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.

BREAKING: Trump Picks Judge Neil Gorsuch to be the Next Supreme Court Justice

BREAKING: President Donald Trump Nominates Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

On Tuesday, January 30, 2017, President Donald Trump announced to the nation his choice for Justice Antonin Scalia’s successor on the Supreme Court: Judge Neil Gorsuch.

“We are extremely proud of President Trump’s decision to nominate Neil Gorsuch,” said Emily Troscinski, executive director of Illinois Right to Life. “Judge Gorsuch has expressed his regard for the fundamental right to life of every human person. It is our hope that as successor to pro-life Justice Antonin Scalia, he will continue to be a voice upholding the value and dignity of human life in the high court.”

In 2006, President George W. Bush appointed Judge Gorsuch to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Senate confirmed him with a voice vote, according to SCOTUSblog. Gorsuch is 49 years old and hails from Denver Colorado.

So will he follow in the footsteps of Justice Antonin Scalia?

In his article for the National Review, Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor, writes that Judge Gorsuch is “a well-respected conservative whose legal philosophy is remarkably similar to that of Antonin Scalia.” Ponnuru continues,

“He is, like Scalia, a textualist and an originalist: someone who interprets legal provisions as their words were originally understood.”

Upon the death of Antonin Scalia, Gorsuch said in his tribute to the late Justice:

“Judges should instead strive (if humanly and so imperfectly) to apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be — not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best. As Justice Scalia put it, ‘if you’re going to be a good and faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re not always going to like the conclusions you reach. If you like them all the time, you’re probably doing something wrong.'”

After Trump announced his nomination to the high court, Judge Gorsuch also made clear that he would act as a “servant of the Constitution and laws of this country,” a mentality that was characteristic of Justice Scalia, whom Gorsuch referred to as a “lion of the law.”

And what’s his record like, from the pro-life perspective?

In 2006, Judge Gorsuch published his book The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. In it, he argues against the two practices, expressing the fundamental right of every person to not be killed. The Princeton University Press described it as:

“A nuanced, novel, and powerful moral and legal argument against legalization [of assisted suicide and euthanasia], one based on a principle that, surprisingly, has largely been overlooked in the debate—the idea that human life is intrinsically valuable and that intentional killing is always wrong.”

In his book, he also makes mention of the Courts decision of Roe v. Wade, saying:

“In Roe, the Court explained that, had it found the fetus to be a ‘person’ for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment, it could not have created a right to abortion because no constitutional basis exists for preferring the mother’s liberty interests over the child’s life.”

In his article for the National Review, Ed Whelan, President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, notes Judge Gorsuch’s dissent in the court’s ruling, Planned Parenthood Association of Utah v. Herbert. The court barred the Governor of Utah from defunding Planned Parenthood, but Gorsuch, who was in support of Planned Parenthood’s defunding, argued against this. 

What happens next?

Now, President Trump’s nomination will head to the Senate for confirmation. This means Judge Gorsuch will need a majority vote in the Senate to be confirmed as a Justice on the Supreme Court.

It is important to note, that a nomination to the Supreme Court is subject to a “cloture” vote in the Senate. When the nominee’s appointment is being debated by the members of the U.S. Senate, 60 votes will be needed to end the debate. This simple majority yes-vote will confirm the nominee’s appointment to the Supreme Court.

 

President Trump Ends U.S. Funding for Abortions Overseas

BREAKING:

On Monday, January 23, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order prohibiting U.S. foreign aid to be sent to international, non-governmental organizations that provide or promote abortions overseas, as a method of family planning.

The policy which Trump has put into place is known as the Mexico City Policy, and it is the first pro-life policy to be enacted in approximately 8 years!

But this is not the first time that this rule has been enacted.

The Mexico City Policy was first established by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. According to the Weekly Standard, it was rescinded by President Clinton, reenacted by President George W. Bush, and once again rescinded by President Obama.

When President Obama did away with the policy in his second week in office, a Gallup poll showed how unpopular rescinding the rule really was among Americans. Gallup reported,

“Obama’s decision to reverse the prohibition on funding for overseas family-planning providers may be the least popular thing he has done so far. […] Fifty-eight percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s decision to lift this ban, while only 35% approve of it.”

And as CBS News reports, the policy is not limited to Mexico City. The ban blocks funding to all international charities and other such organizations that provide or promote abortions as family planning, by way of information, referrals, counseling, etc.

That being said, there are two important points to be made concerning the rule:

  • The ban includes exceptions for abortion in the case of rape, incest, and life of the mother.
  • This executive order does not “defund” International Planned Parenthood affiliates. On the contrary, they can choose to abide by the rule, or forgo U.S. funding. When President George W. Bush reenacted the policy, International Planned Parenthood chose not to accept U.S. funds so they could still provide abortion services. Essentially, Planned Parenthood is once again left with the ultimatum: Do not provide or promote abortions…or do not receive federal funds.

Today, President Trump enacted his first pro-life policy – a day after the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It’s definitely a step forward for the pro-life movement.

Could this be a sign of greater things to come?

President Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, also held his first press briefing the same day. During the briefing, he elaborated on the President’s commitment to support and protect life. Watch the video here:

 

Is Planned Parenthood a Leader in Women’s Rights?

Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the nation, calls itself a leader in women’s rights. Planned Parenthood, in their cute pink paint and flashy talking points, has launched themselves to the front of the conversation positioning themselves as a leader in the women’s rights movement.

But does Planned Parenthood speak for women or should women speak for themselves?

What happens when we set aside Planned Parenthood’s pink colored paintbrush and forget their flashy talking points? Let’s compare what we believe feminism means to what Planned Parenthood actually does:

We believe in allowing science to answer the question of when life begins and allowing intellect dictate the outcome. As shown above, it is undisputed in the medical community that life begins at conception.

When Cecile Richards, the CEO of Planned Parenthood was asked on national television when she believes life begins she had three answers:

  1. I don’t think that’s relevant to the issue.
  2. For me life began when my children were born.
  3. Each person should decide for themselves when life begins.

Women’s rights must be based up on intellect. Ms. Richards misled (or lied) to hundreds of thousands of women on when science says life begins. Her response ignored mountains of undisputed scientific data. But what Ms. Richards is also saying is that it doesn’t matter if it is a child, we should still kill her/him anyways. That idea is horrifying.

We believe women deserve to be presented with all the knowledge and facts to make informed decisions.

Planned Parenthood opposes every single informed consent law in the country. Informed consent laws would require Planned Parenthood to inform women of medically accurate information regarding their pregnancy to assist them in making the decision. Women considering abortions would be presented with medical facts about the procedure, the development of the child, and the risks before making her choice.

We believe sexual abusers should not be able to take the girl they are sexually abusing for a secret abortion.

Planned Parenthood opposes every parental involvement law in the country. These laws would require notification or consent from a (or both) parent of a girl before she receives an abortion. This protects girls from being sent back into the hands of their rapists for more sexual abuse. Illinois’ parental notice law reduced the number of abortions on teenage girls by 28.8% in the first year.

We believe in providing women with honest and medically accurate facts.

Planned Parenthood CEO, Cecile Richards was caught lying to women saying they provide life-saving mammograms. However, when asked unde oath if Planned Parenthood provided mammogram, Ms. Richards stated they do not. Watch here:

We believe that women deserve world-class medical facilities.

No Planned Parenthood in Illinois is licensed nor has received a health and sanitary inspection since 1999. In Illinois, tanning salons, Chicago Restaurants, and nursing homes are inspected an average of once ever year. Illinois abortion clinics are inspected an average of once every 9 years.

We believe all men and women are created equal.

Planned Parenthood is currently suing the state of Indiana for making it illegal to abort a child only because it is a girl and the parents wanted a boy. Planned Parenthood defends sex-selective abortion that targets pre-born girls.

We believe every human person is worthy of love and care.

When asked what Planned Parenthood would do if a child was born alive during an abortion and was breathing on the table, the Planned Parenthood representative told the Florida General Assembly they would leave it up to the mother and the doctor whether or not to strangle or suffocate the born child or provide medical care.

We believe women should be presented with clear facts and choices to make decisions for themselves.

92% women seeking pregnancy services from Planned Parenthood receive an abortion instead of an adoption referral or prenatal care. That’s not good counseling, that’s a good sales person.

We believe Planned Parenthood should focus its money on helping women.

If 41% of Planned Parenthood’s income comes from taxpayers, we believe that money should go towards helping women. Let’s look at how Planned Parenthood is spending money:

  • Planned Parenthood has enough excess revenue for a $100 million endowment.
  • Planned Parenthood gave $22 million to its political action and lobbying arm. $11.8 million was given to Democratic candidates. In the 2016 presidential election, Planned Parenthood has pledged to spend $20 million to elect Hilary Clinton. $67 million was spent on fundraising over the course of three years. $200,000 of Planned Parenthood’s money was sent to the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, a progressive political organization.
  • $14,000 was spent on travel per day ($5.1 million in 2013), while $600,000 was spent on exorbitant parties in 2013.
  • Planned Parenthood sent $32 million overseas to Africa and Latin America, and $3.4 million to Central America and the Caribbean.

Planned Parenthood isn’t the epitome of feminism it is feminism’s nemesis.

“Life Wins!”

Smiling faces, singing and dancing, and LOTS of yellow LIFE balloons.

That’s just about all you could see and hear in the crowded streets of downtown Chicago on Sunday, January 15, 2017.

The temperature was a balmy 35 degrees (yes, that’s balmy this time of year for Chicago), and thousands pro-life people took the streets to be a part of the largest pro-life event in the Midwest: The 2017 March for Life Chicago.

For the second year in row, more than 4,000 people came out to participate in their furry hats, scarfs, and puffy coats. In just its 4th year running, 2017 was another great year for this Midwest March. People from Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio, and across Illinois traveled to Chicago with one goal: to share a message of love, hope, and life.

This year’s theme: “Life Wins!” And on this Sunday afternoon, Life did win.

Lake County Sheriff, Mark Curran, emceed the event. Passionate and attentive, march participants also listened to speeches from:

Gianna Jessen – Abortion Survivor (bio)
Bishop Paul – Bishop, Chicago and the Midwest, Orthodox Church of America (bio)
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich – Archbishop, Archdiocese of Chicago (bio)
Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison – President, The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (bio)
Congressman Dan Lipinski – U.S. Congressman, 3rd District of IL (bio)
Congressman Peter Roskam – U.S. Congressman, 6th District of IL (bio)
Pat McCaskey – Co-Owner, Chicago Bears (bio)
Aid for Women Pregnancy Help Centers Client (info)
Randy Dziak – Student Leader, Students for Life of IL (info)

In his speech, Reverend Doctor Matthew Harrison, President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, told the crowd,

“Let us love not with lips or tongues but in deed and truth.”

The newly appointed Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago said,

“Thank you for your beautiful witness on this day…You speak on behalf of those who have no voice because their voice is too small or too weak.”

He also humorously remarked,

“I was so cold last year, it was the warmth of you that kept me warm.”

Then, in the middle of the rally, was the keynote, Ms. Gianna Jessen, who told her powerful, personal story as a survivor of an abortion. She stated,

“I survived an abortion…. I was born in an abortion clinic, but didn’t die.”

She continued,

“If abortion is merely about women’s rights, then what were mine?”

Although the abortion has left her with physical disabilities, she proclaimed:

“I will be marching…limping gorgeously with you down the streets in Chicago! I am so proud of you for being so courageous for defending those who have no voice.”

At the close of the largest pro-life event in the Midwest, pro-lifers kicked off the end of the March with a celebration of life in the Federal Plaza. The Crusaders for Life never fail to get the crowd going with their dancing and cheering. This day was another day to remember for the pro-life movement throughout Illinois, the Midwest, and the nation.

Here’s a flashback at what happened at the 2017 March for Life Chicago (Photo Credit: Emily Troscinski/Illinois Right to Life):

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How large was the March for Life Chicago crowd? Check it out a glimpse here (Video Credit: Emily Troscinski/Illinois Right to Life)

 

For information about how to get involved with the 2018 March for Life Chicago, email MarchForLifeChicago@gmail.com. For more about March for Life Chicago visit www.MarchForLifeChicago.org.

About the March for Life Chicago

The March for Life Chicago is an annual public event composed of people from diverse ethnic, social, and religious backgrounds dedicated to defending and protecting all human life. The event marks with deep sadness the great tragedy of the legalization of abortion in the United States along with the devastating social, moral, and legal consequences that have followed. Marching together in hope, the March for Life Chicago planning committee works with government, religious, civic, and community leaders to renew every effort to build a nation that affirms the authentic dignity of women, the gift of children, and a culture dedicated to protecting life at every stage of development. Learn more at: www.MarchForLifeChicago.org.

What You NEED to Know About HB 40

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Governor Rauner has recently expressed his intentions to veto HB 40 if it makes it to his desk. A spokesperson for Governor Rauner has made the following statement:

“Gov. Rauner is committed to protecting women’s reproductive rights under current Illinois law. However, recognizing the sharp divisions of opinion of taxpayer funding of abortion, he does not support HB40.”

For more information, click here


Right now, the Illinois General Assembly is considering House Bill 40, originally called HB 4013.

Instead of focusing on fixing the budget crisis, pro-abortion legislators are working to push this radical bill into law.

HB 40 could be called to the floor for a vote at any moment, and we need your help to stop it. First, here’s why this such a disastrous bill:

 

1) Free Medicaid abortions. No restrictions.

This bill will make each Illinoisan pay for abortions through the full nine months of pregnancy for any reason, even when the unborn child can feel pain and survive outside the womb, for those on Medicaid, and for state employees. Currently, the State Medicaid program already pays for abortions in cases of rape, incest, health and life of the mother. Now, it would also pay for abortions even if the only reason for the abortion is convenience.

 

2) Illinois abortions will rise.

We’re projecting that this bill could increase Illinois abortions as many as 12,000 more per year, based on data from the last time Medicaid funded abortions. That’s on top of the already 39,856 abortions per year. The ACLU admitted that 18-35% of those on Medicaid state they will not have an abortion unless it is free.

 

3) State spending is limitless.

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 General Assembly is essentially handing over a blank check to the abortion industry. The actual financial burden to the State can’t be determined, but we look to the current rates and statistics for an estimate:

In 2014 alone, Stroger Hospital, a low-income hospital in Cook County, Illinois, performed 6,338 abortions. Abortions provided to low-income women at this hospital are subsidized by Cook County tax dollars. This is about 16% of all the abortions in the state of Illinois. The current cost per abortion that Medicaid is paying right now is $1,650. (We’ll get to that in a minute). These 6,338 abortions could cost the State over $10 million ($10,637,830). This cost would now be carried by Illinois taxpayers.

But it gets worse. The last time Illinoisans paid for unrestricted Medicaid funded abortions was in the late ’70s. Approximately 12,738 abortions were paid for by Medicaid at a cost of over $1.8 million ($1,876,837). Given the current rate, abortions could cost the State over $21 million ($21,379,713).

 

4) Lots of room for fraud.

According to a 2016 Congressional investigation, fifty-one audits of Planned Parenthood affiliates have uncovered a shocking total of over $8.5 million ($8,552,264) in overbilling, as documented in the Congressional Panel’s report. (The Panel even remarks that their audit summary reflects a very small sample of the total Medicaid reimbursements received from Planned Parenthood). In Illinois alone, Planned Parenthood was forced to pay back $387,000 for improper or fraudulent billing. And now we’re going to give them more access to Medicaid funds? This is outrageous.

It’s also interesting to note that in 2014 (the latest statistics available), 145 abortions were covered by Medicaid. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Legislative Affairs reported that the total estimated payments for these abortions was $243,371. This means the average cost of these abortions was an outrageous $1,678. According to figures from the National Abortion Federation, the average cost of an abortion is approximately $640.

So why is the abortion industry billing taxpayers almost three times the average cost of an abortion? What is going on here?

 

Planned Parenthood is behind this one. They’re still reeling from losing the election so badly after spending $30 million to elect pro-abortion candidates. We need to say no to their desperate attempt to force you and me to pay for Illinois abortions.

The General Assembly is back in session, meaning the vote could happen any moment. House Bill 40 would undo a decades-old ban on taxpayer funding of abortion, costing us thousands of lives a year. There may be no legal remedy if this bill becomes law.

Stay tuned to our Facebook and website to keep updated and informed on the status of this bill.

Speaker Ryan Says It’s Going to Happen

January 5, 2017

Today, as reported in the Washington Times, Speaker Paul Ryan said that defunding Planned Parenthood is going to be a part of the budget reconciliation legislation coming up, which is set to repeal Obamacare. During a press briefing he stated,

“The Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our reconciliation bill.”

And his statement is rather timely. Just yesterday, the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives released a 418 page report detailing their findings after investigating the involvement of Planned Parenthood and other organizations in the buying and selling of aborted baby body parts. 15 criminal referrals were made as a result of their investigation.

Last year, Congress had also passed legislation to pull taxpayer funding from the nation’s largest abortion provider and redirect the funds towards alternative healthcare clinics for women, that do not perform abortions. This legislation was, however, vetoed by President Obama.

But President-elect Donald Trump, on the other hand, has promised to do otherwise. No doubt, this has left the abortion industry and pro-abortion advocates shaking in their boots. MPR News writes,

“The defunding measure … would result in roughly 400,000 women losing access to care.”

In their article, Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood said,

“Defunding Planned Parenthood is dangerous to people’s health, it’s unpopular, and it would leave people across the country without care. They cannot afford to have basic reproductive health care attacked.”

Is this so? Would defunding Planned Parenthood hurt our American women, and deny them the services they need?

Here’s the deal:

1. Planned Parenthood is outnumbered by alternatives

Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List, said in the Washington Times,

“Today’s commitment by Speaker Ryan to re-direct the abortion giant’s taxpayer funding to community health centers is a victory for women’s health care. Community health centers provide far more services than Planned Parenthood and outnumber them 20 to 1 nationwide.”

Is she right? You bet.

There are 700 Planned Parenthood facilities in the United States. Meanwhile, there are 13,540 other comprehensive care clinics located around the country, according to a study by the Alliance Defending Freedom. That means there are 20 comprehensive care clinics for every Planned Parenthood facility, nationwide.

In Illinois, there are 16 Planned Parenthood facilities. There are also 670 alternative care clinics located throughout the state. This means that for every Planned Parenthood facility in Illinois, there are about 41 alternatives.

A list of the federally qualified health centers can be viewed here. The rural health clinics can be viewed here.

So what if Planned Parenthood disappeared? In this video, Students for Life of America shows us what would happen:

If Planned Parenthood was suddenly eliminated, community care centers and federally qualified health centers would provide women with numerous alternatives. This would spark growth and development for other women’s health care centers as well.

 

2. Planned Parenthood is actually kind of “unpopular”

There are about 63 million women of reproductive age (15-44) living in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute. As stated on their website, Planned Parenthood serves about 2.7 million men and women annually. This means that about 4.3% of American women go to Planned Parenthood.

In Illinois, there are about 2.6 million women of child-bearing age, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Illinois Planned Parenthood states on their website that they serve 60,000 men and women per year. This means that 2.3% of Illinois women use Planned Parenthood’s services.

So where do the other 97% of women in Illinois and 95% of women nationally go to receive health care?

Community care centers, federally qualified health centers, and other women’s clinics.

It seems to be that a large majority of women look outside Planned Parenthood for their health care needs.

 

3. Proper use of your tax dollars remains a question

In just 2015, Planned Parenthood received $553 in taxpayer dollars, according to their annual report. As the Washington Times reports, much of this taxpayer funding came through the form federal Medicaid reimbursements. According to state filings, 40% of Planned Parenthood’s revenue comes from Medicaid.

That being said, it’s important to point out that Planned Parenthood is currently under investigation for filing more than 500,000 false, fraudulent, or ineligible Medicaid claims, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom law firm. The fines for these charges are said to accumulate to over $5.5 billion.

Forty-four audits of Planned Parenthood affiliates have also uncovered a shocking total of at least $8.3 million in waste, abuse, and potential fraud in nine states, according to the latest  report by the Alliance Defending Freedom.

 

With all that being said, looks like we are going to do just fine without Planned Parenthood.

Congress Slaps Abortion Industry with 15 Criminal Referrals

For Immediate Release

December 21, 2016

Reprinted with permission from the Communications Director for the Select Investigative Panel Chairman Marsha Blackburn

Washington, DC — Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) today released 15 criminal and regulatory referrals the Select Investigative Panel has made to federal, state, and local authorities over the course of its investigation.

Evidence uncovered by the Panel shows that a number of middleman tissue procurement businesses and abortion clinics may have violated 42 U.S.C. § 289g-2, a federal statute that makes it a 10-year felony to profit from the sale of human fetal tissue. The Panel discovered that StemExpress may have destroyed documents that were the subject of congressional inquiries, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1519 and referred the matter to the U.S. Department of Justice. The Panel also discovered that some entities may have violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rights of vulnerable women, as well as federal regulations governing Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), for the sole purpose of increasing the harvesting of fetal tissue to make money.

“Speaking as a woman, I am deeply troubled by what we have learned about the mistreatment of patients at a particularly difficult and vulnerable time in their lives. They are being treated with a disregard for their best interests and their rights as patients,” said Chairman Blackburn. “Women deserve better than this. They deserve better than to face any level of deception or pressure. We have seen instances in which profit-driven procurement businesses acting in conjunction with clinics violate women’s privacy rights under HIPAA. We have seen consent forms misrepresenting to women that cures for still uncured diseases have resulted from fetal tissue. It is disturbing to see so many cases where there is barely the pretense of consent or no consent at all before the remains of a baby are taken by researchers.”

[And here they are]:

Criminal and Regulatory Referrals

Select Investigative Panel

1) The Panel learned that StemExpress and certain abortion clinics may have violated the HIPAA privacy rights of vulnerable women for the sole purpose of increasing the harvesting of fetal tissue to make money. Referred to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Read the Referral Letter here.

2) The Panel uncovered evidence via documentation and testimony from confidential informants indicating that StemExpress, a tissue procurement company that contracted with Planned Parenthood, violated the law by using alleged fraudulent and invalid consent forms on patients and misleading customers to believe it had valid approval from the Institutional Review Boards (IRBs). Allegations also include pressuring female patients to give consent or failing to obtain proper consent at all prior to selling baby body parts to customers.  Referred to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Read the Referral Letter here.

3) The Panel discovered that the University of New Mexico received baby body parts from a late-term abortion clinic allegedly in violation of the state’s Anatomical Gift Act. Referred to the Attorney General of New Mexico. Read the Referral Letter here.

4 & 5) The Panel conducted a forensic accounting analysis of StemExpress’ limited production and determined that it may have been profiting from the sale of baby body parts. Referral sent to El Dorado, California, District Attorney, and the U.S. Department of Justice. Read the Referral Letter here.

6) The Panel discovered that an abortion clinic in Arkansas allegedly violated the law when it allegedly profited from the sale of baby body parts to StemExpress. Referred to the Attorney General of Arkansas. Read the Referral Letter here.

7) The Panel discovered that DV Biologics, another tissue procurement company, may have been profiting from the sale of baby body parts and also may have failed to pay taxes to the state of California. The Orange County District Attorney has filed a lawsuit and the Panel sent a supplemental referral. Read the Referral Letter here.

8) The Panel learned that Advanced Bioscience Resources appeared to have made a profit when it sold tissue to various universities. Referred to the District Attorney for Riverside County, California. Read the Referral Letter here.

9) The Panel discovered that an abortion clinic in Florida, at least in part through its relationship with StemExpress, may have violated various provisions of federal and state law by profiting from the sale of fetal tissue. Referred to the Attorney General of Florida. Read the Referral Letter here.

10) After uncovering documents and receiving testimony, the Panel learned that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast sent baby body parts to the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, and may have violated the Texas Penal Code 48.02, which forbids profiting off the sale of baby body-parts, and Texas Penal Code Title 8, which makes it a crime to lie to a law enforcement officer or agency during a criminal investigation. Read the Referral Letter here.

11 & 12) The Panel has uncovered evidence from the eyewitness accounts of former employees and a patient alleging that a late-term abortionist murdered infants who showed signs of life, both when partially outside the birth canal and completely outside the birth canal. This is in violation of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act and the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act and Texas murder statutes. The allegations have been referred to the Texas Attorney General, and the U.S. Department of Justice. Read the Referral Letter here.

13) The Panel has discovered information that StemExpress may have destroyed documents that were the subject of congressional inquiries, document request letters, and subpoenas, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1519. Referred to the U.S. Department of Justice. Read the Referral Letter here.

14) The Panel uncovered documents and a complaint from a former patient alleging that the University of New Mexico (UNM) and Southwestern Women’s Options (SWWO) failed to provide informed consent to women before using the body parts of their babies after their abortions for research at the university. This is in violation of New Mexico’s state laws regarding informed consent, and a supplemental referral was made to the Attorney General of New Mexico. Read the Referral Letter here.

15) Over the course of its investigation, the Panel has uncovered documents and received testimony from confidential informants indicating that several entities, including four Planned Parenthood clinics and Novogenix, may have violated federal law, specifically Title 42 U.S.C. § 289g-2, which forbids the transfer of fetal tissue for valuable consideration. Referred to the U.S. Department of Justice. Read the Referral Letter here.

 

Court Victory for Pro-Lifers Against SB 1564

On December 20, 2016, a judge in Rockford, Illinois issued a preliminary injunction protecting the Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford, Dr. Anthony Caruso and A Bella Baby OBGYN, and Aid for Women from SB 1564. This law will force all pregnancy resource centers, doctors, and pharmacists in Illinois to promote abortions, and will go into effect on January 1, 2017. The injunction will temporarily protect those centers listed above (the Plaintiffs) from the requirements of the law until a final decision is reached in the lawsuit filed on their behalf by Alliance Defending Freedom and Mauck & Baker LLC.

The nineteen-page court order has been issued. In it, the state court notes that the Plaintiffs in the case raised ample concerns about the legality and constitutionality of the law. The ruling states:

“Why must the State, which licenses and regulates those who provide the objected-to services, rely on the very people who object to the service to be the source of information about them?”

Noel Sterett, attorney from Mauck & Baker LLC and co-counsel in the case says,

“The Court was right. Illinois has singled out only those who conscientiously object to providing abortions as those who must carry the State’s message about abortion.”

The state court also points out its own concerns and incongruences in the defendants’ case. It remarks,

“Certainly RFRA (The Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act) [and] the Conscience Act can stand together, but in some cases – and this appears to be one of them – they irreconcilably conflict.”

It also later states,

“The Court’s concern is that the sharp edges of SB 1564 are obscured behind its invocation of professional ethical standards. Defendants argue that SB 1564 doesn’t really change the standards of conduct already imposed on providers by professional licensing requirements, and yet they would not otherwise receive. Defendants cannot have it both ways; they cannot argue that SB 1564 addresses an unmet health care need and a t the same time argue that its’ requirements are already part of existing professional standards.”

Matt Bowman, Senior Counsel from Alliance Defending Freedom and lead counsel in the case also commented on the ruling saying,

“Forcing pro-life doctors and pregnancy care centers in Illinois to operate as referral agents for the abortion industry in violation of their freedom of conscience is unconstitutional, illegal, and unethical. No state has the authority to compel health professionals, against their will and their sacred oath to ‘do no harm,’ to promote abortion. We commend the court’s ruling which is a victory for free speech and the freedom of conscience.”

Tiffany Staman, executive director at Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford told Heartbeat International,
“We are optimistic and we are grateful. We realize this is just the beginning of the road, but we’re really grateful that the court ruled based on our free speech rights that are found in the Constitution. We are looking forward to 2017 and following God’s leading every step of the way.”
You can read more information here.

Important Note: The injunction only protects the Plaintiffs in this case (Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford, Dr. Anthony Caruso, etc.). Their attorneys made a request to the State of Illinois to forgo the enforcement of S.B. 1564 against all pro-life people and centers until the lawsuit was complete.

The State of Illinois has refused thus far.

If you or someone you know is going to be forced to comply with this law as of January 1, 2017, there may be action you can take to protect yourself by joining the lawsuit.

For more information, contact us at Info@IllinoisRightToLife.org  and we’ll be happy to connect you with the attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom and Mauck and Baker.

To view the court order, click here.

 

This article has been updated to include information from Heartbeat International.