Among the foundational purposes of government is the legal protection of vulnerable citizens against attacks by others or by government itself. Since the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions of 1973 our nation has withdrawn the vast majority of legal protections the unborn once enjoyed, contributing to new arguments over withdrawing protection for the newborn, the disabled, the sick elderly, and even the mentally ill and depressed. Reversing this spiral of declining respect for life is a cultural challenge, but cultural efforts cannot succeed without the commitment of society to embody protection for life in its foundational law. CLI supports these efforts through pinpoint research, data collection, and legal arguments offered to lawmakers and the courts by staff members and associated scholars.

MI state flag

New Michigan Laws Deter and Punish Coerced Abortion

Tim Bradley  

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.

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Three Life Policies that Challenge Supreme Court Abortion Standards

Thomas M. Messner, J.D.  

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.

CLI amicus brief cover

Lozier Institute Files Brief in Support of Daleiden & Center for Medical Progress

Charles A. “Chuck” Donovan  

The Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) and Americans United for Life (AUL) recently filed an amicus brief in a major lawsuit over the late-term abortion videotapes collected by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). This lawsuit involves a vital public policy question: Can an association of abortion providers like the National Abortion Federation (NAF) successfully block the release of videos that show members of their organization potentially engaged in encouraging, supporting or facilitating the acquisition and/or sale of body parts from the unborn during the abortion process?

New CLI Scholar to Testify at “Pricing of Fetal Tissue” Congressional Hearing

Catherine Glenn Foster, J.D., M.A.  

On April 20, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives will hold a hearing on “The Pricing of Fetal Tissue” in response to information brought forth by the Center for Medical Progress’ undercover video exposé.

Charlotte Lozier Institute’s new associate scholar Catherine Glenn Foster, J.D. has been invited to testify as an attorney on the federal statutes governing fetal tissue research. Below is a preview of her testimony.

Prolife witnesses with Rep. Trent Franks

Testimony of CLI Assoc. Scholar in Support of the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act

Anna Higgins, J.D.  

On April 14, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on HR 4924, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2016, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks. The bill would prohibit discrimination against the unborn based on the preference of sex or race alone. Charlotte Lozier Institute associate scholar Anna Higgins, J.D. testified in support of the bill, and summarized her newly published paper on sex-selection abortion.

Compassion, Not Punishment, for Women Who Have Had Abortion

Genevieve Plaster, M.A.  

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.

On Top of Everything Else, Contraception Mandates Don’t Work

Thomas M. Messner, J.D., Michael J. New, Ph.D.   

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.

Testimony of Dr. David Prentice in Support of Arizona Bill to Prohibit Fetal Tissue Trafficking

David Prentice, Ph.D.  

On Wednesday, March 16, 2016, the Arizona House Judiciary Committee panel held a hearing to consider SB 1474, introduced by Sen. Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) to prohibit fetal tissue trafficking. After the hearing, the panel voted to pass the bill, which will now head to the full House.

Charlotte Lozier Institute Vice President and Director of Research, Dr. David Prentice, Ph.D. submitted the following written testimony in support of the legislation.

Testimonies of Legal Expert, Medical Experts and Abortion Survivor on Pain-Capable and Born-Alive Abortion Legislation

Charlotte Lozier Institute  

On March 15, 2016, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act – historic legislation to stop abortion more than halfway through pregnancy and strengthen equal protection measures for babies born alive after a failed abortion.

Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) associate scholar Angelina Baglini Nguyen, J.D. testified as an expert witness on the United States’ permissiveness on abortion limits in comparison to international abortion norms as well as the constitutionality of 20-week abortion limits based on fetal pain.

Testimony of Dr. James Sherley, M.D., Ph.D. in Support of Missouri Bills regarding Humane Treatment of Aborted Fetal Remains

James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D.  

On February 23, the Missouri House Children and Families Committee heard five bills on issues stemming from the Center for Medical Progress’s undercover video exposé of Planned Parenthood, including: the sale and final disposition of aborted fetal remains, post-abortion tissue reporting requirements, and employee protections for whistleblowers.

Among those who testified in support of the bills was Dr. James Sherley, M.D., Ph.D., a physician scientist with expertise in biomedical research, cancer biology, and adult stem cell engineering. Dr. Sherley is founder and director of Asymmetrex, LLC, which develops new technologies for ethical adult stem cell medicine and drug discovery.

States Consider Assisted Suicide in 2016 as New JAMA Study Raises Concerns

Genevieve Plaster, M.A.  

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.

Written Testimony of David A. Prentice, Ph.D.: Update on Progress of Kansas’ Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center Research

David Prentice, Ph.D.  

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.

Assisted Suicide at the Polls: Risks & Rewards Associated with Voting to Legalize Assisted Suicide vs. Maintaining the Status Quo

Jacqueline H. Abernathy , Ph.D.  

This academic paper analyzes the significance of a legislator’s position in favor of assisted suicide. In particular, the paper looks at the risk associated with support for legalization of assisted suicide on subsequent re-election. This original work comes from the Department of Social Sciences at Tarleton State University, written by Dr. Jacqueline C. Harvey, a political science faculty member. This version of the paper is a conference abstract that was presented at the 2016 Southern Political Science Association Conference. The full version of the paper will be published in an appropriate academic journal at a later date.

PRESS RELEASE: Lozier Scholar Submits Amicus Brief in Little Sisters Case

Michael J. New, Ph.D.  

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).

China’s Two-Child Policy Would Continue Crimes against Women and Children

Genevieve Plaster, M.A.  

“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.

Germany Bans “Business-like Assisted Suicide,” But New Regulation Reminds Us: Killing Can Never Be Safe

Jacqueline H. Abernathy , Ph.D.  

Switzerland has an unlikely tourist attraction — one where those who visit never leave — and it draws Germans to it more than visitors of any other nationality. It is called the Dignitas clinic, and Germans represent 44 percent of foreign-nationals paying the staff to help them commit suicide. This is more than double the next most common nationality of suicide tourists, British citizens, who constitute 21 percent of the euthanasia clinic’s international business. Death as a paid service is such a concern to the governments of Germany and the United Kingdom that both have recently voted on legislation to ban this practice. Britain overwhelmingly rejected killing outright this September with a vote of 330 to 118 against legalizing assisted suicide.

Germany, however, banned assisted suicide, but only when operated as a business.

Testimony of CLI Legal Policy Fellow in Support of Ohio’s Defund Planned Parenthood Bill

Thomas M. Messner, J.D.  

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

Charlotte Lozier Institute’s Legal and Medical Scholars Testify in Support of Ohio’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Anna Higgins, J.D., Sheila Page, D.O., David Prentice, Ph.D.   

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.”

A Plea for True Compassion: Against Assisted Suicide

Jacqueline H. Abernathy , Ph.D.  

On September 11, California legislators passed Assembly Bill X2-15, the “End of Life Option Act,” which legalizes physician-assisted suicide. If the bill is not vetoed by California Governor Jerry Brown within 31 days of its passage, the bill will become state law. Here is an open letter written to Gov. Brown by CLI Associate Scholar Dr. Jacqueline Harvey, Ph.D. urging him to veto the bill.

March for Life Wins Major Victory in Federal Court

Thomas M. Messner, J.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.

California’s Assisted Suicide Bill Revived in Special Session

Genevieve Plaster, M.A.  

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.

Little Sisters of the Poor Ask Supreme Court to Hear Case

Thomas M. Messner, J.D.  

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.

Written Testimony of David A. Prentice, Ph.D. in Support of Wisconsin Bill to Prohibit Sales and Use of Fetal Body Parts from Abortion

David Prentice, Ph.D.  

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.

Testimony of William Toffler, M.D. before the D.C. Committee on Health and Human Services against Assisted Suicide

Charlotte Lozier Institute  

On July 10, 2015 the District of Columbia Committee on Health and Human Services held a public hearing on proposed legislation B21-0038, named the “Death with Dignity” bill. Dr. William L. Toffler, M.D., National Director of Physicians for Compassionate Care, and a practicing physician in Oregon for over 35 years, testified in opposition to the bill.

California’s Assisted Suicide Bill Dies in 2015

Genevieve Plaster, M.A.  

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.

A Pro-Life Setback in Iowa

Michael J. New, Ph.D.  

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.

Medicaid Expansion’s Dramatic Effect on Tax-Funded Abortions in Key States

Michael J. New, Ph.D.  

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.

Medical and Legal Experts Testify in Support of Ohio’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act – Full Written Testimonies

Sheila Page, D.O., David Prentice, Ph.D.   

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.

Victory for Rhode Island Pro-Lifers: New Rule Requires Abortion-Excluding Healthcare Plans for 2016

Genevieve Plaster, M.A.  

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.

U.S. House Votes on Five-Month Pain-Capable Abortion Bill on Second Anniversary of Gosnell Conviction

Genevieve Plaster, M.A.  

Today, the United States House of Representatives will vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prohibit abortion nationwide at twenty weeks, or five months, into pregnancy based on substantial scientific evidence that the unborn child can feel pain by this time. This historic vote coincides with the two-year anniversary of the conviction of Philadelphia’s “House of Horrors” late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

Constitutional Law Scholar Urges Constitutionality of Five-Month Abortion Laws

Thomas M. Messner, J.D.  

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.”

Written Testimony of Chen Guangcheng: A Matter of Life and Death

Charlotte Lozier Institute  

A Matter of Life and Death: How Violent Birth Control in China Is Breaking Down the Traditional Morality of Chinese Society

To address the issue of violent birth control in China, let me start by listing birth control slogans from some of the following provinces:

In Yunnan: All villagers will be sterilized once a single villager violates the birth quota.

In Sichuan: Anyone avoiding sterilization must be put in custody; anyone avoiding sterilization must be punished by bulldozing their house; anyone avoiding abortion shall surrender their cattle and house.

North Carolina Eugenics Victims Still Seeking Justice due to Compensation Technicality

Genevieve Plaster, M.A.  

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.

Written Testimony of David A. Prentice, Ph.D.: Progress on Kansas’ Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center Research

David Prentice, Ph.D.  

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.

PRESS RELEASE: New Paper Warns Against Expansion of Physician-Assisted Suicide in the U.S.

Charlotte Lozier Institute  

As an increasing number of states weigh the legalization of physician-assisted suicide, a new paper released by the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) elaborates the arguments against the practice, citing numerous abuses. Award-winning author Wesley J. Smith examines how assisted suicide impacts the states and countries where it has been legalized, particularly legalization’s effect on medical ethics and patient care.

Assisted Suicide Is Not Compassion

Charlotte Lozier Institute  

In the United States as of March 2015, numerous bills to legalize assisted suicide have been introduced into as many as 25 state legislatures. In this timely paper, Wesley J. Smith examines the subject of assisted suicide and demonstrates how it is distinct from other medical end-of-life care. The paper outlines in detail the abuses of legal assisted suicide and euthanasia laws in the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland as well as in the state of Oregon.

Fact-Check: Arizona Bill Protects Against Taxpayer-Funding of Abortions

Genevieve Plaster, M.A.  

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.

Thirteen Million “Hidden” Children due to China’s One-Child Policy

Genevieve Plaster, M.A.  

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…

Virginia to Compensate Victims of Its Forced Sterilization Program

Nora Sullivan, M.P.A  

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.”

Removing Choice in Washington State: Mandating Abortion in Health Insurance

Genevieve Plaster, M.A.  

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.

Canada’s Assisted Suicide Ruling Opens a “Pandora’s Box”

Genevieve Plaster, M.A.  

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.”

Canada’s Supreme Court Strikes Down Existing Criminal Prohibition on Assisted Suicide

Andrea Mrozek  

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.

Brave New Britain: The U.K. Approves Production of Three-Parent Embryos

David Prentice, Ph.D.  

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.

Science Supports Pain-Capability of Unborn by 20 Weeks

Genevieve Plaster, M.A.  

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.