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U.S. Supreme Court Deals a Blow to Women’s Health and Safety

 

In a devastating loss for pro-life advocates, the Supreme Court overturned two provisions of Texas’ HB 2 law that placed restrictions on abortion providers by a vote of 5-3.  The law was designed to improve the safety of women by requiring abortion providers to meet surgical center health and safety standards and maintain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

The Supreme Court struck down both of these provisions in its decision, finding that they placed an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to have an abortion.

“HB2 was an effort to improve minimum safety standards and ensure capable care for Texas women. It’s exceedingly unfortunate that the court has taken the ability to protect women’s health out of the hands of Texas citizens and their duly-elected representatives,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

In his dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, “That decision exemplifies the Court’s troubling tendency ‘to bend the rules when any effort to limit abortion, or even to speak in opposition to abortion, is at issue,’” quoting the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

The legislation received national attention during a filibuster by Texas Senator Wendy Davis.

“Our main concern is the safety of Texas women.  We will continue to stand for women to keep them safe so they are not maimed or die in abortion clinics,” Jonathan Saenz, President of Texas Values, said in a statement following the ruling.

You can read Joseph Backholm’s press statement here.

Joseph Backholm Statement on SCOTUS Decision

 

 

For Immediate Release

June 27, 2016 (LYNNWOOD) — Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down Texas’ law providing basic care standards in abortion clinics, FPIW Executive Director Joseph Backholm released the following statement:

“Today’s Supreme Court should serve as a reminder that the abortion industry will stop at nothing to keep the money flowing — even if that means sacrificing the health of women.

Texas’ law was not an attack on women’s health — it was an effort to ensure that women seeking an abortion could reasonably expect a basic level of care in case of an emergency.  Making abortion facilities safer for women is not a burden – it’s just common sense.

Today the Supreme Court has forced states like Texas to subsidize inferior care in order to make it easier for abortion sellers to stay in business.

Women deserve better than today’s ruling. All abortionists and abortion facilities should be held to the same basic standards of care we expect in all other surgical centers in our country.”

MEDIA AVAILABILITY:

To schedule an interview with Joseph Backholm, please contact FPIW Communications Director Zach Freeman at zach@fpiw.org or by phone at 425-608-0242.

Illinois to Mandate Healthcare Providers Participate in Abortions

 

The Illinois General Assembly has passed legislation that would require all health care providers to participate in providing abortions.

If signed by Governor Bruce Rauner, Illinois SB 1564, which amends the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act, would remove conscience protections for physicians and health care providers who morally object to abortion.

The legislation would also force physicians and crisis pregnancy centers that refuse to perform abortions to explain the benefits of undergoing the abortion procedure. These facilities would be mandated to refer or transfer patients to other providers that perform abortions.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of individuals to live according to their convictions and religious beliefs. These protections apply to workplaces, too. Every person has an inalienable right to exercise their professional duties in accordance with their deeply held convictions.

James Madison, known by historians as the Father of the Constitution, believed the purpose of government is to protect the right of its citizens to act upon their convictions. In his famous essay Property, Madison wrote,

“Conscience is the most sacred of all property.”

The changes to the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act infringes the religious and conscience rights of health care providers by coercing them to disregard their deeply held moral convictions and participate in the process of providing abortions.

In a letter to Illinois legislators, Robert F. George, a natural law theorist and Princeton University professor of law, wrote,

“Requiring the objector to refer (or to transfer) the person to a different medical provider who will perform the abortion is radical and unacceptable because it implicates the objector in the obtaining of the disputed ‘medical service.’ It makes her or him a participant, that is, one who facilitates the procedure by assisting in its being obtained.”

Illinois SB 1564 also flouts federal law. The Church Amendments, enacted in the 1970s, prohibit state and local governments from discriminating against health care providers that refuse to perform or assist in providing abortions. If Illinois enacts the legislation, it risks losing its federal funding.

Elsewhere across the country, the conscience and religious rights of health care providers are increasingly under attack. FPIW recently brought attention to the candidate survey sent by Planned Parenthood to candidates seeking office in Washington state. The survey attacks the forty percent of Washington’s hospitals that are managed by Catholic health systems, claiming that these religiously-affiliated health providers “undermine patients’ rights” and “interfere with their ability to obtain a full range of health services.”

Additionally, a U.S. district court in Michigan recently dismissed a lawsuit against a Catholic nonprofit that operates 86 hospitals in 21 states. The ACLU, which filed the lawsuit, wanted to force the hospitals to change its policy that prohibits doctors from performing abortions.

Governor Bruce Rauner has until the end of July to veto the bill; otherwise, it becomes law without his signature.

Stand with FPIW as we seek to protect freedom of conscience for all people.

Former Abortion Clinic Owner Speaks Out About Planned Parenthood

 

Carol Everett knows exactly why young girls have abortions.

When Everett operated abortion clinics in the Dallas area in the 1970s, sex-ed was an important part of cultivating and maintaining business among younger clientele.  Sex-ed was calculated, she said, “to separate the children from their values and their parents,” adding that, at one point, her business’ goal “was to assure every girl between the ages of 13 and 18 have three to five abortions.”

When Alaska State Senator Mike Dunleavy’s bill, SB 89, was killed earlier this month by the Republican-controlled Alaska House’s Health and Social Services Committee, Everett spoke out.  The bill, if passed, would have prohibited abortion-providing entities from teaching sexual education in Alaska’s public schools.

Everett explained that the way Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers create demand for their abortion services is through sex education in schools.  “We started in kindergarten,” Everett said, and the aim was to erode children’s “natural modesty.”  By third grade, children were shown explicit, “how to” diagrams of intercourse, she continued.  By fourth grade, children were encouraged to masturbate, either alone or in groups.

Finally, in junior high, Everett said, “My goal was to get them sexually active on a low dose birth control pill that we knew they would get pregnant on. How do you do that? You give them a low dose birth control pill that has to be taken accurately at the same time every single day. And you know and I know, there’s not a teen in the world who does everything the same time every day.”

There will undoubtedly be more opportunities to block groups like Planned Parenthood from profiting off our school-aged children by teaching sexually risky activities in schools. We can’t afford to let this happen in Washington.  Support FPIW as we work to promote healthy sexual education in schools.

Thanks to Alaska Family Council and Senator Mike Dunleavy for their hard work to make this bill a reality, and thanks to LifeSiteNews for the solid reporting.

Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Abortion Case

Just two weeks after the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the U.S. Supreme Court has heard oral arguments on the biggest abortion challenge in 25 years.

The case tests the Constitutionality of Texas’ common-sense regulations on clinics that provide abortions within their state.  In 2013, Texas moved to ensure that clinics had admitting privileges at hospitals, in the event that something went wrong during the procedure.  They reasoned, correctly, that abortion providers shouldn’t get a pass on basic state health standards simply to keep them in the market.

While deliberations in this case were likely to take months anyway, the complications arising from Justice Scalia’s death are undeniable.  Until a successor to Scalia is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, the Court is likely to be split on many issues, though this isn’t the first time the Supreme Court has had to operate with an even number of justices.

Still, states, including Washington, shouldn’t be in the business of subsidizing inferior care in order to make it easier for abortionists to enter & stay in the market.

We stand with Texas in their fight to protect women from dangerous and negligent practices, and urge Washington’s lawmakers to take similar steps.

Follow @FPIW on Twitter for updates.

The Sad Reality of Sex-Selective Abortion in Washington

 

For the past few decades, states have struggled to implement laws that would protect the most basic rights of the most vulnerable members of our society: the unborn. While the issue of abortion maintains a high profile nationally, and has for a long time, there’s a large subset of abortion cases that rarely get mentioned at all: sex-selective abortions.

What is sex-selective abortion?  Sex-selective abortion is when a mother chooses to abort her baby based on dissatisfaction with the gender in which the child has developed.  The Population Research Institute estimates that sex-selective abortions take place more than 1.4 million times per year in India and China alone.  While this practice has historically been more common in Asia, it’s prevalence in the United States has grown dramatically.

Despite the reality that sex-selective abortions are one of the largest causes for abortions in the world, they rarely manage to make headlines in the U.S., generally dominated in debate by whether or not abortion should be available in cases of rape or incest.  In fact, according to Operation Rescue, not even 1 percent of all abortions take place because of rape or incest.

Several states have introduced legislative efforts this year to curb the practice, including Washington. The Washington Senate’s Committee on Law & Justice heard testimony on SB 6612, and was passed through to the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday night.  If ultimately passed, it would prohibit sex-selective abortions statewide. The bill, sponsored by Senator Ann Rivers (R-La Center), would make a performance of sex-selective abortions a Class C felony, violations of which result in penalties ranging from hefty fines to prison time.

The bill, sent now to the Senate Rules Committee, faces off directly against the abortion lobby.  Even though 17% of pregnant women in Washington have abortions, the abortion lobby appears to be greatly concerned with the rights of women to choose an abortion in any case they deem necessary, even if their life isn’t in danger.  (Watch: Abortion doc Anuj Khattar defends sex-selective abortion)

Despite this, it is important to shine a light on the role sex-selective abortions play in Washington, which Michael Pauley certainly did.

Pauley, testifying on behalf of Human Life of Washington, gave a compelling testimony about the alarming frequency of these types of abortions in the U.S.  Quoting a study conducted by the University of Connecticut Health Center, Pauley noted how there were “approximately 20,000 missing females in this subset of U.S. births from 1983 to 2002 or an average of 1000 per year.” Twenty thousand.

It’s important to note that studies also suggest prenatal sex-selection is particularly prominent — especially for 2nd and 3rd children — among Asian and Pacific Islander populations in the U.S.  While this statistical observation may be offensive to some who oppose the bill, this is undoubtedly relevant to Washington, where these demographics comprise about 10% of the total population (about 700,000 people).

Now, this may not be surprising to some, given the long history of certain cultures preferring male babies over female.  Yet while rates may be higher overseas, sex-selection still takes place among these demographics here in the U.S., as well in other Western nations. As Pauley highlighted in his testimony, one study found “male-biased sex ratios among U.S.-born children of Chinese, Korean, and Asian Indian parents in the 2000 U.S. Census,” evidenced by the finding that “if there was no previous son, sons outnumbered daughters by 50 percent.” This dramatic deviation in favor of sons is solid, yet troubling evidence that these types of abortions, motivated by a desire for one sex over another, are indeed occurring in the United States.

Most Americans — even supporters of abortion rights — can agree that choosing to end a pregnancy based on no other reason than unwanted sex is deeply disturbing, and is antithetical to the most basic standards of morality. Still, the practice is permitted in many places across the U.S., and progressive groups like NARAL Pro-Choice Washington are fighting SB 6612 from passing through the Senate.

For a state that claims to champion women’s rights, the status of those rights has been badly damaged in Washington.  From the abortion providers who pressure and mislead women into terminating their pregnancies, to the cover up of sexual abuse exhibited towards patients, and the recent rule made by the Human Rights Commission making it legal for men to access any public restroom, locker room, or shower facility statewide.  Women are not safer in Washington.

Senate Bill 6612 represents a real opportunity for the legislators of Washington to remove a threat to women at their earliest, most vulnerable stage of life.  It may not be possible to dissuade those whose cultures and ideology assure them it’s perfectly okay to end their child’s life because they don’t like its biological sex.  But, as Pauley explained to the Senate Committee Tuesday, identifying that the desire for sex-selective abortion exists is “only one-half of the economic concept of ‘supply and demand.'” What must be done to end this deplorable practice is to restrict those eager to supply these types of abortions.

It won’t be easy, given the fact that many who work in the abortion industry have no problem serving individuals who want a sex-selective abortion.  Despite this, we’re hopeful that with your help in supporting SB 6612, we can achieve this small step in the fight to protect human life.

The vast majority of sex-selective abortions are committed against females.  If you’re going to claim to be for women’s rights, you can’t be for sex-selective abortions.

Please call your legislators to support passage of SB 6612 in the Rules Committee and on the Senate Floor.

SB 6612: Testimony Heard; Doctor Defends Sex-Selective Abortion

 

Tuesday, the Senate Law and Justice Committee heard panels in support and in opposition SB 6612, a bill that would make it unlawful to provide an abortion simply on the fact that the baby was a different gender than what the mother wanted to give birth to.  We’ve provided two videos of testimonies given that show a stark contrast in world view.

Michael Pauley, a resident from Snohomish, Washington, gave an excellent testimony in support of the bill:

Afterwards, the committee heard from Dr. Anuj Khattar, an abortion doctor and family care physician at Swedish Family Health. Senator Steve O’Ban asked Dr. Khattar if he would perform an abortion even if he was aware that the woman was requesting it simply because she was unsatisfied with the gender of the baby. You can watch that exchange here:

Regardless of where you stand on the issue of abortion, we must all come together to fight this reprehensible action against babies.

Bill to Stop Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Introduced in WA Legislature

 

State Representative David Taylor has introduced a bill that aims to restrict public funding for elective abortions.

HB 2294, which has 20 co-sponsors, states that, while “every individual possesses a fundamental right of privacy with respect to personal reproductive decisions,” that the state “may not provide benefits or services to permit a woman to voluntarily terminate her pregnancy, except when the abortion is medically necessary.”

The bill does not not limit the ability for anyone to receive an abortion, but limits the state’s ability to use taxpayer funding to pay for them.

This effort comes on the heels of uncovered legal and ethical concerns regarding abortion-providing facilities, such as Planned Parenthood, which accepted over $500 million in taxpayer funding in 2014.

Washingtonians are urged to call their State Representatives to share their thoughts on HB 2294.   You can call your legislators through the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000.

You can email your legislators about this or any other issue here.

Stay connected with us at www.fpiw.org or at Facebook.com/familypolicy for updates on this and every other issue affecting life, marriage, religious freedom, and parental rights in the legislative session.

ACLU Says Christians Should Be Forced to Perform Abortions

aclu3In a startling lawsuit, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has stated that employees of a Catholic hospital group should be required to perform abortions, even if that procedure violates their religious views.

Similar lawsuits have been filed by the ACLU here in Washington State, against Skagit Regional Health Clinic and the East Jefferson County Hospital in Port Townsend.

Trinity Health, which operates 86 health clinics in 21 states, including four clinics in the Pacific Northwest, was sued by the ACLU in October, when the group claimed that the group was “denying appropriate emergency care to women.”  Despite the guidelines set forth by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops prohibiting Catholics from terminating a pregnancy, the ACLU claims that the group has no legal protection to hide behind their rights of conscience.  Further, the lawsuit claims that Trinity’s refusal to provide abortions is a violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, a federal statute that, among other things, aims to ensure that emergency healthcare is not to be denied because of a patient’s inability to pay.

Read the lawsuit in its entirety here.

Trinity Health is being defending by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a national partner of the Family Policy Institute of Washington.  ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot said Thursday that, “not only is there no law that requires faith-based hospitals and medical personnel to commit such acts against their faith and conscience, federal law directly prohibits the government from engaging in any such coercion. Similarly, the government cannot tie any funding to a requirement that hospitals and health care workers give up their constitutionally protected freedoms.”

You can read more about Alliance Defending Freedom’s positioning in the case here.

 

Federal Court blocks states’ requests to review video in Planned Parenthood case

Attorneys General from several states are filing an amicus brief in the Northern California District Court next week during the initial injunction hearing, aimed at unsealing over 500 hours of video footage for state review.

The National Abortion Federation v. Center for Medical Progress case has been in dispute since CMP first released footage of their findings at Planned Parenthood clinics across America. Several doctors representing Planned Parenthood appeared to admit to being involved in a scheme that purportedly bought and sold parts of aborted fetal specimens. The sale of human body parts is illegal under federal law.

This renewed effort by states comes after the District Court issued a restraining order that barred the undercover footage obtained by the Center for Medical Progress from being released publicly. Several states including Alabama, Arizona, Michigan, and Oklahoma, have requested access the sealed tapes to see if any unlawful activity took place in their respective states. To this point, the Court has been unwilling to facilitate their requests, only allowing footage to be released that has been reviewed and approved by the Plaintiff.

While many media outlets have already concluded that the sealed footage is “discredited,” some have questioned why the Federal Court system and the NAF are so unwilling to allow law enforcement officials at the state level to review the remaining 500 hours of footage.

FPIW is urging Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson to ensure that no laws were broken in Washington State. You can sign our petition to Attorney General Bob Ferguson at this link.