Author archives: Mary Szoch

Pennsylvania Court Delivers Two Pro-Life Victories

by Mary Szoch

March 31, 2021

This past week, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court issued a huge victory for all Pennsylvanians—born and unborn. In a 6-1 decision, the Commonwealth Court both upheld a 1985 Pennsylvania law stating that state taxpayer dollars could not be used for abortion except in the case of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother and ruled that “Reproductive Health Centers,” in this case, three Planned Parenthood affiliates and three stand-alone abortion clinics, “lack standing to initiate litigation to vindicate the constitutional rights of their patients enrolled in Medical Assistance.” The abortion businesses who were the plaintiffs in the case will appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The Commonwealth Court’s ruling is cause for celebration for several reasons. First, the Commonwealth Court affirmed the rights of Pennsylvanians to have a law prohibiting tax dollars for elective abortions. The 1985 law is essentially Pennsylvania’s version of the Hyde Amendment. This amendment, which passed in 1976, had overwhelming bipartisan support for over 40 years—including support as recent as 2019 from now President Joe Biden—but it is now under attack by Democrats and President Biden. Neither the 1985 Pennsylvania law nor the Hyde Amendment prohibit abortions—both simply state that taxpayer dollars will not be used to fund abortions.

The vast majority of Americans are supportive of this law. In fact, a 2020 Marist poll found that 60 percent of Americans, including 37 percent who identify themselves as pro-choice, oppose taxpayer funding of abortions. Americans recognize that taxpayers who correctly believe abortion is the killing of an innocent unborn baby should not be forced to pay for this practice. Hopefully, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will uphold this ruling and it will be repeated by other state supreme courts who face similar challenges from abortion providers.

Second, the court ruled that abortion businesses do not have standing to challenge a prohibition on taxpayer dollars paying for abortions. In doing so, the court recognized that the key stakeholders in a case regarding abortion are not businesses who stand to profit from the practice of abortion, but instead, pregnant women who intend to have an abortion. This is a major step in limiting the abortion industry’s exploitation of women in Pennsylvania. 

Under the Pennsylvania standard for standing, the Commonwealth Court ruled that they would be required to determine if patients “on whose behalf Reproductive Health Centers purport to speak even want this assistance.” Unfortunately, however, Pennsylvania has a different standard for standing than the federal government. As was seen in the Louisiana case June Medical vs. Russo, the Supreme Court has allowed abortion businesses to file lawsuits on behalf of the women they proport to serve. In doing so, the Supreme Court allowed Louisiana abortionists to continue to profit from putting the lives of women receiving abortions at risk—despite the abortionists’ inability to demonstrate that any affected women actually supported their position.

While the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court’s ruling is not indicative of how the United States Supreme Court would rule in such a case, and while it may be overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, for now, it is a pro-life victory. It is a ruling that recognizes the conscience rights of Pennsylvania taxpayers while limiting the ability of abortion businesses to speak for women. Pray that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upholds this ruling and that other states’ pro-life efforts are buoyed by this victory.

Family Research Council has developed a series of maps to help Americans understand their state’s abortion laws. To see where your state stands with regard to funding abortion businesses, click here.

The Paradox of New Zealand’s Miscarriage Leave and Abortion Expansion Bills

by Mary Szoch

March 30, 2021

This past week, New Zealand became one of the first countries to offer paid leave to workers who have experienced miscarriage. New Zealand’s legislation offers women and couples three days bereavement leave after the loss of an unborn child through miscarriage, adoption, or surrogacy.

The legislation, which passed unanimously, was hailed by the Washington Post as “the latest in a string of policy changes that have addressed women’s rights under Ardern’s time in office. Last year, the country decriminalized abortion…”

As a woman who has had a miscarriage, I found myself both grateful for New Zealand’s acknowledgement that the loss of a child through a miscarriage is truly a loss and furious that this piece of legislation is being framed as consistent with decriminalizing abortion.

Just over a year ago, the New Zealand Parliament passed legislation that allows abortion on demand up to 20 weeks and up to birth “if the health practitioner reasonably believes that the abortion is clinically appropriate.” Somehow, the legislation legalizing the killing of an unborn child is placed in the same category as legislation providing benefits for women mourning the death of an unborn child.

Either an unborn child is a human being or not. Currently the laws in New Zealand provide for both state funds for a woman to grieve the loss of her unborn child who died through a miscarriage AND state funds for an abortionist to kill a woman’s unborn child.  

If we actually want to advance women’s rights, we must work to create a culture of life—a culture that supports women who are pregnant and facing challenging circumstances, a culture that acknowledges the true suffering that couples who have experienced miscarriages face, and a culture that recognizes the unborn child in the womb for the gift from God that he or she is.

We cannot build a society that advances women’s rights based on lies and inconsistencies. During a miscarriage, an unborn child dies, and it is tragic. During an abortion, an unborn child is killed, and it is also tragic, but there is a major difference. The tragedy caused by abortion is preventable. Affirming that the death of a child in a miscarriage is a tragedy while pretending that abortion, which also results in the death of a child, is somehow a woman’s right leads down a very dark road where an unborn child’s worth is based simply on whether he or she is wanted.

Hopefully, New Zealand’s Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage Bill will prompt the need for pro-life legislation in that country that restricts abortion and is actually consistent with an agenda to advance women’s rights. Let us pray that this legislation will lead to New Zealand becoming a nation that recognizes inherent value in every father, every mother, and every child—including unborn children.

On International Women’s Day, Let’s Challenge Agendas That Fail Women

by Mary Szoch

March 8, 2021

Today is International Women’s Day, which always brings to my mind Pope St. John Paul the Great’s Letter to Women. In this beautiful letter, as Pope John Paul II thanks women in every walk of life, he remarks, “Women’s dignity has often been unacknowledged and their prerogatives misrepresented; they have often been relegated to the margins of society… This has prevented women from truly being themselves and it has resulted in a spiritual impoverishment of humanity.” 

Pope John Paul II wrote this letter in 1995, but his words remain relevant today. Men and women—though equal in human dignity and value—are different. If we ignore these differences and prevent women from being themselves, we do so to the detriment of our society.

Part of the reason International Women’s Day exists is to call upon humanity to counter “gender bias,” sexism, and stereotypes in the workplace. But so often, instead of creating a work environment that is actually welcoming and accommodating to women, these well-intentioned efforts nevertheless force women to sacrifice the differences that make them unique in order to fit a status quo better suited to their male counterparts.

The so-called “Equality Act” promises equality for women—but only if women sacrifice who they are. If passed, the Equality Act would redefine sex to include “gender identity and sexual orientation,” thereby eliminating biological distinctions between men and women. Our society cannot truly empower women if our laws eliminate what it actually means to be a woman.

Furthermore, the Equality Act would redefine what constitutes “sex discrimination,” resulting in what is effectively a right to abortion. It would require abortion to be taxpayer-funded and covered by insurers. As Erika Bachiochi pointed out, this would incentivize businesses to “prefer abortion for their pregnant employees over far more costly accommodations for parenting.”  

We cannot recognize the dignity of women if we continue to create a culture where women can only excel if they deny their very being. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is another piece of legislation supporters claim will uplift women. But in reality, it is an effort to enshrine abortion-on-demand in all 50 states, once again implicitly signaling to women that if they would like to be successful, they must check their fertility at the door.  

This is, as Pope John Paul II writes, an example of the gift of motherhood being “penalized rather than rewarded, even though humanity owes its very survival to this gift.” Passage of the Equality Act and the Equal Rights Amendment would create a world where women will be further exploited, marginalized, and devalued.  

Pope John Paul II offers an alternative:

I am convinced that the secret of making speedy progress in achieving full respect for women and their identity involves more than simply the condemnation of discrimination and injustices, necessary though this may be. Such respect must first and foremost be won through an effective and intelligent campaign for the promotion of women, concentrating on all areas of women’s life and beginning with a universal recognition of the dignity of women.

If we truly want to “Choose to Challenge,” as the theme of International Women’s Day suggests, we should do as Pope John Paul II says—choose to challenge “systems to be redesigned in a way which favours the processes of humanization which mark the ‘civilization of love.’” Choose to challenge society to actually value women—value their opinions, their unique voice in the workplace, AND their fertility. Choose to challenge workplaces to develop policies that allow women to be moms, not policies that force women to choose between their children and their livelihood. Choose to challenge the idea that women and girls need abortion on-demand in order to succeed by supporting pregnancy resource centers. Choose to challenge the lie that men and women are exactly the same and instead celebrate the God-given differences that allow our society to flourish.

On this International Women’s Day, let’s join Pope John Paul II in thanking “every woman, for the simple fact of being a woman!” and pray the world recognizes that, through their “insight, which is so much a part of womanhood,” women “enrich the world’s understanding and help to make human relations more honest and authentic.”

Planned Parenthood’s Consistent Message: Profits Over People

by Mary Szoch

February 25, 2021

Last Friday, Planned Parenthood published their annual report. The front cover of the report reads, “No Matter What.” Though the later message from leadership references Planned Parenthood unveiling a new tag line: “Care, no matter what,” it seems a better tag line for the organization would be “Profits, no matter what.” The annual report makes it clear that Planned Parenthood neither cares for nor about people. Planned Parenthood simply cares about profits.

In their report, which FRC has made a detailed analysis of, Planned Parenthood highlighted that during the 2019-2020 fiscal year, they committed 354,871 abortions. This means that Planned Parenthood aborted 972 babies every single day in 2019. This is the highest number of abortions Planned Parenthood has ever committed in a year.

According to a November 2020 CDC report, 619,691 abortions were reported to the CDC in 2018. In 2018, Planned Parenthood committed 345,672 abortions—which is 56 percent of all abortions reported to the federal government. Based on Planned Parenthood’s yearly increase in the number of abortions they commit and the decrease in the number of abortions committed nationally, Planned Parenthood is becoming more and more of an abortion monopoly.

Incidentally, this seems to be completely in line with Planned Parenthood’s goals. Over the past 10 years, the number of abortions committed by Planned Parenthood has increased by 7.7 percent. During that same time period, cancer screenings decreased by 68 percent, breast exams decreased by 68 percent, and prenatal services decreased by 80 percent. In September 2018, Dr. Leana Wen was hired as president of Planned Parenthood. In 2019, Dr. Leana Wen was fired. In her statement detailing the reasons for her departure, she noted, “Indeed, there was immediate criticism that I did not prioritize abortion enough…I began efforts to increase care for women before, during and after pregnancies…but the team I brought in…faced daily internal opposition from those who saw my goals as mission creep.”

Dr. Leana Wen was fired for challenging Planned Parenthood’s efforts to grow ONLY their abortion business. Since her firing, Planned Parenthood’s annual report demonstrates that they have doubled down in their commitment to making abortion their only service—with one glaring exception.

The Planned Parenthood annual report also showed that in 2019, there were over 200 Planned Parenthood facilities in 31 states providing services for patients who identify as transgender. As it turns out, Planned Parenthood is the second largest provider of cross-sex hormones. In an interview with Abigail Shrier, a former Planned Parenthood employee described Planned Parenthood prescribing hormones to young clients with almost no examination of their underlying problems and practically no medical oversight.

Planned Parenthood’s foray into providing cross-sex hormones is not shocking. For years, this organization has rejected basic truths about human beings, putting profits over people daily. During the 100 years of their existence, Planned Parenthood has denied the humanity and the right to life of the unborn child. Now, Planned Parenthood is denying the reality that XX chromosomes make a person a girl and XY chromosomes make a person a boy.

While Planned Parenthood acknowledges that transitioning from a girl to a boy can be dangerous, they argue that “expert care is needed to avoid problems,” and position themselves as the ones able to provide “expert care.” Their statement completely ignores the reality that taking hormones in an effort to transition comes with serious dangers, including: interference with brain development; inhibition of normal bone-density development; and sterilization. Planned Parenthood’s indifference to the truth that cross-sex hormones can leave a person incapable of having children is completely in line with their racist, eugenicist founder Margaret Sanger’s words: “But for my view, I believe that there should be no more babies.”

Planned Parenthood’s annual report demonstrates that their mission has not changed since their founding. Let’s pray for everyone involved in the organization to have a Saul-like conversion and for next year’s report to tell a different story.

40 Days for Life: Praying and Fasting for an End to Abortion

by Mary Szoch

February 18, 2021

Yesterday around the country, 40 Days for Life campaigns will kick-off. Started in Byran/College Station, Texas, 40 Days for Life is a prayer and fasting campaign with the goal of bringing about the end to the atrocity of abortion. 

Throughout biblical history, God has used the timeframe of 40 days and 40 nights to change the hearts of people. In Genesis, Noah spent 40 days and 40 nights in the ark. In Exodus, Moses spent 40 days and 40 nights on Mount Sinai where he received the Ten Commandments. In the Book of Jonah, Jonah proclaims to the Ninevites that in 40 days Nineveh will be overthrown. In Matthew, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. Over and over again, God uses the timeframe of 40 days and 40 nights. Inspired by this, 40 Days for Life was founded.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus casts a demon out of a child. The disciples come to Jesus and ask why they could not cast out the demon. Jesus replies, “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21). Led by these words, 40 Days for Life’s mission of prayer, fasting, constant vigil, and community outreach arose. During the 40 days, volunteers keep peaceful, prayerful, round-the-clock vigil outside abortion businesses across the country. Churches, families, and friends agree to pray together for an end to abortion, and people of faith are invited to fast as a sacrifice to bring about the end to abortion.

Since 2007, over 18,000 lives have been saved. Over 100 abortion businesses have closed, and over 200 abortion workers have quit as the result of the 40 Days for Life campaign. Clearly, God is still using the timeframe of 40 days to change hearts. To find a 40 Days for Life campaign in your area, go to the Find a 40 Days for Life Vigil page.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when joining a 40 Days for Life campaign.

1. This is a peaceful, prayerful vigil. It seems in 2020 our nation has forgotten how powerful peace and prayerful protests can be. It is especially important that people praying outside abortion businesses remain peaceful and prayerful. As someone is passing the clinic, your witness can either promote deeper thought about abortion, or it can entrench someone more deeply in their belief. Be peaceful and prayerful and let the Lord use you.

2. Bring a buddy. Invite a friend or family member to join you as you pray outside the clinic. Jesus tells us, “Where two or three gather in my name, there I am among them” (Matthew 18:20). In addition to the spiritual help a friend provides, having a second person with you also ensures your safety outside the abortion business.    

3. Bring a sign. A well worded sign can touch the hearts of both the women entering the abortion business and the people driving past. If you do not have a pro-life sign, consider making your own. Some great phrases are “Choose Love, Choose Life!”, “Abortion Stops One Heart and Breaks Another”, “God Loves You and Your Baby!”, “Want to Choose Life? I Can Help!”

4. Be open to the Holy Spirit’s promptings. Perhaps as you are praying outside the abortion business, you will be prompted by the Holy Spirit to speak to a man or woman entering the business. If so, do not be afraid! Remember, a woman about to have an abortion is likely terrified. Speak lovingly to her. Perhaps say, “If you’d like to talk about choosing life, I can help you!” Make sure not to yell or say anything hurtful to the woman.

5. Bring the number of your local pregnancy resource center. Always make certain you have the number of your local pregnancy resource center with you when you are praying outside a clinic. If a woman turns to you for help, the pregnancy resource center in your community is the best place to send her. The pregnancy resource center will provide her with the support and resources she needs to choose life and plan to parent or place her child for adoption.

During these next 40 days, prayerfully consider joining 40 Days for Life. Your presence outside the abortion business might just be the sign a woman needs to choose life.

Abby Johnson’s New Initiative Will Help Bring Justice to Women Harmed by Abortion

by Mary Szoch

February 16, 2021

Abby Johnson has partnered with the Thomas More society on a new initiative, Hurt After Abortion. As part of this initiative, Johnson’s team is offering referrals for free legal consultation, emotional and spiritual healing options, and assistance in accessing medical records for women who have been harmed by an abortion. The goal of this initiative is to provide justice and healing for women who have been exploited by the abortion industry.

In a perfect world, every woman harmed by abortion would take legal action, and the abortion industry would be brought to justice. But, sadly, there are many barriers for women seeking justice and healing after an abortion. Shame, depression, regret, and the life circumstances that caused a woman to consider abortion in the first place are all roadblocks to her taking legal action against an abortionist. Hopefully, many women will overcome these hurdles and become part of the Hurt After Abortion initiative. Even if they do not, there is plenty of evidence that abortion hurts women. 

In 2020, Operation Rescue reported 67 abortion-related medical emergencies and one maternal death. It should be noted that this does not mean only 67 women were physically harmed by abortions in 2020—but that 67 instances were recorded on film and were reported to Operation Rescue. Two of those emergencies happened less than 20 miles from the White House. 

LeRoy Carhart, an 80-year-old abortionist, operates a late-term abortion business in Bethesda, Maryland. Due to Maryland’s liberal abortion laws, the business can perform abortions through all nine months of pregnancy. Through his numerous abortion businesses over the years, Carhart has admitted to ending at least 20,000 lives

Carhart has no problem making light of the work he does. In a BBC Panorama documentary with Hilary Andersson in 2019, Carhart told her he uses the word “baby” with his patients, and when Andersson asked, “And you don’t have a problem with killing a baby?”, he responded, “Absolutely not. I have no problem if it’s in the mother’s uterus.”

I have seen Carhart’s cold nature firsthand. A few years ago, before his business moved from Germantown, I was praying outside Carhart’s business with a group of women as he and his wife got out of his car and walked toward the building. One of the women I was with said to him, “Those babies have a future.” Carhart turned, scoffed at her and said, “They sure don’t when I’m done with them.”

Is it any wonder that a man who speaks with such little regard for life sent two women to the hospital this past May? While the identity of these women remains anonymous, the incident report from the Montgomery County Maryland Fire and Rescue services showed that on May 12, a 25-week pregnant woman from out of state was rushed to the hospital from Carhart’s business. A whistleblower told Operation Rescue that the woman suffered a ruptured uterus and other internal injuries from an abortion. Several baby parts had been left inside the woman. The damage to the woman’s bowels was so bad that she was given a colostomy, that included an external bag. The woman was finally discharged from the hospital on May 21.

That same day, an eerily similar situation occurred. A second incident report showed a 25-week pregnant woman from out of state was taken to the hospital from Carhart’s business. A whistleblower indicated that this was because she, too, had a perforated uterus. She arrived at the hospital in critical condition, and once again, surgery was necessary. This time, the woman required a hysterectomy. The baby the abortionist had killed was still partially intact inside the woman’s abdominal cavity. 

LeRoy Carhart is 80 years old. He has sent at least 22 women to the hospital, and he is responsible for the death of Jennifer Morbelli. It is unclear if he was the abortionist who maimed the two women who were hospitalized in May, but it is certain the abortions happened at his business.

Pray that Abby Johnson’s new Hurt After Abortion initiative brings abortionists like LeRoy Carhart to justice. Though this will be some solace to women, there is no initiative that can take a woman back to the moment before she walked into the abortion business—the moment before her baby was killed, before her body was mutilated, before her life was changed forever. Still, there is hope and healing for these women.

Abby Johnson’s new initiative also provides referrals for an options-based approach to emotional and spiritual healing for women. Project Rachel has worked with thousands of women to help them find peace and healing after an abortion. If you know someone who is suffering physically, emotionally, or spiritually from an abortion, mention these two programs, and pray—pray for justice, pray for an end to the exploitation of women through abortion, and pray for the end of the destruction of life in the womb.

Connecticut Seeks to Stifle the Voice of Pregnancy Resource Centers

by Mary Szoch

February 15, 2021

Last week, the Connecticut State Senate considered SB 835, “An Act Concerning Deceptive Advertising Practices of Limited Services Pregnancy Centers.” Contrary to its title, this bill is not about deceptive advertising. In fact, there is no substantial evidence that clients seeking services at Connecticut pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) have been or currently are being deceived. No, this bill is about silencing PRCs.

SB 835 singles out PRCs as the only organizations that are required to prevent advertising they know “or reasonably should know” to be deceptive “whether by statement or omission.” The legislation places the pro-abortion attorney general—who testified in favor of the legislation—as the arbitrator of “deceptive advertising,” and gives him the authority to force PRCs to “correct” their advertising and pay a fine.

This bill is a clear violation of the First Amendment rights of PRCs. It makes it harder for women who are unexpectedly pregnant to know what their choices are, and it places the state in the position of promoting abortion over childbirth.

Despite what this bill implies, there are already many generally applicable laws at the state and federal level preventing deceptive advertising. What makes SB 835 unique is that it deliberately—and unjustly—singles out PRCs as the only organizations required to prevent advertising they know “or reasonably should know to be deceptive.” Nothing in the bill prevents abortion businesses from engaging in deceptive advertising practices. For example, Planned Parenthood—whose very name implies that a pregnant woman visiting the clinic will receive balanced information regarding the resources available to her if she would like to parent—is not obligated in any way to clarify in their advertising that their core mission is expanding abortion. PRCs are targeted for one reason only—to stifle their speech.

If this were just another deceptive advertising law, it would not target an ideologically unified group of service providers who take a position on one of the most controversial topics in the country. SB 835’s vague wording—“whether by statement or omission”—allows the pro-abortion attorney general (who is so pro-abortion and anti-woman that he doesn’t think abortionists should be required to have hospital admitting privileges) to decide which words a PRC omitted. Clearly, the attorney general is attempting to bully PRCs into only advertising what he would choose to advertise—which is definitely not help and support for women who feel pressured into having an abortion. This is an intimidation practice with the prevention of pro-life speech as its goal. It is unconstitutional.

In 2018, California passed a law that forced PRCs to 1) advertise that the state offered free abortions and 2) post a notice stating they were not medical providers. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California’s law was unconstitutional and prohibited the state from directly demanding this speech. Although SB 835 is not directly demanding speech from PRCs, through the vague wording “by statement or omission,” it is indirectly attempting to force them to make those same statements. The Supreme Court has already ruled this is unconstitutional.

Singling out PRCs for heavy fines because they do not provide or refer for abortions compels them to advertise in a way that significantly limits their potential clients. Many women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant feel afraid, alone, and unsure of where to turn. PRCs do not coerce women into giving birth. Rather, they give a woman all the information available to her and allow the woman to make her own decision, knowing that she can always turn to the PRC for support.

Unlike abortion businesses, PRCs do not make money when a client chooses life. In 2019, PRCs provided $270 million in services at virtually no charge, and they provided services to women regardless of whether they chose life or abortion, offering more than 21,000 women post-abortion healing services.

PRCs do not exist to make a profit; they exist because they care about women and their children. According to a Guttmacher Institute study, women most frequently choose to have abortions because having a child would “interfere with a woman’s education, work or ability to care for dependents (74%); that she could not afford a baby now (74%), and that she did not want to be a single mother or was having relationship problems (48%).” The resources offered by PRCs help women rise above and change these circumstances. The support of PRCs empowers women to choose life for their children.

There is no good reason to attack centers that have such a positive impact on society. Doing so places the state in the position of promoting abortion practices—who stand to profit from a woman’s decision to have an abortion—above centers offering women the tools they need to choose life.

The Connecticut state legislature should recognize that SB 835 is an attack on one of the foundations of American liberty—freedom of speech—and as such, it is unconstitutional. More importantly, the state legislature should recognize that SB 835 harms women in need.

Biden Puts the Abortion Industry Before the Will of the American People

by Mary Szoch

January 29, 2021

In 1985, the Reagan administration implemented the Mexico City Policy, which required foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving American taxpayer dollars to certify that they would not “perform or actively promote abortions as a method of family planning.” This policy has been rescinded by every Democratic president and reinstated by every subsequent Republican president since.

On January 23, 2017, the day after the sorrowful anniversary of Roe, President Donald Trump reinstated and expanded this policy, renaming it Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA). This action once again ensured that American taxpayers would not be forced to pay for abortions abroad. In 2019, after finding a loophole through which abortion-providing agencies were still receiving funding as subgrantees, the Trump administration further expanded PLGHA to prevent foreign NGOs that otherwise abide by the policy from sub-granting their federal dollars to organizations that actively perform or promote abortion. 

Yesterday, sadly, President Joe Biden rescinded this policy, and now, American taxpayers—including those who acknowledge that abortion is the destruction of an innocent unborn child’s life—will be forced to subsidize abortions abroad. The significance of President Biden choosing today—the day before the 48th annual March for Life—as the day to rescind PLGHA cannot be overstated. Although President Biden has preached a message of unity, he certainly has not practiced one. Over 75 percent of Americans oppose their taxpayer dollars paying for abortions abroad, and today, Americans across the country will come together to march (virtually, like everything else this year) for life. If President Biden actually wanted to unify the country, he would choose the will of the American people over the financial interests of the abortion industry.       

Unfortunately, the rescindment of the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance program will have a disastrous impact on countries that desperately need real assistance. Obianuju Ekeocha, founder of Culture of Life Africa, is a voice crying out for the end of ideological colonialism in Africa. Uju lamented, “It is official, the United States will resume the funding of abortion organizations overseas. This is evil and we will not be silent.” Uju argues that African countries want safe maternal health care, not abortion. According to Uju, Africa’s culture is shifting because of the influence of western NGOs: “Every new born African baby is now an ‘increase in population’ rather than a precious gift from God.” What a sad change. 

Abortion takes the life of a child and breaks the hearts of a mother and father. It has lasting physical, emotional, and spiritual effects. It tears a nation apart. Last week, the New York Times dubbed President Biden perhaps the most religiously-observant commander in chief in half a century, so he must certainly know the two greatest commandments: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Mt. 22:37-39 NIV). Let’s pray that President Biden soon recognizes loving your neighbor does not include paying for your neighbor’s children to be aborted and your neighbor’s country to be devastated as a result.

Will Joe Biden Be as Pro-Life as President Trump?

by Mary Szoch

January 21, 2021

As Joe Biden’s presidency begins, Donald Trump’s presidency has come under even greater scrutiny. His administration’s record on life issues is no exception. Hillary Clinton and others are claiming that Democratic presidents are just as good as, if not better than Republicans on life issues. Although it is true that abortion numbers reportedly declined during Barack Obama’s presidency and increased slightly between 2017 and 2018 under Trump, it would be incorrect to attribute the decrease or increase to either president. Correlation does not equal causation. These numbers in isolation should not be taken as an indication that we should expect the Biden administration to be just as (or more) pro-life as the Trump administration.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision (1973) made abortion through all nine months of pregnancy the legal default unless Congress or individual states passed laws restricting it. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), the Court adjusted its previous decision to say that a state cannot impose an “undue burden” on a woman’s attempt to obtain an abortion pre-viability. As a result of these two decisions, state law—not presidents—have the greatest influence over whether abortion numbers rise or fall in a given year.

Even though state laws have the greatest effect on abortion numbers, pro-life presidents still make a huge difference. President Biden will likely reverse many of the Trump administration’s pro-life policies, but the 200 federal judges and three Supreme Court justices—many with proven pro-life records—that Trump appointed during his presidency will be serving on the bench for years to come. Planned Parenthood’s website states, “For the Supreme Court, Trump delivered on his promise to nominate justices who could overturn Roe v. Wade.”

The impact of these judicial appointments cannot be overstated. As Michael New pointed out, if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, state laws that protect the unborn—including six heartbeat bills that would prevent abortion after six weeks and an Alabama law that would ban nearly all abortions—would immediately go into effect, saving thousands of unborn children’s lives. Federal judges with a proven originalist track record have a far greater chance of upholding pro-life legislation than any Democratic appointees. These judges are appointed for life, and so, while the number of abortions may have slightly increased from 2017 to 2018, the impact of these judges will last far beyond the Trump administration—just ask Planned Parenthood.   

Although the Trump administration was unable to fully defund Planned Parenthood of taxpayer dollars, it did finalize the Protect Life Rule and redirected millions of federal Title X family planning funds away from abortion businesses. President Biden is expected to reverse this. The Trump administration also supported the historically bipartisan Hyde Amendment, which ensures that American taxpayer dollars do not pay for abortions domestically. Hyde is credited with saving over two million lives. For the first time since Hyde was voted on in 1976, President Biden and the Democrat-controlled Congress are expected to try to remove it.   

President Trump took executive action to reinstate and expand the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy, which prevented American taxpayers from being forced to fund abortions internationally. President Trump also issued an Executive Order on Protecting Vulnerable Newborn and Infant Children, which states that babies born alive after an abortion must be given the same level of medical treatment afforded to other children born alive at the same gestational age. President Biden is expected to reverse both of these actions. Pray that he does not.  

Our faith tells us, “Nothing is impossible for God” (Luke 1:37). Let’s pray for the seemingly impossible—that President Biden will have a change of heart and that his administration will be as pro-life as Trump’s. This would be the opposite of everything we expect, but it would be a welcome surprise for all those who value life.

Supreme Court Protects Women’s Health by Reinstating FDA Restriction on Chemical Abortion

by Mary Szoch

January 18, 2021

On January 12, the Supreme Court granted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s request to reinstate its requirements surrounding the distribution of the mifepristone abortion regimen. This ruling reversed a federal judge in Maryland’s ruling that blocked the FDA’s in person distribution requirement for the regimen citing the challenges to chemical abortion access presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Supreme Court decision was a win for women’s health. 

In 2000, under the leadership of the pro-abortion Clinton administration, the FDA approved mifepristone for abortion usage and declared that mifepristone was subject to certain distribution restrictions to ensure safe usage. In 2011, these restrictions were converted to Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies, otherwise known as REMS. The FDA decided to place restrictions on this drug because mifepristone carries with it life-threatening and health-endangering risks, such as hemorrhage, infection, incomplete pregnancy, retained fetal parts, the need for emergency surgery, and even death.

The restrictions, which were weakened but ultimately kept in place by the pro-abortion Obama administration in 2016, are meant to protect the women taking the drug. Under the current REMS, the drug must be prescribed by a health care provider who can assess patient eligibility, diagnose ectopic pregnancies, and provide or facilitate emergency surgical intervention in the case of an incomplete abortion or severe bleeding. Under FDA rules, mifepristone is not available from pharmacies. Notably, the 2016 weakening of the REMS removed the requirement for manufacturers to report any adverse events to the FDA other than death.   

The FDA is “responsible for protecting public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.” Though the FDA operates under the Executive branch, a department responsible for protecting public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs should not be a political organization. Its decision to put restrictions on mifepristone are based on the drug’s ability to harm women—not on a political agenda.

This spring, the ACLU filed a lawsuit demanding that the FDA temporarily suspend enforcement of the REMS so that women could receive mifepristone through the mail, thus eliminating the requirement for patients to see a health care provider prior to ingesting this dangerous drug. The ACLU argued that the patient had already been evaluated by a clinician either using telehealth or at a prior in-person visit, thus negating the need for another in-person visit to receive the drug.

Unfortunately for women, their health care is certainly not a top priority in this lawsuit. Though a doctor may be able to determine how far along a pregnancy is or diagnose an ectopic pregnancy through telemedicine, it is certainly not best medical practice. Failing to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy or to properly assess the length of a pregnancy can cause serious harm—and even death—to the woman taking the mifepristone. The Maryland court’s acceptance of the ACLU arguments puts women’s lives at risk.

Thankfully, for the time being, the Supreme Court decision issued a stay of the preliminary injunction that reinstated the REMS requirement. This means the Court will allow the FDA to once again enforce its requirement for now. In his concurrence granting the stay, Roberts wrote that the “courts owe significant deference to the politically accountable entities with the ‘background, competence, and expertise to assess public health.’” In other words, Robert’s deferred to the FDA rather than specifically voting because of the risk to women’s lives.

Under the Biden administration, the FDA will have the opportunity to continue supporting the REMS, just like they did under the two proceeding pro-abortion Democratic administrations, or to do away them. In the past 20 years, mifepristone has not gotten any safer for women. Hopefully, under the Biden administration, the FDA will not decide to play politics with women’s lives.

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