This week in history: Henry Hyde born 1924

Embed from Getty Images

The year after Roe v. Wade, Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois fought for and got a limitation (not a ban) on abortion funding in federal Health and Human Services appropriations bills. The Hyde Amendment has been renewed ever since, despite ongoing efforts by abortion advocates to kill it.

I’m indebted to Priests for Life for reminding me of this statement by the late Congressman, who always sought to encourage resistance to Roe v. Wade.

“When the time comes, as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I’ve often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God — and a terror will rip your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there’ll be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world — and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, ‘Spare him, because he loved us!'”


Survivors of “the dreaded complication”: hearing from women born alive after attempted abortions

Fifth in the Voices to Trust series.

“If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine?” — Gianna Jessen

“My biological mother was 17 years old and seven and one-half months pregnant when she made the decision to have a saline abortion. I am the person she aborted. I lived instead of died.” That’s Gianna Jessen speaking. She was born in 1977 and was adopted at age 4. When she was 12, she learned the circumstances of her birth. When she was 14, she began telling her story publicly, and she hasn’t stopped since.

Born alive: “the dreaded complication” of abortions.

Jessen testified to Congress earlier this year at a hearing prompted by the Center for Medical Progress videos about Planned Parenthood. “Hear me clearly: I forgive my biological mother….how many children have died and been dismembered and their parts sold for our ego, our convenience, and our promiscuity? How many Lamborghinis were purchased with the blood of innocent children?”

Jessen spoke before another Congressional subcommittee in 1996. Today, a baby is a baby when convenient. It is tissue or otherwise when the time is not right. A baby is a baby when miscarriage takes place at two, three, four months. A baby is called a tissue or clumps of cells when an abortion takes place at two, three, four months. Why is that? I see no difference. What are you seeing? Many close their eyes…The best thing I can show you to defend life is my life. It has been a great gift. Killing is not the answer to any question or situation. Show me how it is the answer….All life is valuable. All life is a gift from our Creator. We must receive and cherish the gifts we are given. We must honor the right to life.”

At the more recent hearing, Jessen was joined by Melissa Ohden, another survivor of a saline abortion attempt.

On Ohden’s own web site, she writes about the intergenerational injustice inflicted by abortion – and the importance of speaking the truth, even in the face of opposition. (Punctuation is shown as she used it.)

“…I wrote a post in reference to the Washington Post’s attempt in 2012 to discredit my life and life story in their support of President Obama, (, and in it, I started to process out some of my thoughts about how responses like this by those that are pro-abortion not only affect me, but affect my family, who have been forever changed by the abortion that was meant to end my life. In the course of the last year, though, I’ve been thinking about how not only such responses deny the reality of my family members, including my birthmother, who was forced to have the abortion and was greatly pained by this for decades, but denies the realities of tens of millions of families who have been forever changed by abortion. And I’ll be honest. It saddens and frustrates me that we live in a world that wants to deny the truth about abortion so badly that it will not only turn a blind eye to its’ everyday injustice against children, but then further denies the ramifications of this injustice on the children’s families.

“Abortion affects everyone, and I hear from and meet grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, mothers and fathers who have experienced abortion and its’ long-lasting effects, day in and day out. They have a story. One that they don’t often share because of their own guilt, shame, grief, or fear about how others will respond in a culture that has embraced abortion as a way of life (or lack thereof). Yet, no matter the feelings welled up inside these family members, what I have discovered is that when they finally hear from someone else that they, too, have experienced that pain, that they, too, understand what they’ve gone through, the floodgates open, and those feelings, those words that have remained locked up within them come pouring out.

“We may not be able to change the response that the abortion industry and its’ supporters, including the media, have in regards to abortion, abortion survivors, and the truth about how abortion affects all of us, but we can do something. We can be courageous enough to share our experiences with others, whether it is face to face, or something we share anonymously on the Internet.

“We can educate others about the impact that abortion has across generations, not only on children and women, but on men, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, and ultimately outside of the microcosm of family to our communities and nation. We can share our stories and encourage others to find hope and healing in the midst of what they have experienced. If we’ve lost 57 million children to abortion in the last 41 ½ years in the U.S. alone, we should recognize that we are not alone in our experience, and use our grief to bring about a difference, not only in our lives, but the lives of others.

“I know that it’s not easy to talk about, and it’s hard to know where to start, but I would like to just encourage you, the reader, if you’ve been affected by abortion in your family, to take the first step and simply acknowledge this to yourself. The next steps of sharing it will come in their due time.”





In Washington, abortion de-funding intentions are good, but… photo photo

My inbox blossomed with emails the other day, each trying to outdo the other with screaming subject lines, along the lines of “House Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood!!!” (The number of exclamation points varied.) What’s Congress up to? Turns out there was indeed a vote recently on a so-called reconciliation bill that, if accepted by the U.S. Senate and the President, would stop or restrict funding to Planned Parenthood for one – count ’em, one – year, diverting the funding to community health centers that do not provide abortions. The U.S. House adopted the bill on a 240-189 vote. New Hampshire’s Members of Congress split, predictably: First District’s Frank Guinta voted Aye, while Annie Kuster of the Second District voted Nay.

Two cheers, says I. Nah, make it one. Better yet, a simple nod – with a raised eyebrow.

Reports on the vote from a pro-life perspective are numerous. The Susan B. Anthony List and provide good examples.

The bill at least nods in the direction of privatizing the abortion industry. So why am I not more excited?

  • The Senate may or may not take up the bill; some pro-life Senators want to block it because it doesn’t stop enough Obamacare funding.
  • “Prohibited entity” under the terms of the bill – the agencies that would lose funding – include agencies that provide abortions, “other than an abortion…if the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.”
  • The funding restriction is for one year, reportedly to give Members of Congress time to review Planned Parenthood’s business practices including the body-parts business documented by the Center for Medical Progress. (PP now says it won’t try to make a profit on the Frankenstein-lab stuff, although how that can be verified is a mystery.) But it’s not videotaped gruesomeness that’s fundamentally objectionable – it’s the abortions themselves.

The President would veto any such bill, of course, but that’s no reason not to send it to his desk. Let him own any veto. Let him explain why he doesn’t want all that money going to women’s health via community health centers.

It’ll be interesting to follow this bill, although its course seems predictable (see above). Any attempt to let taxpayers divest from the abortion industry is a noble effort. It would be a mistake to make that divestiture a temporary thing, based on whether or not a sufficient number of Members of Congress are nauseated by the CMP videos.


The “Pain-Capable” Bill: blocked by both parties

January 22 was supposed to bring a vote on a federal bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Didn’t happen. Republican women who were elected with the help of pro-life donors decided to block the bill, demanding that a provision be removed that would have required a rape survivor seeking a late-term abortion to report the rape to law enforcement. House Speaker John Boehner withdrew the bill to avoid a defeat on the floor. (Consolation prize: a bill to block taxpayer funding of abortions. More on that another day.)

There’s plenty of angst to go around. The women who derailed the bill … their colleagues who were terribly afraid of disagreeing with these women on a “women’s issue” (tell that to the aborted males) … the people who inserted a rape-and-incest exception … the people who opposed the bill altogether because it wasn’t pro-life enough … the people who hated the bill because it would have blocked any abortions at all …

I’m with David Harsanyi, who said “Evidently, Republicans don’t feel competent enough to make a case against infanticide.” Yes, I wanted this bill to pass. It was a misshapen thing, but it should have passed. I reject the assertion that it would have made pre-20-week abortions or rape-and-incest abortions acceptable. It was Justice Blackmun and his brethren who made those abortions legal.

Remember who made late-term abortion a matter of debate in Washington in 2013? Kermit Gosnell. In the wake of his atrocities, Congress took its first crack at a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Democrats blocked it. Last week, Republicans blocked it. Different reasons, same outcome: no coherent defense of any preborn child, never mind all of them.

A reader recently reminded me of something I wrote in June of 2013. Then-Speaker Pelosi was nearly incoherent when asked about the difference between legal late-term abortion and the murder of a 23-week baby who survived an attempted abortion. (There is no difference, of course, but as an abortion advocate in good standing, Pelosi couldn’t quite say that.)  I’m beginning to think the Republican women who blocked the Pain-Capable bill couldn’t do much better. Their words would be different, certainly, but the result would be the same.

After the 2013 vote on the bill, I took my lumps from pro-lifers who were incensed that the bill had exceptions. Some things haven’t changed.

Where do NH Congresswomen stand on late-term abortion? They’ll vote tomorrow


I’ll be emailing my Congressional representative this afternoon. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH1) and her colleagues will vote tomorrow on HR 1797, the awkwardly-named Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. I call it the Gosnell Prevention Act. Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH2) could use some attention as well.

Basically, the bill was written to stop abortions on preborn children of more than 20 weeks’ gestation. The 20-week limit is based on what the bill’s drafters conclude from medical evidence is the point at which the preborn child can feel pain.

Not all pro-lifers support this bill. Abby Johnson, for one, objects to it. See her Twitter feed, @AbbyJohnson, for her thoughts. I respect her, and I disagree with her. I am on board with the bill, along with 184 co-sponsors in Congress, Americans United for Life and the Susan B. Anthony List.

I was around when partial-birth bans were first up for discussion. I remember the objections of some pro-life groups, on the grounds that making one kind of abortion illegal somehow made other types of abortion OK. I thought that interpretation was a terrible mistake. Eventually, some of the same folks who objected to early partial-birth legislation changed their minds and were instrumental in passage of a partial-birth-abortion ban here in New Hampshire.

I see the same kind of thing happening now with pain-capable legislation. No, such bills do not stop all abortions. No, such bills don’t hasten the day that Roe will go the way of Plessy v. Ferguson. Pain is like viability, the measurement of which is subjective and imprecise. Nevertheless, I want this bill passed. At the very least, I want to see a vote. Let’s see who goes on record as defending late-term abortions.

You can bet that Shea-Porter and Kuster aren’t concerned about intramural disputes among pro-lifers on this one. The head of their caucus in Congress, Rep. Pelosi, has made it clear that defeating this bill is a priority for Democrats in Congress. Ask them why.

More information on the bill is available from the National Right to Life Committee, which is ordinarily not one of my go-to resources. Their link here, though, is useful regarding this bill.