Just last week the Nebraska state legislature by a vote of 44-5 passed landmark legislation—The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act—setting a demarcation line on abortion services based on a substantial body of biomedical research that indicates unborn children can feel pain at 20 weeks. Governor Dave Heinemen (R-NE) signed the bill into the law, which will take effect this October. Once the law is enforced, abortion services will be illegal at and after 20 weeks gestation with exceptions only in cases of the threat of death to the mother or a serious risk of “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.” Rape and incest are not included as valid exceptions. It is clear from this that there is a dual effort to skirt around the requirements of Roe and avoid the very broad exception of a woman’s “health” that in practice acts as a smokescreen for all elective abortions.
This law is the first of its kind in the United States, basing its restriction on abortion on fetal pain and not on arbritrary notion of fetal”viability.” Without any surprise, pro-choice lobbyists and lawyers are going to challenge the law in court as unconstitutional because it sets the abortion limit prior to the prevalent judgment that “fetal viability” falls between 22 and 24 weeks and the law allegedly violates several judicial precedents post-Roe, such as the intentionally neglect to include rape, incest, and broad “health-related” clauses as valid exceptions to have an abortion.
Technically there are no judicial precedents for the pro-life Nebraska law because the newness of the standard that is the basis of the law. This will be a first-test case. There is reason to be optimistic that the U.S. Supreme Court—if the case makes it that far—might very well uphold the law. In the best case scenario, there are at least fives justices (the same five that upheld the ban on partial-birth abortion) who would seriously consider a persuasive case of state interest in preserving unborn human life given the considerable amount of medical evidence that unborn children are capable of feeling pain at 20 weeks during an abortion.
The full text of the new abortion law can be found here.
Coincidentally, the same day the Republican governor also signed a separate law requiring health care providers to screen women seeking abortions for possible physical or mental risks before and after the procedure with failure to comply resulting in fines up to $10,000. He has stated his intention to defend these pro-life victories against legal challenges if necessary.
Hattip to Rich Leonardi at Ten Reasons. I have long thought that the way we will win the battle against abortion is by simple persistence. Pro-lifers will never give up until we prevail and abortion is banned. Tommy Behan is an example to us all:
T. ANDREW DEANERY — The White House staffers who open President Barrack Obama’s mail are likely well aware of Tommy Behan’s pro-life stance.
Behan, a member of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish and a sophomore at Lakota East High School, has written the president every day since Obama’s inauguration asking him to change his position on abortion. The 16-year-old has handwritten and mailed more than 430 letters.
“His stance is the most radical pro-choice one for a president who has ever held office,” said Behan. “In the first letter I made a vow to never stop writing until he changed it or he’s out of office.”
The teen usually writes in the evenings. He avoids email, preferring to show his passion with the extra effort a handwritten letter requires. His parents supply the pens, paper and stamps. If Behan gets pressed for time and misses a day, he’ll write additional letters until he is caught up. The letters are sometimes mailed in batches.
Behan begins each letter by telling Obama how many times he has written before. Then the teen argues the constitutionality of abortion, talks about justice for the unborn and tells of the lives that have been lost. His stance is straightforward: Life begins at conception and comes before liberty, he said.
“I keep building on my argument,” Behan said. “It really upsets me how some people choose to have an abortion when others really want to have children.”
One of six children, Behan has seen his sister and her husband suffer miscarriages. That experience has made him more passionate and given him more resolve to try to get Obama to publicly change his position.
After about three months of writing Behan received a form letter from the White House. There have been about 17 more since. The generic replies thank him for writing and sometimes acknowledge the topic.
The teen also debated the issue in an editorial in Spark, a well-known student magazine at Lakota East.
“He’s always had a deep respect for life,” said Behan’s mother, Jude Behan. “We’re very proud of him. This was not initiated by us.”
She said her son is dedicated to the letter-writing campaign and is self-motivated. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
The White House on Friday announced that Dawn Johnsen has withdrawn her nomination by Obama to head of the Office of Legal Counsel. This was after a year during which it became increasingly clear that Republicans in the Senate, joined by some Democrats, would never vote to confirm her, and that the administration lacked the votes to break a filibuster. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
In my previous post, I argued at length against both traditionalist Catholic and left-Catholic critiques of American history, and Catholicism’s place within it. Now I believe it is time to shift from the historical to the contemporary. A recent article in Politico by Ben Smith, “Tea parties stir evangelicals’ fears” (which might have been better titled, “Ben Smith seeks to stir evangelicals’ fears”), makes what I consider to be a rather weak attempt to stir the pot and inflame tensions between libertarians and evangelical Christians. You know he’s reaching when he’s hunting down “Christian conservatives” whose primary concern with the tea party is that it is unduly harsh on the noble personal character of President Obama, who, according to one of these evangelical leaders, “provides a tremendously positive role model for tens of millions of African-American men.”
My eyes were rolling so hard I could practically hear them squishing around in their sockets.
The more substantive claim worth addressing is that there is a secular libertarian streak in the tea party movement that is partially or wholly incompatible with the conservative Christian social agenda, which one of the evangelical critics claims has “a politics that’s irreligious”. When Smith was schooled by an article covering a poll that broke down, and dispelled some of the more ridiculous myths about the tea party movement, he continued to maintain that the tensions he pointed out could become problems in the future. So they may.
In the pro-life cause there are many ways to serve: volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center, speaker’s bureau, education, political action, the list could go on at considerable length. One of the toughest tasks for pro-lifers is bearing witness to the sacredness of innocent human life outside of an abortion clinic. The pro-life protestors are usually subject to verbal attack and sometimes physical assault. It takes brave people to volunteer for such duty.
On November 24, Sarah Winandy and Leah Winandy, mother and daughter, were standing outside of the abortion clinic in Duluth, Minnesota, calling itself the Duluth Building for women. Part of the Pro-Life Ministry of Duluth, they were passing out pamphlets and protesting abortion.
Mechelle Hall, a pregnant woman, walked towards Leah Winandy. Hall pulled out a knife and waved it at Leah, and said, “Don’t come near me.” Leah told her, “Please don’t kill your baby. Fear God.” She approached Hall, “Look and listen to your ultrasound.” Hall came towards Leah and held the knife to her throat. Leah was unhurt and Mechelle Hall was arrested. Here is a video report on the incident. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Laura Chinchilla was elected President of Costa Rica on February 7, 2010. She is the first woman to be elected to that office. She is a member of the Partido Nacional Liberacion (National Liberation Party) which belongs to the Socialist International. Now normally I am as fond of socialists as I was fond of the castor oil that my sainted mother regularly made me swallow a spoon full of daily when I was a little boy. However, Chinchilla is my type of socialist.
She ran on a get tough on crime platform. She is a devotee of free market economic policies. She was the only mainstream politician in Costa Rica to take part in a March for Life and Family on November 28, 2009 in Costa Rica which was organized by a coalition of church leaders. She is an ardent foe of abortion and opposes legalizing the human pesticide known as the morning after pill. She opposes altering the Constitution of Costa Rica which, while enshrining religious freedom, proclaims that Costa Rica is a Roman Catholic nation. Many of her supporters carried rosaries at her rallies and she always has her rosary with her. After her election she asked that all Costa Ricans ask strength of the patroness of Costa Rica, Our Lady of the Angels, and went to the shrine of Our Lady of the Angels to pray. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Hattip to Cassy Fiano at Hot Air. This will come as old news to pro-lifers who attempt to spread the pro-life message at abortion clinics, but abortion clinic employees, volunteers and escorts are usually intensely abusive of pro-lifers, sometimes resorting to physical violence. These incidents are usually ignored by the media, most of which is completely in the tank for the pro-abort cause.
According to a police report filed at the scene, supported by several witnesses, the following interaction took place between Miss Rose and the uniformed Planned Parenthood escort:
Rose, from the public sidewalk: “Sir, are you familiar with the abortion procedure?”
Escort approaches Rose rapidly from Planned Parenthood parking lot, says, “You idiot. You’ve caused so much trouble. You piece of crap.”
Rose offers to show Escort a picture: “Can I show you a picture of what it really does to a baby?”
The Escort strikes Miss Rose’s hand, knocking literature and Bible to the ground. Rose steps further back on sidewalk, Escort steps towards Rose.
Escort, visibly shaking, says, “It’s a woman’s choice!”
Rose says, “What about the baby’s choice?”
Escort says, “It’s not a baby!” Escort turns around and walks away.Police were called and interviewed the victim and several witnesses. Rose sustained no injuries from the attack. Charges of assault and battery are pending. There have been no apologies.
Live Action maintains a strong commitment to non-violent public discourse. We expect Planned Parenthood will respond to their escort’s attack by publicly disavowing the use of violence.
Here is Louisiana Congressman Joseph Cao, the only Republican to vote for the recent health care reform bill, speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives:
h/t: Mirror of Justice.
[N]o one in the world who prizes liberty and human rights can feel anything but a strong kinship with America. Yours is the one great nation in all of history that was founded on the precept of equal rights and respect for all humankind, for the poorest and weakest of us as well as the richest and strongest.
As your Declaration of Independence put it, in words that have never lost their power to stir the heart: “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…” A nation founded on these principles holds a sacred trust: to stand as an example to the rest of the world, to climb ever higher in its practical realization of the ideals of human dignity, brotherhood, and mutual respect. Your constant efforts in fulfillment of that mission, far more that your size or your wealth or your military might, have made America an inspiration to all mankind.
It must be recognized that your model was never one of realized perfection, but of ceaseless aspiration. From the outset, for example, America denied the African slave his freedom and human dignity. But in time you righted that wrong, albeit at an incalculable cost in human suffering and loss of life.
Your impetus has almost always been toward a fuller, more all embracing conception and assurance of the rights that your founding fathers recognized as inherent and God-given.
Yours has ever been an inclusive, not an exclusive, society. And your steps, though they may have paused or faltered now and then, have been pointed in the right direction and have trod the right path. The task has not always been an easy one, and each new generation has faced its own challenges and temptations. But in a uniquely courageous and inspiring way, America has
Yet there has been one infinitely tragic and destructive departure from those American ideals in recent memory. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Deal Hudson at Inside Catholic wrote recently about the divisions in the pro-life movement over the Personhood Initiative, a nation-wide effort to legally define “personhood” as beginning at the moment of conception. The testing ground for the initiative was Colorado, where the movement’s founder, an admirable 19 year-old by the name of Kristi Burton, hails from. The lowdown, according to Deal, is that,
Colorado voters turned down the amendment by a stunning 73 percent to 27 percent, in spite of support from Focus on the Family, American Life League, and legal advice from the Thomas More Law Center. But the effort had failed to gain the support of either National Right to Life (NRTL) or the Colorado Catholic Conference.
Whether or not that extra support would have resulted in a less unbalanced result, I cannot say. For those wondering why the Catholic Conference, and many American bishops are hesitant to embrace the PI, the concern was apparently that if it were taken to, and shot down by, the Supreme Court, it would have the effect of “actively reaffirm[ing] the mistaken jurisprudence of Roe.” According to Deal, however, some Catholic bishops are reconsidering their position on the PI.
Not long ago, in the context of the debate over the efforts of Bart Stupak and the pro-life Dems, I wrote about pro-life pragmatism. I argued that the much-derided “incrementalism” is actually the most viable way of winning the long-term war against the abortion industry in light of the facts about where the American electorate stands on abortion. With respect to the PI, and with all due respect to the founders and supporters of this movement, I must reaffirm that position.
Hattip to Creative Minority Report. Economic times are tough and they are especially tough in Michigan, so the Northland Family Planning Centers of Michigan are touting their contract killing of the unborn in the above video as “sacred work” , and they assure us that they “believe in the goodness” of their work. Well, I guess it beats saying that they kill unborn kids for a living for cash on the barrel head. A nice video to recall when a pro-abort argues that no one is pro-abortion.
Of course, what would an ad for an abortuary be without a quote from the late Tiller the Killer?
Abortion is not a cerebral or reproductive issue. Abortion is a matter of the heart. For until one understands the heart of a woman, nothing else about abortion makes any sense at all. Dr. George Tiller 1941-2009
Who knew? I always thought that Tiller the Killer, late term abortionist, did it for the money that made him a very rich man. Instead, he did it because he understood the hearts of women! (Except, I guess, for the little females he slew.)
For a rather more accurate view of what the abortion business is all about, here is a video regarding the change of heart of Abby Johnson, a former director of a Planned Parenthood, a/k/a Worse Than Murder, Inc, clinic.
As to the temporary restraining order mentioned in the video, a judge voided it after a hearing, so Abby Johnson is free to speak. Her testimony is important, and it also reminds us that even the most hardened advocates of abortion may be touched by grace and find themselves as our allies for the unborn. Pray that the makers of the video at the beginning of this post may experience such a conversion.
Is one of the most recent columns over at Vox Nova prophetic? Has Senator Harry Reid set into motion what is to be the death of health care reform because of the abortion issue?
The Senate Majority Leader unveiled the health care legislation yesterday and it is already under attack by pro-life groups because it contains language strikingly similar to the Capps Amendment—the original abortion provisions of the House health care bill until it was removed and replaced upon the passage of the Stupak Amendment which explicitly prohibited the funding of abortion or subsidizing of insurance plans that cover abortions in what would be newly-created health exchanges. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
“Progressives” all over the Internet are absolutely dismayed over the Stupak amendment, but they way in which they are expressing it is rather curious. Rather than standing up and proudly defending a woman’s right to murder her unborn child – or even to, in the more clinical and dehumanizing language, “terminate her pregnancy” – they are chiefly complaining about the class discrimination they believe is inherent in the amendment. Allegedly the Stupak amendment will only make it harder for poor and middle class women to get abortions, while rich women will continue to have access to them.
This distraction is as old as it is absurd. No one objects to abortions for the poor while supporting abortions for the rich. It’s easier for a rich person to buy drugs, to hire hit-men to take out an annoying spouse, or to commit any number of crimes against individuals and society. This has never been an argument for legalizing objectionable or violent behavior.
While the moral point the progressives wish to make is bankrupt, their concerns are based on recent and objective analysis of the larger implications of the Stupak amendment. If Stupak remains in the health care bill, it will actually have the effect of significantly reducing the abortion rate.
Faithful readers of this blog will recall this post here discussing the Bishop of Providence Thomas J. Tobin taking Patrick Kennedy, Teddy’s son, to task for attacking the Church over ObamaCare. Now the Bishop has written the following letter to Congressman Kennedy:
Dear Congressman Kennedy:
“The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic.” (Congressman Patrick Kennedy)
Since our recent correspondence has been rather public, I hope you don’t mind if I share a few reflections about your practice of the faith in this public forum. I usually wouldn’t do that – that is speak about someone’s faith in a public setting – but in our well-documented exchange of letters about health care and abortion, it has emerged as an issue. I also share these words publicly with the thought that they might be instructive to other Catholics, including those in prominent positions of leadership.
For the moment I’d like to set aside the discussion of health care reform, as important and relevant as it is, and focus on one statement contained in your letter of October 29, 2009, in which you write, “The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic.” That sentence certainly caught my attention and deserves a public response, lest it go unchallenged and lead others to believe it’s true. And it raises an important question: What does it mean to be a Catholic? →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Last night all but one, who voted present, of the House Republicans voted in favor of the Stupak Amendment in spite of knowing that its passage made likely the final passage of ObamaCare. Here is a statement of the House Republican Leadership issued last night before either the Stupak amendment or ObamaCare was passed:
House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH), House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) and House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN) issued the following statement in support of an amendment offered by Representatives Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Joseph Pitts (R-PA) that would prohibit federal funding of abortions under the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) health care plan: “We believe in the sanctity of life, and the Stupak-Pitts Amendment addresses a moral issue of the utmost concern. It will limit abortion in the United States. Because of this, while we strongly and deeply oppose the underlying bill, we decided to stand with Life and support Stupak-Pitts.
As a Christian and a Catholic, I believe that there is a major difference between the separation of Church and State on the one hand, and religion and politics on the other. Church and State are establishments; religion and politics are systems of thought and practice. To expect people with religious beliefs to somehow keep them “out of politics” is the equivalent of expecting them not to participate in politics at all – something that the radical fringes of the atheist/agnostic movement would probably affirm. In their view the religious are too stupid or irrational to deserve a vote.
Throughout history there have been Christians who choose to opt out of politics and even mainstream society altogether for a more religiously pure life. From the desert ascetics and hermits that completely isolated themselves from society, to the monastic orders that lived more secluded lives, to the Amish who built separate communities and resisted modernization, there have always been Christian “separatists”, for lack of a better word. To these groups I have always said, “God bless you.” I fully understand the impulse and desire to remove one’s self, and one’s family, away from the mess that mainstream society can easily become.
The song is called Magnificent by the musical group U2. It was a minor hit in both the United Kingdom and the United States in A.D. 2009 (and a major hit in Greece).
Some entrepreneurial YouTuber recreated the music video and turned it into a pretty decent contemporary ‘Christian’ music video. The music video now celebrates the Triune God, the Eucharist, of course the love of God all coupled within a strong Pro-Life message. There’s even a guest appearance of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI!
(Biretta Tip: Meg)