Florida bans post-viability abortion, Jindal signs pro-life bills, NH backs pro-life candidate, more
WASHINGTON, D.C. – While New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's abortion expansion bill remains mired in legislative inaction, pro-life laws have advanced in Florida and Louisiana, requiring doctors to protect babies who could survive outside the womb, obtain admitting privileges, and prevent human traffickers from forcing their victims into coerced abortions.
Florida abortionists will not be able to abort babies who could survive if they were delivered, under a bill that Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed into law on Friday. The state currently bans abortions after 24 weeks. H.B. 1047 would require a doctor to determine if a baby were able to live outside the womb before performing an abortion. After July 1, such abortions will only be allowed to prevent the mother's death or her severe physical disability. The measure was one of nearly 100 bills that landed on Gov. Scott's desk.
Gov. Bobby Jindal yesterday signed two bills into law designed to protect women and minors from shoddy practices and advice offered by abortion providers. On Thursday, he signed the “Unsafe Abortion Protection Act” (H.B. 388), which requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles and mandates that abortion offices meet the same health and safety standards as other surgical centers. The bill, similar to one passed in neighboring Texas, could close three of the state's five abortion facilities. “Women who resort to the traumatic experience of abortion are entitled to have these procedures performed in a safe environment,” said Rep. Katrina Jackson, an African-American Democrat from Monroe. The new law states that abortionists who perform surgical or medication/chemical abortion (RU-486) must comply with all licensing standards, as well.
Gov. Jindal also signed H.B. 305, barring any person or organization that performs abortions from presenting sex education in public or charter schools. State senators passed the motion on May 27 by a 31-5 vote. Live Action released an expose this week showing a Planned Parenthood employee suggesting an undercover reporter posing as a 15-year-old girl view online pornography, purchase sex toys online, and “work up to” allowing her boyfriend to hit her during intercourse.
On Monday he signed four bills designed to fight human trafficking and curtail their traffickers' ability to force their victims to abort. Abortionists will now have to present women who enter their facilities with information about forced abortions and post the number for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. Penalties for hiring prostitutes are also greatly increased. Soliciting a minor for sexual activity could result in a sentence of 15 to 50 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. "We're not here to just discourage it, to contain it, to reduce its frequency," Jindal told The Advertiser of Lafayette. "We're here to make sure we rid it from our state as a first step, rid it from our country, rid it from our world." Christine Caine of the A21 Campaign to prevent trafficking called the legislative package “a prototype” that other states could follow to fight traffickers' war on women.
Pro-life conservative voters in New Hampshire are beginning to coalesce around former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith. Karen Testerman dropped out of the U.S. Senate race on Friday and endorsed Smith, saying she would no longer split the pro-life vote. "We can win this if we unite together behind Bob Smith,” Testerman said. Smith, who is seeking to regain the seat he held for two terms, is 100 percent pro-life and opposes redefining marriage. He will have his work cut out as he seeks to defeat former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, a Massachusetts transplant who favors abortion-on-demand, and Jim Rubens, a Brooklyn native who describes himself as pro-choice. "There's a breeze blowing out of Virginia," Smith said, referring to David Brat's surprise defeat of Eric Cantor this week. "The breeze is blowing and it's coming here. It's coming to New Hampshire."
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Michigan abortionists may have to allow an expected mother to hear her baby's heartbeat, if Michigan passes one bill introduced in the state House. Right to Life of Michigan has supported that measure. Rep. Thomas Hooker, a Republican from Byron Center, also introduced bills barring abortion if a heartbeat could be detected. Hooker told Michigan Public Radio, “I think the discussion needs to begin to happen on the fact that this is an actual baby with a heartbeat, and we need to recognize that.” The state pro-life group opposes that legislation on the grounds that it would be invalidated under the Supreme Court's acceptance of Roe v. Wade.
The state government must pay $65,580 in court fees to the ACLU of Arkansas after the state lost its case defending a 12-week abortion ban. The judge, U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright, is the same magistrate who dismissed Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton. The president settled the lawsuit as Jones appealed the case to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The people and the legislators of Tennessee should not be able to regulate abortion-on-demand, according to the state Democratic Party. The Democratic Party of Tennessee has hired a full-time staff member to campaign against Amendment One, which would allow legislators to restrict abortion. The state Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the legislature may not regulate abortion-on-demand, which it termed a human right. If passed, Amendment One would amend the state constitution to read: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.” It is supported by the state Republican leadership, and Michelle Duggar has actively campaigned for it. But Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Roy Herron told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that the bill "would let Tea Party Republicans compel Tennessee women to bear rapists' children and even deny couples the right to save the desperately ill wife's life."
Gov. Scott Walker, who is widely named as a dark horse presidential candidate in 2016, pointedly refused to give his own position on whether marriage is the union of one man and one woman in a recent interview, saying his position “doesn't matter.” The state is currently appealing a ruling striking down its marriage protection law issued by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb, who was appointed to the bench in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter. “Voters don’t talk to me about that,” Scott told The Chippewa Herald. But Julaine Appling, who leads Wisconsin Family Action, said, “Elected officials who are running for office this year in Wisconsin” are “concerned about their base. Well, their base says abandoning the party’s long-held position on marriage is not smart.”
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Pope’s exhortation is a ‘breach’ with Catholic Tradition: leading German philosopher
April 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A prominent Catholic philosopher and close friend of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said Thursday that Pope Francis’s exhortation Amoris Laetitia is a “breach” with Catholic tradition and directly contradicts the teachings of Pope St. John Paul II in his exhortation Familiaris Consortio.
"If the pope is not willing to make a correction, it is up to another pontificate to officially put things back into order."
Professor Robert Spaemann told the Catholic News Agency’s German branch that changing the Church’s sacramental practice would be “a breach with its essential anthropological and theological teaching on human marriage and sexuality.”
“It is clear to every thinking person who knows the texts that are important in this context that [with Amoris Laetitia] there is a breach” with the Church’s Tradition, Spaemann said.
The professor’s remarks were translated by Dr. Maike Hickson in an article at OnePeterFive.
In Familiaris Consortio, Pope St. John Paul II upheld the Church’s longstanding approach to the question of admitting to the Sacraments remarried divorcees, by writing:
…the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.
Footnote 351 of Amoris Laetitia seemingly contradicts the above passage by asserting that in certain cases, integrating back into the Church the divorced and remarried and others in “irregular” situations “can include the help of the sacraments.” The footnote then mentions both Confession and the Eucharist.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Maria Santissima in Astana, Kazakhstan criticized Amoris Laetitia for its lack of clarity on the subject. “Analyzing some of the affirmations of AL with an honest understanding, as they are in their own context, one finds that there is a difficulty in interpreting them according to the traditional doctrine of the Church,” wrote Schneider.
Spaemann also condemned the exhortation’s seeming embrace of “situation ethics” as opposed to universal norms and its call to not judge people’s actions that directly contradict the Church’s sexual ethics.
“When it comes to sexual relations which are in objective contradiction to the Christian order of life, I would like to know from the pope after which time period and under which conditions such an objectively sinful behavior becomes a conduct which is pleasing to God,” said Spaemann.
By turning “chaos into principle” with “one stroke of a pen,” Pope Francis is leading the Church “into the direction of schism,” Spaemann said—and he warned that such a schism would not be “at the periphery, but in the middle of the Church.”
Spaemann also warned that Amoris Laetitia may be used to bully faithful priests. He wrote:
Each individual cardinal, as well as each bishop and each priest is now called to preserve in his field of authority the Catholic Sacramental Order and to confess it publicly. If the pope is not willing to make a correction, it is up to another pontificate to officially put things back into order.
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Federally funded community health center may have illegally performed abortions: Report
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A federally qualified health center (FQHC) apparently performed abortions, although nearly all federal funds are forbidden from being used for that purpose, sources tell LifeSiteNews. Now, pro-life congressmen are demanding further investigations into the use of U.S. taxpayer funds to promote abortion-on-demand.
The issue came to light when a federal inspector general's report found that six Americorps volunteers had been acting as "abortion doulas," giving emotional support to women who chose to have abortions.
The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) allowed the volunteers – who received tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars – to support abortions that took place inside a New York abortion facility run by the Institute for Family Health (IFH).
Americorps “volunteers” illegally supporting abortion at taxpayer expense is an ongoing problem. But there's more to the story.
The IFH proudly advertises itself as a federally qualified health center (FQHC). Federal dollars are restricted from underwriting most abortion at FQHCs, in line with the Hyde Amendment. This does not hold true for the Affordable Care Act, conventionally known as ObamaCare.
To ease qualms raised by pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak and others, on March 24, 2010, Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13535. It states that “the Hyde [Amendment] language shall apply to the authorization and appropriations of funds for Community Health Centers...I hereby direct the Secretary of HHS to ensure that program administrators and recipients of federal funds are aware of and comply with the limitations on abortion services imposed on CHCs by existing law.”
Pro-life groups warned at the time that an executive order was insufficient to prevent taxpayer funding of abortion, and the law itself had to be amended – or defeated.
Pro-life experts today say Congress must investigate whether the law is being violated and, if so, if the offense is isolated to IFH.
"For years the Obama administration has claimed that the Affordable Care Act and federally-funded health centers do not subsidize abortion, and the president finally signed additional provisions, passed last year by Congress, to ensure that community health centers do not use federal funds to support abortion,” said Arina Grossu, the director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council. “Now we learn that CNCS is violating the law by helping women obtain abortions.”
“This blatant violation of federal law by CNCS and AmeriCorps demands that Congress investigate government-funded community health centers,” Grossu said. “It's time for this administration to stop foisting its radical abortion agenda on the American people and using their tax dollars to do so.”
Pro-life advocates have long said that there is no need to fund Planned Parenthood, because federal women's health dollars could be reappropriated to FQHCs, which do not perform abortion.
There are 9,170 federally qualified health centers compared to about 700 Planned Parenthood facilities, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute. FQHCs see 21.1 million patients a year, while Planned Parenthood saw 2.8 million people, the institute reported.
The latest example of federal dollars being channeled to support abortion, the law notwithstanding, has undermined some confidence in the FQHCs.
Rep. Diane Black, a pro-life Republican from Tennessee, said, “NACHC didn’t just break the rules; they broke trust with the American people. My constituents expect that federal funding given to our community health centers will be used to protect and enhance people’s lives, not to be a willing partner in their destruction.”
At least two Congressional leaders – the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the chair of the House Health Subcommittee – have promised they will take action immediately.
“Federal law demands that taxpayer dollars are never to be spent on abortion activities. Not one penny. Period. But a disturbing report from an independent watchdog reveals that was not the case with brazen pursuits by the National Association of Community Health Centers,” said Congressmen Fred Upton and Joseph Pitts of Pennsylvania, both Republicans. “The law was violated and this shameful failure of trust will not be tolerated.”
Abortion lobbyists demand Ted Cruz renounce pro-life leader Troy Newman
WICHITA, Kansas, April 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The nation's largest abortion providers, an abortion lobbying group, and an ultra-liberal political organization are demanding that Senator Ted Cruz cut ties with Operation Rescue President Troy Newman – something that only proves how effective he has been, Newman's organization says.
Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and People for the American Way are asking Cruz to fire Newman as national co-chair of the “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition, claiming that Newman supports violence.
“Troy Newman’s history of violent rhetoric and harassment toward women’s health providers is truly beyond the pale,” the three say in a letter to Sen. Cruz, linking to quotations from his 2000 book, Their Blood Cries Out.
“What Planned Parenthood and their cohorts call 'violent rhetoric' is really a discussion of Old Testament Bible verses taken out of context,” said Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue and co-author of the book Their Blood Cries Out. The work establishes the sinful guilt of abortion before highlighting the mercy available in the New Testament for those who accept Jesus Christ, Sullenger said.
The letter also cites a report from the National Abortion Federation stating that abortionists have experienced an increase in “hate speech and internet harassment” since the release of CMP's undercover videos of Planned Parenthood, “which Newman was a driving force behind.”
“What they call 'harassment' is peaceful activism that is completely protected by the First Amendment,” Sullenger responded.
Newman has consistently denounced criminal action and violence of any kind during his decades in the pro-life movement, Operation Rescue said of the allegations – many of which were circulated to prevent Newman from entering Australia last year.
“Newman’s position on abortion-related violence is clear. He denounces violence against abortion providers as well as the violence perpetrated by the abortion cartel against innocent babies in the womb and their mothers,” Sullenger said.
“Attacking the messenger is the only way they have to try to discredit the hefty volume of evidence against them. This most recent attack is all about manipulating the public’s perception against those who exposed Planned Parenthood in order to deflect attention from their own crimes.”
But the three groups poured vitriolic scorn on Newman. Michael Keegan, president of People for the American Way, called Newman's role “completely unacceptable...No politician should be allowed to pander to violent anti-choice extremists without being called out.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said, "Troy Newman is an anti-choice extremist and misogynist ideologue.”
A Planned Parenthood executive said the choice proved Sen. Cruz and his vice presidential choice, Carly Fiorina, are unfit for office.
“It is not surprising to see Ted Cruz embrace this type of violent extremism -- after all this is the same man who has told malicious lies about Planned Parenthood, would criminalize abortion, and tried to shut down the government” to defund Planned Parenthood, said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “This is what the Cruz-Fiorina ticket stands for."
Sullenger dismissed their rhetoric as “a feeble attempt to hurt the presidential candidacy of Sen. Ted Cruz, who they know will seek to enforce the laws against them.”
Cruz has repeatedly stated that, if he is elected president, he will defund Planned Parenthood – before prosecuting them.
Their letter has led to a number of articles in the mainstream media, including Politico, the Huffington Post, and Glamour. The last publication, a feminist magazine aimed at young women, slammed Ted Cruz's choice of Carly Fiorina for vice president, telling its readers to “hold on to your uterus.”
“Not one of these publications bothered to reach out to Newman or Operation Rescue’s staff for their response,” Sullenger said.
This morning and afternoon, both sides of the abortion debate have used the Twitter hashtag #FireTroy to get their message across.
Sen. Cruz has not responded to the call, but the letter implies that purging Newman from the campaign would not satisfy the pro-abortion coalition. “There are a number of coalition members whose records raise serious concerns,” they say.