Editor’s Note (2/27/2020): Since the time of initial publication, the name of the case, June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Gee, has changed to June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo. This report may be viewed in its entirety as a PDF at: ARS_The Supreme Court Has Said It Will Hear a Major Abortion Case from Louisiana […]
Update: HB 5898, the assisted suicide bill, failed to receive enough support to be voted out of committee. CT News Junkie reports: “…Its chief proponent threw in the towel Monday, not allowing the bill to come up for vote in front of the Public Health Committee. ‘We just didn’t have the votes,’ Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, […]
In late November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that abortion in the United States has fallen to “historic lows” – with these most recent data revealing the lowest abortion rate since 1971, two years before the legalization of abortion nationwide via Roe v. Wade.
On October 5, the District of Columbia’s Committee on Health and Human Services (HHS) will mark-up and vote on a bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide. The so-called “Death with Dignity Act” (Bill 21-0038) would permit D.C. adult residents to request and be prescribed drugs to end their lives, if they are given a prognosis of six months or less to live. Last year, during a hearing on the legislation, the Director of D.C.’s Department of Health testified in staunch opposition as the executive witness, stating that the bill would “catapult the District into unchartered territories.”
Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to pass the Conscience Protection Act of 2016 (S. 304) by 245-182.
There is a remarkable coda to our recent story about Cuban pro-life physician and human rights hero Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet. On Thursday, June 23, in Dallas, former President George W. Bush welcomed Dr. Biscet to the Bush Center and personally presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom he had awarded him in absentia in 2007 when Dr. Biscet was serving a 25-year sentence in a Castro prison.
Last week The Washington Examiner reported on a new study released by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. It analyzed the declining birthrate in the United States since 2007. Even though there are more women of childbearing age, the number of births has fallen from over 4.3 million in 2007 to 3.978 million in 2015 – an 8 percent decline. If the fertility rate had remained at its 2007 level, the author estimates that there would have been 3.4 million more births during the last 8 years.
On March 24 of this year Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law legislation that forbids doctors from performing an abortion, before or after the unborn child reaches 20 weeks of post-fertilization age, if the reason for the abortion is based on the “race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, or diagnosis or potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or any other disability.”
In his statement announcing his signing of the bill, Pence said, “I believe that a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable—the aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn.
Proponents of abortion are all about “choice.” Yet in many cases, it seems, a woman’s decision to procure an abortion does not feel like much of a choice at all.
The best estimates indicate that somewhere between 30 to over 60 percent of women seeking abortions in the United States do so under pressure—from the father of her child, her parents, her family members, friends, or employer. One study shows that up to 64 percent of women who had undergone an abortion reported that they were pressured to do so. What can be done to counteract this phenomenon of coerced abortions? Coerced abortions are especially harmful to women—not only does the voice of the unborn child, who cannot plead on his own behalf, go unheard, but also the voice of the mother is muted by outside pressure.
One of the earliest attempts to square this circle of trying to conduct morally problematic research within ethical guidelines is the “14-day rule” for embryo research. The rule has allowed embryo research outside the womb for up to 14 days post-fertilization, after which time the embryo would be destroyed. Although the origins of the rule go back over 40 years, it has been much in the news lately as scientists have developed methods to considerably extend the life of embryos outside the womb.
Now half a year since the opening of the 2016 Obamacare enrollment period, new state abortion mandates are just coming to light in New York. The Catholic Diocese of Albany and 12 other entities who have deeply-held objections to abortion were recently informed they had been covering elective abortions, unbeknownst to them, in their employer insurance plans under two state abortion mandates.
Today I’m going to talk about three legal policies involving life protections for unborn children. I’m going to explain how each of these policies could actually be upheld under current Supreme Court abortion precedent. However, at the same time, each of these policies represents a serious challenge to current Supreme Court abortion standards by forcing the Court to consider and, hopefully, uphold policies that narrow the abortion right and call into question its continued legitimacy. But first, let’s step back and consider three basic points that help us put pro-life legislative initiatives into context.
The recent systematic review published by Gabrielle Saccone and colleagues joins the long list of over 150 studies over the past four decades which extensively document that having an induced abortion increases a woman’s risk of preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies. Saccone et al. clearly document again what other authors have repeatedly published; a fact also acknowledged by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in their report on preterm birth in 2005. However, unlike the IOM, who hid the association on page 625 in Appendix B, Saccone places the facts in the open: “Prior surgical uterine evacuation for either I-TOP [induced termination of pregnancy] or SAB [spontaneous abortion] is an independent risk factor for PTB [preterm birth].” Translated, that means any time the womb of a pregnant woman is forced open, there is a risk of damaging the opening of the womb.
The history of the pro-life movement has received precious little attention from either journalists or academics. In 2014, Dr. and Mrs. John C. Willke published Abortion and the Pro-Life Movement: An Inside View which is the first truly comprehensive history of the modern pro-life movement. Their book first explores the history of pro-life activism before Roe v. Wade and then devotes a chapter to every year after 1973. This year, Daniel K. Williams, associate professor of history at the University of West Georgia, published Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement Before Roe v. Wade, a helpful augmentation to the Willke’s book.
Beginning in the 1990’s, and throughout the first years of the 21st century, perhaps no other political or social cause célèbre attracted as many celebrities as human embryonic stem cell research (hESCR).
Christopher Reeve, Kevin Kline, Michael J. Fox and Mary Tyler Moore, among others, all made their way to Capitol Hill to testify in support of increased federal funding of hESCR (during her congressional testimony on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Ms. Moore famously said human embryos have “no more resemblance to a human being than a goldfish”)…
Despite advances in civil rights and the recognition by most developed nations that discrimination on the basis of sex alone is inherently unjust, a very real and pervasive form of sex discrimination is still permitted and practiced in the world today. Prenatal sex discrimination crosses cultural, ethnic, and national lines. It is practiced with impunity in many countries, including the U.S., via sex-selective abortion – choosing to abort a preborn child based solely on the child’s sex.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changed the regulations for RU-486, the “abortion pill,” allowing its use up to 70 days into pregnancy, three weeks past the previous guidelines. On the same day, Abby Johnson’s The Walls Are Talking: Former Abortion Clinic Workers Tell Their Stories, was officially released. One chapter in particular stood out as especially timely in regards to the news: “Medication Abortion.”
Yesterday, during an MSNBC townhall event with Chris Matthews, presidential candidate Donald Trump was asked if he believes in “punishment for abortion” to which he replied that there should be “some form of punishment.” When asked whether this applied to women who have had abortions, Mr. Trump replied in the affirmative, though he later clarified that he believes only abortionists should be held accountable.
Pro-life groups have quickly, and with a united voice, used this incident to clarify that the pro-life movement has never advocated, in any context, for the punishment of women who undergo abortion, but rather acknowledges that abortion harms and exploits women.
It’s hard to believe the Obama Administration is still fighting the nuns over abortion and contraception.
The Little Sisters of the Poor object on religious grounds to the government hijacking their health insurance plan to provide contraceptives including some that can cause abortions.
They’ve filed a lawsuit and today the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case.
This year, the theme is “’My Friends, My Community’ – The benefits of inclusive environments for today’s children and tomorrow’s adults.” Highlighting the many ways in which people with Down syndrome are included in society is a noble goal – one which should naturally encompass the inclusion of unborn babies who are prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome and who have all too often become vulnerable to abortion.
According to the annual report from Oregon’s Public Health Division released in February, 132 people died from assisted suicide in the state – more people than in any of the 17 previous years and at a 26 percent increase from 2014.
Most individuals who died by assisted suicide were 65 years or older, either had no insurance or government insurance, and were not currently married.
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) ended 2015 by adopting a new Strategic Plan, calling it a “bold new vision for the future” designed to streamline, over the next five years, the process of bringing stem cell research to clinical trial.
Dubbed “CIRM 2.0” the plan is characterized as “a radical overhaul” of business as usual in order to achieve CIRM’s mission to “accelerate the development of stem cell therapies to patients with unmet medical needs.”
According to Jonathon Thomas, CIRM’s chair of the board, the first step in developing the new plan was “us throwing out all our preconceived notions.”
As the international debate continues on the use of CRISPR gene-manipulating technology on human embryos, Nature journal this week gave serious consideration to concerns about its societal consequences. In a news feature entitled, “Should you edit your child’s genes?” author Erika Check Hayden takes a refreshingly humane approach by asking people with disabilities what they think of the real-life prospect of “editing out” genes responsible for disability before a person is even born.
Already this year, at least eight states are considering bills to legalize physician-assisted suicide. Of these, Colorado, Maryland, and Utah have renamed their bills, formerly titled “Death with Dignity,” as “End of Life Options” bills – the name under which California legalized assisted suicide last October.
Yet, the deceptive title, which now eliminates all reference to death, seemingly seeks both to legalize and normalize assisted suicide as “just another medical option.” A new study published last week in JAMA Psychiatry, however, raises afresh ongoing concerns with assisted suicide, especially as it relates to those with mental illness or distress.
In this testimony before multiple Kansas state Senate and House committees, Dr. David Prentice briefs legislators on the progress of the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center. The Kansas stem cell center is focused on patients, with an emphasis on therapy, dissemination of information, and comprehensive view to fulfilling its mission. The MSCTC only works with non-controversial stem cell sources—adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells; embryonic and fetal sources are not used, in keeping the focus on the patient and deliverable therapies.
Three minutes. The time it takes to make toast, check your bank statement, listen to your favorite song. Three minutes. The time it takes for a pregnancy test to run.
Today, January 17, is recognized as Sanctity of Human Life Sunday (SOHLS) by Americans, especially Christians, across the country. The first national Sanctity of Human Life Day was designated as on January 22, 1984, via a proclamation issued by then-President Ronald Reagan.
Michael New, Ph.D., an Associate Scholar with the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the education arm of Susan B. Anthony List, submitted an amicus curiae brief yesterday to the U.S. Supreme Court in Zubik v. Burwell and consolidated cases.
These cases represent a challenge against the Obamacare contraception mandate and its impact on the religious freedom of the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious nonprofits. The religious nonprofit organizations are arguing that the so-called “accommodation” crafted by the Obama Administration violates religious freedom protections secured by the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
Of all the Planned Parenthood data being looked at today as a result of release of the agency’s annual report, one of the more significant is the continued decline in its client total for reversible contraceptive methods (excluding services like sterilization and emergency contraceptive kits). This number is distinct from its contraceptive services total, where discrete services provided to a single individual are separately tallied, leading to a higher overall figure for services and a reduction in the apparent significance of a single “service” like abortion. The reversible contraceptive client total simply refers to the number of women coming to Planned Parenthood to obtain reversible contraception like oral contraceptives, barrier methods and IUDs, and this number continued to drop in 2014 – by more than 122,000 women, or more than 5.7 percent of those clients.
“First the [Chinese Communist Party] would kill any baby after one. Now they will kill any baby after two.” – Chen Guangcheng, Chinese human rights advocate (Oct. 29, 2015).
When Chinese mother Sarah Huang learned she was pregnant with her second child, she and her husband were elated at first as news reached them of a new “two-child policy.” Things turned grim, however, when her husband’s employer, the Chinese government, informed them they would be mandated to abort the baby if they couldn’t provide proof Sarah had an IUD inserted. Fearing a forced abortion in the near future, the Huangs went into hiding and eventually risked fleeing to the United States, where they arrived this Thanksgiving.
By an overwhelming margin, American women and men report more favorable opinions of life-affirming pregnancy centers offering abortion alternatives, as compared to organizations providing abortions such as Planned Parenthood, according to a 2014 national poll commissioned by the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI).
One thousand American women aged 18-44 years and 300 men of the same age range were surveyed about questions related to health behaviors, specifically geared towards unexpected pregnancy decisions and care. Overall opinions and impressions about experiences were measured to contrast views towards organizations which provide abortion alternatives at the community-based level and those which offer and refer for abortion.
Charlotte Lozier Institute, the education arm of Susan B. Anthony List, today released a landmark review of health care sharing ministries (HCSMs). These ministries, which date back decades as a source of health care financing for both individuals and families, have experienced new prominence as an alternative to conventional health insurance.
“Do your health plans on the exchange cover elective abortion?” Since the first Obamacare Open Enrollment Period in November 2013, the Charlotte Lozier Institute has asked this simple question of insurance companies, only to find mostly confusion, an inability to share relevant plan documents, and few companies able to give a direct answer to our simple question. For 2016, CLI and the Family Research Council (FRC) have once again researched plans and updated the ObamacareAbortion.com resource website with the abortion coverage policies for each individual and family plan on the Obamacare exchanges.
In sum for 2016: The abortion coverage remains difficult to discern for many plans without enrolling first; an estimated 59% of Obamacare plans for individuals and families cover abortion on demand; two states still have no plans excluding elective abortion; and compared with last year, there are three fewer states with Multi-State Plans (MSPs) which generally exclude elective abortion.
On November 17, the Ohio House Committee on Community and Family Advancement held a hearing on proposed legislation to defund Planned Parenthood and reallocate over $1 million yearly in government funding to other Ohio medical health centers. Following the hearing, the Committee recommended and the Ohio House passed H.B. 294 by a vote of 62-33.
Thomas M. Messner, J.D., Senior Fellow in Legal Policy for the Charlotte Lozier Institute, submitted the following written testimony in support of the bill
Will induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) finally replace human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) in the field of regenerative medical research?
Results of a recent study published in Nature Biotechnology argue that they should.
First, some background.
In 2007, Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka discovered a method to create fully pluripotent, embryonic-like stem cells from ordinary somatic (body) cells. The ability to do this had been characterized as the “holy grail” of stem cell research and, indeed, Yamanaka’s achievement changed the field of regenerative medicine. So groundbreaking was his discovery that he was awarded the Nobel Prize just five years after announcing it.
Recently, numerous research facilities, both public and private, marked “Stem Cell Awareness Day,” holding lectures, issuing statements and highlighting ongoing progress in the field of regenerative medicine.
Among those participating was the University of California, Davis, one of the country’s leading institutions for stem cell research and regenerative medicine. Writing in her local newspaper, the Davis Enterprise, Jan Nolta, the director of the Stem Cell Program at the UC Davis School of Medicine, highlighted the program’s “numerous novel clinical trials ongoing and in the pipeline” and its 16 disease teams testing stem cells to treat the following…
In response to the Planned Parenthood scandal involving late-term abortions and harvesting fetal tissue from aborted babies, some are clinging to the claim that women, especially low-income women living in medically underserved areas, rely on the organization as their only healthcare provider. Further scrutiny has revealed that low-cost, publicly-funded health centers outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities 20 to one nationwide, care for 23 million Americans, and even provide more health services.
Aside from the sheer number of the combined sum of 13,000+ Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) service sites and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), two aspects of these centers distinguish them and their mission: transportation assistance and accessible locations.
Separation of a mother and her unborn child is tragically sometimes necessary to save the life of the mother. But the number of conditions which truly threaten the mother’s life, and which require a life-saving separation of the mother and her baby are vanishingly small. A new study by Amant and colleagues, entitled “Pediatric Outcome after Maternal Cancer Diagnosed during Pregnancy,” brings tremendous hope to pregnant women who have courageously carried their unborn children to birth, despite the need for chemotherapy or radiation therapy. And the successful outcome of these children exposed in utero to radiation, chemotherapy or a combination of both is reassuring to pregnant women who no longer need be told outdated information that they must abort their children or else risk compromising their own care or their child’s life.
This Tuesday, the Ohio House Committee on Community and Family Advancement held a hearing on SB 127, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) associate scholars Anna Higgins, J.D., an attorney and legal researcher, and Sheila Page, D.O., an osteopathic physician, testified in support of these bills. CLI welcomed both women as recent additions to the associate scholar team in September.
On Wednesday, Anna Higgins also testified in support of SB 214, a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood by way of “ensur[ing] state/certain federal funds [are] not used for nontherapeutic abortions.”
Last month Care Net, a network of over 1,100 life-affirming pregnancy help centers, celebrated its 40-year anniversary at its annual national conference held in San Diego. The mood was jubilant as Care Net recognized the four decades of inspired “compassion, hope and help” members groups have offered to women and men facing challenging pregnancy decisions.
September 6 to 12 is National Suicide Prevention Week, and yet almost as if in a cruel joke, the California legislature has fast-tracked a bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide in the state. Just yesterday, the “End of Life Options Act” (AB X2-15) passed the State Assembly by a vote of 44-35.
The bill now goes to the Senate for a vote this Friday, where it is expected to pass since the Senate passed a very similar assisted suicide bill earlier this year. That earlier bill stalled in committee. If the current measure passes, it would take effect in 31 days unless Governor Jerry Brown vetoes it. The Governor has not made any public statement on the bill, except that he was displeased at its introduction into his special session on healthcare financing.
The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly is an invaluable resource not only for insights on ethical issues but news about key developments in medicine and technology. This summer NCBQ added a new author to its array of resources, a regular update on Science written by Charlotte Lozier Institute Vice President and Director of Research, David Prentice, Ph.D.
The national pro-life organization March for Life has won an important federal court case against the Obamacare “contraception mandate.”
The “contraception mandate” stems from the Obamacare health care law and regulations issued by the Obama administration. The contraception mandate includes drugs that can cause abortion by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg.
Earlier this week a federal district court judge ruled that March for Life should be free to offer employee health insurance coverage that does not include drugs and devices that can cause abortions.
In mid-August, California lawmakers announced a second attempt to legalize assisted suicide this year. In July, a nearly identical bill, SB 128, died in the Health Committee. The proposed legislation, now revived as Assembly Bill X2-15 (the End of Life Option Act), was introduced during a special legislative session on healthcare financing, which will allow it to bypass the previous committee in which it stalled.
Last Thursday, AB X2-15 which was introduced into the special session by Assemblywoman Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), was referred to the Public Health and Developmental Services Committee. This 13-member committee is a smaller health panel than the original health committee in which the bill died, and does not include the handful of Democratic Members who opposed the assisted suicide bill in July.
Late last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rose to the defense of the embattled Planned Parenthood organization, which is currently caught up in a fetal tissue and organ harvesting scandal following an undercover investigation by the Center for Medical Progress.
In a letter addressed to Senators Joni Ernst and Roy Blunt, HHS insisted that they know of no breach of the law in the actions taken by Planned Parenthood in its selling of fetal remains. In the letter, Jim Esquea, the HHS’s assistant secretary for legislation, wrote, “We have confirmed that HHS researchers working with fetal tissue obtained the tissue from non-profit organizations that provided assurances to us that they are in compliance with all applicable legal requirements.”
The Little Sisters of the Poor are heading back to the Supreme Court in their quest to defend their religious freedom.
The Little Sisters are represented by legal counsel including attorneys from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. According to a statement issued by the Becket Fund, “for the second time in two years, the Little Sisters of the Poor must ask the Supreme Court to protect them from the government.”
The Little Sisters case involves the “contraception mandate” stemming from the Obamacare health care law and regulations issued by the Obama administration. The contraception mandate includes drugs that can cause abortion by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg.
On Tuesday, August 11, 2015, the Wisconsin Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety held a public hearing on Assembly Bill 305, which would prohibit certain sales and uses of fetal body parts “from an unborn child aborted from an induced abortion.”
Charlotte Lozier Institute Vice President and Research Director, Dr. David A. Prentice, Ph.D submitted the following written testimony in support of AB 305.
Over the past few weeks you have most likely seen – unless you work at the White House – the undercover videos released by David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress, which show various Planned Parenthood employees discussing the harvesting and sale of fetal organs and body parts. The negotiations caught on camera suggest that these transactions are not at all unusual for the organization nor are they limited to these few incidences but are, in fact, systemic throughout the organization. This suggests that Planned Parenthood, which performs about 330,000 abortions a year in the United States, has found a way to make abortion even more profitable.
In the wake of the spreading scandal over the sale of human organs extracted from unborn children, members of Congress are calling for the end of federal funding of Planned Parenthood. A first attempt in the U.S. Senate to do this failed on Monday of this week, but a dozen more Senators voted for the cut-off than did so the last time it was considered, in 2011. A cut-off would be condign punishment for an elite institution long given to dismissive responses to evidence of ethical misconduct, but the latest charges are hardly the only reason to wean this mega-wealthy nonprofit from the federal dole. In truth, the stand-alone Planned Parenthood facility is obsolete.
Pregnancy help centers (PHCs), also known as pregnancy resource or care centers and in the past as crisis pregnancy centers, are more likely to be welcomed than Planned Parenthood facilities into communities across the country, according to a 2014 poll commissioned by the Charlotte Lozier Institute.
Survey respondents were asked, in separate questions, whether as far as they knew there was either a Planned Parenthood facility or PHC currently in their community. To measure desirability, each set of respondents who said there was no such facility was then asked a follow-up question, “Would you like one?”
Last Thursday Alaska Governor Bill Walker announced that he would use his executive authority to expand Alaska’s state Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act. Walker’s proposal would extend Medicaid eligibility to all Alaskans earning less than 133 percent of the poverty line. Walker reported that he sent a letter to the Alaska legislature’s Budget and Audit Committee, giving legislators the required 45-day notice of his plan. The committee can make recommendations, but Walker said he has legal authority to move forward without the legislature’s approval.
This action by Governor Walker will likely prompt both a political and a legal battle. Earlier this summer, the Republican-controlled state legislature rejected Walker’s plan to expand Medicaid. They even included language in the state’s budget prohibiting any such move. However, opinions from both the Alaska Department of Law and from the legislature’s legal counsel declared that the effort to block Walker likely doesn’t adhere to the state’s constitution.
Last Tuesday, a proposed bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide in California was shelved by its primary authors due to lack of support, and is unlikely to be voted on this year. Senate Bill 128, which passed the state Senate last month, would have allowed doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill individuals seeking to die. Democratic state Senators Bill Monning and Lois Wolk, who authored SB 128, pulled the bill from the Assembly Health Committee’s schedule of hearings Tuesday after it became clear that enough Assembly Members would not support it to allow passage. Among the opposed Members were a number of Latino Democrats, making up about a third of the committee, who spoke against the bill in the context of their personal experiences.
As both international and national debates continue over the ethics and science of “three-parent embryos” and “genetically modified embryos”, Dr. David A. Prentice, Ph.D. of the Charlotte Lozier Institute has prepared a series of visual primers for the general public, illustrating the various methods by which germline genetic engineering is used to create genetically modified human embryos.
Pro-lifers received some disappointing news last Friday when the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously struck down Iowa’s telemed abortion ban. In 2013, the Iowa Board of Medicine issued administrative regulations that required physicians to perform in-person examinations (rather than webcam consults) on women before prescribing abortion-inducing drugs. These regulations would have effectively banned the webcam abortion practice in Iowa, in which a woman could receive the abortion-inducing drugs through a remote-controlled drawer after speaking to a doctor via webcam. However, these administrative rules set off a flurry of legal challenges. In August 2014, a Polk County District Court judge ruled to uphold the ban. However, in September the Iowa Supreme Court issued a stay on the decision, allowing telemed abortions to continue.
This summer many people are anticipating the Supreme Court’s ruling in King v. Burwell. This case deals with whether health care exchange plans that are created by the federal government are eligible for federal tax subsidies. Right now the federal government is effectively running exchanges in about 34 states, a third of which allow the participation of insurance plans with elective abortion coverage. The ruling in this case has important implications for pro-life public policy. One major objection that pro-lifers had to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was that it included taxpayer subsidies for exchange-based insurance plans that cover abortion.
Baby Elizabeth was born nine weeks premature. With under-developed lungs, she struggled to breathe and needed to remain in intensive care in the hospital for two and a half weeks. “I couldn’t even hold her for the first five days… We dressed her in doll clothes,” says Jenn, her mother, recalling Elizabeth’s tiny size. Jenn attributes her daughter’s premature birth – and a host of other health complications – to a previous abortion she had, and now shares her story as part of a newly launched educational campaign called Prevent Preterm.
Prevent Preterm (PreventPreterm.org) was launched this June to educate the general public on three known risk factors for preterm, or premature, births: tobacco use, lack of prenatal care, and prior abortion. Despite a large body of medical research showing that abortion increases the risk of a subsequent preterm birth, information on this link is not nearly as accessible to the general public as that of smoking and prenatal care. PreventPreterm.org fills this need by providing a user-friendly, comprehensive chart summarizing more than 100 peer-reviewed published studies that identify abortion as a risk factor for preterm birth.
On June 17, 2015, the Ohio Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing on S.B. 127, the state’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Among the experts testifying in support of the bill were Dr. Sheila Page, D.O., an osteopathic physician, board certified in Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine and Angelina Baglini Nguyen, J.D., a legal expert and Associate Scholar of the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI). CLI thanks both Dr. Sheila Page and Angelina B. Nguyen for their permission to reprint the full text of their testimonies here. In addition, CLI’s Vice President and Research Director, Dr. David A. Prentice, Ph.D., submitted the testimony below in writing.
A recent blog posted on the science/technology website Gizmodo conducts an interesting thought experiment. The author goes back 10 years to the December, 2005, issue of Scientific American. In that issue was the “Scientific American 50” – a list of the 50 leading scientific trends for that year.
The author wanted to see what has happened, 10 years on, in realizing “the highly-touted breakthroughs of the era that would supposedly change everything.” The author writes that she chose 2005 “because 10 years seemed recent enough for continuity between scientific questions then and now but also long enough ago for actual progress. More importantly, I chose Scientific American because the magazine publishes sober assessments of science, often by scientists themselves.”
Last month, an international coalition of individuals and organizations launched a campaign calling for an end to the assisted reproductive technology practice known as surrogacy. Stop Surrogacy Now (SSN) is urging national governments and the global community to end the “exploitation of women and the human trafficking of children through surrogacy.”
According to the campaign’s statement, the coalition “affirm[s] the deep longing many have to be parents”; however, it rejects surrogacy as a solution because of the human rights abuse it inflicts on women and children. The coalition represents 16 organizations and more than 100 individuals from 18 countries.
Beginning in 2016, Rhode Island health insurance carriers who will offer plans either on or off the exchange will be required to provide an elective abortion-free plan at each metal level at which they will offer plans. Research from the Charlotte Lozier Institute and the Family Research Council in November 2014 showed that Rhode Island was one of four states that offered only plans covering elective abortion for the 2015 enrollment period.
On May 19, 2015, Dr. David A. Prentice delivered the following testimony before the Institute of Medicine to address the ethical and social issues raised by proposed mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT) techniques.
In this testimony, Dr. David Prentice, Vice President and Research Director of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, testifies in support of Ohio’s HB 135, which would provide necessary, distinct protections for developing human beings, preventing discrimination based on genetics or disability.
On May 12, 2015, David A. Prentice, Ph.D., Vice President and Research Director of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, was invited to speak on the science of fetal pain on Points of View radio talk show. On May 13, 2015 the United States House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
The full transcript is here.
This May, the Alaska state legislature will consider legislation that would expand Alaska’s Medicaid program. In this timely analysis, CLI Associate Scholar Michael J. New, Ph.D. elaborates four ways in which a Medicaid expansion in Alaska would likely increase the state’s abortion incidence.
Professor Randy Beck is the Justice Thomas O. Marshall Chair of Constitutional Law at the University of Georgia School of Law. He has authored a new article discussing the constitutionality of five-month abortion laws. The article is not yet published in a journal but has been posted on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) with a date of March 2, 2015.
The article is titled “Fetal Viability and Twenty-Week Abortion Statutes.” According to the abstract, the article “advances four arguments for the constitutionality of a 20-week statute, including three based on current case law or minor modifications to current case law.”
Debra Blackmon was 13 years old when two social workers visited her home in North Carolina, assessed her to be “severely retarded,” and put in motion the process for her sterilization. The year was 1972. Though the state passed a law in 2013 to compensate victims of involuntary sterilization under the North Carolina Eugenics Board, Blackmon was denied because her paperwork stated that she was sterilized under county authority – not state authority, a technicality written into the law.
In this testimony before multiple Kansas state Senate and House committees, Dr. David Prentice briefs legislators on the progress of the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center. There are currently about 53 centers nationwide conducting ethical adult stem cell research for therapies to treat a wide range of diseases and conditions. The Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center at the University of Kansas is unique, comprehensive, and focused on patients first.
This week, an innovative study conducted by an Oxford University team revealed that newborn infants experience pain like adults. The researchers compared newborn and adult brain scans taken after administering mild pencil point-like pricks on the soles of the participants’ feet. The results showed that 18 of the 20 examined brain regions which were active in adults feeling pain were also active for the newborns. The study also found one major difference, though – the newborns were much more sensitive to pain than the adults.
In 2011, doctors gave then-22-year-old Matt Davis a 10 percent chance of ever waking up from his coma. After suffering a severe traumatic brain injury from a motorcycle accident, the doctors advised his wife of only seven months, Danielle Josey Davis, to end his life support. “They said if it was them, they’d pull the plug. That’s what they’d want their family to do,” Danielle Davis told ABC News this week. Three months later, her husband awoke from the coma. “I wasn’t going to give up,” she wrote on their GoFundMe page.
The hopeful outcome for the Davis family stands in stark contrast to a troubling new report on end-of-life practices in Belgium, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002. According to the report published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), potentially more than one thousand deaths in Belgium were “hastened [by a doctor] without an explicit request from the patient”…
In a March 16 article appearing in AZCentral, Brandon Kutzler fact checks a statement made by Arizona state senator Nancy Barto on taxpayer-funding of abortion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Last month, Sen. Barto introduced Senate Bill 1318, which would prohibit qualified health insurance policies that are offered through any exchange operating in Arizona from providing coverage for elective abortion. The fact check reviews the following statement that Barto made on February 11, 2015 during a Senate Health Committee meeting: “Taxpayers are on the hook for elective abortions.”
Kutzler rated Barto’s statement, “No stars, unsupported;” however, his review contains major errors and is misleading on several points.
In 1968, Dick van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes starred in a children’s fantasy movie based on a book written by James Bond creator Ian Fleming. While Chitty Chitty Bang Bang celebrates whimsy embodied in a flying (and water-compatible) English racing car, it also features a rather dark storyline: In the faraway land of Vulgaria, children are banned from the country by the baron and baroness, resulting in a sizable subpopulation of illegal minors hiding underground or locked in prison.
When the children are freed by Van Dyke’s crew, they storm the castle and a shocked Baron Bomburst exclaims, “Where are all these children coming from? I thought we passed a law against children!” Eerie, the parallel between fiction and reality.
In 2010, China conducted its latest census, which revealed that the country had 13 million undocumented children…
This March 21st marks the 10th year of a worldwide campaign to celebrate and advocate for people with Down syndrome (DS). World Down Syndrome Day always falls on the 21st day of the third month, a meaningful selection representing the third copy of the 21st chromosome, the characteristic possessed by all individuals with Down syndrome.
This year, World Down Syndrome Day will highlight the positive contributions that families make for their loved ones and others in the DS community. The theme, “‘My Opportunities, My Choices’ – Enjoying Full and Equal Rights and the Role of Families,” was appropriately chosen because 2015 is also the 21st anniversary of the International Year of the Family as declared by the United Nations.
British media are reporting a significant development in the use of ethical, non-embryonic stem cells to treat patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and, perhaps, other auto-immune diseases.
Auto-immune diseases are caused by an abnormal immune response which causes the immune system to attack and destroy healthy tissues in a person’s own body. Such diseases include Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and lupus, among many others. While the exact cause is not known, many researchers believe multiple sclerosis occurs when a person’s immune system attacks tissue of the brain and spinal cord, resulting in severe pain, impaired movement and in the most extreme cases, death.
“This is a facility for the protection of life. If you can’t take care of your disabled babies, don’t throw them away or leave them on the street. Bring them here.” – A sign on the Drop Box.
It’s 1987 in Seoul, South Korea. A baby is born with cerebral palsy and a massive cyst on his left cheek that is cutting off blood flow to his brain, causing permanent damage. Without surgery, he will die, say the doctors, and with it, he will still be deformed. Fast forward to 2013: Eun-man is 26 years old. Though he has been bedridden his entire life with limbs bent in impossible positions and a vacuum that constantly suctions out saliva through a hole in his trachea, Eun-man has been instrumental in inspiring a mission that has saved the lives of hundreds of babies.
Federal regulations issued by the Obama Administration have raised concerns that Christian charities operating federally funded care provider facilities housing unaccompanied alien children could be required to facilitate access to abortion.
In February, Virginia became the second state in the union to legislate in favor of compensating victims of the state’s infamous eugenic sterilization program. The living victims of state sponsored forced sterilization are set to be awarded $25,000 following a protracted battle in the legislature. In 2013, North Carolina was the first state to compensate surviving victims, at $50,000 each.
This news of the decision has been welcome relief for Virginia survivors of this program, most of whom are quite elderly and were only teenagers when they were forced to undergo these procedures. “I couldn’t have a family like everybody else does,” stated 87-year-old Lewis Reynolds. “They took my rights away.”
On February 10, the Washington state House of Representatives held a public hearing on a bill that would mandate coverage of elective abortion in health insurance plans for 2016. House Bill 1647 states that any plan in the state that covers maternity services must also provide “substantially equivalent coverage to permit the voluntary termination of pregnancy.”
The bill asserts that it seeks to “improve access to reproductive health,” yet there is no evidence of statewide lack of access to a health plan covering elective abortion. The mandate would affect plans sold on the state exchange or privately from insurance companies and through employers, meaning that most, if not all, insurance consumers in the state would subsidize abortion on demand. According to the CDC’s latest figures, Washington state’s abortion rate has fallen more than 20% from 2006 to 2011.
On February 23, the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians & Gynecologists (AAPLOG) co-hosted a press conference with Priests for Life at the National Press Club to increase awareness about a relatively new medical protocol for reversing medication abortion and to unveil a new Abortion Pill Reversal Kit now available to doctors.
Abortion Rill Reversal (APR) is a program that seeks to provide medical support to women who have taken mifepristone, the first of two drugs in the RU-486 abortion regimen, and then changed their minds, wanting to continue their pregnancy and save their baby’s life. APR connects with these women through its website (www.abortionpillreversal.com) and a 24/7 emergency hotline (877-558-0333) staffed by nurses and an international network of doctors and pregnancy medical clinic (PMC) hubs.
On February 5, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) voted unanimously to strike down the blanket prohibition on physician-assisted suicide (PAS) and euthanasia that was in place since 1992. The ruling of Carter v. Canada is historic in that it would permit assisted suicide for psychological illness as well as physical.
Because the SCC has not defined or limited what can be considered “psychological suffering,” many are concerned that the subjective language of the ruling makes it vulnerable to abuses. The closest “definition” for either psychological or physical conditions is that it be “grievous and irremediable (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.”
In a decision today with serious international ramifications, Canada’s highest court has overturned an absolute ban on assisted suicide/euthanasia and has given Parliament one year to create a “stringently limited, carefully monitored system of exceptions.”
The decision was unanimous, 9-0, and it should be viewed as a victory for advocates of assisted suicide and euthanasia. The ruling chisels away at a prior understanding in Canadian law of human life—even difficult or painful life—as sacred.
In the policy interplay between the United States and Canada, Americans can expect that “right-to-die” activists will be very motivated to use this Canadian case as an example, just as Canadian activists pointed to the “success” of “aid-in-dying” laws in Washington and Oregon.
The concept of “designer babies” may sound like science fiction, a literal Brave New World, but it is decidedly not fictional – it is here now and being pushed rapidly into fertility clinics.
After only a brief debate today in the House of Commons, British Members of Parliament (MPs) approved a proposal to create genetically-engineered babies who contain the DNA of three parents: two mums and a dad. The vote to approve wasn’t even close – 382 ayes to 128 noes.
The subject of fetal pain is and has been both a controversial and compelling aspect of the debate surrounding abortion. Whether a child in the womb can feel pain and at what stage raises many ethical issues and, for many, introduces another source of uncertainty into personal views on the matter of abortion. With advances in modern science and ongoing research, it is becoming more apparent that the unborn child can feel pain by 20 weeks, i.e., five months, or even earlier in the pregnancy.
This January, an extensively researched document on the science of fetal pain was published by the Family Research Council (FRC). The report cites more than 30 scientific studies, testimonies, medical evidence, and real-life experiences in its exposition of the science of fetal pain as the weeks advance post-fertilization.
Of interest to the medical, moral, sociological, and political issues surrounding late-term abortion is the question of why women seek abortion after twenty weeks gestation. Any data considered to answer this question must be examined carefully for limitations. However, a greater understanding of the reasons why women choose these late-term procedures is valuable to those who seek to offer alternative, compassionate options.
Five-month abortion laws restrict abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy—when an unborn child can feel pain from abortion. Opponents of five-month abortion laws argue they violate the “viability rule” created by the U.S. Supreme Court. The viability rule provides that government “may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability.” In most cases viability will occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy. However, the viability rule is unworkable, arbitrary, unjust, poorly reasoned, inadequate, and extreme. The viability rule cannot be justified, especially as applied to five-month laws. In a challenge to a five-month law it is reasonable to conclude that the Court might abandon the viability rule altogether or not apply it to five-month laws.
Last Tuesday, two individuals from Rhode Island and Vermont filed separate lawsuits in federal court to challenge the abortion surcharge mandate. Both men are pro-life and reside in states whose marketplaces currently offer only plans that include elective abortion. Because of this, every individual enrolled in a plan through these states’ marketplaces is required by law to pay a separate abortion surcharge each month.
January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. In the United States, about 120,000 babies each year have a congenital anomaly, otherwise known as a birth defect, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That is, about one in every 33 babies is diagnosed either prenatally or after birth with a health problem or physical abnormality that varies in degree of severity. Severe birth defects account for the death of one out of every five infants, making it the leading cause of infant mortality.
For parents who receive the heartrending news that their unborn child has a severe or life-threatening fetal anomaly, fetal surgery – surgery performed on a child in the womb – is one option that offers hope.
On December 19, Ohio passed the Down Syndrome Information Act, which requires medical professionals to distribute up-to-date, evidence-based information on Down syndrome to parents who receive the diagnosis, either prenatally or after birth, that their child has Down syndrome (DS). Included in the required material is contact information for support organizations and local resources available to the parents. The Down Syndrome Information Act (Sub. HB 552), sponsored by Rep. Peter Stautberg, was signed into law along with 39 other pieces of legislation by Governor John Kasich last Friday. The bill passed the House and Senate both times with no opposing votes this November and mid-December.
A recent report on prenatal genetic screening from the New England Center for Investigative Reporting has caused quite a stir. The report showed significant inaccuracies in non-invasive (i.e., using blood tests and not invasive means such as chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis) prenatal screening and told the stories of a number of women who chose to terminate based on these inaccurate test results. The report, which is the result of a three-month investigation by the group, found that prenatal testing companies are overselling the accuracy of their screening tests and doing little to inform parents and doctors of the major risk of unreliability of these test results – a circumstance that can lead to a multitude of problems.
Late last month, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released its annual Abortion Surveillance Report for 2011, revealing that abortion incidence is at its lowest level since the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade in 1973.
According to the data, 730,322 abortions were reported in 2011, down 5% from the previous year and 13% since 2002. Of the 48 areas reporting for both 2010 and 2011 (the District of Columbia and New York City included), 41 reported a decline in the abortion rate (i.e., number of abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age). Maine experienced the greatest dip with its rate decreasing from one year to the next by almost a quarter, and its state rate holding at almost half the national rate of 13.9.
The California based City of Hope, one of the country’s leading cancer research hospitals, recently sent out birthday greetings to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the nation’s leading funder — apart from the federal government – of stem cell research.
“On its 10th birthday, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine celebrated 10 stem cell therapies that have been approved for clinical trials, including an HIV/AIDS trial at City of Hope,” the message read.
The birthday greeting contained an unintended irony, for while CIRM was approved by California voters a decade ago to give priority funding to human embryonic stem cell research, eight of the 10 approved clinical trials referenced by City of Hope were for research projects using adult and other non-embryonic stem cells.
On November 20, the Charlotte Lozier Institute and Family Research Council launched a new website to expose which health insurance plans on the Obamacare exchanges cover and do not cover elective abortion for the 2015 enrollment period. The website, ObamacareAbortion.com, is a joint effort between the two groups. Researchers have examined new plan documents, contacted insurance carriers and the exchanges seeking plan information. Here are some of the findings for select states.
This past week, a new campaign was launched in Dublin, Ireland seeking to end the use of the term “incompatible with life” to describe unborn children prenatally diagnosed with life-limiting conditions. The campaign, which is calling on the media as well as those in the medical and legal fields to stop using the term, is part of an effort by the group Every Life Counts, which represents families whose children have been diagnosed with such severe conditions as anencephaly and Trisomy 18.
Diabetes has long been one of the main diseases for which human embryonic stem cell (embryo-destroying) research, or hESCR, was claimed to hold the greatest promise of curing.
But for well over a decade now, ethically contentious human embryonic stem cell research (hESCR) has notably failed to live up to all its hype, with promises of miracle cures within “five to 10 years” remaining unfulfilled.
That remains true today, despite all the renewed hype that accompanied recent reports that researchers had coaxed hESCs into becoming insulin-producing cells.
In an article published November 6 in Slate, columnist Joshua Keating asks the question, “How do America’s abortion laws compare to the rest of the world’s?” In light of the recent mid-term elections which saw an increase of pro-life legislators elected to Congress and the state houses, Keating’s look at international abortion limitations is timely. He relies on information from a new report released by the Center for Reproductive Rights, which favors legal abortion.
A new report released October 1 by abortion rights groups, Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) and Ibis Reproductive Health, claims that the more laws regulating abortion a state has, the poorer the state performs in health outcomes for women and children. A brief look at the methodology employed, however, reveals a built-in subjectivity from which correlations and results are drawn, effectively stacking the deck to support the authors’ narrative.
This Q&A-style fact sheet explains the background and implications of the Supreme Court ruling on October 14, 2014 regarding challenges to abortion-related laws enacted in Texas. It answers questions regarding which abortion provisions are at issue, whether the Supreme Court ruling deals with the constitutionality of the provisions, what the key court rulings are leading up to this ruling, and what happens next.
Later this month, leading scientists from around the world are set to caution a UK parliamentary inquiry against the creation of babies using the genetic material of three parents. On October 22, this group will warn the inquiry against such genetic engineering and the possible scientific and ethical problems it could bring.
On September 11, the House Energy & Commerce Committee held a hearing on the Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act of 2014 introduced by Rep. Renee Ellmers. Witnesses testified to the problematic trend of forced abortions in the sex trade industry.
The non-partisan congressional watchdog agency, Government Accountability Office (GAO), released a new report late September 15 confirming that: 1,036 federally subsidized plans cover elective abortion; insurance consumers were frequently not informed of this coverage before enrolling; and plan issuers are not billing elective abortion coverage separately despite a legal requirement.
Now, four and a half years since the Affordable Care Act’s passage and nearing the end of its first year of implementation, the Charlotte Lozier Institute has also found that the ACA provision that is supposed to separate funds used for elective abortions from other taxpayer payments in federally subsidized health insurance exchange plans is largely inoperative.
A federal judge on August 31 issued a “limited” temporary restraining order on a Louisiana abortion health and safety law that would have gone into effect September 1. The Unsafe Abortion Protection Act (HB 388), or Act 620, requires doctors at abortion facilities to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles in case a need for emergency care […]