Breaking: IL Pregnancy Centers Now Protected from Radical Abortion Law

woman-with-counselorOn Wednesday, a Federal Judge granted a temporary injunction covering ALL Illinois pro-life pregnancy centers and pro-life medical professionals from having to comply with SB1564 – the radical abortion law that went into effect Jan 1.  This law says PRCs and pro-life medical professionals must tell patients the “benefits” of abortion and assist them in finding an abortion clinic.

Attorney Noel W. Sterett, with Mauck & Baker, who represents The Life Center, Inc. and is co-counseling on the case with the Alliance Defending Freedom,  told us:

“This injunction is a big win for all pregnancy resource centers and pro-life health care personnel in Illinois. With the federal court’s preliminary injunction in place until the end of the case, all Illinois pregnancy resource centers and pro-life doctors and nurses in Illinois can continue serving women without fear of the state’s enforcement of this unconstitutional law.”  

This protection from the law will last until the lawsuit in the Federal Court has been fully litigated and the Court makes a final determination with regards to the constitutionality of the law.

“This is a huge victory for the Illinois pro-life movement and a step in the right director towards sending this law to the dumpster,” said Emily Troscinski executive director of Illinois Right to Life. The federal judge in his order stated what we already knew – this law is clearly targets the First Amendment Rights of pro-life people. We will never comply with this law.”

For months now, nearly all Illinois pregnancy help centers have stopped operating because of this radical abortion law.

Today, these pregnancy centers can re-open their doors and get back to their life-saving work. 

The devastating consequence of this law in the first seven months of the year is still unknown. Pregnancy help centers like Aid for Women, who received an earlier protection from the law, saw dramatic increases in the number of women seeking help because of the closure of other PRCs.

Hopefully, this new relief will allow all PRCs and doctors to operate with the peace of mind that they do not have to assist in the dismembering of a person but can continue their life-saving work of empowering women and saving babies from abortion.

You can read the Mauck & Baker press release and Federal Court order here.

We’re Hiring!

Job Title: Executive Director

Reports to: President of the Board

Start Date: Flexible / Summer 2017

Application: Applications are accepted until a candidate has been chosen

now-hiringOver the last 50 years, Illinois Right to Life has been at the forefront of the pro-life movement in Illinois. We use a grassroots approach to build a culture that loves and protects all people from conception through natural death. As the first pro-life organization in the state back in 1968, we focus on educating Illinoisans on the harms of abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and other things that destroy and devalue human life.

We helped found and shape the Illinois pro-life movement from the beginning and we are leading the future of the movement that will end abortion in Illinois. We work alongside some of the top Catholic schools with our educational programs and also work regularly with Congressmen, legislators and other political and community leaders on important pro-life issues affecting our state. We provide detailed and credible research as well as comprehensive resources for the public as well as operate our Project Love program that provides grants to women in crisis and/or unplanned pregnancy situations. Illinois Right to Life is a tax-deductible 501c3 charitable organization.

Also closely operated with IRL is Illinois Right to Life Action, a 501c4 non-tax deductible social welfare and lobbying organization. This organization houses the only full-time pro-life lobbyist in Springfield and provides invaluable resources and support to legislators to make position pro-life advances.

Join IRL’s team and help us shape the future of the movement through our educational work and grassroots outreach. Our goal is to turn Illinois pro-life.

 

Position Overview: The executive director will be responsible for managing and leading the day to day operations and development of Illinois Right to Life as well as assisting in leading certain projects of Illinois Right to Life Action. The executive director manages a staff of six employees and additional contractors that run the organization. S/he will work with the board of directors to continue growing the organization’s programs and influence, building out the organization’s structure and strategic plan.

Responsibilities:

Program Operations

  • Responsible for overseeing and implementing the programs of IRL and furthering our mission.
  • Regularly tests the effectiveness of educational programs and continuously works to expand educational programs.
  • Reports six times a year to the board of directors: reports on program, fundraising, and budgeting for board review, comment, and give direction.
  • Works with our bookkeeper and accountant to oversee the financial details of the company.
  • Manages hiring processes.
  • Oversees all aspects of the day-to-day operations of the organization.
  • Manages all 6 employees and manages all contractors.

Communications & Networking

  • Manages the branding of IRL
  • Writes and implements communication plans for IRL including regular e-wires to IRL’s thousands of members.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with academics, political leaders, church leaders, community leaders, and government leaders.
  • Is the spokes person for IRL regularly conducting media interviews and building relationships with reporters.
  • Prepares and delivers speeches at schools, churches and other educational and pro-life events.
  • Carefully leads the extensive research conducted by IRL for use in education.
  • Ability to review and understand high-level government policies and legislation to articulate it to member base.

Development

  • Executes IRL’s current fundraising platform of approximately a half of a million dollars.
  • Works with the board of directors to continue growing fundraising program.
  • Regular communication with donors with the focus on building personal relationships with the donors.
  • Executes regular sit down in person meetings with organization’s top donors.
  • Will oversee direct mail program.

Qualifications:

  • A Bachelor’s degree is required.
  • Prior experience in the pro-life movement is highly desirable.
  • Demonstrated interest in the pro-life / pro-family movement.
  • Previous high-level business experience in a non-profit.
  • Previous experience in managing employees.
  • Enjoys juggling multiple projects at one time.
  • Excellent writing skills and communication skills.
  • Previous experience with conducting media interviews, and writing messaging on complex high level issues.
  • Attention to detail and ability to conduct and review high-level research.
  • Candidate must be a self-starter and have a high-energy personality.
  • Ability to work cohesively as part of a team in a small office setting.
  • An innovative and creative mind that enjoys bringing fresh perspectives and ideas to programs and events.

Additional information: Some state-wide travel required. This is a full-time salaried position. Current executive director is transitioning into a different role within the company to provide more flexibility to care for her newborn.

The executive director will operate out of our Chicago office in the loop.

To apply:

To apply, please submit 1) a cover letter, 2) resume, and 3) writing sample of any topic (minimum 2 pages). In your cover letter please include a personal statement of support for the pro-life movement and why you believe Illinois Right to Life’s work mission is so important to Illinois. Applicants who do not include all three of these details will not be considered.

Including links to media interviews or published research, articles or op-eds is encouraged.

Please email applications to:

Emily Troscinski, executive director at Emily@IllinoisRightToLife.org. Please include in the subject line “Executive Director Position.”

Application period will remain open until the right candidate has been hired. Interviews may start right away. Please check back to the job posting on our website for additional updates on the application process.

No office visits. We will contact each individual via email that we wish to interview further.

Here’s a Sneak Peek at our New Groundbreaking Program

Our office received a heartbreaking phone call from a woman who had just had an abortion in Illinois and was now distraught.
We spent hours on the phone listening and showing her love.
That’s when she told us the following:
“Because I’m so actively pro-choice it was very hard for me to call a pro-life organization for help. But Planned Parenthood had no compassion for my suffering.
I have never met a pro-life person who was so kind and cared so much about me. Thank you so much.”
 
In everything we do, we bring the truth with love. And that’s exactly why our new Heart2Heart Educational Program is so successful. We recognize that love and facts are necessary to convert the hearts of pro-choice students.
We have 10 amazing new educational videos coming THIS SUMMER to schools in Illinois.
We wanted to share a sneak peek with you…
We’ve tested our educational program in schools in Illinois.
 
After participating, 94% of pro-life and pro-choice students said they felt more pro-life!
Here’s what some of the students had to say:
“Very inspirational”  … “Changed my views” …
“I wish I had heard earlier”
“Made me realize how real abortion is and to never do it”
“shows me that abortion is not pro-woman”
“this was all so meaningful and changing my perspective on things.”
“Outstanding” … “Awesome, had biggest impact on me to be pro-life”
 
We could go on!
We’re counting the days until we can release these videos for all to use in assisting in their pro-life education and converting hearts and minds.
Stay tuned…

SB 1564: The Continuing Story

Almost one year ago, SB 1564 was signed into law. Since then, it has caused a firestorm of outrage among the pro-life medical community and pregnancy help centers in Illinois. Why? Doctors, pharmacists, and pregnancy resource centers in Illinois, regardless of their mission or pro-life principles, are forced to talk about the so-called “benefits” of abortion and assist women in obtaining abortions by helping them find an abortion clinic. At this time, only two pregnancy resource centers and one medical professional have been granted temporary injunctive relief from the law.

In an interview for The World View, Emily Troscinski, executive director of Illinois Right to Life, summarized the continuing fallout after the bill’s passage.

“Some pregnancy centers are suing,” she said, “and they have been given temporary relief from the law until that judge can make a determination. There are other pregnancy centers which have not been given temporary relief from the law, and they are actually not seeing patients right now. They are not counseling women. They are sending them to other pregnancy centers.”

This radical, pro-abortion legislation passed both the House and the Senate by May of 2016, and was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner the following July. On January 1st of this year, it took effect. Here’s a timeline of the legal action that has taken place since the bill was signed:

August 5, 2016

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed suit in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Court in Winnebago County, on behalf of the Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford (Rockford), Dr. Anthony Caruso of A Bella Baby OBGYN (Downers Grove), and Aid for Women (Chicago). Mauck & Baker Attorneys at Law are also co-counsel in the case. You can view the lawsuit here.

September 29, 2016

ADF filed suit in federal court on behalf of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) (Fredericksburg, VA), Informed Choices (Grayslake and Crystal Lake), TLC Pregnancy Services (Elgin), Mosaic Pregnancy & Health Centers (Belleville), and Dr. Tina Gingrich of the Maryville Women’s Center (Maryville). Mauck & Baker LLC are co-counsel in the case. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. You can view the lawsuit here.

Oct. 27, 2016

ADF filed a motion for preliminary injunction in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Court in Winnebago County on behalf of the Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford, Dr. Anthony Caruso of A Bella Baby OBGYN, and Aid for Women. Mauck & Baker LLC are co-counsel in the case. You can view the complaint here.

December 20, 2016

The Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford, Dr. Anthony Caruso, and Aid for Women were granted a preliminary injunction (temporary relief) against the law, until the pending ruling is made. You can view the order here.

February 2, 2017

The Thomas More Society filed for injunctive relief on behalf of the Women’s Centers of Greater Chicagoland (Chicago) and Hope Life Center (Sterling) in the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court in Sangamon County. You can see the complaint here.

February 9, 2017

The Thomas More Society filed for injunctive relief on behalf of eighteen pregnancy resource centers in the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court in Sangamon County. The pregnancy resource centers who filed suit are:

Abigail Women’s Clinic (Mendota), Choices Pregnancy and Health (Charleston), Corbella clinic (South Elgin), Family Life Center (Effingham), First Step Women’s Center (Springfield), Freeport Pregnancy Center (Freeport), Hope Life Center, Inc. (Sterling), Lighthouse Pregnancy Center (Vandalia), New Life Pregnancy Center (Decatur), Options Now (Godfrey), Pregnancy Information Center (Aurora), Pregnancy Resources (Moline), Pregnancy Resource Center (Rushville), Southside Pregnancy Center, Inc. (Oak Lawn), Spoon River Pregnancy Resource Center (Canton), The Women’s Centers of Greater Chicagoland (Chicago), Waterleaf Women’s Center (Aurora and Bolingbrook), We Care Pregnancy Center (DeKalb).

You can view the complaint here.

March 16, 2017

The Thomas More Society filed suit in federal court on behalf of 1st Way Life Center (Johnsburg), Pregnancy Aid South Suburbs (PASS) (Chicago), and Dr. Ronald Schroeder (Jerseyville), in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. You can view the lawsuit here.

March 31, 2017

A state court hearing in the lawsuit filed by ADF on behalf of the Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford, Dr. Anthony Caruso, and Aid for Women, was held in the Seventh Judicial Circuit in Winnebago County.

The pro-life community has made clear that it is not going to back down. Stay tuned to our page for more information and updates on this continuing story.

Does abortion really empower women?

If abortion is empowering to women, then it shouldn’t hurt them.

Let’s see what science and women themselves have to say…

 

What does science tell us?

 

The most comprehensive and largest study of the mental health risks associated with abortion,was published on September 1, 2011, in the prestigious British Journal of Psychiatry. The study was a meta-analysis that examined 22 other studies that had been published between 1995 and 2009.[1] The study involved 877,181 women – 163,831 of whom had abortions.

Here’s what the study found:

Women who have had an abortion have an 81% higher risk of subsequent mental health problems compared to women who have not had an abortion.

Women who aborted have a 138% higher risk of mental health problems compared to women who have given birth.

Women who aborted have a 55% higher risk of mental health problems compared to women with an “unplanned” pregnancy who gave birth.

Women with a history of abortion have higher rates of anxiety (34% higher), depression (37%), alcohol use/misuse (110%), marijuana use (230%), and suicidal behavior (155%) compared to those who have not had abortions.

[Dr. Coleman’s meta-analysis excluded studies that were potentially biased or weak. The meta analysis only included studies that were published in peer reviewed journals, had at least 100 women participating, controlled for prior history of mental health or abuse (that could have skewed the results), and compared women to those who had not had abortions with those who had abortions.]Further studies from all around the world confirm health risks for women who have abortions:

 

In Canada, a study reported that 25% of women who had had abortions visited a psychiatrist over a 5 year period, compared to 3% of women how had not had abortions.

A comprehensive and detailed study in Finland examined female medical history over their lifetime and uncovered that women who had abortions had a rate of suicide in the year following their abortions three times greater than all women of reproductive again – and six times greater than women who gave birth. The researchers gave two possible conclusions: either abortion poses a risk to mental health or there are common risk factors for both abortion and suicide.

As we examine these percentages, it is vital that we recall that for over 40 years, 1 – 1.6 million women have abortions in the United States every year. Taking the Canadian study for example, 25% of 1.3 million women who had abortions in one year… is 325,000 women suffering.

 

What do the post-abortive women we’ve counseled for 48 years tell us?

 

For 48 years, Illinois Right to Life has offered counseling and support for women who have had abortions. Our experiences counseling women reflect those found in the studies above.

One woman who was pregnant as the result of rape told us, “I know this sounds terrible. I’d rather be raped again than to ever have to go through with another abortion.” She knew we could understand the horror associated with rape and wanted us to understand that abortion violated her even more than that.

Other women share with us that they use drugs, alcohol, and suicidal attempts to cover up the pain of abortion. They stayed in abusive relationships following the abortion because they wrongly thought they deserved it. One woman shared she cannot use the hand dryers in the women’s bathroom because the sound of the hand dryer is the same sound the machine made as it vacuumed out her child. Other women say it’s the song she heard in the waiting room or the smell of the abortion doctor’s perfume that triggers the nightmares.

Women share with us that they struggle to bond with children after the abortion or they struggle with fertility. We’ve dried the tears of women who pour out their hearts to us telling us about the pain of their abortion over the phone, after talks we give, in our communities, and at social events.

The pain and agony we have witnessed first hand along with the firm scientific studies, have brought us to the point where we would never recommend abortion as healthy or good for any woman.

 

What do women tell the largest post-abortive healing ministry in the nation?

 

The Catholic Church runs the nation’s largest post-abortion healing program called Project RachelThe ministry is for Catholics, non-Catholic Christians, and those of no faith at all. Project Rachel connects those hurting from abortion with professional help that the individual requests such as: psychologist specially trained in abortion healing, drug and alcohol addiction counselors, support groups with other women and/or priests.  Here’s the Catholic Church’s statement on the pain of abortion:

“The staff, priests, and counselors in Project Rachel, the Church’s post-abortion ministry are well aware of the mental health problems women experience following an abortion. The national Project Rachel ministry website, which lists offices to call for confidential help, receives countless letters from women and men expressing profound anguish, sometimes for decades after an abortion. Thousands of tragic personal stories are posted in chat rooms and on message boards like those at www.afterabortiortion.com

The Archdiocese of Chicago has shared that they receive an average of five calls per day from women and men seeking healing from the pain of abortion.

You can hear for yourself what women are saying regarding their abortions here and here.

We cannot and will not state that all women who have abortions will feel the hurt and pain as laid out above. That would be scientifically incorrect and unfair to project how someone will feel. We can conclude with the support of significant rigorous scientific evidence and decades of experience that abortion causes profound pain to an extremely large number of women. The science shows women who choose life instead of abortion have dramatically reduced health risks associated with breast cancer, mental health, and more.

We do not advance women’s rights by hurting women. We do not advance feminism by telling women something that can cause profound pain and be detrimental to their health is “empowering” or “good.” That’s not women’s rights. That’s torture.

Three Parent Embryos: Creating Flawless Humans at the Expense of Others

“Everything we do is a step toward designer babies…very much like an iPhone that’s designed in California and assembled in China.”

These are the exact words of Dr. John Zhang, a New York-based fertility doctor who is launching a company to commercialize the production of human beings through the very controversial, life-destroying, Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques.

According to the Center for Genetics and Society, Dr. Zhang had deliberately evaded US regulations and went to Mexico to produce a baby using this technique last year. Now he plans to launch his new market there for the purpose of using the technique as an infertility treatment.

And it seems he would eventually like to see things go even further.

Imagine a world where people are eliminated because they’re not perfect, or because their lives are judged to be worthless. Imagine scientists striving to create flawless human beings by destroying others.

Sounds like a nightmare.

Sadly, it is this same nightmare that became a reality just 60 years ago, in Nazi Germany. In the attempt to create a perfect, “master” race, millions of innocent people were exterminated. As a nation, we entered a world war to put a stop to this, and we hoped to never see it again.

Today, we need to ask ourselves if our convictions, and the character of our nation, have changed.

Recently making headlines, a new research endeavor has drawn national attention. It is called Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques (MRT), or “three-parent embryos”.

Just last year, this project was approved in the UK, and at the request of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an elite committee of bioethicists and scientists met in early February, 2016, to discuss the acceptability of this practice in the United States. The committee ended up recommending MRT to the FDA, concluding that it was ethically permissible, and scientists should “go forward, but with caution.”

According to the FDA committee’s report, MRT is “designed to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) diseases from mother to child.” As the committee puts it, it is meant to “satisfy the desire of women seeking to have a genetically related child with a significantly reduced risk of passing on mtDNA disease.”

Sounds good, right?

Unfortunately, there is more to MRT than meets the eye, and the reality is frightening.

To understand the nightmare unfolding, let’s start from the top.

What is Mitochondrial or MTDNA Disease?

According to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, the origins of mtDNA disease start in the mitochondria of the cell. The mitochondria is the powerhouse structure in nearly every cell of a human body. It provides 90 percent of the energy which the cell needs to operate.

Mitochondrial or mtDNA disease occurs when the mitochondria of cells are unable to properly convert food and oxygen into energy. This causes a mutation in development due to the lack of resources for the body to properly grow. Side effects of the disease can include anything from migraines and fatigue, to strokes, seizures, and liver disease.

The mitochondria also carries its own set of DNA called mtDNA. It just so happens that we inherit our mtDNA solely from our mothers.

How does MRT work?

There are two mitochondrial replacement techniques.

The first technique is Maternal Spindle Transfer, or MST. The Center for Genetics and Society explains that a scientist harvests an egg from the intended mother with mitochondria disease and removes its mutated mitochondria. Then, he harvests another egg from a different woman (a donor without the disease), extracts its healthy mitochondria, and injects it into the egg of the intended mother. Now, the scientists fertilizes the egg with sperm from the intended father (or a donor male) and implants the genetically modified child into the mother’s womb.

maternal-spindle-transfer

Maternal Spindle Transfer (MST)

The second technique is Pronuclear Transfer, or PNT. In this procedure, the scientist follows the same process, but harvests and manipulates living human zygotes instead. Through in vitro fertilization, or IVF, the scientist creates a zygote in a petri dish by fertilizing an egg from the intended mother, who has mitochondrial disease, with sperm from the intended father. Then, the scientist creates a second zygote, using an egg from the healthy woman and the father’s (or donor’s) sperm.

pronuclear-transfer

Pronuclear Transfer (PNT)

When these zygotes (tiny humans) are just one day old, the scientist takes the first with the disease and harvests its pronuclei (or nucleus). He discards the rest of it, since it contains most of the mutated mtDNA, and kills the zygote. Next, he removes the pronuclei from the second zygote, throws it away, and inserts the pronuclei from the first zygote inside it. This new, hybrid zygote, constructed under a microscope, is then implanted in the mother.

In both techniques, the reproductive gametes of three parents are manipulated, and a genetically modified human is created. In the second technique, a living human zygote is also killed.

 

What are the problems with MRT?

Inheritable Genetic Modification

Since MRT genetically modifies the germ cell of the egg or the whole zygote, mitochondrial replacement is considered germline genetic engineering, according to the Center for Genetics and Society. This implies that any or all of the genetic modifications made, including errors, can be inherited by future generations of the children created. The Center states,

“3-person IVF would result in inheritable genetic modification. Altering the human germline is considered to be the most objectionable of genetic technologies and has constituted a bright line not to be crossed.”

With MRT, mistakes cannot be erased.

Furthermore, as the FDA’s committee explains, mitochondrial disease is only inherited from the mother. Therefore, both girls and boys will inherit the genetic modifications, but only girls who are produced by means of MRT will pass them on. Thus, the committee recommends that only the male embryos created from the procedure are transferred to the woman for gestation and allowed to grow.

So what happens to the girls?

The committee makes no comment, although the typical procedure as in IVF is to freeze them, donate them for research, or discard them. In each case, the girls will perish.

 

Dangers to Women

Women who donate their eggs for the purpose of MRT and other treatments involving IVF techniques are susceptible to many dangerous side-effects. According to the Council for Responsible Genetics, the drugs used in multiple egg extraction are known to trigger numerous health problems, ranging from rashes and dizziness to muscular, bone, and abdominal pain, thyroid enlargement, and liver malfunction.

Furthermore, the drugs used to stimulate egg production have also been known to cause Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). According to researchers at Mayo Clinic, the fertility drugs injected into a woman’s ovaries can cause them to swell and become very painful. The Council cites that OHSS leads to an increased risk for clotting disorders, kidney damage, and ovarian twisting, along with life-threatening pulmonary conditions.

Such IVF procedures also carry with them an increased risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. A studyperformed by researchers in the Netherlands on 25,152 women found that women who undergo ovarian stimulation double their risk for ovarian cancer as well.

In addition to the health risks, the Center for Genetics and Society explains how poor women are lured into becoming egg donors with money and then exploited. It states,

“Nuclear genome transfer research in the U.S. and U.K. has already required hundreds of eggs from women. Economically disadvantaged women are often specifically targeted as potential egg donors, while the risk to their bodies is routinely downplayed and follow-up care tends to be minimal. Many are concerned that the great need for eggs in order to carry out these techniques will lead to increased exploitation of egg donors.”

 

Dangers to Children

Because MRT are so new, scientists don’t know what side-effects they will have on the children created.  According to the FDA’s committee, this would be the “first-in-human application of MRT,” and it carries with it great “risks and uncertainties.”

The committee states,

“[The] FDA should require that sponsors design, fund, and commit to long-term monitoring of children born as a result of MRT, with a plan for periodic review of the long-term follow-up data.”

Essentially, all children produced from MRT will be tested and analyzed, like human guinea pigs, for the rest of their lives. Consider for a moment if your parents pledged you as a human test subject for the rest of your life? MRT proposes just this.

Moreover, Paul Knoepfler, MD, stem cell researcher at the University Of California Davis School Of Medicine, wrote to the UK parliament when MRT was under debate and stated,

“The bottom line is that there is an equal or arguably greater chance that it will tragically produce very ill or deceased babies.”

An evaluation of the first technique, Maternal Spindle Transfer, or MST, found there to be a higher risk for abnormal fertilization, causing excess DNA to be transferred, resulting in chromosomal abnormalities.

Furthermore, the second method of MRT, Pronuclear Transfer (PNT), closely resembles cloning. We know from the cloning of animals that there is a high failure rate and a success rate of only 0.1% to 3%. The surviving offspring have been known to experience problems during later development, present abnormal gene expression patterns, and have shortened life spans.

Dr. Maureen L. Condic, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University Of Utah School Of Medicine, who has documented health risks to babies produced through assistive reproductive technologies (ART), also states,

“A growing body of data indicates that children produced in the laboratory are at significantly greater risk for a wide range of medical issues, including neurological disorders, cancer, congenital abnormalities, and imprinting disorders.”

Besides the physical side-effects, the psychological well-being of a child produced with MRT is a serious concern. Not only must the child endure constant monitoring and examination for the rest of his or her life, but he or she also has three distinct parents. The Center for Genetics and Society agrees that the unnatural family structure, along with the possibility that the child may never know all parents, and struggle to understand his or her family/genetic identity, could be psychologically devastating.

 

Lack of Prior Testing and Studies

According to an article in the Biopolitical Times, a publication of the Center for Genetics and Society, Pronuclear Transfer (PNT) was studied in the 1990s, but only on mice. In the UK, testing was supposed to be done on primates, but it never was. When a team of scientists in Oregon finally tested PNT on macaque monkeys, they found that the procedure was unsuccessful since the embryos produced failed early.

Studying PNT was abandoned, and scientists began to test Maternal Spindle Transfer (MST) on monkeys. The monkeys produced are very young and no tests have been done on further generations.

The fact is, we know very little about MRT’s effect on primates, and nothing at all on how it will effect human beings. Nevertheless, scientists want to proceed with testing on humans.

Dr. Knoepfler told the UK Parliament,

“A scientific reality often passed over in this discussion is that while mitochondria have been studied for decades, the field of studying the mitochondrial genome is in its infancy and is far too new to support a major human intervention that involves the mitochondrial genome. The interactions between the mitochondrial genome and the nuclear genome are also only poorly understood today. It would be rash and premature to proceed with human mitochondrial transfer now given how primitive our knowledge is in this area at this time.”

 

Lack of Numbers and Necessity

According to research findings published in the world’s most highly cited interdisciplinary science journal, Nature, it is estimated that only one in 5,000 to 10,000 people actually have mitochondrial disease. Furthermore, according to a study published in the Annals of Medicine, only about 15% of these cases are said to be caused by mitochondrial DNA. Of this small sample, only women with very severe mutation levels would qualify as candidates for MRT. According to officials in the HFEA and the Department of Health, only about 10 women per year would be eligible.

As stated by the Center for Genetics and Society, MRT will not save lives. It is not a treatment for people currently affected by the disease, but rather an attempt to create another, genetically modified human being, without the risk for the disease.

Still, even if the two replacement techniques were successful, there is no guarantee that the child produced will be free of mtDNA disease. This is because the disease is most often caused by anomalies in the nuclear DNA of the cell – not the mitochondrial DNA. Spontaneous mutations and age can also lead to the disease. The HFEA, states in their report,

“The panel recommends that any female born following MST or PNT should be advised, when old enough, that she may herself be at risk of having a child with a significant level of mutant mtDNA, putting this child or (if a female) subsequent generations at risk of mitochondrial disease. Thus, we recommend that any female born following MST or PST is advised that, should she wish to have children of her own, that her oocytes or early embryos are analyzed by PGD in order to select for embryos free of abnormal mtDNA.”

The HFEA acknowledges that even though a child is produced from MST or PNT, he or she could still have the disease. MRT does not completely eliminate mitochondrial disease in humans.

 

Enormous Loss of Life

In using Pronuclear Transfer (PNT), the scientist dismembers and obliterates a fully formed human zygote. It is harvested for its pronuclei and used to modify the second zygote. When it comes down to it, scientists are perfecting one human being by destroying another. (Let the record reflect that scientists are not perfecting but causing different disease).

Furthermore, MRT entails the destruction of more than one human being. According to the HFEA’sscientific review on MRT, it is protocol in the UK to create multiple embryos from the procedure in order that scientists can genetically test each of them and implant the healthiest in the mother’s womb. What happens to these excess human embryos who are deemed to be unacceptable for life? Death is inevitable.

 

The Evolution of Designer Babies

With MRT, scientists manipulate the genetic make-up of a child to influence how he or she develops. MRT does not only affect the potential of a child to have mitochondrial disease. Along with cognition, aging, cancer, risk for diabetes, and deafness, it also has an impact on the child’s external characteristics.

Stuart Newman, New York Medical College Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy, explains that because mitochondria have a direct impact on the development of the large, essential parts of the human body, even a slight genetic modification would lead to phenotypic variation, or alteration of the external attributes of a person.

MRT is not a medicine, but a fascination with testing the powers of humans to create more perfect beings.  It creates designer babies, placing the desires and powers of parents over the child’s health and wellbeing.

If the procedure itself already has the potential to affect the personal characteristics of children, it’s likely that the introduction of this procedure will lead to efforts to further modify the trivial characteristics of the human child as well.

The use of MRT is headed in a different direction, and we already have proof. In the UK, scientists are pushing for MRT to be used as a potential option for women with fertility problems. MRT/genetic link procedures are also being paraded as a future means for same-sex couples to manufacture biologically and genetically related babies.

Opening the door to the scientific engineering of children will lead to further experimentation with the lives of children and their families.

 

Adoption Crisis

If MRT becomes a reality in the U.S., one potentially significant consequence in particular would be a reduction in the number of babies adopted. Adoption is always a great option for couples who don’t want to pass on disease. However, with the introduction of MRT and other scientific experiments that defy nature, more couples may opt for the artificial procedure instead.

 

What can we conclude?

MRT involves the invasive manipulation of the human reproductive system, the harvesting of parts from developing children, and the destruction of more than one innocent life to create a hybrid human being.

Furthermore, the consequences and potential side-effects of “three-parent embryos” is devastating and dangerous for the women involved and the children produced. Introducing this as an available option to couples could also trigger a drastic change in child/family life of our society, and lead to further harmful experimentation and scientific manipulation in an effort to create designer children.

As scientists become more talented with test tubes, a fine line has been drawn between practices that improve quality of life and those that tamper with its dignity. MRT takes an unwarranted and dangerous leap across this crucial line.

Healthcare Directives & End-of-Life Decisions: What You NEED to Know

It can happen in an instant.

A car accident. Cancer. An unexpected situation can suddenly flip your life upside down.

Or perhaps your health has been in decline for many years.

Maybe you are nearing the end of life.

Whatever it may be, critical medical decisions will need to be made on your behalf should you become unable to do so. The right measures should be in place to protect you and your loved ones from undesired, premature death – that does not reflect the dignity of human life.

How can you make sure of this?

A healthcare directive is a legal, end-of-life document completed by competent adults that direct your healthcare professionals and your agent on making medical decisions should you become incapacitated. It can ensure that your end-of-life wishes are respected, and that all medical decisions at the end of your life are carried out in a way that values and protects your life.

So at what age should you fill out your healthcare directive?

This might surprise you, but you should fill it out once you have reached the age of 18.

After 18, an individual is no longer a minor, and parental involvement in medical decisions in the case of a tragic accident can be prevented due to the privacy provisions required for medical care.

When discussing end of life wishes before the threat of death or illness is upon your family, it helps to have a straightforward and clear discussion.  Young adults often feel “invincible” and don’t want to consider end of life issues. Trust us, the end of life discussion never becomes easier, so the sooner it’s taken care of the better off you’ll be and you could save your family a lot of heartache.

Good times to reassess your end of life documents and make adjustments are when you get married, have your first child, have a surgical procedure done, and when you become a senior citizen. Do not wait until it is too late. This can place strain on family members and possibly lead to long-lasting family feuds.

So where do you start?

There are three types of healthcare directives:

  1. Living Will (Directive to Physicians)
  2. POLST form (or DNR)
  3. Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care (DPAHC)

 

PLEASE NOTE:

Both the Living Will and the POLST form give medical directions without having knowledge of the circumstances or medical facts of a situation you may face in the future. We strongly discourage filling out the Living Will or the POLST form.

What is the Living Will?

The Living Will is the healthcare directive provided by the state of Illinois. After careful review, we have determined that all of the state of Illinois forms are not written to protect your life. The State’s documents lack clarity and precision in interpreting and enumerating end of life wishes allowing hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices to err on the side of death. The state’s forms can cause great confusion during end of life circumstances and encourage stress to be placed upon your family.

What is the POLST form?

The POLST form has recently replaced the Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order.  Though there may be circumstances as a person nears death when a DNR is needed, extreme caution should be taken before completing the POLST form to serve as a DNR order. If you are young and healthy, we absolutely discourage the signing of a DNR.  Every action should be taken to save your life and a DNR tells a doctor not to save your life. The POLST form is an “actionable medical order” that is to be carried out over any objections by family or friends. You should never be pressured or required to sign a POLST form.

What is the Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care (DPAHC)?

A DPAHC gives your healthcare agent (the person you designate to make medical decisions in an emergency situation) access to medical facts and options regarding your current medical state, should you be incapacitated. From there, your agent can make an informed decision on the best medical option for you. We believe this is the best option.

So how should you go about completing your DPAHC?

  1. Carefully determine who will serve as your healthcare agent for your Durable Power of Attorney. This person will make your medical decisions should you be unable to do so. Selecting the wrong agent is just as dangerous as completing the wrong advanced directive. Have several conversations with your agent before making your decision.
  2. Complete a healthcare directive. In order to protect yourself or your loved ones, we recommend using National Right to Life’s “Will to Live” form and accompanying suggestions. This document helps you specify your end of life wishes in a life-affirming manner. If you need help filling out this form, please call us at (312)-422-9300 or email us at Info@IllinoisRightToLife.org.
  3. Complete organ donation documents, opting yourself out of donating vital organs. See more information about organ donation here.
  4. Complete the forms, having them properly signed and notarized.
  5. After you have very carefully chosen who will serve as your agent in making healthcare decisions, have several long, open conversations with that person over the course of your life, as circumstances change to ensure your end of life wishes are clear.

For the safety and protection of the lives of you and your loved ones, we highly recommend that these steps be taken. It is also good practice to request to view the medical file the hospital has for you or the person you make healthcare decisions for. This will ensure there are no mistakes or directives (like a DNR) placed in your file without your consent. Taking these precautions will ensure that you and your loved ones are in good hands.

To learn more about the different healthcare directives, the growing threat of euthanasia, and Illinois law, visit the link here.

Building the Next Pro-Life Generation Through Education

At Illinois Right to Life, education is our mission – and building the next pro-life generation is one of our primary goals.  But how, you ask, are we doing this?

By heading straight to the front lines and talking to students in our Illinois schools, face-to-face!

Over the past year and a half, we’ve packed up and ventured out to a number of Illinois high schools, bringing the pro-life message to students across the Chicagoland area. Here’s a few places we’ve been!

St. Ignatius College Prep, on the near west side of Chicago

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As a part of their annual “Ignatian Values Day,” we brought three of our trained speakers to give separate presentations to the student body. The St. Ignatius young adults had the incredible opportunity to hear deep personal stories, directly from two young women: one who had been hurt by abortion and one who made the empowering decision to choose life. They also participated in active analysis and a discussion of abortion and pro-life feminism, led by our executive director, Emily Troscinski.

Benet Academy, in Lisle, Illinois

 

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In their state-of-the-art theater, we held the first video shoot of our revolutionary new Heart2Heart Educational Program. Using the leading research on how students learn most effectively and retain information, this program combines storytelling and facts to be most effective at changing minds and hearts. In front of a live student audience of 200 students, four of our program speakers shared their personal stories on how abortion affected their lives. Then we led a follow-up discussion, with many great questions from our audience. After hearing the talks, 94% of the students in the audience said they felt more pro-life (and that includes students who claimed to be pro-choice).

St. Benedict Preparatory School, on the northwest side of Chicago

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As a part of their Respect Life Week, we brought one of our Heart2Heart program videos to the students at St. Benedict’s. After watching the video, we engaged the students in a discussion about abortion, the resources available to pregnant women in Illinois, and what they could do for a friend in an unplanned pregnancy. It was a great discussion, spurred by fantastic questions from the students.

Brother Rice High School, on the southwest side of Chicago

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Speaking to an assembly of over 800 high school boys, our executive director, Emily Troscinski gave an enthusiastic presentation on the all-important question, “Why are you pro-life?” Using both the latest medical research and her past experience with counseling women after abortion, the students were presented with the facts. Science shows life begins at conception, and studies are continuing to find evidence of the trauma and harm abortion can do to women. For the sake of protecting innocent human life in the womb and ensuring the safety of women, who wouldn’t want to be pro-life?

To reach our goal of turning Illinois pro-life, it’s crucial for our students and young people to be kept in the loop about the issues impacting them, their generation, and their future. They deserve to be presented with the latest facts and scientific research, informed of current life-related issues affecting their state and country, and trained in the pro-life values.  They are the future of this state and can be the force that drives the change from the current culture of death to a culture respecting and loving life. With them we have a chance of one day turning Illinois pro-life.

4 Big Things We Learned from Planned Parenthood’s Annual Report

It’s out.

Planned Parenthood just released its annual report for the FY2015-2016. To sum it up, here are 4 big things we learned from this report.

  1. Planned Parenthood lost 100,000 clients in 1 year. 

    The report documents that Planned Parenthood serviced approximately 2.4 million people in the FY2015-2016, a drop from the 2.5 million people they reportedly serviced in FY2014-2015. From 2011 to 2015, Planned Parenthood’s clientele dropped by more than 600,000. It seems to be that the numbers keep falling.

  2. Abortions are up. 

    Planned Parenthood performed 328,348 abortions in the FY 2015-2016. That’s an increase from the 323,999 abortions the year before. Based on the latest statistics from the Guttmacher Institute (the research arm of Planned Parenthood), that means approximately 35.4% of all U.S. abortions have been done by Planned Parenthood. There’s no doubt they are the nation’s largest abortion provider.

  3. Contraceptive services, cancer screenings, and pap tests & breast exams are down. 

    The number of contraceptive services provided by Planned Parenthood decreased by 136,244 in 2015-2016, contributing to a 30% drop in contraceptive services since 2009, according to reports. In addition, cancer screenings dropped 16,947, factoring into a 69% drop in screenings from 2004, and pap tests and breast exams decreased 19,843. In fact, breast exams have declined 65% since 2004.

  4. Government funding increased. 

    In the FY2015-2016, Planned Parenthood received $554.6 million in government funding. That’s an increase of almost $1 million from the year prior. At the same time, private donations to Planned Parenthood totaled $445.8 million. With all this cash, Planned Parenthood actually came out with $77.5 million in revenue over expenses (and that’s up from $58.8 million reported last year).

In July of 2015, David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress released undercover footage of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of aborted baby body parts. Now, as seen in their annual report, Planned Parenthood is making a desperate effort to save face amidst their decreasing favorability, claiming they are “an irreplaceable component of our country’s healthcare system” and “stronger, smarter, and fiercer.”

Frankly, all we see are increasing abortions, decreasing “other services,” dropping clientele, and over half a billion in government funding is still being sent their way.

Is Planned Parenthood worth it when the country has 13,540 alternative, comprehensive healthcare clinics that provide the same services – just not abortion?

We don’t think so.

 

Is adoption right for you?

If you are in an unplanned pregnancy and the idea of parenting seems too overwhelming, adoption may be the perfect option for you. Perhaps you’re not ready to be a parent or circumstances make you unable to raise a child – no worries. Adoption is an incredibly loving option for you and your baby. Most adoptive mothers say placing their child up for adoption was the best decision they made.

If you’re considering adoption, you probably have lots of questions. Here are some answers to common questions about adoption.

What are my adoption options?

You have several options in the adoption process: closed adoption, semi-open adoption, or an open adoption. When you place your baby up for adoption, the adoption agency and adoption counselors will work with you to determine what is the best option for you. The main goal of every adoption counselor is to make you comfortable and happy with the decision you choose.

Closed adoption: In a closed (or confidential adoption), the agency will choose a family to place your child with. The birth mother and the adoptive family identities are kept confidential from each other. The adoption is facilitated by the adoption agency. After the adoption, there is no communication between the birth mother and the adoptive parents/child.

Semi-open adoption: In a semi-open adoption, the adoptive family and the birth mother identities are usually kept confidential from each other. The adoption agency facilitates the adoption. After the adoption is complete, some contact may remain between the birth mother and the family although the identities are usually kept confidential. This could include letters, emails, or even visits organized through the adoption agency.

Open adoption: In an open adoption, you, your adoption agency, and the adoptive parents work together to plan how closely you want to keep in touch. Open adoptions include the birth mother meeting the potential adoptive family and selecting which family she would like the baby to be adopted into.  Open adoptions can also include visits between the birth mother and the adopted child after the adoption has been finalized as well as phone calls, emails, and letters to stay in touch with the family and the child. Open adoptions typically include a very open and welcoming relationship between the birth mother, the adoptive family and the child throughout the child’s entire life.

More details can be found here.

What will my child think of me?

You are a superhero! You are showing incredible love for your baby by choosing adoption. Your baby will grow up knowing that you want – and will always want – the very best for him or her. You are providing the baby with a life full of love and compassion. Some adoptive parents are only able to have children because of your strength in placing your baby up for adoption. Here’s more information for you.

What if I change my mind?

You can change your mind at any point in the adoption until you sign the parental right surrender documents (signed after the baby is born). You do not have to make the adoption decision immediately. You can wait to decide on adoption even until after the baby is born. Do not let anyone pressure you into choosing a family or an adoption agency before you are ready. There will incredible and loving families waiting to adopt your baby when you are ready to make your decision.

In Illinois, birth mothers must wait until 72 hours after birth to give final consent for adoption. This means 72 hours after the final papers are signed, the birth mother can change her mind about adoption. After those 72 hours, the adoption is complete. Fathers, however, can relinquish their rights earlier.

Can I talk to someone about it?

Here are a few adoption agencies where you can get in touch with adoption counselors to learn more about the adoption process:

Bethany Christian Services: 1-800-Bethany (1-800-238-4269)

American Adoptions: 1-800-236-7846

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois: 888-671-0300

Adoption Center of Illinois: 1-800-676-2229

St. Mary’s Services: 1-800-ST-Marys (1-800-786-2797).

You can call whichever one you like. Or call all five. The important part is that you feel comfortable with the agency you choose. You don’t have to go with the first agency you call. Just which one feels right for you and your baby. While we don’t facilitate adoptions, we are happy to walk with you, every step of the way through your adoption process. Just give us a call (312-422-9300) or drop us an email (confidential@IllinoisRightToLife.org). No matter what, you’re not alone. We will be here for you.

And don’t forget…

Once the adoption is complete, pursue your dreams! What are your life goals? Do you hope to finish high school, go to college, find a spouse, or travel the world? Read about other young women who have pursued their dreams after adoption, and watch the story of a young birthmother who was able to stay in college. Many mothers who choose adoption are college students. There are even scholarships available through some adoption agencies to young mothers who choose adoption.