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From the bishop: ‘We cannot avoid the truth’

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The following is the full text of Bishop Malooly’s response to the April 11, 2017, Delaware Voice op-ed in the News Journal:

April 12, 2017

0413.Bishop.QuoteIt was disheartening to read the recently published Delaware Voice op-ed, endorsed by several clergy, which offered the argument that pro-life should mean pro-choice. Whenever the value of the life of the unborn child is denied, logic, reason, and science are rejected in favor of ideology. The letter’s assertion that the termination of a pregnancy is a moment of grace elevates that ideology to the point of being incomprehensible. It is to these extremes that one must go to in order to defend Planned Parenthood, American’s number one abortionist.

Those who defend the right to life of the unborn are not interested in anger and judgment. We strive to live by mercy, but at the same time, we cannot avoid the truth. We look at the reality and see a genetically distinct, living human person in the mother’s womb. We are profoundly concerned for both mother and child and reject any notion that the good of one can be set against the good of the other. We live out this concern every day in our parishes, through Catholic Charities, and the collective efforts of the Catholic Church worldwide.

The pro-abortion position simply refuses to acknowledge the visible, tangible reality of unborn life; but we who believe in the Creator of heaven and earth are required to act on the basis of the truths that present themselves to us.

For decades, the Catholic Bishops of the United States have been advocating for health care access for all. We believe that stopping the beating heart of an unborn son or daughter of God is not health care.

Most Reverend W. Francis Malooly

Bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington

 

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Senate vote allows states to redirect funds away from abortion clinics

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WASHINGTON — The Senate voted late March 30 to override a rule change made by in the last days of the Obama administration that prevented states from redirecting Title X family planning funding away from clinics that performed abortions and to community clinics that provide comprehensive health care.

People pass a Planned Parenthood clinic March 17 in New York City. The U.S. Senate voted March 30 to let states cut off funds for Planned Parenthood. (CNS photo/Justin Lane, EPA)

People pass a Planned Parenthood clinic March 17 in New York City. The U.S. Senate voted March 30 to let states cut off funds for Planned Parenthood. (CNS photo/Justin Lane, EPA)

“The clear purpose of this Title X rule change was to benefit abortion providers like Planned Parenthood,” said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, who is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

“Congress has done well to reverse this very bad public policy, and to restore the ability of states to stop one stream of our tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood and redirect it to community health centers that provide comprehensive primary and preventive health care,” he said in a March 31 statement.

Midday March 30, Vice President Mike Pence, as president of the Senate, cast a tiebreaking vote that allowed Senate action to proceed on a joint resolution to block the Obama-era regulation that went into Jan. 18, two days before President Barack Obama left office.

Pence also had to cast a second tiebreaking vote so the Senate could pass the measure.

The joint resolution, H.J. Res. 43, was introduced in the House by Rep. Diane Black, R-Tennessee. It passed 230 to 188 on Feb. 16, a vote that was largely along party lines.

In the Senate, the measure was introduced by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa. Her fellow Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted against allowing the legislation to move forward and then against the bill itself.

Republicans control the Senate by only a 52-48 margin, so Pence was called on twice to break a 50-50 tie. Now the measure goes to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it into law.

Title X of the Public Health Services Act was passed by Congress in 1970 to control population growth by distributing contraceptives to low-income families. Planned Parenthood is the largest recipient of Title X funding. Planned Parenthood also is the nation’s largest abortion network — performing over a third of all abortions in the U.S. It receives more than half a billion dollars in federal funding each year.

Under the Hyde Amendment, federal funding for abortion already is prohibited, but federal family planning funds were allowed to go to clinics and facilities for other health services.

States have been acting on their own to prohibit Title X funding to agencies performing abortions.

The joint resolution is one of a series of bills Congress has passed under the Congressional Review Act, which allows federal regulations put in place during the final days of the previous administration to be rescinded by simple majority passage.

In a letter to House members urging them to vote for H.J. Res. 43, National Right to Life wrote: “Long-standing objections to the massive governmental funding of PPFA (Planned Parenthood Federation of America) have been reinforced by widely publicized undercover videos, which illuminate the callous brutality that occurs daily in these abortion mills.”

After the House vote, Ernst said in a statement she was “committed to restoring our states’ ability to make their own decisions about the best eligible Title X providers for folks.”

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Sidewalk counselor says ‘heart goes out’ to women in crisis pregnancies

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Catholic News Service

ST. PAUL, Minn. — It didn’t take long for Nicky Peters to feel the drama of being a sidewalk counselor outside Planned Parenthood in St. Paul.

The 19-year-old sophomore at St. Catherine University in St. Paul and member of St. Ambrose Parish in Woodbury had decided last spring to take her pro-life passion to the streets. She signed up to volunteer with Pro-Life Action Ministries in St. Paul and paired with Ann Redding, the organization’s sidewalk counseling coordinator.

Nicky Peters stands outside Planned Parenthood in St. Paul, Minn., Jan. 3. Peters stands outside the center twice a month to offer information and compassion to women arriving for abortions. (CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic Spirit)

Nicky Peters stands outside Planned Parenthood in St. Paul, Minn., Jan. 3. Peters stands outside the center twice a month to offer information and compassion to women arriving for abortions. (CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic Spirit)

This past June, the two showed up hoping to encounter women with unwanted pregnancies. It was Peters’ first time.

“That day was amazing,” she told The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. “I met Ann there, and within the first hour, a woman came up to us and told her (Ann) that she had changed her mind about having an abortion, but she had already had part of the procedure done.”

The woman told them that clinic workers had inserted laminaria sticks to help dilate her cervix to prepare for the abortion, but she had changed her mind. She jumped off the examination table and left the clinic without having them removed. When she encountered Redding and Peters on the sidewalk in front of the clinic, Redding hustled into action, leading the pregnant woman to nearby Abria Pregnancy Resources. Two months later, a healthy baby boy was born.

Peters, who is studying sign language interpreting at St. Kate’s, as her school’s known, will never forget that day. In fact, it’s what gives her the strength to spend hours alone on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood, sometimes enduring insults and profanity hurled her way by vocal abortion supporters.

“It all goes back to that first day; the passion that I have is about helping these women,” said Peters, who does sidewalk counseling twice a month for about two-and-a-half hours each time. “My heart goes out to them, honestly. A child is such a wonderful thing that I’d do anything to help (the pregnant women).”

The seed of her current volunteer role was planted one year ago at the annual March for Life in Washington, marking the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in all 50 states. She made the trip out on a plane, but rode back on a bus chartered by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis when flights were canceled because of a powerful storm that dumped nearly 2 feet of snow in the mid-Atlantic region.

She rode back with other teens and young adults from the archdiocese, plus three women who belonged to Katies for Life on her campus.

“All these women were talking about how involved they were in the pro-life movement,” Peters recalled. “One girl in my college group who does a little bit of sidewalk counseling and is a prayer supporter described what it was, and it really sounded like something that I was called to do. I loved being pro-life and I really, really wanted to be more involved, so I looked into it, did some research and decided that this was for me and I wanted to do it.”

After going through a seminar and training, she went to Planned Parenthood with Redding, who has been in her role with Pro-Life Action Ministries since 2000.

“I’m just really glad she’s on board,” said Redding. “She’s out there to be compassionate with people. Whether it’s a ‘save’ or not, we’re recognizing the humanity of the child that’s (in danger of being) killed. Secondly, we are letting people know that we care about them.”

Redding noted that Peters is the perfect age for counseling because most of the women who come to Planned Parenthood for abortions are 20 to 24 years old. She estimates that 30 of the 200 regular sidewalk counselors who volunteer through the pro-life group are in that age group. Many are seminarians who come regularly on Friday afternoons.

“This is the best age group to be out there on the sidewalk,” Redding said. “The college-aged have physical strength, idealism and beauty. Young people have that beauty that draws someone to talk to them.”

However, the responses can be negative, even ugly, at times. Peters has discovered this, which initially surprised her.

“I do take a lot of heat, especially on the sidewalk, and even from people on campus,” she said. “I get profanity, the middle finger. I get anywhere from, ‘Oh, you’re just totally wrong,’ to large profanity statements.”

In between the encounters are long periods of silence, in which she sees no one and must figure out useful ways to spend her time.

Her go-to practice on those occasions is prayer. She recites decades of the rosary and calls on the intercession of the saints and Mary. Her words to God and to the people she meets are steeped in a deep faith that believes she is making a difference, and a faith that keeps her coming back for more, even when the coldest days of the year may lay ahead.

“I just love it, honestly,” she said. “It can get a little bit discouraging, but I always have to go back to that first day of helping that woman. I just have to go back to that day because I know that that truly was amazing, and I have to keep doing that so I can help more women. Even though people will give me the middle finger, I just have to sit there and pray for them and pray for a change of heart.”

Hrbacek is senior content specialist at The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

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Ohio lawmakers send governor two bills restricting abortion

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Legislature has sent two abortion bills to Gov. John Kasich for his signature.

On Dec. 8, lawmakers passed a measure to ban abortions in the state after 20 weeks, or five months of pregnancy. On Dec. 6, they approved legislation that would ban abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is usually at about the sixth week of pregnancy.

Pro-life activist Ann Barrick stands on the site of a former abortion clinic called Center for Choice in Toledo, Ohio, Sept. 26. She clutches the pink and blue rosaries she used while praying outside the abortion clinic, which was closed in 2013 and torn down this September. The property is slated to be converted into a memorial for the unborn called "Hope Park." (CNS photo/Katie Breidenbach) See LIFE-40-DAYS-TOLEDO Sept. 28, 2016.

Pro-life activist Ann Barrick stands on the site of a former abortion clinic called Center for Choice in Toledo, Ohio, Sept. 26. The Ohio legislature has sent two abortion bills to the governor for his signature — one would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the other would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. (CNS /Katie Breidenbach)

“The bold pro-life action taken by the Ohio Legislature is reflective of the message the voters sent on Election Day, and that is a rejection of the status quo,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Washington-based Susan B. Anthony List.

“Americans reject the status quo of abortion on-demand, especially painful late-term abortions,” she said in a Dec. 8 statement. “Instead, voters and lawmakers are recognizing the humanity of the unborn child: its heartbeat around six weeks and the pain the child can feel at 20 weeks.”

Once the bills reach Kasich’s desk, he will have 10 days to decide whether to sign or veto them. If he vetoes them, three-fifths of the state House and Senate would have to vote to override the veto.

The American Civil Liberties and the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio objected to the measures

“For the second time in a week, the Ohio Legislature has inserted itself into women’s private and personal health care decisions,” said Iris E. Harvey, Planned Parenthood’s president and CEO. “These bans are a deliberate attempt to make abortion illegal in the state of Ohio.”

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood affiliates have filed suit against abortion regulations in Missouri, North Carolina and Alaska.

About the Ohio measures, Dannenfelser said: “Both the heartbeat bill and the Pain-Capable bill aim to humanize our law. Should either of these bills land in the courts, the courts should take the opportunity to catch our laws up with public opinion, science and basic human decency.”

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri filed a federal lawsuit Nov. 30, asking the court to stop state laws that require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals and upgrade their facilities to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers. Similar lawsuits were filed in Alaska and North Carolina.

The lawsuits followed a U.S. Supreme Court 5-3 decision in June that struck down similar abortion laws in Texas, but pro-life advocates in Missouri believe their state’s laws will be upheld as constitutional.

“We are not surprised by this lawsuit but are hopeful that Missouri law will in fact be upheld because of its distinction from Texas law,” said Mike Hoey, executive director of the Missouri Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s Catholic bishops. “The MCC will continue to support pro-life legislation in the coming session as it has for the past 50 years.”

Missouri was the first state in the nation to enact such laws since the Roe v. Wade decision. Pro-life advocates say they serve as safety measures to protect women who seek services at abortion clinics. If Missouri’s laws are struck down, Planned Parenthood’s in Springfield, Joplin, Columbia and Kansas City would be able to offer abortions. Right now, Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis clinic is the only location in Missouri to provide abortions.

“No abortion clinic will ever be safe for unborn children, but the common-sense safety requirements Planned Parenthood is challenging are designed to protect women from undue harm at the hands of abortion providers,” said Karen Nolkemper, executive director of the archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate.

“In its June decision, the court spoke clearly, finding that admitting privileges and ambulatory surgical center requirements only fulfill one agenda — to keep women from accessing a constitutionally protected medical procedure. The time has come to strike down these unnecessary restrictions in Missouri,” according to a statement from Planned Parenthood.

In Missouri, abortion clinics that perform five or more first-trimester, or any second- or third-trimester abortions in a month are required to be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers, and provide standard medical services, such as having CPR-trained personnel on site and a physician on the premises and immediately available to the patient in the recovery room. Clinics also are open to inspection from the Department of Health and Senior Services.

In 2015, a manager with the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services told a state Senate committee that during an earlier inspection of Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, the department discovered that not all pathology reports were being sent to the department as required by law.

Planned Parenthood was given time to correct the deficiency, but no other action was taken. In 2013, the department’s inspection of the clinic found several violations, such as expired drugs, “copious amounts of visible dust” in exam rooms and rust on equipment.

Missouri also passed a law in 2005 that requires all doctors who perform abortions to have lower-level clinical privileges at a hospital within a 30-minute distance from where the abortion is performed. In Texas, the law was more stringent, spelling out that the abortion doctor must have “active admitting privileges” at hospital within 30 miles of where the abortion is performed.

Missouri’s ambulatory surgical center regulations enacted in the mid-1980s — but applying to all abortion facilities only since a law change in 2007 — separately require that abortion doctors have staff privileges at hospital within a 15-minute travel time or that there is a working arrangement between a hospital and the facility no more than 15 minutes away to provide emergency treatment to patients.

“It’s astounding that Planned Parenthood claims (abortion) is for the health of women when it could have the exact opposite effect,” said Deacon Sam Lee, a pro-life lobbyist with Campaign Life Missouri. “If their lawsuit is successful, that would mean the Department of Health and Senior Services could no longer go in and inspect these clinics. Other ambulatory surgical centers, such as urgent care centers and birthing centers, are subject to these inspections.

“This would carve out an exception for abortion clinics,” Deacon Lee said.

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Planned Parenthood speaker scheduled at Georgetown prompts protests

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — The scheduled April 20 appearance at Georgetown University by Cecile Richards, head of the Planned Parenthood Federation, has spawned a series of protests.

Richards was invited by the student-run Lecture Fund, which is calling her appearance a “conversation.” Her afternoon talk will be closed to the public.

Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia said April 12 that  Georgetown seeks "to be both authentically Catholic and authentically a university.” (CNS file/Bob Roller)

Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia said April 12 that Georgetown seeks “to be both authentically Catholic and authentically a university.”
(CNS file/Bob Roller)

That evening, Georgetown Right to Life, the campus affiliate of Students for Life, will stage a rally featuring Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood clinic director who resigned in 2009 to become a pro-life activist. She also operates a ministry for former abortion workers called And Then There Were None.

“In this case, because a Catholic university has asked the president of the largest abortion corporation in our country to come and speak, we are more than happy to respond with life-affirming truth,” Johnson said in a prepared statement.

The day before, Georgetown Right to Life also is sponsoring a panel featuring Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, who chairs a select House panel named last fall to investigate the abortion practices of Planned Parenthood. Other speakers will include Kathleen Eaton Bravo, founder of Obria Medical Clinics, which are pregnancy-resource centers.

On April 12, the university’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought & Public Life took on the approaching events with a program titled “Resisting the Throwaway Culture.”

University president John J. DeGioia reminded the audience that the essential role of a university is to “capture the openness to pursue the truth wherever it leads us,” but cautioned that as a Catholic university, there are “some matters of precepts of this faith in which we are not disinterested.”

With the goal of a “shared vision of what human sacredness demands,” DeGioia added, “we seek to be both authentically Catholic and authentically a university.”

Panelists were George Mason University law professor Helen Alvare, founder of Women Speak for Themselves; Fordham University theology professor Charles Camosy, author of “Beyond the Abortion Wars”; and Sister Norma Pimentel, a Missionary of Jesus, who is executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas.

“This language of life and choice pitted against each other is not helpful,” Camosy said of the current rhetoric.

Alvare defended the recent series of videos by activist David Daleiden, particularly the fourth one that was released showing a Planned Parenthood clinic assistant sorting through fetus parts and announcing, “And another boy.”

That one, Alvare said, “caused shock waves” because the moment was “an acknowledgment of some common humanity.”

Georgetown Right for Life also has invited Daleiden to speak on campus.

An independent analysis last year by a research firm hired by Planned Parenthood concluded that the videos were misleadingly edited. But Daleiden has stood by the videos. He and Sandra Merritt, his partner at the California-based Center for Medical Progress, have been indicted by a Houston grand jury for misrepresenting themselves as being from a biotechnology firm, and Planned Parenthood also is suing the center, claiming it is responsible for an uptick in violent threats against its clinics.

The panel dodged political questions, particularly when moderator John Carr, referring to one of Donald Trump’s recent statements, asked who should be punished if abortion is made illegal.

In late March Trump had said he was for a ban on abortion, and initially said if there were such a ban, women should be punished for having an abortion, but he later walked back that comment.

“Pennsylvania banned sex-selection abortions in the 1980s. Planned Parenthood didn’t challenge that,” Alvare said. “We know that law is hard to enforce.”

Carr observed that Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders don’t want any restrictions on abortion, while the Republican candidates have offered mostly confusing statements.

“Donald Trump is a convert who doesn’t seem to know the hymns,” he said.

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Denver archbishop leads 1,800 in procession around Planned Parenthood

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DENVER — Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila described leading 1,800 Catholics in a eucharistic procession around Planned Parenthood in Denver as “truly a moment of grace, a moment of blessing.”

On the morning of March 5, the procession went seven times around the abortion clinic, essentially surrounding the facility with silent prayer for over an hour.

Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila leads 1,800 Catholics in a eucharistic procession around Planned Parenthood in Denver March 5. (CNS photo/Andrew Wright, Denver Catholic)

Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila leads 1,800 Catholics in a eucharistic procession around Planned Parenthood in Denver March 5. (CNS photo/Andrew Wright, Denver Catholic)

It was “a moment of praying to our Lord that hearts may be changed,” Archbishop Aquila told the Denver Catholic, the archdiocesan newspaper. “It was wonderful to see how many turned out today.”

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, located in the city’s Stapleton area, also is a regional headquarters and includes Planned Parenthood affiliates of Colorado, southern Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming.

The archbishop announced his intention to lead the procession in mid-February, and the response to the event was overwhelmingly positive, said Karna Swanson, communications director for the archdiocese.

“We set up a simple website with a no-nonsense invitation for people to come and pray with the archbishop, and immediately we were hearing from people just thanking the archbishop for doing this,” Swanson said.

In describing the event, the Archdiocese of Denver website stated: “No shouting or arguing. Only prayerful witness to the love and mercy of God.”

According to the Denver Catholic, the archdiocesan liturgy office set the tone for the event to ensure the sacred nature of the eucharistic procession. It organized the logistics of the transferring the Eucharist to the site and provided prayer books for those in attendance.

Before the procession began, Father Scott Bailey, who is secretary to Archbishop Aquila, addressed the crowd and emphasized the importance of silence. “Silence is an essential part of the procession as we unite our voices with those who have been silenced by abortion,” he said.

Seminarians from St. John Vianney Theological Seminary led participants in hymns and prayers each time the procession passed around the building. They also assisted with crowd management.

“We were honestly expecting 500 to 800 people,” Swanson told the Denver Catholic. “Three times that number showed up. This provided a bit of a challenge for us logistically, as 1,800 people don’t exactly fit on the sidewalk of a city block.

“We wanted to make sure everyone who wanted to participate could, but we also didn’t want to give any reason for the police department to shut the event down.”

Though the procession spilled out into the street, local off-duty police officers were there to make sure it didn’t impede traffic or prevent cars from entering or leaving the facility.

Swanson described “wonderful teamwork on the ground” with the seminarians, members of a cycling group, police officers and participants.

“It was obvious to all that we were just there to pray,” she said. “And pray we did, nearly everyone in the crowd was holding a rosary in their hands, and small groups throughout the crowd were praying the rosary together. We definitely stormed heaven with our prayers.”

The crowd included a number of families with young children as well as religious sisters serving in the archdiocese, including Dominican sisters of Nashville, Tennessee; Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Los Angeles; the Sisters of Life; and the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo. Dozens of seminarians were on hand from both of the seminaries of Denver, as well as many members of the clergy.

The Martinez family from St. Augustine Parish in Brighton was one of many families in attendance. Jaime Martinez, along with his wife, children and parents-in-law, came to the procession to pray as a family for the end of abortion.

“We came here to speak for the unborn children who are getting aborted every single day here, and to pray for those mothers who are thinking about aborting their children so they can think about walking a different path and choosing a different option,” Martinez said.

He added, “It was very touching to see a lot of people join forces to promote the pro-life movement. Hopefully we can see more of this in future.”

Sam and Amber Bittner came with their two children, Matthew and Evelyn, as well as coordinating “Respect” and “Life” shirts. For the growing family, Amber is expecting their third child, they were there to “bring some joy.”

“We need to bring some joy into the situation, and show that we care, and that we love,” Sam told the Denver Catholic. “And it’s not just ‘you’re wrong.’”

“We came as a witness to our kids,” added Amber. “We wanted to show them that it’s really important to be involved to pray for those who are making the decisions, and also for the babies.”

 

Contributing to this story was the staff of the Denver Catholic, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Denver. A related video can be viewed at: https://vimeo.com/158090022.

 

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Women further victimized by harvesting of fetal parts, says counselor

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Catholic News Service

ST. LOUIS  — Women who have an abortion are being further victimized when given the option to donate their child’s body parts for research, according to Sue Harvath, who has counseled post-abortive women in the St. Louis area for more than 30 years.

Harvath said it shouldn’t matter whether Planned Parenthood is making money from the sale of fetal body parts, as alleged in a series of undercover videos, because even the act of obtaining the body parts is manipulative and flat wrong. Read more »

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Commentary: When baby parts are worth more than the baby

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The problem is the child.

When you cut through the tortured logic Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards employs to defend the primacy of privacy over the natural law, what you are left with, unfortunately for the nation’s abortion Goliath, is the child. Read more »

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Undercover video of Planned Parenthood doctor prompts calls for investigation

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SAN FRANCISCO — A video released July 14 appears to show a top Planned Parenthood official discussing the sale of parts of aborted babies for research, including discussing ways the abortion procedure can be altered to preserve specifically requested body parts.

The nearly nine-minute edited video, filmed undercover and produced by the Center for Medical Progress, went viral and Planned Parenthood denied making a profit on the sale of aborted baby parts.

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., speaks at a July news conference on Capitol Hill calling for an investigation into Planned Parenthood. (CNS photo/courtesy U.S. House Office of Photography

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., speaks at a July news conference on Capitol Hill calling for an investigation into Planned Parenthood. (CNS photo/courtesy U.S. House Office of Photography

“Planned Parenthood’s criminal conspiracy to make money off of aborted baby parts reaches to the very highest levels of their organization,” said David Daleiden, who led the undercover investigation.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal launched an investigation in his state, where the abortion provider is getting ready to open a $4 million clinic in New Orleans.

“Today’s video of a Planned Parenthood official discussing the systematic harvesting and trafficking of human body parts is shocking and gruesome,” said Jindal, who is a Republican presidential candidate.

In the video released July 14, a woman identified as Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Medical Services Department, says: “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

The video was shot at a business lunch in the Los Angeles area July 25, 2014, with actors posing as buyers from a human biologics company, according to the nonprofit Center for Medical Progress.

The center describes itself as a group of citizen journalists dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances and in particular “contemporary bioethical issues that impact human dignity.”

In the video, Nucatola says specific body parts go for $30 to $100 and fetal livers are in high demand.

As head of Planned Parenthood’s Medical Services Department, Nucatola has overseen medical practice at of the federation’s locations since 2009. She also trains new Planned Parenthood abortion doctors and performs abortions herself at Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles on women who are up to 24 weeks pregnant, according to Center for Medical Progress.

Planned Parenthood acknowledged it sometimes charges for aborted fetuses’ body parts used for research. However, Erin Ferrero, Planned Parenthood’s vice president of communications, said in a statement: “There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or Planned Parenthood.”

Ferrero questioned the credibility of the video, calling it “heavily edited,” and said the money mentioned is for actual costs such as transportation costs.

The video of Nucatola is part of the “Human Capital” project, a 30-month undercover investigation by the center and also supported by Life Legal Defense Foundation, a Napa, California-based nonprofit group that advocates for pro-life issues through the law and education.

The Center for Medical Progress plans to publish more videos and said it also will post a “Human Capital” web series detailing Planned Parenthood’s alleged commercial exploitation of aborted fetal tissue.

Full footage of the Planned Parenthood official’s conversation and a 60-page transcript were available on the centerformedicalprogress.org website. The website also holds documents related to harvesting of aborted baby parts.

“This public revelation about Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in human body parts obtained as a byproduct of abortion is long overdue,” said Vicki Evans, respect life coordinator for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Her 2010 report on the fetal tissue industry, titled “Commercial Markets Created by Abortion: Profiting from the Fetal Distribution Chain” was published in the National Catholic Bioethics Center newsletter “Ethics &Medics.”

An undercover investigation of a Planned Parenthood affiliate conducted by Life Dynamics Inc. in 2000 resulted in similar findings, Evans said. Congressional hearings to investigate trafficking in fetal organs and tissue by private companies were held but nothing was done, Evans said.

“I hope this time, there is enough public outrage to finally stop the abortion giant from continuing to exploit women and their unborn children to increase its obscene profits,” Evans told Catholic San Francisco, the archdiocesan newspaper.

In Washington, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, and two other House members were holding an afternoon news conference July 15 calling for a hearing and further investigation into the evidence presented in the Nucatola video.

Americans United for Life in a July 14 statement called for immediate congressional and state investigations into “abortion profiteering.”

Under the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984, the revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act of 1987 and the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act of 1993, human fetal tissue or organs cannot legally be bought and sold in the U.S., said Evans. Money can change hands only to reimburse for expenses incurred.

In the July 14 undercover video, Nucatola says that the abortion procedure can be altered if the abortionist knows in advance what body part is desired by the buyer, saying extraction of the baby can be changed to breech to get more of the body intact for use by researchers.

“What she’s describing is a partial-birth abortion,” said Katie Short, Life Legal Defense Fund’s vice president for legal affairs. “She’s basically confessing to something illegal.”

The July 14 report renewed calls for an end to the more than $500 million in state and federal funds that Planned Parenthood receives annually.

“Why should the government fund an organization that is so corrupt as to be selling the brains, livers, eyes, legs and other body parts of the babies it kills, not to mention being corrupt enough to kill them in the first place,” said Father Frank Pavone, Priests for Life national director.

“The dehumanization of unborn children leads to the dehumanization of those who perform abortions, leading from killing living human beings to treating them explicitly as commodities,” he said.

— By Valerie Schmalz

 

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Wilmington ‘officials’ fail to curtail 40 Days for Life sidewalk vigils

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Dialog reporter

WILMINGTON — Those who have been quietly protesting abortion outside Planned Parenthood in Wilmington during the latest 40 Days for Life campaign do not need a permit to be on the sidewalk, the city acknowledged last week.

The city was responding to a letter from the Thomas More Society, a national law firm contacted by 40 Days organizers after protesters were approached early in the campaign by Wilmington police and a “business compliance/license inspection” officer. The law and licensing enforcement occurred on the first day of the 40 Days for Life, Sept. 24. The protesters pray and sing on the sidewalk outside Planned Parenthood at Seventh and Shipley streets.

40 Days for Life participants sing outside Wilmington's Planned Parenthood facility on Oct. 13. the 20th day of the campaign. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

40 Days for Life participants sing outside Wilmington’s Planned Parenthood facility on Oct. 13. the 20th day of the campaign. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

According to the Thomas More Society, which has no connection to the diocesan St. Thomas More Society, the police officer first said the music was too loud, then that city ordinance had changed since the last vigil and the protesters could not have music at all.

A short while later, the licensing officer appeared and “informed the group that they could not be there as they were blocking the sidewalk and needed a permit,” the Thomas More Society said.

“They came the first day,” said Julie Easter, the campaign director for the Wilmington 40 Days for Life. “Somebody called, they don’t like the music, they don’t want to hear the name of Jesus. They come out and say that. It’s bad for business to have people in there (Planned Parenthood) hearing the name of Jesus out here.”

Campaign organizers, who noted that they had contacted the Wilmington police before the 40 Days started and that they had done this for several years, got in touch with the Thomas More Society, which could find no such ordinance in Wilmington city code. Nor did they need a permit, it added.

“Our research indicates no requirements under Wilmington ordinances that require a permit for a peaceful gathering of a small group of people engaging in core political speech, such as 40 Days for Life Wilmington,” the society wrote to the city.

Easter said the first day was the only one when police or a city employee engaged her group. They are used to seeing the police drive by or stop to observe the proceedings, however.

“Two Saturdays ago they came again. This time, they brought a paddy wagon, two squad cars and a motorcycle, which was kind of extreme. I called Thomas More again after that,” she said.

Rosamaria Tassone-DiNardo, the first assistant city solicitor, responded in a letter to Thomas More on Oct. 9 after that incident. She acknowledged that a permit is not necessary and that those out with 40 Days for Life have left room for pedestrians to walk on the sidewalk.

Easter said her group just wants its First Amendment rights to be respected. “We don’t want to have to sue the city for something so ridiculous.”

There is a residence across the street from Planned Parenthood, so Easter said they do not have any music before 11 a.m. They are at the site every day from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

As for the campaign itself, Easter said they were pleased with the results as of the midway point.

“We’ve had three saves, which we’re very pleased about, and we also have many turn aways. Those are people who come and don’t really know what Planned Parenthood is all about,” she said.

“We’ve let them know that they do have alternatives in the city. There are many places that want to help them to choose life. A lot of times they don’t know they have those options. We also talk to them about post-abortive healing. There is a lot of free counseling available to them.”

At a Mass at St. Peter Cathedral on Oct. 13 to mark 20 days, Bishop Malooly said Pope Francis has said all of us are “masterpieces of God’s creation” and deserving of reverence and respect.

“Masterpieces of God’s creation, that has been our theme in this October month for life, as a reminder for us to look at every individual as God’s unique creation,” the bishop said in his homily. “That’s why it’s so important what we do for life in trying to preserve all the unborn.

“Jesus challenges us to continue, to forge ahead, to not lose courage, be strengthened by his presence, and let him work through each of us.”

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