Voices For Life

Voices for Life is an e-publication dedicated to informing and educating the public on pro-life and pro-family issues. We cover issues from conception until natural death, as well as all family life issues.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Wheaton College Wins 5-Year Religious Freedom Battle Against Birth Control Mandate

By Anugrah Kumar
Christian Post

Wheaton College has won a five-year battle to fulfill its Christian mission without having to provide services like the week-after pill and abortion-inducing drugs in its healthcare plans.

A district court judge has ruled that the government would violate federal civil rights laws if it forced the Illinois-based Christian liberal arts college to provide some services, which are required by the contraceptive mandate under the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act, against its religious beliefs.

The decision permanently protects Wheaton from any current or future version of the mandate, according to the nonprofit Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented the college.
"The government is not above the law — that's why we have civil rights laws. Wheaton should never have had to go to court to protect its rights in the first place. This order ensures we won't have to come back," said Diana Verm, Wheaton alumna and legal counsel at Becket, said in a statement.
Wheaton President Philip Ryken said, "We are grateful to God that the court recognized Wheaton's religious identity and protected our ability to affirm the sanctity of human life. The government should never have tried to force us to provide drugs and services against our faith, and we are pleased by the resolution of our case."
A recent new HHS rule admitted the federal government violated the law and provided temporary protection to religious objectors. But judges in California and Pennsylvania halted the rule in late December.

Wheaton, which is guided by its religious mission "For Christ and His Kingdom," filed a lawsuit to defend its right in 2012 after receiving no response from HHS to its concerns. The college was founded by abolitionist Jonathan Blanchard in 1860.

The contraceptive mandate, which requires health insurance plans to offer birth control and abortion-inducing drugs, has gone to the Supreme Court five times, and each time the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of protecting religious groups.

In 2015, Wheaton had announced that it would no longer offer health insurance to its students to avoid conflicting with the institution's Christian convictions.
"What has brought us here is about student health insurance, but it's bigger than student health insurance," Paul Chelsen, Wheaton's vice president of student development, said at the time.
 "What really breaks my heart is that there are real people that are affected by our decision. But if we don't win this case, the implications down the road in terms of what the government will tell us what we can and cannot do will be potentially more significant."
In 2013, the Obama administration proposed accommodations concerning the contraceptive mandate, but pro-life and religious liberty groups pointed out that it did not meaningfully expand the "church-only" exemption and amounted to little more than a gesture.

Penn State Bans Pro-Life Students From Event With Cecile Richards to Challenge Her on Abortion

By Micaiah Bilger
Life News

A peaceful group of students was kicked out of a publicly-advertised event with Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards on Thursday at Penn State University.

Richards was part of a panel discussion called “Beyond Choice: Barriers to Healthcare in Our Communities” on Feb. 22 hosted by the abortion chain and its student club at the central Pennsylvania university.

Sarah Nahrgang, a contributor to the student newspaper The State Patriot and the secretary of Penn State Students for Life, said she signed up to attend the event. But when she showed up, they refused to let her in

I RSVPed for the panel and was placed on the attendance list, but as soon as I showed my ID at the door, I was recognized and turned away for being pro-life. “You’re a leader of Students for Life. You have to leave,” I was told. Clearly, the RSVP list served as a means for Planned Parenthood Generation Action, the PSU club hosting the event, to keep dissenting opinions far away from Queen Richards.

Nahrgang said she did not have any plans to disrupt the event or cause trouble; she prepared a few questions in case there was a question-and-answer period, but otherwise she was just there to listen.

At least three other students who abortion activists identified as pro-life also were kicked out. Julia Messina, vice president of PSU Students for Life, received a text saying that she had been removed from the attendees list on Thursday.

The text said the event was “to engage our supporters” only. However, the abortion activists apparently allowed a student journalist to attend the event and report on it for the largest student newspaper at PSU.

Nahrgang said these actions violate university policy:
The Student Faculty Senate confirmed this morning, after these texts were received, that this is a violation of university policy. However, since Planned Parenthood Generation Action was also working with Planned Parenthood Keystone, which is not a student group, community organizer Christine O’Donovan Zavada disagreed with the policy and refused to allow pro-life students to hear Richards speak.

Women’s Care Center Provides Women With Help ‘Beyond a Choice for Life’

Helping women to choose life is about so much more than just the preborn baby. 
It’s about giving a lifeline to women in crisis.

By Cassy Fiano
Live Action News

Abortion advocates often argue that pro-lifers are only interested in helping women choose life for their preborn children, but aren’t interested in what happens to them afterwards. This, of course, is wrong on multiple fronts; being pro-life is about protecting all life, and while pro-lifers do work to prevent abortion, we also want to help women so that they don’t feel that they need to make such a choice. We want to do what the original feminists did: change our society for the better so that women have access to the support and resources they need, making abortion not just illegal, but unthinkable.

Helping to do that are pregnancy resource centers like the Women’s Care Center. Jenny Hunsberger is the vice president, and she grew up believing in the sanctity of life. “I am the ninth of 10 children and the mother of eight,” she explained in an interview with Live Action. “Growing up in a large Irish Catholic family, the conviction that there is always room for more life and more love is foundational.” She began to consider getting involved with the pro-life movement after her brother became a student of Dr. Janet Smith, the Notre Dame professor who would found the Women’s Care Center. 
“She enlisted him to paint the little blue house that became the first Women’s Care Center,” Hunsberger said. “Seven years later, as a freshman at Notre Dame, I attended a service and ministry fair. That evening, I met a wonderful Women’s Care Center counselor who invited me to a training. I immediately knew that this work was my mission and passion. I have been here ever since.”
Today, Women’s Care Center has 28 centers in 10 states. On average, 28,000 women will make over 100,000 visits to one of their centers over the course of a year. 
“Women come to us initially for free pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, counseling, parenting classes and tremendous amounts of material support,” Hunsberger said.
“They return because here they experience genuine welcome, compassionate care and a realization of their own value and dignity.” At the centers, women can receive medical grade pregnancy testing and ultrasounds, giving them information — which abortion facilities will often deny them — to make a decision about their pregnancies.

“Pregnancy is a life-changing event for every woman. For a woman who feels unsupported, financially unprepared, or who sees her dreams and goals slipping away, pregnancy can be a crisis,” Hunsberger said. “At Women’s Care, these women find a safe place where they are free to talk about their challenges and fears. Our compassionate and highly trained counselors meet women right where they are, without judgment.
“Learning of an unplanned pregnancy can be overwhelming for a woman,” she continued. “At Women’s Care Center she finds hope and concrete help. Seeing her baby for the first time through ultrasound, she falls in love. And it doesn’t end there. Women’s Care is here to help her beyond a choice for life. We help women create strong, self-sufficient families.”
Live Action News article continues here
Voices for Life is an e-publication dedicated to informing and educating the public on pro-life and pro-family issues. To read our Mission Statement, use this link.  Follow us on FacebookGoogle, and Pinterest.  Help us spread the pro-life message by sharing our articles on your favorite social networks.

Pregnant, need help or know someone who does?  

National Hotline: Call 1-800-712-HELP or Text 'HELPLINE' to 313131.
In Southeast Penna:  Call the Community Women's Center at  215-826-8090

If you or someone you know is suffering after abortion, confidential non-judgmental help is available.  Call Project Rachel's national toll-free number 888-456-HOPE (4673) or visit hopeafterabortion.org.  

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Pennsylvania Action Alert! 3 Ways You Can Help Children with Down Syndrome

Disability Rights Start at Diagnosis

Pass House Bill 2050 & Senate Bill 1050

from Michael Geer, President
Pennsylvania Family Council

Three ways to show support for children given a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome right here in Pennsylvania.

By now you've probably seen the winner of the 2018 Gerber Baby contest - 1-year-old Lucas Warren, who has Down syndrome. Lucas is quite the cute kid and this award is absolutely worth celebrating. As his mother Cortney said, "We hope this opportunity sheds light on the special needs community and educates people that with acceptance and support, individuals with special needs have the potential to change the world -- just like our Lucas!"

We also echo comments by John Stonestreet (Breakpoint):

"[C]hildren with Down syndrome aren’t valuable because they’re cute or even because they often bring so much love and happiness to their families, although both of those things are true. Lucas, like every human being, is valuable whether he’s cute or not; both when he brings happiness and when he doesn’t. His value is intrinsic, not a utilitarian calculation that weighs the costs with the benefits."

That's exactly why we are gathering support for a new legislative effort here in Pennsylvania, and there are three ways you can get involved:

1) Legislation: Tell your Legislators to Co-Sponsor House Bill 2050, Senate Bill 1050

New legislation in PA - House Bill 2050 & Senate Bill 1050 - would prohibit the abortion of any child solely due to a diagnosis of possible Down syndrome. Studies show anywhere from 60% - 90% of babies given a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome are aborted. We have families right here in Pennsylvania that had medical professionals pressure them into having an abortion when given this diagnosis. And there are some who continue to hold to a medieval and harmful viewpoint of Down syndrome, like a columnist from Philadelphia who recently labeled babies with Down syndrome a horror.”

We need to tell our elected officials that we must show respect to individuals and children with Down syndrome by protecting them when given this diagnosis.

How you can help: Contact your State Senator and State Representative in support of House Bill 2050 & Senate Bill 1050. Use our Citizen Action Center to email both today by clicking here. 

2) Photo Series - #WhatIBringToMyCommunity

We are seeking entries for a new photo series to help show elected officials and the general public that people with Down syndrome right here in Pennsylvania are valued members of our community and deserve protection and respect by passing this new legislation.

For any individual with Down syndrome or a family member of someone with Down syndrome that is interested in being a part of this series, there are two things we need: 1) a recent photo, and 2) a brief written response answering the question, "What do you bring to your community?"

The deadline to submit a photo is Monday, March 5. Email your photo and brief written response to Dan at dbart@pafamily.org. For more information, visit pafamily.org/photo.

How you can help: Share this opportunity with friends and family.  Share the website: pafamily.org/photo.

3) Rally - Monday, March 12th - Harrisburg State Capitol Rotunda

Kicking off the start of this legislative action is a rally in Harrisburg with the prime sponsors of the bills - State Representatives Mike Turzai and Judy Ward as well as State Senator Scott Martin.

Rally in the Rotunda  
Down Syndrome Is A Life Worth Living
Date: Monday, March 12th
Time: 2:30pm
 Rotunda of the State Capitol Building, Harrisburg

How you can help: Join us at the rally. For more details or to share on Facebook, click here.

“We’re hoping this will impact everyone — that it will shed a little bit of light on the special needs community and help more individuals with special needs be accepted and not limited...They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.” - Jason Warren, dad of 2018 Gerber baby

Thanks for joining me in doing our part to shed a little bit of light here in Pennsylvania in order to protect these children.
The Mission of the Pennsylvania Family Institute is to strengthen families by restoring to public life the traditional, foundational principles and values essential for the well-being of society. We are the only full-time, professionally staffed non-profit organization representing family values—your values—in the state capitol. We encourage responsible citizenship and involvement in civic affairs to promote respect for life, family, marriage and religious liberty.  For more information about this organization, please use this link.  

Abortion Activist Admits in Court She Gave False Testimony Against Pro-Life People She’s Trying to Silence

By Tom Ciesielka
Life News

A star witness in New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s lawsuit against a group of pro-life sidewalk counselors admitted in federal court that her testimony was not true. In reality, Mary Lou Greenberg, who heads up the abortion escort program at Choices Women’s Medical Center in Jamaica, New York, testified on Wednesday, February 21, that her accusations against the life advocates on trial were “borrowed” from another escort, whose words were used to describe actions by different people at an entirely different clinic.
“Greenburg also admitted that when a woman is leaving the clinic in the company of sidewalk counselors, she will insert herself, uninvited, into the conversation, and will follow the entourage continuing her comments,” explained Martin Cannon, Thomas More Society Special Counsel. 
“This is the same behavior the Attorney General is accusing the pro-life witnesses of engaging in, but calling it illegal harassment when done by them to save babies lives. Greenburg claims she is justified because she is providing ‘important information’ she feels the woman ought to have. By contrast, our clients are offering receptive women information that can save the lives of their babies.”
The pro-life sidewalk counselors, ten of whom are members of Church@TheRock (http://www.rockny.org/) in Brooklyn, have been slapped with federal harassment charges by Schneiderman, for offering abortion-bound women information on life-affirming alternatives. The sidewalk counselors are represented by the Thomas More Society, whose legal defense of them is rooted in their Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

Greenberg wrote in a sworn declaration: 
“They say that Choices does not care about them. The protesters say that ambulances come and take women away once or twice a day, that women have to have hysterectomies after an abortion, and that Choices throws away ‘the baby’ in the garbage. All of these are just lies.”
On cross examination by Cannon, Greenberg admitted that she used those exact words in 2010 magazine article, quoting another escort at another clinic. That was two years prior to the weekly pro-life outreach conducted by Church@TheRock members outside of Choices, which commenced in 2012.

Arizona Senate Passes Abortion Bill Requiring Women To Tell Docs Why They’re Aborting

By Grace Carr
The Daily Caller

Arizona lawmakers approved a bill Thursday that will mandate abortion providers and physicians request information from women undergoing abortions about their reasons to abort and provide them with comprehensive information about the risks of abortion.
“What this bill does, it upgrades and updates the way we ask these questions in order to make sure that we’re getting accurate information,” the bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Nancy Barto, said, according to US News.
 “It’s important in order for us to really understand policymaking going forward and how to better serve women in the policies that go to protecting the unborn when they choose abortion,” she added.
The bill — Senate Bill 1394 — lists 11 potential reasons, including questions about the woman’s emotional and physical health, according to the Arizona Central. Reasons include not being able to afford a child, not wanting a child, being raped, a husband having an extramarital affair, abuse and others.

The bill passed 16-12, with only one Republican and one Democrat breaking ranks.
“Better data means better service,” Center for Arizona Policy president, Cathi Herrod said, according to the Arizona Central. She also noted that doctors would be required to keep patients’ names and other identifiable information confidential, charging that the information would be used only to make health services better and would not pose a privacy concern 

Feelings After Abortion: Post-Abortion Syndrome

Life Site News

What can a woman feel after abortion?

Many women say that no one told them what to expect emotionally. In fact, a woman who has just had an abortion is often under enormous pressure - whether from her partner, her family and friends, or the abortion provider - to act as if nothing has happened, or even to express relief or happiness. In some cases, the woman may be trying to keep the abortion a secret, in which case the pressure can become extreme.

In reality, such pressure is unfair to post-abortive women, who have just undergone a significant and sometimes traumatic surgical procedure, often at a time of great upheaval in their lives.

While some women do indeed experience relief after an abortion, others find that they were not prepared emotionally to deal with the aftermath. Some women may find themselves experiencing unexpected grief or depression, with little understanding or support from their partner or loved ones. In those cases where the woman is keeping the abortion a secret, she must deal with these negative emotions completely alone.

Some may even bury the associated negative emotions just in order to carry on with life, only to find that years - sometimes even decades - later, the unresolved negative emotions suddenly re-emerge, requiring healing.

In fact, some psychologists have coined a term to describe common symptoms that they have found in many post-abortive women who have come to them for help. They call it Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS). Common symptoms of PAS include guilt, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide, drug or alcohol abuse, eating disorders, a desire to avoid children or pregnant women, and flashbacks to the abortion itself.

Women considering abortion have a right to know about the possible emotional risks of their choice. On the other hand, women who have already had an abortion have the right to know that non-judgmental support and healing are available.

Some real-life stories

Relief, sadness, or anger can be felt after abortion. Since each experience is unique, so too is the mix of emotions. Sometimes one feeling will dominate, or more than one could be strong.

Following are some real testimonies available online that help show how women can feel after abortion.
  • "Pregnancy, babies, doctors, being a mother, vacuum cleaners and dentist drills became abortion connectors and sent me into emotional anguish."
  • "My abortion is associated with so many emotions. They come at unexpected times, but they always go quickly."
  •  "I was sitting quietly in my bedroom and, suddenly, my entire world went black. It was as if in the space between breaths, my entire existence lost all meaning. ... I began having severe anxiety attacks ... I had no idea at the time that this was due to the rapid drop in hormones experienced as a result of the abortion. No one had told me this could happen."
We have a saying in the world of therapy. “Secrets kill.” Thus is the path of many women after abortion. Don't talk. Don't feel. Keep the secret. 
Trudy M. Johnson, M.A., LMFT

Voices for Life is an e-publication dedicated to informing and educating the public on pro-life and pro-family issues. To read our Mission Statement, use this link.  Follow us on FacebookGoogle, and Pinterest.  Help us spread the pro-life message by sharing our articles on your favorite social networks.

Pregnant, need help or know someone who does?  

National Hotline: Call 1-800-712-HELP or Text 'HELPLINE' to 313131.

In Southeast Penna:  Call the Community Women's Center at  215-826-8090

If you or someone you know is suffering after abortion, confidential non-judgmental help is available.  Call Project Rachel's national toll-free number 888-456-HOPE (4673) or visit hopeafterabortion.org.  

Friday, February 23, 2018

Catholic Bishop Denies Communion to Pro-Abortion Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin: “Until He Repents of His Sin”

By Steven Ertelt
Life News

Pro-life Catholics who wish Catholic Church leaders would step up and deny communion to leading politicians who support abortion are getting good news today.

One Catholic bishop is denying communion to pro-abortion Democrat Dick Durbin, a top Democrat in the Senate who has long supported and promoted abortion. Durbin joined other Democrats to block a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks.

Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois says Durbin is “cooperating in evil” and persisting in “manifest grave sin” because of his abortion advocacy and must therefore “not be admitted to Holy Communion until he repents of his sin.”

In a statement on the Diocese of Springfield website, Bishop Paprocki said, 
“Fourteen Catholic senators voted against the bill that would have prohibited abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization, including Sen. Richard Durbin, whose residence is in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.”
The full statement reads:
I agree completely with His Eminence, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, who called the U.S. Senate’s failure to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act “appalling.”
Fourteen Catholic senators voted against the bill that would have prohibited abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization, including Sen. Richard Durbin, whose residence is in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. 

In April 2004, Sen. Durbin’s pastor, then Msgr. Kevin Vann (now Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, CA), said that he would be reticent to give Sen. Durbin Holy Communion because his pro-abortion position put him outside of communion or unity with the Church’s teachings on life. My predecessor, now Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, said that he would support that decision. I have continued that position.
Canon 915 of the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law states that those “who obstinately persist in mani­fest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” 
Life News article continues here

Judge Lets Abortion Clinics Throw Aborted Babies in the Trash or Sewer

By Joe Kral
Life News

On January 29, 2018, Federal District Court Judge David Ezra issued a preliminary injunction[i] against the State of Texas from enacting their newly minted fetal disposition law. The law, like several around the country, would mandate that those children killed in an abortion would have to be humanely cremated or buried. However, Judge Ezra believed this law to be unconstitutional on several grounds. His decision is quite problematic from a moral perspective.

Judge Ezra’s decision relies upon the application of the “undue burden” legal standard created by the United States Supreme Court, which determines the constitutionality of pro-life legislation, and is a standard that has no moral basis. The “undue burden” standard rests on the idea that “[A] statute which, while furthering a valid state interest, has the effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman’s choice cannot be considered a permissible means of serving its legitimate ends.[ii]” 

The Court continues that an enacted law that has “the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion imposes an undue burden on that right.[iii]” And what is the underpinning of this principle? The Court waxes philosophical by stating that “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.[iv]”

There are two problems with this standard: 1) it is contrary to the virtue of justice, and 2) its adherence to philosophical relativism. First, justice has a strong tradition of being defined as “that which is due to another.[v]” Even if the Court tries to make the argument that the so-called abortion “right” is due to women, it falls radically short in proving this point in any of its cases. For example, the Court readily admits in Roe v. Wade that it cannot define when human personhood begins, but then permits abortion. 

This sort of logic is akin to someone who is hunting in the woods and hears a rustle, but he is not sure if it is a deer or a human being but shoots anyway. It is reckless and common sense would tell a person not to commit that sort of action. In ethics, this is called the principle of the safer course.

The court creates a potential problem if it says that they cannot say if the unborn child is a person, but they allow for abortion anyway since they could be sanctioning legalized murder (which, of course, they did). Furthermore, it is clear that the child is indeed a person. 

As hard as some philosophers may try to argue that the unborn child is not a person, they cannot get away from the fact that the child is an individual member of the homo sapiens species. This reality squares with Boethius’ famous definition of personhood, “an individual substance of a rational nature.[vi]” There is no magical moment when a child becomes a person, rather the child, by his/her nature, is a rational substance at the moment of conception.

Blind Mom “Sees” Her Unborn Baby

By Dave Andrusko
National Right to Life

Okay, pretend you didn’t read the headline. It’s more fun that way.

Tatiana Guerra, 30, is from Brazil, and was 20 weeks pregnant when this video was taken. When she was 17, she’d lost her sight.

Courtesy of Huggies Brazil and the digital design firm, The Goodfellas, what you see on YouTube is the unfolding of a minor miracle– at least to we who are sighted and especially to those of us who grapple with understanding 3D printing.

The YouTube is less than 4 minutes long. We are immediately introduced to Tatiana and “Dr. David.” He seems to have a gentle touch and a reassuring voice, the perfect bedside manner.

After the opening “hellos,” the video cuts to Tatiana at home. She caresses her swollen abdomen and talks quietly and persistently to Murilo.

Clearly, Tatiana is passionately in love with her unborn son. “Mommy can’t wait to feel your little body, your little face, your little hands ….So come,” she says. “Mommy is counting the days. …You don’t need to be afraid.”

The video cuts back to Dr. David as he is performing the ultrasound. They chat back and forth.

“What does his face look like?”

“His nose looks like yours,” Dr. David says. “His two little eyes are closed.”

Tatiana smiles and giggles when she is told her son has a “small mouth” and a “chubby hand.”

All the while a 3D printer is transforming ultrasound images of Murilo’s face into something solid.

“And if…if you could touch him, would that let you know what he’s like?”
“Yes,” she responds.

At that juncture Dr. David hands Tatiana the 3-D sculpture of her unborn son’s face wrapped in a white cloth.

“That is your son.”

“What do you mean!?”

“That’s an image of your son. See if he feels the way you think he does.”

And then, the tear-jerking moment. She read a message, written in Braille…

“I am your son.”

Voices for Life is an e-publication dedicated to informing and educating the public on pro-life and pro-family issues. To read our Mission Statement, use this link.  Follow us on FacebookGoogle, and Pinterest.  Help us spread the pro-life message by sharing our articles on your favorite social networks.

Pregnant, need help or know someone who does? 

National Hotline: Call 1-800-712-HELP or Text 'HELPLINE' to 313131.

In Southeast Penna:  Call the Community Women's Center at  215-826-8090

If you or someone you know is suffering after abortion, confidential non-judgmental help is available.  Call Project Rachel's national toll-free number 888-456-HOPE (4673) or visit hopeafterabortion.org.