby’s head. And the baby jerked out, like a startle reflex, like a baby does if you throw him up a little bit and he jumps. And then the baby was real rigid. The doctor then opened up the scissors to make a hole. He took a high powered suction machine with a catheter and stuck it in that hole and suctioned the baby’s brains out. And the baby went completely limp.

I’ve seen that in my mind a thousand or more times…

And I have seen that in my mind a thousand or more times, of that baby, watching the life just drain out of it. And like I said before, I’ve seen babies die in my hands, I had people die in my hands. But it wasn’t anything like seeing that vision of watching this abortion. And I almost threw up all over the floor. I was literally just breathing and saying, “Don’t throw up, don’t throw up, you’re gonna be embarrassed if you do this.” So I tried not to.

He pulled the head out, he cut the umbilical cord and threw it in a pan, and delivered the placenta and threw it in the same pan, he covered it up and took it out. Well, this mommy wanted to see her baby. And the doctor told us ahead of time, he said, “Try to discourage her from seeing the baby.” He doesn’t like that. But she had the right to see it. So they cleaned it up and we cleaned her up, and we walked her out of the operating room, and took her to a room and handed her the baby.

The mother held her dead baby in her arms…

…She held that baby in her arms and she screamed and prayed to God…to forgive her, and for that baby to forgive her, and she held it and rocked it, and told him that she loved him. And I looked in that baby’s face, and he had the most angelic perfect face I’ve ever seen, and I just kept thinking, he’s an angel now, he’s in heaven. And I couldn’t take it. In all the years I’ve been a nurse, [for the first time] I lost it. And I pardoned myself and excused myself and I ran to the bathroom and I cried and prayed.

…I saw two more that day, about 25 weeks. But I was in shock. I stood there and I knew what was happening but I didn’t want to be there. I was walking on a beach in Hawaii somewhere, trying to get myself out of that room. …The other ones were perfectly healthy mothers with perfectly healthy babies. One was a 40 year old woman who had a 19 year old son and she was getting a divorce so she didn’t want the baby. The other was a teenage mom who hid the pregnancy from her parents…

The abortion technique described by Nurse Shafer in the above passages was outlawed by the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act passed by Congress in 2003 and signed by President George W. Bush. That law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007 on a 5-4 vote.

That law was strongly supported by Family Research Council and the vast majority of Americans. Now, the law relies for its enforcement on the administration of President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. The president is required by the Constitution to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” We will see if there are any prosecutions under that law.

When he spoke to Planned Parenthood recently, President Obama did not see the baby. Or any of the 334,000 unborn children these traffickers tell us they killed in 2011. They went unmentioned and unseen in his lavish praise for the group.

Even now—especially now—the abortion forces and their liberal cohorts are trying to discourage all Americans from seeing the baby. What the Gosnell verdict does is to lift the bloody curtain and let us see.

Polls: Life and the Double Standard on Inevitability

by Family Research Council

May 13, 2013

A recent poll released by Gallup shows a strong majority of Americans oppose all or most abortions.  It’s even more interesting that young people are more likely to oppose abortion in all cases than any other group.  Over 40% of Democrats oppose abortion most of the time and 12% oppose it entirely.  What does this suggest?  Well if we apply the same standard to abortion that applies to marriage then it would suggest that the pro-life position is becoming the position of inevitability.  It would suggest that politicians should make sure they are on the right side of history, that the Democratic party is starting to fragment, and that both parties should cater to pro-life beliefs if they want to win over young people.  But of course the same standard will not be applied. 

There is a lesson to be learned.  If one continues to speak the truth people may listen, even if it takes years and even if the media does not report it.  So let’s keep up the pro-life momentum and make the end of abortion in America a reality!

May 10, 1940: Walking with Destiny

by Robert Morrison

May 10, 2013

Dateline: Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

Yes, Sir Winston Churchill was here, too. He actually came to see the Falls at least twice, in 1900 as a rising journalist, and again in 1943, when he was Britain’s wartime Prime Minister. On that latter occasion, he was prodded by pesky reporters who wanted to know if he’d ever seen the Falls before and what he thought of them.

I have seen them before, before you were born,” he ribbed the self-important young journos, “and I see the principle remains the same.”

The reason everyone wanted to know what Churchill thought is because of what happened on this day – May 10, 1940. It was on that day when, despite all odds, Churchill became Prime Minister of an embattled Great Britain.

On this day, too, Adolph Hitler ended the phony war in the West that many had taken to calling a “Sitzkrieg.” Hitler had left Berlin in the early hours of May 10th. He rode over velvet-smooth tracks in his private train, oddly named “Amerika.” He wanted to be there for the jumping off of his powerful army, his Wehrmacht.

Within weeks of this date, France would collapse. The French army, which had borne the brunt of German wrath for four long years in World War I, losing 1.2 million young men, was undermined by a deadly combination of pro-Communist and pro-Nazi extremists in the French polity.

Churchill was widely distrusted at home and abroad, even when he finally became Prime Minister. His constant calls for preparedness in the House of Commons had led many in Britain, in Europe, and even in the U.S. to call him a bloody old war-monger.

Don’t you realize, he pleaded with his countrymen, that being armed, being prepared for war is the best way to avoid war. They would not listen. Instead, men like Joe Kennedy, were far more popular. Kennedy, who would live to see one son become president and two more sons elected to the Senate, cheerfully pleaded guilty to being an appeaser of Adolf Hitler.

Old Churchill certainly was on this date in 1940. He was 65. He had not expected to live past 40. And he had held virtually every important office in British politics. But the top spot – the premiership – had long eluded him.

Still, when he entered the Prime Minister’s office at Number 10 Downing Street, it was as if “a jolt of electricity” had gone through the old edifice. Senior civil servants were seen running down the corridors of Whitehall, where Britain’s government offices are housed. They were scrambling to meet Winston’s demands for Action this Day.

He would memorably write of this day and hour. It seemed to millions around the world that Britain was doomed, that she was being led by an old used-up man.

He proved them all wrong. As President Kennedy would say in making Churchill an honorary American citizen, “he mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.”

I felt as if I were walking with destiny and that all my previous life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial.” To his ever-faithful bodyguard, Inspector “Tommy” Thompson, he confessed, “I only pray it’s not too late.”

It wasn’t. Churchill would live to walk over the ruins of the Fuhrerbunker in Berlin, where the man who promised a Thousand-year Reich shot himself after only 12.

When he turned 80, a grateful Parliament voted him 50,000 pounds. He and his family had a wonderful time planning what to do with the money.

The man hated as a bloody warmonger decided to endow a Butterfly Conservancy. My wife and I visited one of these near Niagara Falls today. You cannot imagine a more peaceful place. These beautiful creatures light on your shoulders. They rest on the warm stones beneath your feet. I must take care with my Size 12 boots to avoid harming one of God’s loveliest creations.

Winston eventually turned down the 50,000 pounds. It was enough for him that England remembered him. And that Americans do, too.

He said to the British people: “We are fighting by ourselves alone, but we are not fighting for ourselves alone.” And he was the first to recognize the heroic contributions of the Canadians and other Commonwealth nations to the fight against Nazi tyranny. But they also fought for Americans’ Freedom. And every May 10th, it’s good to remember.

Hey Mr. President, Am I Parent 1 or Parent 2?

by Cathy Ruse

May 10, 2013

Yesterday the Obama Education Department eliminated Mothers and Fathers in official government documents. As a mother, I find that deeply offensive.

I carried my children for 9 months in my womb, I endured the pain (and joy) of birth, I nursed them for many months after they were born, and every morning they jump into my bed screaming, “Mommy!”

But the federal government says I’m Mommy no more.

I am Parent 1.

Or maybe Parent 2.

Kind of like Thing One and Thing Two. But Dr. Seuss was being ironic.

Mr. President, I dare you to tell my daughters I’m not their mother.

The Social Conservative Review: May 9, 2013

by Krystle Gabele

May 9, 2013

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review.


Dear Friend,

It’s human nature to wish every victory could be final and decisive. For example, when we defeated Nazi Germany, it was a complete win. Clean, neat, done.

The battle for our culture is not like that. We can win heartening pro-life victories at the state level even as legislatures legalize same-sex “marriage.” The pregnancy care center movement is growing, even as abortion providers get federal money.

Two steps forward, one step - and sometimes two - back. So why do we keep fighting? Because the lives of the unborn and those of their mothers have value. Because without strong families, we unleash chaos and brokenness. Because without religious liberty, all other liberties are in jeopardy.

Vindicate the weak and fatherless,” commands the God of the Bible. “Do justice to the afflicted and destitute” (Psalm 82:3-4). This is not a recommendation. It is a demand from our Creator and Redeemer. Thank you for helping FRC obey it.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice President
Family Research Council

P.S. Download (at no cost) Dr. Wayne Grudem’s valuable new booklet, “Why Christians Should Seek to Influence Government for Good.”


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