On July 20, 2017, The Heritage Foundation published the fourth installment of its annual Index of Culture and Opportunity (“Index”). The Index is an exercise in civil society that tracks and analyzes data that affects freedom and opportunity. Heritage writers explore three indicators: (1) cultural indicators, (2) poverty and dependence indicators, and (3) general opportunity indicators. Among the cultural indicators, Heritage analyzes America’s abortion rate.
Proponents of assisted suicide often dismiss “slippery slope” arguments on the grounds that proper safeguards will assure that assisted suicide will not devolve into euthanasia, either voluntary or not.
Earlier this year, for example, Hawaii became another of several states to consider legislation to legalize assisted suicide (the effort failed). During debate, one lawmaker who supported the bill dismissed concerns over where legalization might lead, saying “the inclusion of protections, such as euthanasia bans, helps allay the fears of critics who worry about the ‘slippery slope.’”
Oregon lawmakers have passed a bill that would force health benefit plans offered in the state to provide coverage for abortion and voluntary sterilization.
The bill, known as HB 3391, also would require health benefit plans to cover any contraceptive drug, device, or product approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As this Lozier paper explains, some contraceptives can also cause abortions.
State abortion reporting provides a valuable perspective on abortion trends throughout the country. In particular, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s most recent report of abortion by facility, released by the Virginia Department of Health with data for 2015, offers a helpful overview of the numbers of abortions performed by each facility in the state. As Planned Parenthood fights for continued federal funding by insisting that abortion plays only a small part in its total health care services, Virginia’s information is especially relevant.
Oklahoma’s annual abortion report serves as proof that state abortion reports can be both comprehensive and timely. Out of the 43 states that publish annual abortion reports, Oklahoma is one of only nine to have published its 2016 annual report by June of 2017. At the same time, Oklahoma’s 40-page report on abortion remains one of the most exhaustive in the nation.
“My biggest issue is this: a parent is a caregiver and then of course the health professionals are the caregivers, but you know, who gets the final say?”
-Mother whose daughter has osteosarcoma
This essential question was posed by the mother of one of 33 children living with chronic conditions whose parents I interviewed for my recently published study in the current issue of Health Communication. The study is titled, “You know the medicine, I know my kid”: How parents advocate for their children living with complex chronic conditions.
Issues in Law and Medicine is a peer-reviewed professional journal that has been published twice a year since 1985. It is currently cosponsored by the Watson Bowes Research Institute and the National Legal Center for the Medically Dependent & Disabled, Inc. The new issue (spring 2017) includes a fine article by CLI associate scholar Nora Sullivan, M.P.A., cowritten with Dr. Eoghan de Faoite., an Irish physician committed to the sanctity of human life. This edition of the journal includes many other articles of current significance. We summarize them here. Further information about the journal and how to access current and past articles can be found at http://issuesinlawandmedicine.com/. We highly recommend ILM.
Politifact-checks are almost never the last word, and the latest one from Politifact Georgia criticizing Congressman Barry Loudermilk for his assessment of women’s real healthcare alternatives to Planned Parenthood is a case in point.
On April 25, 2017, Charlotte Lozier Institute Vice President and Director of Research, Dr. David A. Prentice, Ph.D., was published in USA Today on the need for a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director. The backgrounder below provides summary main points and sources on the position of current NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins in support of human embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and the creation of ethically-questionable human-animal chimeras.
I felt called to be a physician when I was just eight years old and witnessed the birth of my baby sister at home. From that moment, I was deeply impressed by the beauty and miracle of human life and the important role of the physician in caring for patients.
In 2015, the Congress of the United States adopted and sent to the President legislation whose effect would have been to reallocate funds from one family planning provider, Planned Parenthood, and redirect those funds to community health centers that typically offer family planning, but do not offer abortions.
For almost a quarter of a century, the American Medical Association (AMA) has opposed physician-assisted suicide, stating that it is “fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.” In strong language, the AMA has concluded that “permitting physicians to engage in assisted suicide would ultimately cause more harm than good” and that physicians “should not abandon a patient once it is determined that cure is impossible.”
Jennifer Lahl, R.N., M.A., is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. In this interview, she discusses surrogacy and assisted reproductive technology.
This report outlines Charlotte Lozier Institute and Alliance Defending Freedom’s research in identifying waste, abuse, and potential fraud by Planned Parenthood affiliates and other abortion providers, particularly with respect to federal and state Title XIX-Medicaid reimbursements.
Pregnancies are the most momentous event in our lives—both for those who are born and for those who become mothers, when they give birth. Pregnancy is most often a normal life event. But even normal pregnancy and birth can become complicated and can lead to harm to the mother and the baby. The challenge is to provide care that recognizes these two realities.
On December 28, 2016, CLI’s Vice President and Research Director, Dr. David Prentice, co-authored an op-ed with Congressman Dr. Michael Burgess (R-Tex.) on the ethical and unethical uses of human gene editing, especially in light of the advent of the CRISPR-Cas System.
A legislator in Indiana has announced plans to introduce a bill that would ban abortion in that state when its legislature convenes in January. In Texas, lawmakers introduced several pro-life measures on November 14, including a proposed amendment to the state constitution prohibiting abortion to the extent permitted by federal law.
On October 7, the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) filed two separate comments to the Department of Health and Human Services regarding its proposed rule on entities qualifying for the government’s Title X family planning funds.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) has proposed lifting a ban on approval and funding for the creation of human-animal chimeras. CLI submitted detailed comments regarding the science and ethics of such research, opposing the NIH proposal and noting ethical and scientifically valid alternatives exist to satisfy scientific demands.
Because abortion and abortion policies impact thousands of women’s and families’ lives every day, abortion policy must be grounded on the most accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date statistical information and health data.
Late Friday, it was announced that leading United Kingdom abortion agency Marie Stopes International will suspend a significant percent of abortion procedures following a surprise inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of health and social care in England.
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.
Ana Carolina Caceres is a journalist in Brazil. In a photograph in a recent story about her, she wears a garland of flowers, a simple necklace and a pleasant if somewhat nonplussed expression on her face. Caceres’ writing is clear and straightforward, as befits the blogger she is, but the story is not about her chosen profession – about what she does – but about who she is. Or rather a condition she has that some think should define her – or even have prevented her coming to birth.
Ms. Caceres was diagnosed at birth with microcephaly, the condition so much in the news as a result of a spike in cases associated with the spread of the Zika virus across Latin America.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released a statement pertaining to the prevention and management of procedural pain in babies. Pain that newborns experience from routine medical procedures can be significant, especially in premature infants with more intensive health needs. Research suggests that repeated exposure to pain early in life can create changes in brain development and the stress response systems that can last into childhood. Premature infants are especially at risk. The AAP policy statement recommends that every health facility caring for newborns use strategies to minimize the number of painful procedures performed, and routinely monitor and treat pain with greater emphasis on proven non-drug interventions. The policy statement, “Prevention and Management of Procedural Pain in the Neonate: An Update,” appeared in the February 2016 issue of Pediatrics (published online Jan. 25).
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.
Yesterday 75 members of Congress, led by Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, sent a letter to the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration demanding answers to questions about the FDA’s surprise approval of relaxed protocols for the distribution of the abortion-inducing drug regimen known as Mifeprex. The changes, announced on March 30, significantly increase the duration of pregnancy at which the drug regimen may be administered, raising it from 49 days (7 weeks) from the last menstrual period (LMP) to 70 days (10 weeks) post-LMP.
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.
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.”
The Minnesota Department of Health publishes an extensive and organized annual abortion report that presents important public health information, including demographic statistics, while protecting the anonymity of women. Additionally, Minnesota reports the volume of abortions performed at each clinic in the state.
Minnesota’s abortion trends provide a glimpse of what is happening to the abortion market on a national scale. Similar to national trends, the total number abortions in Minnesota has decreased, one abortion clinic has closed, several have merged, and Planned Parenthood increasingly dominates the market.
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.
Today is a very special day for all those living with Down syndrome and for all those who love them. Today is a day to celebrate the special gifts those living with Down syndrome bring to our human family. It is also a day to celebrate the progress made from a time when those living with Down syndrome were shunned, feared, and most often hidden away in bleak and often squalid institutions. So much has changed for the better, but there are still many challenges to overcome.
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 American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) has issued a helpful statement on the Zika virus and the effort by the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights to exploit its spread to promote abortion and repeal of national laws against the practice. The statement contains a number of useful links regarding what is known about the virus and the recommendations of responsible agencies. Footnotes are supplied by Charlotte Lozier Institute. The AAPLOG website can be accessed at www.aaplog.org.
On November 9, 2015, the Charlotte Lozier Institute, at CBO’s invitation, submitted a detailed letter to CBO describing six ways in which its analysis leads to misleading conclusions about the federal budget impact of the Planned Parenthood cutoff. In fact, among other points CLI argues that rechanneling funds from Planned Parenthood to primary care providers will lead to budget savings in Medicaid, that CBO underestimates Planned Parenthood’s private sector fundraising resilience, that CBO uses an incorrect (too high by 20%) figure for Planned Parenthood’s contraceptive client base, and that the 10-year budget window analysis artificially shows new costs for Medicaid enrollees but neglects the contributions human beings make to sustain government programs in the second decade of their lives and beyond.
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).
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.
An editorial in Nature, one of the world’s leading scientific journals, recently covered the political debate surrounding fetal tissue harvesting and the editors’ perceived threat to this form of research with the defunding of abortion giant, Planned Parenthood. The article, “Fetal tissue research under threat,” was published on December 7th but was corrected soon after on December 8th.
Nature issued a correction in an area where there is a significant amount of uncertainty. The correction states, “An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that six clinics recovered legally allowed costs for fetal tissue. In fact, we are unable to determine the exact number of clinics. Also uncertain is the number of remaining clinics that still supply the tissue. The text has been updated to reflect these uncertainties.”
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.
During the Thanksgiving holiday week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control published its annual abortion surveillance report, revealing a historic decline in the incidence of abortion across the nation since 1973.
Lagging three years behind, this year’s report covers the national abortion data for 2012. The abortion data is analyzed from the 47 areas that voluntarily report abortion statistics to the CDC. States that do not report to the CDC include several large jurisdictions – California, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, and Maryland. According to the Guttmacher Institute in 2011, these four were among the jurisdictions with the highest abortion rates in the nation.
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.
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.
A few years ago we received a request from a family, whose baby had been a patient in our NICU, to speak with the neonatologist who had cared for their child. I remembered the name vaguely, but was unclear about the circumstances of the encounter, so I had to go way back into the database to find the record.
Turns out that the patient was a little boy who had been born extremely premature, and a patient for less than 24 hours before he died. As I recall, those had been some very long hours. He had been born at one hospital, where I was on call, and then transferred to a higher level hospital, where I just happened to be on call the following night. Mom was terribly sick, and too unstable to transfer along with her baby, although the father and some other family members were able to follow the baby to the new location.
In a radio interview on the Diane Rehm Show on July 30, Terry O’Neill of the National Organization for Women (NOW) made a series of claims regarding Planned Parenthood that deserve a much closer look. O’Neill asserted that, “The claim that we can somehow replace Planned Parenthood overnight – you shut down all the Planned Parenthood’s [sic] clinics and that they could be replaced overnight, is silly and specious.”
It is indeed silly and specious because none of the proposals pending in Congress would shut down Planned Parenthood clinics and replace them, overnight or anytime. Instead, the discussion is about shifting the $528.4 million of total government funds away from Planned Parenthood and to the thousands of existing community health centers and other providers.
As debate over the relative capacity of Planned Parenthood clinics and federally qualified health centers has emerged, one element of the argument has focused on funds that may be available to the former to replace certain government grants and reimbursements. CLI examined nine consecutive years of annual reports for the organization and the available information there on “excess of revenue over expenses” is shown below. While consistent details on certain financials in these documents are absent, particularly prior to 2008, the annual reports provide a glimpse of the general pattern of net income for the organization over nearly a full decade.
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.
This map and state chart depict the number of health clinics that serve low-income, medically under-served populations in the United States in comparison to the number of Planned Parenthood centers. If Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, were to be defunded from receiving over $500 million in taxpayer funds per year, there already exist over 13,000 non-abortion providing federally qualified health center (FQHC) service sites and rural health clinics (RHCs) that could receive this sum instead and continue to provide comprehensive women’s healthcare.