February 8, 2023

Federal Judge Says 13th Amendment May Contain "Right to Abortion"

Federal District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote in a February 6 order that the Thirteenth Amendment "might contain some right to access [abortion].”

The court order concerns a federal case against 10 pro-life protestors indicted on FACE Act charges for entering a Washington DC abortion facility in October 2020. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the administration's charges based on the US Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization and its statement that "the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion."

Kollar-Kotelly's court order reads,
As a threshold matter, and without the benefit of full briefing, it appears that Defendant’s constitutional argument is predicated on the false legal premise that the predicate statute at issue in the [113] Superseding Indictment only regulates access to abortion. In fact, it regulates a broad category of “reproductive health services,” including, among other things, “counselling or referral services.” See 18 U.S.C. § 248(5). Nevertheless, to the extent that Defendants seek resolution of this matter via a constitutional holding, the Court will require additional briefing. 
The judge wrote that the US Supreme Court only ruled on whether the Fourteenth Amendment contained a right to abortion.“[I]t is entirely possible that the Court might have held in Dobbs that some other provision of the Constitution provided a right to access reproductive services had that issue been raised. However, it was not raised.”

Kollar-Kotelly suggests that such a right might be found in the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery. "Of those provisions that might contain some right to access to such services, the Thirteenth Amendment has received substantial attention among scholars and, briefly, in one federal Court of Appeals decision."

Such arguments rely on the belief that pro-life laws "enslave" women by making them carry unwanted pregnancies.

The judge directed the prosecution and defense to address "whether the scope of Dobbs is confined to the Fourteenth Amendment" and "whether … any other provision of the Constitution could confer a right to abortion … such that Dobbs may or may not be the final pronouncement on the issue[.]"

February 7, 2023

Rockford Residents File Lawsuit over Zoning of "Home Business" Abortion Facility

Four residents of a Rockford, IL neighborhood, with the help of the Thomas More Society, are filing suit over the zoning of abortionist Dennis Christensen's "home business" clinic. The plaintiffs filed the suit in Winnebago County Court.

The clinic opened last month after the Rockford Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) ruled that the Thomas More Society and several residents who filed complaints had no standing to contest the facility's zoning. ZBA said that the groups did not live close enough to the facility to be affected by it. The board's ruling allows Christensen's residential building to operate as a "home business" abortion clinic under a 40-year-old special permit allowing a home medical office there.

The plaintiffs of the new lawsuit each live within 1200 feet of Christensen's clinic.

“An abortion clinic in the middle of a residential neighborhood would be a problem under any circumstances,” explained Breen, “But it is especially egregious in this situation. This abortionist has already been run out of town previously, having had his facility shut down over ten years ago by the Illinois Department of Health, because of the risks he posed to the safety and health of area women. The residents of Rockford didn’t want him practicing in their town then and they down want him selling abortions in their neighborhood now.”

Residents in the suit argue that the application of a special use permit violates several ordinances and causes harm to the community. On the day that the facility opened, a pro-abortion woman attacked peaceful protestors outside the building. She was later arrested and charged with battery.

Click here to read more.

February 6, 2023

Mark Houck to Press Charges Against FBI for "Reckless" Raid

Armed FBI agents outside Houck family home
image provided by the Thomas More Society
Pro-life advocate Mark Houck announced plans to press charges against the FBI for their "reckless" raid on his home that "terrorized" his children last September.

On Jan 31, the day after he was acquitted of the FACE Act charges pressed by the Biden administration, Houck spoke on the "War Room" podcast with Steve Bannon. Bannon asked Houck directly, “Do you intend to press charges for prosecutorial abuse? And are you going to press charges against the FBI agents and the state troopers?”

Houck responded, “We most definitely will and we will be seeking counsel on that. I think Peter Breen at Thomas More Society wants to get myself, my wife, and children in front of Congress and give them the details of what happened.”

Between 2015 and 2019, Breen served on the Illinois General Assembly. Now, Breen works as the Executive Vice President & Head of Litigation at the Thomas More Society. The Thomas More Society represented Houck against the Biden administration's charges.

For the first time since his arrest, Houck publicly described the experience of his arrest. Before 7 AM on September 23, 2022, Houck awoke to repeated banging on his front door. Houck said the authorities did not identify themselves while doing so. Houck demanded that they identify themselves before he opened the door, and they did.

“As I opened the door, I could not believe the circus scene that I saw,” he said.

There were “at least 10, 15 marked and unmarked units right in front of me. Surrounding the side of my house, I have 100 yards to the street, cars lined all the way up to the street, long guns pointed at me, heavily armored vests, ballistic helmets, ballistic shields, a battering ram,” he said.

“It was reckless that day,” Houck said. “I’m so surprised that someone wasn’t shot or I wasn’t shot.”

“[If] my kids picked up one of our airsoft guns that they play around with they easily could have been shot,” he said, adding that this was “extremely reckless behavior on the part of the federal government.”

Houck further alleges that the FBI "manipulated" him and his wife into giving them information that he didn't want to give them.

Perhaps most shockingly, Houck told Bannon that prior to his trial, the Biden administration offered him a plea deal. If Houck pled guilty, he would walk away with just "a slap on the wrist."

“I was not going to take that plea. But I just wanted your audience to know that that’s how highly the government thought of this case,” he said. “And I knew the importance of allowing this case to set precedent for the pro-life movement, to have case law on the books.”

February 3, 2023

Satanic Temple to Open "Religious" Abortion Clinic Named for Justice Alito's Mother

The Satanic Temple (TST) announced plans to open a telemedicine abortion facility in New Mexico named after the mother of pro-life Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Alito wrote the majority decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade last year. The name is a not-so-subtle argument that Alito's mother should have paid an abortionist to have him killed.

The facility will simply be named “The Samuel Alito’s Mom’s Satanic Abortion Clinic.”

“In 1950, Samuel Alito’s mother did not have options, and look what happened,” said Malcolm Jarry, the cofounder of TST. “Prior to 1973, doctors who performed abortions could lose their licenses and go to jail. The clinic’s name serves to remind people just how important it is to have the right to control one’s body and the potential ramifications of losing that right.”

A TST press release reads, “Patients undergo a confidential screening and virtual appointment before having their prescriptions sent to the clinic’s pharmacy partner, who will mail the medications in a discreet package.”

TST argues that the first amendment exempts them from federal and state laws regulating abortion because. The press release says that pills will be provided for an "abortion ritual" that is "an essential part of a religious practice."

Man Arrested for Peoria Planned Parenthood Arson

Tyler Massengill
photo from Peoria Police Department
32-year-old Tyler Massengill of Chillicothe, IL has been arrested for the arson attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Peoria, IL.

The Peoria Fire Department estimated $150,000 in damages. Planned Parenthood later said that the damage caused by the attack would cost over $1 million to repair. According to the facility's website, it is “Available by phone and telehealth only from 01/20/23 until further notice.”

Massengill confessed to breaking a window and throwing a Molotov cocktail into the Planned Parenthood clinic. He told police that he was "triggered" by memories of an abortion a past girlfriend had without his knowledge.

After his arrest on Jan. 24, he was charged with having “maliciously damaged and destroyed, and attempted to damage and destroy, by means of fire and an explosive, a building used in interstate commerce and engaged in activity affecting interstate commerce.” He appeared in court on Feb 1, when a federal judge found probable cause for him to stand trial on a federal charge equivalent to aggravated arson.

Massengill has a criminal record spanning back to the age of 13, including 26 arrests in Peoria county. He has been convicted of burglary, theft, domestic battery, aggravated assault, and trespassing. He was on probation at the time of the arson.

February 2, 2023

Students for Life to Hold Protest Against Abortion at Walgreens HQ in Deerfield, IL

Students for Life is asking pro-life advocates to join them in protesting the sale of abortion drugs at pharmacies.

The Biden administration has loosened regulations limiting the distribution of abortion pills. New FDA rules allow pharmacies to sell these deadly drugs. Abortion pills end the lives of innocent unborn children, and they pose an increased risk to mothers who have not first seen a doctor who can accurately date pregnancies and diagnose ectopic pregnancies.

After the FDA announced the rule change, major pharmacy chains including Walgreens, CVS, and Rite-Aid announced plans to sell abortion drugs.

Students for Life will hold a "Cancel Abortion Cartels" protest at the Walgreens HQ on Valentine's Day, February 14th at noon. Pro-life advocates will demand that Walgreens opt out of selling abortion pills.

What: Students for Life of America's "Cancel Abortion Cartels" protest

Where: Walgreens National Headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois

Date: Tuesday, February 14th 

Time: 12PM CT 

Reason: To demand that Walgreens opts out of selling chemical abortion drugs.

You can sign up to join the protest here.

State Attorneys General Warn CVS and Walgreens Against Mailing Abortion Pills

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey
20 state attorneys general, led by Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, sent letters to pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens warning them against using the mail to distribute abortion pills. The letters inform these companies that the practice is unsafe and illegal.

“As Attorney General, it is my responsibility to enforce the laws as written, and that includes enforcing the very laws that protect Missouri’s women and unborn children,” said Attorney General Bailey. “My Office is doing everything in its power to inform these companies of the law, with the promise that we will use every tool at our disposal to uphold the law if broken.”

CVS and Walgreens announced plans to distribute abortion pills, including by mail, after the Biden FDA loosened regulations on the deadly drugs.

The letters reference the Comstock Act, which prohibits the mail distribution of abortion pills. The Biden administration recently wrote a memo arguing that the law does not apply "where the sender lacks the intent that the recipient of the drugs will use them unlawfully." The memo does not require federal judges to rule one way or another, and it inaccurately portrays the law.

The letters read,
“Federal law expressly prohibits using the mail to send or receive any drug that will ‘be used or applied for producing abortion’… the text could not be clearer: ‘every article or thing designed, adapted, or intended for producing abortion … shall not be conveyed in the mails.’ And anyone who ‘knowingly takes any such thing from the mails for the purpose of circulating’ is guilty of a federal crime.”

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey authored the letter. He was joined by the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.

Click here to read more.

February 1, 2023

Biden Administration Announces Proposal to End Obamacare's Moral Objections to Contraceptives

The Biden administration announced a proposal Monday that would end employers' ability to object to Obamacare's contraceptive coverage mandate on moral grounds. Religious exemptions would remain intact, but employees of businesses who use these exemptions will have a new way to obtain federally-funded contraception with no out-of-pocket costs.

Students at universities with religious objections would also be able to use this method of obtaining contraception.

It should be noted that "emergency" contraception drugs such as Plan B are used to end the lives of unborn children after fertilization occurs. These drugs can prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the mother's womb, causing abortions.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimated that the removal of moral objections would impact over 100 employers and over 125,000 employees.

The proposed change could take effect after a 60-day comment period beginning Feb 2. On that day, the Biden administration will file the proposal in the Federal Register.

Click here to read more.

January 31, 2023

Mark Houck Acquitted of Biden DOJ's FACE Act Charges

Mark Houck with his wife and seven children
image provided by the Thomas More Society
At 3:00 pm on Monday, January 30, pro-life sidewalk counselor Mark Houck was found not guilty on both FACE Act charges levied by the Biden administration.

Federal agents arrested Houck at his Pennsylvania home in September of 2022. The charges stem from an altercation between Houck and a Planned Parenthood patient escort in 2021.

While Houck was offering support as a sidewalk counselor, the escort repeatedly harassed Houck's 12-year-old son. Houck retaliated by pushing the escort away. A civil case filed against Houck was thrown out of court after the escort failed to show up for court dates.

If Houck was found guilty of the federal charges pressed by the Biden administration, he would have faced 11 years in prison and a fine of $350,000. Houck was represented in court by the Thomas More Society.

“We are, of course, thrilled with the outcome,” Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Executive Vice President & Head of Litigation, said in a statement. “Mark and his family are now free of the cloud that the Biden administration threw upon them. We took on Goliath – the full might of the United States government – and won. The jury saw through and rejected the prosecution’s discriminatory case, which was harassment from day one. This is a win for Mark and the entire pro-life movement. The Biden Department of Justice’s intimidation against pro-life people and people of faith has been put in its place.”

January 30, 2023

Minnesota Passes Bill Legalizing Abortion Until Birth with No Restrictions

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D)
On Jan 28, the Minnesota state senate passed the Protective Reproductive Options (PRO) Act. This would codify a right to abortion until birth with no restrictions. The bill had already passed the House, and Gov. Tim Walz has publicly declared his intention to sign it into law.

Abortion is already considered a right through the 1995 court decision Doe v. Gomez. The passage of this law cements the legal protection of abortion in Minnesota. If Doe v. Gomez were overturned, a legal framework for abortion would still exist.

The Minnesota senate voted 34-33 along party lines to pass the bill. The previous week, the Minnesota House passed it by a vote of 69-65.

Like Illinois, Minnesota would allow abortion at all stages of pregnancy, and it would do so without any parental notification requirements.

January 27, 2023

Pro-Abortion Extremists Charged by FBI for Vandalizing Pro-Life Facilities

Amber Smith-Stewart, 23, and Caleb Freestone, 27 were charged with painting threatening messages on pro-life facilities in Florida. Amber claims to be a member of Antifa.

The pair were indicted by a federal grand jury on conspiracy against rights and violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.

After a Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked, Smith-Stewart and Freestone, working with unidentified conspirators, allegedly spray-painted threatening messages on three pro-life pregnancy centers. The messages included, “If abortions aren’t SAFE then neither are you” and “YOUR TIME IS UP!!” Similar messages were painted at buildings operated by pro-life pregnancy centers and activist groups across the country.

Each defendant faces up to 12 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fines of up to $350,000.

After the draft Dobbs opinion leaked, vandalism and arson against pro-life pregnancy centers and activist groups spiked. This appears to be the first FACE Act charges made by the Biden administration against pro-abortion radicals since that wave of violence began last summer. In the meantime, Biden's Department of Justice has wasted no time arresting and charging peaceful pro-life advocates with violation of the same law.

US Legislators Introduce Bill to Defund Colleges that Dispense Abortion Pills

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) introduced legislation last Friday that would remove federal funding from colleges and universities that provide students or employees with abortion pills.

The Protecting Life on College Campus Act of 2023 would prohibit "the award of federal funds to an institution of higher education that hosts or is affiliated with a student-based service site that provides abortion drugs or abortions or abortions" to students or staff. The bill defines abortion drugs in such a way that would include any drugs designed to produce an outcome other than live birth, removing an already deceased child, or treating an ectopic pregnancy. This definition includes "emergency contraception" drugs like Plan B, which can cause abortions.

During the lame-duck session at the beginning of the month, Illinois lawmakers were considering legislation requiring public colleges and universities to provide "emergency contraception" in vending machines. "Emergency contraception" like Plan B can cause an abortion by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the mother's womb. HB4664, the major pro-abortion bill that the Illinois General Assembly passed, did not include this language in its final form. This policy will likely reappear in future Illinois legislation.

The Protecting Life on College Campus Act of 2023 is unlikely the pass the pro-abortion majority in the US Senate. It does show the continued commitment of pro-life legislators and serves as another example of what could pass with a pro-life majority.

January 26, 2023

Judge Rules Arizona Ban on Discriminatory Abortions Can Remain in Effect

On Jan. 19, US District Court Judge Douglas Rayes refused to block an Arizona pro-life law prohibiting discriminatory abortions.

The law prohibits abortionists from committing an abortion decided purely due to the child's diagnosis with a genetic condition (such as down syndrome). The pro-life law was passed in 2021, but it was blocked shortly afterward under the precedent of Roe v. Wade. After the US Supreme Court overturned Roe, the law went into effect. Pro-abortion groups sued in an attempt to block the law again, but Rayes's decision rejected their arguments.

Rayes noted that no harm has occurred to abortion advocates since the law came into effect, and he cannot rule on theoretical harm unless it conflicts with a constitutional right. “Plaintiffs’ ability to provide (abortion) care without undue state interference is a battle fought and lost in Dobbs,” Rayes wrote.

Abortion in Arizona is currently legal until 15 weeks due to a separate decision by the state Court of Appeals. That decision sought to reconcile Arizona's 15-week abortion ban with an 1864 law that prohibited nearly all abortions. The ban on discriminatory abortions applies regardless of gestational age.

Arizona's current administration has no plans to appeal decisions striking down pro-life laws, and it is similarly unlikely to enforce them.

January 25, 2023

National Right to Life Annual Report Now Available

On Monday, the National Right to Life Committee released its tenth annual report summarizing important developments in the fight for the unborn. The report provides information on state and federal legislation, and it analyzes annual abortion statistics.

Notably, National Right to Life now estimates that 64,443,118 abortions have been performed in the United States since 1973. This estimate is based on data from the CDC and the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute.

The report also details (among other things):
  • the increasing percentage of abortions completed via the abortion pill regimen. This number is likely to increase even more, as pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens are set to start filling abortion pill prescriptions.
  • how states protect or deny the right to life through legislation, constitutional amendments, or court decisions. Click here to read about the pro-abortion legislation signed by IL Gov. JB Pritzker earlier this month.
“Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, we have seen the state of abortion in the United States shift dramatically as many states moved to enact laws that would protect unborn children and their mothers from the tragedy of abortion,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “Pro-life education and legislative efforts are making an impact on our culture and in the lives of women facing unexpected pregnancies. But there is still much to be done.”

January 24, 2023

Illinois Woman Tells Story of Abortion Survival

An Illinois woman named Jennifer Milbourn recently spoke with Live Action News to tell the story of how she survived an attempted abortion.

Jennifer's adoptive mother told her the story at age 19. Jennifer's birth mother (her adoptive mother's younger sister) showed up at her adoptive mother's home. She asked to be taken to the abortion clinic. The adoptive mother tried to convince her sister not to abort; even offering to adopt the baby. Jennifer's birth mother refused, saying it would make her too uncomfortable. The sisters went to the abortion clinic together, but Jennifer survived the attempt on her life. Only after this event did the birth mother allow her younger sister to adopt Jennifer.

“It was a vacuum aspiration procedure,” Jennifer told Live Action News, “which is the vacuum tube that will suck the baby out. My head was gestationally larger than the abortionist was expecting, which more than likely meant my birth mom had told them that she wasn’t as far along as she was. Basically, they started the procedure, [but] my head was too big to go into the tube. They stopped the procedure and said, ‘More than likely you’ll miscarry because there’s been a hole in the embryonic sac. Go home and you’ll just miscarry.’ But lo and behold, everything was fine.”

Jennifer told Live Action News that her mother's life had been difficult in a lot of ways. She suffered from alcoholism, and there were rumors of other abortions before Jennifer's conception. Jennifer said that her birth mother fell for the lie that abortion is health care, and she did not realize that she was carrying a human life with inherent value. Jennifer never spoke with her birth mother about the abortion before she died, but Jennifer did forgive her.

Jennifer is now a member of the Abortion Survivors Network, a group of over 650 people who survived abortion and tell their stories to help the pro-life cause. “I was really grateful because I couldn’t sit there and say that I was alone anymore in that,” she told Live Action News.

It is unclear how many children survive abortion. There are no federal reporting requirements. A recent report from Florida indicated that eight children survived abortions in that state during the year 2022.

January 23, 2023

Attorneys for Sidewalk Counselor Arrested by FBI Reveal Defense During Pretrial Hearing

Sidewalk counselor Mark Houck, who was arrested on FACE Act charges by a group of armed FBI agents at his home last September, had a pretrial hearing last week. Houck is represented by the Thomas More Society, which revealed a surprising argument in Houck's defense.

Mark Houck was charged with violating the FACE Act for pushing a clinic escort who was harassing Houck's son outside the clinic. City police declined to file assault charges. The escort's private criminal complaint was dismissed after the escort repeatedly failed to appear in court.

The Thomas More Society argues that FACE Act was expressly intended to exclude escorts operating outside abortion clinics. This is because escorts do not provide "reproductive health services" inside a facility, as required by the FACE Act.

“The FACE Act was never intended to cover disputes between advocates on the public sidewalks outside of our nation’s abortion clinics,” declared Thomas More Society Executive Vice President & Head of Litigation Peter Breen, who is representing Houck. “This new evidence shows clearly that Congress intended to limit the FACE Act to patients and staff working in the clinic, and not to take sides between pro-life and pro-choice counselors and escorts on the sidewalk. The Biden Department of Justice’s prosecution of Mark Houck is pure harassment, meant solely to intimidate our nation’s pro-life sidewalk counselors who provide vital resources to help pregnant women at risk for abortion.”

The Thomas More Society highlighted a bipartisan amendment they negotiated to prevent clinic escorts from filing lawsuits under the FACE Act.

January 20, 2023

Supreme Court Failed to Find Source of Leaked Dobbs Opinion

The US Supreme Court announced Thursday that it failed to find the source of the draft Dobbs v. Jackson opinion that was leaked in the late spring of 2022.

A joint statement released by the Supreme Court and the marshal of the court stated that investigators have been unable to identify the leaker. Investigators concluded that it was "unlikely" that the court was hacked by an outsider. This limited its investigation to 82 employees, all of whom denied leaking the opinion.

“In May 2022, this Court suffered one of the worst breaches of trust in its history: the leak of a draft opinion,” the Supreme Court statement said. “The leak was no mere misguided attempt at protest. It was a grave assault on the judicial process.”

“It is not possible to determine the identity of any individual who may have disclosed the document or how the draft opinion ended up with Politico,” the statement reads.

The backlash from the leaked draft led to protests and threats outside the homes of Supreme Court Justices. Many believe that the leak contributed to fewer successful outcomes for pro-life candidates in the 2022 midterm elections.

Click here to read more.

Pritzker Promotes Abortion at World Economic Forum

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week. While answering questions as part of a panel of US politicians, Pritzker touted Illinois's abortion policies and argued that the federal government needs to follow suit. He went as far as to suggest that politicians should abandon any notion of bipartisanship to accomplish these goals.

"I want to disagree with Democrats and Republicans across this panel on something," Pritzker said. "There was a lot of talk about the desire for bipartisanship. I think that certainly if you ask the public, 'Do you think that Congress or that states should work in a bipartisan fashion?' the answer is yes. But what I think they really mean is they want to get things done... We have gotten things done for the United States at the federal level under this president, but the truth is it's not enough."

This comes as many suspect the pro-abortion governor is preparing to run for president.

"The people of our state want us to increase jobs, grow the economy, you know, make sure that in my state people want to ban assault weapons," Pritzker continued.
"We just did that. Protect a woman's right to choose. We just did that. Those are not happening at the federal level and should. But we're doing it at the state level. And it's true also about building our economy. We just passed $1,000,000,000,000 GDP for the state of Illinois. We're the fifth state in the country to do that. We're doing that with some help from the federal government, but frankly, we've had to chart a course and set an industrial policy essentially for our state.”
Pritzker's comments suggest that he believes more governmental policies, including abortion policy, should come from the federal level. States currently have the ability to democratically create their own abortion policies. A single-party rule operating under Pritzker's philosophy would send the United States backward and create an abortion policy even worse than what existed under Roe v. Wade, likely starting with pro-abortion federal legislation like the deceptively-named Women's Health Protection Act.

January 19, 2023

Arsonist Throws Molotov Cocktail into Peoria Planned Parenthood

suspect vehicle fleeing after the arson attack
photo from Peoria Police Department Facebook page
On the evening of Sunday, Jan 15, police and firefighters responded to an arson attack at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Peoria, Illinois.

According to police spokesperson Semone Roth, police received a report of an "unknown person throwing a Molotov cocktail" into the abortion business at about 11:30 pm. Thankfully, there were no injuries. Fire officials estimated damages of over $150,000. Planned Parenthood later said that their costs could be upward of $1 million.

No suspects have been arrested or identified at the time of writing. Footage obtained by police identified a white pickup truck with a red driver's side door used by the arsonist. The police have been unable to locate it so far.

Peoria Fire Department Chief Shawn Sollberger told the New York Times Tuesday that investigators were working on an arrest warrant.

The attack is indicative of escalating political tensions on the abortion issue. This violent attack is wrong, just like attacks against pro-life pregnancy centers, political organizations, and churches are wrong.

In May of 2021, a full year before the Supreme Court's draft decision for Dobbs v. Jackson leaked, the pro-life Women's Care Center in Peoria was the target of an arson attack. In August 2022, with help from pro-life donations, the group opened a new "super center" down the street from the same Planned Parenthood clinic that was attacked this week.

We echo the sentiment of Mary Kate Zander, the executive director of Illinois Right to Life. She told the Associated Press, “We would never condone violence against any Planned Parenthood or any other abortion clinic. The primary reason that we stand against abortion is that it’s an act of violence. So it would be hypocritical of us to not say the same in the case of an act of violence against abortion workers.”

January 18, 2023

Judicial Watch Sues HHS for Fetal Organ Harvesting Records

On January 10, Judicial Watch announced that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the US Department of Health and Human Services. Judicial Watch is seeking communications records from the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Office of Extramural Research about the use of human fetal organs.

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the HHS failed to respond to a July 15, 2022 FOIA request seeking all NIH "communications concerning human fetal tissue between the Office of Extramural Research and any of the following entities: (1) University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), (2) University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, (3) the National Abortion Federation and (4) any Planned Parenthood entity."

In 2021, the Biden administration shut down an Ethics Advisory Board that reviewed applications for NIH funding if their proposals involved the use of fetal tissue harvested from elective abortions. Judicial Watch sought information on exactly how taxpayer funds were being spent on these projects under the Biden administration.

 “We have already established collusion between the University of Pittsburgh and the NIH over the fetal organ ‘chop shop’ in the University of Pittsburgh paid for with federal tax dollars,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Biden administration turned the spigot back on for taxpayer funding of this barbarism, and we want the details.” 

January 17, 2023

Gov. Pritzker Advocates for Abortion Rights Constitutional Amendment

During his inaugural address on Jan 9, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker celebrated his victory in the 2022 election by, among other things, announcing his plan to enshrine a right to abortion in the state constitution.

After being sworn in at the Bank of Springfield Center, Pritzker gave a prepared speech that included the following:
"One thing last year proved is that if given the chance, a bunch of right-wing judges and legislators will take away women’s rights. Well, Illinois spoke loudly and decisively in 2022 and declared that in the Land of Lincoln, we trust women! The right to privacy and bodily autonomy demand that we establish a constitutional protection for reproductive rights in Illinois. The extremists still want to take away a woman’s right to choose, and I don’t intend to let them. That’s why yet again, on women’s rights, Illinois will lead."

The governor, like many pro-abortion politicians, does not use the word "abortion." He instead leans on "women's rights" and "reproductive freedom," insinuating that the rights of women cannot coexist with the rights of the unborn (or even more troubling, that the unborn do not have any rights).

He also paints anyone who would protect the unborn from those who would intentionally kill them as "extremists." This language further divides Americans who might otherwise create solutions that simultaneously protect unborn children and assist mothers facing crisis pregnancies.

Pritzker's speech echoes a sentiment expressed by Illinois House Speaker Emmanuel "Chris" Welch last month. When asked by the State Journal-Register about a potential constitutional amendment codifying a right to abortion, he responded, “That's certainly one of the questions that's out there, and it’s a strong possibility. But again, I don't want to get ahead of the working group or the recommendations they formally present. I'm certain that's one of the things that's on the table.”

Click here to read Gov. Pritzker's full inauguration speech.

January 13, 2023

Jan 13 Illinois General Assembly Legislation Update

During the lame-duck session of the 102nd General Assembly, legislators pushed pro-abortion legislation in the form of amendments completely replacing the contents of "shell bills." Unfortunately, HB4664 passed both houses and was signed into law by Gov. Pritzker.

The 103rd General Assembly also began this week, and that comes with the introduction of new legislation.

HB4664, originally written to amend the Wholesale Drug Distribution Licensing Act, was passed by the House of Representatives on March 3, 2022. This month, the Senate adopted amendments that replaced the contents of the bill with several pro-abortion measures. Today, Gov. Pritzker signed it into law. As amended, HB4664:
  • Allows non-physicians to perform surgical and aspiration abortions that do not require general anesthesia. It also ends the requirement that a physician is present for such abortions.
  • Creates "temporary permits" for physicians and non-physicians from other states to commit abortions in Illinois.
  • Protects abortionists who flee to Illinois after losing their licenses in other states for breaking pro-life laws. These abortionists are allowed to practice in Illinois, and Illinois will legally protect them from other states' efforts to extradite them for violations of pro-life laws.
  • Removes liability from healthcare professionals and medical institutions if a legal and consensual abortion causes a mother's death.
  • Allows birthing centers to commit abortions
  • Mandates that health insurance plans cover abortion and abortion drugs without deductibles or co-pays (regardless of whether the plans would provide coverage for prescription drugs otherwise).
  • Allows for the disposal of human embryos created through "assisted reproduction" such as IVF.
One amendment that thankfully did not pass would have given the Attorney General the power to investigate and prosecute pro-life sidewalk counselors, protestors, and crisis pregnancy centers for "deception" or "omission of any material fact" regarding abortion.

Another notable amendment that did not pass would have used taxpayer funding to cover the travel, food, lodging, childcare, translation, "doula support," and abortion expenses of women who travel from other states to have abortions in Illinois.

The amended version of HB4664 passed the Senate by a party-line vote of 41-16 on January 10, 2023. Senators Jason Plummer (R) and Brian Steward (R) did not vote. On the same day, the House of Representatives voted 70-39 to approve the Senate's amendments. The representatives who were present also voted along party lines except for Rep. Sue Scherer (D), who opposed the bill. On January 13, Gov Pritzker signed HB4664 into law.

HB5188 was another "shell bill" that was amended by the Senate. This legislation would mandate that all public schools in Illinois adopt the "National Sex Education Standards" published by the Future of Sex Education (FoSE). These standards largely deal with sexual orientation and gender ideology, but they also include standards that promote abortion.

By 2nd grade, the standards teach students to accept cohabitation (non-marital sexual relationships) as a normal "type of family." By 8th grade, it would teach students to identify abortion as a "pregnancy option." To promote abortion, the standards teach "all pregnant young people to have decision-making power in their reproductive health decisions."

The amended version of HB5188 did not receive a vote in the Senate before the lame-duck session ended.

SB3799 was another "shell bill" that originally dealt with cannabis transporting licenses. It was amended by the House of Representatives to create a variety of pro-abortion policies. This bill did not progress to a third reading in the Senate before the lame-duck session ended, but it appears that many of its provisions were added to the final version of HB4664.

103rd General Assembly

The 103rd session of the Illinois General Assembly was inaugurated on Jan 11. With the start of the new session, any bills from the 102nd can no longer be considered. It is possible (and even likely) that legislators will reintroduce those policies in the form of new bills, however.

​​​​​​​On January 12, a slew of new bills was introduced. We will highlight a few of them here. All of these bills were referred to the House Rules Committee and await assignment to standing committees.

HB0003 and HB1046 were introduced by Rep. Mary Flowers (D). Either of these bills would expand the number of non-physicians allowed to perform abortions by including midwives. These bills would also expand Illinois's legal definition of "medical facility" to include "reproductive health centers."

HB1148, the Ultrasound Opportunity Act, was introduced by Rep. Charles Meier (R). This bill would require that pregnant women be given the opportunity to receive and view an ultrasound prior to the abortion of any unborn child after 8 weeks gestation.

HB1162, introduced by Rep. Paul Jacobs (R), would prohibit the use of mobile abortion clinics. Pro-abortion groups are using this tactic to more easily offer abortions to women traveling to Illinois from pro-life states.

118th US House Passes Pro-Life Legislation in First Week

The new Republican-led House of Representatives has passed two pro-life bills during its first week in session: The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act and a resolution condemning attacks against pro-life groups.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act was passed by a vote of 220-210. If passed into law, this would require healthcare providers to provide the same level of care to a child born during an attempted abortion as to any other child born at the same gestational age. After that, the bill would require the provider to transport the child to a hospital.

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias wrote applauded the House for passing this legislation, saying, “There is no such thing as a ‘post-birth abortion.’ This bill isn’t about interfering with a so-called right to abortion. It is about stopping infanticide.” 

The US House also passed the Resolution Condemning Violence Against Pro-life Pregnancy Care Centers, Pro-Life Groups, and Churches. As a resolution, this bill would not enact any policy. It simply condemns violent attacks by radical pro-abortion groups against pro-life facilities, groups, and churches. It calls on the Biden administration to use its power to investigate the attacks and protect these groups.

Violence and vandalism against these pro-life groups have been rampant since a draft version of the Dobbs v. Jackson decision leaked last summer, but the Biden administration has not made any arrests in connection with these violations of federal law.

Neither bill is expected to overcome the pro-abortion majority in the US Senate.

January 12, 2023

Biden DOJ Advises Postal Service that Abortion Drugs can be Mailed Lawfully in All 50 States

President Biden's Department of Justice (DOJ) wrote a slip opinion for the United States Postal Service (USPS) advising that mailing abortion drugs is not a violation of federal or state law.

Christopher Schroeder, Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel, wrote the slip opinion. He argues that the Comstock Act, which prohibits the mailing of "[e]very article, instrument, substance, drug, medicine, or thing which is advertised or described in a manner calculated to lead another to use or apply it for producing abortion," does not apply to the abortion pills mifepristone and misoprostol "where the sender lacks the intent that the recipient of the drugs will use them unlawfully."

Schroeder writes, "there are manifold ways in which recipients in every state may use these drugs, including to produce an abortion, without violating state law. Therefore, the mere mailing of such drugs to a particular jurisdiction is an insufficient basis for concluding that the sender intends them to be used unlawfully." He later clarifies, "dosages of mifepristone and misoprostol that are used for medication abortion can be used to treat a miscarriage, and misoprostol is commonly prescribed for the prevention and treatment of gastric ulcers."

Further, Schroeder argues that it is lawful to send deliver doses explicitly provided for abortion even in states that ban abortion. He argues,
"even if a state prohibits a pregnant person from ingesting mifepristone or misoprostol for the purpose of inducing an abortion, such an individual has a constitutional right to travel to another state that has not prohibited that activity and to ingest the drugs there. Someone sending a woman these drugs is unlikely to know where she will use them, which might be in a state in which such use is lawful."

Sending abortion drugs for the purpose of causing abortion to a person who lives in a place where abortion is illegal is still fine, according to Schroeder, as long as the sender believes that the mother will travel out of state before ingesting the pills. Such an assumption seems unreasonable, and it is very possible that a sender could still face charges from a pro-life state that would argue otherwise.

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Erik Baptist told Live Action News,

“These longstanding federal laws prohibit the distribution of chemical abortion drugs by mail, common carrier, or express company. That means only the chemical drug manufacturer may deliver and distribute these drugs to abortionists around the country. The manufacturer cannot use the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, UPS, or any third-party courier to distribute chemical abortion drugs to abortionists, pharmacies, or women in the United States.”

Click here to read more.

January 11, 2023

Arizona Court Upholds 15-Week Abortion Limit, Blocks 1864 Abortion Ban

An Arizona state Court of Appeals issued a ruling that Arizona's 1864 law banning all abortions is not enforceable due to exceptions carved out in more recent legislation.

“The question at the core of this appeal is whether a licensed physician who performs an elective abortion in conformity with more recent statutes in Title 36 is nevertheless subject to prosecution under §13 3603,” the Appeals Court panel wrote. “Because Title 36 permits physicians to perform elective abortions under certain circumstances, the answer is no.”

The three-judge panel unanimously ruled that although the 1864 law was never repealed, newer laws written to regulate abortion under Roe v. Wade created a set of rules that allow abortions. The court wrote that laws regarding waiting periods, parental notification, and the 15-week ban created a new legal framework allowing abortion. Essentially, they decided that these newer laws overrode the 1864 law except in cases when non-physicians might attempt to commit abortions.

Incoming pro-abortion Arizona attorney general Kris Mayes said that she will not appeal the decision, and incoming pro-abortion governor Katie Hobbs has declared her intent to get rid of the 15-week ban.

January 10, 2023

IL HB 5188 would Mandate Sex-Ed Standards Promoting Abortion as a "pregnancy option"

Pro-abortion politicians are pushing HB5188 to mandate sex education standards for public schools that would, among other things, promote abortion as a "pregnancy option."

Much like SB3799 and HB4664, HB5188 is a "shell bill." The current content as a bill is being pushed through an amendment that replaces all of the bill's original language.

The new language of HB5188 would require all public schools to adopt the "National Sex Education Standards" published by the Future of Sex Education (FoSE). Currently, Illinois law allows schools to opt out of these standards. The standards push ideologies related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy (including abortion). FoSE standards list specific sex-ed requirements to be met by public schools at each grade level.

The mandated standards would explicitly require students to identify abortion as a "pregnancy option" in eighth grade. It also teaches "all pregnant young people to have decision-making power in their reproductive health decisions." As early as 2nd grade, the curriculum normalizes nonmarital sexual relationships by teaching students to define cohabitation as a valid "type of family."

By first normalizing non-committed sexual relationships and then validating abortion as a morally acceptable choice, Illinois public school curriculums would teach children to accept casual sex and reject the humanity of the unborn.

January 9, 2023

South Carolina Supreme Court Rules State Constitution Implies Right to abortion

On January 5, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that a pro-life law banning the abortion of unborn children with detectable heartbeats is illegal. The court ruled that the state's right to privacy implies a right to abortion. The ruling came on the same day that Idaho's Supreme Court made the opposite ruling about its own constitution.

The South Carolina Supreme Court found that the heartbeat law "violates our state Constitution's prohibition against unreasonable invasions of privacy" because it did not allow a woman "sufficient time" to decide whether to have an abortion. 

“Our State Supreme Court has found a right in our Constitution which was never intended by the people of South Carolina. With this opinion, the Court has clearly exceeded its authority. The people have spoken through their elected representatives multiple times on this issue,” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster tweeted. “I look forward to working with the General Assembly to correct this error.”

With the heartbeat law struck down, abortion is only banned in South Carolina after 20 weeks gestation.

Click here to read more.

Idaho Supreme Court Rules State Constitution Does Not Create Right to Abortion

On January 5th, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled 3-2 that the Idaho state constitution does not include a right to abortion.

Planned Parenthood issued a legal challenge in an attempt to block pro-life laws that were passed in 2020 and 2022. These included a "trigger" law that took effect immediately after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last June. That trigger law bans all abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the mother's life.

Planned Parenthood argued that the right to abortion was implied by Idaho's constitution through "a fundamental right to privacy and to make familial decisions." The court disagreed in its final ruling.

“… We cannot read a fundamental right to abortion into the text of the Idaho Constitution,” she wrote. “Since Idaho attained statehood in 1890, this court has repeatedly and steadfastly interpreted the Idaho Constitution based on the plain and ordinary meaning of its text, as intended by those who framed and adopted the provision at issue.”

“That is our duty as the judicial branch: to sustain the rule of law — not to promote our personal policy preferences,” Justice Brody continued. “If we were to jettison that disciplined approach, even in the face of a uniquely emotional and politically divisive policy issue, the Idaho Constitution would no longer be the voice of the people of Idaho — it would be effectively replaced by the voice of a select few sitting on this Court.”

January 6, 2023

FDA Rule Change Allows Pharmacies to Sell Abortion Pills

On Jan 3, the FDA officially changed its regulations to allow pharmacies to sell the abortion pill mifepristone to any patient with a prescription.

Mifepristone is the first pill in the two-pill chemical abortion regimen. Mifepristone blocks the pregnancy hormone progesterone, which helps facilitate the flow of oxygen and nutrients from the mother's body to the unborn child. This causes the child to starve and suffocate to death. 24-48 hours after the mother takes mifepristone, she will take misoprostol. This drug induces labor; removing the dead child from the mother's womb.

On January 4, CVS and Walgreens told Axios that they plan to start selling abortion pills. This will turn street corners across the country into abortion businesses. Pharmacies will still be subject to state laws regulating abortion pills.

This change builds on a separate one made by the Biden administration in December 2021. At that time, the FDA administration lifted its requirement that mifepristone only be provided to patients during in-person appointments with physicians. This regulation allowed physicians the opportunity to confirm pregnancy, gestational age, and conditions such as ectopic pregnancy. This helped limit potentially deadly complications such as hemorrhaging.

After the 2021 change, abortion pills could be prescribed over the phone or through the internet. Some companies already fill abortion pill prescriptions by mail.

January 5, 2023

Pro-Abortion IL Senate Pushes Law Targeting Crisis Pregnancy Centers

photo credit: Jim Bowen / Flickr
On the evening of January 4, pro-abortion legislators in the Illinois state senate added an amendment to HB4664 that would further deregulate the abortion industry and criminalize "misinformation" by pro-life activists. This amendment completely replaces the text of the original bill.

Pro-abortion legislators are using this tactic to push legislation during the short lame-duck session. The House of Representatives is employing a similar tactic with an amendment to SB3799. We are in the process of analyzing that bill now.

As amended, HB4664 would:
  • Allow non-physicians to perform surgical abortions that do not require general anesthesia. Further, physicians would no longer need to be present for such abortions.
  • Give abortionists from other states, even non-physicians, "temporary permits" to commit abortions in Illinois without Illinois medical licenses
  • Protect abortionists who flee to Illinois after losing their licenses in other states by breaking pro-life laws. These abortionists would be allowed to practice in Illinois, and Illinois would legally protect them from other states' efforts to extradite them for violations of pro-life laws.
  • Use taxpayer funds to cover the travel, food, lodging, childcare, translation, "doula support," and abortion expenses of women who travel from out of state to have abortions in Illinois.
  • Mandate that healthcare professionals with continuing education requirements take a two-hour course about "reproductive health care" including abortion.
  • Empower the Attorney General to investigate sidewalk counselors, pro-life protestors, and crisis pregnancy centers (defined as "limited services pregnancy facilities in the bill) for "deception" or "omission of any material fact" whenever he "believes it to be in the public interest that an investigation be made..." Those found guilty by a court of law following any investigation could be fined up to $50,000.
Pro-life Illinoisans should call on their legislators to vote no on HB4664.

Rockford Zoning Board Rejects Challenge to Abortionist's "Home Business" Clinic

Abortionist Dennis Christensen
screenshot from "Lake of Fire" documentary clip
Abortionist Dennis Christensen, who once owned an abortion clinic in Rockford, IL that was closed for health violations, is attempting to open a new clinic as a "home business" in a Rockford neighborhood. Local residents, assisted by the Thomas More Society, challenged Christensen's attempt before the Rockford Zoning Board of Appeals. On December 20, the board ultimately rejected their challenge, and the facility opened for business on December 27.

Until the Dobbs v. Jackson decision last year, Christensen operated an abortion clinic in Wisconsin. The Dobbs decision overturned Roe v. Wade, allowing states to create and enforce abortion laws through the democratic process. This allowed Wisconsin to enforce its 1849 law banning abortion, which prompted Christensen to return to Illinois.

Thomas More Society Vice President and Senior Counsel Peter Breen argued that the proposed business violates Rockford zoning ordinance and will do grave harm to the community.

“An abortion clinic in the middle of a residential neighborhood would be a problem under any circumstances,” explained Breen, “But it is especially egregious in this situation. This abortionist has already been run out of town previously, having had his facility shut down over ten years ago by the Illinois Department of Health, because of the risks he posed to the safety and health of area women. The residents of Rockford didn’t want him practicing in their town then and they down want him selling abortions in their neighborhood now.”

“Abortion clinics are known for bringing disturbances, loud protests and counterprotests, as well as decreases in nearby property values and significant traffic impacts,” Breen added. “Opening such a facility in a residential area not zoned for commercial use would significantly impede residents’ ability to live quiet, peaceful lives. The proposed use for this property should be independently reviewed because of its unique characteristics, traffic impacts, and effects on the surrounding community.”

Breen's prediction came true on Dec 27, the day that the clinic opened for business. Pro-life protestors stood on the sidewalk nearby holding signs when a pro-abortion woman exited her vehicle to approach the protestors and physically attack them. Authorities later arrested the woman at her home on charges of battery.

The Rockford Zoning Board of Appeals ruled that the Thomas More Society and the residents who filed complaints had no legal standing to challenge their zoning determination. The board unanimously came to this conclusion on the basis that they did not live close enough to the clinic to be affected by its presence.

The board also unanimously voted that the building could be used as an abortion business under a 40-year-old special permit allowing a home medical office there.

Christensen's "home business" at 611 Auburn St in Rockford offers abortion pills. He is working with pro-abortion activists to open a surgical abortion clinic at 4236 Maray Drive in Rockford.