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March 17 Illinois Legislation Update

Many bills important bills relating to pro-life issues continue to move through the legislative process in Springfield. Please file witness ...

April 16, 2021

House Democrats Announce Bill to Add Four Justices to the Supreme Court

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jarrod Nadler (D-NY)
photo credit: Brookings Institution / Flickr
On Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrod Nadler (D-NY) introduced a bill that would expand the number of Supreme Court seats from nine to thirteen. If the Judiciary Act of 2021 is passed into law, it would give president Biden the power to immediately appoint four additional justices to the Supreme Court and skew it in favor of the Democratic party.

Nadler said that his bill would “restore balance to the nation’s highest court after four years of norm-breaking actions by Republicans led to its current composition.”

Democratic legislators have argued that it was unfair for Senate Republicans to block the nomination of an Obama-appointed Supreme Court Justice after Justice Antonin Scalia died months before the 2016 election. When Trump took office, he filled that seat with Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Democrats also took issue with the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the court in 2020.

“Republicans stole the Court’s majority, with Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation completing their crime spree,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is suggesting that she does not support bringing the issue of court-packing before the floor of the House at the moment, however.

“I don't know if [court packing is] a good idea or a bad idea,” she said. “I think it's an idea that should be considered and I think the president's taking the right approach to have a commission to study such a thing.”

President Biden refused to say whether he supported court-packing during his 2020 presidential campaign. His commission studying court reform includes former NARAL legal director Caroline Fredrickson.

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Pro-Life Representatives Vote for Discharge Petition to Call Abortion Survivor Protection to a Vote

On Wednesday, three pro-life representatives filed a discharge petition to call the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to a floor vote. Very quickly, a total of 202 representatives lined up to sign the petition that afternoon. That number is a new record for first-day signatures on a discharge petition.

If a total of 218 representatives sign the petition, then H.R. 619 will be brought before the full House of Representatives for a vote. This would bypass the normal requirement that the bill is approved by the committee to which it was assigned.

H.R. 619 is important because it would provide an enforcement mechanism to punish abortionists if they refuse to provide care for a baby that survived an attempted abortion. Furthermore, it would require that every child who survives an attempted abortion be transported to a hospital to receive the same care that any other baby would receive.

The CDC estimates that at least 143 babies died after being born alive during attempted abortions between the years 2003 and 2014. This number is likely lower than reality; since some of the most pro-abortion states do not provide abortion data to the federal government. If H.R. 619 becomes law, then many of these deaths could be mitigated.

“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,” said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias. “Appallingly, pro-abortion extremists in the House and Senate are willing to let die babies who are born alive following an abortion.”

Click here to read more.

April 15, 2021

California Judge Blocks Release of Pro-Life Undercover Videos

David Daleiden
photo credit: American Life League / Flickr
Hundreds of hours of undercover footage from National Abortion Federation meetings recorded by pro-life undercover journalists with the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) were permanently blocked last Wednesday by a California judge.

District Court Judge William Orrick issued a preliminary injunction against the videos in 2015 after Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation sued the CMP for alleged violation of California privacy law, and now that injunction is permanent.

Early in the case's legal proceedings, the CMP filed to disqualify Orrick as the judge for the case, due to his close ties to the abortion industry. The motion failed, however, and Orrick refused to recuse himself.

Judge Orrick wrote that the videos "disclosed no criminal activity," but David Daleiden (who led the CMP investigation) responded last Thursday by arguing the opposite:

"What is on the footage of public conversations at abortion industry trade shows that Planned Parenthood leadership is so desperate to cover up? Our expert Dr. Forrest Smith, the country’s longest-practicing abortion provider, says it shows the quid pro quo sale of fetal body parts, abuse of patients, and infanticide–but Judge Orrick insists he sees nothing wrong with it, yet won’t let the public decide for themselves.

This decision hides the most incriminating and damning footage under the fig leaf of trade show exhibit agreements which explicitly permitted exhibitor recording. This transparent attempt to skew the law and suppress free speech to protect the worst wrongdoing must stop, and the truth must be revealed."

20 state attorneys and several activist groups filed friend-of-the-court briefs in March asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to take up the CMP case. They argued that the lower court decision will harm the First Amendment and future investigative journalism.

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Arkansas Attorney General Petitions Supreme Court to Review Decision Blocking Law to Protect Babies with Down Syndrome

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Tuesday petitioned the Supreme Court to review a decision blocking the enforcement of a law banning discriminatory abortions against babies with Down syndrome.

The decision was made on Jan. 5th by a three-judge panel from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. That decision upheld the District Court decision to block a 2019 Arkansas law that prohibits doctors from aborting babies when the decision is based “solely upon a diagnosis of Down syndrome or any other reason to believe the child has Down syndrome.”

“The Constitution does not require Arkansas to permit discrimination-by-abortion against Americans with Down syndrome,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Through my personal friendships, I know that while individuals with Down syndrome may have an extra chromosome, they also have extra love and joy they share unconditionally, and I will not stand by while God’s gifts are exterminated as has been done in other countries.”

Rutledge noted that two members of the 8th Circuit panel made their decision purely on precedent; asking the Supreme Court to reconsider the precedent which led them to block the Arkansas law.

April 14, 2021

Biden FDA Suspends Regulations Requiring Women to Receive Abortion Pills In-Person

photo credit: Volodymyr Hryshchenko / Unsplash
In an April 12th letter, FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock announced that the FDA would suspend its enforcement of Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) regulations limiting the distribution of the abortion pill mifepristone for the duration of the pandemic.

Pro-abortion organizations have been advocating for this change for nearly a year, now. They argue that REMS regulations endanger women by requiring them to visit abortion clinics in person; potentially exposing them to COVID-19. Instead, they argue that women should be able to receive abortion pills through the mail after consulting a doctor over the phone or in a video call.

REMS safety precautions were put in place for a reason, however.

If a pregnant mother receives abortion pills without ever visiting a doctor, they will not be able to diagnose pregnancy conditions or determine the gestational age of the baby. If a mother attempts to take the abortion pill regimen while she has an ectopic pregnancy, or if the baby has developed past the point that the abortion pill regimen is effective, then the abortion pill regimen could cause substantial harm to the mother.

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias responded to the announcement:

“These changes place women at greater risk because they may not be able to distinguish the signs of an incomplete abortion, a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, or a deadly infection from the ordinary pain and bleeding of completed chemical abortion. None of these changes make this process safer for the woman. What these changes do is make the process easier and cheaper for the abortion industry.”

In the announcement, Woodcock wrote that the “small number of adverse events reported to FDA during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) provided no indication that any program deviation or noncompliance with the Mifepristone REMS contributed to the reported adverse events.” She failed to realize, however, that REMS changes made under the Obama administration in 2016 no longer require the manufacturer of the abortion pill, Danco Laboratories or its generic GenBioPro to report non-fatal adverse effects.

While these changes are being advertised as temporary reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic, many pro-life advocates fear that they will soon become permanent.

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Sixth Circuit Reverses Injunction Against Ohio Non-Discrimination Law

photo credit: Bill Oxford / Unsplash
On Tuesday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals voted 9-7 to lift a preliminary injunction against Ohio's Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Abortion Act.

The law prohibits a doctor from aborting a child if the doctor knows that the child's diagnosis with Down syndrome is her reason for seeking the abortion.

The bill was signed into law in 2017 by then-Governor John Kasich, but it has faced a long legal battle against Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses.

In a statement, Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis said, 

“This court ruling brings us one step closer to ensuring that vulnerable babies with special needs are not marked for death because of who they are. Every life is worth living and every precious and unique human being is worthy of complete protection under law.”

Judge Alice M. Batchelder wrote in her majority opinion that the restrictions created by the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Abortion Act "do not create a substantial obstacle to a woman’s ability to choose or obtain an abortion" and reasonably further Ohio's interests, which she listed in her opinion:

Ohio asserts that H.B. 214 furthers three valid and legitimate interests by protecting: (1) the Down syndrome community from the practice of Down-syndrome-selective abortions and the stigma associated with it; (2) pregnant women and their families from coercion by doctors who advocate the abortion of Down-syndrome-afflicted fetuses; and (3) the integrity and ethics of the medical profession by preventing doctors from becoming witting participants in Down-syndrome-selective abortions. These are legitimate interests.

By ruling in favor of this law, the sixth circuit is validating Ohio's right to protect unborn children with Down syndrome from unjust discrimination and death. 

Click here to read more.

April 13, 2021

Kansas Judge Strikes Down Dismemberment Abortion Ban

Last Wednesday, a Kansas judge issued an opinion invalidating the state's ban on the dismemberment of unborn children.

The ban, which was passed into law in 2015, has never been enforced due to an injunction issued by a Kansas judge six years ago. Now- largely referencing the 2019 decision Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt that claimed to find a "fundamental right" to abortion in the Kansas state constitution- Shawnee County District Judge Teresa Watson has struck down the state's ban on the dismemberment ban.

Dismemberment abortions occur during the 2nd trimester of development or later; since the unborn child will have grown too large for abortion via the abortion pill regimen to be effective. During a dismemberment abortion, an abortionist will reach through a mother's cervix with metal instruments to tear an unborn child's arms, legs, and head from its body piece by piece. See this YouTube video for a full description of the procedure.

In response to Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt, the Kansas Legislature approved a measure that will place the Value Them Both Amendment on the Ballot for Kansans in 2022. This amendment would prevent judges from interpreting the state constitution to have a right to abortion.

The Value Them Both Amendment reads:
Because Kansans value both women and children, the constitution of the state of Kansas does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion. To the extent permitted by the constitution of the United States, the people, through their elected state representatives and state senators, may pass laws regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, laws that account for circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or circumstances of necessity to save the life of the mother.

Click here to read more.

Texas House to Consider Bill Giving Preborn Children Legal Representation in Court

photo credit: Jonathan Cutrer / Flickr
While Illinois politicians are considering the repeal of our state's parental notification law, the Texas House of Representatives will consider a bill that would give preborn children legal representation when a minor seeking an abortion attempts to get a judicial bypass.

Texas law requires that parents not only be notified of a minor's intent to have an abortion; but also that they give consent. Similar to Illinois's parental notification law, however, there is still a process for a judicial bypass. If the minor convinces a judge that it is in her best interest to have an abortion without her parents' knowledge, then she can bypass both the notification and consent requirements.

The existence of judicial bypasses increases the likelihood that a girl will return to an abusive living situation rather than seek help if she lives in an abusive household. Furthermore, it leaves the potential issues such as rape and sex trafficking that may have caused the pregnancy unsolved. All of that comes on top of the fact that an innocent unborn child is killed in the process.

Texas House Bill 1171 is unique in that it would give unborn children a voice during judicial bypass hearings. Texas Right to Life legislative associate Rebecca Parma told Spectrum News, “They don’t have a voice yet, and so their interest needs to be represented by someone who has a voice. If the pregnant minor is going to have an attorney ad litem, which should help represent her best interests, the unborn child needs to have that voice, as well, representing his or her best interests.”

Click here to read more.

April 12, 2021

New Mexico Gov. Signs Assisted Suicide Bill

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham
On April 8, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law a bill that legalizes assisted suicide in her state.

The new law is set to take effect on June 18.

“New Mexico’s assisted suicide law puts vulnerable citizens at risk,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “Depression related to a serious illness often drives requests for assisted suicide, and in other states that have legalized assisted suicide, referrals for psychological evaluation are almost nonexistent.”

“In New Mexico, vulnerable patients who need support can be offered lethal drugs to end their lives instead of the help they genuinely need,” Tobias continued.

People who seek assisted suicide often do so because they are experiencing depression or lack the financial resources needed to pay for treatment. Because of this, doctors and family members can push patients toward assisted suicide when financial, medical, or emotional assistance could still have a positive impact on a patient.

“This legislation endangers vulnerable populations and opens the door to abuse,” said Jennifer Popik, J.D., director of Medical Ethics for National Right to Life. “This puts a human being in danger of becoming a notation in a cost/benefit analysis.”

Click here to read more.

April 9, 2021

National Right to Life Convention Scheduled for June

The National Right to Life Convention has been scheduled for June 25-26 and will be held in-person Herndon, Virginia.

The National Right to Life Convention is a two-day educational and training event during which experts will help to equip pro-life grassroots advocates with the knowledge and skills needed to advance the pro-life cause.

The event will include 40 workshop events, an opening prayer breakfast, a showing of the pro-life play Viable: The Truth in One Act, a Teens for Life Convention, and a closing banquet.

To register for the convention and receive special hotel rates, visit nrlconvention.com.

Wyoming Gov. Signs Bill Protecting Abortion Survivors

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon
photo credit: Mike Groover
After a Wyoming bill was successfully passed by both houses, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon signed the Born Alive Infant Means of Care Act on Tuesday. This legislation protects the babies who survive attempted abortions by requiring physicians to give them the same degree of care they would give any other newborn.

The law reads:

“The commonly accepted means of care that would be rendered to any other infant born alive shall be employed in the treatment of any viable infant aborted alive. Any physician performing an abortion shall take medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of an infant born alive.” 

The bill passed with overwhelming margins in the House [48-11] and Senate [26-4]. Gov. Gordon vetoed a slightly different version of the bill last year, but he chose to sign this year's iteration of the bill into law.

The law is scheduled to take effect on July 1.

Click here to read more.

Ohio Judge Grants Temporary Restraining Order Against Telemedicine Abortion Ban

photo credit: Joe Gratz / Flickr
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Alison Hatheway, the same judge who has temporarily blocked the requirement that abortion businesses bury or cremate the remains of aborted babies, has now issued a temporary restraining order against another pro-life law. 

Ohio Senate Bill 260 bans the use of telemedicine to provide abortion-inducing drugs. Instead, the law would require physicians to prescribe such drugs in-person. Unfortunately, it cannot be enforced for the time being.

The telemedicine abortion ban was originally signed by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in January and set to go into effect on April 12. Judge Hatheway's temporary restraining order blocks Ohio from enforcing the law for two weeks, however.

Click here to read more.

April 8, 2021

New Utah Law Requires Fathers to Pay Half of Pregnancy Costs

photo credit: Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash
A Utah law that just took effect can require biological fathers to pay half of the mother's pregnancy costs.

According to CNA, fathers in Utah can be required to pay half of the mother's insurance premiums and pregnancy-related medical costs (including hospital birth).

If a mother in Utah has the biological father's paternity confirmed, she can legally require him to financially support her pregnancy. This allows women to choose life after being raped or their partner leaves them without worrying as much about financial burdens.

The new law also states that a mother who obtains an abortion without the father's consent cannot require him to pay for the abortion. This does include exceptions to save the life of the mother or if the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest.

In addition to fighting against pro-abortion laws and court decisions, pro-life advocates can help save the lives of the unborn by advocating for laws and policies that help disadvantaged women. This law is a good example of one that empowers women to overcome an obstacle that might otherwise cause them to have an abortion.

Click here to read more.

Nebraska Village Becomes First Outside Texas to be a "Sanctuary City" for the Unborn

photo credit: Jill Sauve / Unsplash
The small village of Hayes Center, Nebraska has become the first city outside of Texas to become a "sanctuary city for the unborn."

The majority-female Board of Trustees unanimously voted 5-0 to outlaw abortion within the city limits. Hayes Center, Nebraska can list itself among the 23 other cities which passed enforceable ordinances banning abortion.

The Hayes Center Ordinance declares, “It shall be unlawful for any person to procure or perform an abortion of any type and at any stage of pregnancy in the village of Hayes Center, Nebraska” and “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly aid or abet an abortion that occurs in the village of Hayes Center, Nebraska.”

Abortion in this ordinance is defined as “the act of using or prescribing an instrument, a drug, a medicine, or any other substance, device, or means with the intent to cause the death of an unborn child of a woman known to be pregnant.”

It further declares that abortion-inducing drugs (not including oral contraceptives) will be considered contraband.

According to the ordinance, “any person, corporation, or entity who commits an unlawful act . . . shall be subject to a fine of $500.” There is one important exception, however: “Under no circumstance may the penalty described . . . be imposed on the mother of the unborn child that has been aborted.”

The Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative has said that cities throughout the United States are showing interest in the movement.

April 7, 2021

Ohio Humane Disposal Law Halted by Planned Parenthood Lawsuit

An Ohio law requiring abortion businesses to bury or cremate the remains of aborted children would have gone into effect on Tuesday. Unfortunately, an Ohio judge responded to a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU on Monday by temporarily halting the requirement.

The Unborn Child Dignity Act was signed into law three months ago after originally being introduced in 2016. Mike DeWine (who was Ohio's Attorney General at the time, but is now the state's governor) conducted an investigation into Planned Parenthood's abortion practices in response to undercover footage showing that other affiliates harvested and sold body parts from aborted babies. DeWine did not find evidence that this was occurring in Ohio, but he did find that the remains of aborted children were simply being sent to landfills.

The Unborn Child Dignity Act would require abortion businesses in Ohio to treat aborted children as more than trash. Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood is unwilling to take even that small step.

Charges Against New Mexico Patient Arrested after Botched Abortion Dismissed

Last September, Women's Reproductive Clinic in New Mexico had one of its patients and her husband arrested for disturbing the peace after she complained that the clinic had wrongfully taken the remains of her aborted child from her. Now, seven months later, that woman has won in court against the abortion business.

The client, who is known publicly as "Jane Doe," had suffered two botched abortions on the same pregnancy by Women's Reproductive Clinic. She had attempted abortion via the abortion pill regimen, but she later had a surgical abortion after that failed. After she returned home from the surgical abortion, she unexpectedly delivered remains of her deceased baby there. Doe and her husband called the abortion business, which told them to return.

When they arrived, however, clinic workers wrongfully took custody of the child's remains. This upset Doe, who wanted to have her child cremated. When she complained, the clinic called the police and had them arrest the couple.

Lawyers from the pro-life organization Abortion on Trial came to the defense of the couple. Last Friday, the organization announced in a press release that the charges against Doe and her husband had finally been dropped. Furthermore, Women's Reproductive Clinic was unsuccessful in its attempt to make Doe liable for the abortion business's legal fees.

“We hope Jane’s story will continue to spread as a beacon of awareness and precaution to those considering abortion.” Says AOT Executive Director, Jamie Jeffries. “We hope those who oppose abortion see this case and realize just how much women need compassionate care after abortion.”

Click here to read more.

April 6, 2021

Don't Forget: Legislative Training Sessions this Week

Last month, Parents for the Protection of Girls announced that it would be holding four legislative training sessions online to help inform pro-lifers on how they can most effectively speak with Illinois legislators over Zoom to fight against the repeal of the Parental Notification of Abortion Act. Last week, it hosted two of those sessions. This Wednesday and Thursday, the final two sessions will be held.

To register for either of those training sessions (which will be held at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, April 7th, and 6:00 PM on Thursday, April 8th), visit the website below:

It is important that we protect Illinois's Parental Notification of Abortion Act. Not only would girls be more likely to make impulsive decisions without it, but human traffickers and rapists will be more likely to get away with their abusive behaviors.

Pro-Abortion Vivek Murthy Confirmed as Surgeon General

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy
Vivek Murthy, who served as the surgeon general for the Obama administration from 2014 to 2017, was sworn in by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra as the Biden administration's surgeon general on March 25. Much like Becerra, Murthy has a history of supporting Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion policies.

At the Washington Ideas Forum in 2015, Murthy voiced his support of giving taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood:

“There are many people around the country, many women, that I have cared for when I was practicing medicine up in Boston, who rely on Planned Parenthood for important services. I think what’s important, whenever we’re making any policy decisions, is to try to take it out of the realm of ideology, and put it back in the realm of science and public health. And the truth is, a lot of women around the country looked at Planned Parenthood as an important source of primary care services. The debate is focused a lot on a narrow spectrum of services, but the truth is, many women get their — they get basic health care and preventative care from Planned Parenthood.”

Planned Parenthood sometimes tries to lean on the argument that because it provides some services other than abortion, it is not simply an abortion business. While this might be true in a sense, it is disingenuous at most. Planned Parenthood often markets itself as an abortion business, and the number of non-abortion services it provides has declined year after year.

Statistics from Planned Parenthood's own annual reports show that the business has provided 294,493 prenatal services between 2000 and 2021. In that same time period, it also aborted six million unborn children.

The Hill further reported that Planned Parenthood gave Vivek thousands of dollars in recent years for speaking engagements. There is no indication that his pro-abortion views will have changed since the Obama administration.

Click here to read more.

April 5, 2021

Planned Parenthood Sues to Block Ohio Telemedicine Abortion Ban

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit last week against a new Ohio law banning the use of telemedicine to provide abortion drugs. That law is scheduled to go into effect on April 12, but the lawsuit asks the court to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent it from being enforced.

Planned Parenthood argues that the law violates the Ohio Constitution and doesn't improve patient safety. In a press release, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America wrote, “Medication abortion [chemical abortion] is safe, effective, and a vital part of reproductive health care. Requiring that a patient see a physician in person to obtain the medication for a medication abortion does not improve patient safety, no matter what might be said by legislators who ignore science.”

Physically visiting a doctor is not simply a formality, however. It is important for a pregnant mother's safety that she sees a doctor in-person before she receives a prescription for abortion pills. When visiting a doctor, the doctor can administer an ultrasound to determine the gestational age of the unborn child and ensure that there are no pregnancy conditions that would make the abortion pill regimen unsafe. This is important because the abortion pill regimen poses serious health risks to a woman if it is used too late in the child's development. The same is true if she has a pregnancy condition, such as an ectopic pregnancy.

After the law was passed, Ohio Right to Life president Mike Gonidakis said in a press release,

“The signing of the Telemedicine Abortion Ban into law is a victory for life and for women’s safety. No woman should be subjected to a dangerous telemedicine abortion in order to pad Planned Parenthood’s pockets. Pro-Life Ohio will not let the abortion industry continue to treat vulnerable women and children as money-making opportunities. Women and children deserve to be put first. This law is a crucial step towards that end.”

Click here to read more.

April 2, 2021

Arkansas Gov. Signs Bill to Protect Conscience Rights

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R)
In addition to the ultrasound law that he signed this week, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson also signed a bill last week that protects the conscience rights of pro-life healthcare workers.

On March 26, Hutchinson signed a bill that allows health care workers to refuse to participate in non-emergency treatments if those treatments violate their consciences. These protections apply to medical workers, hospitals, and insurance providers.

“I support this right of conscience so long as emergency care is exempted and conscience objection cannot be used to deny general health service to any class of people,” said Hutchinson in a statement. “Most importantly, the federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, and national origin continue to apply to the delivery of health care services.”

Arkansas Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe underscored the importance of these protections:

“In short, there is a concerted effort underway to compel the entire medical sector to adopt a utilitarian secular ethical outlook that would either force pro-lifers, orthodox Catholics, etc. to violate their deepest held moral beliefs as the cost of medical licensure, or compel them — as a matter of personal conscience — to get out of medicine.”

This new Arkansas law is set to take effect later this summer.

Click here to read more.

Secretary of State: "Sexual and Reproductive Rights are Human Rights"

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that his department will once again judge countries on their support for abortion in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices reports.

The Trump administration had removed the "reproductive rights" section from its human rights reports starting in 2017. Instead, it included a section with statistics on “coercion in population control.”

Terms such as "sexual and reproductive health" or "reproductive rights" almost always include abortion, especially when used in foreign policy discussions.

Blinken said as much when elaborated on the Biden administration's goals regarding the human rights reports and several other recent pro-abortion foreign policy decisions:
“It is one of many steps – along with revoking the Mexico City Policy, withdrawing from the Geneva Consensus Declaration, resuming support for the United Nations Population Fund – that we are taking to promote women’s health and equity at home and abroad.  Because women’s rights – including sexual and reproductive rights – are human rights.”

The Geneva Consensus Declaration was a statement signed by the U.S. and 31 other countries declaring that there is no international right to abortion.

Click here to read more.

April 1, 2021

Arkansas Gov. Signs Law Strengthening Ultrasound Requirement

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R)
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson this week signed a bill that requires abortion facilities to show women the images of their unborn children.

This is notable because ultrasound right to view laws usually just require abortion facilities to offer pregnant mothers the opportunity to view an ultrasound of their children. This was the case in Arkansas before, but now clinics will be required to place the ultrasound screen within the mother's line of sight during the ultrasound. Arkansas is the sixth state to have such a requirement.

Additionally, abortion facilities will be required to describe the unborn baby's development and tell the mother how many children are shown in the ultrasound.

Click here to read more.

Pro-Life Amendment to Kentucky Constitution Approved for 2022 Ballot

photo credit: Matt Turner / Flickr
In the evening of Tuesday, March 30, the Kentucky Senate voted to pass HB 91. This bill approved an amendment to the Kentucky Constitution which reads: “To protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”

In November 2022, Kentucky voters will have the chance to decide whether to ratify this amendment. If voters pass it, judges will be unable to find an implied right to abortion in the state's constitution.

When Kentucky Right to Life explained HB 91, it wrote,
In numerous states, abortion advocates have sued to overturn pro-life laws, and their respective Supreme Courts have “found” a right to abortion in their state constitution. This technique is how Roe v. Wade became our nation’s case law.

A number of states have passed constitutional amendments to protect their pro-life laws from such court decisions. Rep. Joe Fischer testified during a Senate committee hearing that HB 91 assures, “No Kentucky court will be able to fashion an implicit right to abortion from the language in our state constitution: there will be no Roe v. Wade decision in Kentucky. The regulation or elimination of abortion will be vested in the Kentucky General Assembly, not in the courts.” HB 91 ensures that it is the lawmakers of Kentucky who make the laws, not rogue judges.

Even though pro-abortion Andrew Beshear is currently Kentucky's governor, the governor does not have the authority to veto proposed constitutional amendments.

Click here to read more.

March 31, 2021

New Report Shows Continued Decline in Teen Pregnancies and Abortions

photo credit: Marcel Fagin / Unsplash
Earlier this month, the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute released a new report showing a continued long-term decrease in both teen pregnancies and abortions overall.

The new data shows that between 1980 and 2017, females between the ages of 15 and 19 chose to have abortions 82 percent less. Comparatively, the abortion rate for 35-to-39-year-olds only decreased by 8.5 percent over the same period.

Teenage women are also much less likely to become pregnant. The Guttmacher report shows that the teen pregnancy rate has declined by 73 percent since its peak in 1990. In that year, the organization found a pregnancy rate of 11.76 percent for women between the ages of 15 and 19. In 2017, the organization only found a pregnancy rate of 31 percent for the same demographic.

More can be done, but these continued decreases show that the pro-life movement is having an impact.

Click here to read more.

Pennsylvania Court Ruling Protects State Abortion Funding Ban

Abortion businesses suing the state of Pennsylvania were disappointed by a court ruling on March 26 supporting the state's abortion funding ban.

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court decided 6-1 in favor of the state's 1982 Abortion Control Act, which bans the state from using taxpayer funding to cover abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.

In the majority opinion for the case, Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt wrote that the court decided to adhere to the 1985 Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision supporting the law. Additionally, she wrote that abortion businesses did not have the legal standing to challenge the law on behalf of Pennsylvania women.

Notably, the plaintiffs charged that Pennsylvania's abortion coverage ban violated Pennsylvania's Equal Rights Amendment. They argued that because abortion is only sought by women, a funding ban discriminates against women. This serves as further proof that pro-abortion advocates would attempt to use a federal Equal Rights Amendment to require abortion funding nationwide from a constitutional level.

Click here to read more.

March 30, 2021

Senators Continue to Pressure SBA to Investigate How Planned Parenthood Received Millions in COVID Relief Funds

photo credit: Andy Feliciotti / Unsplash
On March 25, a group of 25 pro-life Senators sent a letter to the Small Business Administration (SBA) to once again request an investigation into how the giant abortion corporation was able to receive millions of dollars in COVID relief funding meant for small businesses.

The senators write that Planned Parenthood was ineligible for the funding because it is “a national organization with central control over its affiliates which has nearly $2 billion in assets, and over 16,000 employees nationwide…” The SBA rules for COVID relief required that recipients be small businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

After it was revealed that Planned Parenthood affiliates had received millions of dollars, the SBA told those affiliates that they must return the funds. The Senators mention 38 affiliates that received funding in their letter, but they note that only seven of them returned the funding. Furthermore, two affiliates received a second round of funding.

“It is unconscionable that SBA continues to approve PPP loans made to organizations which are clearly ineligible for funding,” states the letter. “This is unacceptable, not only because SBA, like other agencies, must be a faithful and responsible steward of taxpayer dollars but also because continuing to make funds available for Planned Parenthood affiliates is in direct violation of the law.

“We urge that the SBA promptly open an investigation into how these loans were made in clear violation of the applicable affiliation rules and if Planned Parenthood, relevant lenders, or staff at the SBA knowingly violated the law, and that appropriate legal action be taken if so.”

This is the fourth letter Members of Congress have sent to the SBA addressing this issue.

Click here to read more.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth Introduces Bill to Require Taxpayer Funding of Abortion

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
Last Thursday, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced a bill that would require all health insurance plans (including Medicaid) to cover elective abortions.

Duckworth's bill, titled the "Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act," would reverse Hyde Amendment protections in existing law so that taxpayer-funded health plans must cover the cost of elective abortions.

When speaking about her bill at a press conference, Duckworth said that it was designed to increase access to abortion for people of color.

“This isn’t about what side you’re on in the abortion debate, it’s about equality and opportunity plain and simple,” Duckworth said. “Whatever you think about the procedure, we should all agree that what’s legal for wealthy Americans should not be so inaccessible for Americans of color and low-income Americans.”

This is a common talking-point for pro-abortion politicians, but it is not supported well by the facts. The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion organization that records abortion statistics, reports that while African Americans only make up 13 percent of the U.S. Population, they also account for 36 percent of the nation's abortions. This overrepresentation- while notable- indicates that African Americans are not having a difficult time accessing abortion. 

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) has sponsored the House version of the bill.

March 29, 2021

ERA: North Dakota Legislature Passes “Count Us Out” Resolution

North Dakota State Capitol
photo credit: Jimmy Emerson, DVM / Flickr
On March 19, North Dakota became the first state in the nation to pass a resolution notifying federal authorities that its ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has expired.

The resolution instructs that North Dakota “should not be counted by Congress, the Archivist of the United States…[or] any court of law…as still having on record a live ratification,” because the state's ratification officially expired on March 22, 1979.

The ERA was written to expire on that date if it was not ratified by two-thirds of the states by then. Pro-abortion politicians, however, are making a constitutionally-questionable effort to resurrect the dead legislation by retroactively amending the deadline in Congress. Nevada, Illinois, and Virginia have voted to ratify the dead amendment in recent years, and some politicians argue that the amendment has surpassed the required two-thirds margin as a result.

In 1975, North Dakota's legislature voted to ratify the ERA. Not only has the amendment expired since then, but the state's legislature holds the opposite view on whether the pro-abortion amendment should be ratified. The legislature passed this resolution to help ensure that the amendment isn't ratified now because the state voted the other way over 40 years ago.

According to many interpreters, the ERA would create a universal right to abortion. Courts could strike down pro-life laws across the country. Even if the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade, a universal right to abortion could still threaten the lives of unborn children throughout the US.

Click here to read more.

March 26, 2021

Researchers Suggest Experiments on Humans Embryos Grown in Artificial Wombs

photo credit: ZEISS Microscopy / Flickr
A group of Israeli researchers recently published research showing that they successfully grew mouse embryos in an artificial uterus for 12 days. The lead researcher on that experiment is suggesting that human embryos should be grown in similar wombs for research purposes.

Dr. Jacob Hanna, working for the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, led this team of researchers. He wrote that his experiments on mice could help scientists understand how miscarriages and gene mutations occur. Hanna also said that he would like to experiment on human embryos in the future.

“I do understand the difficulties. I understand. You are entering the domain of abortions,” Hanna told MIT Technology Review. “So I would advocate growing it [the human embryo] until day 40 and then disposing of it.”

Hanna says that tissue created from this practice could replace the tissue currently obtained by harvesting it from the bodies of aborted children. Ethically, however, this practice would not be much different. It can be argued that creating human beings specifically to harvest their tissues or organs is even worse than getting the tissue from aborted babies. The bodies of human beings should not be used as commodities.

“Once the guidelines are updated, I can apply, and it will be approved. It’s a very important experiment,” says Hanna, referring to a ban on conducting research on human embryos past 14 days of development. “We need to see human embryos gastrulate and form organs and start perturbing it. The benefit of growing human embryos to week three, week four, week five is invaluable. I think those experiments should at least be considered. If we can get to an advanced human embryo, we can learn so much.”

Click here to read more.

March 25, 2021

Sign up for a Legislative Training Session and Learn How to Protect Illinois's Parental Notification Law

To fight against the repeal of the Parental Notification of Abortion Act, Parents for the Protection of Girls will be holding several legislative training sessions with the goal of educating pro-lifers on how to speak with legislators using Zoom.

If you are interested in speaking with legislators to advocate against this pro-abortion bill, please sign up for one of these training sessions. You can register to attend one of the four scheduled webinars by visiting this website: 


Repealing the parental notification would protect human traffickers and harm victims of rape and incest.

More resources can be found on the Diocese of Springfield website here:


Catholic Conference of Illinois Defends Parental Notification of Abortion Act

As pro-abortion lawmakers continue to fight for the repeal of Illinois's Parental Notification of Abortion Act, the Catholic Bishops of Illinois have taken a stand in favor of the pro-life law.

On March 16th, the Catholic Conference of Illinois sent out a call to action letter in which they warned that repealing parental notification would lead to “tragic and irreversible outcomes.”

"In every other facet of life, we are taught–and we teach–that parental involvement is key to the child’s best interest. Repealing the Act is nothing less than an invasion into the sacred space of family life by the state, with no provision to support the minor emotionally, humanly or materially at a critical moment in her life."

The bishops go on to argue,

"Simply put, the Parental Notice of Abortion Act works. According to statistics gathered by the Illinois Department of Public Health, since the law’s final enactment by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2013, abortions performed on minors in Illinois have decreased over 30 percent. The lives saved by this law are real and present among us.  

These are the reasons every state in the Midwest and 37 states overall have laws requiring some form of parental involvement in the decision of a minor to have an abortion. Illinois has been among those states for 8 years and no obvious problems or detriments have been publicly exposed. The repeal of Parental Notice of Abortion is a tragic solution in search of a problem."

Click here to read more.

Rachel Levine Confirmed as Assistant HHS Secretary

Rachel Levine, the transgender nominee for assistant secretary of the HHS, was confirmed to the position by a 52-48 vote in the Senate on Wednesday.

Every Democrat voted in favor of the Biden nominee, with Republicans Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine joining them.

In addition to her controversial opinion that minors should be allowed to undergo sex-change procedures, Levine is also known for opposing religious exemptions to the HHS contraceptive coverage mandate. Levine called the exemptions granted to the Little Sisters of the Poor by the Trump administration "immoral and unethical."

March 24, 2021

ACLU Report Argues that Parental Consent (Rather than Family Abuse) Causes Harm to Minors

photo credit: Anthony Tran / Unsplash
The ACLU and Human Rights Watch recently collaborated to create a report arguing that Illinois's Parental Notification of Abortion Act causes "real harm" to minors seeking abortions.

The report, titled, “The Only People It Really Affects Are the People It Hurts” argues that parental notification laws violate human rights.

Margaret Wurth is a researcher at Human Rights Watch who authored the report. In an article for the Chicago Sun-Times, she said, “For me, the real takeaway is that this violates people’s rights and it causes real harm. It’s a human rights imperative to repeal it.”

Wurth said to WSILTV, “Most often, according to the data presented in our report, young people fear being forced to continue a pregnancy against their own will or being kicked out of the home or cut off financially.”

Under current law, parents cannot force their children to continue a pregnancy against their will. The Parental Notice of Abortion Act only requires what its title states: notification. Parental consent to the abortion is not required. Therefore, parents who abuse their children in response to their decision to abort a child can be held criminally liable for their actions.

If a minor experiences abuse by parents or guardians and fears the parental notification requirement, getting rid of parental notification will not solve the problem. The minor will simply go back to her abusive household after having an abortion and nothing will change.

Young girls can instead receive support from organizations that will remove them from abusive environments. If child protective services and police are allowed to take action, then parental notification no longer threatens these girls.

Click here to read more.

Los Angeles Court Ruling Prevents Sofia Vergara's Ex-Fiancé from Bringing IVF-Conceived Children to Birth

Sofia Vergara
Photo attribution: © Glenn Francis
www.PacificProDigital.com (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Earlier this month, a court in Los Angeles, California ruled in favor of actress Sofia Vergara to prevent her ex-fiancé from bringing embryos they conceived through IVF to birth.

Nick Loeb, Vergara's ex-fiancé, has sought custody of the embryos they had created while they were a couple. He says that Vergara had told him that embryos should never be destroyed, but her opinion allegedly changed after they split. Now, she wants the embryos either frozen indefinitely or destroyed.

The court granted Vergara a permanent injunction which bans Loeb from bringing the embryos to birth.

In a statement, Loeb said, “It’s sad that Sofia, a devout Catholic, would intentionally create babies just to kill them.”

Loeb has said that he is willing to provide for the girls they conceived, whom he named Emma and Isabella. He would waive any parental or financial responsibility for Vergara, but she was not swayed.

The court cited a contract both parties signed requiring them both to agree to do anything with the embryos. These kinds of agreements, which treat human beings as though they are property to be created or destroyed at a whim, are not uncommon in the realm of IVF.

Loeb wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in 2015 decrying how his daughters' lives are being treated.

“When we create embryos for the purpose of life, should we not define them as life, rather than as property?” he wrote. “Does one person’s desire to avoid biological parenthood (free of any legal obligations) outweigh another’s religious beliefs in the sanctity of life and desire to be a parent? A woman is entitled to bring a pregnancy to term even if the man objects. Shouldn’t a man who is willing to take on all parental responsibilities be similarly entitled to bring his embryos to term even if the woman objects?”

Click here to read more.

March 23, 2021

Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Gave Texas Police "Watch List" of Pro-Life Advocates

screenshot of the "watch list" Planned Parenthood
sent to the Lubbock Police Department
Before a Texas March for Life event in January, Planned Parenthood gave the police department of Lubbock, Texas a "watch list" of pro-life activists.

L. Scott Mann, who writes for the Lubbock Lights, said that the Lubbock Lights learned about the list from a police department employee.

“...the watch list was widely distributed at the Lubbock Police Department in its raw form because that’s how we learned about it: from someone who thought the information was being mishandled as a matter of police policy and standard procedure,” said Mann.

When Lubbock Lights asked Lubbock Police Chief Floyd Mitchell about the document, he responded with the following message in an email the next day:

Yesterday, you asked about a document referencing individuals associated with the March for Life protest on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. After further review, the public information unit learned of a document produced by Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas and supplied to the Lubbock Police Department as part of communications prior to the protest. Chief Mitchell believes this is the document Scott was referring to as a “watch list.” This document included 13 individuals Planned Parenthood identified as living “in and around the city of Lubbock, while the others were the ‘big names’ who will be coming in and are listed as speakers at the rallies on Friday and Saturday.”

Officers assigned to coordinate police operations surrounding the logistics of the march conducted a search using open source methods of the individuals and found that all were publicly associated with the March for Life, West Texas For Life or speakers expected at the events being hosted during the weekend’s events. LPD does not maintain lists of protestors identified as pro-life or pro-choice.

Lubbock Lights's article on the incident further notes that Planned Parenthood's email to the department also gave the pro-life activists labels such as "aggressive." The email also included information about the individuals’ families and personal histories.

Planned Parenthood sought to make Lubbock police officers especially suspicious of specific pro-life advocates and encourage their arrest during a legal protest event. It is unknown whether Planned Parenthood employs this tactic regularly. 

Click here to read more.

HHS to Propose Revised Title X Regulations Next Month

On March 18, the HHS Office of Population Affairs published a press release with an update on its review of Trump administration Title X rules.

President Biden issued an executive order on Jan. 28 directing the HHS to review the 2019 "Protect Life" Title X rule issued by the Trump administration. That rule barred Title X grant recipients from offering abortion, co-locating with organizations that offer abortions, or referring patients for abortions. That executive order asked the HHS to “consider, as soon as practicable, whether to suspend, revise, or rescind, or publish for notice and comment proposed rules suspending, revising, or rescinding, those regulations.”

In last week's press release, the HHS Office of Population Affairs announced that it would issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking no later than April 15, 2021. After comments and review, the HHS plans to finalize new rules by early fall and have them be effective by the Fiscal Year 2022 funding announcement in December 2021.

Click here to read more.

March 22, 2021

Virginia Gov. Signs Bill Expanding Abortion Coverage

VA. Gov. Ralph Northam (D)
On March 12, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed legislation that expands abortion coverage in the state.

The legislation Gov. Northam signed allows abortion to be included in health plans on Virginia exchanges without any limits. Because health plans often receive subsidies funded by taxes, Virginia taxpayers will now be forced to fund abortions by law.

This new law repealed legislation that banned abortion coverage on the state exchange except for cases of rape or incest. On July 1, health plans on the Virginia exchange will cover abortions for any reason.

Click here to read more.

March 19, 2021

As St. Louis Planned Parenthood Resumes Abortions, Facility Hospitalizes 77th Patient

photo credit: Operation Rescue
Shortly after it began offering abortions again, Operation Rescue documented the 77th time the St. Louis Planned Parenthood hospitalized one of its patients.

A new video recording obtained by Operation Rescue shows a woman covered with a sheet lying on a gurney as she is loaded into a St. Louis Fire Department ambulance parked near the Planned Parenthood facility’s front door. This incident occurred on March 15, 2021.

In January, Operation Rescue published a report noting that Missouri was an abortion-free state. The Reproductive Health Services (RHS) Planned Parenthood facility in St. Louis is the only abortion clinic in Missouri, but at the time it was not offering abortion to patients. Instead, the facility was presumably referring patients to the Planned Parenthood "mega-clinic" in Fairview Heights, Illinois. In response to that report, the St. Louis clinic resumed abortions on a limited basis.

RHS Planned Parenthood faced the threat of closure in 2019 after an investigation by the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services moved to revoke its license. That investigation found that four women who had botched abortions at RHS Planned Parenthood suffered life-threatening injuries. In May 2020, however, Missouri Administrative Court Commissioner Sreenivasa Rao Dandamudi issued a ruling that allowed the facility to stay open despite its clear record of harming women.

“There is no reason to allow the dangerous St. Louis Planned Parenthood to continue harming women. It should have been shut down in 2019 when the state found it was too dangerous to operate. That Planned Parenthood is no better than a back-alley chop shop,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “If future performance can be predicted on past behavior, I guarantee this will not be the last woman harmed by RHS Planned Parenthood, as long as the state allows it to stay open, and that poses an unacceptable danger to the public.”

Senate Votes to Confirm Pro-Abortion Xavier Becerra as HHS Secretary

photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr
On Thursday, the Senate voted 50-49 to confirm pro-abortion California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as the new secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services.

The vote was mostly along party lines, with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) being the only Republican to support Becerra's nomination. Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono (D) did not vote. Self-proclaimed pro-life Democrats Joe Manchin (WV) and Bob Casey (PA) joined the rest of their party in support of Becerra.

“Xavier Becerra has no health care experience but plenty of abortion advocacy and he is being rewarded by the Biden administration for that extremism,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life.

“The nation needs a Secretary with the public health experience necessary to help put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tobias. “Becerra’s confirmation looks more and more like a deal with abortion groups to confirm an activist because Xavier Becerra brings no healthcare experience to the position but plenty of abortion advocacy.”

During his time as California's Attorney General, Becerra defended California's Reproductive FACT Act (which required pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise where free or low-cost abortions were available), sued the Trump administration to take conscience protections away from organizations like the Little Sisters of the Poor, and prosecuted pro-life undercover journalists for exposing Planned Parenthood's practice of selling body parts harvested from aborted babies. His cases regarding the Reproductive FACT Act and conscience protections failed at the Supreme Court, but they made his position on the issue of abortion well-known.

Becerra also led numerous efforts by state Attorneys General to oppose other states' pro-life laws in federal court and had a 100% voting record with the pro-abortion lobby while he was a California state senator.

Click here to read more.