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Florida would ban abortion post-viability, Ohio moves to ban abortion insurance, and more

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By Ben Johnson
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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 6, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As the Senate voted to confirm Sylvia Mathews Burwell as the new HHS Secretary to oversee the implementation of ObamaCare, states around the country were voting to protect the unborn, fighting for marriage, and wrestling with a wave of transgender “anti-discrimination” proposals that would allow biological men to use women's restroom and shower facilities.

Florida

The state of Florida is poised to protect children from abortion if they have the capacity to survive outside the womb. H.B. 1047, which would bar abortions after viability, passed the Senate by a party line 24-15 vote. State Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, told the Miami Herald if a woman wishes to abort, she should “make that choice before the baby is able to live on its own outside of the womb.” The bill previously passed the House 70-45 and is now on the desk of Gov. Rick Scott, a pro-life Republican. He is expected to sign the measure, which would penalize abortionists who abort a child after that point unless they certify, in writing, that an abortion is necessary to save the mother's life or physical health. The move comes as the Florida Planned Parenthood PAC has launched a voter campaign designed, in the words of CEO Lillian Tamayo, to focus on “the wave of anti-women’s health legislation.”

State Attorney General Pam Bondi has asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit challenging the state's constitutional marriage protection amendment, saying redefining marriage would "impose significant public harm" on society. More than 61 percent of Florida voters approved Florida's Amendment 2 in 2008, with surveys finding the state's black population among those most likely to approve. The ACLU is suing to overturn the measure, which was intended to protect an ancient institution that fosters child-rearing. "Florida's marriage laws, she said in her court brief, “have a close, direct, and rational relationship to society's legitimate interest in increasing the likelihood that children will be born to and raised by the mothers and fathers who produced them in stable and enduring family units.”

Ohio

An Ohio bill would bar all insurance companies statewide from covering abortion except in the case of ectopic or tubal pregnancies. The legislature had the first hearing on H.B. 351, introduced by Cincinnati Rep. John Becker, on Tuesday. It would also prevent taxpayers from subsidizing abortifacient contraception such as the IUD for state employees through their insurance plans. Democratic Rep. John Carney said it is "just a fact" that the IUD is not an abortifacient; however, health agencies and the device's manufacturer agree the IUD may prevent the implantation of a newly conceived child. The insurance provision follows the lead of neighboring Michigan, which is traditionally more liberal on abortion. The Ohio bill does not allow anyone who receives state funds to purchase the separate “abortion rider.”

New York

Senate Democrats have reintroduced the Women's Equality Act, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 10-point bill that contains a plank allowing a massive expansion of abortion statewide. Just weeks earlier, the Senate Health Committee voted down the abortion provision as a stand-alone measure dubbed the “Reproductive Health Act,” by a 9-7 party line vote. The WEA would formally extend legal sanction to late-term abortion and open the door to non-physicians performing abortions. Cuomo first introduced the omnibus bill allegedly advancing women's rights in June 2013, likening it to the Bill of Rights. Although it passed the Assembly that month, it was defeated in the Senate. Some see Cuomo as a potential 2016 presidential hopeful, challenging Hillary Clinton from the left. According to People's World, the official publication of the Communist Party USA, Cuomo was recently endorsed for re-election as governor by the Working Families Party, a coalition of former ACORN affiliates and labor unions.

Illinois

Illinois right to life supporters have expressed concern that the Republican candidate for governor, Bruce Rauner, skipped the 45th anniversary dinner of Illinois Right to Life but two days later showed up at a pro-abortion event hosted by the ACLU. The ACLU Bill of Rights event, hosted in part by Democratic congresswoman and Democratic Socialists of America member Jan Schakowsky, celebrated the “right to choose.” Illinois Right to Life Committee Executive Director Emily Zender told Illinois Review, a state conservative publication, “It is disgusting that Mr. Rauner would give money to, and celebrate with, an organization that brags about its support of partial birth abortion, a gruesome procedure involving the severing of the spinal cords of fully developed unborn children.” David E. Smith of the Illinois Family Institute asked, "When is Mr. Rauner going to reach out to conservatives in Illinois?” According to the Huffington Post, Rauner has said that “the right for a woman to choose is a national law. That’s not going to change in Illinois.” However, he said he supports parental notification laws and bans on late-term abortion.

Rauner is also experiencing trouble for his position on redefining marriage. Rauner said that the state's voters should have decided whether the state would legalize gay “marriage,” rather than having a bill pass the legislature. But he told CBS in Chicago that he is not opposed to redefining marriage, and now that the law has changed, “I don’t have any agenda to change it.” The law, signed by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who is running for re-election, took effect on Sunday, June 1. On Monday, Quinn attended a homosexual “wedding,” where he called the new law “a great civil rights measure." According to the Northwest Herald, Quinn added, "I didn't need a referendum to tell me what was the right thing to do."

Illinois voters will be consulted on whether insurance plans should have to offer contraception – but their decision will not have any effect on the law. The state Senate and House voted to place a non-binding question on the fall ballot asking, “Shall any health insurance plan in Illinois that provides prescription drug coverage be required to include prescription birth control as part of that coverage?” However, state law has mandated such coverage since 2003. Republicans say the initiative is an attempt to increase Democratic turnout during the election. "It's a stunt. It's a game, and everybody down here knows it," said State Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine.

New Hampshire

The senior policy advisor of Planned Parenthood of New England, Jennifer Frizzell, is considering running for the New Hampshire state Senate. WMUR reports that the abortion industry tactician is one of five potential candidates for the seat being vacated by long-serving Concord Democrat Sylvia Larsen.

Maryland

Gov. Martin O'Malley signed a bill barring “discrimination” against transgender people, a bill that would require public facilities to allow biological males to use the women's restroom. Businesses also believe they open the door to costly but baseless discrimination lawsuits. O'Malley, a Democrat who is a member of the Roman Catholic Church, signed the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 in mid-May. Maryland became the 18th state to enact such a law.

Michigan

Michigan's Republican governor, Rick Snyder, says he supports a law banning what he terms "discrimination" against homosexuals and transgender people, similar to the one signed by Maryland Gov. O'Malley. The bill is largely supported by the Chamber of Commerce. The city of Saginaw unanimously rejected such a “bathroom bill” around the time Gov. Snyder made his remarks. The self-described "nerd," who was swept into office in the Tea Party landslide year of 2010, is up for re-election this November. The GOP-controlled House may move forward on his suggestion. "If we can find a way to do that, he's ready to move on this,” according to Ari Adler, a spokesman for Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger of Marshall.

Meanwhile, a new poll shows that support for marriage redefinition is falling in Michigan. The EPIC-MRA poll finds the public evenly divided on the issue. In a hypothetical vote to legalize gay "marriage," voters split 47-46 in favor, with seven percent undecided. That's down from last year, when voters supported gay "marriage" by a 10-point margin of 51-41.

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Brian Fisher

Birth mothers: real heroes of the pro-life movement

Brian Fisher
By Brian Fisher
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What does it mean to be brave? Is it the doctor who dedicates himself to improving the health of a third-world nation? Is it the woman who faces her third round of chemotherapy to fight the progression of cancer? Is it the teacher who forgoes the comforts of a suburban school to reach minorities in the inner city? All of these are examples of bravery demonstrated in exceedingly challenging circumstances. And our society longs for stories of bravery to inspire us and fill us with hope.

As someone who works day in and day out with those on the front lines of helping rescue babies from abortion, I’m no stranger to stories of bravery. I see courage every day in the eyes of the men and women who sacrifice their time and energy to help women facing unplanned pregnancies. I see it every time a young mom — despite being pressured by her parents or significant other to get an abortion — chooses LIFE. And perhaps more profoundly than in any other situation, I see it when an expectant mom with no relational support, job, or income chooses to place her baby for adoption rather than abort her son or daughter.

This was Nicky’s situation.

When Nicky found herself pregnant with her boyfriend’s child, her life was already in shambles. During her 26 years, Nicky had already given birth to and surrendered sole custody of a little girl, committed several felonies, lived in her car, lost several jobs, and barely subsisted on minimum wage. So when she met up with an old boyfriend, Brandon, Nicky believed she was being given a second chance at happiness. “Our first year together was beautiful. We were getting to know each other and deciding if we would stay together forever.” Unfortunately, a positive pregnancy test result changed everything.

“When I told him I was pregnant, Brandon sat down on the bed, looked me in the eyes, and told me to ‘get an abortion’.” Nicky says those three little words changed everything for her. “I became depressed living with someone who wanted his child ‘dealt with.’”  Like thousands of women every day, Nicky began searching online for information on abortion, hoping her boyfriend would eventually change his mind. Through our strategic marketing methods, Online for Life was able to guide Nicky to a life-affirming pregnancy center where she received grace-filled counsel. “The woman I sat with was beyond wonderful. She helped me to just breathe and ask God what to do….And so I did.”

Nicky left the pregnancy center that day with a new resolve to choose life for her child, even though she still wasn’t sure how she’d financially support a child. “I was alone with just $10 in my pocket…and without any type of plan for what I was going to do.” So Nicky relied on the support of the staff she met at the life-affirming pregnancy center. With their help and through a chain of fortunate events, Nicky was put in contact with the couple who would eventually become her daughter’s adoptive parents.

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After meeting this couple face to face and coming to terms with her own desperate situation, Nicky conceded that the best thing for her unborn child would be to place her in someone else’s loving home. She told Brandon about her plans and he agreed that adoption would give their child the best chance at a happy and secure future. He even returned home to help Nicky prepare for the birth of their child. “The weeks leading up to my delivery were filled with a mixture of laughter, tears, protectiveness and sadness,” Nicky recalls. But one sentiment continued to be shared with her. “Brave…so brave.” That’s what everyone from the life-affirming pregnancy center to the adoption agency to the birthing center kept calling Nicky. “The nurses kept coming up to me and telling me they were honored to care for and treat someone like me.” After several weeks of preparation, Nicky finally gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and she made the dreams of a couple from the other side of the country come true.

Nicky’s adoption story continues to be riddled with a strange combination of pain and joy. “I cry every day, but I know my baby, who came out of a very bad time, ended up being loved by people from across the country.” When asked what message she’d like to share with the world about her decision to give up her child for adoption, Nicky responds, The voice of the mother who gives up a baby for adoption isn’t heard. We need to change that.”

To learn more about Online for Life and how we’re helping to make stories like Nicky and her daughter’s story a possibility, please visit OnlineforLife.org.

Author, speaker, and business leader Brian Fisher is the President and Co-Founder of Online for Life, a transparent, metric-oriented, compassion-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to helping rescue babies and their families from abortion through technology and grace.

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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New York farmers stop hosting weddings after $13,000 fine for declining lesbian ceremony

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By Dustin Siggins

New York farmers Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who were ordered last week to pay $13,000 for not hosting a same-sex "wedding," say they are closing that part of their operation.

"Going forward, the Giffords have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their farm, other than the ones already under contract," said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lawyer James Trainor. ADF represented the Giffords in their legal fight against New York's non-discrimination law.

Last week, the Giffords were ordered to pay a $10,000 fine to the state of New York and $3,000 in damages to a lesbian couple, Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, who approached them in 2012 about hosting their "wedding." The Giffords, who are Roman Catholic, said their religious convictions would not let them host the ceremony, but that McCarthy and Erwin could hold their reception on their property.

Unbeknownst to the Giffords, lesbian couple recorded the two-to-three minute conversation. After declining to hold the reception on the Giffords' farm, on which they live and rent property, the lesbian couple decided to make a formal complaint to the state's Division of Human Rights.

Eventually, Judge Migdalia Pares ruled that the Giffords' farm, Liberty Ridge Farm, constitutes a public accommodation because space is rented on the grounds and fees are collected from the public. The Giffords argued that because they live on the property with their children, they should be exempt from the state law, but Pares said that this does not mean their business is private.

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Trainor told TheBlaze that the Giffords' decision to end wedding ceremonies at Liberty Ridge “will hurt their business in the short run," but that was preferable to violating their religious beliefs.

“The Giffords serve all people with respect and care. They have hired homosexual employees and have hosted events for same-sex couples,” he said.

However, "since the state of New York has essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions," Trainor explained to LifeSiteNews. "No American should be forced by the government to choose between their livelihood and their faith, but that’s exactly the choice the state of New York has forced upon the Giffords."

"They will continue to host wedding receptions," said Trainor.

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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

South African mom files ‘wrongful life’ lawsuit on behalf of Downs son

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

A South African woman has launched a "wrongful life" lawsuit against the Cape Town-based Foetal Assessment Centre, claiming a failure to inform her that the child she was carrying was at risk of having Down Syndrome prevented her from aborting her baby.

A twist in this lawsuit is that, unlike other "wrongful birth" lawsuits, the mother in this case missed the time limit to file the claim on her own behalf, so she is asking the South African Constitutional Court to allow her to sue the center for “wrongful life” on behalf of her now-born son.

“You have a duty to tell my mother carrying me that I'm malformed so that she can make an informed decision as to whether or not to carry me to term,” the statement of claim against the Foetal Assessment Centre reads, according to SABC News.

“It is not as if the foetus is sort of putting up its hand and saying why you didn’t destroy me," the mother's lawyer, Paul Hoffman, explained to Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. "The foetus is complaining that its malformation, its development is the result of the bad advice that was given.”

The SABC report did not say what compensation the woman is seeking.

The scope of the case is similar to that of a New Zealand couple who won a lawsuit claiming monetary compensation after a routine 20 week ultrasound scan failed to discover that their daughter had spina bifida.

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The mother, whose name has not been released, claimed that the continuance of the pregnancy was a “personal injury,” and, had she been given the correct diagnosis after that scan, she would have aborted her daughter.

"We consider that the continued pregnancy of the appellant following a misdiagnosis in the 20 week scan is capable of being an injury suffered by the appellant,” the court ruled, and directed the New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) to make the woman eligible for compensation for the ongoing surgical and physiotherapy expenses incurred by their child.

New Zealand disability advocate Mike Sullivan said the underpinning attitude behind the decision is that those with disability, both born and unborn, are seen as a burden on society.

“This is what happens,” Sullivan said, when “the children become reduced to nothing – wrong even to exist.”

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