Kirsten Andersen

The story of how a life was saved from forced abortion

Kirsten Andersen
Kirsten Andersen
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Editor’s Note: Kirsten Anderson joined LifeSitenews only a few months ago. Her narrative below is a fascinating and moving telling of her personal experiences in helping to save the life of a U.S. child threatened by a forced abortion on her mother.

When I was hired as LifeSiteNews’s Washington Correspondent in September, I knew I would have my work cut out for me.  It was fall of an election year, and a big part of my job would be covering what was happening in U.S. politics. 

I expected long hours, an avalanche of deadlines, and endless games of phone tag with beleaguered public relations professionals tasked with explaining away their bosses’ latest gaffes.

The job delivered as promised.  Big issues were debated.  Promises were made and broken.  Good people said dumb things, and dangerous people told slick lies.

We wrote about it all.

Our U.S. Bureau Chief Ben Johnson, got the unenviable night shift, staying up all night after the presidential and vice presidential debates to cover every angle.  As expected, I spent my days on the phone with all manner of “spokesmen.” Communications Directors, Vice Presidents for Public Relations, Community Liasions, Public Affairs Officers … they go by a dozen titles of varying unwieldiness, but in print, they’re always “spokesmen.”  I took notes, and quoted them in stories.

I liked my new job a lot.  I knew our work was important; getting the truth out always is.  Still, the fall of 2012 was shaping up to be just another election season in Washington – important, yes, but probably not life-changing.

Then I received a tip that would come to fundamentally change the way I view our work at LSN.

Let me first say that we get a lot of news tips at LSN.  Some of them are worth covering; some of them, not so much.  The first and biggest question we have to ask ourselves when considering any news tip, though, is, “Is this true?”

So that was the first question I asked myself upon receiving in my inbox what amounted to a cry for help from a lawyer in Reno, Nevada.  He told an unbelievable story: a woman in her early thirties, mentally disabled and suffering from epilepsy, had become pregnant under questionable circumstances.  Her adoptive parents, still her legal guardians now that she is an adult, had decided with her that she would carry the pregnancy to term and place her baby with an adoptive family.  They took her to the doctor to adjust her medications to reduce the risk of harm to the child growing within her.

The doctor called adult protective services.  The court stepped in.

I read on, horrified, as the attorney for the woman’s parents claimed a District Court judge, acting well outside the normal bounds of his judicial authority, was attempting to force the woman to undergo an abortion – against her will, and against the wishes of her family.  His reason?  He thought it might be “best for her.”  When her Catholic parents objected, he told them their religion was “irrelevant” inside his courtroom and that, as court-appointed guardians, they were ultimately subject to his authority.  He referred to the parents dismissively as mere “agents of the court.”

At this point, I admit I was ready to call bovine scatology on the lawyer’s story.  My reaction echoed the ones I saw over and over again in the LSN comment boxes as this story unfolded over the next three weeks: What is this, China?  We don’t force people to have abortions in America.  Not yet, anyway.  I couldn’t believe this was happening.

Ben Johnson and I agreed that we had to try and confirm the situation with the Court before taking any action on such a potentially explosive story.  Luckily, Washoe County has a searchable database of cases online.  That made my initial fact check easy to do.

My stomach sank as I entered the details the lawyer had given me into the search function and it came back with the results.  The case existed.  The facts checked out. I called the lawyer back.

Thus marked the beginning of a three-week journey that ended in tears of joy last month as I hit ‘submit’ on my final story about the case, reporting that the judge had spared the baby’s life.  Both the lawyer for the family and the president of Nevada Right to Life partly credited LSN’s coverage with making the difference, the latter saying unequivocally, “New media saved this little baby’s life.”

Here, to the best of my recollection, is the way it went down.

On the day we broke the story, I spoke for an hour each with Amy Bauer and her attorney Jason Guinasso, who had first given us the tip.  I spoke to Dania Reid, the District Attorney representing Washoe County’s public guardian, which had been tasked with investigating Amy’s daughter Elisa’s condition to help the judge decide whether to order an abortion to be performed.  I read through old court documents and statements from medical professionals.  Then I wrote the story and we posted it online.

Our coverage was strong enough to gain the attention of local and national mainstream media.  In the following days, my story was referenced in the Washington Times, the Las Vegas Review Journal, and other outlets.

Other outlets used and reused quotes, often without citation, until I lost track of how many newspapers I’d done research for un-credited.  There’s an old saying President Ronald Reagan was fond of: “There is no limit to what a man can accomplish if he does not care who gets the credit.”

Credited or not, LSN’s coverage was having a massive impact.

The stories we posted about the case spread like wildfire around Facebook and Twitter.  Readers were understandably horrified that something like this could happen in America.  They wanted to know what they could do to stop it.

Rebekah O’Brien, our social media coordinator, suggested they call the judge’s office and make their voices heard.  She provided his contact information.  Our readers filled his voicemail box with messages until the system couldn’t store any more.  After that, they called the governor.

That was about the time the court started changing its tone.

It was exhilarating to witness.  I kept in close contact with Jason Guinasso as I kept our readers up-to-date on developments in the case. During our first phone call, he sounded overwhelmed and anxious.  Everyone involved on the government’s side of the case seemed to want to force Elisa to abort her child.  During the first hearing, the court-summoned doctor recommended abortion and sterilization in stark terms, saying, “End this pregnancy and tie her tubes.”

By the next week, the heat was on.  Petitions were being signed, voicemail boxes were full, and the judge, Egan Walker, banned cameras from the courtroom, although he allowed the press to stay. The government was looking less sure of itself.  The doctor who originally reported Elisa’s pregnancy to the court and caused the trial in the first place backpedaled furiously once he was put on the stand and in front of the news media, refusing to recommend an abortion.  On the phone that night, Guinasso sounded hopeful.

Week three brought a miracle.

Judge Walker called everyone in for a private meeting.  Behind closed doors, he said he wanted to take abortion off the table.  He said he wanted to continue the hearings in a less confrontational manner, focusing on how best to care for Elisa and her baby both before and after the birth.  All he needed was for everyone to agree … which they did.  Walker announced his decision at the next scheduled hearing, at which point I received an e-mail sent from Jason Guinasso’s cell phone.  It began: “Call me!  We won!!”

Thirty frantic minutes of typing later, I hit “send” on my last news story about the Bauer case and immediately burst into tears.  The full import of what we had accomplished hit me in that moment.  By shining the light of truth on that courtroom, I wasn’t just covering a shocking story or generating hits for a website.

I was giving our readers the information they needed to help save a life. Make no mistake – LSN shaped the national narrative on this story. 

We covered it for what it was – a forced abortion story in the process of unfolding.  Because we were there from the beginning, and we were there in-depth, the mainstream media was forced to not only cover the case, but acknowledge the truth of it. 

It would have been easy for them to contact the district attorney who told me, “This investigation is not designed to force Elisa to have an abortion,” and leave that quote unchallenged. 

Our coverage didn’t leave them room to do so.  We kept the pressure on and, in the end, it saved a little baby’s life.

Later, Jason Guinasso would write to me:

“You and LifeSitenews were a huge part of what we were able to accomplish.  We were able to tell our story through you to the public.  The result was a national discussion on the power of the judiciary, the rights of the disabled, the rights of parents/guardians, and the rights of the unborn.  More importantly, you mobilized an army of people to begin praying for us.  I know that the prayers of the saints caused the hearts and minds of the judge and our adversaries to change 180 degrees.” 

“Suffice to say,” he wrote, “I will forever be grateful for your support.  You should know that I especially appreciated how you applied what I recognized as basic standards of journalism to your interviews of me and in your fact gathering generally.  It is so incredibly important to maintain your integrity as a journalist.  As far as I am concerned, you are a journalist of the highest quality in both work product and character.”

I cried again, reading that.  But glowing words of praise aside, he’s right.  LSN has incredibly high standards of excellence for both our research and our writing.

If it’s not the truth, we don’t print it, and we dig deep to make sure we have the facts you won’t find anywhere else. When you read an LSN story, you can share it and act on it with absolute confidence, knowing that everything has been verified.

Next time you do, you just might save a life. 

Your support saves lives.  Help us reach our campaign goal with a donation today.
(Click Here to Donate)


Kirsten Andersen
Washington D.C. Correspondent
LifeSiteNews.com

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A Planned Parenthood facility in Denver, Colorado
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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Colorado judge tosses suit alleging Planned Parenthood used state funds to pay for abortions

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

Alliance Defending Freedom "will likely appeal" a Monday court decision dismissing their suit alleging Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains illegally used state funds to pay for abortions, an ADF lawyer told LifeSiteNews.

The ADF lawsuit claims that $1.4 million went from state government agencies to a Planned Parenthood abortion affiliate through Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

Denver County District Court Judge Andrew McCallin dismissed the case on the basis that ADF could not prove the funds paid for abortions. But ADF maintains that funding an abortion facility is indirectly paying for abortions, which violates state law.

ADF senior counsel Michael Norton -- whose wife, former Colorado Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton, filed the lawsuit – told LifeSiteNews that "no one is above the law, including Colorado politicians who are violating our state’s constitution by continuing to fund Planned Parenthood’s abortion business with state taxpayer dollars."

"The State of Colorado even acknowledges that about $1.4 million of state taxpayer dollars flowed from Colorado government agencies through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate. The Denver court seems to have agreed with that fact and yet granted motions to dismiss based on a technicality," said Norton.

According to Colorado law, "no public funds shall be used by the State of Colorado, its agencies or political subdivisions to pay or otherwise reimburse, either directly or indirectly, any person, agency or facility for the performance of any induced abortion." There is a stipulation that allows for "the General Assembly, by specific bill, [to] authorize and appropriate funds to be used for those medical services necessary to prevent the death of either a pregnant woman or her unborn child under circumstances where every reasonable effort is made to preserve the life of each."

According to court documents, the Colorado law was affirmed by state voters in 1984, with an appeal attempt rejected two years later. In 2001, an outside legal firm hired by Jane Norton -- who was lieutenant governor at the time -- found that Planned Parenthood was "subsidizing rent" and otherwise providing financial assistance to Planned Parenthood Services Corporation, an abortion affiliate. After the report came out, and Planned Parenthood refused to disassociate itself from the abortion affiliate, the state government stopped funding Planned Parenthood.

Since 2009, however, that has changed, which is why the lawsuit is filed against Planned Parenthood, and multiple government officials, including Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

According to ADF legal counsel Natalie Decker, the fact that Planned Parenthood sent funds to the abortion affiliate should have convinced McCallin of the merits of the case. "The State of Colorado and the Denver court acknowledged that about $1.4 million of state taxpayer dollars, in addition to millions of 'federal' tax dollars, flowed from Colorado government agencies through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate," said Decker.

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"Without even having the facts of the case developed, the Denver court seems to have granted motions to dismiss filed by the State of Colorado and Planned Parenthood on grounds the term 'indirectly' could not mean what Ms. Norton and Governor Owens said it meant in 2002 when they defunded Planned Parenthood."

"That, of course, is the plain meaning of Colo. Const., Art. V, § 50 which was implemented by the citizens of Colorado, and the reason for Ms. Norton’s lawsuit."

Decker told LifeSiteNews that "Colorado law is very clear," and that the state law "prohibits Colorado tax dollars from being used to directly or indirectly pay for induced abortions."

She says her client "has been denied the opportunity to fully develop the facts of the case and demonstrate exactly what the Colorado tax dollars have been used for." Similarly, says Decker, it is not known "exactly what those funds were used for. At this time, there is simply no way to conclude that tax dollars have not been used to directly pay for abortions or abortion inducing drugs and devices."

"What we do know is that millions of Colorado tax dollars have flowed through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate, which leads to the inescapable conclusion that those tax dollars are being used to indirectly pay for abortions."

A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains did not return multiple requests for comment about the lawsuit.

The dismissal comes as Planned Parenthood fights an investigation by the state's Republican attorney general over a video by Live Action, as well as a lawsuit by a mother whose 13-year old daughter had an abortion in 2012 that she alleges was covered up by Planned Parenthood. The girl, who was being abused by her stepfather, was abused for months after the abortion.

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Steve Weatherbe

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Fledgling high-tech pro-life group marks 2,000 babies saved: 2-3 saved per day

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Online for Life, the Dallas-based pro-life marketing agency, saved its two-thousandth unborn baby earlier this year and is well on its way to saving its three thousandth by 2015.

“We are getting better all the time at what we do,” says founder Brian Fisher. “It used to be one baby saved every four to six weeks and now its two or three a day.”

But the most significant save? “It was the very first one,” he says, recalling the phone call from a crisis centre a month after OFL’s 2012 startup.  “And for me personally it was just a massive turning point … because [of] all the work and the money and testing and the volunteers and everything that led up to that moment. All the frustration of that was washed away in an instant because a child had been rescued that was about to be killed.”

Though increasing market savvy has led Online for Life to expand offline, the core of the non-profit, donor-financed operation remains SEO -- search engine optimization -- targeting young women who have just discovered they are pregnant and gone onto the Web to find the nearest abortion clinic.

Instead, they find the nearest crisis pregnancy center at the top of their results page. Since OFL went online it has linked with a network of 41 such centers, including two of its own it started this year, in a positive feedback loop that reinforces effective messaging first at the level of the Web, then at the first telephone call between the clinic and the pregnant woman, and finally at the first face-to-face meeting.

“Testing is crucial,” says Fisher. “We test everything we do.” Early on, Online for Life insisted the clinics it served have an ultrasound machine, because the prevailing wisdom in the prolife movement was that “once they saw their baby on ultrasound, they would drop the idea of having an abortion.” While the organization still insists on the ultrasound, its own testing and feedback from the CPCs indicates that three quarters of the women they see already have children. “They’ve already seen their own children on ultrasound and are still planning to abort.” So ultrasound images have lost their punch.

OFL has had to move offline to reach a significant minority who have neither computers, tablets, or cell phones.  Traditional electronic media spots as well as bus ads and billboards carry the message to them.

As well, says Fisher, “unwanted pregnancy used to be a high-school age problem; now that’s gone down in numbers and the average age of women seeking abortion has gone up to 24.” By that age, he says, they are “thoroughly conditioned by the abortion culture. Even before they got pregnant, they have already decided they would have an abortion if they did get pregnant.”

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What they need—and fast, in the first two minutes of the first phone call—is sympathy, support, and a complete absence of judgement. Online for Life is always gathering information from its network on what responses are most effective—and this can vary city to city. The organization offers training to clinic volunteers and staff that stresses a thorough knowledge of the services on tap. “Any major city has all sorts of services—housing, education, health—available,” says Fisher.

The problem that OFL was designed to address was the crisis pregnancy centers’ market penetration. Three percent of women with unwanted pregnancies were reaching out to the CPCs, and seven per cent of those who did reach out were having their babies. “So about 2.1 children were being saved for every 1,000 unwanted pregnancies,” says Fisher. “That’s not nearly enough.”

So Fisher and two fellow volunteers dreamed of applying online marketing techniques to the problem in 2009. Three years later Fisher was ready to leave his executive position at an online marketing agency to go full-time with the life-saving agency. Now they have 63 employees, most of them devoted to optimizing the penetration in each of the markets served by their participating crisis centers.

The results speak for themselves. Where OFL has applied its techniques, especially with its own clinics, as many as 15-18 percent of the targeted population of women seeking abortions get directed to nearby crisis pregnancy centers. “It depends on the centres’ budgets and on how many volunteers they have to be on the phones through the day and night,” he says. “But we are going to push it higher. We hope to save our 2,500th child by the end of the year.”

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Shock: UK mom abandons disabled daughter, keeps healthy son after twin surrogacy

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By Pete Baklinski

A UK woman who is the biological mother of twins born from a surrogate mom, has allegedly abandoned one of the children because she was born with a severe muscular condition, while taking the girl's healthy sibling home with her.

The surrogate mother, also from the UK — referred to as "Jenny" to protect her identity — revealed to The Sun the phone conversation that took place between herself and the biological mother over the fate of the disabled girl.

“I remember her saying to me, “She’d be a f****** dribbling cabbage! Who would want to adopt her? No one would want to adopt a disabled child,’” she said.

Jenny, who has children of her own, said she decided to become a surrogate to “help a mother who couldn’t have children.” She agreed to have two embryos implanted in her womb and to give birth for £12,000 ($20,000 USD).

With just six weeks to the due date, doctors told Jenny she needed an emergency caesarean to save the babies. It was not until a few weeks after the premature births that the twin girl was diagnosed with congenital myotonic dystrophy.

When Jenny phoned the biological mother to tell her of the girl’s condition, the mother rejected the girl.

Jenny has decided along with her partner to raise the girl. They have called her Amy.

“I was stunned when I heard her reject Amy,” Jenny said. “She had basically told me that she didn’t want a disabled child.”

Jenny said she felt “very angry” towards the girl’s biological parents. "I hate them for what they did.”

The twins are now legally separated. A Children and Family Court has awarded the healthy boy to the biological mother and the disabled girl to her surrogate.

The story comes about two weeks after an Australian couple allegedly abandoned their surrogate son in Thailand after he was born with Down syndrome, while taking the healthy twin girl back with them to Australia.

Rickard Newman, director of Family Life, Pro-Life & Child and Youth Protection in the Diocese of Lake Charles, called the Australian story a “tragedy” that “results from a marketplace that buys and sells children.”

“Third-party reproduction is a prism for violations against humanity. IVF and the sperm trade launched a wicked industry that now includes abortion, eugenics, human trafficking, and deliberate family fragmentation,” he said. 

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