Supreme Court Will Determine if Pro-Lifers Have Free Speech at Abortion Clinics

The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to take a case out of Massachusetts where an abortion law was taken to court because it tramples on the free speech rights of pro-life advocates.

The Massachusetts statute prevents pro-life advocates from exercising their free speech rights to protest and present abortion alternatives information to people outside abortion facilities.

The law creates a 35-foot fixed buffer zone around the driveways and entrances of abortion clinics. That prevents pro-life people from offering literature to or talking to women considering abortions and providing them with better alternatives. The lawsuit was brought by seven residents who regularly engage in pro-life sidewalk counseling outside abortion clinics They filed suit in April 2008, claiming violation of their free speech rights, free association, due process, and equal protection rights granted under the First Amendment.

In February, US District Judge Joseph L. Tauro rejected claims that the law, affecting abortion centers in Boston, Worcester, and Springfield, infringed on First Amendment rights. In his ruling, he said the law “as applied is a valid regulation of the time, place, and manner of Plaintiffs’ speech.”

“From the evidence,” Tauro wrote, “it is clear that the Act, as applied at each of the challenged [reproductive health care facilities] leaves open ample adequate alternative means of communication.”

Attorney General Martha Coakley, an abortion advocate who defended the law, was happy with the ruling. She said at the time: “We are pleased that the court has upheld the Commonwealth’s buffer zone law, which enhances public safety and access to reproductive health care facilities, while preserving freedom of expression. The court agreed that the buffer zone leaves open ample opportunities for communication and civil engagement on the public ways outside the facilities.”

In August 2008, Tauro ruled on the first challenge, upholding the law itself. The plaintiffs appealed and the First US Circuit Court of Appeals also upheld it. The US Supreme Court declined to take up the case at that time. Tauro held a bench trial in August 2011 on the challenge to the law as applied.

Anne Fox of Massachusetts Citizens for Life previously told LifeNews, “Unfortunately, it has become common in this country for laws to apply differently when they have to do with abortion. The idea that people cannot express their views within a 35 foot radius – i.e. a circle with a 70 foot diameter – of an abortion facility is un-American. It is also ludicrous. Given the huge size of the zone, people have been approached by the police for engaging in activities on their own properties, which happen to be next door to abortion facilities. This happened recently in Worcester,” she said.

Fox added, “Courts have struck down less onerous laws in other states because they infringe on the First Amendment rights of U. S. citizens. We feel certain that higher courts will strike down the Massachusetts ‘Buffer Zone’”

The justices will hear arguments in the case and rule in their 2013-14 term, which starts in October. The case is McCullen v. Coakley, 12-1168.

Gun Manufacturer Moving to SC Due to Conn. Gun Control Laws

Less than a week after Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed gun restrictions into law in April, gun manufacturer PTR Industries said it intended to leave the state to avoid the damage it expected to be inflicted on its business.

On Wednesday, the rifle manufacturer kept its promise, announcing it will move to Aynor, S.C.

“One hundred percent of our product line is now illegal in Connecticut due to that law,” said John McNamara, the company’s vice president for sales.

He offered few details of the relocation, saying that a formal announcement and ribbon-cutting are scheduled for Monday at the new site. Most of the company’s 41 workers will relocate and the labor force is expected to expand to 100 within a year, McNamara said.

“It will be as fast a transition as we can without interrupting production,” he said.

Malloy and legislators negotiated for months to craft new gun restrictions following the killings of 20 children and six educators in Newtown last December. The legislation that emerged expanded the state’s ban on assault weapons, banned ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds, broadened background checks and made other changes.

Executives at other gun manufacturers say they’ve been in touch with states seeking to lure the businesses from New England, which has had an arms manufacturing presence dating to the Revolutionary War.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a splashy visit to Connecticut on Monday, meeting with gun manufacturers and other businesses and talking up the Lone Star State. South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard made a more low-key trip to Connecticut this week to drum up new business for his state.

Andrew Doba, a spokesman for Malloy, said the governor has made job creation a top priority but in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook killings, ensuring public safety was critical.

“We’re out there every single day competing for jobs,” he said. “But on this particular issue the governor decided to prioritize public safety and the gun violence prevention law he signed will improve public safety.”

Bristol Mayor Art Ward told WTNH-TV that he recognizes the business issues confronting PTR. “We understand. We wish it wouldn’t happen,” he said.

McNamara said the gun issue was not the only draw, and that although he’s familiar with South Carolina from travels to meet customers, he expects the move from New England will not be without its problems.

“It will definitely take some adjustment,” he said.

House Votes to Ban Most Late-Term Abortions after Appeals to What's Sacred

WASHINGTON (June 19, 2013) – Rejecting arguments that the “right” to abortion is more sacred than life in the womb, the House has voted 228-196 to ban most abortions more than 20 weeks into a pregnancy.

Republican women challenged Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s defense of abortion “rights” last week in which she said, “As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said, “We are indeed treading upon sacred ground, but it’s because we’re dealing with the sanctity of every human life.”

Democrats say the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” will die in the Senate and, if it reached the White House, would be vetoed by President Barack Obama.

The legislation, sparked by the murder conviction of Philadelphia late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell, would restrict almost all abortions to the first 20 weeks after conception, defying laws in most states that allow abortions up to when the fetus becomes viable, usually considered to be around 24 weeks.

It mirrors 20-week abortion ban laws passed by some states, and lays further groundwork for the ongoing legal battle that pro-lifers hope will eventually result in forcing the Supreme Court to reconsider the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, that made abortion legal.

It passed 228-196, with six Democrats voting for it and six Republicans voting against it.

In the short term, the bill will go nowhere. The Democratic-controlled Senate will ignore it and the White House says the president would veto it if it ever reached his desk. The White House said the measure was “an assault on a woman’s right to choose” and “a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.”

But it was a banner day for social conservatives who have generally seen their priorities overshadowed by economic and budgetary issues since Republicans recaptured the House in 2010.

Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, called it “the most important pro-life bill to be considered by the U.S. Congress in the last 10 years.”

Marjorie Dannenfeiser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List – a group that seeks to eliminate abortion – said the legislation differed significantly from past abortion measures in that it restricts, rather than merely controls, the abortion procedure.

Democrats chided Republicans for taking up a dead-end abortion bill when Congress is doing little to promote jobs and economic growth. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called it “yet another Republican attempt to endanger women. It is disrespectful to women. It is unsafe for families and it is unconstitutional.”

Democrats also said the decision by GOP leaders to appease their restless base with the abortion vote could backfire on Republican efforts to improve their standing among women.

“They are going down the same road that helped women elect Barack Obama president of the United States,” said Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s delegate to the House. The bill is so egregious to women, said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., that women are reminded that “the last possible thing they ever want to do is leave their health policy to these men in blue suits and red ties.”

Democrats repeatedly pointed out that all 23 Republicans on the Judiciary Committee that approved the measure last week on a party-line vote are men.

Republicans countered by assigning women to conspicuous roles in managing the bill on the House floor and presiding over the chamber. Republican women were prominent among those speaking in favor of the legislation.

The bill, said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who was assigned to manage the bill despite not being on the Judiciary Committee, would “send the clearest possible message to the American people that we do not support more Gosnell-like abortions.”

The Republican leadership gave the green light to the abortion bill after social conservatives coalesced around the case of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortion doctor who was recently sentenced to life in prison for the murder of three babies delivered alive. Pro-lifers said it exemplified the inhumanity of late-term abortions.

“After this Kermit Gosnell trial, (and) some of the horrific acts that were going on, the vast majority of the American people believe in the substance of this bill, and so do I,” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Absent from the debate was the bill’s main sponsor, Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., who last week sparked a controversy by saying that rape resulted in few pregnancies.

After Franks’ remark, which he later modified, Republicans quietly altered the bill to include an exception to the 20-week ban for instances of rape and incest. Democrats still balked, saying the exception would require a woman to prove that she had reported the rape to authorities.

The bill has an exception when a physical condition threatens the life of the mother, but Democratic efforts to include other health exceptions were rebuffed.

The legislation would ban abortions that take place 20 weeks after conception, which is equivalent to 22 weeks of pregnancy.

Some 10 states have passed laws similar to the House bill, and several are facing court challenges. Last month a federal court struck down as unconstitutional Arizona’s law, which differs slightly in banning abortion 20 weeks after pregnancy rather than conception.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a New York-based reproductive health research organization that supports abortion rights, in 2009, 1.3 percent of the 1.2 million abortions in the country, about 15,600, occurred 20 weeks after the fetus was conceived.

Supporters of the legislation also contended that unborn children can feel pain after about 20 weeks, and the bill cites extensively from studies agreeing with that conclusion. Opponents say such findings are inconclusive.

Pro-abortion groups argued that the 20-week ban, in addition to being unconstitutional, would affect women just at the point of learning of a fetal anomaly or determining that the pregnancy could put the mother’s life in danger.

CNN Poll: Did White House order IRS targeting?

Washington (CNN) – A growing number of Americans believe that senior White House officials ordered the Internal Revenue Service to target conservative political groups, according to a new national poll.

And a CNN/ORC International survey released Tuesday morning also indicates that a majority of the public says the controversy, which involves increased IRS scrutiny of tea party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, is very important to the nation.

Republicans argue that the Obama administration used the IRS to intimidate and harass political opponents. Democrats say poor management at the tax agency, rather than political bias, is to blame. Congressional sources on both sides say that interviews with IRS workers so far have found no evidence of political dealings by the White House. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, touting an independent IRS inspector general report, has said the scrutiny appears to have originated with “IRS officials in Cincinnati,” where the agency’s tax exempt division is centered.

GOP tries to keep focus on IRS targeting scandal

Last month only 37% of the public thought that the IRS controversy led to the White House, with 55% saying that agency officials acted on their own without direct orders from Washington. Now the number who say the White House directed that IRS program has increased 10 points, to 47%, virtually the same as the 49% who believe the IRS agents acted on their own.

“Younger Americans are much less likely than older Americans to believe in White House involvement, and there is, not surprisingly, a partisan divide as well,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “But the Obama administration may be losing independents on this matter. In May, only 36% felt the White House ordered the IRS to target conservative groups; now that number has crossed the 50% threshold.”

Fifty-one percent of those questioned said the IRS controversy is a very important issue to the nation, compared to 55% who felt that way in May. In the past week and a half, the IRS story has been put a bit on the backburner, as the controversy over the federal government’s massive surveillance program has dominated the spotlight.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International June 11-13, with 1,014 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Father's Day Scheduled for Pro-Life Social Media Campaign

Despite a vindictive attack by Planned Parenthood operatives and pro-abortion advocates last week, Wisconsin based Project Wildfire will conduct its second pro-life social media campaign on Father’s Day, June 16.

The Sunday event, entitled “Project Wildfire – #ExposePP,” seeks to call attention to the devastation of abortion.

Cary Bogue, founder of Project Wildfire, launched the new ministry that uses social media to promote the virtues of the pro-life movement. Bogue believes that Father’s Day is an ideal day to recognize the value of life and counter the multi-million dollar public relations and social media barrage of discrimination and deception by Planned Parenthood.

“We’ve found that the social media Twitter has been the most effective way to reach out across the entire country and get people to start re-thinking the idea of abortion as something insignificant and turning it into the big deal it is,” he says. “The Gosnell tweet-fest forced the mainstream media to cover his illegal abortion activities in Pennsylvania. That’s where my idea came from. I’ve got the heart for pro-life issues.

And a lot of people don’t realize that 20% of women who have an abortion attempt suicide, so it’s not a little deal.”

Bogue, who is studying to be a pastor, received national media attention when his June 1 Facebook pro-life event was bombarded by pro-abortion zealots who littered his page with vulgar language and pornographic photos. He says Planned Parenthood hijacked his Twitter hashtag #EXPOSEPP.

“The pro-life movement is not going to be thwarted, and we’re going to still expose Planned Parenthood no matter how hard they try to hijack it,” Bogues tells OneNewsNow. “So Sunday, June 16, pretty much all day, whenever you’ve got a half hour or so to tweet, we’re going to get #EXPOSEPP to trend again and this time it is going to mostly be pro-life comments.”

According to, the June 1 #EXPOSEPP was the #1 trending topic on Twitter, in part due to the efforts of pro-abortion advocates who co-opted the hashtag.

Bogue encourages pro-life advocates to support the one-day event by following along on the group’s Facebook page and posting tweets on Twitter.

Planned Parenthood Celebrates Obama Giving Morning After Pill to Kids

The reaction from pro-abortion and pro-life groups to the Obama administration’s decision to withdraw opposition to sales of the morning after pill to women and girls of any age is markedly different.

The Planned Parenthood abortion business is elated:

Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards released the following statement hailing tonight’s announcement by the Obama Administration that they are dropping their appeal to a court ruling this April lifting the age and point of sale restrictions on emergency contraception:

“This is a huge breakthrough for access to birth control and a historic moment for women’s health and equity. The FDA’s decision will make emergency contraception available on store shelves, just like condoms, and women of all ages will be able to get it quickly in order to prevent unintended pregnancy.

“Emergency contraception is a safe and effective form of birth control that can prevent pregnancy if taken within five days of unprotected sex. Planned Parenthood’s 750 health centers nationwide serve nearly three million patients a year, and we know firsthand how critical this decision is for women who need to prevent pregnancy if they have unprotected sex, or if they are sexually assaulted, or if another form of birth control fails.

But leading pro-life groups are condemning the Obama administration. Consider these responses:

Anna Higgins, J.D., director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, said: “The Obama administration’s decision making the morning after pill Plan B available to young girls at any age is a clear example of the administration’s willingness to put politics ahead of the health and safety of girls. We are disappointed that this administration has once again sided with its political allies and ignored the safety of girls and the rights of parents.”

Alliance Defending Freedom Litigation Counsel Catherine Glenn Foster: “The lives and health of young girls should be more important than the bottom line of those who sell abortion-inducing drugs. President Obama has yet again sided with Planned Parenthood, his favorite political ally and the single largest distributor of Plan B drugs–drugs that can destroy a life. Whatever guides this administration in its decisions, it is apparently not the health and well-being of our daughters and granddaughters. The administration’s decision is nothing short of shameful.”

Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest: “It’s important to remember President Obama’s own concerns about distributing such drugs without adult supervision,” noted Dr. Yoest. When Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius first decided that young girls could not buy such drugs over the counter, but instead would need a prescription, President Obama told reporters:

“The reason Kathleen made this decision is that she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old going to a drugstore should be able — alongside bubble gum or batteries — be able to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could have an adverse effect. And I think most parents would probably feel the same way.” “Yes they do, Mr. President,” said Dr. Yoest, who added: “This decision allows the abortion industry to gamble with young girls’ health in distributing a life-ending drug, with no real understanding of the long-term implications on their bodies. Equally troubling, this allows young girls pressured into sex or even abused by adults to be manipulated into taking pills that cover up what is a criminal act.”

“Young girls need medical supervision in taking such a potent and potentially life-ending drug,” said Dr. Yoest. “The implications for informed consent — and the long-term health impact on women of all ages — are deeply troubling.”

Concerned Women for America: Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards called the government’s decision “a huge breakthrough for access to birth control and a historic moment for women’s health and equity.” Make no mistake, my friend, there is no shortage in access to birth control across our nation today. This has nothing to do with “women’s health” or justice …

This is a purely political decision, made by those who stand to profit financially from an action that puts ideology ahead of America’s girls and young women. Where is the scientific data and solid reasoning behind a decision that endangers minors? Though President Obama is himself the father of two young daughters, his Administration has abandoned common sense and will allow our nation’s teens and young girls to have access to a highly powerful drug 40 times stronger than birth control. I sincerely fear for the future health and wellness of women and children, as doctors, parents, and pharmacists are eliminated from this very serious conversation about sexual activity, pregnancy, fertility, and overall health.

Human Life International president Father Shenan J. Boquet: “The Obama administration’s agenda of unrestricted abortion and contraception does not empower women, nor will it improve women’s health in any way,” said Father Boquet. “By allowing very young girls to purchase powerful drugs like Plan B without parental notification or medical consultation this administration is showing a complete disregard for the health of young women, who may also end up unknowingly killing their unborn children.”

“The FDA claims that Plan B One-Step will not stop a pregnancy, but this statement is deceptive and completely ignores recent large studies indicating that Levonorgestrel-only contraceptives, such as Plan B, most often do not block ovulation and may result in the death of a tiny living human being by inhibiting implantation after conception,” said Father Boquet. “In other words, Plan B is most likely not a contraceptive at all, but an abortifacient pill. So while real abortion deaths will rise, these deaths will never be recorded in ‘official figures,’ and it will be as if these innocent lives created by God never existed.”

“Allowing young girls unrestricted access to these drugs could lead to long-term health problems in their adult life, and sends the dangerous message that there is a ‘safe’ way to avoid the natural consequences of risky sexual behavior,” he said. “This message risks leading young women to objectify themselves for use by men, and to not see themselves as loved and valuable. This is a lie, and is denigrating and dangerous for young women who will be more likely to take risks with the false belief that there is a safe ‘Plan B.’”

“Further, making ‘emergency contraceptives’ as freely available as Aspirin provides a convenient method of hiding the sexual abuse of young girls, and creates the potential for already skyrocketing STI rates to increase even more,” said Father Boquet. “The assault on young women by those pushing a culture of abortion and contraception in the U.S. and around the world only serves to line the pockets of special interests while the morality of society decays, human lives are lost, and the health of women suffers.”

Study: Facial Expressions of Unborn Babies in the Womb Show They Feel Pain

A newly-published research study shows unborn children are capable of feeling pain in the womb, as evidenced by the grimaces they show in their facial expressions.

The study will soon be published in the academic journal PLOS ONE.

Researchers from Durham and Lancaster Universities in England say unborn babies learn to show pain in their facial expressions as part of the process of fetal development. They took 15 scans of healthy unborn children and found that, when responding to painful stimuli, the babies were capable of one-dimensional expressions of pain in their faces at 24 weeks — such as moving their lips in a negative fashion.

At the 36th week of pregnancy, the researchers found unborn children can perform complex multi-dimensional facial expressions similar to what children make after birth.

Lead researcher Dr Nadja Reissland, of Durham University’s Department of Psychology told Sky News, “It is vital for infants to be able to show pain as soon as they are born so that they can communicate any distress or pain they might feel to their carers.”

“Our results show that healthy foetuses ‘learn’ to combine the necessary facial movements before they are born,” he said. “This suggests that we can determine the normal development of facial movements and potentially identify abnormal development too. This could then provide a further medical indication of the health of the unborn baby.”

Baltimore Ravens Player Skips White House Visit Because Obama Backs Abortion

Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Matt Birk is pro-life — so when it came time for the Ravens to visit President Barack Obama for the annual congratulations to the Super Bowl winners, he decided not to go.

The pro-life NFL player explained his decision:

“I wasn’t there,” Birk told The Power Trip. “I would say this, I would say that I have great respect for the office of the Presidency but about five or six weeks ago, our president made a comment in a speech and he said, ‘God bless Planned Parenthood.’”

Birk, who also took a public stance during the recent gay rights movements that swung through our country last year, is a very open and public Catholic and claims that he took offense to these comments that were made by President Obama. So much so, that he declined a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet and be honored by the President at the White House.

“Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year,” Birk explained. “I am Catholic, I am active in the Pro-Life movement and I just felt like I couldn’t deal with that. I couldn’t endorse that in any way.”

Planned Parenthood is one of the nations leading sexual and reproductive health care providers. Their stances on birth control, abortion and the morning after pill have often pinned the in a head on clash with many Catholic and Conservative Christian groups across the nation.

“I’m very confused by [the President’s] statement,” Birk questioned. “For God to bless a place where they’re ending 330,000 lives a year? I just chose not to attend.”
Birk is a longtime pro-life advocate who has a thoughtful position against abortion and a family story to share.
Birk grew up in St. Paul Minnesota, where Planned Parenthood did abortions for decades and then the godfather of one of Birk’s five children opened a pregnancy center across the street from the abortion facility. Adrianna, Birk’s wife, volunteered at the center, and eventually the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic closed.Birk was a featured speaker at the Maryland March for Life previously and he said his Catholic faith and being a father are two of the big reasons he is pro-life and he shared how he was overwhelmed to hold his first child.“It was unbelievable the love that I felt for her,” he said in a prior interview, “and any parent knows exactly what I’m talking about. At that point, you know it’s not a choice. Life is a gift that’s given to us. We are supposed to accept it. It’s not our choice whether we decide a baby lives or not.”Birk said participating in the March for Life is “one of the coolest things I’ve done.”“It seems like our society and media want to push pro-lifers to the side and hope that we would shut our mouths and go away quietly,” said Birk. “Let’s not do that.”

“We all need saving,” he said, “and there’s one thing that can save us all, and that’s prayer,” he added.

“I don’t think I’m a superstar by any means,” Birk said, “but I’m glad (for) the platform that football allows me. I’m glad to use it to support causes that I passionately believe in and this is one of them. For me, it comes down to what’s right and what’s wrong – what’s God’s will and what’s not.”

Judge Intervenes to Help Dying Girl Have Transplant After Sebelius Balks

A federal judge has intervened to give hope to a young girl who needs a lung transplant as doctors have only given her weeks to live. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius received national condemnation after she refused to get involved to help the girl.

Sarah Murnaghan has been hospitalized for three months with end-stage cystic fibrosis. She is not giving up hope. She wants to be a singer, but needs a lung transplant to live. Her parents have been with her constantly while she waits at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

This morning, Sarah’s parents asked a federal judge to intervene and order the Obama administration to alter longstanding organ-donation rules so she can get the lung transplant she desperately needs. A report shows the judge have given them hope that she can be put on the adult list:

A big victory in federal court today for 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan, a dying girl in need of a lung transplant.

This afternoon, a federal judge granted the Murnaghan family’s request for a temporary restraining order, telling the Secretary of Health and Human Services to cease application of the “Under 12″ rule when it comes to Sarah.

The 10-year-old Newtown Square, Pa. girl has been hospitalized at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia for three months with end-stage cystic fibrosis.

The temporary restraining order will last for 10 days. A preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for June 14.

Earlier today, her parents filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction in federal court. According to a news release sent by the family, they hope to prevent the Secretary of Health and Human Services from enforcing a policy that prevents children under the age of 12 from getting a lung transplant from an adult donor.

“We will not stand by and let Sarah die and we have filed in federal court for an immediate injunction to do what Secretary Sebelius will not: give Sarah and other children in her position a fair chance at life,” said Janet Murnaghan, Sarah’s mother.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has more on the request for the judge:

The parents of Sarah Murnaghan have asked a federal judge to intervene and order U.S. health officials to alter longstanding organ-donation rules so the 10-year-old Newtown Square girl can get the lung transplant she desperately needs.

In a complaint filed Wednesday morning in Philadelphia, lawyers for Janet and Francis Murnaghan contend that the rules discriminate against children under 12 by giving older candidates priority for donated adult lungs, regardless of their medical urgency.

The lawyers have asked for an emergency hearing and hope to persuade U.S. District Judge Michael M. Baylson to enjoin U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from enforcing the so-called Under 12 rule.

“If Sarah does not soon receive a set of donated lungs she will die,” says the 18-page complaint, filed by a team of attorneys from Pepper Hamilton LLP.

According to the lawsuit, Sarah’s doctors have concluded she is an appropriate candidate for an adult lung transplant, and that pool of donated organs is 50 times larger than the pool of available lungs from child donors.

The lawyers contend the Under-12 rule “serves no purpose” and was crafted in 2004 when health officials had insufficient data to build a system to determine the child organ-transplant candidates with the greatest need, as it does with adults.

And they argue that “downsizing” and transplanting an adult lung into a child may once have been a medical challenge, but “that no longer is the case.”

Sebelius says she doesn’t want to intervene in the transplant case when other sick children are dying, but Sarah’s family says hey want the policy changed for all children awaiting a lung transplant, not just Sarah.

Meanwhile, members of Congress asked Sebelius during a congressional hearing about Sarah’s case:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius rebuffed an appeal from Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., on behalf of a girl who needs a lung transplant but can’t get one because of a federal regulation that prevents her from qualifying for a transplant.

“Please, suspend the rules until we look at this policy,” Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., asked Sebelius during a House hearing Tuesday on behalf of Sarah Murnaghan, a 10-year-old girl who needs a lung transplant. She can’t qualify for an adult lung transplant until the age of 12, according to federal regulations, but Sebelius has the authority to waive that rule on her behalf. The pediatric lungs for which she qualifies aren’t available.

“I would suggest, sir, that, again, this is an incredibly agonizing situation where someone lives and someone dies,” Sebelius replied. “The medical evidence and the transplant doctors who are making the rule — and have had the rule in place since 2005 making a delineation between pediatric and adult lungs, because lungs are different than other organs — that it’s based on the survivability [chances].”

Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini, was able to address the United Nations Human Rights Council for the first time directly on Tuesday

Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini, was able to address the United Nations Human Rights Council for the first time directly on Tuesday, calling on world leaders to stand up for the principles they say they uphold and help her imprisoned husband.

“For nearly a year, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has tried to silence my husband, Saeed Abedini, through illegal imprisonment, torture, and threats against our family. Why is he being held – because he exercised his rights of religious freedom, expression, and peaceful assembly,” Naghmeh Abedini began.

“I hope that my presence here today will put a face to those who suffer when a government does not uphold its obligation to protect these freedoms. . . .”

The pastor, who is a U.S. citizen, has been held inside Evin Prison in Tehran since his arrest in September 2012. While the Iranian court convicted him of endangering national security, the American Center for Law and Justice, which is representing his wife and two children in the U.S, said that the 8-year sentence was more to do with his Christian faith.

Naghmeh Abedini argued before the Council that her husband has broken no law, and that he simply exercised his rights that Iran had said it would uphold. “Iran has kept Saeed imprisoned because he believes that Jesus Christ died on the cross for forgiveness of sin and to reconcile humanity to God,” Naghmeh said.

She continued by stating that she does not know whether Abedini will live or die while in prison, and urged the international community to do more on the issue and hold Iran to its promises to respect human right laws regardless of religion, nationality, or ethnic background.

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“I call on this body to do more. Each member state here has an obligation, and I respectfully ask that you join me in this fight. Please help bring my husband home to me and our two young kids,” Naghmeh added.

The ACLJ said that the unique opportunity Naghmeh had to plead her husband’s case before the U.N. cannot be overstated.

“It is impossible to overstate the importance of this unique opportunity for Pastor Saeed’s wife to present her husband’s case directly to world leaders. They looked her directly in the eyes, heard her pleas and saw her pain. The empathy and compassion of the world could be felt as she delivered her remarks. Her comments were well received by non-governmental organizations as well as member states,” wrote Jordan Sekulow, the ACLJ executive director.

Naghmeh Abedini’s full statement can be read here.

Late last week, the White House said it is pressing Iran on Abedini’s case, calling for him to be given proper medical treatment and to be released from prison, but has said that so far it has received no communication from the predominantly Muslim country.

“We remain deeply concerned about U.S. citizen Saeed Abedini who has been sentenced to 8 years in prison in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs. We can confirm that Mrs. Abedini and her lawyer met with U.S. Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva Eileen Donahoe. We have reached out to numerous international partners to raise awareness of Mr. Abedini’s case and to press Iranian officials to provide him medical attention and to release him,” the White House said Friday.