Illinois Right to Life Committee
Friday, July 29, 2011 -- Free speech achieves another victory for the Pro-Life cause
Pro-Life citizens in Oakland CA, and particularly pastor Walter Hoye, have regained their free speech rights after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a unanimous 3-0 decision late yesterday.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district courts determination that the Oakland "bubble zone" ordinance is valid as the city applies it. The appellate court found that Oakland discriminates in enforcing the ordinance against Hoye but not other speakers.
Oakland only prosecutes persons for approaching women within the bubble zone if they are trying to persuade the woman not to have the abortion, while abortion center staffers and others facilitating abortions can approach and give the women whatever message they want often urging women to ignore Hoye.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals finds the ordinance as an unconstitutional infringement of free speech. The decision stated, We agree with Hoye that there are grave constitutional problems with the manner in which the City has understood and enforced its Ordinance.
Thursday, July 28, 2011 -- Distorting science again to push their agenda
Count on the mainstream media to jump all over the story: "study claims that telemed abortions are safe." Could a legitimate scientific-based study actually have been done to demonstrate that RU-486 abortions are safe without any direct involvement of a doctor with the patient? In fact, the deaths and serious complications produced with RU-486 abortions, even with doctor supervision, raise serious questions about whether RU-486 is ever safe.
It turns out that the so-called study was performed by an organization whose goal is to promote "sexual and reproductive rights and health" which are code words for abortion. Where could they even get reliable statistics? The primary use of telemed abortions has occurred with Planned Parenthood in Iowa, but they tell their patients they should go to the local emergency room if they develop complications. These complications are never tracked back to the telemed abortions provided by Planned Parenthood.
This study also totally ignores FDA protocol for using RU-486. For example, ABC News claims that telemed abortions are great news for women in rural areas, stating, women who live in rural states like Iowa have found it more difficult to terminate their pregnancies. But now, women who might otherwise travel hundreds of miles to see a physician have another option: telemedicine.
But according to the drugs label, mifepristone (the first drug administered in the RU-486 regimen) is contraindicated if a patient does not have adequate access to medical facilities equipped to provide emergency treatment of incomplete abortion, blood transfusions, and emergency resuscitation during the period from the first visit until discharged by the administering physician. Thus, RU-486 is contraindicated for those rural women the abortion industry is targeting.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011 -- Considering the mystery of Christian suffering
Cardinal Raymond Burke discussed the meaning of Christian suffering at the Being Faithful, Even Unto Death conference in Kansas City, Kansas last weekend. He observed that hospice and palliative care are becoming code words for hastening death. Even with a life-affirming advance directive and a doctor's order for a feeding tube, a hospice in one case claimed these "no longer applied" for a stroke victim, but the family nsisted and got the feeding tube with much difficulty. How many such cases are occurring, denying any chance of recovery?
Cardinal Burke noted that the secular culture has developed the view that suffering is useless, but suffering and approaching death call for more care, not denial of care. Instead, secular culture views suffering as justification to deny food and water.
Right reason from Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas find that taking innocent human life is always wrong. Respect for the dignity of all human life is the only basis for protection of all human beings. Any action or inaction intended to kill is senseless and inhumane, rather than humane (as claimed by promoters of euthanasia and assisted suicide).
Suffering calls for unconditional love in providing care, not judging which lives are worthy and which are not based on quality of life criteria. Referencing paragraph #2276 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Burke noted that we must relate to others in some way, even if not as desired, so euthanasia cannot be justified based on lack of relating to the suffering person. In fact, relating to that person continues to develop when done in love.
Suffering always has physical and spiritual dimensions, as with Christ. This recognition leads us to unite our suffering with Christ including: uniting our heart with the heart of Christ and sharing in His redemptive work. Further insights can be obtained from "On Christian Meaning of Human Suffering" written by Pope John Paul II in 1984.
Human suffering does not reduce human dignity, but demonstrates that dignity to us by the respect shown for those who suffer. Human suffering calls for respect and care, rather than a feeling that one "cannot see my relative live this way." Turn to the mother of God for help. Never give way to discouragement or lose hope. Instead, follow Mary to Christ.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 -- Are food and water ever a medical treatment?
Denial of food and water as a useless medical treatment that cannot be justified is becoming all too prevalent today. Even though the Vatican has been clear that food and water, even provided by artificial means, can never be considered a medical treatment (see here and here), confusion about applying this principle seems to exist even in Catholic health care facilities.
Bobby Schindler and Suzanne Vitadamo, brother and sister of Terry Schiavo, discussed this issue at the Being Faithful, Even Unto Death conference in Kansas City, Kansas last weekend. They observed that denying basic care such as food and water based on "quality of life" (even when patients are neither dying nor terminal) is becoming prevalent, both because food and water is being defined as a medical treatment and through the influence of liberal organizations in health care and the media that are pushing hastening of death as compassionate care.
Defining food and water as medical treatment is being pushed beyond cases of artificial means. Food and water provided on a tray can now be considered a medical treatment because it must be approved by a physician. Using this logic, food can be denied even if the patient can eat directly, and certainly if some help is needed with feeding.
Contrary to this movement toward denial of food and water, statistics show that as many as 848,000 people are using feeding tubes at some time during the year in our nation. Feeding tubes are needed both for permanent feeding and during recovery periods so they are very commonly used. How many of these people are now at risk from the Culture of Death?
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 -- Inducing seniors to sign dangerous documents
Today I received a report about an event focused on senior citizens that was held July 12th at the Howard Mohr Community Center in Forest Park, IL. The Mohr Center allowed attorneys and paralegals from the Center for Disability and Elder Law to meet with senior citizens.
As it turned out, the purpose was to encourage senior citizens to sign advance directive documents on-the-spot, with the living will as the primary focus. When the desire was stated to take the documents home to review them, the attorney's response was, "you won't understand them anyway."
High pressure tactics to get senior citizens to sign living wills is very dangerous to the legitimate medical care options that seniors may need in emergencies. Having a living will may become a death warrant that results in denial of care (e.g. respirator, feeding tube, etc.) that is needed to overcome an immediate problem so recovery becomes possible.
Information obtained on July 12th suggests that the Center for Disability and Elder Law may have a program to seek out senior citizens at locations where they live and congregate. If you encounter any upcoming program, we recommend you proceed with extreme caution and do not get pressured into signing anything that "you won't understand anyway." If you have parent(s) who live in such settings, you should be aware of this potential threat to their well-being.
IRLC maintains that you should never sign a living will, and you should only sign a life-affirming durable power of attorney for health care (the basic state form is not life-affirming). Obtain the IRLC Patient Self-Protection Document or call 312-422-9300 for more information.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011 -- Attack on conscience rights in health care
Based on groups excluded from testimony that had taken place as they gathered information, it was not likely that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) would take a balanced position when their recommendations were released. Could they strike a balance between conscience rights and the liberal agenda to expand access to birth control?
Those recommendations have now been released, and the answer is NO. They encourage ObamaCare to mandate that insurance companies include birth control and abortifacient drugs (e.g. Plan B and Ella) as "preventative care" so that all health insurance plans would be required to fully cover them.
Whether your health plan is paid for directly by you, through your employer, or by the government, it will be required that your premiums and taxes fund birth control and abortifacients as "preventative care" whether you consider that unconscionable or not.
Jeanne Monahan, Director of Family Research Councils Center for Human Dignity, noted, There are no conscience protections for health care plans that object to such coverage, or for health care providers in insurance plan networks who object to prescribing such drugs.
If the IOM recommendations are adopted as expected, the Federal government will declare pregnancy a disease that requires "preventative care" fully funded by all health insurance plans, making everyone complicit in the liberal war against babies. Here is one more reason to work for the repeal of ObamaCare with its anti-life agenda.
Monday, July 18, 2011 -- Fr. Frank Pavone has a way with words
On July 16th I was there for a presentation given by Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life at the Couples for Chirst seminar in Chicago. Fr. Pavone makes so many insightful observations about Pro-Life efforts and always has a quick response to points made by abortion supporters.
Fr. Pavone observed that while walking with Alveda King (niece of Dr. Martin Luther King) at the January 2011 March for Life in Washington, D.C. he asked her about how she felt Pro-Life efforts compared to the civil rights movement. Her response was, "This is the civil rights movement."
As a confirmation of that concept Fr. Pavone noted that a California abortionist justified his deadly work by stating that he decided "the mother owns the baby." Fr. Pavone observed, "I thought we were past that -- one human being owning another."
Fr. Pavone advocates that success of Pro-Life efforts depends on giving people an understanding of what abortion is, which he suggests means showing them pictures of aborted babies and diagrams of how abortion procedures are performed. When people defend abortion, he asks them, "Have you ever seen one?" and encourages us to do the same. Get pictures and more information here.
He noted that abortion advocates claim to stand for women, but we know that a mother cannot be separated from her baby without consequences, so we stand with both the mother and the baby, and offer help to mothers so they can "give themselves away in love" for their babies.
On a spiritual basis Fr. Pavone explained that Christians can "grieve and rejoice at the same time" because "evil does not have the last word" and "defending life is a joyful thing." We recognize that we are in the battle of good and evil. Our opponents are tormented (because they lack the truth), but they are not our enemy, and our goal is to set them free.
On politics Fr. Pavone observed, "We want to elect leaders who know the difference between serving the public and killing the public." He is encouraged by Pro-Life legislative results in many states after the last election as an example of what can happen when the right leaders are elected.
Friday, July 15, 2011 -- Embryonic stem cell trial will not help the participants
This situation is shocking and tragic news and confirms that FDA approval should never have been made. The first medical trial using embryonic stem cells that was approved by the FDA is not even attempting to benefit the participants. Rather, it is intended solely as a safety test of using embryonic stem cells on humans.
The first two women selected to be test subjects have macular degeration and Stargardts macular dystrophy respectively. They received injection of specialized eye cells that were derived from embryonic stem cells. Might one expect the intent is to improve the vision of these women?
Well, that is not the intent. Dr. Steven Schwartz, who is leading the trial at UCLA, explained that this is a Phase I trial, which means it is for safety reasons only. The patients central vision is already gone and deemed unrecoverable so the patients were enrolling in this trial know they will not be getting their central vision back.
Seeking further clarification, a question was asked, "If not to restore vision, what is the goal?" The response was "This is a safety trial. Its not designed to improve vision."
Such testing without potential benefit is needed because insufficient evidence of safety was obtained from testing using animals, effectively rushing into human testing prematurely, as was noted by some scientists at the point in time when the FDA gave the approval to proceed. In contrast, human trials using adult stem cells have been intended to produce beneficial results in hundreds of trials for many different diseases and injuries. Those trials have usually produced desirable results for participants that improved or even resolved their ailments.
Thursday, July 14, 2011 -- Late-term abortion bans enacted in two states
A number of states have recently enacted laws to ban abortion after 20 weeks based on fetal pain, but two states have just enacted laws to ban late-term abortion based on fetal viability. The Missouri ban on late-term abortion became law without the governor's signature after passing the legislature with veto-proof majorities. The Ohio bill has been sent to their Pro-Life govenor for signature.
These bills will prevent late-term abortions with limited exceptions relating to threats to the life or physical health of the mother. Given the existing late-term abortion trade of Martin Haskell in Ohio, that state may make an immediate impact in reducing late-term abortions, or there could be a court battle over this law. Might Haskell leave the state of Ohio, retire, or go to court?
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 -- NYC pregnancy centers' First Amendment rights upheld
After two previous Federal court rulings against ordinances attempting to destroy the credibility of pregnancy care centers, you expect the pattern to continue, but you never know if some activist judge will change direction in mid-stream. This concern weighed heavily on the pregnancy care centers in New York City after passage of such an invasive ordinance there.
Therefore, it is a tremendous relief to learn that a Federal judge has issued an injunction against enforcement of the NYC ordinance. This good news occurred today when Federal Judge William Pauley issued his ruling that the law is unconstitutionally vague and that it would present discriminatory enforcement because it did not also apply to centers that do abortions. The judge concluded the law violates free speech, saying the laws over-expansiveness is evident from its very language. Congratulations to Chris Slattery and his legal counsel on this important victory.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011 -- Recent reports again confirm the dangers of abortion
As part of their argument to justify abortion, advocates claim that abortion is safer than childbirth. The implication is that any pregnancy that in some way causes inconvenience is certainly not worth the added health risk, so just kill the baby and be done with it. Even if it were true, such callous disregard for human life is appalling, but abortion "safety" is all about how to lie with statistics.
One recent glaring example was the Chicago Tribune report last month on the lack of information captured by abortion providers about the nature of abortion complications and the failure to report maternal deaths caused by abortion. Certainly if you under-report the risks, you can create false statistics to suggest childbirth is more dangerous than abortion.
However, two recent reports offer confirmation of the dangers of abortion. A recent study conducted in the United Kingdom finds women who have abortions are 34% more likely to deliver a baby prematurely when they become pregnant the next time and to suffer from other pregnancy complications as well. Can you believe that abortion advocates still claim such a risk does not exist at all and charge that mentioning such a risk is an agenda-driven scare tactic?
The FDA has quietly released a new report on the RU-486 abortion drug, dated April 30, 2011. The report indicates 14 women in the United States alone have died from using RU-486 (also know as mifepristone) and 2,207 women have been injured by it.
How many more deaths and injuries have occurred that were never rolled into these statistics? We know that in Iowa, where Planned Parenthood does webcam abortions using RU-486, patients with complications are advised to go to their local emergency room, so few if any of those RU-486 complications get reported.
Monday, July 11, 2011 -- Adult stem cells provide more impressive results for patients
As the Obama administration keeps approving more lines of embryonic stem cells and the FDA accepts more dangerous trials using cells derived from embryonic sources on human patients, the fact remains that impressive advances continue to be made using adult stem cells. Some of these advances are still taking place in the USA, but many are occurring in other nations.
As reported by LifeNews, at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden a cancer patient has received the first synthetic windpipe transplant. The new windpipe was created using the patients own adult stem cells which were seeded onto a synthetic scaffold to grow the new tissue.
Stem cells from the patients bone marrow were grown for two days on the synthetic scaffold prior to the transplant. After the growing trachea was transplanted into the patient, it continued to develop new tracheal tissue and functioned like a natural trachea. Imaging and other tests showed appropriate development of the new tissue. Use of the patients own adult stem cells prevented any problems with transplant rejection.
Doctors at Northwestern University in Chicago have shown that adult stem cells can relieve angina pain in heart patients. The study examined 167 patients with refractory angina. Patients received either a low or high dose of their own adult stem cells injected into their damaged heart muscle, or a placebo injection.
Patients who received their adult stem cells experienced significant improvements with reduced angina pain frequency and improved exercise tolerance. Dr. Douglas Losordo, lead author on the study, said improvements in the patients treated with adult stem cells were life altering for many patients, allowing them to walk at a normal pace without pain or even ride a bike.
Friday, July 8, 2011 -- Statistics don't add up at Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood claims to be a "trusted health care provider" but the more facts come to light, the less their statistics add up compared to their claims and slogans. How can they claim to be reducing abortions through birth control and sex education when the number of abortions they sell have gone up almost every year after 1969 (when they did not commit any abortions)?
Let's review the Planned Parenthood abortion statistics at each decade. Here are
the grim abortion totals for the program they claim will reduce unwanted pregnancies and
Planned Parenthood moved from zero abortions in 1969 to over 27% of the national total in 2009, and continued their increase even as the national total dropped by 25% from 1990 to 2005 and then stabilized. If their program worked as they claimed, why do their customers keep getting more abortions almost every year? Are they claiming their abortion customers are all first time customers they have never seen before who never come back for another one? If they ever made such a claim, that would just be another statistic that did not add up!
With their ongoing effort to deny the huge role that abortion plays in their business, can we even trust their own abortion statistics? Are they failing to report some abortions? A recent review of Planned Parenthood abortion statistics for Indiana seems to suggest the possibility of under-reporting because abortion totals casually mentioned for specific offices raise questions about whether the state total is too low and might be incomplete.
American United for Life (AUL) has prepared a comprehensive report about Planned Parenthood that includes evidence of a pattern of misuse of federal health care and family planning funds, failure to report child sexual abuse, skirting of parental involvement laws, assisting prostitution and sex trafficking, misuse of the dangerous abortion drug RU-486, as well as other violations.
Planned Parenthood has a track record of concern about money rather than patients and an ever expanding abortion business that totally contradicts their marketing slogans. Pray that the reality of statistics that don't add up is finally catching up with Planned Parenthood.
Thursday, July 7, 2011 -- Warning signs intended to prevent forced abortion
Abortion advocates have recently focused on pushing for local ordinances that would require posting of warning signs at pregnancy care centers stating things like: no abortions done here, no birth control sold, no doctor on site, etc. Courts are ruling that such ordinances are unconstitutional because they violate the First Amendment.
Now the state of Louisiana has enacted a different law that is intended to help reduce cases of forced abortion by requiring signs at abortion facilities advising women of alternatives to abortion and that they have the right to refuse an abortion. The law specifies that these signs inform women that they cant be forced to abort against their will, the father is liable for support, adoptive parents may pay costs of prenatal care and childbirth, and there are many public and private resources to help during and after pregnancy.
Can you see the difference of intent for these signs compared to the approach taken by abortion advocates. The Louisiana law requires notification about rights and alternatives rather than expecting abortion facilities to state: no adoption choice available here, no help with pregnancy costs can be obtained here, etc.
Will such sign requirements be accepted in court, or will judges not see the difference and declare such mandates unconstitutional? Time will reveal the answer in court, but it seems to me that offering information about rights and alternatives directed toward the potential customer is much different than mandating statements about services that are not performed.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011 -- Another "brain dead" person wakes up!
Recently, a Quebec woman was identified as viable for organ donation after doctors diagnosed her as brain dead with no hope of recovery. Citing the patient's eyes as having great potential, the doctors asked if the family would agree to organ donation.
During her recovery following minor gum surgery, Madeleine Gauron had suffered an unfortunate accident when hospital staff gave her solid food and left her unattended. As she had been unable to consume solid food for some time, she choked on the food, and fell into a coma after unsuccessful resuscitation.
Given the family's shock at the situation, while open to the possibility of organ donation, they first demanded further medical tests to prove Madeleine was really dead. The next day, the family was astonished to learn that Madeleine had awakened. Shortly afterwards, she sat up in bed and ate yogurt.
This case is the latest showing the lack of accuracy in declaring death using the brain dead criteria. How can anyone rely on such a declaration of death when it may lead to the premature and very painful death of a loved one who is not dead at all?
Friday, July 1, 2011 -- Protecting teenage girls from forced abortions
Most states have enacted laws that give a pregnant woman of any age full rights to make her own decision about a pregnancy. These laws were instigated by abortion advocates with the intent of getting access to teenage girls to sell abortions without interference from parents. However, if parents are trying to force an abortion on their teenage daughter who does not want one, these laws give the daughter rights she may not know she has.
Documents have been created to provide assistance to teenage girls who face these illegal forced abortions. The Justice Foundations Center Against Forced Abortions was created to provide legal resources to mothers who are being forced or coerced into an unwanted abortion. Links to specific documents can be found as follows:
The first letter is adressed to parents who are trying to force an abortion, warning them against violating various laws. The second letter explains her rights to the pregnant teenager. The third document provides a statement to the abortionist that the teenage girl does not consent to an abortion.
When parents who are attempting to force an abortion on their pregnant daughter are presented with the Dear Parent Letter, they very often reconsider the implications of their threatened actions. Combined with Life Dynamicss Letter to Abortionists, which is a signed statement indicating the mothers non-consent to an abortion, the two documents form a powerful legal defense that empowers the teen mother to stand for her child.
Unfortunately, government agencies such as DCFS and police department may not be willing to get involved so obtaining these documents is critical in helping teenage mothers avoid forced abortions.