Weekend update: College offers pro-life studies, born-alive bill in DC, assisted suicide spreads

Here are my three picks of the week from other blogs. Have an excellent weekend!

Anne Fox: Death comes to California (masscitizensforlife.org)

As California’s new assisted suicide law goes into effect, a Massachusetts legislative committee gets ready to vote on the same issue. Read the full post.

From the same blog:  Congress Discovers Evidence of Planned Parenthood Violation of HIPAA. “I’m sure this was in the mainstream media and we just missed it.”

Ben Sasse & Jill Stanek: Abortion survivors deserve our care (nationalreview.com)

The U.S. House has passed a Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. Time for the U.S. Senate to get on board. Read the full post. 

Micaiah Bilger: Most Colleges are Training Grounds for Abortion Activists, But This One Offers Pro-Life Courses (lifenews.com)

“University spokeswoman Megan England said OKWU wants the program to train ‘leaders who are prepared to defend and protect the innocent in ways that are more than abstract.'” Read the full post. 

Life after Abortion


The “exception”-al Pain-Capable Act

visitthecapitol.gov photo
visitthecapitol.gov photo

I just sent an email to my Member of Congress, asking him to support a piece of legislation that will probably come up in Washington late this afternoon: the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, H.R. 36, restricting abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It’s as flawed a life-issue bill as I’ll see this year in either Washington or Concord. Still, I hope it passes. And I definitely want to see who-votes-how. [Update, 5:45 p.m.: the measure passed, 242-184.]

In the absence of a clean up-or-down vote on late-term abortion, this bill is the next best thing. Don’t go looking in this bill for an affirmation of a right to life from conception to natural death; it ain’t there. This bill proposes restrictions on mid- and late-term abortions, not a ban. It doesn’t confer “personhood” and it doesn’t even apply to preborn children in the first half of pregnancy. It may or may not be good news to you that the bill poses no threat to Roe v. Wade. And still, I asked my congressman to vote Yea.

Dr. Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life, speaking as a no-holds-barred supporter of the legislation:

“Limiting abortion at 5 months of pregnancy, as an unborn child becomes able to live outside the womb and as the abortion procedure becomes even more dangerous for women, is a commonsense law long overdue….[I]t deals directly with the ugly reality of abortion, which hurts both mother and child who are exposed to an industry willing to harm people for profit.”

Not so coincidentally, today is the second anniversary of the conviction of noted Philadelphia butcher Kermit Gosnell. Supporters of Pain-Capable see passage as a fitting way to mark the date. Earlier this year, the bill was scheduled for a vote on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, before it was sidetracked. (Nurse Jill Stanek has done all she can to make House Speaker John Boehner bring back the bill. Bound4Life has an interesting interview with her on the subject.)

A good – nay, great – provision in the bill: it calls on anyone terminating a post-20-week pregnancy to do so in a manner which “in reasonable medical judgment provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive,” consistent with the safety of the mother. No snipping, doctors.

And then there are a couple of sticky points that won’t go away.

Finer minds than mine came up with the title, which acknowledges how squeamish many people are about “terminating” a post-20-week preborn child who “reacts to stimuli that would be recognized as painful if applied to an adult human.” That’s from the text of the bill, in the Findings section. Great. Imposing pain except for therapeutic purposes (can I pop that dislocated shoulder back into place for you?) is to be avoided. The danger comes when that leads to the conclusion that anesthetizing the intended victim would be some kind of solution. Would that make abortion more palatable? How about anesthetizing people being subjected to forced sterilization or euthanasia? Would that make the procedures somehow all right, as long as no one feels pain? No. I recognize of course that the bill’s sponsors have no intention of going down that road.

There is also … wait for it … a rape-and-incest exception. The hashtag for the Twitterfest on this bill is #theyfeelpain. I almost want to counter with #theyfeelpaintoobutnevermind. The redoubtable Abby Johnson is simply using #NoExceptions.

Still, I’ve supported policies with such exceptions before, notably the Hyde Amendment. Did you realize that Hyde only restricts the use of federal Health and Human Services funds for abortion in certain government programs? Other federal funds are unaffected. Did you know that it’s not automatic, but has to be renewed each budget cycle? That it has those exceptions I mentioned? And still, I support it and I even want to see it expanded to cover more federal departments.

I’ve asked Congressman Guinta to support H.R. 36. He knows I’m watching.  How about you?


March for Life 2015 Trip Planner Now Available


January 22 is less than three months away. Time to plan for your trip to Washington, D.C. for the March for Life. Never been there? Make a commitment to getting there for 2015. You won’t be sorry. The March us a wonderful, inspirational annual event.

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Jeanne Monahan of the national March for Life hosted a webinar last night about the 2015 March. She brought in some friends to help make a pitch for the event – Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life and blogger Jill Stanek, to name two. (You can listen to the webinar here.) Even better: March for Life has prepared a Trip Planner that will be a great guide for anyone planning to attend the March for Life, whether traveling alone or in a group. You can order the downloadable Planner online now.

There’s much more to the March for Life than just the walk from the National Mall to the Supreme Court with more than a hundred thousand fellow pro-lifers from all over the country. An expo, special church services, and the Rose Dinner are just a few of the events from which you can choose.

Transportation a problem? There are buses chartered to the March from New Hampshire every year. Watch the blog’s Facebook page for updates as they become available.




Abortion industry wages, high and low

Scripture has it that laborers are worthy of their hire. Even abortion workers get paid. But how much?

Jill Stanek, pro-life blogger, activist, and nurse, published a post this evening about a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Pennsylvania. In a column headlined “Slave wages and astronomical insurance premiums,” Stanek reports that Planned Parenthood Keystone (PPKEY) offers its employees working 30 or more hours per week a health insurance plan requiring biweekly payroll deductions of $512.60.

Stanek goes on:

I’m told that PP Keystone workers other than clinic managers and clinicians make only $10-11/hour and are limited to a 35-hour work week. These people include receptionists, medical assistants and “front end and back end staff,” according to my source….How a PP employee making $11/hour, or $1,540 a month, could afford insurance for his or her family is beyond me.

This insurance plan reportedly went into effect November 1, meaning it’s Obamacare-compliant. Maybe PPKEY, like PP of Northern New England, is an Obamacare “navigator” that can help people sign up for subsidized insurance. If so, they already have clients in-house.

The contrast between part-time pay and the cost of health insurance (even under Obamacare) doesn’t shock me. I’m accustomed to seeing figures like that. I’ve had my share of jobs that saw most of my pay going to insurance. Stanek’s post is about more than insurance , though. She contrasts the wages of the lower-paid employees with that of PPKEY’s CEO Kim Custer who, according to Stanek, made $133,165 in 2012. (I have been unable to verify that figure, although I did find that Custer is listed in 2012 annual reports as interim CEO at the Keystone affiliate and full CEO at a larger PP affiliate nearby.)

How does that compare to what goes in in my own back yard? The PPNNE executives’ pay for tax year 2012 is a matter of public record on IRS form 990. Steve Trombley, who has since left the organization, enjoyed base compensation of $243,669 as CEO. Meagan Gallagher’s base salary as Senior Vice-President for Business Operations was $147,069; she has since succeeded Trombley as CEO. The medical director earned $219,616; the vice-president for development settled for $145,017.

That’s three-quarters of a million dollars for four employees, out of $19.6 million in total expenditures for PPNNE in 2012, according to their annual report. There are at least three other employees with six-figure compensation, according to the form 990. One is the highly effective public policy director with whom I cross paths regularly at the State House. It’s a competitive world out there, and the executive salaries reflect that.

(But remember: whenever there’s a cut in government funding to PP, actual or threatened, it’s the cancer screenings that feel the pinch, not the executive salaries. At least, that’s what PPNNE’s representatives told the public after they lost a state family planning contract in 2011. But I digress.)

I don’t know what the rank-and-file workers earn. You know – the ones who have the most contact with clients and patients. How much are the people making who greet patients at the door? How about the intake workers who talk to abortion-minded women? The workers who clean up the “procedure” rooms? The providers who come under contract to do abortions? The security guard I met outside PP in Manchester during 40 Days for Life?

The numbers might be comparable to those in similar industries. The top-to-bottom wage disparity may simply be the free market in action. It would be interesting to know what value a free market assigns to the people standing next to a woman as her child is “terminated.”


Pro-what? Oh, never mind

“Pro-Choice” is on the way out; “Care, No Matter What” is in. After 40-plus years of debasing the language by equating choice with abortion advocacy, Planned Parenthood has focus-grouped its way into a new message. Jill Stanek reports here about this week’s quiet announcement from PP. Not every partisan of Roe has bought into the new approach, but where PP leads, others will follow.

Maybe the label “anti-choice” can now be retired from active duty. Stay tuned for “anti-care,” although perhaps I’m being pessimistic.

The same I day I read Stanek’s report, I came across the latest issue of Alliance Defending Freedom’s magazine. The cover story is about twelve nurses in New Jersey who fought back in 2011 after they were ordered to participate in elective abortions that were falsely called “emergency” procedures. With pro bono legal help from ADF, they were able to say no and still keep their jobs. They shouldn’t have needed assistance at all, but they did, since neither their employer nor their union was any help. The brief account of the nurses’ experience, coming as it did right after I read Jill Stanek’s post, made me realize that they didn’t have any focus groups to help them figure out the best way to express their beliefs about choice and care. They did pretty well anyway.