Thinking about using IVF? Read this first…

Besides the typical side effects of headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, there are many dangerous risks to using in vitro fertilization, or IVF. The risks associated with this treatment can directly impact both the mother and the baby created. It is impossible to know all the side-effects and many statistics are unavailable, due to the fact that IVF is a new technology. However, the known serious risks that accompany IVF are as follows:

 

Risks for the Mother

1. Bleeding, infection, and damage to the bowel:

Researchers at Mayo Clinic state that the egg retrieval process always carries this risk. An aspirating needle is used to collect the eggs. This can cause severe injury inside of the woman.

2. Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (HCG):

According to researchers at Mayo Clinic, the fertility drugs injected into a woman’s ovaries can cause them to swell and become very painful. This can last a week to several weeks, and can sometimes cause rapid weight gain and shortness of breath. The US National Library of Medicine says that 3-6% of women undergoing IVF experience this syndrome.

3. Miscarriage:

According to researchers at Mayo Clinic, the rate of miscarriage for IVF users is 15-20%. However, the chance of a miscarriage also increases with maternal age, and with the use of frozen embryos.

4. Ectopic pregnancy:

Mayo Clinic reports that about 2-5% of woman may experience an ectopic pregnancy. In an ectopic pregnancy, the embryo implants itself outside of the uterus and cannot survive. Ectopic pregnancies can be dangerous for women.

5. Ovarian cancer:

According to a study published in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction, researchers in the Netherlands tested 25,152 women who experienced fertility problems. Out of the 77 women who developed cancer, 61 of them had used IVF. The lead researcher, Professor Van Leeuwen, of the Department of Epidemiology in The Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, says:

“Our data clearly show that ovarian stimulation for IVF is associated with an increased risk of borderline ovarian tumors and this risk remains elevated up to more than 15 years after the first cycle of treatment.”

6. Emotional Stress:

The American Pregnancy Association reaffirms that psychological stress and emotional problems are “common,” especially when IVF is unsuccessful. Mayo Clinic also says,

“Your chances of having a healthy baby using IVF depend on many factors, such as your age and the cause of infertility. In addition, IVF can be time-consuming, expensive, and invasive.”

The cost of a single IVF cycle typically ranges from $12-$17 thousand dollars.

7. Death:

As reported in Science Daily, another study conducted in the Netherlands found a higher death rate for women with IVF pregnancies than for pregnant women in the general population. Specifically, there were 42 deaths per 100,000 IVF pregnancies, in comparison to six deaths among 100,000 normal pregnancies.

In an editorial for the British Medical Journal, Dr. Susan Bewley, obstetrician at Kings College in London, along with other experts, warned that although they may be infrequent, deaths related to IVF are a reality. Older women, women with multiple pregnancy, and those with underlying diseases are most likely at risk. They also argue that the dangerous side-effects to IVF, like ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, should be systematically reported and addressed.

 

Risks for the Baby

1. Premature delivery and low birth weight:

A recent study performed on 12,287 babies produced through IVF published in the journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded that IVF babies are at a significantly higher risk for being born premature and with a low birth weight. The researchers also state:

“Early preterm delivery, spontaneous preterm delivery, placenta previa, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and neonatal intensive care admission were also significantly more prevalent in the IVF group.”

They later recommend,

“In vitro fertilization patients should be advised of the increased risk for adverse perinatal outcomes. Obstetricians should not only manage these pregnancies as high risk but also avoid iatrogenic harm caused by elective preterm labor induction or cesarean.”

 

2. Birth Defects:

Dr. Maureen L. Condic, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine, documents in an in-depth report the serious health risks to babies produced in vitro. She states the following:

“While most human infants born as a result of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are healthy by most measures, 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.”

A study conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), found that babies conceived through IVF had a 25% increased risk of birth defects, in comparison to children conceived naturally.

Dr. Condic also says that scientists are only now beginning to see the negative repercussions of Assisted Reproductive Technologies. This is due to the fact that the individuals produced by these technologies are finally reaching adulthood, and the complications and side effects are just beginning to be made manifest.

 

Are there alternatives to IVF?

There are in fact alternatives to In Vitro Fertilization. These alternatives preserve and protect human life, are safe for women and children, and have relatively higher rates of success.

One option that is always available for infertile couples is adoption. When a couple chooses to adopt, they give a child the gift of a home, a family, and most especially, love. If you are interested in adoption, you can learn more at:

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

American Adoptions: 1-800-236-7846

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

In addition to adoption, there is a new women’s health science called Natural Procreative Technology, or NaPro, which has proven to be a successful alternative for couples with fertility challenges. Scientists take a fertility-care based approach, rather than a fertility-control approach. Surprisingly, women with several types of fertility challenges have shown significantly higher pregnancy success rates when using NaPro, in comparison to IVF. If you would like to learn more about this fascinating new technology, visit: www.NaproTechnology.com .

Does an unborn baby feel pain? If so…when?

Does a baby in the womb feel pain?

In an abortion, can the unborn child feel the pain of being dismembered?

In May of 2013, Dr. Maureen Condic, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah, testified before Congress when the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks gestation, was under consideration. She stated:

“There is universal agreement in the scientific community that an unborn child experiences fetal pain by at least 20 weeks old.”

Now, studies are showing that pain may be felt even earlier … and more intense than in adults.

But how do we know?

Here’s what the scientists say:

 

1. Pain receptors develop early.

In her testimony before Congress in May of 2012, Dr. Colleen Malloy, MD, a board certified Neonatologist and Assistant Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, described the following developmental milestones of an unborn child, indicating very early perception of pain:

  • At 8 weeks gestation, facial sensory receptors appear.
  • At 14 weeks gestation, sensory fibers grow into the spinal cord and connections are made with the thalamus (part of the brain).
  • Between 13 and 16 weeks gestation, monoamine fibers (nerve cells or fibers) reach the cerebral cortex (another part of the brain).
  • Between 17 and 20 weeks gestation, thalamo-cortical relays (pathways to the brain for sensory information) penetrate the cortex.
  • No later than 20 weeks gestation, pain receptors are present and linked.

 

2. Unborn babies “flinch, jerk, and recoil” from sharp objects.

From her professional experience, Dr. Malloy explains that new technologies, such as the 4D ultrasound, show vivid images of babies kicking and moving in utero. That being said, she attests that a baby at just 8 weeks gestation can be seen moving in response to stimuli. By 20 weeks gestation, the baby will respond to sound and move, wince, and recoil from sharp objects and incisions. For instance, when sampling blood from the liver, the baby in utero will move away from the needle. Dr. Malloy say’s,

“You can see it in real time. It’s like watching a movie.”

 

3. Stress hormones elevate like adults.

When we experience pain, stress hormones are released. Interestingly, the hormonal response to pain is identical among an unborn child, a premature baby, and an adult, according to Dr. Malloy. In fact, when a needle is used to draw blood from a baby at 18 weeks gestation, a stress hormone (B-endorphin) is released in massive amounts, increasing by 500 %. Cortisol, another stress hormone, rises by 183%. In addition, Substance P, a neurotransmitter involved in transmitting pain, is found at 11 weeks gestation, and at 13 weeks, Enkephalin, involved in perceiving pain, is also detected.

 

4. Higher concentrations of anesthesia are needed for unborn babies.

In a report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, Dr. Kanwalkeet Anand, an anesthesiologist and leading expert in the field of fetal pain, wrote:

“It is my opinion that the human fetus possesses the ability to experience pain from 20 weeks of gestation, if not earlier, and the pain perceived by a fetus is possibly more intense than that perceived by term newborns or older children.”

How could this be?

According to Dr. Malloy, there is published data showing that a baby’s pain mitigation system does not develop until the latter part of pregnancy. This means, the child is “completely nerves.” Analogous to a burn patient, the baby is without pain protective barriers.

Pain transmitters in the spine are abundant during the first part of pregnancy, but pain inhibiting transmitters are sparse until later. In fact, when babies in utero undergoes surgery, their stress hormone response is 3 to 5 times higher than in adults.

And so, it makes sense why increased concentrations of anesthetic drugs would be required for premature infants than for adults.

 

Thanks to technology imaging and clinical neonatology, life inside the womb is becoming less and less of a mystery. We know a lot more about the rapid development babies in utero, and science is continuing to affirm their humanity – and fragility.

So does the unborn child feel the pain of being dismembered in an abortion?

Dr. Colleen Malloy attests:

“These are the patients that I perform procedures on every day, and I can guarantee you that when I put a chest tube in, or I intubate a patient, or put an IV in, they feel it.”

4 Things to Know about Stem Cell Research

Unless you are the self-proclaimed science nerd of your friend and family circle, most people don’t quite understand stem cell research and the ethical issues surrounding it.

If you try to learn more from Google, you will likely be bombarded by medical lingo until you feel immersed in a foreign language.

Have no fear, here’s a few things you need to know about stem cell research to impress your science nerd friends.

1. What exactly is embryonic stem cell research?

Human embryonic stem cell research usually begins when scientists manufacture conception within a lab.  Once conception has been manufactured, the tiny human is allowed to grow for about 3-5 days.  Then, the developing human is usually killed in order to harvest the stem cells for research.

2. Why is embryonic stem cell research unethical?

At conception this tiny human’s hair color, eye color, and sex have already been determined. The tiny human’s DNA is completely unique from the mother and father and will never again be repeated in the history of the human race. To conduct embryonic stem cell research, scientists usually stop that rapidly growing tiny human from developing – which otherwise left alone – would become a fully formed human being.  Remember, you and I started out this small too!

3. Is embryonic stem cell research successful?

Not exactly. Not only is it very controversial, it has been found highly ineffective as well.  Adult stem cell research has been found to be significantly more successful.

4. So Adult Stem Cell research is ethical, right?

Not so fast. Most of adult stem cell research is ethical and shows very encouraging results to cure neurological and other diseases. However the word “adult” in stem cell research is used to describe the age of the cell not the age of the person its is taken from. Therefore, adult stem cells can also be used to describe cells taken from an aborted child.

 

Where can you find more information?

You can find more information at www.stemcellresearch.org. You can also find additional information at Wisconsin Right to Life.

Illinois Students Named Pro-Life High School Group of 2017

That’s right! We are definitely #IllinoisProud right now.

A group of pro-life students at one of our Illinois high schools has just been given special recognition as the 2017 Pro-Life High School Group of the Year!

This group has been exceptionally active in sharing the pro-life message and working to educate others at their school and community. In fact, we just hosted a multi-speaker pro-life presentation for their group and the student body last fall!

So who are they?

They are S.A.L.T. Life at Benet Academy in Lisle, Illinois.

salt

Students for Life of America, who awarded the student group, wrote:

“Our Group of the Year for 2016 never ceases to amaze us at SFLA! This group participates in Prayer & Pancakes, where they go to pray at Planned Parenthood on a Saturday morning and then go to breakfast. They hosted a school-wide Pro-Life Assembly and multiple speakers, including their Regional Coordinator. Last October, S.A.L.T Life at Benet Academy did a Rosary for Life, sidewalk chalked, stood in the entry of their school with pro-life signs and chants as students were dropped off for school, and they also got super creative and hosted a fundraiser called ‘Nacho life to take.’”

Just last week, we saw the S.A.L.T. Life students at the annual SpeakOut Illinois Conference. They told us that this past January, they brought 100 students from their school to the National March for Life in Washington, D.C. Five years ago, there were only seven of them.

So way to go, S.A.L.T Life at Benet Academy! Keep it up.

Through education and action like yours, we can build the next pro-life generation and work to turn Illinois pro-life.

The Weldon Amendment’s coming back to life: what this could mean for Illinois

Recently, a familiar pro-life amendment has made the news: the Weldon Amendment.

Last week, the Washington Examiner reported that the House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, sent a formal letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, requesting that the Weldon Amendment be reviewed by the HHS. IL Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6), along with six other members of Congress, signed the letter as well.

Under President Obama, the Weldon Amendment had not been enforced. Now, the HHS Secretary will be looking into how to properly enforce it.

So why is this so important, and what does it have to do with Illinois?

It could potentially have an impact on the new, radical pro-abortion law: SB 1564.

How? Let’s take it from the top.

What is the Weldon Amendment?

The Weldon Amendment is one of the federal statutes enacted to protect the conscience rights of health care providers who do not want to participate in certain services that go against their convictions and values.  This particular provision protects doctors, various health care organizations, insurance plans, and other health professionals from being forced to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions. Federal funds through the HHS appropriations will be cut off from any agency, program, or state or local government that discriminates against these health care providers.

In 2004, Representative Dave Weldon (R-FLA), first sponsored the language of the Weldon Amendment. It was subsequently voted on by the House Appropriations Committee and adopted as a provision of the HHS appropriations bill. Since then, it has been added to the HHS appropriation annually.

Why does it need re-enforcing?

In August of 2014, the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) mandated that all health insurers in the state of California start covering all abortions as a “basic health service.” The Alliance for Conscience Rights reports that this not only made abortion-on-demand a standard of health care, but it also required faith based institutions (Churches) and those morally opposed to abortion to abide by the ruling as well – hence violating the Weldon Amendment. Complaints were sent to the Department of Health and Human Services federal Office for Civil Rights (OCR). However, the OCR dismissed them and reinterpreted the law, claiming that insurance providers had no protection under the Weldon Amendment.

Not long after in 2016, California Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 775 into law, requiring licensed health care facilities, including crisis pregnancy centers, to provide a notice that refers their patients for abortions. There is no exception for organizations opposed to abortion.

The Weldon Amendment had been kicked to the curb.

So how does this relate to Illinois law?

In late July of 2016, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law Senate Bill SB 1564. This bill, which went into effect January 1st, 2017, forces all Illinois medical personnel and pregnancy resource centers to refer for abortions and discuss the “benefits” of abortion, regardless of their moral convictions or missions. Since then, three lawsuits have been filed on behalf of pro-life doctors and pregnancy resource centers throughout the state.

Before the bill had been called for a vote, three Illinois Congressmen penned a bipartisan letter to the members of the General Assembly, urging them to reject SB 1564. They were Congressman Peter Roskam (R), Congressman Dan Lipinski (D), and Congressman Randy Hultgren (R).

One of their primary arguments was that the bill would violate federal law, including the Weldon Amendment. This, in turn, could possibly jeopardize federal funding. They wrote:

“The provisions stand in stark contrast to the requirements of superseding federal law, including the Church Amendment, the Coats-Snowe Amendment, and the annual Hyde-Weldon Amendment. Moving forward with such legislation at the state level could seriously imperil federal funds for healthcare programs, including reimbursements under Medicare and Medicaid.”

Now that the Weldon Amendment is being brought back to life, will this have any impact on Illinois and its current, anti-conscience, legislation? The HHS is currently reviewing the details of the amendment based on the California law. However, we’ve personally spoken with Congressman Roskam’s office and confirmed he is requesting they look into how it affects Illinois’ the new law too.

Stay tuned for more updates.

7 SHOCKING Things We Learned from the Congressional Investigation

Yep. The cat is out of bag now.

Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry have lots of explaining to do.

The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives released a 471 page majority report, at the very end of last year, detailing their work and findings (Blackburn, 2016). This Congressional panel, chaired by Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), was created to investigate Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry’s involvement in the unethical and potentially illegal trafficking of body parts from aborted babies.

After the investigation, Congresswoman Blackburn remarked,

“It is my hope that our recommendations will result in some necessary changes within both the abortion and fetal tissue procurement industries. Our hope is that these changes will both protect women and their unborn children, as well as the integrity of scientific research.” (Energy & Commerce Committee, 2017)

In response to the report’s release, Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-9), also a member of the panel, called it “illegitimate,” saying the Panel left behind a “legacy of lies, intimidation, and misconduct.” (Schakowsky, 2017)

Is that so?

Actually, if you had a chance to read through all 471 pages of the research, evidence, and facts detailed in the report, we’d bet you’d think otherwise. But that’s quite a read – so we did that for you!

Here are 7 SHOCKING things we learned from the Select Panel’s investigation:

 

1. The University of Illinois Chicago paid Stem Express for baby parts?

The Panel’s forensic accountant collected the invoices that Stem Express (a baby part procurement company) sent to its customers. They found that the University of Illinois Chicago was among a host of other publicly funded schools that purchased fetal tissue and body parts (and/or products derived from fetal tissue) from Stem Express. They document the purchases according to year (Blackburn, 2016, p. 176):

2012: $335

2013: $820

TOTAL: $1,155

stem-express-orders-uic

And what a coincidence…

Just last year, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) produced documents detailing orders for fetal body parts from Stem Express, in March of 2013. According to the order, researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago had ordered the brain of a 10-week-old aborted baby for research (Progress, 2013, p. 1).

cmp-baby-part-order

Are your tax dollars being used by the University of Illinois Chicago and other publicly funded schools to harvest and purchase the body parts of aborted children?

 

2. Fetal tissue is NOT vital to life-saving research.

Interestingly, in February of 2016, Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky sent a letter to a list of universities, scientific societies, and medical societies, asking them for information on the following:

“Past benefits of fetal tissue research.”

“Potential future benefits that might be gained through continued fetal tissue research.”

“Unique aspects of fetal tissue in research, in comparison with adult cells, stem cells, or other cellular organisms that might be used for research purposes.”(Blackburn, 2016, p. 374)

After receiving responses from several institutions (including the University of Illinois at Chicago UIC), the Panel came to the following conclusion:

While the question of whether human fetal tissue provides unique benefits to research is important, not a single one of the responding institutions provided substantive evidence relevant to this question.” (Blackburn, 2016, p. 375)

From their research, the Panel also found:

  • Early vaccine research did NOT rely on human fetal tissue.
  • Human fetal tissue was NOT used to produce vaccines for polio and other diseases in the last century.
  • The production of modern vaccines do NOT depend on human fetal tissue.
  • Fetal tissue is NOT necessary for the study of diseases that affect the human brain, like Zika and Down Syndrome.
  • Human fetal tissue is NOT vital for a “wide range of life-saving research.”(Blackburn, 2016, pp. xxxviii-xl)

 

3. Planned Parenthood of Illinois has a history of Medicaid fraud.

As we have noted before, Planned Parenthood of Illinois is no stranger to the improper handling of Medicaid funds. Now, the Select Investigative Panel, in their own investigation, confirms this.

Having assessed 51 external audits of Planned Parenthood affiliates in different states, the Congressional panel found a shocking total of $8,552,264.20 in overbilling (Blackburn, 2016, p. 313). With regards to Illinois, they state:

“This audit by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ Inspector General of Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) found 641 missing records, 31 instances of billing for non-covered services, and 10 instances of billing for services actually performed by someone else, as well as improper procedure codes.” (Blackburn, 2016, p. 315)

As a result of the audit, PPIL repaid the state $367,000 for Medicaid overbilling and failure to document their services provided. (Blackburn, 2016, p. 315)

So… do you trust Planned Parenthood with your tax dollars?

 

4. Planned Parenthood clinics profited from the sale of fetal tissue?

Among other evidence referred to in the report, the production of documents from StemExpress and their bank during the investigation revealed that “substantial payments” had been made to Planned Parenthood affiliate clinics (Blackburn, 2016, p. 39). Furthermore, interviews with the CEO of StemExpress showed that StemExpress, as the “middleman,” had been performing all the tasks required to procure fetal tissue at Planned Parenthood clinics…but Planned Parenthood documented they were doing the same work Stem Express claimed to do (Blackburn, 2016, p. 323).

The Panel reported,

“It became clear that StemExpress was doing all the work to obtain consent for donation from individual patients, that StemExpress was doing the work of harvesting the fetal tissue after an abortion was complete, and that StemExpress was doing the work and passing on its costs of shipping to customers. This raised a profound issue for the Panel: Both the middleman and the PPFA affiliate clinic were claiming the same expenses against their revenue to show a loss on fetal tissue sales.” (Blackburn, 2016, p. 327)

The following chart depicts this discrepancy:

pp-cost-deduction-chart

So both Planned Parenthood and StemExpress claimed the same costs and expenses for services that only one company–Stem Express – could perform. How can you be reimbursed for services you never provided? Was Planned Parenthood making a profit?

According to the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act of 1993, Title 42 U.S.C., 289g-2(a) states:

“It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce.” (Code, Title 42, Chapter 6A, Subchapter III, Part H, Section 289g-2, 2010)

   Those who violate this federal law will face fines and imprisonment.

 

5. Abortion doctors adjusted their methods to obtain more fetal tissue

Planned Parenthood executives, policy makers, and abortion doctors were called to testify before the Select Panel. One interview with a Planned Parenthood executive proceeded as follows (Blackburn, 2016, pp. 357-358):

A          I mean exactly what it said, which is their—providers can change their technique to increase success.

Q         What would that—what would be that change in technique?

A          I can’t speak for every provider. If—every procedure is different. Providers make changes in technique as they’re doing a procedure the whole time for a variety of reasons. There are probably a myriad of changes that can be made.

Q         Okay. Which ones could be made to increase the success of a fetal tissue donation?

A          That’s a very broad question and I think unless we were talking about a specific procedure I couldn’t answer it for you.

Q         “There are little things they can make in their technique to increase your success.” What are those little things?

A          Again, as I mentioned, a change in instruments, a change in where they’re grasping the tissue. These are changes in technique that a provider can make for a variety of reasons. I—

Q         But it could be made to increase the success of fetal tissue donation.

A          Yes, that’s what I’m saying.

With the evidence presented, the Panel later concluded:

“It is clear that the PPFA executive in charge of directing the MS&G guidelines, altered the method of the abortion procedure in her own practice. It is also clear that she has not complied with the directive of the MS&G manual regarding the requirement to affirm that the method of the abortion has NOT been changed to promote fetal tissue donation.” (Blackburn, 2016, p. 359)

Title 42 U.S.C. 289g-1 of the NIH Revitalization Act 1993, expressly prohibits the “alteration of the timing, method, or procedures used to terminate the pregnancy… used solely for the purposes of obtaining the tissue.” (Code, Title 42, Chapter 6A, Subchapter III, Part H, Section 289g-1, 2010)

The safety of the patient should always be of primary concern to the physician. Altering an abortion procedure for the purpose of harvesting harvest baby body parts can put a patient’s safety in jeopardy.

 

6. Planned Parenthood consent forms were “inaccurate” and “insufficient”

During the Panel hearing, a researcher and ethics expert were asked about the patient consent form widely used by Planned Parenthood abortion clinics to obtain consent from women to donate and use their aborted baby’s tissue. In response, the researcher claimed that the form would have never “made it past” his Institutional Review Board. The ethics expert also stated that the standards and thoroughness of consent required in such a form were missing (Blackburn, 2016, p. 15).

The form specifically states,

“Research using the blood from pregnant women and tissue that has been aborted has been used to treat and find a cure for such diseases as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and AIDS.” (Blackburn, 2016, p. 361)

This, however, was already shown to be false by the Panel.

In addition, the Panel reports that numerous witnesses, including senior PPFA officials, testified before the Panel and held the form to be “misleading and unethical.” (Blackburn, 2016, p. 182) In fact, the very individual in charge of overseeing the production of the PPFA manual stated:

“If I’m evaluating the form now, you are correct. To my knowledge there is no cure for AIDS. So that is probably an inaccurate statement. . . . a consent form should not have an incorrect statement.” (Blackburn, 2016, p. 182)

Another Planned Parenthood executive also stated,

I would agree that that is insufficient for obtaining informed consent, correct.” (Blackburn, 2016, p. 363)

 

7. Planned Parenthood and Stem Express violated HIPPA laws protecting patients’ privacy

As the Panel report explains, the HIPAA privacy rule protects all the “protected health information” (PHI) of an individual, held or transmitted by a covered entity or business associate (hospital, clinic, doctor, etc.). The entity, in turn, may not use or disclose a patient’s PHI unless authorized, or they can be penalized with criminal fines or imprisonment. (Blackburn, 2016, p. 363)

The Panel makes very clear that under HIPPA, StemExpress does not qualify as a “business associate,” and therefore is “not permitted to obtain the PHI of the Planned Parenthood abortion clinics’ patients” without the patient’s consent (which they did not obtain). (Blackburn, 2016, p. 368)

Nevertheless, the Panel found that:

Planned Parenthood clinics intentionally disclosed patients’ individually identifiable health information to StemExpress to facilitate the TPB’s efforts to procure human fetal tissue for resale.” (Blackburn, 2016, pp. 365-366)

How so?

The Panel investigation found that StemExpress placed procurement technicians inside Planned Parenthood clinics, and they followed a specific work sequence: the customer placed the order for the specimens, Planned Parenthood gave StemExpress a list of patients and their medical files and PHI’s, Stem Express chose who they wanted and sought out the patients by name, Stem Express paid Planned Parenthood for the specimens and then resold them for four to six hundred percent of the original cost. (Blackburn, 2016, pp. 366-367)

 

From the looks of it, Planned Parenthood, StemExpress, and the rest of the abortion industry are in hot water. 15 criminal referrals for potential prosecution have been made as result of this investigation, and some of these referrals have already been put into action.

We will keep you updated as the results of the investigation as they unfold.

 

Works Cited

Blackburn, R. M. (2016). Select Investigative Panel Final Report. Washington D.C.: Energy & Commerce Committee, US House of Representatives. Retrieved from https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Select_Investigative_Panel_Final_Report.pdf

Code, U. S. (2010). Title 42, Chapter 6A, Subchapter III, Part H, Section 289g-1. Retrieved from https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2010-title42/html/USCODE-2010-title42-chap6A-subchapIII-partH-sec289g-1.htm

Code, U. S. (2010). Title 42, Chapter 6A, Subchapter III, Part H, Section 289g-2. Retrieved from https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2010-title42/html/USCODE-2010-title42-chap6A-subchapIII-partH-sec289g-2.htm

Energy & Commerce Committee, U. H. (2017, January 4). Press Release. Washington DC. Retrieved from Energy & Commerce Committee: https://energycommerce.house.gov/news-center/press-releases/select-investigative-panel-releases-final-report

Progress, C. f. (2013, March 20). Updated Task Assignment: Procurement Schedule Wednesday 3/20/13. Retrieved from http://www.centerformedicalprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Updated-Task-Assignment-Procurement-Schedule-Wednesday-32013.pdf

Schakowsky, R. J. (2017, January 3). Schakowsky Blasts Select Panel Republicans’ Secretive and Flawed Final Report. Washington DC. Retrieved from https://schakowsky.house.gov/press-releases/schakowsky-blasts-select-panel-republicans-secretive-and-flawed-final-report/

 

 

Are You In?

On Wednesday, March 1st, 40 Days for Life will kick of its 2017 Spring Campaign. Participants are getting geared up and ready to go for what’s going to be campaign number TWENTY!

And it’s going to be big – in size and impact. People from 340 locations, in 28 different countries, are said to be joining in this peaceful vigil for life. Over the past ten years, they’ve reported:

  • 12,668 lives saved from abortion
  • 143 abortion workers quit their jobs
  • 83 abortion facilities closed

There have also been:

  • 725,000 individual participants
  • 4,535 total campaigns
  • 675 cities
  • 40 countries
  • 19,000 churches

40 Days for Life writes:

“With prayerful hearts, we will now be going forward with our next international effort from March 1 to April 9. We don’t know what surprises the Lord has in store in the future … but we’ve certainly seen His hand at work thus far in response to your prayers!”

Check out this short clip explaining the history, results, and proven strategies that make 40 Days for Life so effective:

So the question is: are you in?

Will you be a part of this incredible life-saving effort?

It’s easy! Here’s how you can participate:

  1. Find a location closest to you.
  2. Create a profile at 40 days for life to sign up.
  3. Select a time(s) that you will pray outside the center.
  4. Show up for your scheduled time and pray for the women and men seeking abortion and for their unborn child.

Here are the locations in Illinois:

Downers Grove

Public right-of-way outside
Access Health Center
1700 75th Street
Downers Grove, Illinois

Simply sign up by clinic here.

For more information or a map of this location, visit their campaign website here.

Ottawa

Public right-of-way outside
Planned Parenthood
612 Court Street
Ottawa, Illinois

Simply sign up by clinic here.

For more information or a map of this location, visit their campaign website here.

Springfield

Public right-of-way outside
Planned Parenthood
1000 East Washington Street
Springfield, Illinois

Simply sign up by clinic here.

For more information or a map of this location, visit their campaign website here.

Champaign, IL

Public right-of-way outside
Planned Parenthood
302 East Stoughton Street
Champaign, Illinois

 

Simply sign up by clinic here.

For more information or a map of this location, visit their campaign website here.

The 6 Most Shocking Things about HB 40

You’ll never believe what our state representatives are trying to push into law. The legislation is ready to be called for vote in the House, at any time. The bill is HB 40, and if we don’t act now, it could soon be on its way to the Governor’s desk.

But what’s so dangerous about this legislation?

Well, we read through the full text of the bill, and what we found left us stunned. There’s more to it than meets the eye. From beginning to end, here are…

 

The 6 Most Shocking Things about HB 40

 

1. It makes abortion a “health benefit” for state employees, paid for by you.

The State Employees Group Insurance Act of 1971 (amended in 1980) provides that the program of health benefits for state employees will cover expenses for dental services, prescription drugs, hearing evaluations, hearing aids, outpatient diagnostic x-rays, and laboratory tests. It specifically states that abortions will not be included in this benefit package, unless the procedure is necessary for “the preservation of the life of the woman.” A court ruling following the enactment of this legislation expanded this abortion coverage to rare cases of rape, incest, and danger to the health of the woman. But HB 40 strikes this language completely, making abortions – for any reason – a “health benefit,” paid for with your tax dollars.

 

2. It forces Illinoisans to cover the cost of abortions for those on Medicaid, done for any reason during all nine months of pregnancy.

Currently, the Illinois Medicaid program covers costs for “medically necessary” abortions or those performed in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother.  According to the Illinois Public Aid Code, coverage is not to be extended to abortions done for any other reason. HB 40, however, removes this language. It also removes the portion the code that requires a written statement from the physician to support the patients’ claim for coverage of the procedure. By doing this, HB 40 gives Medicaid coverage to all abortions, including those done for convenience and birth control.

In Illinois, there are virtually no restrictions on abortion. Current state law prohibits abortion after viability of the child, which is around 24 weeks. However, in addition to cases of rape, incest, and preservation of the life of the woman, abortion for the sake of the “health” of the woman is also an exception. The impact which the continuation of a woman’s pregnancy has on her health is left to her doctor’s discretion. In the case Doe vs. Bolton, the Supreme Court defined health as “all factors – physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age – relevant to the well-being of the patient.” The wide interpretation of the term “health” makes it possible for an abortion to be performed at any time, through all nine months of pregnancy. Hence, your tax dollars could be used to pay for abortions, done for any reason, when the child’s heart is beating, when he or she can feel the pain of being dismembered, and even when the child can survive outside the womb.

 

3. It removes language protecting women from abortion doctors with a criminal history against women.

Illinois Public Aid Code states:

“The Illinois Department, by rule, shall prohibit any physician from providing medical assistance to anyone eligible therefore under this Code where such physician has been found guilty of performing an abortion procedure in a willful and wanton manner upon a woman who was not pregnant at the time such abortion procedure was performed.”

What does HB 40 do?

You guessed it – it scraps this language too. HB 40 would now make it possible for abortion providers, who have committed horrendous acts against women – like intentionally performing an abortion on a woman who is not pregnant – to continue to do business with the Medicaid program and receive state funding for their work. What could be a more obvious example of complete disregard the safety and well-being of women?

 

4. It allows state grants to go to organizations that refer for, counsel for, or provide abortions.

According to the current text of the Problem Pregnancy Health Services and Care Act, the Illinois Department is allowed to make grants to non-profit agencies and organizations that provide certain medical services and treatments. However, it specifically states that grants cannot be sent to organizations that refer for, counsel for, or perform abortions.

HB 40 strikes this restriction, allowing taxpayer funded state grants to be sent to abortion providers and other organizations in Illinois that not only provide abortions but also encourage and refer women for abortions. This is just another way to push Illinoisans into funding the abortion business.

 

5. It trashes the longstanding policy of Illinois to recognize the unborn child as a human being.

“The General Assembly of the State of Illinois do solemnly declare and find in reaffirmation of the longstanding policy of this State, that the unborn child is a human being from the time of conception and is, therefore, a legal person for purposes of the unborn child’s right to life and is entitled to the right to life from conception under the laws and Constitution of this State.”

This declaration is part of the first section of the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975, and HB 40 throws it entirely out.  In 1975, the General Assembly made clear that the State recognized the unborn child as a human being, and since then, science and medicine have done nothing less than continue to prove this to be true.  Currently, Illinois has three state laws that also rely on this definition. These laws recognize the death of an unborn child as a homicide if the mother is murdered or killed in motor vehicle accident.

If legislators are moving to remove this language, we have to ask ourselves: as a people, and as State, what are we trying to say? What message are we sending to our citizens who choose to live here? That we don’t recognize the scientifically proven humanity of the unborn child anymore?

 

6. It poses an unpredictable financial burden to the State.

Just last week, these two very important notes were filed and recorded on the bill. Here they are:

Balanced Budget Note (Office of Management and Budget)

An accurate cost assessment for this bill cannot be completed at this time because it does not mandate the State to fund these services. However, by removing these prohibitions it opens the State up for significant cost liabilities to incur. It is unknown how often these services would be utilized by Medicaid enrollees or State employees, the exact cost to health insurance plans, or how many new grant requests the Department of Human Services would receive as a response to this, and future related legislation.

Fiscal Note (Dept. of Healthcare & Family Services)

The estimated annual cost for abortion services resulting from House Bill 40 is approximately $1.8 million, which would be 100% GRF funded. There may be other budgetary impacts that are not quantifiable.

 

Both the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Healthcare & Family Services agree that the realistic costs and budgetary impacts of this bill on the State are “unknown” and “not quantifiable.” But we can say that expenses will be 100% taken care of by the General Revenue Fund (GRF) – a.k.a. your tax dollars.

With HB 40, there is no cap to the number of abortions that could be covered by Medicaid, and essentially no cap to the amount of taxpayer dollars spent. The last time Illinoisans paid for unrestricted Medicaid funded abortions was in the late ’70s, when approximately 12,738 abortions were paid for by Medicaid at a cost of over $1.8 million ($1,876,837). If we revert back to this, we could be looking at an additional 12,000 abortions per year that the state would pay for.

 

What’s hidden in the text of HB 40 is astounding, and the ramifications of this legislation may be more than you expected. This ridiculous policy will increase abortion numbers, expand abortion coverage at taxpayers’ expense, and likely change the cultural and legal foundation of our state.

We need you to tell your state representative right now to vote NO on this HB40, so we can put a stop to this radical legislation once and for all. To find your state legislator, visit the link here.

Illinois Bishops Speak Out: Urge Parishioners to Take Action against HB40

It’s official. The Bishops have joined the fight.

The extreme, pro-abortion bill proposed in the Illinois General Assembly – HB 40 – has sparked tremendous outrage throughout Illinois. Now, word of its potential passage has reached ecclesiastical desks.

In response, the Catholic bishops throughout the state are speaking out. They have each written letters to their parishioners, strongly urging them to take action against HB 40 by calling their state representatives and telling them to vote NO on this bill.

In his letter to Catholics within the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal Blasé Cupich encouraged the faithful to act, writing:

“We have raised our voices in the past for those who have no voice, whether they be the immigrant or the refugee, the poor, or the unemployed. We now need to speak for the children in the womb, who are the weakest among us.”

The Most Reverend Daniel Conlon, Bishop of the Diocese of Joliet, stressed the importance of Catholics’ involvement saying,

“One of the noblest forms of witness that we Catholics give in our contemporary society is to stand up for the dignity of human beings as children of God. We feel a special commitment to the most vulnerable and the most innocent of all: children in the womb….It is essential that people who believe in the protection of human life in the womb contact their proper state legislators and express their opposition to House Bill 40.”

In his letter, Bishop Edward Braxton of the Diocese of Belleville, relayed the consequences of the legislation, writing:

“Happily, the national abortion rate is at its lowest since the Roe v. Wade ruling. Unfortunately, the enactment of House Bill 40 would set back those efforts by coercing all who pay taxes to support indirectly the ending of developing innocent human life.”

In addition, Bishop of the Diocese of Peoria, the Most Reverend Daniel Jenky, makes the point:

“It is worth noting that abortion is an elective procedure and using state tax dollars to pay for it is not only immoral, but also an injustice. A far better use of tax money would be to fund prenatal services for the poor and child care for working mothers, as well as expand health care options for those in need.”

Furthermore, in his letter, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield posed the question:

“We have to ask why our elected representatives would turn their backs on paying for programs that help the disabled, the elderly, children in need and students, yet find the will to publicly fund the terrible tragedy of abortion.”

In his letter, Bishop Malloy of the Diocese of Rockford, wrote:

“We are working hard to build a culture of life by advocating for laws that make it easier to bring a child into this word.”

Echoing the words of his fellow bishops, he continued,

“I ask for your prayers for the protection of life, and I urge that you please contact your state representative to vote against this bill.”

The Bishops of Illinois have called for a united opposition among Catholics against HB 40. This bill will provide free abortions through the full nine months of pregnancy for any reason for those on Medicaid. This means the government will provide free abortions even when the unborn child can feel the pain of being aborted. All of this will be at the Illinois taxpayer’s expense.

We need you to call your state representative right now. Tell them you strongly oppose HB 40 and that you’d like them to vote no.

Click here to find your state representative’s phone number and immediately call the 217 Springfield office number. 

 

You can read the full text of each of these letters here:

Letter from Cardinal Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago

Letter from Bishop Edward Braxton of the Diocese of Belleville

Letter from Bishop R. Daniel Conlon of the Diocese of Joliet

Letter from Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria

Letter from Bishop David Malloy of the Diocese of Rockford (Spanish)

Letter from Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield-in-Illinois

A Reflection on my First March for Life

Shaking and shivering a bit, I struggled to keep my balance.

“You okay up there?”

My friend’s voice trembled a little… probably because I was sitting on top of his shoulders, fidgeting and grappling with my camera. I needed to get the perfect shot – one that would capture the enormous sea of people that surrounded me and consumed the entire field beneath the Washington Monument.

I had never seen anything like it.

It was Friday, January 27, 2017 – the date which hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers from all across the United States had been preparing for. Their mission: to unite and testify to the beauty of life and dignity of the human person.

The chanting, the colors, the signs – it was so lively it was overwhelming. But I guess that’s the kind of reaction you would expect from the new kid on the block. Yes, this was the first time I had ever attended the National March for Life.

In the center of Washington D.C., the growing multitude gathered around the stage. I have to say – I felt like a small drop in a moving ocean of people.

“Because of all of you and the many thousands who stand with us in marches all across the nation – life is winning again in America.”

These words echoed from the stage and provoked a surge of enthusiasm in the crowd. For the first time in history, a Vice President of the United States was addressing the participants of the March for Life. But the excitement was transformed into silence when he spoke these words…which I’ll never forget:

“I urge you to press on. Let your gentleness be evident to all. Let this movement be known for love, not anger. Let this movement be known for compassion, not confrontation. When it comes to matters of the heart, there is nothing stronger than gentleness. I believe we will continue to win the minds and hearts of the rising generation if our hearts first break for mothers and their unborn children and meet them where they are with generosity, not judgment.” – Vice President Mike Pence

Love, compassion, gentleness, and generosity – these were the characteristics of the people I encountered that day. Not one foul word, not one rude comment, was heard. There was a common respect and contagious joy among the participants.

Eventually, I got down off my friend’s poor shoulders and we listened attentively to the inspiring words and beautiful stories of the other speakers. Among these was Congresswoman Mia Love, who left the crowd awestruck when she recounted:

“Forty-one years ago a couple from Haiti could have made the choice to abort, but they didn’t. They chose life. They didn’t choose what might have been; they chose what is to come. They went and followed and fostered that life, and the future and the dreams that baby would bring. I’m certain that this couple would never have thought that that child would become the first black female Republican ever to be elected to Congress.”

Congresswoman Mia Love was that child.

NFL football star, Ben Watson, reflected on the theme of the March – the Power of One – when he said:

“Looking out, I see a sea of collective humanity, but looking closer I see individuals who have their own spheres of influence. This is the power of one. It is the power of influence, to influence people in our neighborhoods in our churches, in our workplaces on our teams. It is also the power to unite as we have today as one, for a common cause to end the unthinkable practice of abortion in America.”

As the program came to a close, we joined the moving mass that was pouring into the street. Soon enough, the March for Life had begun.

Up the road to Capitol Hill we went – smiling, singing, chanting (and taking lots of pictures). But here’s where we get to my favorite part of the whole day:

The moment when I stopped, in the middle of the March, and turned around.

Behind me was a long, winding, swath of people that filled the streets from side to side and had no end in sight. Small children, mothers with their babies, fathers with their families, teenagers, grandparents, college students, young men and women from all different walks of life – all marching together.

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Then, there were the signs – reading those was just about half the fun. Here are a few of my favorites…

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At the end of the day, I was left with this final thought. This march was different from other marches in a very profound way:

We were not marching for ourselves. We were not marching for our rights or in demand some social or personal petition. We were marching for the rights of other human beings – who couldn’t march or stand up for themselves.

Unfortunately, words cannot express how incredible an experience this was for me. Joy, love, passion, courage – so many emotions emanating from the crowd and filling my heart. But if I was given only one word to describe what I felt after going to this year’s March for Life in D.C., it would be hope. Hope for the unborn, hope for my generation, and hope for our country in the years to come.