Thursday, June 28, 2018

Supreme Court Supports Free Speech in NIFLA v. Becerra

In a 5-4 decision written by Justice Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court struck down a controversial 2015 California law that would have forced the more than 200 prolife crisis pregnancy centers in the state to promote abortions.

The case, NIFLA v. Becerra, challenged the law's requirement that those centers to go against their personal convictions on the issue of abortion. The law also went further, specifically targeting just the prolife crisis pregnancy centers who opposed abortion rather than any health center or charity.

In the majority opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court said the law violated the First Amendment: you can't force people to speak against their beliefs. During the oral arguments there was uneasy feelings and lack of support from several of the pro-abortion justices. The final vote by the pro-abortion justices is also very telling: when it came down to it, none of them were willing to cross over and vote against the abortion industry.

This is a huge win for prolife advocates all over the United States. If this case would have gone the other way, prolife pregnancy centers in any state with a pro-abortion majority could find themselves unable to even advertise their services without being forced to promote the taking of human life.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Lorraine Giorgio: One of Countless Unsung Heroes

Lorraine Giorgio, prolife volunteer extraordinaire, passed away on June 6, 2018 at the age of 93.

Many of you have never heard of Lorraine or her contributions to the prolife movement. Sadly, that's true of so many individuals involved in this grassroots movement. Lorraine was a shining example of the type of person that keeps this movement running and saving lives. Her commitment was so strong that you noticed her most when she wasn't there.

Lorraine had been a member of Right to Life of Michigan and her local affiliates for many, many years. Her daily commitment to saving the unborn was through praying in front of the abortion clinic on 8 Mile in Metro Detroit.

For 20 years, Lorraine was part of a local group of prolifers who prayed at abortion facilities, Helpers of God’s Precious Infants. For 19 of those years, Lorraine was on the sidewalk, praying for an end to abortion and everyone involved in abortions that day: the children, the mothers, and the clinic staff. She was at the abortion facility 4 days a week, up to 7 hours each day.

On the rare day Lorraine wasn't there, regular drivers on 8 Mile would pull over and ask if she was alright.

When Lorraine first joined the group, this elderly lady walked a mile from her home to the abortion facility, and back again when the day was done. Finally one of her group members caught on and they began giving her rides.

The weather never deterred Loraine. Cold, hot, raining, snowing, sleeting or raining, Lorraine was out there.

A few years ago, for health reasons, Lorraine was forced to cut back to "only" 2 days a week praying outside the abortion facility. For the last year she was forced to stay home, but that didn't stop her. She organized literature for the sidewalk counselors.

Like so many people involved in the prolife movement, it was easy to automatically count on Lorraine's help, without having to think about it.

Lorraine never wanted recognition or attention for herself. Well, too bad Lorraine, you deserve it!

In 2007, Right to Life of Michigan affiliates in Macomb wanted to give Lorraine the “Rose of Life” award at their joint Focus on Life Dinner. The award is given to a volunteer who gives their time and effort year after year in the cause of Life, never asking or expecting recognition for it.

Lorraine actually tried to refuse the award. After much begging and pleading, Lorraine finally surrendered, and she accepted it. Lorraine’s acceptance speech was simple: “Thank you very much." She then quickly returned to her seat.

Like so many others in this movement's past and present, Lorraine labored for many, many hours, with no motivation to ever to become famous for it, beloved, make money, or get her name in the paper. She did it because it was the right thing to do.

Lorraine will truly be missed, especially by her fellow prolife volunteers in Macomb County. To those like Lorraine who continue this fight every day to protect human lives, simply, thank you.

Lorraine (fifth from left, front row) with her group

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

New Targeted Abortions Flyer

What is a targeted abortion?

A targeted abortion is one in which the child in the womb is targeted for some particular characteristic, rather than being unwanted (there is no such thing as an "unwanted" child!).

Typically a targeted abortion involves a diagnosed disability or illness of some kind, or the sex of the child.

We have a new flyer available in a one-page booklet format:Targeted Abortions. It's available for free download and printing from our website.

The new flyer combines and replaces two of our older flyers, Abortion & Disabilities and Sex Selection Abortions.


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Mercy Killing? Oppose it

This is the final in a five-part series contrasting the ways our society could handle end-of-life care moving forward.

What is a doctor? What role do they occupy in society?

While these questions may seem clear, in recent decades the fundamental role of physicians has become increasingly unclear. As advocates for doctor-prescribed suicide continue to try to convince states to change their laws, two paths forward present themselves.

The first path affirms the traditional role of doctors as healers. Though technology changes, bringing new opportunities for treatment and new challenges to face, the basic ethics of the doctor-patient relationship have remained unchanged for millennia. The value of, "first, do no harm," is a core part of the Hippocratic Oath: "I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous."

The second path is one that hasn't been traveled much, and when it has, the worst forms of abuses have emerged. If we embrace doctor-prescribed suicide and euthanasia, we give doctors the power over life and death itself. We would reject the essence of medical ethics as expressed by the Hippocratic Oath, and give doctors the power to kill.

Is "mercy killing" compatible with the role of physicians?

Accorded to Merriam-Webster, the most relevant definition of "mercy" is, "compassionate treatment of those in distress." Certainly we all agree that sick patients deserve compassionate treatment from their doctors. But is killing compassionate? Is it the best response to disease medical professional can take?

Doctors can't heal everything. For everyone an inevitable time will come when medical intervention can no longer work. Certainly we can all agree the role of healer at that point changes from curing to comfort.

There are other times when medical intervention may work to stave off death, but the person believes their time is at an end, or the tolls of healing may be too high. If the patient decides to let death take its natural course, we can agree the role of healer shifts away from curing to comfort.

But for those weary of life, offering them lethal doses of drugs or giving them lethal injections completely shifts the role of doctors. We can see evidence of it in countries that have embraced euthanasia fully. Power corrupts, and the power to help end a life prematurely or to take it quickly results in doctors sacrificing part of their healing role.

By embracing mercy killing, the doctor-patient relationship changes. Can patients trust that their doctor's medical advice is in their best interest, especially if situations of "involuntary euthanasia" become widespread and ignored by the public, as they are in Belgium and the Netherlands? Will patients be getting the best effort from their doctors, when death remains the cheapest and easiest solution for any health issue?

What's the merciful thing for doctors to do for suicidal patients? Those patients deserve proper care, not lethal drugs. If the doctor can't provide healing themselves through their relationship with a patient, they should refer patients caught in the grip of despair to those who can try healing through counseling and mental health.

Most doctors remain firmly committed to their role as healers. How long until they are forced from their practice because the law forces them to accept mercy killing as part of their role? Canadian courts mandated doctor-prescribed suicide, and the slippery slope manifested abruptly with efforts to force every doctor there to be complicit.

Though the Hippocratic Oath has been forgotten by many, many doctors' associations still recognize the grave danger of compromising the role of doctors as healers. Doctors themselves worry about being placed is situations. In their Code of Medical Ethics, the American Medical Association says, "Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks. Instead of engaging in assisted suicide, physicians must aggressively respond to the needs of patients at the end of life."

The hands of healing and mercy cannot be the same hands that engage in death. Patients deserve doctors who will make it their mission to first, do no harm.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

New Gallup Poll Shows Massive Opposition to Roe v. Wade

Every year Gallup does polling on the issue of abortion. They are one of the better polling outfits, because they will ask more specific questions than most others.

For the first time since 2012, Gallup asked respondents if abortion should be legal or illegal in each trimester. The results show a massive majority of adults oppose Roe v. Wade.

There's one big caveat, sadly: a massive majority of adults have no clue about what Roe v. Wade does. That includes Gallup itself, an otherwise credible organization!

In their analysis of their poll, Gallup gets it utterly wrong: "The wording of Roe v. Wade aligns almost perfectly with where Americans stand on late-term abortions—keep them legal to save the life of the mother and in cases of rape and incest, but not for other reasons."

What did Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton do? Those two Supreme Court cases legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason. If you find an abortionist who will do one, and will say it's for a "health" reason, no legal authority or court in America can stop it.

While Gallup does admit many Americans depart from Roe v. Wade about 1st trimester abortions, the above quote gets it wrong, both on what Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton did legally, but also when you consider the reasons women have abortions.

Let's break down their poll further based on the reasons women have abortions, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. Here's the percentage of abortions performed for each of these reasons:

Women's Life in Danger: 4% - Michigan law has never made it illegal to end a pregnancy in the rare case where it's a choice between mother or child (both have an equal right to life). In the Guttmacher study, the response is, "physical problems with my health." That could range from concerns of age or past c-sections to true threats against a mother's life. So, the 4% number is extremely generous.

Rape or Incest: less than 0.5%

Child with life-threatening illness/disabled/Down syndrome: 3% - The Guttmacher study response is, "physical problems affecting the health of the fetus." This could range from true life-threatening conditions, to Down syndrome, to a cleft palate easily correctable by surgery.

Woman doesn't want child for any reason: more than 92%

So, even an extremely generous reading of reasons shows more than 92% of abortions are simply because the woman doesn't want the child. In the Gallup Poll, only 45% of U.S. adults believe first trimester abortions should be legal for social reasons.

Even though the Gallup poll found 60% of Americans saying abortion should be generally legal in the 1st trimester, 55% of Americans would ban more than 92% of abortions if given the opportunity.

Roe v. Wade says late-term abortions can be banned, but any ban has to have a "health" exception. Doe v. Bolton defined "health" as any reason, even economic reasons. You can have a late-term abortion in America for any reason, because any reason has a "health" exception according to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Gallup poll found only 13% of Americans believe abortion should be generally legal in the 3rd trimester. When they broke it down, only 20% of Americans said abortion should be legal for social reasons in the 3rd trimester. (Who are the 7% of Americans who want to ban 3rd trimester abortions but allow them for any reason?).

Planned Parenthood opposes laws that ban abortions on children diagnosed with Down syndrome, even though a minority of Americans believe they should be legal. Planned Parenthood often uses children with disabilities to justify keeping third-trimester abortions legal for any reason. They say these disabilities aren't diagnosed until later in pregnancy, and somehow that means a woman should be able to get an abortion for any reason up to the moment of birth. Only 29% of Americans think abortion should be legal for Down syndrome in the third trimester.

While the abortion industry is happy to lie in media stories about the reasons women have late-term abortions, most are for purely elective reasons according to their own published research.

So, why do these 29% get to prevail over 71% of Americans? Why does their small minority mean children with Down syndrome at 39 weeks of pregnancy can be legally killed? Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.

As many as 87% of Americans oppose the practical outcome of Roe v. Wade! Only 13% support legal abortions in the 3rd trimester. How can Gallup claim Roe v. Wade aligns almost perfectly with American's views on abortion? Well, even Gallup doesn't understand Roe v. Wade. Have they heard of Doe v. Bolton?

If two-thirds is a super-majority, a massive majority of Americans oppose Roe v. Wade. It's time for educators and journalists to stop running interference for the abortion industry and confusing even their own colleagues about the status of abortion law in America.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Informing people about abortion and vaccines

Last week legislation was introduced in the Michigan Senate to require informed consent about vaccines and abortions. As far as we're aware, it's first of its kind in the nation.

This is necessary legislation. One of the most popular pages on the Right to Life of Michigan website is our page on vaccines and abortion. We have an excellent LifeNotes edition that calmly and logically explains how the connection works, which vaccines were produced using tissue from aborted babies, which alternatives exist, and gives people an ethical framework to make decisions about using these vaccines. We're biased, but we think it's the clearest discussion of the issue on the web.

Many people have read our information and asked their doctor or nurse about it. Sadly, many have contacted us, asking if we've made some sort of mistake. They've been told by medical professionals that abortions have nothing to do with vaccines. This has happened to Right to Life of Michigan staff. Our information is accurate, but it must sound too outlandish for some medical professionals, who then dismiss it out of ignorance.

It's routinely required for doctors and nurses to give proper informed consent. They have a duty to give patients accurate information, and the state has a duty to make sure these ethical obligations for informed consent are being fulfilled. When it comes to abortion and vaccines, what we often see is misinformed consent. This is a serious problem.

So far, the first critic of our legislation reached out to us on Twitter to engage his concerns. Dr. David Gorski is a Wayne State University professor and oncologist who runs a medical news blog.

Let's address some of the objections Dr. Gorski brings up, and ones others might have.

Right to Life of Michigan is anti-vax now!

No. We don't even take a position on the ethics of using a vaccines produced using tissue from an aborted baby. We will however ensure that those people who ethically object to using such vaccines will have their conscience rights protected. This bill in particular is merely informed consent, all it does is make sure patients have accurate information.

Dr. Gorski accuses Right to Life of Michigan of being puppets of anti-vax groups (or sinisterly using them ourselves). Nope. We will not engage in any vaccine issue outside of the issue of our mission on abortion. We will, however, protect the conscience rights of every person who ethically object to procedures that involve abortion in some way.

This bill has inaccurate information in it!

Dr. Gorski takes issue with our use of the words "fetal tissue." But those are not "our" words. Here are the words of the researchers who created the MRC-5 cell line used in the production of several FDA-approved vaccines:

“We have developed another strain of cells, also derived from foetal lung tissue, taken from a 14-week male foetus removed for psychiatric reasons from a 27 year old woman with a genetically normal family history and no sign of neoplastic disease both at abortion and for at least three years afterward.”

When the bill says people should be informed that the vaccine was "derived from aborted fetal tissue," that's exactly how the cell lines were created. Now, keep in mind, this is legal language to create a law; doctors will not have to literally read the bill text out-loud to every patient. The bill does not mandate that doctors or nurses have to give some inflammatory statement; the bill doesn't even mandate how patients are told, simply that they must be informed.

These abortions used to create these vaccines happened in the 1960s!

That's true, and it does play a role in debating the ethics of using these vaccines. However, we shouldn't pretend that fetal tissue is not used in ongoing medical research. Newer cell lines taken from aborted babies are used in current vaccine research. Giving tacit approval to the use of these lines without acknowledging how they are created will encourage future abuses.

Because even so many doctors are unaware of how these vaccines are produced, many patients are in the dark and unable to express their objections. This lack of informed consent is leading pharmaceutical companies to believe society in general has approved involving elective abortion in the medical research process. Society in general doesn't even know it's going on.

You want patients to die! This is a plot to get fewer people to use vaccines!

No. Though Dr. Gorski won't put it this way, he believes that this knowledge is too dangerous for patients to know. His concern is that people will hear this and be horrified and not use vaccines. The unspoken assumption he is making is that withholding information from patients—even information that might lead them to strongly object to a procedure—is an acceptable means to maintain trust in the medical system.

Think about that for a minute. The current vaccine controversy is due in-part to a gaping lack of trust in medical institutions. The concept that some information is too dangerous for patients to know will only lead to eroding that trust further. One could make the argument that people will die because they've lost even more faith in their doctors' and nurses' recommendations.

Why would people be horrified, as Dr. Gorski fears? Because they had no idea several vaccines were created using elective abortions. Doesn't that imply people should have been told that to begin with? Many will conclude this information has been withheld from them, and in some ways it has. Dr. Gorski would prefer they never learn about these facts.

Dr. Gorski also believes people may link this to other vaccine issues, like thimerosal, animal cell lines, etc. That may happen, but that's why people should be given accurate information from doctors and nurses, which this bill does. Dr. Gorski can't claim to want to give people accurate information about vaccines on one hand, and hide it with the other. Would Dr. Gorski rather patients hear about this issue from their doctors, or from the first website they find on a search engine?

Most of the vaccines produced using aborted fetal tissue have alternatives. Some do not. There is no medical need for abortion for vaccine research, however. The MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella) is a perfect example: there used to be an ethical alternative. It's no longer on the market, but it's time for it to return.

This bill is simply informing people of medical facts. They have a right to know. If Dr. Gorski wants to argue patients don't have a right to know, he should just say that rather than trying to confuse people with conspiracy theories about prolife people.

The short-term goals of this bill are to fix the misinformation being spread by medical professionals today and educate people.

Our long-term hope is that people will speak with vaccine manufacturers and ask them to stop utilizing abortion as means for research and development. It's unnecessary, as proven by the current ethical alternatives.

If the fight over this bill is about trust in the medical system, treating people as incapable of making their own ethical decisions will further erode that already tenuous trust.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Supreme Court Dissolves Abortion Precedent for Teen Immigrants

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court announced that they were granting the request of the Trump Administration to wipe away a ruling by a federal appeals court that allowed minor teen illegal immigrants in U.S. custody to obtain an abortion.

Back in October, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals sided with a federal district court in Azar v. Garza, and ordered the Trump administration to allow a 17-year-old girl who crossed the border illegally to obtain an abortion. Under current U.S. law, when a minor crosses into this country without parental supervision they are placed in federal custody. The court ordered that she be temporarily released from this custody specifically so she could have an abortion.

Unfortunately, the young girl followed through and was able to end the life of her child with the help of the pro-abortion ACLU. Even though the teen had already received an abortion, the Trump Administration saw this as a potentially dangerous precedent that could have applied in similar circumstances, resulting in the deaths of additional children in the womb.

In the statement released by the Supreme Court, it said that the matter was not debatable because the abortion had already happened. However, similar lawsuits will be allowed to continue through the court system, meaning the this issue could eventually come back to the Supreme Court as the courts start over in adjudicating the case.

In the original court proceedings, the Solicitor General charged the ACLU with deceiving the government about the timing of the young girl’s abortion. As a result the government did not have time to appeal the decision, and the girl was able to abort her unborn child before the courts could intervene. This fact was cited by the U.S. Justice Department to the Supreme Court. While the Supreme Court said it "took seriously" the allegations, the justices concluded "not all communication breakdowns constitute misconduct."

Though this is a small win, it is an important one. While immigration policy is often debated in our country, what should not be debated is the basic dignity of every human being, both inside and outside our borders. It would be a sad day if organizations like the ACLU—which claims to be committed to human rights—succeed in stripping away the rights from human beings crossing our border, and then succeed in forcing federal immigration officials into abetting the death of children in their care.

Keep your eyes peeled for a truly big Supreme Court decision in the coming weeks. The ruling on NIFLA v. Becerra about free speech rights of prolife pregnancy centers could come any day now.

Friday, June 1, 2018

What President Trump's Title X rule change really means

The Trump Administration's proposed changes to the federal Title X family planning program substantially protects against our tax dollars being used in any abortion-related activities.

The Title X program was designed to provide low income people with preventative family planning services. It clearly stated that monies were not to be used on programs that “promote abortion as a method of family planning.”

However, pro-abortion officials have loosely interpreted the law over the years, allowing abortion providers like Planned Parenthood to receive family planning dollars while only using clever accounting to separate abortion from our tax dollars. Currently Title X recipients are allowed to share facilities, staff and equipment with abortion clinics.

The proposed rule change will no longer allow abortion providers to receive Title X money, nor will it allow providers who refer for abortions, lobby for abortions or make contributions to abortion related-activities to receive Title X money. The new rule would require separate facilities for Title X and abortion.

The rule extends not only to Title X grantees, but also to their sub-grantees, sub-recipients and even their referral partners. It also stops tax dollars from being laundered into the political process by preventing Title X funding from going to organizations that promote, lobby for, or endorse candidates who espouse abortion as a method of family planning.

The rule would allow a Title X provider to provide non-directive counseling about abortion, but only if requested by the client. The provider would be allowed to distribute a list of referrals, which may include abortion providers, subject to the list also containing other types of service providers including those who do prenatal care. There is an exception for referring for abortion in cases of rape or incest provided the grantee documents in the patient file that statutory requirement for reporting were met.

While most of these details have been reported on extensively, the Trump Administration's proposed rule change does much more than stop Planned Parenthood from breaking the law against funding abortions.

The new rule would substantially increase transparency and reporting. Currently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services relies on its grantees (usually state health departments) to monitor Title X legal compliance. The sub-grantees in many cases are Planned Parenthood affiliates, who in turn contract with sub-recipients and other agencies. The federal government does not maintain direct oversight of their own program, which is a big problem.

Currently all Title X clinics are required to comply with state and local reporting requirements for child abuse, sexual abuse, sex trafficking etc. The new rule will ensure that documentation of those reports is maintained in the patient’s file so that compliance can actually be verified. Health care workers will be required to conduct a preliminary screening on any teen who presents with a sexually-transmitted infection or pregnancy if he or she is under the age of consent. They will also conduct a screening if there is suspicion of abuse. President Trump's rule change will help combat child abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

Planned Parenthood has a long history of ignoring or even abetting sexual abuse. Not asking the age of the sexual partner to avoid having to report statutory rape will no longer be acceptable. The new rule makes it clear that confidentiality rules are subordinate to reporting requirements. Planned Parenthood never had their own #MeToo moment, despite blatant cases of allowing sexual abuse, rape, and incest to continue.

In addition, the new rule will amend the criteria for grants. It will increase competition and encourage broader and more diverse applicants with priority given to those programs that can demonstrate that they value complying with Title X rules, protecting victims of sexual abuse, and respecting conscience rights.

There are also numerous additional changes that would affect contracts and definitions and allow for better family planning programs than simply shoveling money to Planned Parenthood.

In summary, the Trump Administration's rule change will do the following:
  • Prevent sharing of facility, staff, records, and equipment between abortion providers and Title X programs.
  • Prevent Title X programs from facilitating, promoting, or referring for abortion or sharing space with entities who do.
  • Prevent expenditures of Title X money on events, materials, dues or organizations that promote, lobby for or endorse candidates who espouse abortion as family planning.
  • Require documentation screening for abuse and reports of abuse made to area law enforcement or agencies. Will clarify confidentiality rules so there is no confusion about reporting abuse or failing to ask questions to avoid having to report abuse.
  • Require compliance with Title X rules and documentation from all grantees, sub-grantees, sub-recipients, and substantial referral partners.
  • Provide for substantial conscience protection.
  • Amend regulations to allow contracts in addition to grants, and make the process much more competitive.
  • All aspects of the new rule will be implemented 60 days after approval, except for physical separation of facilities. Abortion providers like Planned Parenthood will be given one year to comply.