SDRTL News

23
Dec

An end to US aid for abortions overseas?

Did you know that the United States currently sends money overseas to promote abortions and abortion-related services?

President Ronald Reagan wanted to prevent US tax dollars to be given to other countries for promoting abortion. In 1984 he created the Mexico City Policy, which required all foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive federal funding to refrain from performing or promoting abortion services as a method of family planning internationally. After it passed, several international groups changed their policies so that they could still receive funding. Some groups, like the International Planned Parenthood Federation, did not.

This policy was in place until it was rescinded by Democratic President Bill Clinton in January 1993. It was re-instituted in January 2001 when President George W. Bush took office, and rescinded again in 2009 after President Barack Obama took office.

Since being rescinded in 2009, US tax dollars have been used to not only promote abortions, but to help perform abortions. The Helms amendment is a permanent law created in 1973 after Roe v. Wade to forbid foreign aid from directly paying for abortions. Without the Mexico City Policy, however, a loop hole is provided allowing abortion organizations to receive funding. In the same way Planned Parenthood expands abortion when they receive tax dollars at home, they and other abortion organizations can provide more abortions overseas with access to our tax dollars. Once in their budget, one dollar is as good as the next despite whatever accounting gimmicks they are required to abide by.

With thousands of service points in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe, hundreds of thousands of abortion-related services have taken place in the absence of the Mexico City Policy. There is no denying that this aid to other countries  drives up their abortion numbers, only hurting them. Many of these countries where abortion is being introduced have strict social and religious mandates against killing the unborn. Aid to abortion organizations takes away money that could be given to other legitimate healthcare organizations that work to provide family planning and other health services.

We need policies that help people internationally, not cause further harm by promoting an abortion-on-demand agenda. President-elect Trump will have an opportunity to revisit the Mexico City Policy next month.

23
Dec

Dispelling the myth: abortion side effects and the new JAMA study

Abortion is procedure that can cause some major side effects, substantially contributing to women’s mental health problems (and physical health problems as well). But unfortunately the media tries to divert the truth and push stories that neglect to talk about women’s health and safety.

Over the years there have been conflicting studies brought forth on whether or not there is mental health implications that come after having an abortion. JAMA Psychiatry recently released a study from the pro-abortion University of California-San Fransisco stating that women who had an abortion are not any more likely to have psychological damage than those who couldn’t have one.

UCSF researchers looked at 956 women for five years who were either post-abortive or women who tried to get an abortion and were denied. This data comes from their “Turnaway Study,” which was widely reported. Their new study went on the claim that through the information that they collected, they could decide that abortion really had no long-term effect on mental health.

It takes a lot to jump to a conclusion about everyone who has ever had an abortion from just one study, especially one whose data has some very glaring problems.

Most women in the original “Turnaway Study” turned away from participating in it. Only a small selection of women asked to participate volunteered. Were those that actively chose to participate more likely to think about their abortions positively?

The UCSF researchers did not note what types of abortions these were. First trimester abortions can still be traumatizing, but late-term abortions are widely-recognized to have a larger affect. Were these not more traumatizing second trimester abortions? Where are those details?

There are several other problems with the basic data they used.

Back in 2011 an extensive study review was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry (BJP) on the psychological effects of abortion. The BJP sample consisted of 22 studies and over 800,000 participants. The results showed that women who aborted experienced an 81% increased risk for mental health problems. This study offers the largest estimate of mental health risks associated with abortion currently available.

Abortion supporters often fail to look at the countless testimonies of women who have experienced the real psychological side effects of abortion like depression, anxiety, stress, and even suicidal thoughts. Many of these women wish they had access to more information when they had an abortion.

Some states, like Michigan, have laws in place to educate women on abortion before the procedure can take place. In 1993 Michigan passed our Informed Consent Law, which creates a 24-hour waiting period before a women can receive an abortion. Information pertaining to abortions must be made available to women who are abortion-mined at least 24 hours prior to their abortion being performed. This includes a summary of the procedure, gestation age of the baby, prenatal care information and parenting information.

Making sure that women are educated and know the potential mental health risks related to abortion is important for safety. When taking something as routine as an antibiotic, you are made aware of potential side effects; abortion should be no different.

Every few years a study comes out—usually funded by the same pro-abortion sources—and it gets widely hyped in the media. The study and media coverage utterly delegitimizes any women who don’t believe their abortion was a positive good. We know the goal here is to normalize abortion rather than educate women about the psychological harm abortion can do to them.

23
Dec

Abortions down 5% nationally in latest CDC report

Encouraging news came the day after Thanksgiving: the Centers for Disease Control released their annual report on abortion numbers, showing a 5% decrease. The numbers come from state abortion reports.

Before getting into the details, it’s important to note that three states refuse to collect and report abortion statistics: California, Maryland, and New Hampshire. While the overall abortion numbers are therefore much higher than reported by the CDC, we can still see the overall trends clearly from the 47 states we do have reports from.

Abortions continue to decline in America 
A total of 664,435 abortions were reported to CDC in 2013. The reported abortion rate was 12.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years. The reported abortion ratio was 200 abortions per 1,000 live births. All three measures were 5% decreases from 2012, so there were fewer abortions and a higher percentage of women chose life for their children.

The latest national estimate by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute was 1,085,800 abortions in 2011. Both the Guttmacher and CDC numbers show a long-term decline.

Abortion is aging 
Trends continue to show that more abortions are being performed on older women. Teens had 17.4% of abortions in 2004, compared to 11.7% in 2013. Women in the post-college age bracket of 25-34 had 37.9% of the abortions in 2004, but had 42.7% in 2013. The abortion ratios declined in all age groups, however, so both younger and older women are more likely to choose life in 2013 than in 2004. Older women also have much lower abortion ratios than younger women. A dramatic decline in teen abortions is part of the reason for the aging of abortion, but there’s a lot more to the story.

Just 1% are late-term abortions? That’s a lot of late-term abortions!
How many times have you seen politicians or abortion supporters dismiss late-term abortions as “rare” or not worth even discussing?

In the 2013 CDC report there are 40 reporting areas that collected information on how old the child is at the time he or she is aborted. The report showed 5,770 late-term abortions after 20 weeks, or 1.3% of all abortions. A good estimate for the entire nation is about 10,000 abortions every year given the roughly 1 million total abortions. Let’s just look at that reported figure though. How many is 5,770 late-term abortions? It’s 5,770 too many, especially when a large majority of Americans oppose late-term abortions. Compare that to other causes of death nationally, however. The latest CDC numbers showed 4,605 deaths from influenza in 2014. Are deaths from the flu so rare they are not worth addressing?

Just that “small” amount of late-term abortions should highlight the gut-wrenching numbers when looking at overall abortions. Why can’t our public health system devote as much attention to abortion as it does the seasonal flu? The dreaded Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 is estimated to have killed 50-100 million people globally in three years. In the three years from 2010-2013 there have been an estimated 168 million abortions globally. Abortion is not a once-in-a-century pandemic; it takes life on the scale of a permanent pandemic.

Don’t let someone dismiss abortion or late-term abortions as a side-issue; help them learn the facts.

Abortion has a disparate impact on the Black Community 
The good news is abortion ratios dropped in every racial and ethnic category in 2013. The bad news is the ratio is much higher in the Black community and it’s not dropping as quickly as other groups. The 2013 abortion ratio per 1,000 live births for non-Hispanic White women was 121, it was 178 for Hispanic women of any race and 420 for non-Hispanic Black women. The drops in abortion ratios from 2007 to 2013 were 23% for non-Hispanic Whites, 17% for non-Hispanic Blacks, and 13% for Hispanics.

Abortion is a cyclical problem that’s not being addressed 
Contrary to popular thought, abortion is not a one-time occurrence for most women. Nearly half of abortions are repeat abortions. Of women who had abortions in 2013, 55% were having their first abortion, and 45% were having their second abortion or more. Serial abortion is a serious problem, because 20% of women having abortions in 2013 were having their third abortion or more, and 9% were having their fourth abortion or more. If there are 1 million abortions in the U.S., then 90,000 women every year are having at least the fourth abortion in their lifetime.

Another tragic number is that of women who had abortions in 2013, 60% had already given birth to a child. These are women who probably already sat through an ultrasound with their first child as part of the birth process.

Conclusion? Celebrate more lives saved, but much more effort is still needed!

23
Dec

Michigan Legislature passes bills to ban fetal tissue trafficking

On December 14, the Michigan House passed SB 546 and 565 with a vote of 69-37 and 68-39. These bills received support from several members of the Democratic House Caucus who usually are solid pro-abortion votes. These bills are now headed to the desk of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, where he is expected to sign them.

SB 564 will prohibit the exchange of any form of compensation for fetal tissue or organs. SB 565 establishes the legal penalties for engaging in fetal tissue trafficking.

State Senator Phil Pavlov introduced this bill after the Center for Medical Progress had released a series of videos showing senior members of Planned Parenthood engaging in fetal organ and tissue trafficking. The videos further show abortion providers haggling over the prices for certain fetal parts, and being willing to change abortion procedures to get them.

While it is currently legal to receive a procurement fee for removing and delivering fetal organs and tissue, the videos show a picture of profiteering and greed. Because there are no guidelines within the law for fees that can be collected, this legislation will simply prohibit any exchange of money in Michigan, but will allow the practice of fetal tissue and organ donations.

Fetal tissue research is nothing new. Since at least the 1920s, scientists have used fetal tissue for various medical reasons. However it wasn’t until elective abortions became legal that the ethics of fetal tissue experimentation became hotly debated. Last year alone the National Institutes of Health spent $76 million of projects involving fetal tissue. Any existing or potential funds from the federal government for research projects in Michigan will not be affected by these bills, but the exchange of money to abortion providers who are selling fetal tissue for profit will end once these bills are signed into law.

26
May

Supreme Court decision a win for the Little Sisters of the Poor, Right to Life of Michigan

On May 16 the U.S. Supreme Court reached an 8-0 decision in Zubik v. Burwell. Several organizations are suing the Obama Administration over the Department of Health and Human Service’s contraceptive mandate. The most notable organization represented inZubik was the Catholic religious order Little Sisters of the Poor.

The decision was described in many media reports as a “punt,” since the Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower courts for the parties to reach a final accommodation. The decision is a temporary victory, however, because it forbids the Obama Administration from enforcing crippling fines against organizations who don’t comply with the HHS Mandate.

The mandate was a dictate by the Obama Administration requiring employers to cover contraceptives and sterilizations as “preventative health services.” The Obamacare law requires all preventative services to be covered by health insurance plans for free. A few of the contraception options required to be covered can potentially cause abortions, including common forms of emergency contraception. The HHS Mandate was not part of the law itself as passed by lawmakers in Congress.

Right to Life of Michigan filed a separate suit in federal court against the Obama Administration over the HHS Mandate, but the case was dismissed by a federal judge after several delays. Right to Life of Michigan takes no position on true contraceptives, but it’s wrong to force an organization dedicated to ending abortion to purchase insurance plans that include drugs that can cause abortions.

As the many cases worked their way through the system, the Obama Administration continued to assert that there was no acceptable way for them to accommodate the deeply held beliefs of the Little Sisters of the Poor or other organizations. The Supreme Court disagreed, however, and even the Obama Administration belatedly admitted that other options were available.

A similar case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., involved closely-held for-profit companies that objected to the HHS Mandate. Nonprofits organizations like the Little Sisters of the Poor and Right to Life of Michigan were not included in that decision. By a 5-4 decision in Hobby Lobby the Supreme Court ruled that the Obama Administration violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in attempting to force Hobby Lobby to purchase contraceptives. Hobby Lobby’s owners objected to only potentially abortifacient forms of contraceptives and offered other forms of birth control coverage to employees.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Zubik asserted that the Court did not reach a decision on whether or not the HHS Mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act for nonprofits. Following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia the fate of nonprofit organizations was in serious doubt. A potential 4-4 ruling would have left a patchwork of decisions in place depending on which circuit court district an organization was incorporated in.

26
May

RLM applauds Governor Snyder for signing Rape Survivor Child Custody Act

May 4, 2016 – Governor Snyder signed the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act into law on May 3. The new law helps prevent a rapist from gaining custody of a child. The law was included in a larger package of bills addressing domestic violence that Governor Snyder also signed.

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “Half of women who become pregnant through rape don’t have abortions and most of those women decide to keep their child. Michigan was not doing enough to protect women from their attackers in those circumstances.”

Under old state law a parent whose child was conceived through sexual assault had to secure a conviction in order to terminate the attacker’s parental rights. Rape convictions can be difficult to obtain because the evidence standard is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The new law changes that evidence standard for child custody hearings to “clear and convincing,” the same standard in custody hearings applied to child abuse accusations.

The change received overwhelming bipartisan support in the Michigan Legislature. The Senate passed it unanimously and the House passed the final version 105-3.

Throughout 2015 Right to Life of Michigan aired television ads as part of the compassion project. The ads directly addressed the issue of rape and abortion through the stories of four women. One of those women, Shauna, was forced to choose between pursuing charges against her attacker and protecting custody of her daughter.

Right to Life of Michigan and prolife legislators began working on the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act after learning about this weakness in the court system.

Listing said, “A child deserves love and protection, not to be used as a bargaining chip for rapists to threaten their mothers and escape prosecution.”

Shauna’s story, which inspired the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, can be seen on Right to Life of Michigan’s website here.

For more information: Right to Life of Michigan Director of Communication Chris Gast, 616-532-2300, info@rtl.org.

26
May
08
Feb

A clever, very pro-life announcement about “a little buckaroo to complete our crew”

By Dave Andrusko

ChadBramlet7Like most [all?] pro-lifers, I am a pushover for clever, creative ways to announce a new baby is on the way.

Enter reverbnation.com.

Until I watched the video and investigated, I knew nothing about Chad Bramlet. Now I know he is country singer and songwriter.

I gather this was their way of announcing to family and friends and fans that Bramlet #9 was on the way.

The video is very, very funny and very, very clever and very, very pro-life.

It is shot in the family van, with Chad and his wife and their eight delightful kids all contributing to the songfest.

In the video, Chad is seen in the front seat ducking “friendly fire” from the kids in the back and is “about to crack.”

His wife then gets a (pretend) call from the doctor, a call they had been waiting for.

And then the wife leans in whispers three little words [“It’s a boy”]

I had to admit that I was concerned

She took my hand and said

“Where else can you find a love like that?”

At that point, the kids chime to introduce “a little buckaroo to complete our crew.” I laughed out loud.

The words are, we’re told, a gentle parody of Rodney Atkins’ “Watching You” with lots of humorous lines from the Bramlet brood, including mom and dad. (BTW, Atkins’ uplifting song is a powerful reminder of the influence, good and occasionally not so good, that we parents have on our kids.)

It’s a great watch. Be sure to share it with your friends and family.

08
Feb

Abortion: Another Word for Failure

Abortion: Another Word for Failure

By Jean Garton

Editor’s note. Jean Garton is best known to pro-lifers as the author of the classic, “Who Broke the Baby?” But over the years she has also contributed a number of wonderful essays for National Right to Life News and National Right to Life News Today. She has also spoken at the last three National Right to Life Conventions.

130124-jean-staker-gartonreOne of the most frayed and tattered books in my office is a treasure I found at a garage sale. It was in a dirty cardboard box filled with dusty old volumes. A scribbled sign read, “10[cent] each.”

My bargain book is a 60-year-old copy of Roget’s Thesaurus. Unlike the newer copy on my shelf, the old one contains words which, in current usage, sometimes have been emptied of their meaning. When I need an alternate word for a speech or article, the old version is a valuable resource.

One day when I was seeking a synonym for the word “failure,” the thesaurus provided the following options: “successlessness, blunder, defectiveness, abortion….”

Abortion? A synonym for “failure”? Pretty wretched company, especially since so many people today associate abortion with such benign and positive words as “choice,” “privacy,” and “rights.”

The results of abortion are indeed wretched, as most women know who have experienced this first hand. But, we might ask, if abortion is another name for blunder and defectiveness (and failure and pain and disappointment), why don’t more women tell other women?

One reason victims are reluctant to “go public” with their “choice” is because often concealing an abortion quickly becomes their highest priority. These unfortunate women have learned to their everlasting regret that yesterday’s “solution” has become today’s (and tomorrow’s) ever-present problem. Managing guilt, suffering, and loss can absorb all their energies. But the conspiracy of silence is not limited to the grieving woman whose child has died.

After all, she has a family, friends, and the baby has (had) a father. How do we explain the unwillingness of others around her, including those who are personally pro-life, to “go public” with what they know to be true?

Perhaps part of the explanation is that while it is unborn babies who die as a consequence of abortion, a nation’s moral imagination – – its ability to empathize – – can also be killed. To think that we can kill without something very important in us dying is a dangerous illusion.

I recall one column that glowingly touted the chemical abortion pill, RU-486. The author dismissed concern for the unborn child as insignificant. After all, she said, what is involved is “no larger than a grain of rice.”

She didn’t mention that RU486 is used at a time when the unborn child has a beating heart, spinal cord, two brain lobes, internal organs, and even a face. After decades of pro-life education and legislation, how is it possible for people to be so ignorant of reality? Perhaps it is there are “none so blind as those who refuse to see.”

But in the end, because the pro-life movement has gone public with the truth, despite the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that was supposed to have “settled” the abortion question, abortion remains today the most unsettled question in our public life.

Looking back over lo these many years, it is obvious that my old 10[cent] Roget’s Thesaurus had it right. Abortion IS a failure – – a failure to care, a failure to protect, a failure to help.

08
Feb
baby4

How Planned Parenthood is spending your tax dollars

Recently, Planned Parenthood released their 2014-2015 Annual Report. The report gives statistics on several Planned Parenthood programs. Comparing their latest report with the previous year’s report poses an important question:

Why is Planned Parenthood getting more tax funding while serving fewer clients and providing fewer health services? 

 

Planned Parenthood had 2.5 million clients in 2014, a 7% decrease from 2013.  Their family practice services declined 49%. Their sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and treatments declined 6%.

Planned Parenthood most often defends itself as a committed provider of birth control and breast cancer prevention services, even to the point of lying about providing mammograms. Their birth control services declined 18% and breast exams were down 25%.

What didn’t decline? The number of abortions they did was largely the same. They did 323,999 abortions, down from 327,653 the previous year (a 1% decrease). Their tax funding did increase 5%, to $553.7 million, which is 43% of their total budget.

The 2014-2015 report also shows Planned Parenthood continues to be a profitable non-profit as their income over expenses was $58.8 million.

Why are prolife citizens forced to give their money to Planned Parenthood to provide less of everything except for abortions?

 

For a better perspective, let’s compare their recent 2014-2015 Annual Report to their 2004-2005 Annual Report.

Over the last 10 years, Planned Parenthood’s total clients are down 14%. The number of clients receiving contraception is down 14% as well. Breast exams are down 61%.

Can you guess what increased?

If you guessed abortion and tax funding, you’re right!  Abortions are up 27%, from 255,015 to 323,999. Tax funding has more than doubled, increasing 103%.

Reasonable people would assume that when an organization repeatedly receives increases in government grants, they are improving or expanding their services offered to people in need, not losing clients.

STI tests, pregnancy tests, contraceptives and breast exams are not unique services. Those are simple things that can be provided without controversy at one of the more than 9,000 community health center locations in America that serve 23 million people. Many of those services can be purchased from one of more than 20,000 name-brand pharmacies and countless other stores across the county.

What is the one specialty and unique “service” that Planned Parenthood provides? Abortion.