John Jalsevac

Pro-aborts ‘completely made up’ vaginal ultrasound requirement in Virginia bill

John Jalsevac
John Jalsevac

February 22, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An ultrasound bill currently making its way through the Virginia legislature has become the object of a fierce campaign of opposition from the nation’s most powerful pro-abortion forces, who claim the bill would force women to undergo invasive transvaginal ultrasounds before an abortion – something that abortion lobbyists and legislators say amounts to “rape.”

Del. Charniele Herring (D) has slammed the bill as “akin to rape,” while fellow Democrat David Englin charged that “object sexual penetration is a serious sex crime in Virginia.”

The rhetoric against the bill became so heated that today pro-life Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell issued a statement, moments before the bill was set to undergo a final vote in the House of Delegates, saying that the bill should be amended to make it clear that it will not mandate transvaginal ultrasounds, but only an external ultrasounds.

Shortly after the governor released his statement, a version of the bill amended according the statement passed by a vote of 65-32. The bill now returns to the Senate.

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However, pro-life supporters of the bill say the campaign against the bill is based upon an objection that was pulled out of thin air, and point out that abortion clinics across the country already perform ultrasounds—including vaginal ultrasounds—as a matter of course.

In its original form, the bill did not require “any specific type of ultrasound,” Kristi Hamrick, media spokesperson for Americans United for Life, told LifeSiteNews.com. The notion that it required a transvaginal ultrasound “was completely made up by the pro-abortion advocates,” she said.

Instead the bill simply stipulated that an ultrasound must be performed before an abortion and that the mother be offered an opportunity to view the image and hear the heartbeat. It provided for the Virginia “standard of care,” leaving the choice for the kind of ultrasound to be administered in the hands of the patient and her doctor.

The amended version of the bill states, “If gestational age cannot be determined by a transabdominal ultrasound, then the patient undergoing the abortion shall be verbally offered other ultrasound imaging to determine gestational age, which she may refuse.”

Hamrick says that McDonnell’s statement today did nothing more than clarify and restate what the law already said.

“What the governor did today was say they were going to clarify this law to make sure this law is clear that they are not requiring” a transvaginal ultrasound. This “was not necessary,” Hamrick said, because the bill “didn’t before.”

In his statement, McDonnell said after discussing the bill with legislators and health care professionals, “It is clear that in the majority of cases, a routine external, transabdominal ultrasound is sufficient to meet the bills stated purpose—that is, to determine gestational age.”

“For this reason…I am requesting that the General Assembly amend this bill to explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily,” he said.

But perhaps most damning to the pro-abortion campaign against the bill is the revelation that the vast majority of abortion facilities already perform the “invasive” transvaginal ultrasound as a matter of course, especially prior to early-term medical and surgical abortions.

In one 2003 study, published in the journal Contraception, 83 percent of Planned Parenthood abortion facilities performing early surgical abortions said they “always” performed a vaginal ultrasound prior to performing the abortions. Sixteen percent said they did a vaginal ultrasound “sometimes,” and only 1 percent said they “never” did them.

“Vaginal ultrasound was very common before the medical abortion, with 37 (92%) sites reporting that they always performed it,” the study continued. “Vaginal ultrasound was always performed after early medical abortion in 35 (87%) sites, performed under certain conditions in 4 (10%) sites, and never performed in 1 (3%) site.”

The reason for performing the more accurate vaginal ultrasounds prior to early abortions is obvious, Hamrick told LifeSiteNews: they ensure that abortionists can pinpoint precisely the gestational age of the unborn child, to avoid the extreme risks involved in using the wrong methods to abort what may turn out to be a later-term child. 

Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest said that pro-abortion arguments against the bill amount to opposing “a basic standard of care.” She said the campaign is “clear evidence that a powerful abortion lobby is willing to sacrifice women’s health and safety for a radical abortion agenda.”

“It is absolutely false than any invasive ultrasound test is required by this bill. But at stake here is protecting women’s lives from a rush to abortion that may harm them,” Yoest said. “Informed consent about the status of a woman’s pregnancy, and whether she might be harmed, should be a concern for all people.”

It is unclear how the amendments added to the bill today will change its practical application, although the sponsor of the bill in the Senate, Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, has reportedly said she will oppose it in its new form.

Prior to the passage of the bill in its amended form, the Family Foundation, a conservative organization in Virginia, had expressed concerns that proposed amendments might give abortionists a loophole to avoid doing vaginal ultrasounds in circumstances where they are clearly called for from a medical standpoint.

“If an abortionist is required to do a transabdominal ultrasound and, upon seeing no fetus, is then legally permitted to perform an abortion without any further proof of life, we have done a tremendous disservice to the health and safety of women of Virginia,” said the Foundation in a statement. 

“An abortion doctor can then begin an abortion, causing emotion distress and monetary cost to the woman, for no reason, as there may not even be a pregnancy.  It can also be unsafe, due to lack of knowledge of the gestational position and number of fetuses to be aborted.”

In the event the transabdominal ultrasound cannot determine fetal age, the amended version of the bill allows the mother the option of having a transvaginal ultrasound or declining it at will.

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Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
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Vatican pressing forward with reform of US feminist nuns: Cardinal Müller

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, says the Vatican is pressing forward with plans to reform the U.S.-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

In an interview published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the cardinal said that the reform of the LCWR, which was undertaken after an assessment of the group found serious doctrinal problems, will be carried out with the goal of helping them "rediscover their identity.”

“Congregations have no more vocations and risk dying out," Müller said. "We have first of all tried to reduce hostility and tensions, partly thanks to Bishop Sartain whom we sent to negotiate with them; he is a very gentle man. We wish to stress that we are not misogynists, we are not women gobblers! Of course we have a different concept of religious life but we hope to help them rediscover their identity.”

Moreover, the cardinal said that problems specific to the LCWR are not a reflection of all the women religious in the US.

"We need to bear in mind that they do not represent all US nuns, but just a group of nuns who form part of an association,” Müller said.

“We have received many distressed letters from other nuns belonging to the same congregations, who are suffering a great deal because of the direction in which the LCWR is steering their mission.”

Cardinal Müller's remarks confirmed the assertion he and the Holy See’s delegate to the LCWR, Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle, made in an address to LCWR officials in Rome on April 30, that the theological drift the feminist nuns are taking constitutes a radical departure from the foundational theological concepts of Catholicism.

The Holy See “believes that the charismatic vitality of religious life can only flourish within the ecclesial faith of the Church,” Müller said in the address.

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“The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See, has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life. Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in-hand, and at this phase of the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment, we are looking for a clearer expression of that ecclesial vision and more substantive signs of collaboration,” he stated.

The LCWR has openly defied the mandate of reform intended to bring their organization into line with basic Catholic doctrine on the nature of God, the Church, and sexual morality.

Among the CDF’s directives, to which LCWR has strenuously objected, is the requirement that “speakers and presenters at major programs” be approved by Archbishop Sartain. This, Müller has explained, was decided in order to “avoid difficult and embarrassing situations wherein speakers use an LCWR forum to advance positions at odds with the teaching of the Church.”

The LCWR has invited speakers to their Annual Assembly such as New Age guru Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Sr. Laurie Brink, who is particularly noted for flagrantly denying the Divinity of Christ and telling the sisters that to maintain their “prophetic” place in society they need to “go beyond” the Church and even “go beyond Jesus.”

In one of the first public statements of his pontificate, Pope Francis affirmed that the investigation and reform of the LCWR must continue.

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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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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, the 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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