The legal system since Roe v. Wade and through Planned Parenthood v. Casey has neglected to ask the question about the consequences of fetal personhood, fearing—rightly—the damage the answer could do to the right to abortion. But this insulation of abortion rights leaves the courts unable to rule consistently in a variety of cases where the fetal right to life has become lodged in law.
Innovative pro-life legislation signed into law by Indiana Governor Mike Pence in March of this year is now facing extinction via the legal process.
A pro-life pregnancy help center (PHC) in Baltimore has won another legal victory in its fight against a city ordinance.
Those watching the nation’s capital earlier this year witnessed three important events bearing on religious freedom and rights of conscience in the abortion debate.
In the years leading up to and following the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion nationwide, the federal government—primarily Congress—has enacted various measures governing the availability of federal funds for abortion and related services.
The treatment of women seeking abortions has arisen several times during the ongoing election cycle. Some abortion advocates claim that pro-lifers want to punish women seeking abortion. They argue that women were punished for having abortions before Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court in 1973, and that if Roe is repealed women will once again be subject to punishment.
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 Thursday, the March for Life hosted a Capitol Hill policy briefing to announce their theme for 2017: “The Power of One.” The event also highlighted the importance of the Hyde Amendment, featuring Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) senior policy analyst, Genevieve Plaster, M.A. and CLI associate scholar, Michael J. New, Ph.D. who provided policy background and explained the law’s measurable impact over the past 40 years.
On Friday, September 23, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee held a public hearing, “The Ultimate Civil Right: Examining the Hyde Amendment and the Born Alive Infants Protection Act,” which was hosted by the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.
Congress enacted the first Hyde Amendment on September 30, 1976. Its passage was one of the pro-life movement’s first major legislative victories. As such, now is an apt time to look back on the amendment’s history and analyze its impact during the past 40 years.
Whether the U.S. Constitution permits a government to prohibit abortion in the context of commercial surrogacy is a question of first impression. I have found no court decision directly addressing this issue under either the federal constitution or a state constitution.
Voters in Colorado will determine whether physician-assisted suicide (PAS) is to be legalized in their state when they head to the polls this November. California, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont are the only other states that have voted to allow physicians to assist their patients in committing suicide. In Montana, the practice was legalized via a state court decision.
Earlier this month in Ireland, a High Court judge ruled that the unborn child possesses “significant” rights by common law, by statute, and under the Irish Constitution. Mr. Justice Richard Humphreys went on to say that the unborn child enjoys rights “going well beyond the right to life alone” and that these rights “must be taken seriously” by the State.
Death by euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide is primed to take off in Canada, as Parliament passed Bill C-14 on June 17. The law, which establishes guidelines under which Canadians can receive assistance in killing themselves or be euthanized by medical personnel, received royal assent the same day. Royal assent can be supplied by the Governor General and does not denote approval by Buckingham Palace.
Pharmacists Luke Vander Bleek and Glenn Kosirog faced a bleak situation in the summer of 2005: they either had to stock and dispense abortifacients or close up their shops.
Abortion ends the life of a unique human being. Children in Oklahoma public schools will learn that lesson beginning this fall.
Recently, the Atlantic published an article entitled “Why America is a Global Outlier on Abortion.” The author, Olga Khazan, wrote that the United States stands apart from the rest of the developed world due to restrictions to public funding of abortion.
Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to pass the Conscience Protection Act of 2016 (S. 304) by 245-182.
In June, while the U.S. Supreme Court was sentencing women to the modern-day abortion back alley, Kentucky’s Court of Appeals unanimously, though temporarily, stopped EMW Women’s Clinic from performing abortions.
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.
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 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By 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.
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).
“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.
On December 17, 2015, Townhall published an op-ed by CLI Vice President Dr. David Prentice on the only new pro-life item in the federal Omnibus funding bill. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) proposed language to the bill to prevent the approval of the creation or use of genetically-manipulated human embryos in a clinical setting.
By 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.
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
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.”
By 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.