By Karen Zainal
As an aspiring special education teacher, I wanted to learn how to interact with kids with more profound developmental disabilities. I found KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now), a nonprofit that pairs volunteers with special needs participants (kids and young adults) in a time of free play. I started two weeks ago; as it turns out, there wasn’t much to learn at all — though there was much to unlearn.
Born with Down Syndrome
My buddy, Charles, is an African-American male in his 20s. He was born with Down syndrome. Because of his intellectual disability, he behaves like a young child. Charles often repeats himself, his favorite lines being “How you doing?” and “What color is this?” Charles is also incredibly friendly, and would shake hands with anyone he meets. Sometimes, he might pick up your hand and sniff it (it’s his way of showing affection), which tends to startle people meeting him for the first time. He loves shooting hoops, which I happen to be terrible at, and thankfully doesn’t bother him.
When I first met Charles, I was keenly aware that under “normal” circumstances, we would unlikely be friends. Charles and I have close to nothing in common — not gender, not race, not age, not occupation, not skills, not interests. But it quickly became so clear to me that we have one very important thing in common — we’re both God’s children.
There is unparalleled beauty in simple interactions. When I talk to Charles and other participants at KEEN, there is absolutely no pretense. There’s no need to be smart, or witty, or funny, or interesting. No judgment, no expectations. Simply put, these are interactions in the purest form. No one’s trying to impress anybody, and no one’s trying to gain anything from anybody. I felt freedom.
Occasionally, I take a step back to just marvel at what’s going on in this basketball court, and I realize that this is an oasis in a clockwork society that expects so much of every individual.
One time, Charles wanted to take a walk outside of the basketball court, so I took his hand and we ventured out for 5 minutes, during which we ran into a few college students. Charles being Charles, promptly walked up to them and asked for all their names, before shaking and sniffing their hands. I was enraged by the grimaces and general discomfort plastered all over their faces. That was the moment I realized the extent to which we’ve created a society so hostile to those who are “different”.
It’s no surprise that we’re seeing more and more “wrongful birth” lawsuits filed by parents who declare that they would have aborted their baby if they’d known he/she would be different. And then we have the likes of Richard Dawkins who’d go so far as to say that “immoral” not to abort unborn babies with Down Syndrome.
Immersed in an intellectual bubble in Chicago
I, too, am guilty of perpetuating an elitist, ableist world. For four years, I immersed myself in the intellectual bubble that is The University of Chicago. There, I learned life-changing critical thinking skills that I am incredibly thankful for. Unfortunately, it also instilled in me a poisonous pride in my ability to engage in “intellectual” conversations, and hence a preference for a certain type of interaction. It took a major bout of depression that robbed me of many of my cognitive abilities for me to be humbled once more.
I love the work organizations like KEEN does, but it saddens me that we actually need to recruit volunteers to fulfill social and emotional needs that wonderful people like Charles are often deprived of.
I encourage you to try spending some time with people born with Down Syndrome like Charles. They will always teach and remind us about what it means to be fellow human beings, and it will be good for our souls.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:1-4)
[Karen Zainal is a special education teacher living in Singapore. She is originally from Indonesia and studied at the University of Chicago. Thank-you, Karen, for permission to publish this essay. You can read more of her writings and view her artwork at her blog: www.karenwriteshere.com.]
The governor suspended non essential services, such as dental, eyecare, and abortions in an attempt to preserve precious medical supplies needed to fight the coronavirus in Iowa. The ACLU pushed back with a lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
A pro-abortion attorney general does the negotiating
Keep in mind that ACLU negotiated the suit with pro-choice Attorney General, Tom Miller, who represents the state of Iowa. Just two weeks ago, Miller, along with twenty other pro-abortion attorney generals, wrote to the Secretary of Health and Human Services calling for not a reduction, but an EXPANSION, of abortion services during the pandemic:
“We write to request that you increase access to reproductive healthcare, including safe and legal abortion, during this pandemic.”
It is clear Mr. Miller is unlikely to have the fire in his belly to take Big Abortion to the mat on this issue. So what was the upshot of the negotiations? Good question.
The governor’s office suggests nothing has changed:
“Gov. Reynolds is pleased that her proclamation remains in full effect and that surgical abortions will not be exempted from this suspension of nonessential and elective surgeries,” Reynolds’ spokesman, Pat Garrett, said in a statement.”
Planned Parenthood sings a different tune
Planned Parenthood and the ACLU sounded a different note, asserting they will resume seeing patients for “in-clinic procedures”:
“Today, the Court entered an order by agreement of the parties that allows physicians to treat abortion the same as other procedures and allows them to make a case-by-case determination for each patient. Therefore, Planned Parenthood will resume seeing patients for in-clinic procedures, in compliance with Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proclamation.”
In this time of crisis as Iowans make sacrifices to protect the public health, it is stunning that Big Abortion would put their financial interests ahead of the public good by hoarding protective equipment needed by healthcare workers.
So, are abortions taking place despite the governor’s proclamation or not?
Tune into Simon Conway’s show at 5PM. Governor Reynolds will be on his show (WHO-AM). Let’s hope she clarifies what exactly are non essential surgeries. Are abortions taking place or not? Is Planned Parenthood joining the rest of the state in making sacrifices? Or do they refuse to join the battle in saving lives from COVID-19?
We know the Coronavirus is about to get worse. By Monday, 3000 had died in the U.S. By end of Tuesday, 4000. One state over, Illinois officials released an emergency alert to residents pleading for additional licensed healthcare workers to come forward as they prepare for the pending deluge of death. Federal officials fear fatalities could reach nearly a quarter of a million Americans. That’s why the nation is on a Coronavirus lockdown.
Officials hope such draconian measures will slow the rate of infection so hospitals aren’t overwhelmed and critical medical supplies depleted.
New York City is the epicenter
In New York City, the epicenter of infections at the moment, Mayor Bill De Blasio is so insistent on a Coronavirus lockdown for the sake of public safety, that he even threatens to permanently shutter any churches that congregate to worship God. Said the mayor:
“The NYPD, fire department, buildings department — everyone has been instructed that if they see worship services going on, they will go to the officials of that congregation, they’ll inform them they need to stop the services and disperse. If that does not happen, they will take additional action up to the point of fines and potentially closing the building permanently.”
Yet inexplicably, he allows abortion clinics to remain open, having once characterized human abortion as a “sacred choice.”
No threat of permanent lockdowns.
Do they really need the money at the expense of public safety?
Does Planned Parenthood really need money that badly at the expense of siphoning off critical medical supplies during a pandemic? After all, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York enjoyed $98 Million in income in their recent Federal Form 990 filings. Here in Iowa, Planned Parenthood North Central States reported $68 Million.
Something is wrong with this picture.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds suspended elective medical procedures and surgeries, such as dental, eye, and abortion, in an effort to preserve precious health care resources during the upcoming critical weeks.
Big Abortion balked. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit on behalf of their clinics to block the governor’s action.
At a time when medical supplies are in such critical demand, when so many human lives are at stake, couldn’t these abortion clinics suspend operations for even a few weeks? Isn’t $68 Million enough?
“The decisions that I have made have been made in the vane of really helping us strategically use our PPE (personal protective equipment) stockpile that we have. That has been an issue from the very beginning of this.”
The American Civil Liberties Union quickly filed a lawsuit today on behalf of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Planned Parenthood Medical Director, Jill Meadows, and the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City.
The suit calls for an immediate emergency injunction on the Governor’s order, claiming it violates the Iowa Constitution.
Planned Parenthood Executive Director, Erin Davison-Rippey, says that human abortion is…
“an essential, time-sensitive medical procedure. We are in a critical moment for our state when we must come together to fight the DOVID-19 pandemic, not politicize health care services that are constitutionally protected. Iowans are doing all they can to protect their families and communities during this pandemic and Planned Parenthood is focused on providing our patients with crucial services they need.”
Iowans for LIFE supports the Governor’s action, which preserves protective equipment and limited medical supplies for those at high risk from the Coronavirus. Dental and eye clinics have also been affected by the crisis, but haven’t filed lawsuits.
Governor spokesman, Pat Garrett, responded on behalf of the Governor:
“Governor Reynolds is focused on protecting Iowans from an unprecedented public health disaster, and she suspended all elective surgeries and procedures to preserve Iowa’s health care resources. As the governor has said over and over, Iowans are in this together. We will be working in consultation with the Attorney General’s Office to defend the actions she’s taken.”
[Dan Lipinski, a Democrat, representing Illinois’s Third Congressional District was one of the few remaining pro-life Democrats in Congress. He lost his primary election to a pro-abortion candidate. Here is an excerpt from his piece in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.]
Politico’s Shia Kapos posed this question:
“There are some pro-life Democrats, like Tim Kaine, who have found a way to come to terms with the fact that they do not believe in abortion but they also support a woman’s right to choose, so they have been able to kind of maneuver—there isn’t just black and white, there is some flexibility. Did Tim Kaine ever talk to you about that?”
I replied that if you believe life exists in the womb, you have to support policies that protect that life.
The Democratic Party prides itself on being the party of inclusion. Even with a pro-choice plank in the platform, we could concede that there’s a diversity of opinion on the issue, as we once did. That would make sense, since one-third of Democratic voters describe themselves as pro-life, and almost 6 in 10 support some abortion restrictions. But rather than acknowledging these voters’ viewpoint, party leaders and presidential candidates refuse to tolerate anyone who doesn’t support abortion on demand at any time, paid for by taxpayers.
The Democratic Party asserts that its highest priority right now is to defeat President Trump. The party’s treatment of pro-life voters belies that claim.
Coronavirus infections are soaring. According to data from a variety of sources, including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control, we have 51,215 confirmed cases in the U.S.
Six-hundred and fifty-eight people have died, for a 1.28% fatality rate.
By contrast, the fatality rate for the ‘abortion pill’ (RU-486) is 93 to 99% and surgical abortions are about 99% percent fatal to the human being in the womb.
In light of these contrasting fatality rates, Iowans for LIFE notes the irony behind Planned Parenthood’s reasoning for refusing to shut down during the Coronavirus crisis. PP’s chief medical officer in Long Island, Westchester and Rockland counties in New York, Dr. Meera Shah, one of the hardest-hit areas in the country, explained:
“Our doors will stay open because sexual and reproductive health care is extremely important, and we have to ensure access to it. Pregnancy-related care, especially abortion care, is essential and life-affirming, especially now when there is so much insecurity around jobs and food and paychecks and childcare.”
Iowans for LIFE’s executive director, Maggie DeWitte, has a simple response:
“If Planned Parenthood really wants to affirm life, they should shut their doors.”
The Protect Life Amendment update
At the state level, the Protect Life Amendment is on hold, as the legislative session has been suspended for the next thirty days. As review, the Amendment passed the Iowa Senate. It passed out of the House judiciary committee, followed by a public hearing. Iowans for LIFE testified at every hearing.
All that’s left this session is a vote by the Iowa House. If it passes both houses this session, we need to do it again next. And then it will be ready for a statewide vote by the people. If it passes that final hurdle, the Iowa Constitution will be amended, making it abortion-neutral.
The uncertainty of this session has us all on edge, but the Iowa Coalition of Pro-Life leaders remains in regular contact with legislators. We will inform you of breaking news as soon as we learn more.
Coronavirus stimulus bill
At the federal level, the White House asserted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to slip taxpayer funded abortions into a Coronavirus stimulus bill:
“A new mandatory funding stream that does not have Hyde protections would be unprecedented. Under the guise of protecting people, Speaker Pelosi is working to make sure taxpayer dollars are spent covering abortion — which is not only backwards, but goes against historical norms.”
Another White House official asked:
“What the Hyde Amendment and abortion have to do with protecting Americans from coronavirus?”
IFL Executive Director, Maggie DeWitte, reacted to pro-life Congressional member’s successful efforts at removing abortion from the bill:
“Pro-life legislators have to be on constant alert to look for back-door maneuvers to slip abortion funding into what appear to be innocuous bills. Thanks to the president and his administration for looking out for unborn Americans.”
Pro-life Democrat loses a primary election
In the midst of this health crisis, primary elections took place in three states this week, and another, Ohio, cancelled theirs until a later date. Notably, one of the few remaining pro-life Democrats, Illinois Congressman Dan Lipinski, was defeated by the pro-abortion candidate, Marie Newman.
Lipinski was an eight term incumbent, but that wasn’t enough to stem the tide against Newman, who was backed by a who’s who of Big Abortion, including Emily’s List and NARAL. For good measure, pro-abortion New York Congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, actively supported Newman.
Beware future pro-abortion maneuvering
If Newman retains Lipinski’s seat for the Democrats this Fall, it tilts one more vote in the House to the side of Big Abortion. This is more than just worrisome for pro-lifers. As the federal government discerns unprecedented Big Government interventions to prop up our economy during this crisis, the opportunity for more pro-abortion maneuverings increases, especially if the Senate and White House switch parties after November’s elections.
For example, Bernie Sanders calls for a government stake in companies who receive government loans during the Coronavirus crisis. If the party of abortion is in power, they will certainly insist that human abortion services be provided in a company’s healthcare plan, a backdoor way of accomplishing what Sander’s “Medicare for All” would do.
We saw something similar when Obamacare passed. Although not stated in the legislation, Team Obama/Biden issued an executive order mandating abortion and contraception services be included in the health plans for religious organizations, such as Little Sisters of the Poor, even though it violated their First Amendment freedoms.
Political correctness trumps practical policies
Finally, Iowans for LIFE marvels at the shallowness of some of the debate coming from the corner of the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Joe Biden. His spokesperson, Symone Sanders, went on Martha MacCallum’s show (above) to suggest that the President is racist for calling COVOD-19 the ‘Chinese Virus.’ Here is the exchange:
SANDERS: A leader has to lead from the front, and so what President Trump came out and some of what he announced today was good, but the reality is he also stood at the podium and called the coronavirus, COVID-19, what I would suggest is a racial slur. It’s something that that is offensive—
MacCALLUM: Why? Why is that?. Why would it be, to call it a Chinese virus when it originated in China? Why is that a problem?”
SANDERS It is something that is offensive to many Americans and so that reality is, instead of name calling, instead of pointing fingers, instead of talking about poll numbers, let’s just talk about what we can get done.
As Iowans for LIFE has pointed out, the Chinese government imposed monstrous policies on its people under the guise of their “One Child Policy.” The government ended this program of forced abortions and sterilizations just four years ago, but not before it prevented 400 million births.
Why would Team Biden choose to make an issue of a virus’s moniker, especially in light of the fact that it actually did originate in China, was covered up by the Chinese government for several critical months, and allowed to spread throughout the world? Why waste time on political correctness when people are actually dying?
Why would Team Biden choose this as the issue to focus on when a dictatorial government has imposed so much harm on its own people and the world?
Where China forced their own citizens to have abortions, the party of abortion in the U.S. wants taxpayers to pay for them, even it means sneaking it into the Coronavirus bill.
- The misguided. Oftentimes, these are future pro-lifers. How many women have been hurt by abortion? Millions. Many don’t realize what they are doing until the physical, emotional, and spiritual reality kicks in. Sometimes it takes decades for that to happen. Sometimes minutes.
- The financial profiteers. There’s money in Big Abortion. These are the people who actually create such silly hashtags as #CelebrateAbortionProviders, because it is in their financial self-interest to ameliorate the stigma attached to infanticide.
- The political profiteers. These people are funded by the financial profiteers (who are also effective at turning out the vote). They will, and have, sold their souls to the devil to #CelebrateAbortionProviders. (See Joe Biden.)
As the great pro-life Twitter savant, Bryan Kemper, puts it,
“If you are celebrating #CelebrateAbortionProviders that’s the same as if you were in 1940 celebrating Nazi Concentration Camp Doctors Day. The slaughter of innocent human persons should never be celebrated. I would rather celebrate having hemorrhoids. Shame.”
Whether it’s a helpless baby that has miraculously survived an attempt on its life, also known as an abortion, or a Supreme Court Justice deciding an abortion case, violence, intimidation, and force will be deployed by the acolytes of Big Abortion.
Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, demonstrated his comfort with violence in his diatribe yesterday:
“I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have unleashed the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
Mr. Schumer’s threatened the jurists not to uphold a Louisiana law which requires abortion clinics to have admitting privileges to a hospital within thirty miles.
Schumer’s dishonest response
When upbraided by Chief Justice John Roberts, as well as politicians of all stripes, Mr Schumer responded disingenuously:
“I’m from Brooklyn. We speak in strong language, I shouldn’t have used the words I did, but in no way was I making a threat. Of course I didn’t intend to suggest anything other than political and public-opinion consequences for the Supreme Court, and it is a gross distortion to imply otherwise.”
No, it is not a gross distortion to imply otherwise, as he was specifically targeting the two jurists nominated by Schumer’s enemy, President Trump.
Chuck Schumer gets no pass. The violence and intimidation of abortion taints him. This is the same man who didn’t think the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act was even worthy of a Senate debate.
More dishonesty on ‘born-alive’ protections
He was asked just last month:
“On the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, Senator Sasse argues that this is needed because, under the current law, while you can’t outright kill a baby breathing outside the womb you can neglect it. What is your response?”
His response was again disingenuous:
“We — we voted on this before. It was defeated and Senate — and there’s a law in 2002 that is on the books — current law that covers everything Sasse is talking about. It’s a play to the hard right base. The American people don’t support it.”
The 2000 law did not make it a crime to doctors to deny medical care to the unique human being who survived her abortion, nor does any federal law.
His assertion that the American people don’t support born alive protections is inaccurate at best, and dishonest at worst. According to a survey conducted by YouGov last year, 82% of Americans somewhat or strongly oppose removing medical care for a viable child after the child is born.
Abortion is violence. Chuck Schumer’s rhetoric was simply in keeping with the violent and dishonest legacy of a practice with 60 million American victims.
The Supreme Court heard June Medical Services v. Russo Wednesday morning. The Court will decide if a state (Louisiana, in this case) has the right to require abortion clinics to have admitting privileges to a hospital before they can perform human abortions in their clinics.
Let’s look at the law and today’s hearing:
Has the Court ever had a case similar to this?
Yes. Texas passed a similar law which the Court struck down in 2016 in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt in a 5 to 3 decision. Anthony Kennedy joined the liberal wing of the Court in voting to overturn the Texas law.
So what’s different with June Medical Services v. Russo from the previous case?
Not much, other than Bret Kavanaugh has replaced Anthony Kennedy on the Court, and Kavanaugh’s questions today appeared more sympathetic to the pro-life position than Kennedy’s four years ago.
What did Kavanaugh say?
He suggested that perhaps the Texas case should not apply to the Louisiana case, which would make it more likely for the pro-life Louisiana case to prevail.
Did anything else positive happen in today’s hearing from a pro-life perspective?
Yes. Justice Samuel Alito built upon a brief filed by the Trump administration that argues that these (pro) abortion suits should only be filed by individual patients seeking abortions, rather than the clinics that profit from the abortion trade, which would be a devastating blow to Big Abortion.
Do admitting privilege laws really do any good? After all, couldn’t a woman injured by an abortion procedure simply check herself into any hospital herself?
Yes, she probably could, but that’s not the point. Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, a policy advisor for The Catholic Association, explains that with admitting privileges, “a patient with a serious complication will be admitted to the hospital by the doctor who knows exactly what went wrong, ensuring that continuity of care will be preserved.”
Can admitting privilege laws actually improve women’s reproductive health?
That’s the wrong questions, since abortion has nothing to do with women’s reproductive health. However, abortion clinics in Louisiana have a history of hiring incompetent doctors, as do so many abortion clinics around the country. Remember Dr. Kermit Gosnell?
Louisiana abortion doctors have been a danger to the reproductive health of Louisiana women, as the 5th Circuit Court found. They described these abortion ‘doctors’ as “incompetent,” “neglectful,” and “non-compliant.” One abortion doctor “used instruments that were rusty, cracked, and unsterile…”
In one case, the abortionist perforated the patient’s uterus, and “the patient continued to have moderate bleeding but the ambulance was not called for nearly three hours.”
Again, do admitting privilege laws really make a difference?
Yes, according to Dr. Christie:
“admitting privileges act as a seal of approval and weed out dangerous practitioners with red flags on their records. This is crucial when the state’s abortion clinics have shown themselves incapable of (or uninterested in) hiring competent physicians to perform outpatient surgeries on vulnerable women.”
“It’s important to note that by requiring admitting privileges for abortion providers, the state of Louisiana isn’t singling them out for special treatment. Rather, the state seeks to bring them “into the same set of standards that apply to physicians providing similar types of services [in other ambulatory surgical centers.]” The guiding principle is this: Louisiana women going in for an abortion ought to be at least as safe as women going in for liposuction.”