On this Martin Luther King Day, pro-lifers speculate on whether Reverend King was pro-life or not. The Martin Luther King quote below is worthy of contemplation:
“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
Think about the quote in the context of human abortion and paraphrase:
‘I cannot be what I ought to be if I abort you.”
Planned Parenthood embraces King as a supporter of abortion rights. Last year, they tweeted:
“We honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life & legacy as the fight for racial justice, economic equity, & reproductive freedom are undeniably intertwined. This fight is one we cannot do alone, & we are proud to stand w/ our partners who are on the frontlines of this fight.”
Alveda King lashes back
Reverend King’s niece, Alveda King, lashed back, characterizing the Tweet as “inhuman” and “inhumane:”
“To dishonor a prophet by raising a political banner which supports killing innocent babies on MLK’s birthday is so inhuman. To dishonor a prophet by raising a political banner on his birthday is so inhumane.”
Reverend King observed:
“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
That’s why Iowans for LIFE makes another pilgrimage to the March for LIFE in Washington DC this week. We are part of a movement that demands freedom for the oppressed in the womb who have no voice. Planned Parenthood and their Big Abortion cronies and politicians will not voluntarily give back the freedom they have usurped from the vulnerable.
IFL will pray for the vulnerable at the March for Life this Friday
Iowans for LIFE will pray at the footsteps of the Supreme Court this Friday with Martin Luther King’s words in mind. ‘Each abortion affects us all indirectly.’ Reverend King may not have explicitly stated a pro-life position, but he came close with his observation on how African-Americans will ultimately lose their demands for freedom:
“The Negro cannot win if he is willing to sacrifice the futures of his children for immediate personal comfort and safety. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
That sounds pretty pro-life, don’t you think?
Good morning. My name is Caitlyn Dixson and I am the Executive Director of Iowa Right to Life. I am proud to be with many in the pro-life movement to voice our strong, unified, and unwavering support of the Protect Life Amendment.
“It’s time, and unfortunately, it’s necessary,” Governor Reynolds correctly declared in her Condition of the State Address.
It is necessary because unelected judges have crafted and enacted their own set of laws, circumventing you, the legislators and us, the people.
This amendment is what Pro-Life Iowans want. A voice, not only for themselves but for the preborn. An opportunity to amend our constitution and to put the power back in our elected legislator’s hands to create our laws.
We have seen that the climate today is pro-life. Iowa deserves to have laws that can change and evolve over time to reflect the thoughts of Iowans. We have seen how true that is over the years with adoptions of laws like the Heartbeat Bill, or the 20-week bill, both making way to the Governor’s desk where they were signed into law. It took an act of blatant judicial overreach to completely overturn the 72-hour provision within the 20 week bill, which then led directly to the overturning of the Heartbeat Bill going directly against what Iowans wanted.
I urge you to pass the amendment through all phases, so that Iowans can have a choice, so that Iowans can have a choice, they can go to their polling booth and declare that the state Constitution is not subject to unelected judges deciding the law, and so that Iowans can serve as the most important check to each branch of government. Thank you. God Bless You, God Bless this Great State of Iowa
Good morning, my name is Laura Limmex. I’m the Executive Director of Restored by Grace, an organization that comes along side women and families who are dealing with the loss of a child due to abortion.
This past August my husband and I volunteered 32 hours over 8 days in a Varied Industries Building booth at the Iowa State Fair. We had discussions with hundreds of people at all ends of the spectrum on the issue of abortion. What we found was that the overwhelming majority agreed that the opinion written by the Iowa Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood vs. Reynolds was unreasonable. They believe the people of Iowa – and not the unelected judges of the State Supreme Court – should decide how Iowa regulates abortion.
Furthermore, we also found the majority believe the Constitution of Iowa should only be modified by vote of the people of Iowa, and should protect women and children from late term abortion.
As a post-abortive woman, I now know, that little girl in my womb, she was a baby. And both she and I deserve to be protected by Iowa Law.
Thank you, Senator Chapman for standing up for the rights of all Iowans.
[Laura Limmex is Executive Director of Restored by Grace Ministries, fellow members of the Iowa Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders. This is her testimony from earlier today at the state Capitol.]
I believe the people of Iowa and NOT unelected judges of the State Supreme Court should decide how Iowa regulates abortion. These radical judges took the rights away from ALL Iowans and thereby preventing commonsense protections for women and children. What these judges did was even more extreme than Roe v. Wade. And Iowa isn’t alone in trying to pass an amendment to the constitution; four other states (Alabama, West Virginia, Tennessee, Rhode Island) have restored legislative authority. Iowa needs to follow the example of these states and put creating law back into your hands- our elected legislators.
This amendment will simply restore our state constitution back to what it was; it will not prohibit abortion, but rather allow our elected representatives and the people of Iowa to make decisions regarding the health, safety and well being of its citizens.
This is an amendment that should have bipartisan support; regardless of your party affiliation, no legislator would be in favor of the judicial branch taking away what we elected you to do- create law. We need to send a strong message to these unelected judges that they cannot legislate from the bench. It’s time to take back the rights of legislature and the rights of ‘We the People,’ by passing this amendment. Thank you.
[Your financial support is needed more than ever as Iowans for LIFE and the Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders informs Iowans on the need for the Protect Life Amendment. Donate today.]
Last year began with ‘the Covington Kids’ controversy
It’s been a year since the “Covington Kids” incident at last year’s March. In case you’ve been in a coma for a year, all you need to know is that the mainstream media has notoriously refused to cover the annual March for Life. They made an exception last year when they thought pro-life Catholic kids wearing MAGA hats acted like jerks to a Native American vet (“Fear and Loathing at the March for Life”).
The pro-abortion media unleashed all of their invective at these kids, pulling out the stops trying to outdo their comrades with rhetorical flourish:
“I don’t know what it says about me but I’ve truly lost the ability to articulate the hysterical rage, nausea, and heartache this makes me feel. I just want these people to die. Simple as that. Every single one of them. And their parents.” Erik Abriss, writing for New York Media’s pop culture site, Vulture
Jack Morrissey, who co-produced “Beauty and the Beast” for Walt Disney Productions, built on this violent theme with a tweet, accompanied by a bloody graphic, that purrs:
“MAGA kids go screaming, hats first, into the wood chipper.”
Wonder what Walt would say about an employee who fantasizes about killing kids?
CNN’s Ana Navarro called the boys “racists” and “a**wipes.” And their legal analyst, Bakari Sellers, said one of the boys should be “punched in the face.”
Not to be outdone, another CNN contributor, Reza Aslan, exclaimed,
“Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s?”
At least comedian, Kathy Griffin, didn’t want to kill, chop up, or punch any of the kids. She simply wants them publicly named on social media and shamed:
“Name these kids. I want NAMES. Shame them. If you think these f—ers wouldn’t dox you in a heartbeat, think again.”
Hollywood actor, John Cusack, seemed chagrined by the kids’ Catholicity:
“This Covington School thing is beyond belief…the lack of basic Respect for an elder (any elder) is the number one symptom of a SICK society….MAGA CATHOLICS paving the road of ignorance…you are a DISGRACE…look that word up, it means something….learn your History, Catholics. Grow some spine Clergy…lead by example and stop embarrassing the rest of us who know better.”
Clearly, Hollywood actors know better than the rest of us, as another Hollywood actress, Debra Messing, demonstrated with this delicate description of one of the Covington kids:
“Mocking, condescending, disrespecting, A–HOLE,”
The authoress of “The Purity Myth,” Jessica Valenti, just plain didn’t like the looks of the fifteen year Catholic boy at the heart of the controversy:
“I think so many of us have been on the receiving end of the face he was making: a smug, untouchable, entitled f*** you.”
Guess she never heard the phrase, don’t judge a book by its cover.
CNN settles anti-defamation lawsuit
This pro-life news story reached its denouement last week when CNN settled a multi-million dollar anti-defamation lawsuit filed by the ‘Covington Kid,’ Nick Sandmann for an undisclosed sum. Other suits with other media outlets are still pending.
The pro-life community is united in cheering that justice was done on behalf of these kids who were so viciously smeared by CNN and most of the mainstream media.
More pro-life news
One year later, the pro-life news cycle ended with a bizarre acceptance speech at the Golden Globe awards by actress, Michelle Williams. Listen to the single word that is missing in her speech:
“When you put this in someone’s hands you’re acknowledging the choices they make as an actor. Moment by moment, scene by scene, day by day. But you’re also acknowledging the choices they make as a person. The education they pursued, the training they sought, the hours they put in. I’m grateful for the acknowledgement of the choices I’ve made and I’m also grateful to have lived in a moment in our society where choice exists, because as women and as girls, things can happen to our bodies that are not our choice.
I’ve tried my very best to live a life of my own making, and not just a series of events that happened to me. But one that I could stand back and look at and recognize my handwriting all over. Sometimes messy and scrawling, sometimes careful and precise. But one that I had carved with my own hand. And I wouldn’t have been able to do this without employing a woman’s right to choose.
To choose when to have my children and with whom, when I felt supported and able to balance our lives as all mothers know that the scales must and will tip towards our children. Now I know my choices might look different than yours, but thank God or whoever you pray to that we live in a country founded on the principles that I am free to live by my faith and you are free to live by yours. So, women 18 to 118, when it is time to vote please do so in your self-interest. It’s what men have been doing for years, which is why the world looks so much like them but don’t forget we are the largest voting body in this country. Let’s make it look more like us.”
Did you notice the word Ms. Williams did not use? Abortion. In an era when Hollywood types, goaded by the abortion-profiteers at Planned Parenthood, tell women to “shout their abortion,” the omission of the ‘a’ word from her speech is conspicuous.
21 states pass pro-life legislation
Abortion is an increasingly ugly word in a country where 21 states passed pro-life legislation in between last year’s March for Life and the one next week. These states include:
√ North Carolina
√ North Dakota
√ South Dakota
Even in the safety of her Hollywood cocoon, Ms. Williams didn’t feel secure to utter the word that so defines their self-centered, hedonistic, anti-woman ethos. Her anti-feminist screed doesn’t answer the question she implies, which is:
“the right to choose what?”
Every choice has an object. She asserts that women can only get ahead if they’re free to sacrifice their child on the altar of convenience. In other words, kill their unborn children.
Iowans for LIFE looks forward to standing up in the public square in Washington DC next week on behalf of Michelle William’s aborted child and the millions of other victims who preceded her.
We pray for more good pro-life news in 2020.
Joe Biden continues to lead the polls
Joe Biden continues to dominate the RealClear Politics 2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination polls. On this, the last day of 2019, Mr. Biden enjoys 32% support verses 21% for Bernie Sanders and 14% for Elizabeth Warren.
As of December 17th, he leads President Trump 48.5% to 44.0% in RCP’s head-to-head national match up.
Joe Biden and abortion
Since IFL’s mission is all about protecting human life from fertilization to natural death, we are especially interested in the former vice president’s views on the abortion issue. The EWTN video above showcases his progression from pro-life advocate to a candidate with a perfect pro-abortion record. Iowans for LIFE has written about how out-of-touch Democratic candidates are with their constituents on this issue.
Earlier this year, Mr. Biden withdrew his support for the longstanding Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion, except to save the life of the mother, or in the cases of incest or rape. He said:
“I’m prepared to accept for me, personally, doctrine of my church” [about when life begins] …
The Church states that doctrine in its Catechism :
“Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law”
Biden continues …
… “but I’m not prepared to impose that on every other person.”
Obviously, he IS willing to impose Big Abortion’s view on American taxpayers by forcing them to to be complicit in the moral evil of abortion by paying for it.
Iowans for LIFE canvassed our supporters on how they would respond to the Joe Biden’s of the world who assert:
“I’m personally against abortion, but I can’t impose my religion on someone else.”
Here are the best 8 comebacks:
1. I don’t understand. Our shared religion defines morality. It tells us it is always wrong to kill an innocent human being.
By contrast, the other side’s ‘religion’ proclaims there’s nothing wrong with killing a unique, innocent human being if she is unwanted. One side or the other is going to impose their religion. Their side ends lives. Our side saves lives. That’s something to fight for, don’t you think?
2. Abortion is not just a religious issue, it is a moral issue.A moral issue based in an innate cognitive ability of humans to distinguish between right and wrong.The vast majority of people know it is wrong to kill another innocent human being.
3. Then I guess you cannot stop me from murdering my neighbor, you know, for fear of imposing your religion on me.
4. If you don’t want to impose religion on anyone that is your prerogative, unless of course your religion tells you that you have to protect human life.
5. If you trust science, science will tell you that human life begins at conception. If you trust science, then science says that abortion is the intentional ending of human life while it is in the womb. If you trust science you will understand that your position of not telling somebody what to do with the human life that they are tasked with nourishing and protecting is indeed assisting in the killing of human life.
6. Abortion is terminating the life of an unborn child. What does that have to do with religion?
7. So, are you “personally against stealing,” but you don’t want to impose the 7th commandment on the criminal who decides to rob a bank at gunpoint? Laws throughout history have been created based on a “moral code” that a society needs to maintain civil order.
8. Laws to prevent murder of a human being in utero are not a religious issue; they are a human issue.
IFL embraces all of the reproductive teachings of the Catholic Church. Mr. Biden disappoints pro-lifers with his willingness to quickly jettison longstanding positions on life for the sake of political expediency.
Thanks to those of you who sent in some of the great comebacks above. You’ll find some of these in our Pro-Life Apologetics Tool Kit.
IFL is hard at work creating a video series with smart responses to common pro-abortion arguments. These videos are designed to target young adults on social media. Help us fund this project. Donate today!
By Tom Quiner
The man was a monster even Isis could appreciate, but for the fact that he was a Jew.
King Herod the Great was the Roman client king of Judea at the time Christ was born. Jewish prophesy stated that a new king, a Messiah, would be born in Bethlehem, threatening the reign of Herod.
When Herod was told that the time had come, that his rival had been born, Herod sent his soldiers to Bethlehem to kill all boys under the age of two. This day, known as The Day of the Holy Innocents, is commemorated in the Catholic Church on December 28th.
It is recounted in Matthew 2:16-18:
16 Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. 17 Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
Weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children;
And she refused to be comforted,
Because they were no more.”
The event was dramatically portrayed by the award-winning actor, Peter Ustinov, as Herod in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1977 mini series, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Watch the clip above to get a sense of the horror of the Massacre of the Innocents.
The massacre continues today in the guise of human abortion.
The number of innocents slaughtered in our country today makes Herod’s atrocity seem like child’s play, except for one thing: the value of a human soul is beyond calculation.
The death of a single innocent is a tragedy.
[Iowans for LIFE has an ambitious pro-life educational outreach planned for 2020, including our new pro-life apologetics video series. Help fund our campaign with your donation today! Thank-you, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!]
Humanity burst through into a pro-death culture in surprising ways in 2019. One of the most heartwarming events occurred at the most raucous PGA golf tournament of the year, the Waste Management Open in January, involving a woman with Down Syndrome.
During a practice round on the 16th hole, which has been dubbed the “loudest hole in golf,” touring pros Gary Woodland and Matt Kuchar pulled a 21 year old college student out of the crowd to play the hole with them. The young woman, Amy Bockerstette, stands out because she was born with Down Syndrome.
Despite the physical limitations imposed by having an extra chromosome, Amy is an outstanding golfer. She played the hole beautifully in front of a very vocal crowd, topping it off by holing a ten foot putt to the delight of all.
The video went viral, becoming the most watched PGA video in history.
You can hear Amy remark in the video above, “they love me!”
Indeed they do, and her biggest fan is her dad, Joe Bockerstette. Says Joe of his daughter:
“It’s a great lesson in not putting limitations on your child. Amy’s opened up more opportunities than we could ever imagine. She’s changed our lives completely, and all for the better.”
Watching this video, one has a sense that Amy is God’s gift to us, because through her innocence, she makes us more human, more fully alive. And yet we abort nine out ten persons identified with that extra chromosome.
Later in the year, Hollywood produced a heartwarming film,“The Peanut Butter Falcon,” which starred Zack Gottsagen, who has Down syndrome. Zack’s character, ‘Zak,’ escapes from a nursing home in which he is forced to live since he has no family to care for him.
The movie isn’t about Down Syndrome, it’s about Zak’s pursuit of adventure and the embrace of manhood. It’s about how Zak makes the world a better place by bringing out the humanity in those he encounters.
It’s a movie that suggests that life is a gift, and deserves to be lived.
The trailer below gives you a good sense of what a feel-good movie this is:
Critics give it a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and viewers give it a 96% rating. Not bad! The film earned three times its budget.
Watching the film, you come away with the sense that Zack (and his character, Zak), through his innocence, is God’s gift to us, because he makes us feel more human, more fully alive.
The Christmas season especially makes us consider the virtue of innocence, because God comes to us a child, an innocent, hopeful child.
Wall Street Journal columnist, Bill McGurn, wrote an inspired piece Monday about…
“those who are in last place in the world … [and] hold in the church the exceptional role of spouses of Christ.”
And to whom does he refer? The Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb, religious women devoted to “ensuring their fellow sisters with Down syndrome can live their vocations.”
Beautiful. These sisters remind us that every life matters, that the innocence of Downs women and men make us better.
McGurn quotes from a novel I read years ago called “The Clowns of God,” by Morris West.
In the novel, Christ returns to earth. Not surprisingly, the culture doesn’t recognize him. As the story builds to a climax, Jesus enters a school of Downs syndrome students, picks up a little girl, and says:
“I know what you are thinking, you need a sign. What better one could I give but to make this little one whole and new? I could do it, but I will not. . . . I gave this mite a gift I denied to all of you—eternal innocence. To you she looks imperfect—but to me she is flawless.”
“She is necessary to you. She will evoke the kindness that will keep you human. Her infirmity will prompt you to gratitude for your own good fortune. . . . This little one is my sign to you. Treasure her!’ ”
The clinical trial in Burkina Faso is testing the efficacy of second-trimester abortions using a two-drug combination that includes RU-486, which is currently used in a growing number of first-trimester abortions. Excessive bleeding is a common side effect of the drug, leading some to question the ethics of conducting the trial in a country with limited medical facilities and blood supplies.
American women are reluctant to participate in abortion clinical trials
In an interview in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, the study’s director, Dr. Blandine Thieba, confirmed that blood supplies are an ongoing concern.
“Right now there are big problems of need in blood bags,” she told RealClearInvestigations, “but fortunately, thanks to God we did not have a case that required a transfusion.”
The outsourcing of the study, which began 2½ years ago, appears to reflect the reluctance of American women to participate in such trials. In a recent illustration, researchers writing in a 2013 bulletin from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists acknowledged that they had failed to recruit enough women for a North Carolina study of mid-term, drug-induced abortions. Reason: Potential participants “strongly preferred” surgical abortion, which is normally performed with anesthesia, while drug-induced abortions typically are not, even though they can be physically and emotionally distressing. The researchers recommended outsourcing such trials to Europe or Asia.
The Burkina Faso trial is sponsored by Gynuity Health Projects, a New York-based group aligned with Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States.
A push to expand the availability of RU-486
Gynuity’s literature boasts that it is a “a small team willing to take risks on the frontiers of reproductive and maternal health.” One of those efforts seeks to “increase availability and market sustainability of mifepristone” – another name for RU-486 – with a United States-approved protocol that might not even require a visit to a doctor or clinic.
In separate, federally approved research being conducted in 10 American states from Hawaii to New York, Gynuity is testing whether it is safe for doctors to prescribe abortion drugs through telephone or Internet consultations. The Food and Drug Administration now requires abortion drugs to be administered under the supervision of a doctor who can perform surgery or has access to a physician who can in case of emergency.
Second-trimester telemed abortions?
It is not clear whether abortion rights advocates envision second-trimester abortions using such “telemedicine.” But the research in Burkina Faso and the U.S. is happening as the advocates redouble efforts against what they see as threats to abortion access posed by a conservative-leaning Supreme Court and restrictive new state abortion laws.
More lenient abortion procedures might gain wider acceptance if they are certified as safe and offer greater privacy, and assuming liberal states set a trend by adopting them. While several states have imposed new abortion restrictions, others such as New York, Illinois, Vermont, and Rhode Island have adopted new abortion protections.
“The Supreme Court is looming large over these state debates,” Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights advocacy group, told the Pew Charitable Trust’s Stateline website recently. “The last time that people thought Roe was in this kind of jeopardy was the early 1990s. That’s the only other time we saw Democratic-led states adopt protections for abortion.” She was referring to the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which protects a pregnant woman’s right to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.
The ‘morning after pill’ and RU-486 are not the same
Current FDA guidelines approve mifepristone abortions only through the first 70 days of pregnancy, or roughly the first trimester of a nine-month pregnancy. But state laws vary, and American doctors are known to perform later abortions “off-label.” Drug-induced second-trimester abortions are performed in European countries, although usually with restrictions.
These drugs should not be confused with the contraceptive morning-after pill. The Mayo Clinic’s website explains that morning-after pills – the over-the-counter drug levonorgestrel or the prescription drug ulipristal acetate – “do not end a pregnancy that has implanted. They work primarily by delaying or preventing ovulation.”
Drug induced abortions account for 39% of all abortions
According to the Guttmacher Institute, more than 850,000 abortions are performed in the United States each year with about 90 percent occurring the first trimester. Surgical abortions comprise 61% of the total. Drug-induced abortions, which normally occur during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, accounted for 39% of the total in 2017 – up from just 5% in 2001 and 29% in 2014.
Gynuity did not respond to RealClearInvestigations’ inquiries about the Burkina Faso trial, although Dr. Thieba was interviewed in the country in late November by a freelance journalist hired by RCI. Abortion rights advocates such as Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the Guttmacher Institute all declined to talk with RealClearInvestigations about abortion research and related ethical considerations. Officials at the State Department and federal health agencies also declined.
100 pregnant African women recruited for abortion trials
Public documents shed some light on the study, however. A description based on information provided by Gynuity was posted in August 2017 on the federally maintained research database ClinicalTrials.gov. It said an “estimated” 100 women with “an ongoing pregnancy of 13-22 weeks gestation” – that is, in their second trimester – were to be recruited to participate in the study.
The trial, to begin in May 2017 and end Dec. 31, 2019, would be conducted in four cities in Burkina Faso: Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, Boromo, and Ouahigouya. Patients in the study had to “be willing to undergo surgical completion if necessary” – surgical abortion – in the event of complications, and to provide consent.
It is not clear how the women were recruited for the study, and details of Gynuity’s role in supporting this research could not be ascertained, including how much funding it provided, and whether doctors affiliated with Gynuity traveled to Burkina Faso to supervise or work on the study.
Abortion trial examines the effectiveness of 2nd trimester abortions
The U.S. government website states that the goal of the Burkina Faso trial is “to examine the effectiveness and feasibility of a mifepristone-misoprostol medical abortion regimen” in the second trimester.
Mifestrone blocks progesterone, a hormone vital to fetal development, delivered from the mother through the placenta and umbilical cord, and kills the fetus. Another drug, misoprostol, administered later, causes the uterus, where the fetus was conceived, to shrink, expelling the detached embryo through the vagina.
At 19 weeks – or mid-second trimester — a typical fetus is about 6 inches long and weighs about 8 ounces. Medical News Today reports that “the fetus may be developing hair on its head. The kidneys of the fetus will now be making urine. A female fetus now has six million eggs in her ovaries.”
Life-threatening complications for the mother
Abortions in these circumstances are more likely to lead to potentially life-threatening complications for the mother, including cervical laceration, infection, and uterine rupture.
A 2009 study on women in Finland published in Obstetrics & Gynecology found that one out of every five given abortion drugs in the first trimester experienced some kind of complication. The most common adverse effect was potentially life-threatening hemorrhaging, which represented 16% of the total complications.
An ill-advised study?
Doctors with experience in the region doubt that such research is ever advisable in places such as Burkina Faso. The landlocked, recurrently unstable former French West African colony has one physician for roughly every 16,000 people, and one hospital bed for every 2,500 people, in a nation of over 19 million, according to the CIA World Factbook. There are currently about 100 gynecologists in the Society of Gynecologists and Obstetricians of Burkina Faso, RCI’s reporting established. The CIA also reports that the country has one of the highest infant-mortality rates (72 deaths per 1,000 live births) and lowest life expectancy rates (56 years) in the world.
The numbers may help explain why the Guttmacher Institute found that about two-thirds of the 23,000 women treated for abortion-related complications there in 2008 “suffered serious complications but did not receive the care they needed.”
Chronic shortages of transfusion blood
A major problem is chronic shortages of transfusion blood. Dr. Christina M. Francis, an OB-GYN who’s done extensive work in Kenya, Burma, Afghanistan, and other developing countries, said: “In general, throughout Africa, regardless of whether you’re in this big city or a small village, blood products tend to be difficult to come by. There are national shortages very frequently.”
Dr. Francis, who is affiliated with the Charlotte Lozier Institute, a scientific research organization that does work from a pro-life/anti-abortion perspective, continued: “And so, even if you’ve got a woman in, say, the biggest hospital in the capital of Burkina Faso, that doesn’t mean that she’s going to have access to blood products just because she’s in that hospital.”
The study director in Burkina Faso, Dr. Thieba, confirmed that “the availability of blood is most often a real problem.” But, she said, “as soon as the woman realizes that she is bleeding a lot, she comes and we end the abortion with the aspiration [vacuum suction]; we do not continue, because if we let the medicine act it will take time; the bleeding will be prolonged.”
Shortage of hospital beds
Dr. Thieba said there is a “tracking protocol” for the women in the study that ensures regular follow-ups until the abortion is completed, but the lack of hospital beds and medical facilities means that women cannot be monitored after the mifepristone and misoprostol are administered. “When we prescribe, we explain the signs of danger to women and, as soon as these signs appear, they come,” she said. “Most often, they have provider contact.”
The Guttmacher Institute estimates that between 2% and 4% of pregnancies in Burkina Faso end in abortion. Dr. Thieba said drug-induced abortions may be useful because a lack of anesthesia and anesthesiologists are impediments to safe surgical abortions.
An abortion-related drug trial in a developing country raises other concerns because of the West’s past influence over population-control efforts that have adversely affected women.
In 1972, the International Planned Parenthood Federation sponsored an experiment to terminate the pregnancies of hundreds of Bangladeshi women who had been raped by Pakistani soldiers. A number of the pregnancies were ended using an unproven device known as a “super coil,” developed by a psychologist with no formal medical training. The device was later described in a court case as “basically plastic razors that were formed into a ball” and would spring open inside a woman’s uterus. It resulted in a high rate of complications.
While there are few specifics on what happened to the women in Bangladesh, the super coil was used on one occasion in America later that year; 13 out of 15 women had to be hospitalized with serious complications, and one of them had to have a hysterectomy.
No charges were brought at the time against the Philadelphia doctor who used the device, Dr. Kermit Gosnell. He would become infamous decades later when he was convicted of first-degree murder and a host of other crimes in 2013 related to his operation of an abortion clinic in Philadelphia.
A mandatory sterilization program
In India in 1975, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared overpopulation a national emergency and created a large-scale, mandatory sterilization program. The Ford Foundation backed the effort, providing the infrastructure that made the sterilization programs possible.
The drug being tested in Burkina Faso is connected to abortion research’s international past. Mifepristone was developed in France, and in 1994 a nonprofit American group called the Population Council “was given the rights to sell RU-486 by French drug maker Roussel Uclaf SA, which was put off by the controversy surrounding the drug in the United States,” the Washington Post reported in 2000, the year the drug was approved for use in the United States.
The Population Council was founded by John D. Rockefeller III in the 1950s with a mission rooted in population control and eugenics. In Donald T. Critchlow’s book “Intended Consequences: Birth Control, Abortion, and the Federal Government in Modern America,” the organization’s mission and motives are made clear:
An initial draft charter of the council submitted by Rockefeller called for the promotion of research so that “within every social and economic grouping, parents who are above the average in intelligence, quality of personality and affection, will tend to have larger than average families.”
This paragraph would be dropped when Thomas Parran, a Catholic and former surgeon general, told Rockefeller, “Frankly, the implications of this, while I know are intended to have a eugenic implication, could readily be misunderstood as a Nazi master race philosophy.”
Gynuity also illustrates ties between population control advocates and abortion rights advocates. Before she became president of Gynuity in 2003, Dr. Beverly Winikoff had spent 25 years working at the Population Council.
The clinical trial in Burkina Faso also resonates with the history of abortion drugs in the United States. Aside from the involvement of the Population Council in producing RU-486, the Buffet Foundation provided millions of dollars to perform clinical trials on mifepristone for U.S. approval.
The Clinton administration fast-tracked Mifepristone approval
Approving the drug in 2000 was a major priority for the soon-departing Clinton administration, which took extraordinary steps to fast-track the process. Mifepristone approval was expedited through an FDA regulation known as “Subpart H,” which was meant only for “Accelerated Approval of New Drugs for Serious or Life-Threatening Illnesses” where existing treatments are either insufficient or nonexistent.
The FDA approval process for mifepristone was unusual in other ways. “FDA Commissioner Jane E. Henney said the agency broke with precedent by not publishing the names of the experts who reviewed RU-486 for the agency,” the Washington Post reported. “In another first, it did not publish the name or location of the company that will manufacture the drug.”
Eventually, it was reported that the drug was manufactured by a pharmaceutical company formed in the Cayman Islands in 1995 named Danco, which continues make the drug. After the formation of Danco, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation – of Hewlett-Packard fame – lent it $10 million to help with marketing and FDA approval.
To this day, little is known about Danco Laboratories, beyond the names of a few of its top officers and that it is based in New York City. Abortion advocates insist that such secrecy is necessary for the safety of those who work at the company.
Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance
The Trump administration hasn’t publicly expressed concern, though it has touted its “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” policy, aimed at ending U.S. government funding of international abortion efforts.
Despite RCI’s multiple requests for comment from the State Department, National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Global Affairs, no government official would speak on the record about chemical abortion research and the issues involved in international clinical trials. The only response was a statement from an HHS spokesperson: “The U.S. government has oversight of international clinical trials if they are federally funded, or if the trial is privately funded and is being conducted to support an application to FDA for a new drug or device.”
Legal restrictions on abortion may become more difficult to enforce
If Gynuity’s studies regarding chemical abortion and telemedicine are successful, they might make it widely possible for women seeking abortions to perform them themselves, leaving legal restrictions on abortion exceedingly difficult to enforce. Pro-life groups raise alarms about the safety of such a situation.
“The end game, the ultimate goal for the pro-abortion side, is to have a powerful abortion drug available over the counter,” said Dr. Donna Harrison, an OB-GYN and executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
“If they can generate some studies that say, ‘Oh, this is safe’ — whatever ‘safe’ means in the second trimester — then they can argue, ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter if women don’t know how far along they are.’ It’s quote ‘safe,’ ”
Reporter James Rosen got under Nancy Pelosi’s skin when he asked her:
“Do you hate President Trump”
Speaker of the House Pelosi lashed back:
“I was raised in a Catholic house. We don’t hate anybody—not anybody in the world. So don’t accuse me of that. Don’t mess with me. As a Catholic I resent you using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me.”
The intensity of her pushback suggests that the Speaker doth protest too much. But let’s take Ms. Pelosi at her word. The more interesting question would be, what does it mean to be a Catholic? After all, Catholicism spells out a set of infallible beliefs ( to Catholics anyway) clearly articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, inspired by the Word of God and Tradition.
In the video above, Speaker Pelosi avers that public policy should be crafted in harmony with the Word. And yet, when asked if ‘the Word,’ Jesus, had a right to life at the moment of His conception, Pelosi suggests such a subject should only be discussed in church.
In fact, Pelosi has struck an adversarial, and very public, position with Church teachings when it comes to reproductive matters:
The Nancy Pelosi record
- NO on banning federal health coverage that includes abortion.
- YES on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines.
- YES on allowing human embryonic stem cell research.
- NO on restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions.
- NO on making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime.
- NO on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother’s life.
- NO on forbidding human cloning for reproduction & medical research.
- NO on funding for health providers who don’t provide abortion info.
- NO on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad.
- NO on banning partial-birth abortions.
- NO on barring transporting minors to get an abortion.
Each vote opposed Catholic teaching. She receives a 100% rating from the pro-abortion NARAL and a 0% rating from the pro-life NRLC.
Just a month ago, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops identified the threat of abortion as the Bishops’ “preeminent priority.”
Pelosi pits herself against U.S. bishops by enabling an act that separates women and men from Christ.
Saint Pope John Paul the Great put the responsibility on the shoulders of “legislators who have promoted and approved abortion laws,” among others.
A Catholic priest with a national radio show, Fr. John Riccardo, spoke in Des Moines last Saturday. He asked why did Jesus come, and why did he put Himself through such an ordeal?
The answer, said Fr. Riccardo is “because YOU matter.” He did it for YOU. You matter at the instant of your conception, according to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Nancy Pelosi disagrees, if her legislative record is any indication. She may get misty-eyed in contemplating the “Word made flesh,” but when the rubber meets the road, she stands firmly opposed to the Church, and firmly in alignment with Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and their Big Abortion bullies.
[Don’t forget this weekend’s Pro-Life Christmas Gala at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Proceeds support IFL. Saturday night is already sold out, but tickets for Sunday’s show are available at the door for $15 a person; or $50 per family. Can’t make it? Donate to IFL online now. Thank-you!]