How one woman won in Texas

Wendy Davis, pink-sneakered mascot of the late-term abortion lobby, left the Texas state senate to run for governor. She got walloped Tuesday, losing to Greg Abbott by just shy of a million votes. Her seat in the state senate has just been won by Konni Burton. This, my friends, is how to go on offense with the life issues in a campaign.

Related post, from June 2013: Reality check: what’s a “toughest” abortion law?

On being “viable”

At what point would having a disability render me “unviable”?

Along with countless other people paying attention to news reports, I grieve for a Texas family coping with a terrible situation. Marlise Muñoz was reportedly declared “brain dead” last November following a pulmonary embolism. She was 14 weeks pregnant at the time. Quoting from this weekend’s Wall Street Journal: “Her husband, Erick Muñoz, had requested for weeks that she be removed from life support, but the hospital has maintained that it was required to continue medical service under a Texas law that restricts removing life support from pregnant patients, a measure designed to protect unborn children.”

A judge has just okayed removal of Mrs. Muñoz’s ventilator. Her situation will soon be settled, if not resolved. So will her child’s.

According to the family attorney who is serving as spokeswoman, the fetus has exhibited  abnormalities and is no longer viable. Scans of the fetus reportedly show lack of development of the lower body.

That brought me up short.

No longer viable? Did she mean this 22-week preborn child used to be viable, which is supposed to mean able to survive outside the mother’s body?

I don’t know. What I do know is that the hair on the back of my neck stood up when that lawyer mentioned “abnormalities” and “viability” together. A sign of the times, I guess. I get uneasy at the thought that any of us, born or preborn, has to be considered normal before being considered worth protecting.

Perhaps I’m reading the worst into the situation. Pregnant women die every day, and their children die with them. It’s just that the juxtaposition of abnormalities with viability gets to me.

I pray for the Muñoz family, and for the doctors and attorneys who are working with them. I pray everyone’s being well-served by the professionals in this case.

 

 

 

 

Chemical abortion scores in court

Women’s health is going up against chemical abortion in courts this week. Health is taking a hit.

Courts to abortion providers: we’ve got your back 

Iowa’s Sue Thayer, former PP manager, is reporting today that an Iowa judge just granted an emergency stay on a new Iowa law that would have required a physician to be present with a woman on whom an abortion is being performed. The law, which would have blocked “telemed” chemical abortions, was to have gone into effect tomorrow. The case is Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Inc. v. Iowa Board of Medicine. (“Heartland,” indeed. Orwell, call your office.)

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to a lower-court ruling that overturned an Oklahoma law regulating the use of chemical abortion. The law would have required that abortion providers adhere to FDA protocol limiting chemical abortion, using drugs rather than surgery, to 49 days of pregnancy. The case is Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice. 

Meanwhile, in Texas …

The new four-part Texas law made famous by a state senator’s effort to filibuster it to death is being challenged piecemeal. So far, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has allowed the law to go into effect. (See Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Surgical Health Services v. Abbott.)

The most immediate effect of the Texas law seems to have been triggered by the law’s requirement that a physician performing abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility. Over a dozen abortion facilities have reportedly closed down as a result of that provision. Abby Johnson, another ex-PP-manager, calls this a “Texas Size Victory.”

New Hampshire implications

Challenges to the manner of use of chemical abortion in New Hampshire have been administrative and judicial so far, not legislative.

As reported here in early September, pro-life physicians and civil liberties attorneys have urged the New Hampshire Boards of Medicine and Nursing to investigate Planned Parenthood’s advertising of chemical abortions through 63 days of pregnancy instead of the FDA protocol’s 49 days. As attorney Michael Norton from Alliance Defending Freedom said at that time,

No matter where people stand on abortion, everyone should agree that Planned Parenthood must abide by established FDA protocols for using a potentially dangerous drug. This includes requiring a licensed professional to personally meet with women and examining them before prescribing abortion-inducing drugs which pose serious health risks, and limiting the length of time it can be used…. [It is] important to hold healthcare providers to appropriate standards of care for women in New Hampshire in connection with the provision of drugs which result in abortions.

The October 29, 2013 edition of the New Hampshire Union Leader carried a front-page article reporting that New Hampshire Right to Life and two individual citizens from Cheshire County have gone to court over chemical abortions administered by Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. At issue: the 49-day limit, the right of PPNNE to prescribe any drug whatsoever in the absence of a state contract, and the practice of distributing the drug for at-home use rather than for administration in a physician’s office.

New Hampshire is in a different judicial circuit than Oklahoma, and so ruling on that state’s chemical-abortion law is not binding here. It does not augur well, though, when the U.S. Supreme Court lets a lower court throw out the Oklahoma law. This will no doubt have a chilling effect on efforts to regulate chemical abortions and monitor their effects on women’s health.

Chemical abortion: the wave of the future?

While I’ve been concerned that the lessons of Gosnell are already being forgotten in some quarters, late-term abortion restrictions are gaining ground in several states. If there’s one thing the Gosnell trial will be remembered for, it’ll be the images of those babies he tried to abort and then “snipped.” They looked just like … babies.

Chemical abortion, on the other hand, is much neater. The preborn children look less like children. The mother can’t feel the baby yet, as early in pregnancy as abortion drugs are supposed to be administered. The pills can be sent home with the mother, even in defiance of the law. Telemed abortions, in which a provider teleconferences with a mother before remotely unlocking a drawer to give the mother access to abortion pills, requires much less overhead than a surgical abortion facility. The drugs are relatively cheap. The mother bleeds and sheds her child into pads or her toilet at home, keeping the abortion-drug provider from having to deal with medical “waste.”

Now there’s a business model. No wonder abortion advocates go to court to fight regulations on chemical abortions.

(Fact: one of the nurse practitioners on staff at the abortion-providing Lovering Center in Greenland, New Hampshire did her Ph.D. dissertation on “Women’s Experience with Decision-making with Medication Abortion.”)

Medication/chemical; potato/potahto. Ironically, women’s experience with the outcome of “medication abortion” is something neither academic medicine nor public health can pin down, at least not in New Hampshire. No one collects reliable statistics on how many women choose drug-induced abortion or how many women experience poor outcomes as a result. The number of chemically-induced attempted abortions that “fail” and are then followed up with surgical abortion is a mystery as well. Abortion providers lobby against stats bills, and call opponents “anti-choice” for wanting data.

How is that not putting politics ahead of women’s health?

 

 

 

 

James O’Keefe returns to NH; dust settles in TX; Hobby Lobby news: pick of the web 7/19/13

James O’Keefe’s get-out-and-do-it attitude toward citizen journalism helped inspire me to get Leaven going a year ago. O’Keefe will be back in New Hampshire for a book-signing at a fundraiser for the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women next Tuesday, July 23. This event has a price tag, but if you’re interested, get the details here. O’Keefe is not a gentle soul (l’enfant terrible comes to mind), but he sure is fun to hear. 

LifeSiteNews has provided excellent coverage of the events in Texas leading up to passage of limited abortion regulation. To catch up, start here and follow links to related stories.

Just today, Hobby Lobby Inc. was granted a temporary exemption from the HHS mandate. The owners of this business have been among the leaders in resistance to the federal government’s attempt to force employers to help provide services that violate the employers’ religious beliefs. This is an ongoing story, and not every update is encouraging – but this one certainly is.

Friday grab-bag: “buffer” zone in Concord, controversy in TX, NH’s 2014 candidates are lining up

 I hope you had a good Independence Day celebration, and that you’re lucky enough to get a good long weekend to go along with it.

The latest on a “buffer” zone in Concord: The petition to block First Amendment rights within 35 feet of the Feminist Health Center is on hold, as the Concord City Council has referred it to the city police and legal departments. Same goes for the counter-petition filed by pro-lifers, led by Ava Voissem. The matter will not be taken up at next Monday’s Council meeting. See the meeting agenda here, page 6, information item #8. The next Council meeting will be on August 12, and keep an eye on this blog and the Leaven for the Loaf Facebook page and Twitter feeds for updates.

What the heck’s with Texas? Leaven has offered a few posts (originals here and here, plus a re-post from a fellow blogger) about the attempts in Texas to pass a bill to stop post-20-week abortions and to impose ambulatory-surgical-care standards on abortion facilities. The legislature is now back in session to consider the bill yet again, after a filibuster and a mob scene prevented a timely vote a couple of weeks ago. An actual vote is not expected before Monday, but there has been plenty of extracurricular activity. Pro-lifers and abortion advocates alike have come to Austin to make sure legislators hear their respective messages. I pay attention to this because I think what’s happening in Texas will provide a template for abortion advocates’ future attempts to stop post-20-week bills elsewhere, including Concord. No, I have no inside information about potential disruption at the State House. I firmly believe that if the bill in Texas fails, though, abortion advocates will take whatever “worked” there to other states.

I’d hate to see messaging like this take hold:

  • Ethan Gehrke (@EthanGehrke) took this photograph, tweeted it, and watched it go viral.
    Pulling out all the stops in Texas. Twitter photo by @EthanGehrke.
    Pulling out all the stops in Texas. Twitter photo by @EthanGehrke.

    Children at demonstrations are nothing new, at least not to me – but seriously? Have one’s child carry a sign saying “If I wanted the government in my womb I’d f*** a senator”? This is a post-Gosnell bill. Apparently, the mom in question has issues with that. One reporter, Elspeth Reeve of the Atlantic, speculated that the photo was doctored by pro-lifers. It wasn’t. (You might enjoy this post by the redoubtable Kevin Williamson, who knows a thing or two about journalism, calling Ms. Reeve to task.)

  • For truly over-the-top political theater, nothing this week beat the “Hail, Satan!” chants in Austin made by some of the opponents of the Texas bill. No fooling.  No word on whether any legislators found this persuasive.

November 2014 is only 16 months away, but nets are already being cast all over New Hampshire by potential candidates for office who are looking for money and endorsements. These are Republicans, for the most part, since the Dems seem happy with their incumbent governor & Congresswomen & senior Senator. Just as a teaser, three potential candidates have voting records or public statements on the life issues.

  • Jim Rubens of Etna is testing the waters – “exploring” is his term – to take on Jeanne Shaheen for U.S. Senate.  In this WMUR interview, he said he’d like to see a “temporary truce” on social issues. His chief claim to fame is guiding the Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling (full disclosure: I’m a member), which is one reason New Hampshire remains casino-free.
  • Former state senator Gary Lambert is the subject of a Facebook campaign to draft him for the Second Congressional District race vs. incumbent Annie Kuster. He voted “inexpedient to legislate” on HB 1659, an informed consent bill, last year. He’s a very astute man to have earned a senate seat in Nashua usually occupied by a Democrat. He chose not to run for re-election last year.
  • State rep and former Speaker of the House Bill O’Brien is definitely in the Second Congressional District race. He has a sterling pro-life voting record. His take-no-prisoners style is the stuff of legend and will no doubt make for a lively primary.

Each of these men has a far more to his record than I can convey in a sentence or two, but as I said, this is a teaser. I’m not a truce-on-social-issues type, but I’m happy to hear from any candidate. Let the people know what they can expect when something like a Gosnell-prevention bill comes up.