Environmentalist: Support Abortion for Population Control

On his nightly news show, Fox News host Tucker Carlson had an interesting exchange with a top environmental lobbyist. Carlson asked Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, what the organization’s abortion advocacy had to do with protecting the environment. Brune’s response:

“We believe in empowering women’s rights,” Brune said. “We believe that women who have rights and who have the ability to have choice about their reproductive—make their own reproductive choices—will help to produce strong families and will help to protect the environment at the same time. Sierra Club is pro-choice.”

Carlson, sensing that Brune was evading his question, pushed for a specific answer.

“It helps to address the number of people that we have on this planet,” Brune replied. “We feel that one of the ways that we can get to a sustainable population is to empower women to make choices about their own families.”

There are a couple things to notice. First, it is a bit of a shock hearing an abortion-supporter so candidly speak of abortion as population control. Many are of the opinion that this kind of thinking died out with the eugenicists, but alas, here it is, indicating that the grisly ideas of the eugenicists are still influencing Americans.

Second, it doesn’t take a logician to see the horror in what Brune is saying. He’s not prescribing population control through contraception or other means of preventing human life from coming into existence, but the taking of existent human life. If ending human lives is a moral good because it’s good for the environment, mass human suicide or euthanasia would seem to be a moral good as well. That may seem like a stretch, but that is Brune’s ideas taken to their logical conclusion.

Unfortunately, this save-the-trees-but-kill-the-babies reasoning is not outside of mainstream progressivism. This is a worldview that puts an extremely low value on human life, especially in comparison with the Judeo-Christian worldview. As Dennis Prager (who will be the special guest at our 2017 Annual Dinner) puts it, “As ironic as it may sound, the God-based Judeo-Christian value system renders humans infinitely more valuable than any humanistic value system.

This is because without God, humans, born and unborn, are quite literally just clumps of cells, ultimately worth nothing more than the matter they are composed of. On the other hand, the Judeo-Christian worldview acknowledges the special place human life occupies within creation.

Both the Judeo-Christian worldview and the intersectional environmentalist worldview hold that the beauty of nature is not to be squandered. However, the Judeo-Christian worldview also posits the value of protecting human life as society’s greatest good. The earth and its resources were created to serve human life—not the other way around.

 

James Silberman is a guest contributor to the FPIW Blog. He is a pro-life activist from Gig Harbor, WA, and a student at Whitworth University.

House Committee Debates Bringing Obamacare Mandates to Washington

Should controversial mandates from Obamacare—which many believe are on the way out in Washington, D.C.—be made a permanent part of Washington State law?

That is the question the House Healthcare and Wellness Committee considered this morning.  The committee heard public testimony on HB 1523, which would require all health insurance plans to cover all preventative services required under federal law as of December 31, 2016.  It also bans plans that would share the cost of any of those services with employees.

Even before public testimony was heard, members of the committee expressed concern about the details of the bill.  The one-page bill is remarkably short.  However, it incorporates hundreds of pages of federal law and an untold volume of “guidance” into Washington State law.  No one seemed to have an understanding of exactly what the mandates do and do not cover.

Some of those who came to Olympia today to express concerns about HB 1523. From left to right: Brett Kinney, Electric Mirror; Michael Pauley, Human Life of Washington, Arina Grossu, Family Research Council, Luke Esser, Washington State Catholic Conference

Proponents of the bill argued that mandatory coverage for “preventative care” would make it easier to detect diseases like cancer at a time when it was most treatable.

But concerns about the legislation focused on very different issues.

Arina Grossu, from the Family Research Council, testified that the mandate to cover “preventative services” includes requirements to pay for abortifacients like Plan B and Ella, which destroy human embryos and are therefore objected to as a matter of conscience by many.

Brett Kinney, Director of Business Operations for Everett-based manufacturer Electric Mirror, explained the concerns of businesses owners in being forced to pay for a product that violates the beliefs of business owners:

“We offer a comprehensive affordable medical plan to our nearly 400 employees that does not include abortifacients. Not once have we heard complaints that our medical plan or the prescriptive drug plan was not adequate to serve the needs of our employees which includes over 100 women ages 18 to 70.  This bill is trying to solve a problem that is not a problem and forcing us the employer to add cost which reduces our ability to grow our business and put more people to work.”

The Washington State Catholic Conference also offered testimony stating that they will not comply with legislation that forces them to pay for abortifacients, regardless of what the law says.

In addition to concerns about conscience rights, insurance industry representatives expressed concern that the bill appears to be an attempt to preempt a change in federal law before those changes actually take place.  They expressed a preference for waiting to see what happens in Washington, D.C., before reacting to it.

Obamacare mandates involving abortifacients led businesses like Hobby Lobby to sue the federal government, claiming that such mandates violate their religious beliefs.  In the Hobby Lobby case, the Supreme Court held that the mandates were invalid because they violated the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).  However, Washington State does not have a state RFRA, which means the protections for conscience rights in Washington State are less robust than those that restrain actions of the federal government.

To advance, this bill needs the support of a majority of the members of the House Healthcare and Wellness Committee.

If that happens, it would need to receive passage from the entire House of Representatives before moving to the Senate for consideration.

Please contact your legislators and share your thoughts about this and any other issue through the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or email them by clicking here. 

As always, be respectful but be heard.  If you don’t speak for yourself, someone will speak for you.

 

 

FPIW Signs Letter Asking Congress to Adopt Pro-life Healthcare Reforms

Recognizing the potential for unprecedented action on healthcare reform during the 115th US Congress, several pro-life organizations have delivered a letter to legislators, calling on them to ensure that any healthcare reforms prohibit federal taxpayer dollars from being used for abortion.

Joseph Backholm, President of Family Policy Institute of Washington, signed on to the letter, joining representatives from Family Research Council, Priests for Life, American Center for Law and Justice, National Right to Life, Christian Medical Association, Students for Life of America, and dozens of other pro-life organizations.

Congress is currently considering several legislative proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. The letter, which was delivered to Republican Members of Congress today, reminds them that “any bill funding healthcare must carry restrictions on abortion funding or it will end up funding the brutal practice of abortion.”

“We are greatly encouraged by the many Republican healthcare proposals that embrace the principle that abortion is not healthcare and should not be incentivized through federal healthcare programs including tax credits for health insurance,” the letter says.

The letter can be read in its entirety here.

 

 

“Pro-Choice” Should Be “Pro-Abortion”

In a recent discussion with an abortion supporter, I apparently made the mistake of calling her “pro-abortion.” She gasped and emphatically made me aware that she was not pro-abortion, just “pro-choice.”

This begs the question: what choice was she talking about? Was she talking about school choice? Health care choice? Where-to-go-for-dinner choice?

I support the Second Amendment. I think the right of an individual to choose whether they want to own a firearm for self-defense is crucial to the prevention of an abusive government. It would be reasonable to label my position pro-second amendment or pro-gun rights or simply pro-gun. Likewise, it would be very unreasonable and rather pointless to label my position “pro-choice.” That doesn’t explain what choice I am advocating.

The same goes for abortion. The phrase “I am pro-choice” is an incomplete sentence. To be intellectually honest, the speaker must specify what choice they are advocating. Just as I am pro-gun, pro-abortion is the appropriate term to describe the position of the abortion supporter.

When considering the nature of the debate, it’s easy to understand why abortion advocates so fervently demand to be called “pro-choice” rather than something which accurately defines their position: they do this because their position is ghastly.

In a legislative hearing in Florida in 2013, Planned Parenthood lobbyist Alisa LaPolt Snow opposed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. It is Planned Parenthood’s position that children born as a result of botched abortions should be left alone on the table to die if still unwanted. When asked to defend this position, Snow’s response was, “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, the family, and the physician.”

Snow redirects the discussion to the issue of “choice” because no one can win a debate from a platform of “pro-leaving the baby to die on the table.” This goes for the killing of an unborn child as well. Pre-birth abortions entail the use of clamps to remove the child from the womb one limb at a time. Several other violent techniques are also used, including saline solution, which is used to dissolve away his or her skin. “Pro-human dismemberment” and “pro-burning the skin of a baby until his or her internal organs fall out” are not winning slogans.

It will be ‘game over’ for the abortion industry if the debate over abortion becomes focused on what abortion actually entails. That’s why they work so hard to make the debate revolve around euphemisms like “choice” without regard for the choice being discussed.

So, the next time someone tells you they’re pro-choice, ask them, “What choice?”

James Silberman is a guest contributor to the FPIW Blog. He is a pro-life activist from Gig Harbor, WA, and a student at Whitworth University.

House Votes to Make Hyde Amendment Permanent

In the second major move this week to stop taxpayer funding from being used to fund abortions, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to make the Hyde Amendment Permanent.

Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order reinstating the Mexico City Policy. 

The Hyde Amendment has prohibited taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for abortions since 1976.  However, it became a hotly debated issue during the Obama Administration.

The Hyde Amendment was never permanent law but has been routinely attached as a “rider” to various appropriations bills.

Significantly, the Affordable Care Act was passed without Hyde Amendment language, a fact that nearly prevented it from getting enough support to pass. However, President Obama issued an executive order prohibiting the use of federal tax dollars for abortions to secure the final votes necessary for passage.

Still, critics have pointed out numerous ways in which the Obama administration violated that executive order without any apparent concern from the executive branch.

Today’s action by the House of Representatives would eliminate the need to debate the Hyde Amendment in every appropriations bill by permanently prohibiting taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for abortion.

It would apply to all Obamacare health plans starting the next plan year.

This bill also protects conscience rights by requiring the full disclosure of abortion coverage in Obamacare plans.  This is in response to numerous complaints from members of the public who preferred plans that did not include abortion coverage but found it difficult to determine which plans provided abortion coverage and which ones did not.

The House passed HR 7 by a vote of 238-183. Three Democratic Members voted in support of HR 7 (Lipinski-IL, Peterson-MN, and Cuellar-TX ), no Republicans voted against the bill.

It now moves to the Senate for consideration.

During his campaign, President Trump promised to make the Hyde Amendment permanent law if it made it to his desk.

 

President Trump Issues Executive Order to Reinstate Mexico City Policy; Prohibits Funding for Abortions Overseas

On his first Monday in office, President Trump signaled that the pro-life commitments he made during the campaign was more than campaign rhetoric.

He signed an Executive Memorandum to reinstate the Mexico City Policy.  The policy prohibits taxpayer funding of groups that perform and promote abortions overseas.  It does not, however, stop non-abortion international assistance. The order ensures U.S. foreign aid will continue to go to health care and humanitarian relief in the millions of dollars. It just will not subsidize abortion overseas.

The policy is known as the Mexico City policy because President Reagan first announced the policy in Mexico City.

President Obama, however, had suspended the Mexico City policy shortly after taking office, making federal dollars available abortion providers overseas.  At the time, a Gallup poll indicated that 58 percent of Americans opposed President Obama’s decision to end the Mexico City Policy.

The Mexico City policy is the international equivalent to the Hyde Amendment, which prohibited the use of federal tax dollars to pay for abortions domestically. (Though the Mexico City policy is more broad than the Hyde Amendment). President Trump also pledged to make the Hyde Amendment permanent law.

With the Mexico City policy reinstated and the potential of the Hyde Amendment being made permanent law, one of the primary grievances the pro-life community had against the Obama administration (being forced to pay for other people’s abortions) would be addressed in significant ways.

It is also reassuring to those in the pro-life community who may have questioned how serious President Trump was about his pro-life positions during the campaign.

An encouraging start to be sure.

 

Should Women Be Able to Sue Doctors for the Emotional Damage from Abortion?

It’s no secret that abortion can cause significant emotional damage to women who choose it.  But should women be able to sue their doctors if they experience emotional damage from an abortion?

Iowa State Senator Mark Chelgren thinks so and has introduced legislation that would do just that.

In an interview with Fox News, Sen. Chelgren explained the purpose of the bill.

“What we’re asking for is that individuals, doctors and clinics that make money off of women by giving them abortions are simply held accountable. That’s all this does. It protects women from people who would normally be trying to sell them something in a time when they are under the most stress that is kind of imaginable.”

The legislation allows a lawsuit regardless of how much time has passed since the abortion.

Despite the fact that emotional risks associated with abortion are well documented, no state currently has a law that specifically permits lawsuits for those harms.

Known side effects from abortion include regret, anger, guilt, shame, a sense of loneliness or isolation, loss of self confidence, insomnia or nightmares, relationship issues, suicidal thoughts and feelings, eating disordersdepression, and anxiety.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, AmericanPregnancy.org describes that the risk of side effects has a lot to do with the the mother’s beliefs about the baby.

“Those who believe it is not a baby until it is born have less of a chance of experiencing negative emotional consequences. However, those who believe it is a baby are more likely to experience negative emotional side effects.”

If passed, the legislation would likely create a deterrent to doctors performing abortions.

As a result, abortion industry advocates are describing the legislation as “anti-woman.”

Is this an appropriate way to limit the number of doctors willing to provide abortions? Comment below.

 

Klippert Bill Would Ban Sale, Use, Donation of Aborted Fetal Tissue

As the legislative session picks up steam, so does the ongoing debate over aborted fetal tissue in Washington State.

Yesterday, we wrote about a new effort in Congress to eliminate federal funding from entities that traffic in aborted fetal tissue.

The effort picked up steam in Washington State as well as Rep. Brad Klippert, from Kennewick, introduced House Bill 1243 to ban the sale, use, and donation of aborted fetal tissue.

The legislation comes on the heals of a Final Report by the Select Panel on Infant Lives, commissioned by the House of Representatives, which discovered that the largest bank of aborted fetal tissue in the United States was the Birth Defects Research Lab (BDRL) at the University of Washington.

According to the final report, BDRL has procured aborted fetal tissue from thirteen separate abortion providers in Washington State and distributed aborted fetal tissue to forty different entities around the country.

All of that would become illegal under the proposal.

In addition to banning the use of aborted fetal tissue, the legislation would also require the remains of an aborted baby “be decently buried, or cremated within a reasonable time after death.”

The legislation has thirteen co-sponsors in addition to Rep. Klippert.

The bill has been assigned to the House Health Care and Wellness Committee but has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

You are encouraged to contact your legislators about this legislation through the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or email them by clicking here.

Who Else, Besides Planned Parenthood, Should Lose Federal Funding?

Planned Parenthood has received a lot of public scrutiny lately.  Even before the Center For Medical Progress released videos that revealed how intricately Planned Parenthood is involved in the trafficking of aborted baby parts, they were already the nation’s number one provider of abortions with a very troubling past.

President-elect Trump has promised to stop federal funding of Planned Parenthood, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said that effort is included in a critical reconciliation bill.

But Planned Parenthood isn’t the only entity deserving of losing its federal funds.

Last week we wrote about the Birth Defects Research Lab (BDRL) at the University of Washington and its refusal to cooperate with federal subpoenas.

Their refusal to cooperate with subpoenas or respond to public records requests means there are many things we do not know about the BDRL.

But the things we do know raise serious concerns about the wisdom of giving them federal tax dollars.

In response to the disturbing videos from the Center for Medical Progress, the House of Representatives created a Select Panel on Infant Lives to investigate whether baby body parts were being sold for a profit.

The Select Panel’s final report was released on December 30th. 

Along with fifteen recommendations for criminal charges for Planned Parenthood and related entities, the Select Panel’s final report identified the BDRL at UW as the largest bank of aborted fetal tissue in America.

They have received aborted fetal tissue from thirteen different entities around the country (though all but one are in Washington State) and they have provided aborted fetal tissue to more than forty entities throughout the world.

They are also funded by federal tax dollars. In 2015, they received a $600,000 grant from the National Institute for Health to fund general operations.

In addition, the doctors who work at the Birth Defects Research Lab are also abortionists who perform abortions at some of the same abortion clinics that provide the BDRL with aborted fetal tissue.  Others BDRL doctors have focused their research on abortion.

When the Select Panel subpoenaed documents from the BDRL, the documents they provided concealed much of the information the Panel was actually requesting. They described UW’s cooperation with their subpoena in this way:

“The invoices either do not specify what clinic services are involved or, when they apparently elaborate on the nature of such services, those elaborations are redacted—rendering it impossible for the Panel to conduct a forensic analysis of UW’s financial arrangements with clinics. UW’s incomplete production raises more questions than it answers and demonstrates the need for further investigation” [1]

Setting aside the nature of the work taking place at the BDRL, there is something people of every political persuasion should be able to agree upon.

Entities subject to public records laws that do not want the public to know what they are doing should not be funded by the taxpayers. If you want to do something privately, do not ask for public money to do it.

Regardless, there is simply no good reason tax dollars should ever be used to fund those who traffic in aborted baby parts.

The Hyde Amendment is a federal law prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortion.  It is a recognition of the fact that hundreds of millions of Americans do not want their money being used to pay for abortions.

Since we have the decency to honor the Hyde Amendment, why would we require federal tax dollars to be used to fund the dissection of aborted babies?

But what about the lost opportunity to cure diseases? Significantly, the Select Panel’s Final Report noted that there is more than enough tissue from babies who die naturally through miscarriage to support all current research.

Selling the parts of aborted babies isn’t necessary for science and it isn’t something civilized people do.  Moreover, entities that refuse to allow the public to inspect their activities should not be funded by the public.

Last week I was in Washington DC discussing the appropriateness of tax dollars being used to fund the BDRL and others who traffic in aborted body parts.  For the most part, Congress was unaware that this was happening and they were universally unaware of how hard the BDRL is working to keep their publicly funded work from being seen by the public.

But when they learned, they were as concerned as you are.

While there is a great deal of sympathy, that will translate into action when the public demonstrates it matters to them.  That’s why they need to hear from you on this issue.

To contact your U.S. Representative about this issue click here.

For contact information for your U.S. Senators click here.

Additionally, proposed just today in Olympia, House Bill 1243 would prohibit the sale, donation, or use of aborted fetal body parts in Washington State.  Please contact your legislators here to share your thought on that legislation.

[1] Select Panel on Infant Lives Final Report pg. 259-260

UW BDRL Refuses to Cooperate Despite Congressional Subpoena

Planned Parenthood affiliates and related organizations profited from the sale of aborted baby parts, according to a congressional report released last week.

The 418-page report, released by the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, concludes a year-long investigation into the gruesome and oftentimes illegal practices of the abortion industry. The Panel’s report will likely have resounding implications for Washington State relative to Attorney General Ferguson’s review of Planned Parenthood in 2015 and the University of Washington’s relationship with Planned Parenthood.

Here are three important takeaways from the report, which can be read here:

  1. Criminal Referrals

The Panel made 15 criminal referrals to law enforcement officials, recommending criminal charges against Planned Parenthood affiliates and other organizations, including Stem Express, a tissue procurement company that made 2,800 percent profit on baby brains.

The report documents the illegal behavior of abortion providers, tissue procurement companies, and medical researchers by detailing how the abortion industry profits from the sale of aborted fetal tissue, changes abortion procedures to maintain the monetary value of profitable aborted baby parts, and violates laws protecting the safety and privacy of patients.

“Over the last year, the Select Panel’s relentless fact-finding investigation has laid bare the grisly reality of an abortion industry that is driven by profit, unconcerned by matters of basic ethics and, too often, non-compliant with the few laws we have to protect the safety of women and their unborn children,” said Congresswoman Diane Black, a member of the Panel. “The findings of this panel should incense all people of conscience.”

  1. UW’s Business Relationship with Planned Parenthood and Attorney General Ferguson’s Seemingly Incomplete 2015 Review of Planned Parenthood

Eight pages of the report detail the questionable activities of the University of Washington’s Birth Defects Research Laboratory (UWBDRL), the nation’s largest fetal tissue bank that often acts as a middleman between abortion clinics and medical researchers. UWBDRL secures aborted fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics in Washington State, which it then sells to other medical researchers across the nation.

This section of the report validates concerns raised by the Family Policy Institute of Washington in late-2015 about UWBDRL and Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s investigation of Planned Parenthood affiliates.

Following the conclusion of Ferguson’s review of abortion providers, which claimed that Washington abortion providers had not engaged in illegal activity, FPIW filed a public records request to obtain documents and written communications relevant to the review.

FPIW’s examination of the documents appeared to indicate that the attorney general’s review was incomplete, especially concerning the relationship between Planned Parenthood affiliates and UWBDRL.

Most concerning from FPIW’s perspective was an email exchange between Deputy Attorney General Paige Dietrich and Ian Goodhew, Government Relations Director at the University of Washington.

This correspondence, quoted verbatim in the Panel’s report, details Dietrich’s request for business agreements between Planned Parenthood and UWBDRL as part of the then-ongoing attorney general review. Goodhew responded to this request by seeking assurances that “[the attorney general’s office] will hold those confidential and not share with anyone without consent?” After Goodhew had voiced his concerns about the agreements going public, Dietrich rescinded her request, replying, “I don’t think we’ll need copies of the agreements.”

After discovering this exchange, FPIW filed a public records request to obtain the business agreement.

But after months of foot-dragging by UWBDRL, who repeatedly delayed releasing the documents, Planned Parenthood eventually filed a lawsuit against FPIW to prevent the release of the business agreement. That lawsuit is currently playing out in a federal court.

Astonishingly, UWBDRL failed to provide the business agreement to the Panel’s congressional investigators, despite congressional subpoenas and a court preliminary injunction enabling the university to provide the House committee with the business agreement.

The congressional report concluded that “UW’s incomplete production raises more questions than it answers and demonstrates the need for further investigation.”

The report also details the failures of Ferguson’s 2015 review. It claims Ferguson’s office made conclusions “without apparently conducting” a forensic analysis of UW’s practices. The report asserts the attorney general’s inquiry “apparently ended without an examination of an agreement between UW” and Planned Parenthood clinics.

That congressional investigators reached many of the same conclusions as FPIW serves only to further vindicate FPIW’s concerns about the attorney general’s review and the relationship between UWBDRL and state abortion clinics.

  1. UW’s Close Relationship with Abortion Clinics

The Panel’s report identifies a cozy relationship between UW faculty and staff and Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics.

Several UW faculty members perform abortions at Planned Parenthood and Cedar River abortion clinics, and the former medical director for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and Northern Idaho now serves as a UW clinical associate professor.

The University of Washington also places medical students at outside abortion clinics, including some that perform abortions well into the second trimester.

Furthermore, the University of Washington provides abortions through its family planning program at the UW Medical Center.