Vitals Reporting on the pro-life movement

Louisiana sued (again) for its pro-life laws

Abortion | Pro-abortion group cites Supreme Court decision in renewed challenge
by Samantha Gobba
Posted 7/03/17, 01:28 pm

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit in Baton Rouge last week targeting Louisiana’s abortion facility licensing law and other health and safety regulations.

The group sued on behalf of Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport and three anonymous abortionists who say the Louisiana laws run counter to last year’s Supreme Court decision Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

Last June’s ruling determined a Texas law requiring abortionists to have hospital admitting privileges and mandating abortion facilities meet ambulatory surgical standards created an unconstitutional undue burden on abortion access.

“Louisiana has done exactly what the United States Constitution and Whole Woman’s Health forbid,” the suit stated.

Louisiana Right to Life Federation’s executive director Benjamin Clapper told me the regulations are “common sense,” and the lawsuit, if successful, would impose an “abortion-on-demand policy in our pro-life state.”

“If the abortion facility succeeds in this suit, the consequences would be disastrous,” Clapper said. “Abortion facilities would have no guidelines in Louisiana, giving them license to maximize both their profit margin and do whatever necessary to increase the number of abortions they sell.”

The lawsuit seeks to overturn Louisiana’s 2001 requirement that abortion centers obtain a state license before performing abortions. The law gives the state health department authority to revoke an abortion license if it finds health and safety violations. Hope Medical Group’s administrator Kathaleen Pittman said that since then, eight of the state’s 11 abortion facilities have closed.

The Center for Reproductive Rights’ Nancy Northrup said the organization is also targeting laws that allow government reviews of medical records of women who have abortions or require abortionists to inform women that abortion is linked to breast cancer.

In 2010, the state suspended Hope Medical Group’s license for numerous health and safety violations. Several abortion facilities filed suit against the law, but a federal court upheld it in 2011. Hope Medical Group also sued last July to challenge a state law forbidding fetal tissue donation and instituting a waiting period for women seeking abortion. That lawsuit is pending.

Last week’s action comes on the heels of similar lawsuit in Arkansas. That suit challenges a ban on dismemberment abortion and a family notification law, among others.

Clapper said that, given the unproductivity of previous challenges to Louisiana’s laws, his organization is calling for a quick dismissal of the suit as a waste of time and resources.

District attorney James Stewart, named as a defendant in last week’s suit, has not yet issued a statement on the case, but his office said it “is confident the laws are constitutional.”

Getty Images/Photo by Justin Tallis Getty Images/Photo by Justin Tallis Parliament Square in London on June 10

UK will pay to abort Northern Irish babies

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service will pay for abortions for women from Northern Ireland under a last-minute decision Friday. Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland unless the mother’s life is in danger. Women who traveled to other parts of the U.K. for an abortion previously had to pay 900 pounds, about $1,165, for the procedure.

In Parliament last week, an amendment proposing free abortions in Britain for Northern Irish women began gaining signatures from Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Green, and Scottish National party members. Since Northern Ireland upheld its own laws last week protecting unborn life, some saw the amendment in Parliament as a “rebellion” against the local government.

Justine Greening, U.K. minister for women and equalities, quickly issued a letter announcing a new fund for abortions for Northern Irish women through the Department of Health’s Equalities Office to provide “equality in treatment of women from Northern Ireland.”

A spokeswoman for the British Prime Minister’s office said the agreement will likely cost 1 million pounds a year and the U.K. will still fund the abortions even if the demand rises. —S.G.

Facebook Facebook Lila Rose

Twitter censors pro-life ads

If you want to advertise on Twitter, be sure not to criticize Planned Parenthood.

At least that’s how pro-life activist Lila Rose understood a recent interaction with the social media company. Her organization Live Action lost its ability to pay to promote tweets after Twitter’s ad bots flagged numerous tweets as infractions of the social media’s “hate, sensitive topics, and violence” advertisement policy.

Among the flagged tweets were a fact-checking video of Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, a map of community health centers that don’t do abortions, a video of Rose saying children have a right to life, and references to undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress.

To regain good standing with Twitter, Live Action would have to “remove current and past sensitive content from your website and Twitter feed,” according to a Twitter sales team member.

Rose called the response “outright Orwellian” and pointed out that Planned Parenthood is free to promote tweets advertising abortion.

“I think it’s clear that Twitter is discriminating against the pro-life voice,” Rose said. —S.G.

A brief respite

Leaders of the pro-life group Center for Medical Progress likely will face renewed felony charges for their undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s sale of fetal tissue.

Last month, a court dismissed all but one of the 15 felony counts brought by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra against activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, but Becerra said he plans to submit revised charges.

The San Francisco Superior Court ruled state prosecutors brought insufficient evidence to prove 14 of the felony counts but still charged Daleiden and Merritt with conspiracy to invade privacy. The court left the opportunity for the state amend its charges with additional evidence. —S.G.

Life sentence for deadly nurse

Elizabeth Wettlaufer, the Canadian nurse convicted last month for murdering 14 elderly patients in their beds, received a sentence last week of life imprisonment.

Over the course of a decade, Wettlaufer killed 14 patients at three Ontario long-term care facilities and at a private home. She confessed to injecting them with insulin.

“It is a complete betrayal of trust when a caregiver does not prolong life, but terminates it,” Judge Bruce Thomas said during sentencing. He also called Wettlaufer a “shadow of death that passed over them on the night shift where she supervised.”

Meanwhile, a Canadian judge granted a 77-year old woman with osteoarthritis, a painful but non-terminal condition, permission to receive fatal drugs under Canada’s Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) law.

Two doctors refused to help her die for fear of violating the MAID laws and facing murder charges. But the judge’s decision clarified that the MAID law allows for death by euthanasia even if a patient isn’t facing imminent death and doesn’t have a terminal disease; they can simply be facing “intolerable” pain and have a “reasonably foreseeable” death, Judge Paul Perell said. —S.G.

Protecting babies with Down Syndrome 

Ohio legislators advanced two pro-life bills last week. One would ban dismemberment abortion, and another would prohibit abortion on children with Down Syndrome. The dismemberment abortion ban passed the Senate 24-9 on Wednesday and will get a vote in the House this fall. The ban on abortion with Down Syndrome as the only reason went before a Senate committee last week. —S.G.

Adverse action

A proposed bill in California would ban employers from taking “adverse employment action” against employees who have an abortion or use contraception. The bill, introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, is currently in the Senate with a committee recommendation to pass. —S.G.

Abortion on demand and free?

Oregon legislators are considering a bill that would make health plans cover the whole cost of abortion. The bill, sent to the House for a vote, would create a program to provide free abortions for women with health plans that don’t cover it and force religious employers to notify all employees that they will not cover contraceptives or abortion in order to apply for an exemption. —S.G.


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Samantha Gobba

Samantha is a freelancer for WORLD Digital. She is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute, and she holds a bechelor degree in English from Hillsdale College and a multiple subject teaching credential from California State University. Samantha resides in Chico, Calif., with her husband and their two sons.

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