Friday, September 28, 2012

And then there were none: Workers leave the abortion industry

From the National Catholic Register:
Over the past five years, a growing number of abortion workers across the country have had a change of heart and left their jobs. It's a trend that is leading others to do the same.

"It does seem to be snowballing," said Jewels Green, a former abortion worker just outside Philadelphia. ...

In 2009, after being asked to assist with and witnessing an ultrasound-guided abortion, Abby Johnson realized she could no longer work at the Texas Planned Parenthood where she had worked for the previous eight years.

"I didn't know where to go or what to do," explained Johnson. "All of my friends were involved in the abortion movement."

Yet, says Johnson, she felt she could trust the people praying on the other side of the fence.

"They had always told me, 'If you ever want to leave, we'll be here for you,'" said Johnson. "I decided to put them to the test." ...

"I broke down and told them, 'I know what I've been doing is wrong, and I want out,'" recalled Johnson. "They just looked at me and said, 'We're here to help you.'"

The turning point is different for each worker.

For Jewels Green, that point occurred when she became aware of the abortion of a child who tested positive for Down syndrome.

But that was long after her own abortion and work in the industry.

"I was coerced into having an abortion I didn't want when I was 17," said Green. "Weeks later, I tried to take my own life. Within months after recovering in an adolescent-treatment unit, I marched in a pro-abortion walk and began volunteering as an escort. I was trying to reconcile my guilt."

Green shared that she was always intuitively pro-life. However, after hearing the story of a gestational surrogate, a woman who carries a child for another couple, and learning of the abortion of that child after a genetic test came back positive for Down syndrome, Green made the decision to self-identify as pro-life.

In 2011, Green spoke out publicly, sharing her testimony on what would have been her own aborted child's 23rd birthday.

For Sue Thayer, her conversion came when the Planned Parenthood business she managed decided to start doing "telemed" abortions. A telemed abortion involves an offsite doctor meeting with a patient via webcam and a locked drawer with medication being opened. The woman takes the first set of pills at the abortion business, and then she goes home to take a second set of pills. She then awaits the contractions that expel the baby.

Thayer began working at Planned Parenthood in Storm Lake, Iowa, in April 1991. She worked there until she was fired in December 2008.

"Our business didn't do surgical abortions, and I felt I was doing my part to prevent the need for abortion," said Thayer.

That changed in mid-2008, when Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa announced that they would begin offering telemed/webcam abortions.

"I was being asked to perform invasive vaginal ultrasounds, to stock the drawer with abortifacients, to watch the patient take the first set of pills, and supervise and train others to do that," explained Thayer.

When she became vocal about her concerns and her reticence, she lost her job.

Planned Parenthood, however, didn't have the final word.

In the fall of 2011, Thayer headed up a 40 Days for Life campaign outside her former employer. On March 1, 2012, the Storm Lake, Iowa, Planned Parenthood business closed.

Catherine Adair, a former Boston Planned Parenthood worker, said that she was converted because of the undercover work of Lila Rose's organization Live Action.

"I was present when young girls came in with their abusers and Planned Parenthood performed their abortions," said Adair. "When Live Action came out with their videos, I felt vindicated. I knew it to be true, and they showed it to be true. That allowed me, for the first time, to tell others what I had experienced."

Green said that "deception" is one of the biggest hurdles for abortion workers to overcome in leaving the industry.

"The veil of lies is so thick," said Green. "The euphemisms that surround the culture of death make this psychologically accessible." ...

Johnson went on to write the book Unplanned about her experiences, and she has founded the organization And Then There Were None to assist other abortion workers interested in leaving the industry. ...

Initially contacted by 17 abortion workers who wanted to leave the industry, Johnson and her husband financially supported those individuals so that they could make a transition from the abortion industry. Since the official launch of her ministry this summer, 13 additional abortion workers have left.

"Former abortion workers have seen and heard and experienced things that people cannot imagine," explained Johnson. "Our first goal is to provide stability, so they can get out of where they're working and have families that are healthy and happy. Our second goal is recovery, so that they feel mentally and physically healthy."

In addition, the organization offers spiritual healing and legal assistance.

"People are finally starting to come forward because they realize that if someone else has done it, they can do it," said Johnson. "I hope it's not just a trend, but that there's permanence to it. The more who go public with their story — it will be like a domino effect."

Johnson said there are currently four pending lawsuits against Planned Parenthood over fraudulent billing.

"Former abortion workers have real stories to tell about real clients," she added. "Workers coming out could be the beginning of the end for the abortion industry."

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

'I had to see what I could do'

Pattie Mallette was sexually abused as a child. She got into drugs and alcohol. She tried to commit suicide. She became pregnant at 17 and was encouraged to have an abortion.

"I just knew I couldn't. I just knew I couldn't. I just know I had to keep him," she explained in a recent interview. "I didn't know how I was going to do it. But I just knew that I couldn't -- I couldn't abort. I had to do my best. I had to see what I could do. And I was determined to do whatever it took."

Mallette's life story is recounted in her new autobiography, Nowhere But Up: The Story of Justin Bieber's Mom.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Video: 10 weeks after conception

Monday, September 17, 2012

'A politician who has never once lifted a hand to defend the most helpless and innocent'

Vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, speaking on Friday:
President Obama likes to say, "We're all in this together." ... -- it has a nice ring. For everyone who loves this country, it is not only true but obvious. Yet how hollow it sounds coming from a politician who has never once lifted a hand to defend the most helpless and innocent of all human beings, the child waiting to be born.

Giving up any further pretense of moderation on this issue, and in complete disregard of millions of pro-life Democrats, President Obama has chosen to pander to the most extreme elements of his party.

In the Clinton years, the stated goal was to make abortion "safe, legal and rare." But that was a different time, and a different president. Now, apparently, the Obama-Biden ticket stands for an absolute, unqualified right to abortion -- at any time, under any circumstances, and even at taxpayer expense.

When you get past all of the President's straw men, what we believe is plain to state: These vital questions should be decided, not by the caprice of unelected judges, but by the conscience of the people and their elected representatives. And in this good-hearted country, we believe in showing compassion for mother and child alike.

We don't write anyone off in America, especially those without a voice. Every child has a place and purpose in this world. Everyone counts, and in a just society the law should stand on the side of life.

Friday, September 7, 2012

We the People

Last night, President Barack Obama said:
We, the people, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which asks only, what's in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.

As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It's about what can be done by us, together ...

America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won't promise that now. Yes, our path is harder, but it leads to a better place. Yes, our road is longer, but we travel it together.

We don't turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up.
"We the people." "Bound together." "Leave no one behind." What the president did not mention is that there is a raging debate in our society today about the scope of "we," "us," "the people" -- about who counts as a member of our human (and, more particularly, American) community, bearing basic dignity and rights, and who or what instead may be discarded or used instrumentally for the benefit of those who do count. Obama once said that this foundational moral and political question is "above my pay grade." But the question of who is one of us and who may be killed by us is not above the pay grade of the president of the United States. A confident answer to that question is a prerequisite for the job, and our president flunked the test.

In fact, though, Obama has taken his stand, and done so with great zeal. He is committed to the proposition that unborn human beings -- members of our species at the earliest developmental stages -- merit no moral regard or legal protection and may be dismembered and killed for the convenience of the older, the stronger, the smarter, the independent. "We the people," for President Obama, does not include the unborn. Our "commitment to others" does not extend to the smallest and most vulnerable. And as we "leave no one behind," Obama is not counting the millions of young human beings for whom he wishes only death. He will not turn back.

"[W]e cannot go on forever feigning agnosticism about who is human," one of Obama's opponents, Paul Ryan, has written. "Now, after America has won the last century's hard-fought struggles against unequal human rights in the forms of totalitarianism abroad and segregation at home, I cannot believe any official or citizen can still defend the notion that an unborn human being has no rights that an older person is bound to respect."

But that is the Obama position. His is one of exclusion, discrimination, and the use of violence against the most innocent and defenseless in order to get what we want for ourselves. His opponents, Mitt Romney and Ryan, embrace a position of inclusion, equality, and respect and protection for every human being simply because they, like you and me, are human.

This utterly important question -- who are "We the People"? -- is a big part of what is at stake in the November election.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Why the Supreme Court matters on Nov. 6

During every presidential election campaign, pro-life voters hear about the importance of choosing the candidate who will nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court judges who will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Some pro-lifers think nothing has changed, and so they have stopped caring or stopped taking abortion and the Court into account in the voting booth. But they are tragically mistaken.

Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973 by a 7-2 vote. By 1992, after Court appointments by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the Court had made significant progress, voting in Planned Parenthood v. Casey to uphold Roe by only a 5-4 margin. And even that ruling -- while extremely flawed and disappointing -- revised Roe in ways that made more state-level pro-life laws (e.g., informed consent, waiting periods) possible, leading to modest but substantial reductions in the number of abortions through the 1990s and 2000s (abortions in the United States have dropped 25 percent since 1990). Those lifesaving laws could not have been enacted without the Supreme Court justices chosen by Reagan and Bush.

The election of Bill Clinton set us back. After his two pro-Roe nominees, the Court held a 6-3 pro-Roe majority and even voted to strike down a state ban on the barbaric partial-birth abortion procedure. Then George W. Bush took office. Bush replaced one anti-Roe justice (Rehnquist) with (probably) another (Roberts) and one pro-Roe justice (O'Connor) with (probably) an anti-Roe justice (Alito). So the balance was again 5-4 in favor of Roe -- just one vote away from having the votes necessary for a reversal. Moreover, the replacement of O'Connor with Alito allowed the Court to uphold (by a 5-4 margin) the federal partial-birth abortion ban in 2007's Gonzales v. Carhart, reversing the earlier decision. It was the first time since Roe that the Court had sustained a ban on a particular abortion procedure, and it set the stage for further incremental challenges to the Court's jurisprudence, such as laws protecting pain-capable unborn children that have been recently enacted across the country.

After Bush left office, over the last four years, two pro-Roe justices stepped down. But the opportunity to overturn Roe was lost because we had elected Barack Obama, who replaced those justices with two more pro-Roe justices.

Here is the historical bottom line: The elections of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush affected the Supreme Court in ways that have saved many lives from abortion -- and contributed to the future reversal of Roe v. Wade. The elections of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama did the opposite. Reagan and the two Bushes were pro-life and favored judges who are faithful to the Constitution; Clinton and Obama support Roe and unlimited abortion and favor judges inclined to substitute personal (always pro-abortion) policy preferences in place of the law, the same philosophy that gave us Roe in the first place.

Now to the 2012 presidential election. Mitt Romney, unlike Obama, is pro-life, opposes Roe v. Wade, and pledges to choose judges who "adhere to the Constitution and the laws as they are written, not as they want them to be written." The Court is still tipped 5-4 in favor of Roe. A single nomination to the Court by a President Romney could make all the difference; more selections by Obama could cement Roe for another generation.

What would overturning Roe mean? It would mean that the Court is no longer imposing a nationwide policy of abortion on demand. It would mean that states are free to democratically determine their own abortion policies -- there would be a more serious public abortion debate. Some states would retain pro-abortion laws, but many would very significantly limit or even ban elective abortion. Overturning Roe would save the lives of millions of unborn children.

But more than Roe hangs in the balance. A second Obama term could turn the Court against modest pro-life laws that the Court has previously upheld, in decisions like Casey and Gonzales. Obama's two appointees so far would likely vote to strike down partial-birth abortion bans, for example; an additional nomination could put that position in the majority. Obama himself embraces such a radically expansive interpretation of the (fictional) constitutional right to abortion that he thinks the Court should strike down legal protection for born-alive abortion survivors.

Moreover, as Michael Fragoso notes, a president's nominations to other federal courts also affect abortion policy:
At the end of July, [George W. Bush-appointed] Judge Gruender (again) upheld South Dakota's informed-consent law. ... Earlier this year [Reagan-appointed] Judges Jones and Smith thwarted Planned Parenthood's efforts to use the courts to perform an end-run around Texas's popular sonogram law. In 2009, [George H.W. Bush-appointed] Judge Niemeyer upheld Virginia's partial-birth abortion ban en banc.

Given the Supreme Court's 2007 Carhart decision, the presence of conservative judges on the circuits will be crucial to advancing effective incremental pro-life legislation. These incremental changes are proven to be effective and are proliferating at the state level.
So why does the Supreme Court matter in this presidential election? Because the reversal of Roe v. Wade is at stake. Because pro-life laws are at stake. And because, above all, human lives are at stake.

MCCL Federal PAC endorses Mitt Romney for U.S. President

The following news release was issued today, Sept. 5.

MINNEAPOLIS – With the goal of securing the protection of unborn children for decades to come, the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) Federal PAC today endorsed Mitt Romney for President of the United States. The MCCL Federal PAC is the state’s oldest and largest pro-life political action committee.

"On pro-life issues, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama provide a stark contrast. As the country's most pro-abortion president, Barack Obama has pursued a radical pro-abortion agenda," said Scott Fischbach, MCCL Federal PAC. "It is now time for pro-life Americans to unite behind Mitt Romney. For the sake of unborn children, the disabled and the elderly, we must win."

Romney has taken a strong pro-life position and is committed to implementing policies to protect the unborn, the medically dependent and disabled, and the elderly. Romney opposes abortion and has called the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision "a big mistake." Romney has expressed his support of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortion.

Romney has also stated he believes the Obama health care law should be repealed. The Obama health care law would open the door to federal subsidies for abortion coverage and rationing of lifesaving medical care. He has also stated that, if elected, he would reinstate the Mexico City Policy, which prevents federal dollars from going to organizations that perform or promote abortion overseas.

In contrast, since taking office in January 2009, President Obama has been an outspoken advocate for abortion and has worked unceasingly to expand funding of and access to abortion. He rescinded the Mexico City Policy, and threatened to veto the entire federal spending bill—forcing a government shutdown—rather than accept a provision cutting funding to Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider. Obama also threatened to veto the Protect Life Act, which would repeal the abortion-expanding provisions of his health care law, and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which would permanently prohibit any federal program from funding elective abortions. Earlier this year he even opposed a ban on sex-selection abortion, when abortion is chosen solely because the child's gender (almost always female) is not desired.

Additionally, Obama championed the so-called Affordable Care Act while opposing pro-life amendments in the Senate. As enacted, the law will result in federal funding of health plans that pay for elective abortion, and will lead to large-scale rationing of lifesaving medical treatments.

Romney also has been endorsed by the National Right to Life Political Action Committee. The MCCL Federal PAC urges all Minnesota citizens to vote for Mitt Romney for President of the United States.

"We are extremely gratified that Mitt Romney holds strong pro-life convictions and has not shied away from expressing them during the campaign," Fischbach added. "We look forward to Romney’s election as our next pro-life president on November 6."