Vitals Reporting on the pro-life movement

Medical abortions on hold in Arkansas

Abortion | Pro-lifers hope this is the beginnings of the end for lethal pills
by Samantha Gobba
Posted 6/04/18, 02:09 pm

The Supreme Court refused on Tuesday to hear a lawsuit over a 2015 Arkansas law that requires abortionists to contract with doctors at nearby hospitals who can help women if complications arise from the use of mifepristone and misoprostol, drugs that work together to end early pregnancies.

Pro-life leaders cheered the move while Planned Parenthood took its next step in challenging the law. A hearing is set for Friday in Little Rock, Ark. Meanwhile, the abortion giant has canceled appointments at its facilities in Fayetteville and Little Rock.

A preliminary injunction has blocked the law since March 2016. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker sided with the plaintiffs in ruling it put an undue burden on women seeking an abortion because abortionists claimed they couldn’t find any doctors who would contract with them.

After the state appealed to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a three-judge panel sent the case back to the lower court in Little Rock, telling them to prove it would harm a substantial number of women.

“The lower court did no math,” Americans United for Life’s Steven Aden told me. “There was no way for the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to know how many women in Arkansas were actually impacted by the chemical abortion limitation.”

He said he didn’t know what the Supreme Court’s decision would mean for the end result of the case, but at least for now it’s a win for life.

Aden called “reasonable and commonsense” the requirement to have a written transfer agreement in place with a hospital equipped to handle the rare but serious incomplete abortions that require follow-up surgery.

“An abortionist that cannot comply with that is an abortionist that literally cannot get any other doctor to vouch for them,” Aden said. “I don’t think that’s the kind of doctor, abortionist or otherwise, we want in the healthcare system.”

Mifepristone, which cuts off the pregnancy-sustaining hormone progesterone, and misoprostol, which sends the woman into labor, work together to kill and expel unborn babies up to nine weeks into pregnancy. According to the Population Council’s trial of the drugs, they have a 23 percent failure rate at eight and nine weeks and an 8 percent failure rate at seven weeks of gestation. Women undergo heavy cramping and bleeding at home without medical supervision and have a higher rate of hospital visits than with surgical abortions. Liberty Counsel reported that 19 pages of patient safety information accompany misoprostol. The information warns of complications including “serious and sometimes fatal infections and bleeding," as well as uterine rupture.

“It’s not the safe chemical abortion that Planned Parenthood tries to portray,” Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver told me. He called Tuesday's decision “a great turning point in the case.” He added the challenge was not over yet, “but it’s a good step in the right direction.” 

Abortion advocates have fought to deregulate abortion-inducing drugs, even suing to require pharmacies to dispense them to women. The Food and Drug Administration relaxed its rules on the drugs in 2016, and chemical abortion numbers soared. They comprise almost half of all abortions at Planned Parenthood and in some states outpace the number of surgical abortions.

States have had varied success in their attempts to regulate the drugs. Staver said restrictions on chemical abortions could become a new battleground for pro-life advocates who up to now have focused on regulating abortion centers. “And I think this particular decision here, where we are with the Arkansas case, will ultimately pave the way for many other chemical abortion regulations coming forth,” he said.

Associated Press/Photo by Dylan Lovan Associated Press/Photo by Dylan Lovan Planned Parenthood in Louisville, Ky.

Kentucky dismemberment abortion ban delayed

U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley last week delayed a Kentucky law protecting babies from abortion by dismemberment until a trial in November. The bill, which the legislature passed 75-13, protects unborn children from a dismemberment abortion after 11 weeks of gestation. The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the law in April shortly after Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, signed it. The group claimed the rule “disregards a woman’s health and decisions in favor of a narrow ideological agenda.” A federal court hearing, initially scheduled for this week, will take place Nov. 13. —S.G.

Associated Press/Photo by Ximena Navarro/Chile Presidential Press Office Associated Press/Photo by Ximena Navarro/Chile Presidential Press Office Valentina Moreira (left) with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in 2015

Euthanasia around the world

The Chilean legislature is considering legalizing euthanasia 12 years after a similar effort failed to progress. In 2015, a 14-year old Chilean girl named Valentina Maureira, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, publicized on YouTube her request to be euthanized. She has since had a change of heart, according to her father, Fredy Maureira, following an outpouring of encouragement from people who heard of her illness. Portugal, meanwhile, considered and then narrowly killed a measure to legalize assisted suicide. The parliament voted 115-110 in favor of protecting life. —S.G.

Video series: Planned Parenthood covers up sexual abuse

The pro-life group Live Action has launched a seven-part video series titled “Aiding Abusers” that claims Planned Parenthood gives abortions to girls whom workers know are being sexually abused. The series includes interviews with former Planned Parenthood employees, as well as lawsuits and news reports about failing to report cases of sexual abuse. —S.G.

Northern Ireland next

Abortion proponents are pressuring British Prime Minister Theresa May to legalize abortion in Northern Ireland after the Republic of Ireland slashed constitutional protections for the unborn in a referendum last month. May has said the Northern Ireland Assembly should address the question, but the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court is set to make a decision this week. —S.G.

UN denies humanity of unborn babies

Not long after releasing a document urging nations to legalize abortion under the guise of “justice,” the United Nations initiated a campaign claiming, “You have human rights since birth.” The statement by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights goes against international law protecting the unborn in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The preamble states that the children require protection “before as well as after birth.” —S.G.

Samantha Gobba

Samantha reports on the pro-life movement for WORLD Digital.

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  • Laura W
    Posted: Sat, 06/09/2018 01:17 am

    So humans who have yet to be born don't qualify for human rights yet? Because why? What if one twin is born and the other is still waiting his turn--we can kill the one inside the womb but not the one outside? What about C-sections? Do those babies qualify? Or is there something magical about the birth canal that gives a human rights? Birth is such an arbitrary division point--it just blows my mind that so many people act like it matters so much.

  • Laura W
    Posted: Sat, 06/09/2018 01:21 am

    Also, good for Live Action. If Planned Parenthood really cared at all about women's autonomy and control over their own bodies, then why aren't they being the first ones to step in and help when these abused girls are brought in for abortions? The girls are literally standing in your building and you could call the cops and make sure they never have to go back to the abuse. It's about time someone called them on that.