Focus on the Family

Pro-Life, Pro-Dignity

by Carrie Gordon Earll

What does it mean to be pro-life?

Contrary to media soundbites, a person who is pro-life actually believes in the dignity of every human life, as we (the human race) were made in the image of the triune God. 

Did you know Scripture is saturated with this truth? Watch this brief video — and then share it with someone who needs to hear that they are valued and loved.

dignity-video-splash 

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The 'Sanctity of Life' Ethic

by Carrie Gordon Earll

The sanctity of human life is a core principle for Focus on the Family. 08 26 09

We believe human life is of inestimable worth and significance in all its dimensions, including the preborn, the aged, the widowed, the mentally and physically challenged, the unattractive and every other condition in which humanness is expressed from the single-cell stage to natural death.

In short, human life is sacred and respect for human life should be at the center of all we do. In order to put the "life ethic" into words and practice, it helps to consider where it comes from, what it looks like and how can we incorporate it into our daily lives:

The Life Ethic: Where Does It Come From?

The Bible establishes that human life is sacred in Genesis 1:27:

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (ESV)

To be created in the likeness of God means that each human bears His image and with it, a value beyond our unique characteristics or individual attributes. Nothing else in God's created order has the distinction of reflecting His image; it's a privileged status reserved only for humankind. 

This is a bit of a mystery as God's image in us isn't something tangible we can see, taste or feel; yet it establishes our significance and worth at the highest level.  The Bible says we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14). From the miracle of life in the womb to the body's ability to regenerate cells and tissue for healing, we see God's amazing fingerprint at work.  Humans are breathtaking creatures embodying a touch of the Creator Himself and reflected in the wonder of human life.

The Life Ethic: What Does It Look Like?

Contrary to cultural messages, our value isn't determined by our ethnicity, race or gender; nor by our age, ability or location.  It's our divine membership in the human family that sets each of us apart as sacred. Men, women and children (including preborn children in the womb) should be respected, regardless of their mental capacity, physical ability, or social position. Some people may not exhibit attributes of God or behave in ways that recognize their own value yet their intrinsic worth remains.

The concept of human dignity comes from the sanctity of human life.  Since humans are made in God's image, we hold a distinctive status that sets us apart. Human dignity is bestowed upon us by God. It's not based on our ability to care for ourselves or competence to complete the task. Dignity is not a concept that can be forfeited, so being dependent on others cannot cause us to lose our dignity.

Our failure to recognize and honor human dignity is apparent in phrases like "quality of life." Dependency is viewed as the ultimate weakness and as a result, some people would rather die than continue living if it means living with a disability. This attitude increases pressure for the acceptance of physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia instead of providing a compassionate response to those who are disabled or face a terminal illness.

A common fear among the disabled or terminally ill is that of becoming a burden. We help restore human dignity through our witness of caring for each other, especially in our times of dependence and need. The sanctity ethic reminds us that God is ultimately sovereign over the affairs of our lives, including our frailty and infirmity.

The Life Ethic: How Can We Incorporate The Sanctity of Human Life Into Our Lives? 

The cornerstone of living out this fundamental truth is to recognize the value of our own lives and the lives of others.

In fact, knowing who you are is a big part of understanding the sanctity of human life. Do you value your own life as sacred? Do you embrace your worth and significance as one who bears God's likeness? Comprehending this is the first step in embracing the truth of who we all are!

The second is in the way you view others.  Do you see others through God's eyes? Does your gaze stop at their physical appearance or ability, or do you look deeper to try and see the image of God in each life? Hidden heart attitudes of pride, superiority and contempt prevent us from seeing others with the respect and significance they deserve.

Finally, to live out the sanctity truth requires at action: to remind those around us of the value of all human life by speaking out for "those who cannot speak for themselves" (Proverbs 31:8). Look for opportunities to talk about and act upon your pro-life views. Teach your children and grandchildren to respect all human life and demonstrate that respect in your own word and actions.

Together we can live out and communicate the beauty, wonder and reverence our Creator intended for each person in the human family.

FURTHER RESOURCES

The First Nine Months booklet lays out fetal development in tasteful photos and medical facts.

The Focus on the Family Sanctity of Human Life 2014 handbook.


Remembering Roe

by Carrie Gordon Earll

Abortion has far reaching implications for the woman, her child and society. Focus on the Family’s Carrie Gordon Earll shares her abortion testimony in this video.

Remembering Roe - 2

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The Serpent's Whisper

by Carrie Gordon Earll

I know how tempting abortion can be when faced with an unexpected pregnancy. 

That was my situation in 1981, when I was a single, pregnant college student. Abortion was legal and it seemed like the logical response to my dilemma; so I had an abortion.

From God’s perspective, human life is of inestimable worth, because it represents His image. Abortion is not just a "social issue," it's a violation of His design for the sacred human lives it kills, wounds and scars. 

For many women who experience an undesired pregnancy, the concept of human life as "sacred" rings hollow, offering little tangible support for those considering their choices in an abortion-friendly culture. The value of that tiny life growing in her womb loses distinction amidst her own needs, fears and uncertainty. God's universal message declaring His likeness in humanity is crowded out by other voices around her: family, boyfriend or husband, job or school. If she listens closely to these voices, she may recognize an ageless and familiar utterance articulated in the quietness of a whisper.

A biblical account of this "woman whisperer" is found in Genesis when another woman's ear was tickled by a message contrary to God's.

Her name was Eve, and her encounter with a wily serpent — and subsequent choice to disregard God's instruction — altered the course of all human history.

The opening verses in Genesis chapter 3 recounts the story:

"Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden?' "

You can almost hear the serpent whispering in an enticing tone: "Did God really say...?" The whisper challenged what Eve knew to be true, as is often the case with pregnant women considering abortion. As women, we know intuitively it's not natural for us to kill our children. The very act of abortion disconnects us from our instinct to protect — not destroy — our young. If we listen to our intuition and the truth that's written on our hearts, we know abortion is not our first choice. Circumstances may appear to make it our only choice; however, to abort our children disregards who we are as women and mothers. Abortion is contrary to what we know to be true.

Like Eve before us, we consider the serpent's whisper and the unthinkable embracing of abortion it promotes. The serpent offered Eve half-truths, paving the way to her justifying her disobedience to God. Once she realized the heartbreak that resulted from her choice, Eve confessed what she failed to see at the time of her decision: "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

Me, too, Eve. He deceived me, too.

The bitter fruit of abortion leaves more than an unpleasant aftertaste for those who eat it. Complications with future pregnancies, substance abuse and deep emotional regret represent only a few of the unintended consequences awaiting us when we are deceived by the serpent's whisper. Women whose ears are open to this murmuring soft voice need tangible support to counter its appeal — support that is available through a network of pro-life pregnancy resource and medical centers across the nation.

Women have a choice. The voice of truth will always silence the lies, if only we will listen.


What is a Chemical Abortion?

There are two general categories of abortion: surgical and chemical. A surgical abortion removes the preborn baby from a woman's uterus, killing the child in the process. Chemical abortions use drugs to accomplish the same end-result: the death of the preborn child.

Carrie Gordon Earll

In the U.S., the most available and used drugs for chemical abortion is a combination of mifepristone (also known as RU-486) and misoprostol. wordl-chemical-abortion

What is Mifepristone/RU-486?

Mifepristone is the generic name for the over-the-counter drug "RU-486," which was developed in 1980, by the French pharmaceutical company Roussel Uclaf. Mifepristone is the first in a two-drug chemical-abortion technique given to women who are up to seven weeks (or 49 days gestational age) pregnant. First, a woman is given mifepristone, which acts to block progesterone — a hormone necessary to maintain pregnancy. Mifepristone causes the uterine lining to shed, disconnecting (and in essence starving to death) the developing preborn child. A second drug, misoprostol, is taken a day or two later and causes the womb to expel the now-dead embryo. Taken in tandem, the two drugs cause an induced abortion.

On September 28, 2000, mifepristone was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in chemical abortion under the brand name Mifeprex®.

What is Misoprostol?

The second drug used in this chemical-abortion regimen, misoprostol, was already available in the U.S. as a treatment for ulcers when mifepristone was approved for chemical abortion. Misoprostol is manufactured by Searle Pharmaceuticals under the brand name Cytotec®. In July 2002, the FDA approved a generic version of misoprostol distributed by IVAX Pharmaceuticals.

Misoprostol is not formally approved by the FDA for use in chemical abortion, although it recommends misoprostol for use in conjunction with mifepristone. Searle, a subsidiary of Pharmacia Corporation, has not studied or approved Cytotec (misoprostol) for use in labor induction or abortion.

It's worth noting the drug is linked to uterine rupture and other critical risks to pregnant women. Just one month before FDA approval for the abortion drug combination, Searle issued an alert to physicians, warning them that misoprostol is not approved for use in pregnant women and using the drug can cause "rupture or perforation, requiring uterine surgical repair, hysterectomy," "severe vaginal bleeding" and "maternal death." 

What Are The Risks to Women Who Take Mifepristone and Misoprostol to Induce a Chemical Abortion?

As of April 2011, the FDA reported at least 14 women have died in the U.S., due to complications from taking mifepristone and misoprostol for chemical abortion. At least eight deaths have been attributed to a bacterial infection, Colostridium sordellii, most likely caused by vaginal use of misoprostol. The report also lists five additional deaths in foreign countries.

The FDA has updated the warnings associated with mifepristone several times to reflect the risk of fatal clostridial toxic shock from infection. In July 2005, the FDA announced the second change to the drug's "black box" warning label detailing the symptoms associated with the fatal bacterial infections, which can be "atypical ... without fever, bacteria or significant findings on pelvic exam. ..." The "black box" is the FDA's most serious warning label.

The first woman known to die from infection after taking mifepristone for a chemical abortion was 18-year old Holly Patterson. Patterson died Sept. 17, 2003 — about a week after receiving mifepristone at the Haywood, California Planned Parenthood affiliate. An autopsy found Patterson died from septic shock, caused by a "therapeutic, drug-induced abortion." In December 2004, her parents filed suit against the drug's distributor, Danco Laboratories, Planned Parenthood and the hospital where she died.

The FDA's most recent "Adverse Event Summary" on the drug combination chronicles other complications associated with the drugs, including blood loss requiring transfusion, intravenous antibiotics and hospitalization.

One published study based on the U.S. clinical trials of mifepristone found that "[E]xcessive bleeding necessitated blood transfusions in four women and accounted for 25 of 27 hospitalizations (including emergency-room visits), 56 of 59 surgical interventions, and 22 of 49 administrations of intravenous fluid."  The study states that one in 100 women reported symptoms ranging from bleeding to abdominal pain and vomiting they described as severe and incapacitating.

How Common are Chemical Abortions in the U.S.?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's 2010 Abortion Surveillance Report, 20 percent of abortions that year were chemical; 80 percent were surgical.

Is Mifepristone the Same as the "Morning-After Pill"?

No, mifepristone is taken when a woman knows she is pregnant and has the intention of aborting her preborn child. The "morning-after pill" is sold to women as a form of "emergency contraception" to prevent pregnancy. 


Abortion Complications

by Carrie Gordon Earll

What physical and psychological risks do women take when they have an abortion?

The range of possible complications may surprise you. Roughly one million American women each year submit to abortion, making it one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures. But abortion is not without risk — to our bodies, our minds and our emotions:

"I had an abortion at 17 and it was the worst thing I ever did. ... I was two months gone when I realized. I went to my mum and she said, without pausing for breath: 'You have to get rid of it.' She told me where the clinic was and then virtually pushed me off. She was so angry. She said I'd gotten myself in this mess, now she had to get me out. But she didn't come. I went alone. I was terrified. It was full of other young girls, and we were all terrified and looking at each other and nobody was saying a bloody word. I howled my way through it, and it was horrible. I would never recommend it to anyone because it comes back to haunt you. When I tried to have children, I lost three — I think it was because something happened to my cervix during the abortion. After three miscarriages, they had to put a stitch in it."   ~ Sharon Osborne (TV personality and wife of Ozzy Osborne) in Sharon Unxpurgated, (Dec 18, 2004, Associated Newspapers, Ltd)

Physical

Women face a number of possible physical complications as a result of legal abortion including hemorrhage requiring transfusion, perforation of the uterus, cardiac arrest, endotoxic shock, major unintended surgery, infection resulting in hospitalization, convulsions, undiagnosed ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, cervical laceration, uterine rupture, and death. (Warren Hern, Abortion Practice, 1990, p. 175-193.)

Seventeen percent of women participating in a study on the effects of abortion reported they have "experienced physical complications (e.g., abnormal bleeding or pelvic infection) since their abortion." Based on reported abortion statistics, this represents 200,000 women annually experiencing physical complications after an abortion. (Brenda Major, Archives of General Psychology, 2000)

Abortion can adversely affect later pregnancies. A recent literature review concluded that abortion is a risk factor for placenta previa (where the placenta implants over the cervix, causing hemorrhaging) and preterm delivery with subsequent pregnancies. (John Thorp, Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey, 2003).

Research has found women having abortions are more likely to have a low birth-weight baby in a later pregnancy. (Weijin Zhou, International Journal of Epidemiology, 2000 and Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1999.)

Abortion can increase your chance of having an ectopic (or tubal) pregnancy in the future. (Anna Kalandidi, British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1991 and Ann A. Levin, American Journal of Public Health, 1982)

Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found having multiple abortions increases a woman's chance of having a miscarriage in a later pregnancy. (Ann A. Levin, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1980, subscription required)

All women, especially young teenagers, are at risk for damage to their cervix during an abortion, which can lead to complications with later pregnancies. (Kenneth Schultz, The Lancet, 1983)

Abortion puts a woman at increased risk for complications in later pregnancies. Medical research states, "Complications such as bleeding in the first and third trimesters, abnormal presentations and premature rupture of the membranes, abruptio placentae, fetal distress, low birth weight, short gestation, and major malformations occurred more often among women with a history of two or more induced abortions." (Shari Linn, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1983)

Abortion can increase your risk for breast cancer. A review analyzing 23 studies on breast cancer and abortion identified 17 of those studies indicate an increased risk of breast cancer among women having an abortion. (Joel Brind, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 1996). For more information on this topic, go to www.abortionbreastcancer.com and www.bcpinstitute.org

Existing evidence of an abortion-breast cancer connection prompted the New England Journal of Medicine to publish a February 2000 review of breast cancer research, which lists abortion as a risk factor. (Katrina Armstrong, "Assessing the Risk of Breast Cancer," New England Journal of Medicine, Vol 342, No.8, 2000, subscription required).

Psychological

An analysis of nearly 15 years of published research found "women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81 percent increased risk of mental health problems, and nearly 10 percent of the incidence of mental health problems was shown to be directly attributable to abortion." (Priscilla K. Coleman, British Journal of Psychiatry, 2011)

After an abortion, women can experience psychological reactions ranging from guilt feelings, nervous symptoms, sleep disturbance and regrets. Also, as many as 10 percent of women "experience serious psychiatric problems following abortion." (J.R. Ashton, British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 1980)

Research published in the prestigious Archives of General Psychiatry acknowledges that many women experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after an abortion. In one of the longest-running studies conducted on women after abortion, researchers found over time, relief and positive emotions relating to the abortion declined and negative emotions increased. PTSD symptoms include dreams or flashbacks to the abortion, a general numbing of responsiveness not present before the abortion, and difficulty falling asleep.  In the same study, a survey of women two years after their abortions found 28 percent of women were either indifferent about or dissatisfied with their abortion decision and 31 percent said they were uncertain or would not have an abortion again.13 (Brenda Major, Archives of General Psychology, 2000)

A recent literature review concluded abortion is a risk factor for "mood disorders substantial enough to provoke attempts of self-harm." (John Thorp, Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey, 2003)

Women who ended their first pregnancy by abortion are five times more likely to report subsequent substance abuse than women who carried the pregnancy to term and four times more likely to report substance abuse compared to those whose first pregnancy ended naturally. (David Reardon, American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 2000)

A Finnish study of suicide after pregnancy found:

Welch researchers examined abortion and suicide and concluded, "Our data suggest that deterioration in mental health may be a consequential side-effect of induced abortion." (Christopher Morgan, British Medical Journal, 1997)

As many as 60 percent of women having an abortion experience some level of emotional distress afterwards. In 30 percent of women, the distress is classified as severe. (Hanna Soderberg, European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 1998)

The circumstances surrounding an abortion decision can impact a woman, as well. According to research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, "Abortion for medical or genetic indications, a history of psychiatric contact before the abortion, and mid-trimester abortions often result in more distress afterward. When women experience significant ambivalence about the decision or when the decision is not freely made, the results are also more likely to be negative." (Paul Dagg, American Journal of Psychiatry, 1991, subscription required)

A study of couples involved in first-trimester abortions in Canada found abortion can be highly distressful for both men and women. Researchers found both before and after the abortion, "study couples were found to be much more distressed than control[s]" couples. High levels of distress among women "correlated with fear of [the abortion's] negative effects on the relationship, unsatisfying relationships, and not having had a previous child." (Pierre Lauzon, Canadian Family Physician, 2000) 


By the Numbers: U.S. Abortion Statistics

by Carrie Gordon Earll

How many abortions have occurred in the U.S. since legalization in 1973? What are some characteristics of women who have abortions?abortion-statistics-1972-2010

It’s estimated that around one million abortions take place annually and more than 51 million abortions have been performed in the U.S. since 1973 (based on accumulative data from the two primary sources of U.S. abortion statistics – Centers for Disease Control and Guttmacher Institute).

Reported number of legal abortions in the United States for selected years according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2010 Abortion Surveillance Report (see graph).

*At first glance, the table listed above appears to show a considerable drop in the number of reported abortions performed in the U.S. between 1997 and 1998. Upon closer examination, however, the decrease is more moderate.

Here’s why: In 1998 and 1999, the number of abortions reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) excluded data from four states — Alaska, California, New Hampshire and Oklahoma — which did not provide information. In subsequent years, several states, including California, did not provide data to the CDC. 

In order to compare reported abortions in 1997 to the subsequent years, the CDC recalculated abortion totals for 1995, 1996 and 1997, minus these non-reporting states. The adjusted numbers of reported abortions are as follows:

 

 Year

Reported
Abortions 

Change Y/Y

1995 

908,243

Unavailable

1996

934,549

 3% Increase

1997

900,171

 3.5% Decrease

1998

884,273

 2% Decrease 

1999

861,789

 2.5% Decrease

2000

857,475

0.5% Decrease

2001

853,485

0.5% Decrease

2002

854,122

0.1% Increase

2003

848,163

0.7% Decrease

2004

839,226

1.1% Decrease

2005

820,151

2.3% Decrease

2006

846,181

3.1% Increase

2007

827,609

2.2% Decrease

2008

825,564

No Change

2009

784,507

5% Decrease

2010

765,651

3% Decrease

 

In 2010, three states — California, Maryland and New Hampshire — did not report abortions to the CDC. The number of reported abortions in 2008, in these three states, totaled 251,680, the majority in California. That puts the estimated number of U.S. abortions in 2008 at 1,017,331. 

The lack of uniform, mandatory abortion reporting for all 50 states hampers the CDC’s ability to accurately report the number of abortions performed in the U.S, as evidenced in the 1998 to 2010 reports.

According to the 2010 CDC report

According to the Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of the nation’s leading abortion seller, Planned Parenthood:


State Ultrasound Laws

Carrie Gordon Earll

To date, 24 states have provisions giving women the opportunity to view ultrasounds before abortions are performed or offering information about how to obtain an ultrasound before an abortion.

Data includes information from state codes, American’s United For Life’s Defending Life 2013 and National Right to Life’s Guide to State Laws on Ultrasound.  

 

 

 

State


Ultrasound required.  Women must be offered the opportunity to view image.

 

Ultrasound must be offered before an abortion.

If an ultrasound is performed as part of abortion preparation, women must be offered the opportunity to view image.


Women must be informed about ultrasound services and how to obtain these services.

 
Women must be informed of opportunity to hear fetal heart beat.


AL


Yes



 



 



 



 


AZ


Yes



 



 



 



 


AR



 



 


Yes



 



 


FL


Yes



 



 



 



 


GA



 



 


Yes


Yes


Yes


ID



 



 


Yes


Yes



 


IA



 


Yes



 


Yes


Yes


KS


Yes



 



 

 

Yes


Yes


LA


Yes



 



 

 

Yes


Yes


MI



 



 


Yes


Yes



 


MS


Yes



 



 



 


Yes


MO



 


Yes



 


Yes


Yes


NE



 



 


Yes


Yes



 


NC


Yes



 



 


Yes


Yes


ND



 


Yes



 



 


Yes


OH



 



 


Yes



 



 


OK


Yes



 



 


Yes


Yes


SC



 



 


Yes


Yes



 


SD



 


Yes



 



 



 


TX


Yes



 



 


Yes


Yes


UT



 



 


Yes



 



 


VA


Yes



 



 


Yes



 


WV



 



 


Yes



 



 


WI


Yes



 



 



 


Yes

 


'Women's Right to Know' Legislation

Abortion is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the United States and one that is only performed upon women. Do women have a right to know the medical risks associated with abortion?

What is a Woman’s Right to Know bill? Remembering Roe -3

“Woman’s Right to Know” is a phrase used to describe legislation that requires that a woman give her informed consent before having an abortion. These bills generally incorporate two components: 1) requiring that specific information be provided to the woman before she undergoes an abortion and 2) a reflection period ranging from one-hour to 24-hours allowing the woman to consider the information provided to her. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld these laws as constitutional and 32 states have Women’s Right to Know (informed consent for abortion) laws in effect.

Isn’t receiving informed consent from a patient standard medical practice?

Generally, yes.  However, when the U.S. Supreme Court created an unrestricted “right” to abortion in 1973, abortion was elevated to a protected status making it exempt from many medical standards, including informed consent. The opportunity to change this came in 1992, when the Supreme Court upheld a Pennsylvania law requiring women be given a variety of information about abortion and consider it for 24 hours before having one. In Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, the court describes abortion as “an act fraught with consequences…for the woman who must live with the implications of her decision.” The high court ruled that the law does not interfere with women who want an abortion but allows the state to take steps “to ensure that this choice is thoughtful and informed.” The purpose of the Pennsylvania law, according to the court, is to reduce the risk that a woman may elect an abortion, “only to discover later, with devastating psychological consequences, that her decision was not fully informed.”

What types of information are generally provided to women under this law?

This law requires that the abortionist (or a qualified, designated person) provide specific information to the woman seeking an abortion at least 24 hours prior to performing the abortion. This information generally includes:

1) the name of the physician who will perform the abortion
2) a description of the abortion procedure to be used
3) the possible physical and psychological risks associated with abortion
4) the medical risks associated with carrying the child to term
alternatives to abortion
5) the probable gestational age and anatomical characteristics of the unborn child at the time of the abortion

The bill requires that the information provided be objective, nonjudgmental, accurate and comprehensive. The state Department of Health (or equivalent) is usually charged with developing material to provide much of this required information.

What if the woman faces a medical emergency and cannot wait 24 hours?

These bills provide an exception for cases of medical emergency that necessitate an abortion to avert the woman’s death or to prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.

Don’t women already receive adequate counseling prior to an abortion?

Many women who have had abortions say, “No”. If an abortion seller already offers women adequate counseling, then this legislation will have no significant impact on its counseling. Information is power and there is no evidence that requiring minimal standards for counseling harms women; on the contrary, it enables women to make decisions with medically accurate information.

What about women who have to travel long distances for an abortion? Doesn’t the 24-hour waiting period create an economic burden?

The Supreme Court, in Casey, found that the 24-hour waiting period is a reasonable measure and does not constitute a substantial obstacle or an undue burden. The law generally allows the abortionist to provide the required information to the woman before she leaves her hometown to travel for the abortion. In many cases, women already make two visits to an abortion business – the first for a pregnancy test and a second one for an abortion.

Doesn’t this legislation intrude on the traditional patient-physician relationship?

No. In fact, in the majority of cases there is no existing relationship between a woman seeking an abortion and the abortionist. If anything, this legislation ensures women seeking abortions have a quality amount of time to ask questions and receive information, thereby giving true informed consent.

Why do some abortion supporters oppose this type of legislation?

Some people incorrectly view these bills as an intrusion on a woman’s “right” to abortion. By opposing this legislation, critics are in essence saying they trust women with the abortion decision but not with all of the information necessary to make that decision. Women do not need to be protected from accurate medical information; they should be allowed to make a free and informed choice about abortion. Abortion sellers, who earn their income when women decide for abortion, should not be allowed to determine what information women receive concerning their risks and alternatives. Women have the right to receive the facts and decide for themselves what is relevant.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information on the status of abortion law in your state, see Americans United for Life’s “Your State” page or “Women’s Right to Know” laws in Defending Life 2013.


Abortion and ObamaCare

by Carrie Gordon Earll

congress health care

The rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA or ObamaCare) is making news as citizens discover the cancellation of their health insurance policies and the sometimes unaffordable cost of replacing them.

Along with these headlines, there's another topic that deserves attention: The expansion of abortion through ObamaCare.

When the federal health-care law was debated before the U.S. Congress in 2009, Focus on the Family joined other pro-life organizations to oppose it as it represented the potentially largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade. For the first time, the government is set to facilitate and possibly subsidize abortion in private health-care plans through ObamaCare's implementation. 

 

Lingering Questions

To date, troubling questions still exist about ObamaCare and abortion, including:

  1. Does the ACA put the federal government in the role of facilitating and possibly subsidizing abortion? 
  2. Will Americans, who enroll in health-care policies offered through their state exchanges, know before purchasing a policy if it includes abortion?

Quick Facts About ObamaCare

Before we look at those two questions, here are some basic facts you need to know. As with most of ObamaCare, the abortion component is complicated, with many moving parts. 

Here's a short summary of the issues involved:

Individual Mandate

State Exchanges

Hyde Amendment

Abortion in the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

What You Need to Know

So, now back to the questions posed previously:

Does the ACA put the federal government in the role of facilitating and possibly subsidizing abortion?  

Multi-State Plans 

Taxpayer Subsidies for Health-Care Plans

Will These Federal Subsidies be Used to Pay for Abortions?

As a result, the ACA requires insurance plans with abortion coverage sold on state exchanges to set up what amounts to an "abortion slush fund" that collects premiums from every enrollee — regardless of the enrollee's gender, age or view on abortion — to pay for abortions.

Do Americans who enroll in health-care plans offered through their state exchanges know if it includes abortion before purchasing a policy?

The "Hidden" Abortion Premium

Conclusion

1.  Does the ACA put the federal government in the role of facilitating and possibly subsidizing abortion? 

2.  Will Americans who enroll in health-care policies offered through their state exchanges know before purchasing a policy if it includes abortion?



 


A Pro-Life Response to Abortion in ObamaCare

by Carrie Gordon Earll

On Jan. 9, 2014, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice held a hearing on H.R. 7, the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act." 

This legislation would make the Hyde amendment permanent and stop funding abortion insurance coverage through the "Affordable Care Act." (See our article, "ObamaCare and Abortion.")

Expert witnesses, presenting testimony before the committee, articulately "connected the dots" between what women really want — and need — versus what elected officials are forcing upon them.

Here are just a few key quotes from their testimonies:

 Prof. Helen Alvare

Helen Alvaré, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law

(video, written testimony)

"In my remarks today, I will address the following points: First, that neither American lawmakers nor citizens, especially women, understand abortion as a public good meriting funding. And second, that abortion is not a part of any genuine 'women's health' agenda according to the federal government's own statements."

"Having been an observer of the abortion debate for decades, I want to highlight how newly disturbing it is when supporters of legal abortion cease denying that abortion destroys a human life, while continuing to demand legal abortion and abortion funding. They do so in the name of women's health and rights, which is the 800 lb. gorilla in the room every time abortion is legally debated, including here today. So let me turn to the matter of women's beliefs and women's health in relation to abortion. …"

Richard Doerflinger- usccb 
Richard Doerflinger, Associate Director, Secretariat of Pro-life Activities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

(video, written testimony)

"What this legislation (H.R 7) does is place abortion coverage more in the arena of individual choice for women — an outcome opposed by groups that once claimed to be  'pro-choice' and  'pro-woman.' They prefer a status quo in which insurance companies or employers choose abortion coverage and impose it on others, chiefly because it is cheaper for them than reimbursing for live birth."

"If I find myself explicitly forced by federal law to pay for other people's abortions, as a condition for receiving the health care my family and I need, is it really that important to me whether the law calls the forced payment a 'premium' rather than a 'tax'?"

"The ACA debate drew attention to the issue of how our tax system treats abortion, and uncovered some remarkable facts. For example, the individual tax deduction for medical expenses can be directly used to help reduce the cost of an abortion performed for any reason (not just abortion coverage but payments for abortions themselves). This seems a very explicit and direct statement that the government wants to help pay for your elective abortions. Now that this loophole allowing tax support for abortion has been discovered, H.R. 7 is addressing it."

And, as Prof. Alvaré concluded, "It is time once and for all to settle the matter of federal funding for abortion, and move on to a real 'women's agenda."

We agree.


 


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From the ashes of defeat, Arizona activists have risen to transform their state into a pro-family stronghold.

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Abby Johnson's life was about to turn upside down when she was called to assist in an abortion that used ultrasound techology.

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