Money talks: first municipal attempt at late-term abortion ban falls short in Albuquerque

Money talked tonight in New Mexico as a ballot initiative in Albuquerque, New Mexico that would have banned post-20-week abortions fell short of adoption. With all absentee ballots counted along with today’s votes from 28 out of 50 precincts, television station KOB is projecting defeat for the measure, 45%-55%.

The result comes the same day as the U.S. Supreme Court dealt abortion advocates a blow by refusing to block Texas’s new law regulating abortion.

“The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Ordinance” was the first citizen-initiated attempt to regulate late-term abortion on a local level. The title is derived from evidence that preborn children are able to feel pain by 20 weeks’ gestation. Passage of the ordinance would have affected at least one Albuquerque-area late-term abortionist.

Similar federal legislation has been introduced by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). New Hampshire’s Sen. Kelly Ayotte is a co-sponsor of Graham’s measure. Similar legislation is under consideration by several state legislatures.

Abortion advocates spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to defeat the Albuquerque initiative. According to LifeSiteNews, Planned Parenthood spent $300,000 while the ACLU spent $200,000. A PP affiliate in New York held a phone bank last week to contact Albuquerque voters.

ABQ Voters for Late-Term Abortion Ban was the umbrella group for supporters of the initiative. Members of Students for Life of America came from around the country to support the campaign. Abby Johnson supported the ordinance and was in Albuquerque to make get-out-the-vote calls. The Susan B. Anthony List spent $50,000 on a week-long pro-ordinance local TV ad campaign.

See one of the SBA List ads (“Human Compassion”) here.

Other tweets from initiative supporters as results came in:

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On this date in 2009: the death of Karnamaya Mongar

Four years ago today, a 41-year-old Asian immigrant went to Kermit Gosnell’s Philadelphia abortion facility to have her advanced-term pregnancy terminated. She died the next day after a drug overdose administered by Gosnell’s staff. Her death led to one of the convictions for which Kermit Gosnell is now in prison.

Her name was Karnamaya Mongar, a married woman, already a mother and grandmother. She came to the United States from a refugee camp in Nepal. Yes, she was determined to abort her child, but she had no reason to expect she’d be drugged to death – a death made inevitable by the inability of emergency responders to get her out of the cluttered building, once Gosnell’s staff finally noticed that Mongar was unresponsive.

Let the grand jury report on Gosnell’s activities speak for itself. The account of Mongar’s death begins on page 6. In part:

Gosnell set up his practice to rely entirely on the untrained actions of his unqualified employees. They administered drugs to induce labor, often causing rapid and painful dilation and contractions. But Gosnell did not like it when women screamed or moaned in his clinic, so the staff was under instruction to sedate them into stupor.

May she and her unnamed child rest in peace. Don’t forget them. Don’t let your legislators and health departments forget them, either.

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Pro-life voters, make your case: a talk with Marilyn Musgrave

Marilyn Musgrave of the Susan B. Anthony List (Shannon McGinley photo)
Marilyn Musgrave of the Susan B. Anthony List (Shannon McGinley photo)

No, this isn’t a rerun of my first post-election blog entry from last November. It turns out I am not the only one who sees that successful pro-life candidates are not the ones who chant “jobs-and-the-economy” while letting pro-abort challengers go on the attack.

Meeting up with a pro-life colleague

I chatted a couple of days ago with former three-term congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colorado). She’s now Vice-President of Government Affairs for the Susan B. Anthony List, the nation’s premier organization dedicated to electing pro-life women to office. I met her a couple of years ago when she visited New Hampshire to back up those of us who had issues with Planned Parenthood getting state money. She’s warm, savvy, and absolutely committed to supporting more pro-life state-level candidates. It’s always a treat to talk with her.

Marilyn was in New Hampshire last weekend to speak at a conference sponsored by Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire. Most of the people in the room, while attentive to the pro-life message, were not familiar with Marilyn or the SBA List. They are now.

“Let’s put them on record” regarding late-term abortion

Fight back: I asked her what people like us in New Hampshire could do, with three out of four of our federal representatives adamantly pro-abortion. “We have to fight back on the phony war-on-women. You have to fight back. First you have to decide that you’re going to fight back.”

Bingo. That was the first thing I wrote about after four-months of employment-imposed exile from blogging last year. That’s not to say I-told-you-so, but it’s good to hear confirmation from a woman in the thick of things.

“Winning issue”: As she said in her conference speech and repeated to me later, pro-life voters have a powerful new argument in favor of abortion regulation: Kermit Gosnell. The carnage left in Gosnell’s late-term abortion facility was documented by a grand jury whose findings helped bring Gosnell to justice. “Late-term abortion [restriction] is winning ground. Gosnell was not an outlier.” She noted polling that shows opposition to late-term abortion is strong, cutting across lines of age and race.

“Put them on record”: As for abortion advocates like Mmes. Shaheen, Shea-Porter, and Kuster, Marilyn suggests holding their feet to the fire regarding abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy. “Let’s put them on record. Gosnell gives us that opportunity.”

I asked her about the Virginia race for governor, certainly the toughest race going on right now between a pro-abortion candidate and a pro-lifer. “A tough go,” she said candidly. She told me about the Women for Ken effort in Virginia, operating independently of candidate and party in order to attack the war-on-women narrative that’s being used yet again.

Now what?

The following remarks are mine, not Marilyn’s. Don’t blame her for my conclusions.

Frankly, I DO expect New Hampshire Democrats to go on record regarding late-term abortions, with something like “trust women” in lieu of “we’re fine with dismembering and abandoning post-20-week babies.” (Even the Dems know some lines just won’t sell.) The Republican party – and remember that I’m speaking as a GOP-leaning indie – has yet to show it has enough starch in its institutional spine to pick up this fight. (Do I hear someone whispering “don’t be divisive” …?)

Individual voters will be the ones to ask candidates about late-term abortion. Ask them about regulation, about what they know about Kermit Gosnell, about what they think of New Hampshire’s failure to keep track of how many late-term abortions are done here. If you really want to have some fun with a values-clarification exercise, ask your local GOP committee members the same questions.

Certainly ask about late-term abortion before you write another check to a candidate or a party.

As for shredding the war-on-women arguments, there’s nothing quite like an articulate pro-life woman to lead the way. New Hampshire has many, as it happens, and I’ll continue to write about them. I see that when SBA List launched its National Pro-Life Women’s Caucus this year, made up of state-level legislators from all over the country, three New Hampshire state representatives were in the inaugural group: Jane Cormier, Jeanine Notter, and Lenette Peterson.

That caucus, by the way, was organized by a woman who herself spent time as a state rep before heading to Washington: Marilyn Musgrave.

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Gosnell’s chilling words from jail: new e-book by Philadelphia reporter

book image from amazon.com
book image from amazon.com

Kermit Gosnell is in jail, and it’s unlikely he’ll ever get out. He is unremorseful after his convictions in the deaths of babies whose spines were snipped after surviving attempted late-term abortions. He’s not sorry about the conditions in his office that played a role in the death of Karnamaya Mongar. How does one get inside the head of such a man?

Steve Volk, a reporter for Philadelphia magazine, decided to give it a try. He didn’t aim to glamorize Gosnell, but he wanted to figure out why and how he wound up doing what he did. Communicating with the incarcerated Gosnell was a complicated process, but Volk’s persistence paid off. Now Volk has expanded his original magazine article into a short e-book. (I got my copy via Amazon.com, priced at $2.99.)

I can’t tell which side of the abortion debate Volk favors, although he clearly feels a sense of horror for Gosnell’s brand of medical practice. Volk sets out to be a scribe, not an advocate. He writes with unadorned clarity about what he saw and heard in the course of the Gosnell trial, along with his more recent communications with Gosnell. The result is a record of a crucial moment in medical and cultural American history – a moment too important to be left to fleeting headlines.

Gosnell considered babies who survived abortion attempts to be already dead, despite movements clearly indicating life, leaving him with no qualms about the “snipping” for which he is most notorious. His determinations of fetal age were sometimes more political than medical, as he listed many patients as being “24 ½ weeks” pregnant; state law limited abortions to 24 weeks. Yet despite grand jury findings and the outcome of the trial, some of Gosnell’s former patients who knew him before the days of his “Women’s Medical Society” still don’t believe that he did the things for which he was convicted.

Volk’s account is hard to take in some sections. That’s the nature of his subject. The book is important lest we forget what happened at 3801 Lancaster in Philadelphia.

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Why I can’t stand with Wendy Davis on Texas SB5 bill

“Surely we can do better for women.” This re-post from the blog 400 Words for Women is the best short answer I’ve found to the recent antics in Texas, where abortion advocates disrupted a legislative session in order to block a bill to stop post-20-week abortions.