Late-Term Abortion Clinic in Ohio Shut Down After Breaking State Law

The state has department has shut down a late-term abortion clinic in Ohio that failed to follow state health and safety laws related to protecting women’s health.

The Ohio Department of Health affirmed its order to shut down abortion practitioner Martin Haskell’s Sharonville clinic, the Lebanon Road Surgery Center, for failure to meet Ohio medical standards. Haskell’s clinic operated without a transfer agreement with any area hospital and was unable to identify any doctors within the region that wanted assist his abortion business.

Haskell’s abortion clinic must cease all operations and close it’s doors on or before February 4, 2014.

Ohio Right to Life officials informed LifeNews today of the closure.

“We want to thank the Health Department for enforcing Ohio law and refusing to allow the abortion industry to escape complying with health and safety standards,” said Mike Gonidakis, President of Ohio Right to Life. “Women’s health is priority number one and today’s actions by the Kasich administration should serve as a wake-up call that Ohio will no longer turn a blind eye towards unhealthy medical practices.”

Gonidakis told LifeNews that, according to Ohio law, Lebanon Road Surgery Center exists as an Ambulatory Surgical Facility and because of this legal status, the clinic is not a full-service medical facility. To operate legally, Lebanon Road Surgery Center must have a transfer agreement with a full-service private hospital to handle all cases of abortion complications against the mother. In the case that an abortion facility is unable to acquire a transfer agreement, it can apply for a variance (exception). Lebanon Road Surgery Center failed to obtain either.

Haskell, who owns Lebanon Road Surgery Center, has performed abortions for more than 30 years. He is notorious for his advocacy of partial-birth abortion and is credited for popularizing the now-banned and illegal procedure. With the closing of Haskell’s clinic, only one abortion facility remains open inside the county with the third highest rate for abortion deaths in Ohio, Gonidakis said.

“It is past time this abortion business was denied operations, for the health and well-being of this community and beyond, but even more for the little lives saved and for women’s safety,” said Paula Westwood, Executive Director, Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati. “Cincinnati Right to Life has been working for years to this end. Even if Haskell should appeal to the courts, his days of operation in this area are numbered.”

For years Haskell has operated only with the help of a variance issued by the Ohio Department of Health that allows Haskell to skirt the hospital requirement. He currently has no hospital privileges. Instead, he has an agreement with two physicians – to provide hospital care in the event of a woman suffers a medical emergency at his abortion clinic. At least one physician that Haskell has used in the past had a history of gross negligence and had been ordered to halt the performance of all obstetric procedures.

Operation Rescue has documented four medical emergencies at Haskell’s two Ohio abortion clinics, two of which occurred just last year, creating serious concerns for patient safety.

The Lebanon Road Surgery Center is the most recent of five Ohio abortion clinics closed or slated to close. The Women’s Med Center is one of two abortion providers in Greater Cincinnati, together with Planned Parenthood responsible for the deaths of at least 2,500 unborn babies per year

Has Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Been Invoked by Too Many Causes?

Today, people across the United States will remember and pay homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his dream of an equal America.

A civil rights icon whose nonviolent resistance helped mainstream the cause of racial equality, Dr. King is a figure much admired in the modern day.

So admired is Dr. King by Americans that many groups invoke him when advancing their respective causes in the public sphere.

When speaking about what Dr. King would believe about church and state issues, in 2005 Bill O’Reilly argued that King “would be appalled by the secular culture, the attacks on Christmas, the demonizing of Christianity.”

Then again, Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State wrote in 2006 that “King was no friend to the Religious Right” and “no advocate of partisan politicking in the pulpit.”

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Pro-Israel group the Anti-Defamation League has stated that King “was a leader in the struggle to free Soviet Jewry and supported Israel’s right to a secure and independent state.”

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Interestingly enough, Adri Nieuwhof of the Pro-Palestinian website drew a different conclusion about Dr. King’s message regarding the conflict.

“Martin Luther King made it very clear that we – peace loving people – should act against injustice. We should establish ‘an effective quarantine’ of Israel, just like we did with apartheid South Africa,” wrote Nieuwhof.

It seems as though nearly every cause in the American public sphere, liberal or conservative, foreign or domestic, has invoked Dr. King as an ally.

Yet have all these posthumous endorsements gone too far?

After his time

Born Michael Luther King Jr. in 1929, Martin grew up to become a major public figure in the struggle for racial equality.

Pastor and president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, King was a leader in the effort to eliminate the white supremacist racial hierarchy of the Jim Crow South.

Results from his efforts ranged from being thrown into prison to eventually winning the Nobel Peace Prize. His passionate words in speeches like the “I Have a Dream” oratory still inspire.

King also held views on other issues, advocating for, among other things, increased welfare programs for the poor and an end to American involvement in the Vietnam War.

Much has changed in the U.S. since Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, with debates and contemporary issues arising that were largely dormant during his public career.

Certain issues, like Affirmative Action and gay rights, where hot button debates whose public profile manifested largely or completely after King’s death.

Uncertain endorsements

Both proponents and opponents of race-based Affirmative Action have argued that Dr. King would have been on their side if alive.

Since the first wave of programs dubbed Affirmative Action were mostly created in the late ’60s and early ’70s, King did not comment on those specific programs.

Many opponents of Affirmative Action have argued King would oppose the programs since it was King who said people should be judged by their character rather than their skin color.

Some proponents of Affirmative Action have countered by pointing to King’s support for the creation of government programs to assist the less fortunate, including African Americans, in particular.

“It’s a common debating tactic to assert that some respected figure of the past would endorse your position on some controversy of the present,” wrote Eric Foner in a Slate piece arguing against the idea that King would oppose Affirmative Action.

“There is little doubt that the originals would find the views attributed to them surprising sometimes. Abraham Lincoln, for example, has been claimed as a forbear by everyone from Communists to Dixiecrats.”

The Stonewall Riots, seen as the beginning of the modern day gay rights movement, happened the year after Dr. King’s assassination.

It is a matter of record that King thought negatively about homosexuality. In an advice column for Ebony magazine, King wrote that homosexuality was a “problem” that was “culturally acquired.”

Yet this has not ended the debate for many, as numerous gay activist groups invoke Dr. King as one who would have supported their cause if still alive.

King’s own family has been divided on the issue, as are other social commentators who have debated whether or not King would have “evolved” with the times.

Ultimately, the efforts of so many different ideological groups to claim Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as their own bears witness to the influence and the popularity for which the slain civil rights leader has in modern America.

Birmingham, Alabama Abortion-Free for Now as Planned Parenthood Closes

Birmingham, Alabama is abortion free for now, as the sole abortion clinic there, run by Planned Parenthood, has temporarily closed. If it stays closed this is the second closure of an abortion clinic in 2014.

Local pro-life activist Fr. Terry Gensemer of CEC For Life tells LifeNews that sidewalk counselors report that the facility does not appear to have performed abortions since before Christmas. One counselor confirms that she has only seen a handful of patients show up in the past four weeks, none of which stayed long enough to have an abortion.

“But that’s just the start. On December 30th, after the facility was closed for several days, pro-lifers on the sidewalk witnessed the facility’s director being escorted from the building, followed by a repairman changing all of the locks. Three days later, a sign from Planned Parenthood Southeast (PPS) appeared stating that the facility would be closed until January 6th, 2014. After the 6th, sidewalk counselors say the facility did reopen, but only briefly,” Gensemer explained.

As of Tuesday, PPS posted yet another sign, now reading: “We apologize for the inconvenience, but this facility is temporarily closed.” The PPS website also removed the facility’s hours of operation schedule, as well as adding a note that reads: “Services at our Birmingham health center are temporarily slowed.”Gensemer hopes the closure will be permanent.

He told LifeNews, “This Planned Parenthood should have been closed long before today. It already has a lawsuit pending from a woman left infertile after the abortionist ignored her ectopic pregnancy and performed an abortion on her empty womb. Before that, the facility was caught in a round of scandal for allegedly covering up cases of statutory rape. For the sake of everyone this facility continues to harm, we are praying it remains closed.”

He said if the facility does remain closed, Birmingham will be the largest metropolitan area in the country free of abortion clinics – a prayer that many in the city have waited decades to see answered.

Ed Carrick, Director of Birmingham 40 Days for Life, comments, “We’ve done numerous prayer campaigns outside of this facility. The goal of any 40 Days campaign is to arrive at the start date and have no abortion facility at which to hold your campaign. A final shutdown would not only be an answer to many years of dedicated prayer, it would be a miracle for the city. We give God the glory for every day Birmingham remains free of these clinics.”

The Planned Parenthood website has removed all operating house for the Birmingham abortion facility and has noted the following:

Services at our Birmingham health center are temporarily slowed. Please call (205) 322-2121 for more information about our other locations.

“The term ‘slowed’ to them means ‘stopped’ to everyone else. In typical Planned Parenthood ‘new-speak,’ they just can’t admit they are closed and that their facility director was given the ‘perp walk.’ Obviously there are serious issues at the Birmingham Planned Parenthood and we are grateful for the respite in their grisly abortion business,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Planned Parenthood organizations around the country have a history of financial malfeasance, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case in Birmingham, given the way the facility director was removed from the building.”

Other troubles have plagued the Birmingham Planned Parenthood abortion business. An incompetent abortion that left a patient unable to bear children and a series of deficiency reports noting conditions and practices that endangered the public prompted Life Legal Defense to file a complaint with the Alabama Department of Public Health in September 2012, on behalf of the CEC for Life, Operation Rescue, and Alabama Physicians for Life.

Operation Rescue also filed a formal complaint against the Birmingham Planned Parenthood’s abortionist, Aqua Don E. Umoren, for incompetence and negligence related to the incompetent abortion, which was done on a woman suffering an ectopic pregnancy that Umoren failed to diagnose with disastrous consequences to the patient. That case remains open.

“We join the CEC for Life and other local groups in praying that the Birmingham Planned Parenthood abortion clinic never reopens,” said Newman. “Its permanent closure would protect the public from suffering further abortion abuses there.”

The Planned Parenthood facility is the second abortion clinic closure in 2014. Earlier this month, the Ft. Wayne Women’s Health Center in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, was the first surgical abortion clinic to officially shut down in 2014, following a record-breaking year where 87 surgical abortion clinics permanently closed.

House Committee Passes Bill to Completely Ban Taxpayer Funding of Abortions

The House Judiciary Committee today approved legislation that will put in place a complete ban on taxpayer funding of abortions that ensures abortions are not directly funded in any federal governmental program or department.

The legislation combines several policies that must be enacted every year in Congressional battles and puts them into law where they will not be in jeopardy of being overturned every time Congress changes hands from pro-life lawmakers to those who support abortions.

The bill has been around a few years but has only been approved in the House thanks to a pro-abortion Senate. On May 4, 2011, the House passed HR 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, on a 251-175 vote with Republicans voting 235-0 for the bill and Democrats voting 175-16 against it.

The House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice will hold a hearing on H.R. 7, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” this week.

Congressman Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican who is the lead sponsor of the bill, informed the House that a study by the Guttmacher Institute, the pro-abortion former research apparatus of Planned Parenthood, released a study noting that one-quarter of women who otherwise would have had abortions chose to give birth when taxpayer dollars were not available to pay for abortions of their children.

The Family Research Council is a strong supporter of the bill and FRC president Tony Perkins applauded Smith’s leadership.

“Chris Smith’s leadership in the cause of life has been historic. Most Americans, regardless of their view on abortion, oppose government funding for abortion. The ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act’ will make sure that the Hyde Amendment applies across the government, including fixing the abortion funding provisions in Obamacare. H.R. 7 will restore government neutrality on abortion,” he told LifeNews.

“Abortion causes enduring pain to millions of American women, and the revelation that so many of them are so young is tragic. Bringing help and healing to America’s young women and their families has to be coupled with public policies that will curtail this victimization,” Perkins noted.

Smith spoke on the House floor during debate over the last version of the bill about what he said was growing public opinion against abortion. He also praised women who regret having terminated their pregnancies and speak out against abortions.

“For decades, a patchwork of short-term policies have prevented abortion funding in many programs authorized by Congress, but it is time for a single, government-wide permanent protection against taxpayer funding for elective abortion,” Smith said. “Abortion is lethal violence against children and exploitation of women. This legislation would establish a comprehensive policy prohibiting public funding for elective abortion in all federal programs.”

A majority of Americans object to the use of taxpayer money for funding abortion, according to numerous polls — including a survey CNN conducted in early April showing Americans oppose public funding of abortion by a margin of 61% to 35%.

The bill will also mitigate concerns about abortion funding in the various loopholes in the Obamacare national health care bill that various pro-life organizations warned about during debate on the law. The legislation did not contain language banning funding of abortions in its provisions and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would fix that problem.

The National Right to Life Committee sent a letter to House members urging support for the legislation that explains how the bill will help:

“Regrettably, however, the 111th Congress enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). During consideration of that legislation, language was proposed (the Stupak-Pitts Amendment) to apply the principles of the Hyde Amendment to the multitude of programs created by the bill, and the House initially approved that language – but no such provision was part of the enacted law, due to opposition from President Obama and the Senate majority. Consequently, the enacted PPACA contains multiple provisions authorizing funding of abortion and funding of health plans that cover abortion.”

The National Right to Life letter also commented on another lesser-known provision of the tax-funded abortion ban — it’s language to protect health care professionals who don’t want to be involved in abortions.

“The bill would codify the principles of the Hyde-Weldon Amendment, which has been appended to the original Hyde Amendment on every Health and Human Services appropriations bill since 2004. This provision would solidify important protections for health care providers who do not wish to participate in providing abortions – which is especially important in light of the Obama Administration’s February 23, 2011 action rescinding the conscience protection regulation issued by the Bush Administration.”

Also, before the vote in 2011, the White House said President Barack Obama would add to his lengthy pro-abortion record by vetoing the legislation. Obama would veto HR 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, with the White House saying the president opposes the bill because it would supposedly make it tougher for women to obtain abortion coverage from private insurance companies thereby expanding the current Hyde Amendment, which only limits tax-funded abortions under Medicaid, beyond its current reach.

Report: Louisiana Named the Most Pro-Life State, Washington Most Pro-Abortion

Americans United for Life today released its annual report about the most pro-life and pro-abortion states when it comes to passing pro-life legislation that protects women and unborn children. Louisiana was named most pro-life and Washington most pro-abortion.

Both states have held those respected positions previously.

Louisiana tops the list for the 5th year in a row, followed by Oklahoma, Arkansas, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Texas. AUL’s Life List ranks states by their overall actions on life issues, released in advance of Roe v. Wade’s infamous anniversary later this month.

For the 5th year in a row, Washington ranked as the worst state for life for failing to protect women from an unmonitored and under-regulated abortion industry, followed by California, Vermont, New York, and Connecticut.

“As the legal architects who, since the days immediately following the deadly Roe decision, have championed the strategy of using expertly crafted model legislation to protect life, AUL has tracked states’ progress toward achieving a nation in which everyone is welcomed in life and protected in law,” noted AUL President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “Real pro-life momentum is reshaping the country as legislators craft protections for both mother and child, the victims of an avaricious abortion industry. Common-sense pro-life legislation saves lives and has broad public support in light of what we’re learning about the health risks of abortion for women.”

AUL also released the Women’s Protection Project All-Stars honoring states that have so far done the best in enacting protections for both mothers and unborn children, the victims of abortion industry horrors. The All-Stars ranking is awarded to states based on the enactment of protective, common-sense legislation, specifically the legislative models highlighted in AUL’s Women’s Protection Project, now being distributed nationwide.

This year’s AUL All-Stars include Texas, Missouri, Alabama, Arizona and Arkansas.

“Each of AUL’s All Stars enacted life-saving legislation to protect mother and child from an abortion industry more committed to its financial bottom line than protecting women from a dangerous procedure that is too often performed in substandard facilities,” said Dr. Yoest.

In his forward to AUL’s soon-to-be-released 9th edition of Defending Life, Texas Governor Rick Perry commended AUL’s model legislation, observing: “AUL plays a key role in developing and promoting legislation in all 50 states, legislation crafted to minimize the damage done by the abortion industry and its proponents. This year, AUL is promoting the ‘Women’s Protection Project,’ a precise collection of legislation that every state needs to consider to fight back against an abortion industry intent upon increasing its profits and political strength at the expense of the health and well-being of the women of our country.”

Click here to view a detailed breakdown of ranking criteria for AUL’s 2014 Life List.

  1. Hawaii
  2. Oregon
  3. New Jersey
  4. Connecticut
  5. New York
  6. Vermont
  7. California
  8. Washington

‘Ministers Together’ Program Links Legislators, Pastors Together to Discuss Cultural Issues

PHILADELPHIA—The Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network (PPN, is bridging the gap between pastors and the public square and has created a program like none other in the nation – it is called the PA Pastors’ Network Ministers Together program.

The purpose of Ministers Together is to create opportunities to build relationships between pastors and elected officials on a biblical, not political, basis. This is in line with the United States Constitution that was designed to keep the government out of religion, not to keep religion and biblical values out of the way our country is governed. The Ministers Together effort rebuilds the biblical worldview perspective as ordained by God. This view is that those in the pulpit are “Ministers of God” and called by God to occupy a position ordained of God. They uniquely possess the command to “Preach the Word” (II Tim. 4:2) and are given the authority to speak the Truth – not only to their local congregations but into the public square. They are clearly God’s prime leaders and communicators of Truth.

This biblical worldview also holds that those in elected office are not just ‘politicians’ but those who occupy an equally ordained position as “Ministers of God”, with the clear job description as servants of God and God’s servants to the people. (Rom 13:4).

According to Sam Rohrer, President of PPN and the American Pastors’ Network (APN,, “The purpose of Ministers Together is to bridge the gap between ‘Church and State’ and rebuild the biblical worldview perspective as ordained by God.  We are already seeing results from the Ministers Together program and it is encouraging to see legislators who want to work with pastors to incorporate more of a Judeo-Christian worldview into their decision making processes.

The first Ministers Together event of 2014 is a breakfast set for this month.  To find out more information and to register if you are a pastor or legislator, visit

For more information on Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network, visit or call 610.584.1225.  For more information on the American Pastors’ Network, visit

The Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network is a group of biblically faithful clergy and church liaisons whose objective is to build a permanent infrastructure of like-minded clergy who affirm the authority of Scripture, take seriously Jesus’ command to be the “salt and light” to the culture, encourage informed Christian thinking about contemporary social issues; examine public policy issues without politicizing their pulpits and engage their congregations in taking part in our political process on a non-partisan basis.

The Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network is a state chapter affiliate of the American Pastors’ Network. The American Pastors’ Network is a Ministry Program Affiliate of Capstone Legacy Foundation (a 501 C3 non-profit organization).

Pope Francis: Abortion Kills Children “Who Will Never See the Light of Day”

Pope Francis today spoke out strongly against the abortion culture, saying abortion is part of the same “throwaway” culture that wastes both people and food.

This is just the latest example of Pope Francis taking a consistent and frequent public position against abortion and it comes less than 10 days away from the day Americans will mourn the loss of 56 million unborn children to abortion following Roe v. Wade.

As AP reports:

Pope Francis on Monday criticized abortion as evidence of a “throwaway culture” that wastes people as well as food, saying such a mentality is a threat to world peace.

Francis also urged better respect for migrants and denounced the persecution of Christians in Asia, Africa and the Middle East in his global survey of world crises delivered to diplomats accredited to the Holy See.

Saying hunger is a threat to world peace, he noted that not only food but human beings themselves are often discarded as unnecessary.

“We cannot be indifferent to those suffering from hunger, especially children, when we think of how much food is wasted every day in many parts of the world immersed in what I have often termed ‘the throwaway culture,’” Francis said.

That culture, he said, also affects the unborn child.

“For example, it is frightful even to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day,” he said.

In remarks that were less diplomatic and more a reflection of his own priorities, Francis called for the elderly to be treated with respect that their wisdom warrants, and for children to be protected from exploitation, slavery and hunger.

Last September, a day after an interview the mainstream media used to claim Pope Francis is backing down on the Catholic Church’s pro-life teachings, the Pope condemned abortion in strong terms, saying unborn babies are “unjustly condemned” when killed in abortions.

In the text of a message the Pope delivered to a group of Catholic doctors this morning, as distributed by the Vatican today, Pope Francis soundly condemned abortion.

“Every unborn child, though unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of the Lord, who even before his birth, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world,” he said.

Pope Francis condemned the “throwaway culture” abortion promotes, saying, “Our response to this mentality is a ‘yes’ to life, decisive and without hesitation. ‘The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are precious, but this one is fundamental –- the condition for all the others’”.

Supreme Court: Arizona Can’t Enforce Ban on Abortions After 20 Weeks

The Supreme Court issued a ruling today saying the state of Arizona can’t enforce its law to ban abortions after five months of pregnancy.

After a federal judge upheld an Arizona law that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, one of the most liberal appeals courts in the nation struck is down. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the law violates U.S. Supreme Court rulings on abortion, including Roe v. Wade. The ruling does not affect similar laws passed in other states except the law in Idaho, which is also covered under the jurisdiction of the appeals court.

The Attorney General of Arizona and the Maricopa County (Arizona) Attorney appealed Arizona’s law that limits abortions after five months of pregnancy to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to reverse the appellate court ruling.

Today, the Supreme Court issued a brief order rejecting the appeal and giving no reason for their decision — however the case continues.

As AP reports, “Technically speaking, Montgomery still has an opportunity to challenge the law. The only thing at issue today was his request to dissolve the injunction against its enforcement while the litigation proceeds. But given the broad sweep of the language of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, it is doubtful the measure ever will be on the books.”

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Steven Aden emailed LifeNews about the ruling: “Every innocent life deserves to be protected. Not only did this law protect innocent children in the womb who experience horrific pain during a late-term abortion, it also protected mothers from the increased risk of physical harm and tremendous psychological consequences that come with late-term abortions. New medical knowledge about the pain children can experience in the womb and the potential harms to women shouldn’t be ignored in any civilized society.”

Attorneys with Americans United for Life are serving as co-counsel.

“Horne v. Isaacson may well be the case that leads the Supreme Court to examine and acknowledge the risks of abortion to women,” Americans United for Life president Charmaine Yoest told LifeNews. “In 1973 in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the Supreme Court put the life and health of the mother front and center in the abortion debate. Detailing the numerous studies and evidence that has developed since the 1973 decisions, the Arizona law protects women from the known harm from abortion, as well as considering the pain abortion inflicts on unborn children.”

Yoest said a five-month limit on abortion has been enacted by 12 states and passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year. The Arizona law is the first of these five-month abortion limits to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Yoest added that, as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton in 1973, the U.S. is one of just a handful of nations to allow abortions for any reason after fetal viability.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are co-counsel in the case as well.

“Every innocent life deserves to be protected. Not only does this law protect children in the womb who experience horrific pain during a late-term abortion, it also protects mothers from the dangers and tremendous psychological consequences of late-term abortions,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden. “Arizona’s law is entirely reasonable and constitutional, and we hope the Supreme Court takes this invitation to revisit the extreme constraints Roe v. Wade imposed on state safeguards for women’s health.”

In May, the 9th Circuit ruled against Arizona H.B. 2036, reversing a district court which upheld the law based on its conclusions that “the unborn child has developed pain sensors all over its body by 20 weeks gestational age” and that legitimate concern exists for “the health of the pregnant woman” because the instance of complications is exponentially higher after that time. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys had filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the 9th Circuit on behalf of a doctors’ group that provided support for such findings.

Arizona’s defense relies directly on the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in Gonzales v. Carhart, which upheld the federal partial birth abortion ban act. In that case, the Supreme Court expressed concern with late-term abortions and their impact on the unborn child and women’s health.

“The current state of scientific knowledge demonstrates that a fetus feels pain beginning as early as sixteen (and quite likely by twenty) weeks gestation and that late-term abortion poses an exponential increase in risk to maternal health,” the petition filed with the Supreme Court explains. “Confronted with this documented evidence, the utter gruesomeness of late-term abortion (however performed), and the threats it posed to the integrity of the medical profession, the State of Arizona determined…to protect the health of the mother and the dignity of the unborn child to be free from excruciating pain by allowing abortions after twenty weeks only when necessary to avert death or serious health risks to the mother.”

“On the basis of these scientific developments,” the petition continues, “the legislatures of thirteen States, including Arizona, as well as one house of the U.S. Congress, have now adopted legislation limiting access to abortion beyond twenty weeks except when necessary to avert death or serious health risks to the mother.”

The petition argues that such developments “provide ample predicate for distinguishing this Court’s prior abortion precedents” and that the high court should accept the case “to reverse the Ninth Circuit’s decision to the contrary, so as to give due deference to the important legislative judgments of the States in this sensitive and scientifically developing policy area.”

In enacting the five month limit to abortion, the Arizona legislature relied on medical evidence about the capacity of the unborn child to feel pain at five months and on short-term and long-term risks to the woman from late-term abortions. Medical studies have found that the maternal mortality rate from abortion rises significantly after 12 weeks and increases even more after 20 weeks. As one example, a 2004 peer-reviewed medical study showed that the rate of maternal mortality from abortion rises considerably in the second trimester: 14.7 maternal deaths per 100,000 at 13-15 weeks, 29.5 per 100,000 between 16-20 weeks, and 76.6 per 100,000 after 21 weeks.

Democrats Push for More Abortion Funding During Congressional Hearing

A testy hearing on a touchy subject took place on the House floor this morning. But, before the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice could introduce its witnesses and begin the debate on whether or not American taxpayers should have to fund abortions, in regards to the Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, they had to get past Round One.

For several minutes, Chairman Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) argued whether Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) could testify about the legislation on behalf of her district in Washington, DC. The subcommittee, voicing a rule previously agreed upon, ultimately rejected her testimony.

In October, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced The Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act in an effort to inform Americans about the abortion surcharge more or less hidden in the pages of their health insurance plans. The fee violates religious consciences across America and many may not even be aware their money is funding these procedures.

H.R. 7, however, the legislation in question this morning, would codify policies such as the Hyde amendment, which prohibits funding for elective abortion coverage through any program funded through the annual Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Act.

At the top of the hearing, Franks criticized the president’s health care law for providing for federal taxpayer funding of abortions. When Mr. Nadler took the mic, however, he said the H.R. 7 legislation is “misleading:

“For the first time ever, it denies tax deductions for women who use their own money to pay for abortion. Respect most personal private decision they may make and denies itemized tax deduction for medical expenses for abortion.”

For a clearer summary:

Nadler also noted, “The power to tax is power to destroy right to choose.” But, I would change the language a bit: “The power to tax is the power to destroy life.” That wasn’t the end of Rep. Nadler’s complaints. The congressman became noticeably irritated when insisting that Rep. Norton be allowed to speak. As the representative for Washington, DC, Norton’s situation is unique because the Act would affect local funds in her district, Nadler said. Therefore, he insisted it would be a “common courtesy” to allow her to talk.

What Nadler didn’t note, however, is that in DC, many of the available insurance plans include abortion funding. When Franks said they did not require her to testify, Nadler, frustrated with the committee, declared he had “never seen someone be so mistreated.” Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) spoke up to inform Nadler that Norton was not a member of the subcommittee and, based on a decision made prior, “she was not allowed to participate, but was welcome to submit materials.” Nadler still wasn’t appeased, though and brashly noted the “rudeness of the subcommittee” and asked for consent for Rep. Norton to submit materials.

With Rep. Norton sitting silently in the front row, the witnesses finally offered some insight. Helen Alvare, a law professor at the George Mason University School of Law, went first, telling the subcommittee, “Abortion is not a part of any women’s health agenda. It’s different than anything else the federal government might fund. It’s not like any other medical procedure.” She also noted, interestingly, that, “The wealthy support funding for poor more than poor themselves.”

Dr. Susan Wood then offered her pro-choice counter point, “It [HR 7] would affect women around country – those struggling to make ends meet […] It’s an attempt to interfere with a woman’s decision making.” It’s worth noting that The Hyde Amendment, which pro-choice advocates demonize, has allowed for 675,000 fewer abortions each year. I implore you to do the same as Mr. Goodlatte suggested and “let that sink in a few precious moments.” If Norton did get the chance to testify, how could she against such encouraging numbers?

9 out of 10 Top Christian Persecution Countries Due to Islamic Extremism

WASHINGTON – Nine out of the ten countries ranked the most oppressive for Christians to live in were due to Islamic extremism, according to Open Doors’ annual World Watch List, which was released Wednesday.

With the exception of North Korea – ranked No. 1 for the 12th year in a row – every other country on the top 10 list had as its source of persecution, Islamic extremism. North Korea’s persecution of Christians was due to communist oppression and dictatorial paranoia, explained Open Doors in its 2014 World Watch List. According to the report, the countries with the most extreme persecution besides North Korea are: Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran, and Yemen, respectively.

Open Doors announced the rankings for its 2014 World Watch List, which documented the 50 nations least tolerant of their Christian population, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The Christian persecution watchdog group’s methodology involved measuring the level of Christian freedom found in five spheres of life: private, family, community, national, and church. A sixth sphere regarding degree of violence also factors in to the rankings.

Dr. David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors; Dr. Ronald Boyd-MacMillan, head of Strategy and Research for Open Doors International; and Dr. Paul Marshall, author and senior fellow at Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, were among those who gave remarks at the press conference.

America’s Silence on Religious Persecution

In his remarks, Dr. Paul Marshall explained that in contrast to previous years, the United States has been largely silent on the issue of religious persecution. Marshall told The Christian Post that he believes the root of this silence – also seen in Protestant U.S. church, according to him – is in part due to the rise of “realism” regarding diplomacy.

“I think that one reason is because in the State Department you have the ascendency of realism in international relations,” said Marshall. “So you just deal with states according to what you think you can get and don’t seek to delve inside them.”

Marshall also told CP that another factor was that the Obama administration had different priorities regarding human rights abroad. “The Administration has put a larger stress on other forms of human rights or rights conceived of in different ways,” he said. “Rights of women…rights of homosexuals, I think these have risen in the agenda so they are apparently more outspoken on those issues.”

Jordan a Safe Haven or Not?

Christians might also be surprised to see that Jordan was ranked number 26 on the list of 50 countries with the worst Christian persecution, given that Jordan is often applauded for being a moderate Muslim country and for its religious tolerance.

Jordan’s increase in Christian persecution caused it to jump 8 ranks, rising to 26 this year compared to 34 in 2013.

Dr. Ronald Boyd-MacMillan of Open Doors told The Christian Post that “It is not better in Jordan by any means and we are tracking quite seriously the impact of Syria and…the Jihadist movements and so on into Jordan.”

Boyd-MacMillan said that the major source of persecution for Christians in Jordan was “primarily Islamic extremism” and was likely being fed by the destabilization found in neighboring Syria.

Open Doors’ report of increased Christian persecution in Jordan comes just months after the country’s constitutional monarchy hosted an event in the Hashemite Kingdom’s capital of Amman titled “Challenges facing Arab Christians,” where the aim was to “discuss challenges facing Arab Christians, and document them and identify ways to address them in order to preserve the Christians’ important role especially in maintaining the city of Jerusalem and its history,” according to Jordan’s media agency PETRA.