Vitals Reporting on the pro-life movement

Planned Parenthood takes page from pro-life playbook

Abortion | Organization announces plan to push state laws loosening abortion restrictions and reversing funding cuts
by Andrew Shaughnessy
Posted 2/19/18, 01:54 pm

Planned Parenthood, most often forced to play defense against successful pro-life advocacy and legislative efforts, is going on offense.

The nation’s largest abortion provider announced last week a plan to support bills and initiatives aimed at expanding access to abortion or dismantling existing limits in all 50 states. Kicking off its state-by-state campaign, the abortion giant teamed up with lawmakers and advocacy groups in more than a dozen states and the District of Columbia to push pro-abortion legislation. 

The first salvo includes an effort to repeal Missouri’s mandatory 72-hour waiting period and support for a New Jersey bill aimed at reinstating $7.5 million in state grants cut since 2010. Other states in which the abortion giant plans to pursue legislative changes include Maine, California, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

The legislative focus adds to the ongoing lawsuit strategy the abortion giant and its supporters continue to pursue. Planned Parenthood last week filed lawsuits challenging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services plan to end teen pregnancy prevention program grants funding sex and abstinence education. Also last week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio filed a lawsuit to block a new state law that would ban abortions based on a Down syndrome diagnosis. The law is set to take effect in late March. 

National pro-life groups are taking Planned Parenthood’s sweeping legislative assault seriously.

“Pro-lifers cannot become complacent,” National Right to Life president Carol Tobias told me. “This isn’t something that we just assume is going to fail. We have to keep working hard to elect pro-life candidates and keep passing pro-life legislation. We have to make sure that we are there to stop Planned Parenthood and their efforts at every turn.”

Tobias noted such large-scale legislative efforts indicate Planned Parenthood’s private sector pockets must be deep indeed.

Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins told me the abortion giant’s new campaign highlights its fear over the future of Roe v. Wade in the face of rapidly growing pro-life beliefs among younger Americans, including millennials and Generation Z.

“We will meet Planned Parenthood in state houses across the country to prepare for the day after Roe,” she added.

Planned Parenthood has been on the ropes of late, with abortion centers closing across the country and dozens of new abortion restrictions adopted in 19 states in the past year. The abortion giant also faces an FBI investigation into its involvement in the illegal fetal tissue trade.

When long-time Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards resigned last month, pro-life leaders wondered what direction the organization might take. Now we know: Purloining a page from the pro-life legislative playbook, Planned Parenthood intends to go down swinging.

Facebook Facebook Sophia Weaver gets a kiss from her younger brother.

Mom turns the tables on Twitter trolls

One year into her precious life, doctors diagnosed Sophia Weaver with Rett syndrome, a rare, severe neurological disorder that affects brain development, muscle coordination, language skills, and even breathing. Her hands, feet, and face were deformed from birth, and she has undergone 22 surgeries in her nine short years. To her family, and in the eyes of her Creator, Sophia is beautiful and strong, but Twitter trolls have made her a target for verbal abuse and misplaced anger.

Sophia’s mother, Natalie Weaver, advocates to preserve accessible, affordable healthcare solutions for those with disabilities and pre-existing conditions. Two years ago, lawmakers in her home state of North Carolina proposed a change to Medicaid law that would have hurt many medically fragile kids, and Weaver began to speak out about Sophia’s condition—putting a human face on a cold policy story. 

That put Sophia in the public eye, and soon internet trolls began to post cruel and abusive messages, including telling Weaver she should kill Sophia. In November, one Twitter user posted a photo of Sophia along with a message arguing that parents should either be forced to abort children with similar conditions or take on all subsequent medical bills themselves, rather than asking taxpayers to foot the bill through Medicaid. With such a vile message publicly attached to her daughter’s photo, Weaver went to war.

Twitter initially told Weaver the post did not violate the company’s rules. So Weaver mobilized her supporters to highlight the online bullying, hoping to get the tweet removed and the troll’s account suspended. She even persuaded a local television station to take on the story. Twitter finally removed the post in January.

With healthcare issues more and more a part of the national conversation, Sophia’s story became political ammunition in a public forum where people are increasingly bold in their dehumanizing attacks on those with disabilities. But their effort backfired: The love for Sophia, shared by her family and friends in response to the online bullying, only served to showcase the value of every life. —A.S.

iStock.com/desertsolitaire iStock.com/desertsolitaire The Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City

Utah House passes bill criminalizing assisted suicide

The Utah House passed a bill this month making it illegal to “provide the physical means” to help a person commit suicide. The amendment tucks assisted suicide under the state’s current manslaughter law, making it a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Until now, Utah has not had laws addressing assisted suicide. But a recent case in which a man encouraged a 16-year-old girl to hang herself, bought her a rope, and filmed her suicide on his phone prompted lawmakers to more clearly define whether or not such acts are murder. —A.S.

Heartbeat bills thump on

An Iowa Senate subcommittee advanced a pro-life “heartbeat” bill last week, sending it to the Senate Judiciary Committee for additional scrutiny. If passed, the bill would require abortionists to check for a fetal heartbeat before performing any abortion, except in medical emergencies. Abortionists who detect a heartbeat and still perform the procedure face up to five years in prison.

The Tennessee House health subcommittee also approved a diluted version of its own “heartbeat bill” last week. The original version would have banned killing a unborn baby after doctors detect a fetal heartbeat. The amended bill only requires abortionists to share a pre-procedure ultrasound with the mother. The bill now heads to the full state Senate for approval. —A.S.

Andrew Shaughnessy

Andrew is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute mid-career class.

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  • OldMike
    Posted: Sun, 02/25/2018 02:24 am

    I’m sure Planned Infanticide has had a ton of donations since the election. Hard numbers don’t seem to be easy to find. But another liberal organization, the ACLU, has stated they received $15 million within a couple of weeks of the election, and another $24 million following one of President Trump’s recent immigration orders. That dwarfs the $3.5 million they say they received in all of 2015. 

    The good that could be accomplished with that money!  Instead, the left prioritizes murdering babies and filing lawsuits against the government.  

     

  • Laura W
    Posted: Mon, 02/26/2018 09:50 pm

    Hm, sounds like Planned Parenthood is getting ready to go on public record lobbying for more tax dollars. Wonder how that's going to go over. I didn't think the public was generally in favor of large coorporations asking for special favors from the government. (And what exactly do they propose to do with this increased funding, I wonder? Have they fallen off in their ability to provide essential healthcare services to women as of late?)

    And I wonder if they've decided how many protections for women and disabled children they dare lobby to remove before someone might question their motives.

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