Protecting Women: Why Texas’ HB 2 Will be Upheld

(this article appeared at http://law.studentsforlife.org/2013/10/11/protecting-women-why-texas-hb-2-will-be-upheld/)

I was proud to travel to Austin this summer with SFLA to see the Texas legislature pass HB 2, which protects women and innocent children from shoddy abortion practices. While we were elated that HB 2 passed, we knew a legal challenge was coming, and on September 27th Planned Parenthood, along with other abortion providers, filed suit against Attorney General Greg Abbot and other Texas governmental officials.

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Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit currently challenges only two of the provisions included in the bill: 1) the requirement that doctors performing abortion have active admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facilities; and 2) that medication abortions using RU-486 must follow the already-existing FDA protocol for administration and follow-up. The 20 week ban is based onscientific research stating that at least 20 weeks, preborn children can feel pain, is not being challenged. It is rumored that this is because the Federal Court of Appeals in Texas is conservative enough to rule against Planned Parenthood, and they don’t want any rulings that could give the Supreme Court a reason to uphold such a ban.

In the lawsuit filed last week, Planned Parenthood claims that one third of the abortion providers in Texas would be forced to close because of these two regulations, though they never actually show how they reached that estimate. Only the admitting privileges requirement should have an effect on the operation of these abortion clinics, as the RU 486 regulation only affects how it is administered, and doesn’t ban the practice altogether.

After falling back on tired and disproven claims like “abortion is safer than childbirth”, Planned Parenthood attacks Texas’ decision to require clinics to follow the FDA approved regimen for use of the dangerous RU 486 drug. Currently the FDA regulations dictate that the drug is safe for use at the recommended dose up 49 days into a pregnancy, yet many clinics vary the dosage and use the drug two weeks past the FDA approved date. This requirement would also prevent clinic staffers who are not doctors from administering the drug, and would require the patient to return to the clinic for the second dose of the drug instead of taking it without any supervision at their home. Finally, it would require a flow-up appointment to assure that the abortion was completed, and that no part of the aborted child remains in the womb which, left un-removed, leads to infection and even death of the mother.

Planned Parenthood is hinging its argument against the RU-486 regulations on the idea that they are medically unnecessary, and cite a few organizations (including one outside the US) who agree.  But as Justice Kennedy pointed out in the 2007 case Gonzales v. Carhart, “Medical uncertainty does not foreclose the exercise of legislative power in the abortion context any more than it does in other contexts.”

The Supreme Court also noted in Planned Parenthood v Casey, that “not all burdens on the right to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy will be undue”, and acknowledged that a state’s interests in protecting unborn life,  in preserving the integrity of the medical profession, preventing the coarsening of society’s moral sense, and promoting respect for human life more generally, are strong enough to warrant restrictions prior to viability that make abortion more difficult or expensive to obtain.

At the trial level, both sides will present medical evidence in regards to this issue, but it is in keeping with precedent for the courts to defer to the Texas Legislature’s medical regulations on the administration of the RU-486 abortion drug, despite some doctors disagreeing with the judgment. Additionally, as there are alternative abortion methods available, the undue burden argument is hard to support. However, Planned Parenthood challenges this by contradicting their own multiple claims regarding the safety of abortion, saying that it could significantly endanger a woman’s life to have to use an alternate method of abortion.

The second regulation deals with requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.  Planned Parenthood makes two allegations in regards to this requirement: 1) that it places an undue burden on women seeking abortion, due to its potential to limit the number of doctors who can perform abortions in Texas, and 2) that the requirement is “unconstitutionally vague” because, apparently, Planned Parenthood doesn’t know what the word “active” means in the context of “active admitting privileges”.

Now the first allegation is based on their previous claim that this would force one-third of Texas’ abortion clinics to close, which again, is not supported by the factual statements contained in the lawsuit. In fact, Planned Parenthood admits that some of their providers have already been able to secure admitting privileges, and many are still waiting to hear back from hospitals.

Additionally, this whole argument is based on Planned Parenthood’s opinion that the criteria Texas’ hospitals use when deciding whether to grant admitting privileges, is “unrelated to a physician’s ability to provide high-quality abortion care.” But some of those criteria include things like board certifications, malpractice history and reported complications, level of experience and expertise, and validation of educational credentials- how are these issues not relevant to the quality of care a woman receives in these clinics? The country recently saw the reality of what takes place in abortion clinics with the horrifying Gosnell trial. There is no doubt in the minds of many people that a regulation like this one would have exposed Kermit Gosnell as the murderous man he really was- but instead he was able to escape notice due to a lack of enforced regulations.

Since Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that a State has a compelling interest in the safety of the mother who is undergoing an abortion, in the preservation of the integrity of the medical profession, and in recognizing the dignity of human life. Additionally, since Casey the swing vote on abortion – Justice Kennedy – has not voted against any regulations on abortion that has been proposed. Therefore, there is precedent for being permissive in relation to abortion regulations. For these reasons I believe it is likely that the Texas regulations will be upheld.

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Dear Wendy Davis,

(this originally was published by Live Action News)

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Dear Wendy Davis,

I was pretty taken aback by your comments today in your interview with the Weekly Standard. Disturbing enough was the reiteration of Nancy Pelosi’s argument that “abortion is “sacred ground,” but I was completely floored that you claimed to know nothing about the horrific Gosnell case. Are you being willfully ignorant of this travesty, or are you so blinded by the abortion money being thrown into your possible governor’s race that you are willing to risk women’s lives instead of researching what is going on in abortion clinics across America?

But perhaps you’ve been too busy helping Planned Parenthood try to avoid clinic regulations that would make abortion safer for the women involved, and didn’t get to read any of Live Action’s extensive Gosnell coverage. Or maybe the lack of mainstream media coverage on the important issue of abortion is to blame for your ignorance. Either way, I’ve decided to help you out with this handy little list of facts from the Gosnell case:

  • Gosnell also hired a high school girl, who was responsible for administering dangerous drugs to patients (Grand Jury Report, pp. 2, 34-35).
  • Basic sanitation requirements were ignored, resulting in many sexually transmitted diseases being given to his patients (Grand Jury Report pp. 9, 48).
  • In addition to his disgusting abortion mill, Gosnell also operated an illegal prescription pain medicine mill, which is the only reason he was even investigated (Grand Jury Report, pp. 2, 19-22).
  • Gosnell performed illegal late-term abortions, after the point of viability (Grand Jury Report, pp. 3).
  • Gosnell was usually absent from the clinic during the day, which led to many patients giving birth to their children on the floor, and even in toilets, with no medical personnel to care for them (Grand Jury Report, p. 4).
  • When Gosnell was there when the women gave birth, he would cut into the infants’ necks with scissors, severing their spinal cords, to ensure “fetal demise” (Grand Jury Report, pp. 4, 99-116).
  • While he performed these murders, Gosnell would laugh and joke about the size of the infants – one time remarking that a child was “big enough to walk [him] to the bus stop” (Grand Jury Report, pg. 5).
  • Gosnell was a danger to the women who trusted their lives to him – botching many abortions, and leaving women with permanent injuries (Grand Jury Report, pp. 6, 71-72).
  • One of these women was Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old refugee who had recently come to the United States from Nepal,
    who was killed by Gosnell (Grand Jury Report, pp. 7-8, 117-136).
  • Gosnell’s clinic wasn’t inspected for nearly 17 years, despite numerous complaints and reports of shoddy practices, allowing him to get away with these illegal and dangerous practices (Grand Jury Report, pp. 9-13, 137-218).
  • Gosnell failed to keep his clinic clean, and to make sure that his equipment was up to date and working properly (Grand Jury Report, pp. 44-49).
  • Gosnell implemented racist procedures when it came to patient care (Grand Jury Report, pp. 61-62).
  • Gosnell defrauded patients, insurance companies, and even nonprofit organizations out of millions of dollars (Grand Jury Report, pp. 88-90).
  • Gosnell took unauthorized photographs of patient’s vaginas (Grand Jury Report, pg. 73).
  • Gosnell cut the feet off some of the children and displayed them in glass jars (Grand Jury Report, pg. 74).

Now that you know the facts of the case, perhaps you can answer the reporter’s original question:

What is the difference between those two, between legal abortion at 23 weeks and what Gosnell did? Do you see a distinction between those two [acts]?

Thanks,

Deanna

#Stand4Life in Austin

Thursday at 5:30 am, after a 10 hour greyhound bus ride to meet Students For Life in Austin, I was unsure of what to expect from the many pro-abortion supporters I knew had gathered at the Texas state capitol.

The first day was great- the Students for Life group got to meet Rick Santorum, who encouraged us in our fight for the unborn. I definitely consider him to be one of my personal heros, so having him speak to us was amazing! We also met with Texas Representatives Bryan Hughes and Steve Toth, who welcomed us to the Capitol with open arms and lots of prayers. Later on, these two fine gentlemen would provide our group with hotel rooms just for us to shower in, after the YMCA kicked SFLA out.

After lunch, we headed down to San Antonio to meet the Planned Parenthood bus tour for a silent protest. There are pictures of some of the signs below, although several of them were simply too vulgar to post. While the people that showed up for that event weren’t as bad as the ones we would see the next day, there was still some vitriol hurled our way. But most horrifying to me was that when people read the sign the girl next to me was holding, that said “Wendy Stands With Gosnell”, they had no idea who Gosnell is.

Friday morning we arrived at the Capitol around 10 am and got to work. Some of us, like me, were passing out red “LIFE” tape; others were going around getting our fellow pro-lifers to sign the Statement of Peace, vowing to remain a peaceful presence; still others handed out snacks and water to ALL of those standing in line waiting to enter the gallery, pro-life or not.

At lunch, we walked to a park near the Capitol, where the Austin Knights of Columbus were nice enough to provide us with burgers, chips, cookies and drinks. Earlier in the week they had provided SFLA with many inflatable mattresses so that we didn’t have to sleep on the floors of the churches we were staying at.

When we returned from lunch, Representative Bob Duell provided us with blue shirts to pass out, along with water for anyone that needed it. Once back inside, things had taken a turn for the ugly- as we prayed, we were yelled at repeatedly (See videos below) and we began to hear the reports of DPS confiscating bricks and bottles of urine and feces, that pro-aborts had planned to throw at the senators after voting. At one point, a member of our group was violently shoved by the protesters as he recorded the scene in the Rotunda. We had heard other rumors about potential violence planned by the protesters, and had been warned that we might be asked to evacuate at any moment.

Keeping this in mind, a friend and I got in line for the gallery, hoping to be there when the historic vote finally went down. As we snaked through the line, things continued to get louder and louder as the majority of the pro-abortion crowd gathered in the rotunda, chanting, and strangely bouncing tampons off an orange flag. As we neared the gallery, the roar grew so loud that we could hardly hear each other talk, we later found out that this is when the group of women tried to padlock themselves to the gallery railing, one of which succeeded and had to be cut free. Shortly after this, we were informed that DPS had determined that the atmosphere was too dangerous for those wearing blue, and pro-lifers were being escorted out of the public parts of the Capitol, and into various offices. Our group gathered in Representative Hughes office, where we were locked in for our own safety and guarded by DPS officers.

As more than fifty people sat in the office, we were able to watch the live feed of the vote, and saw history in the making. When the final session started in the wee hours of Saturday morning, our group stood in a cramped office and prayed along with the Senate, while the pro-abortion advocates outside the gallery booed the same prayer. Minutes later, cheers rang out all around me and tears of joy were shed, as the final vote count was announced and the bill officially passed. A victory for the unborn had been achieved, and I was glad I had been on the right side of history. But history was not the only thing I had experienced in Austin. As I knelt in prayer in the rotunda, and was surrounded by hundreds of pro-abortion protesters angrily mocking my faith, I became convinced that I also experienced spiritual warfare. As a Christian, I felt secure that God would keep me safe, and I knew there were people all over the nation praying for our safety, but in my heart I knew fear.

I am so thankful for the Texas DPS who worked hard to ensure our safety, and to Representative Hughes for providing us a safe harbor in this storm. I am also grateful to the many people who donated food and supplies to the SFLA group, so that we could focus on supporting the bill, and saving babies!

Below I have compiled pictures and videos of the sights and sounds from this weekend. WARNING- some of the signs are very vulgar and may contain foul language. Unless otherwise noted, they are my personal photos and videos.

“Pray you’ll need it” Chant

“You Don’t Care if Women Die” Chant

“Pro-Lifers Only Care About Fetuses”

Every time I hear this one, I cringe. It’s so patently and obviously false that it took me awhile to realize that it needed an article. But with the recent events in D.C., Texas, and now North Carolina, I’ve been seeing meme after meme on social media touting this argument as a fact. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

 1. Pro-life legislation is leading the charge to protect women.

After the shocking discoveries at the disgusting Gosnell clinic, pro-life leaders have been leading the fight to make sure that Gosnell will never happen again. For instance, in Texas now, proposed legislation would require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as other outpatient surgical clinics. Other states, like Louisiana, have passed legislation banning the dangerous practice of webcam chemical abortions, where no actual doctor examines the patient. Some states, learning from Gosnell, have passed new laws or have begun to reinforce their existing abortion clinic regulations, ensuring that dangerous practices are not slipping through the cracks. All of these measures will make abortion safer for women by holding the people who perform them responsible for maintaining the same standards of basic care that other medical professionals a required to uphold.

2. Crisis pregnancy centers and maternity homes help women and children in need.

I had the privilege of visiting an amazing Woman’s Care Center in Indiana recently, and there are many similar centers all over the country. Not only do they provide counseling to women experiencing crisis pregnancies, but they also continue to care for the woman once she chooses life. Some centers have the resources to provide prenatal medical care and have employee or volunteer doctors and nurses; others help women apply for state benefits to ensure they get the care and nutrition they need. Many of them have a points system, where expectant mothers attend classes that teach them about parenting issues such as lactation techniques, proper discipline, nutrition, and basic care standards. When they attend classes, they earn points, which they can use to “buy” the things they need for their babies – food, cribs, clothes, toys, and more. They also help set up adoption for those women who are not ready or able to be mothers. Similarly, Maternity Homes house women in need and give them the resources they need to become good mothers.

march-for-life33. Data appears to indicate that pro-life people are more generous.

According to Gallup, 66% of those who consider themselves “conservative” are also pro-life. This comes into the argument when you look at studies that show that conservatives are more likely than their liberal counterparts (73% of which are pro-choice) to give to charities, donate a larger percent of their income to charity, volunteer more often, and give blood more. Since a large majority of conservatives are pro-life, it is safe to assume that most pro-life people donate or volunteer at elevated ranks as well.

 4. Personal examples

There are many other ways that many continue their pro-life ministry, including personally adopting children, or being foster parents like President Ronald ReaganGovernor Sam Brownback, and Representatives Michele Bachmann and Tim Huelskamp, among others. Some may volunteer or donate to soup kitchens, homeless shelters, children’s homes, and many other charities.

The bottom line is that this claim is completely false. Despite being a commonly repeated accusation against the pro-life community, it isn’t backed up by social science research. Don’t be discouraged when you hear this smear repeated, as this is just a desperate attempt by the pro-abortion lobby to paint us as the morally deficient side of the argument. It’s like Margaret Thatcher once said: “If they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”

Obama Criticism Off Limits Already?

A teacher from Lufkin, TX is on leave pending a disciplinary investigation after being accused of making negative comments about President-elect Barrack Obama. A student told their parent, who told administrators.

There is currently no word on what the comments contained, but one can only assume that it was not on the same level as comments made over the years by Obama associates and friends such as Bill Ayers, And Reverend Wright.

Is it even legal to be fired over voicing criticism of a politician? Wouldn’t the majority of educators have been fired over the past 8 years for bashing George W. Bush? I hope this is not a predeccesor of what is to come in the future under the Obama administration. Last time I checked, we still had freedom of speech…

http://www.ksla.com/Global/story.asp?S=9365921