Next to the Eugenics Marker

When the weather throws you a curve, you have to adjust.  That’s what happened recently as my wife and I took to the road for some kayaking in southern Indiana.  No sooner did we arrive in Worthington than a slowly gathering bank of clouds to the north evolved into a deep blue wall.  Steering into the city park, I pulled up the radar and confirmed we had a real mess heading our way.  That was the bad news.  The good news is that I had been meaning for years to stop at the park because of the legend of a massive sycamore that once grew near the town.

With just a few minutes to spare before turning south to outrun the storm, I jumped out of our truck and strolled over to the mammoth limb section preserved from the 500-year-old tree when it finally died. It truly is a sight to see.  And it reminds me of how our state is dotted by little historical signs just waiting for someone to stop, someone to remember.

South of Crawfordsville you can stop where Chief Cornstalk’s Village once stood.  Near Scottsville you can visit the site of the Pigeon Roost massacre, all but forgotten in history books.  In Corydon you can stand where Indiana’s only Civil War skirmish was fought.  Just south of Indy you can stop and toss a quarter onto the grave of General George Washington’s drummer boy.  In Bruceville you can stand where Lincoln spoke. History is everywhere, but in the age of smartphones and instant everything, all of these places are slowly fading into obscurity.

Such is the case for a little-known sign in one of the most highly trafficked areas of downtown Indy.   Standing in silent witness between the Statehouse and a government building is a state historical marker shamefully recognizing a 1907 Indiana law legalizing eugenics through forced sterilization, a law ruled unconstitutional in 1921.  It’s right there, a stone’s throw from the Statehouse, and yet I’ve only met one legislator who knows it is there.  What is doubly-remarkable is that Justice Clarence Thomas recently referenced Indiana’s 1907 law in his blistering denunciation of eugenics in relation to Indiana’s protections for unborn children found in the 2016 Dignity for the Unborn Act.

Indiana’s 1907 eugenics program is a chapter of history we’d all like to forget, which is exactly why it is all the more important that we remember.  History moves in circles, and what was once eugenics through forced sterilization in Indiana is now eugenics by targeting kids for abortion solely because of their race, national origin, sex, potential disability, or Down syndrome.  God help us.  And may God hasten the day when, next to the 1907 eugenics marker, a new one will be placed in sad remembrance of all of the children whose lives were taken during the Indiana eugenics program that began on January 22, 1973.

 

Five Indiana Students Head to College with Thomas Marzen Memorial Scholarship Money

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Right to Life has awarded five Indiana students with Thomas Marzen Memorial Scholarships for the 2019-2020 academic year. The Thomas Marzen Memorial Scholarship helps young Hoosier leaders with proven backgrounds of pro-life involvement in pursuing college studies.

2019 scholarship winners:
Mikayla Zwirn of Morristown
Lily Shafer of New Haven
Natalie Guisinger of Huntertown
Erica Christie of Roanoke
Samantha Egan of Auburn

“We know these young Hoosier women will have many opportunities to share the positive pro-life message on their respective college campuses,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “We wish our scholarship winners the best as they stand up for vulnerable women and children targeted for abortion.”

Thomas Marzen, who died in 2007, was referred to as a “walking encyclopedia of the pro-life movement” by his colleagues and devoted his life to the pro-life movement. He was active for over three decades as a pro-life attorney and authored many appellate briefs in major cases and law review articles on pro-life issues, one of which was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court. He served as general counsel for Americans United for Life in Chicago and the National Legal Center for the Medically Dependent and Disabled in Indianapolis.

Indiana Right to Life’s mission is to protect the right to life, especially of unborn children, through positive education, compassionate advocacy and promotion of healthy alternatives to abortion.

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Morristown Student Takes Third Place in National Pro-Life Oratory Contest

CHARLESTON, South Carolina – Mikayla Zwirn took third place at the National Right to Life Jane B. Thompson Oratory Contest with her speech on infanticide. The contest was held Jul. 6 in Charleston, South Carolina at the National Right to Life Convention.

Zwirn earned the opportunity to represent Indiana at the national contest after taking first place in the Right to Life of Johnson and Morgan Counties contest and the Indiana Right to Life contest.

Mikayla is the daughter of Lori and Pete Zwirn. She has six siblings. She was homeschooled and plans to attend Moody Bible Institute this fall, majoring in Ministry to Women.

“We’re so proud of Mikayla for giving an articulate defense of vulernable children,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “Mikayla understands that infanticide is not only unpopular, but also a grave evil and cheapens our humanity. We congratulate Mikayla for placing at the national contest and wish her the best in her future education.”

Indiana Right to Life’s mission is to protect the right to life, especially of unborn children, through positive education, compassionate advocacy and promotion of healthy alternatives to abortion.

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Indiana Abortions Increase for Second Consecutive Year While Ultrasound Law Remains Blocked

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Right to Life reviewed new abortion data for 2018 released by the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). In 2018 there were 8,037 abortions compared to 7,778 in 2017.

Increase:

For the second consecutive year, the Indiana abortion rate increased. Pro-life leaders expected the increase because a 2016 ultrasound law, which is now before the U.S. Supreme Court, remains blocked by an activist judge.

According to the new data, 65 percent of the abortion numbers increase is attributed to non-Indiana residents, likely a direct result of the ultrasound law blockage. The majority of these abortions are assumed to be a referral from Planned Parenthood in Louisville, Kentucky, to Planned Parenthood abortion facilities in Bloomington and Indianapolis.

The ultrasound law, part of the 2016 Dignity for the Unborn Act signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence, states that women considering abortion be provided with the opportunity to view a fetal ultrasound at least 18 hours prior to an abortion. The ultrasound law was blocked because of a lawsuit brought by Indiana’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Indiana’s ultrasound provision was blocked through a preliminary injunction in April 2017. The increase of 496 abortions in 2017 compared to 2016 marked the first upward swing in abortions in Indiana since 2009, according to the ISDH’s 2017 Induced Terminated Pregnancy Report.

From July through December 2016, while the ultrasound law was in effect, there were 3,317 abortions in Indiana. During the same period of July through December 2017, after the ultrasound provision was blocked, abortions spiked to 3,813 in Indiana, a 13 percent increase compared to 2016.

Chemical Abortions:

Chemical abortions, the type now being done in South Bend without oversight, can carry serious complications and risks to the woman. Chemical abortions continue to rise; in 2017 there were 2,805 chemical abortions (36 percent) but in 2018 that number rose to 3,296 making up 41 percent of all abortions.

Dismemberment abortions:

In 2018, there were likely 11 dismemberment abortions (listed in the report as procedure type, “Other e.g D&E”). If these abortions were truly dilation and evacuation abortions, or dismemberment abortions, then a fully-alive unborn child had his or her limbs torn off during the procedure. This spring, Indiana lawmakers voted to outlaw dismemberment abortions, but a federal judge last week blocked Indiana’s law.

Out of State:

In 2018, there were 7,263 abortions (90 percent) on Hoosier residents and 774 abortions (10 percent) on out-of-state residents, for a total of 8,037 abortions. In 2017, there were 606 abortions done on non- residents. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky does not do any abortions in Kentucky, but the abortion giant likely refers Kentucky women to Indiana for the procedure.

Top Abortion Sites:

Planned Parenthood did the most abortions, 5,579 in 2018. In 2018, there were six abortion facilities throughout the state. Planned Parenthood on Georgetown Road in Indianapolis did the most abortions, 3,284 in 2018.

Our Take:

From Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life:

“We mourn the increase in abortions because it means more children who will never have a birthday and more women who were subjected to the lies of the abortion industry. If Indiana’s ultrasound law was still in effect, we would be looking at much different abortion numbers from 2018. We urge the U.S. Supreme Court justices to rule the ultrasound law constitutional in their future session.

“We are hopeful Indiana’s ultrasound law will be found constitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court justices gave us hope this spring as they ruled favorably on Indiana’s fetal disposal law, which mandates dignity for every child.

“Next year, Indiana’s abortion numbers could continue to rise if the South Bend abortion facility is allowed to continue aborting children without an abortion license. Women’s health and safety is in grave danger. We continue to oppose the abortion business in South Bend.

Find the Data:

The full state abortion report is available here.

Indiana Right to Life’s mission is to protect the right to life, especially of unborn children, through positive education, compassionate advocacy and promotion of healthy alternatives to abortion.