The uproar over Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to leave the Colts-49ers game after some NFL players took a knee during the national anthem again highlights the intense cultural debate over free speech that seems of utmost importance to the media and activists. Yet not all “speech” is treated as equal in coverage and attention.
Over the last few weeks, the free speech rights of students on college campuses have been violated as peaceful chalk messages from students have been destroyed, flyers pulled down and permits for new pro-life groups and speakers slow walked through the approval process to prevent voices from being heard. If you haven’t heard about the college blockade taking place even this week, perhaps it is because the students whose voices are being forcibly silenced favor life over abortion. And while they may not get the attention that millionaire athletes can garner, their points of view are no less valid.
By Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America
Our time is now.
America has a pro-life majority government. Everything we have been fighting so hard to accomplish these past several years, despite an entrenched abortion lobby and corrupt politicians in Washington — all of this isnowpossible.
It’s now very easy to imagine a day when Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton will be overturned and when Planned Parenthood, our nation’s abortion Goliath, will be defunded of half a billion dollars in taxpayer money.
This is possible, now.
If we, the pro-life generation, hold President-Elect Trump to his promises.
If we hold the Congress and it’s leaders to their numerous pledges.
If we stand united, focused, and motivated.
There is no excuse.
As you know, our mission at Students for Life has never been dependent on what happens in Washington. This victory helps the pro-life movement immensely. This new pro-life majority has it within their reach to pass and enforce the pro-life laws we need until we reach the day our culture fundamentally rejects abortion. We will save more lives.
…but now the real work begins. We have to finish what we started.
We need to ensure that only pro-life Supreme Court justices are appointed, period. We need to fire Planned Parenthood and defund them of our taxpayer dollars, plain and simple.
We need to mobilize like never before and ensure our leaders in Washington will do what they have pledged.
And I’m going to ask you to do some hard things in the next few months and years.
I’m asking you today to trust our team at Students for Life and to believe in our mission to make abortion unthinkable and illegal in our lifetime. For this will be one of my greatest honors to lead you through this fight…the fight of our lives.
While our pro-life generation may be young, we’ve studied under our pro-life predecessors and heroes. We’re organized. We’re united. And we’re prepared. We can do this.
Please, stand with me. There’s so much we need to do.
This is our chance to appoint the justices we need to overturn Roe and Doe. This is our chance to defund and bankrupt the abortion Goliath, Planned Parenthood. This is our chance, the chance of a lifetime, to abolish abortion.
Last summer Students for Life rallied in Austin, Texas in support of a bill that would force
abortion clinics to provide the same standard of care and meet the same requirements of surgical centers as well to make sure that all abortionists have hospital admitting privileges. It also thankfully banned late-term abortions.
While abortion advocates were in an uproar over this bill that would provide higher standards for women’s health, pro-lifers were fighting to make this bill law and succeeded! Governor Rick Perry signed the bill into law and several abortion clinics shut down almost immediately because they couldn’t meet the basic health standards.
Dr. Douglas Karpen, a Texas abortionist, has been referred to as the Kermit Gosnell of Texas because of similar horrific practices of aborting very late-term babies, killing babies after botched abortions, and causing significant harm to women.
Karpen has been shut down and cannot legally perform abortions because he doesn’t have admitting privileges to any hospitals within a 30 mile radius of any of his clinics, according to the Texas Medical Board.
Employees of Dr. Karpen came forward to reveal to the public the heinous practices of Karpen, including delivering live babies and then killing them. Unfortunately, in December a Texas grand jury said it didn’t have enough evidence to convict him. However, he still faces another lawsuit from a “woman who suffered a life-threatening injury to her uterus following an abortion he performed.”
Since the law was passed, 19 clinics in Texas have closed down because they couldn’t meet the health standards and many more are expected to follow!
Would you give birth where a woman was having an abortion in the next room? One “full-spectrum” women’s facility in Buffalo, New York, is shepherding patients through that exact scenario, according to the New York Times.
The Buffalo Womenservices facility caters to women who want to have abortions as well as give birth yet all they promote on their homepage is their membership in the National Abortion Federation and NARAL and how they “provide women with safe, legal and confidential abortion services in a compassionate and supportive setting”, not to mention that they perform surgical abortions up to 22 weeks. Babies are born at 22 weeks and with the help of advanced medicine and technology, live long and productive lives.
It is disturbing to say the least that a preborn baby will have its life taken while a mother gives life to a little child in the same facility. The article points out that since the facility opened in February, 16 babies have been born yet there is no mention of the number of the children killed by abortion in the same facility.
No matter how it is phrased, abortion and birth are not part of “reproductive health”, as abortion-advocates like to say. The killing of an innocent child is not part of healthcare and never should be. Abortion advocates are looking for ways to reduce the stigma of abortion and by putting abortion and birth in the same sentence, they think it will show that abortion is normal and accepted.
There are very few facility like this in the country but it is certain to be a new trend in the pro-abortion movement as they are desperately trying to show the public that they promote all choices in pregnancy, not just abortion. It’s like when pro-lifers don’t want to be accused of being just pro-baby and decide that they want to serve women and mothers as well. Except in our case, the outcome is good.
Abortion is the killing of a human life – even abortion advocates know that. It will never be different than that, which is why we must abolish abortion in our lifetime.
By Lo Martinez, SFLA Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator
Early last week I received an urgent message from a girl who attends a local university in Colorado who was two months into an unplanned pregnancy. She didn’t know how she was going to finish school while pregnant and parenting. How would she tell her parents, professors, and family? All very valid questions and concerns.
After speaking with her for almost two hours on the phone, she began to see that she could do it. She was excited, but still in need of something: getting an ultrasound. She knew that she had a baby growing but what did that look like, or sound like? This was the final step in making her pregnancy really real for her and her boyfriend, ensuring that continuing this pregnancy and being firm in that decision in front of her family and friends was possible. But her circumstances were much like most other students. She is under a family insurance plan and didn’t want to go to the doctor under it because she hadn’t told them yet. I referred her to a local Pregnancy Resource Center in Denver, and that next week she went with her boyfriend. It was that moment that her entire attitude changed. She sent me a picture of the ultrasound and told me the heart rate. It was a moment unparalleled by any other that she experienced with her boyfriend who had cried with joy for their baby. Without this pregnancy resource center, this experience might not have been possible.
Although she never contemplated an abortion, she fits into a large category of young women who find themselves pregnant in college, the category pro-lifers need to be supporting better. And that is the mission of SFLA’s Pregnant On Campus Initiative. Through this initiative, students have brought hope and help to college campuses by identifying, improving, and expanding resources for pregnant and parenting students on their college campuses and in the surrounding community.
Because of my work helping students help their peers, I knew what this young mother needed. I talked with her about how she was going to tell people she is pregnant, of which some would likely advocate abortion. I connected her with her school’s Students for Life group, who were working very hard that week talking with the administration about what is available for pregnant and parenting students. What an amazing job they did because the administration, although they do not advertise these resources, is offering a unique individualized plan that fits the needs and wishes of this pregnant student who will soon be parenting. The resources range from larger desks in her classes, to lactation rooms, individual studies with her professors, maternity leave, family housing, and help with any costs she cannot afford for school. The Students for Life group has played an incredible role in their support for her and continuing to help her throughout her years at the university. After letting her know of the resources available to her, she was beyond excited to continue her pregnancy. I think too often in unplanned pregnancies, young women do not feel the love and support they absolutely need, which is vital. By the simple act of reaching out to someone in need, showing them you will walk that journey with them, getting them the resources they need, that person can change her perspective on her pregnancy.
We know now that we have a mother and a new baby to support and love in our community here in Denver and that gives us the motivation to continue to fight for resources!
These babies are still being kept by the Medical Examiner’s Office in Philadelphia, where they are being held indefinitely, despite the outcries for their release for proper burial. The Chief Medical Examiner has yet to say what will be done with these babies, nor why he will not release them for burial.
This Friday, Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America, will be joining Bryan Kemper, Priests for Life Youth Outreach Director, and Reverend Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, in leading a prayer vigil outside the Medical Examiner’s Office to pray for justice and a final peace for these 45 children.
Now is the time to act before a decision is made to cremate or discard these babies in the trash as medical waste! After the horror and pain they experienced in life we owe these children the honor of a funeral and the remembrance of their lives that touched our nation.
For those who are not able to gather this Friday in Philadelphia we urge you to make your voice heard by contacting the Medical Examiner’s Office at 215-685-7458 and asking for the release of these babies for burial.
Tuesday’s late night filibuster and temporary killing of Texas Senate Bill 5 was an epic moment in Texas abortion history. The pro-life bill would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks – when babies feel pain – and force abortion facilities to hold to the same medical standards as other medical providers – preventing future Gosnell-type situations. But more than 1,000 pro-abortion supporters were bused to the Texas State House by the taxpayer-funded organization Planned Parenthood to create a ruckus and sow confusion.
Despite having the votes of tireless pro-lifer supporters in the Senate, the final vote on the bill was tragically delayed because of a 12+ hour filibuster by pro-abortion State Senator Wendy Davis and shouting and other diversionary tactics of the pro-abortion crowd. This pushed the final vote past the midnight deadline, to 12:03am, three minutes too late to save lives.
All of Twitter was engaged, with users watching a live stream of the proceedings on the floor of the Texas Senate and making the hashtags #SB5 and #StandwithWendy trend. President Barack Obama even weighed in during the evening filibuster tweeting, “Something special is happening in Austin tonight #StandwithWendy.”
Despite not having enough votes to block the bill, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards led the charge, asking abortion supporters to shout and make noise to prevent the vote from happening, at one point even tweeting:
Now, I’m obviously extremely disappointed with Tuesday night’s results and grateful that Texas Governor Rick Perry has called a 2nd special session to start this Monday, July 1st, to finally get the bill passed.
However, it leads me to an important question: Why don’t we see these tactics employed by our side of the issue?
Why don’t pro-lifers bus in by the hundreds when state legislatures are debating crucial bills that will save lives? Where are our courageous modern Thaddeus Stevens’ in the state houses who will filibuster and do all that they can to make sure the rights of the pre-born and their moms are protected? The majority of Americans are with us on the issues – yet we can’t dedicate a day of our lives to standing up for what’s right?
I know those folks are out there, but I think our biggest challenge is that they aren’t plugged into the pro-life community and asked by their local pro-life organizations to engage. And honestly, that’s what Students for Life is attempting to change, with over 750 active groups nationwide.
Now, I’m not saying that these kinds of courageous, outspoken pro-life folks don’t exist – they certainly do in Texas and the next special session is the perfect time for them to stand up and say, “Don’t mess with Texas babies!” We definitely will not resort to the violence the other side employs or the demonic chanting and hysterics, but we can engage and shouldn’t be afraid to. After all, think about what we are fighting for.
Abortion is a matter of life and death. Let’s start acting like it.
Today’s Supreme Court decisions have major implications for Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. In the DOMA case, the Supreme Court found that the federal government must respect the rights of states to determine their own laws protecting the “rights” of their citizens, citing the ‘equal protection’ clause of the 5th Amendment. This begs the question, “Where is the equal protection for pre-born babies?”
In the Prop 8 case, the Court decided to not repeat the mistakes of Roe. They did not overturn the duly enacted laws of states with a sweeping declaration like they did with Roe. They found that the federal government does not have a compelling interest to make a sweeping declaration on equal protections.
The same logic should be applied to Roe. And the Supreme Court should follow its own principles set forth in these cases to overturn Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton and turn those decisions back to the states to extend equal protections to pre-born babies.
This week Live Action put out a new undercover video exposing America’s inhuman late-term abortion industry. This latest one has DC abortionist Cesare Santangelo on tape saying of a baby born alive during an abortion, “We would not help it.”
For 92% of 18-24 year olds, these videos are shocking and go against our beliefs that abortion should never be legal in the 3rd trimester. This isn’t mainstream. This isn’t choice. This is murder and exploitation.
The videos that have come out are personal to me. In 2008, when I was pregnant with my first son, I had a nurse at a federally-funded New Jersey Planned Parenthood tell me that my son could be aborted at 22 weeks by simply birthing him and letting him die. She told me on tape that “It does happen, where it’s still alive…but it wouldn’t be able to survive on its own, so eventually the baby does die.”
This is illegal. Birthing babies and refusing to give them medical attention that they would receive at the hospital just down the street – it’s barbaric. How can we allow this to happen in our civilized nation?
Today, I call on the Washington, D.C. Attorney General, Irvin Nathan, the U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C., Ronald Machen, the D.C. Department of Health, and City Council to see to it that Dr. Santangelo and his Washington Surgi-Clinic’s licenses are revoked and are duly investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
What happens inside this facility every day is illegal. It’s murder, it’s exploitation of women, it’s inhuman. The overwhelming majority of Americans do not support this. It’s time to protect women and babies from predators like Dr. Santangelo and Kermit Gosnell.
I was not able to hear all of the closing arguments yesterday at the murder trial of Kermit Gosnell as I had to slip out for the press conference and prayer vigil, however, there was one thing in particular about being in the courtroom that had me in tears.
I was standing at the partition behind the counsels’ tables where Kermit Gosnell’s abortion facility had been recreated for the jury – the court would not allow the jury to go and visit his clinic, so the prosecution took the contents of one of his exam/surgery rooms and set it up on the floor in front of the jury. Most of it had been disassembled but the exam table and the recliner from the recovery room remained on the floor.
The horror of what had happened on that exam table hit me hard – the thousands of children whose lives had been brutally ended right there, without concern or hesitation from Gosnell or his staff. I continued to look at these two pieces of furniture; they were ripped, dirty, and stained and I thought, “What was going on in a woman’s heart and mind that she would willingly get up on that table for anything?” And then I started to cry because I realized that they got up on that table because this is all that they believed they were worth.
Gosnell operated in an impoverished part of town, selling his services to some of the most demoralized and vulnerable women. He was not helping them exercise their “choice” or “reproductive rights,” he was giving them what he believed they deserved…a dirty and unsanitary place to get rid of their problem and then get out the door. As Gosnell’s defense attorney argued, he provided desperate young girls with what he thought was “relief, a solution to their problem.” We know that abortion is not a solution, it is only a temporary fix that masks the real problems a woman is facing. Gosnell did not care about these women, he only cared about making a quick buck.
I have had the privilege of working with Rachel’s Vineyard and attended a retreat with a nurse who had helped commit thousands of abortions. She told us over the course of the weekend that she hated the women who came in for abortions because they were the reason she had to do this work – if they were just able to stop getting themselves in trouble, then she wouldn’t have to assist with killing their children.
I think this is part of what was happening at Gosnell’s clinic – he hated these women and therefore provided them with the care that he felt they deserved. These women believed that they were not worthy of anything good and so they accepted the conditions at his clinic as appropriate for their circumstances. It slays my heart that anyone would be so hurting that they would believe themselves only worth of a dirty exam table, unsterilized tools, and the clear scorn Dr. Gosnell had for his patients.
I shared these thoughts with Cheryl Sullenger from Operation Rescue and she began to show me images on her cell phone from other clinics that are under investigation. Clinics with ceiling tiles that are missing or falling apart, wiring that is exposed, dirty exam tables, garbage piled up, baby body parts in the refrigerator next to the staff lunches, and more. Operation Rescue has done an excellent job of documenting how Gosnell’s facility is just business as usual for the abortion industry.
There is something wrong in our nation when a woman willingly accepts these conditions as her best option for help in her crisis; when she feels that abortion is her best or only choice and that an unclean, unsafe, bloody exam table is all that she is worthy of.
Pray for the jury in Gosnell’s murder trial, that God would grant them wisdom, and that justice would be had for all of Gosnell’s victims. This verdict will set a precedent for our nation and in the closing of other abortion mills like Gosnell’s. But most of all, pray for the desperate women who are contemplating laying their bodies down for the next Gosnell. That they will realize they deserve better than abortion, and recognize their own inherent worth and that of the preborn child growing in their womb.