The doctor is in … the Court

Nothing closes a legislator’s mind to a pro-life argument quite like pro-abortion testimony from a medical professional. Funny thing: abortion advocacy groups coined the term “gynotician” in derisive reference to politicians who allegedly meddle in health care by respecting the right to life. There’s no corresponding term for a medical professional who politicizes science in the service of abortion advocacy. “Shill,” maybe, though perhaps that’s harsh.

This comes to mind as I’ve found an outstanding essay by Richard Doerflinger, published on the Witherspoon Institute web site. It’s worth posting verbatim, but with “all rights reserved,” I’ll refer you to this link: The HHS Mandate, Unborn Life, and the Professionals: a Cog in the Political Machine.

Doerflinger casts a sharp eye on the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which in its most recent foray into public policy has submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, opposing Hobby Lobby’s claim that it should be exempt from Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate. Medications like Plan B and Ella and devices like the IUD, according to the ACOG, are not really abortion-inducing even though Hobby Lobby’s owners think otherwise, so the mandate shouldn’t be suspended in this case.

This is the same ACOG that declares its opposition to personhood bills because they might make certain forms of birth control, like Ella and Plan B and IUDs, illegal – since they might induce abortion.

Remember this the next time a Court decision turns on medical advice from the ACOG.



“Women Speak for Themselves” on the Mandate


“Those currently invoking ‘women’s health’ in an attempt to shout down anyone who disagrees with forcing religious institutions or individuals to violate deeply held beliefs are more than a little mistaken, and more than a little dishonest. Even setting aside their simplistic equation of ‘costless’ birth control with ‘equality,’ note that they have never responded to the large body of scholarly research indicating that many forms of contraception have serious side effects, or that some forms act at some times to destroy embryos, or that government contraceptive programs inevitably change the sex, dating and marriage markets in ways that lead to more empty sex, more non-marital births and more abortions. It is women who suffer disproportionately when these things happen.” (by Helen Alvare and Kim Daniels of Women Speak for Themselves)

Add this to the toolkit for rolling back the Obamacare/HHS contraceptive mandate: Women Speak for Themselves. The project was started by law professor Helen Alvare, as a method of constructive resistance to claims that the mandate is a good thing for women – and resistance to the corollary, that anyone opposed to the mandate is waging “war on women.”

Check out the WSFT blog and Facebook page. The WSFT web site also offers an opportunity to sign an open letter to President Obama. (from which I took the quotation at the head of this blog post). Over 40,000 people have signed so far. Look at the fact sheets on the WSFT site as well, which make an excellent primer for anyone new to the debate over the mandate.

Here’s an excerpt from a WSFT fact sheet, to give you an idea why I love their style and message. This goes beyond a web site and a Facebook page, by the way; WSFT filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby/Conestoga case.

“By forcing religious employers – groups of people employed to carry out a religious mission of service to persons in need – to ‘get with the government’s program/message’ (the message that birth control and abortifacients are no different from health care, which cures diseases … or that women’s freedom and women’s fertility are ‘natural enemies’) the government destroys the unique WITNESS that these religious institutions offer not only to their employees and clients, but to the world. Again, religious employers are among the last few witnesses in the world today to the truth of the ‘weight’ of sex, to its link with the very existence of human life, and the circumstances into which that new life will be born and nurtured. Women’s health, happiness and freedom are also genuinely compromised when sex is reduced to just another pastime.”

Good message there: being opposed to the mandate is not a matter of disliking the President or his policies, but rather being FOR religious liberty, FOR authentic health care, FOR the value of life. Worth reading and sharing, don’t you think?

A movie for your #Fortnight4Freedom

Norfolk: Why can’t you do as I did and come with us, for fellowship!

Sir Thomas More: And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?

(by Robert Bolt, from his screenplay A Man for All Seasons)

Today is the feast day of Saints Thomas More and John Fisher, put to death in 1535 for being unwilling to mold their consciences to fit around Henry VIII’s political preferences. Have you ever seen A Man for All Seasons, either as a play or a film? Find that wonderful tale of Thomas More. Revel in the sumptuous costumes and scenery, but most of all listen to the dialogue written by Robert Bolt. If I had the means (and the rights), I’d set up a Fortnight for Freedom film festival and make A Man for All Seasons the centerpiece.


Are there other books or films you find inspirational or relevant to F4F?


Pick of the web, week of 6/29

First, a local link and call to action: You can SIGN this petition as a counter-measure to the Concord “buffer zone” petition. Please do so TODAY. It is for Concord residents “and other concerned citizens.” (Previous Leaven posts about the attempt to stifle First Amendment rights to peaceful protest within 35 feet of the Feminist Health Center  may be found here and here.) This counter-petition is a project of a young woman who is trying to get enough signatures by tomorrow, June 30, in order for it to be heard at the July 8 Concord City Council meeting along with abortion advocates’ “buffer zone” petition. More information: [update, July 2: The Concord City Council has NOT put these petitions on the July 8 agenda. Stay tuned to Leaven for further developments.]

Meanwhile, this has been an eventful week. Catch up using these links for news coverage and commentary. Amazing how some of this news makes the ongoing Fortnight for Freedom even more relevant!

Here’s reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage decisions from pro-family activists, courtesy of National Review Online. Note the thoughtful contribution from Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life.

A filibuster by a Texas state senator, coupled with a mob in the Senate gallery that interfered with a vote, prevented the Texas state senate from adopting a ban on abortions 20 weeks into pregnancy or later.  Governor Rick Perry, not a fan of mob rule, has called the legislature back to get its work done. Learn more from Timothy Carney of the Washington Examiner and from the hardworking activists at the Texas Alliance for Life.

Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life
Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life

Americans United for Life just announced that the U.S. Supreme Court has taken notice of an Oklahoma law regarding regulation of chemical abortions. U.S. Supreme Court Begins Historic Review of Chemical Abortion, Sparked by AUL Model Legislation

In case you missed this link on Leaven’s Facebook page, here’s an encouraging story from Life Site News about reaching abortion-minded women at their most vulnerable moment – just before they walk into an abortion facility.

Like something you find on Leaven for the Loaf? Share it!  You can also “like” Leaven on Facebook using the button on the blog’s home page. Along with links to Leaven posts, the Facebook page includes shorter items that don’t make it into the blog. 

Bishop Libasci opens “Fortnight for Freedom” in NH

Bishop Peter Libasci of Manchester, NH
Bishop Peter Libasci of Manchester, NH; photo from

“Fighting for freedom includes standing for the freedom to stand before God in clear conscience.”

Bishop Joseph Libasci sees a storm coming as religious liberty is challenged in today’s America. In his homily in Manchester, New Hampshire at a Mass dedicated to 2013’s Fortnight for Freedom, he declared “the winds have begun to blow, and they are coming with gale force.”

  • The Mandate. “The mandate of the Department of Health and Human Services forces religious institutions to facilitate and/or fund a product contrary to our own moral teaching. Further, the federal government tries to define which religious institutions are religious enough.”
  • Threats to Catholic foster care and adoption services. “Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, the State of Illinois, have driven local Catholic Charities out of the business of providing adoption or foster care services by revoking their licenses, ending their government contracts, or both, because those charities refuse to place children with same-sex couples or unmarried opposite-sex couples who cohabit. [This] cut[s] down the tree of civility, and indeed cut[s] down the tree that is the healthy, good, life-giving, charitable alternative to abortion.”
  • Threats to State immigration laws. “Several states have recently passed laws that prohibit what they deem as harboring of undocumented immigrants and what the Church deems Christian charity and pastoral care for these immigrants. And I know it’s a hot topic. …The fact of the matter is when the winds blow strong enough that we become refugees – and don’t think it can’t happen — …could we find ourselves in great need? ‘Blessed are the merciful; they shall obtain mercy.'”
  • Barring use of public facilities by people of faith. “New York City adopted a policy that bars the Bronx Household of Faith, a small community, and other churches from renting public schools on weekends for worship services, even though non-religious groups could rent the same schools for many other uses. This is still in the courts, still eating up the little money they have.”
  • Threats to programs aiding victims of human trafficking. “After years of excellent performance by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Migration and Refugee Services, administering contract services for victims of  human trafficking, the federal government changed its contract specifications to require migration and refugee services to provide or refer for contraceptive and abortion services, in violation of Catholic teaching.”

Bishop Libasci repeatedly used a metaphor from the 1966 film A Man for All Seasonsabout St. Thomas More, onetime Chancellor of England, martyred for his faith. In the film, More addressed a young protege who expressed impatience with the law. As recalled in the Bishop’s homily, More counseled caution. “If you cut down all the laws, it’s like the trees in a forest. You begin to cut them down until you cut them all down, and when the winds begin to blow, where will you run then for shelter?”

Back to the Bishop’s own words: “We should not be allowing others to cut down the trees, and God forbid we help cut them down. Instead, we should be planting trees. The tree of life. The tree of salvation. The tree from which hung the Savior of the world.”

“We can and we do lobby for just laws, and for the overturning of those laws, the repeal of those laws, that are unjust. But whenever it is unsuccessful, we are called to make those laws obsolete. … We’re probably not allowed to do something about tying up our horses outside on Lowell Street. There must be some law somewhere. But it’s useless. Such must be the unjust law. That we have grown beyond such things… because we live in such a time where adherence to God’s law has turned us away from discrimination, murder, inordinate living, disordered belief, and the shame of a people who no longer value the true dignity of human life. Let us grow beyond, so that where Jesus said I have come to set one against the other, in that balance of justice, the justice and the mercy of God will cause the others to float off into space.”

I looked around the Cathedral as the Bishop spoke. I saw no cameras or press. Perhaps a hundred people were there.   In a secular environment, I’d have said that the man needs an agent. This was a church, though; a community of faith was present. Everyone there is the “agent,” so to speak, charged with getting out the message. In how many other  churches will the same message be delivered in the coming days? From there, who knows where it could go? Small beginnings, perhaps, but with great potential and great hope.

A Man for All Seasons