Denise J. Hunnell, MD

Feeling the heat, abortion industry attacks pro-life crisis pregnancy centers

Denise J. Hunnell, MD
By Denise Hunnell MD
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November 18, 2011 (HLIAmerica.org) - The abortion industry is clearly feeling the heat. Planned Parenthood has been defunded in several states, workers from the infamous Kermit Gosnell abortion facility have pleaded guilty to murder, and the Commonwealth of Virginia is providing a model for other states with newly enacted and strict standards for abortion clinics.

The North Carolina chapter of National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) Pro Choice has responded to this pressure with a report lambasting crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in the Tar Heel State. In its press release, NARAL claims to have conducted an undercover investigation of 66 of the 122 CPCs in North Carolina. The actual report reveals that this “investigation” involved visiting only 27 of the centers, while the rest of the information was gleaned from 47 CPC web sites and from 40 phone calls. This small sample size would be enough to question the usefulness of any conclusions, but as it turns out, there are bigger problems in the report than its very limited scope.

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NARAL’s criticisms are four-fold. First, they object to the assertion made by CPCs that abortion is linked to breast cancer, claiming in response that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) states that there is no association between breast cancer and abortion based on a 2003 report.

Those who have closely followed research in the area of breast cancer must be stunned by NARAL’s blithe dismissal of a huge and growing body of evidence, based on a single, highly controversial report. Prominent biologist and endocrinologist Joel Brind analyzed numerous studies in 1996 and 2005, and reported:

The findings concluded that an abortion elevates a women’s overall risk of developing breast cancer by 30 percent. The results were ‘remarkably consistent’ across population, ethnic, dietary, socioeconomic, and lifestyle factors.

When Doctor Brind was barred from participating in the National Cancer Institute’s 2003 workshop, he charged that only scientists who denied a link between breast cancer and abortion were allowed to participate. His assertions, which were initially dismissed, gained credence in 2009 when the chairperson of the NCI workshop, Dr. Louise Brinton, published a paper in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, which concluded that the risk of a highly aggressive form of breast cancer increases by forty percent after a woman has an abortion. Even more surprising, two of the papers she used to support her findings had been rejected for consideration by the 2003 NCI workshop.

Clearly, NARAL is grasping at straws by basing its response on a report that has been so thoroughly discredited by the very person who chaired the workshop that led to the report.

Secondly, NARAL alleges that workers at crisis pregnancy centers warned women about “post-abortion stress syndrome,” a diagnosis not recognized by national psychological associations. While “post-abortion stress syndrome” may not be an officially recognized psychological diagnosis, there is ample evidence that abortion is linked to subsequent severe mental health problems. In September, 2011, Professor Priscilla Coleman published a paper in the British Journal of Psychiatry demonstrating tremendous increases in the risk of substance abuse, suicidal behaviors, and depression in women who had abortions. Is NARAL really suggesting that this scientifically-based information on the mental health risks of abortion should be hidden from women?

The third concern NARAL voices is that crisis pregnancy centers do ultrasounds, yet have no medical staff present. The report cites with alarm that “92% of the CPCs studied (61 of 66 CPCs) had no medical professionals on staff” and “35% (23 CPCs) provide ultrasounds on site.” In addition, NARAL is appalled that “Only 24% (16 CPCs) disclosed that they are not medical facilities.” As with the previous two charges, NARAL’s curious selection of facts and concerns raises more questions about their motives. The ultrasounds done by CPCs are not offered as diagnostic procedures; they merely give a mother a visual image of the child she carries in her womb. They are not used to assess the health of either the mother or the baby, and are given free of charge. Crisis pregnancy center volunteers may also help a woman accurately utilize an over-the-counter pregnancy test. Surely NARAL is not suggesting that licensed medical personnel must be present to offer a test that the FDA says any woman can do without medical supervision. This is in stark contrast to abortion clinics, where ultrasounds and other laboratory tests are sold as medical services, and therefore, should be performed by medical personnel. Further, if NARAL’s concern for the health and safety of women is so great, why does it oppose regulations that require abortion clinics to meet the same medical standards as other medical facilities?

CPCs are not intended to be medical clinics. They are centers of emotional and material support for women who are pregnant and are considering making a life-changing, and life-ending, decision. CPCs should not be required to publicly disclose they are not a medical facility any more than Planned Parenthood should be required to disclose it does not provide free diapers and maternity clothes.

The final charge by NARAL against CPCs is that they make religious arguments against abortion. In fact, the NARAL report considers it objectionable that CPCs encourage women to avoid sexual activity outside of marriage! They express outrage that “More than half of the 66 CPCs (59%) investigated are affiliated with Christian organizations and many use biblically-based arguments to encourage people to refrain from sex until marriage.” In some cases this may be true, but so what? Many crisis pregnancy centers are outreach ministries of religious groups. The First Amendment protects the speech of crisis pregnancy workers when they offer faith-based reasons to oppose abortion. It is unconscionable to suggest that such speech be silenced.

The word hypocrisy barely begins to describe NARAL Pro-Choice of North Carolina’s grossly misleading report, as it tries to paint crisis pregnancy centers as purveyors of inaccurate information. It is NARAL who offers half-truths and questionable-at-best information in its attack on the not-for-profit challengers of the abortion industry. In going after CPCs, NARAL seeks to take away alternatives to abortion. The attack fails ultimately because it cannot rely on truth to make its case, Unlike NARAL, crisis pregnancy centers care about the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of women. They want women to have the whole truth about abortion and to see the wisdom and beauty of choosing life.

Denise Hunnell, MD, is a Fellow of HLI America, an educational initiative of Human Life International. She writes for HLI America’s Truth and Charity Forum.

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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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