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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Quebec groups launch court challenge to euthanasia bill

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

As announced when the Quebec legislature adopted Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal on Thursday.

The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of the Act that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a term the groups say is a euphemism for euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The two organizations are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism “medical aid in dying”. Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the organizations maintain that it is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

The organizations also say the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, they are requesting an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgment before the Act is expected to come into force on December 10, 2015.


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Colorado baker appeals gvmt ‘re-education’ order

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

A Colorado cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday.

The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse all views, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.

“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said the cake artist’s lead counsel Nicolle Martin, an attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”

“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”

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In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The case now goes to the Colorado Court of Appeals as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects."

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


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Prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner appeals her conviction

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO -- As promised, Mary Wagner has, through her counsel Dr. Charles Lugosi, filed a formal notice of appeal on numerous points regarding her recent, almost two-year-long court case that ended on June 12.

Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defence – including for access to abortion center records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard – before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail on a charge of mischief and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders.

He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Wagner had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately. She had been arrested at the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 15, 2012 after attempting to speak to abortion-bound women there. She then spent the duration of the trial in prison for refusing to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion sites.

Wagner is using the matter as a test case to challenge the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, that a human being is legally recognized as such only after he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal in a breathing state.

Wagner’s notice states the appeal is regarding:

  • Her conviction and sentence on a single count of mischief (interference with property),
  • Her conviction and sentence on four counts of breach of probation,
  • The order denying public funding,
  • The order denying the disclosure of third-party records,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts on the applicant’s constitutional challenge concerning the constitutional validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts concerning the construction of Section 37 of the Criminal Code,
  • The probation order denying Wagner her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion on all public sidewalks and public areas within 100 metres of places where abortions are committed,
  • And each conviction and sentence and all orders and rulings made by O’Donnell.

In the notice of appeal, Lugosi cites numerous points on which O’Donnell erred:

  • He denied Wagner her constitutional right to make full answer and defence.
  • He denied Wagner her right to rely on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which permits “everyone” to come to the third-party defence and rescue of any human being (in this case, the preborn) facing imminent assault.
  • He decided the factual basis of Wagner’s constitutional arguments was a waste of the court’s time and that no purpose would have been served by having an evidentiary hearing on her Charter application because, in the current state of Canadian law, it had no possibility of success.
  • He misapplied case law and prejudged the case, “giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias and impeding the legal evolution of the law to adapt to new circumstances, knowledge and changed societal values and morals.”
  • He accepted the Crown’s submission that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to question the jurisdiction of Parliament legally to define “human being” in any manner Parliament sees fit.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code is not beyond the powers of Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code does not violate the Preamble to, as well as Sections 7, 11(d), 15 and 26, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • He denied Wagner standing to raise a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code.
  • He ruled that Section 223 of the Criminal Code applied generally throughout the entire Criminal Code and used it to deny unborn human beings the benefit of equal protection as born human beings under Section 37 of the Criminal Code.
  • He denied the production and disclosure of third-party records in the possession of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site, although the records were required to prove Wagner was justified in using reasonable force in the form of oral and written words to try to persuade pregnant mothers from killing their unborn children by abortion.
  • He denied Wagner the defence of Section 37 of the Criminal Code by ruling unborn children did not come within the scope of human beings eligible to be protected by a third party.
  • He ruled Wagner did not come within the scope of Section 37 because she was found to be non-violent (in that she did not use physical force).
  • He ruled the unborn children Wagner was trying to rescue were not under her protection.
  • He denied Wagner the common-law defences of necessity and the rescue of third parties in need of protection.
  • He denied Wagner public funding to make full answer and defence for a constitutional test case of great public importance and national significance.
  • He imposed an unconstitutional sentence upon Wagner by, in effect, imposing an injunction as a condition of probation, contrary to her constitutional rights of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

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Among the orders Lugosi is seeking are:

  • That an appeal be allowed against conviction on all counts and that a verdict of acquittal be entered on all counts,
  • That Section 223 of the Criminal Code be found unconstitutional  and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as the unwritten constitution of Canada,
  • That the sentence be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the unwritten constitution of Canada or that a new trial be conducted, with Wagner permitted to make full answer and defence, be given standing to make a constitutional attack on Section 223 of the Criminal Code, with the admission of expert witnesses,
  • That the Women’s Care Clinic abortion site be made to produce third-party records pertaining to patients seen on August 15, 2012 (when Wagner entered the site),
  • And that there be public funding for two defence counsels at any retrial and for any appeal related to the case.

No date has yet been established for a decision on the appeal or hearings.

A defence fund for Wagner’s case is still raising money. Details on how to contribute to it can be found here.


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