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.

Judge Gives Abortion Industry a Win, Allows Barbaric Dismemberment Abortions

INDIANAPOLIS – Federal judge, Sarah Evans Barker, issued a preliminary injunction in the abortion industry’s favor, allowing dilation and evacuation abortions in Indiana. The American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of abortion doctors, sued to stop the dismemberment ban from taking effect July 1.

This spring, Indiana lawmakers banned the barbaric dismemberment abortion procedure in House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1211. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed HEA 1211 on Apr. 25.

The dismemberment procedure is typically used for second-trimester abortions and involves pulling a fully alive unborn baby apart limb by limb.

“It’s disgusting that the abortion industry can simply overturn a law they dislike by filing a lawsuit,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “Dismemberment abortions are painful and barbaric. No baby deserves this horrific death sentence. We urge the state to appeal the ruling.

“If appealed, we believe the dismemberment ban will be found constitutional. In 1995, Indiana passed an informed consent law. It was tied up in the courts for years, but it was found constitutional and encouraged a decrease in the abortion rate. Similarly, once the dismemberment ban goes into effect, it will save Hoosiers’ lives.”

Evans Barker also recently gave the abortion industry a victory when she sided with Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA), a Texas-based abortion chain. Evans Barker’s decision allows WWHA to do abortions in South Bend, Ind. without being licensed and inspected, putting Hoosier women at risk.

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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Right to Life Groups to Host Rally Protesting Unlicensed Abortion Business

South Bend, IN- On Saturday, June 15 at 1:00 PM, St. Joseph County Right to Life, with several state and national partners, will host the “Rally for Life” in response to Judge Sarah Evans Barker’s ruling allowing an unlicensed abortion business to operate in South Bend. The rally takes place at St. John the Baptist Catholic School soccer field. Event details can be found at https://www.prolifemichiana.org/june-15th-rally.
The rally will feature national speakers Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa of New Wave Feminists, Eric Scheidler of Pro-Life Action League, Mark Harrington of Created Equal, Ryan Bomberger of the Radiance Foundation, and Lily Hutkowski of Students for Life.

“Judge Evans Barker’s ruling undermines state authority and threatens Hoosier moms and families,” St. Joseph County Right to Life Executive Director Jackie Appleman said. “We’re calling on people of good sense around the state to join us in standing against this abuse to human rights and states’ rights.”

“Join us on June 15 to stand up for women and babies in South Bend,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “Judge Evans Barker’s decision to side with abortion operators will put Hoosier women at risk and lead to the deaths of hundreds of unborn children. If abortions begin without the operators having a license, Hoosiers will have no way to know if the business is complying with health and safety rules or not.”

On May 31, Evans Barker of of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana issued an injunction in favor of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA). Her decision will allow WWHA to dispense abortion drugs without any oversight to ensure health and safety rules are being met. Learn more at www.irtl.org/judge-sides-with-south-bend-abortion-operators-puts-women-at-risk.

St. Joseph County Right to Life, Inc. is dedicated to the social welfare by promoting life through outreach, education and advocacy. It is the oldest, continuously active pro-life organization in St. Joseph County, and is the central organization representing pro-life interests. Its goal is to protect all human life – from fertilization to natural death.

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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Hill Appeals Federal Judge’s Ruling on South Bend Abortion Facility

ag curtis hill
INDIANAPOLIS – Yesterday, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill filed an appeal to federal judge Sarah Evans Barker’s May 31 ruling that allows Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA) to begin doing abortions in South Bend.

“We extend our heartfelt thanks to Attorney General Hill for defending the unborn and their mothers,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “If WWHA starts doing abortions without a license, women will be at risk in South Bend. We’re grateful to Attorney General Hill for standing up to this activist court ruling.”

Hill stated, “Criminal and civil penalties can only punish violations of the law after they occur. Licensing makes violations less likely to happen in the first place. This is precisely why states have licensed the legal and medical professions since the mid-19th century. Requiring abortion clinics to be licensed facilities is entirely reasonable and constitutional. For that matter, it’s the very least we should do to protect the health of women and unborn children.”

Read Indiana Right to Life’s statement on Evan Barker’s May 31 ruling.  

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.

Judge Sides with South Bend Abortion Operators, Puts Women at Risk

tiny baby in hand
INDIANAPOLIS –  On May 31, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA) won an injunction from a federal judge allowing it to begin doing abortions in South Bend without a state license. Indiana Right to Life urges the state to appeal the injunction.

“Judge Barker’s decision to side with the abortion operators will put Hoosier women at risk and lead to the deaths of hundreds of unborn children,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “We expect WWHA will now open without an abortion license, meaning Hoosiers have no way to know if they are complying with health and safety rules or not. Judge Barker’s decision is another example of a court trampling states’ rights when it comes to any measure that protects life. “

On Apr. 22, Senior Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana heard arguments from the Texas-based abortion chain, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance.

In a letter, the state of Indiana’s initial denial of an abortion license for WWHA said, “Based upon the Department’s review, the Commissioner finds WWHA failed to meet the requirement that the Applicant is of reputable and responsible character and the supporting documentation provided inaccurate statements and information.”
 

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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Five Quick Facts About The Indiana SCOTUS Ruling

1. The Supreme Court ruled on two separate parts of Indiana’s Dignity for the Unborn Act (HEA 1337) signed into law by then-Governor Mike Pence in 2016:

1) The requirement that aborted babies be treated humanely by disposition of burial or cremation; and

2) A prohibition on abortions solely for the purpose of an unborn child’s race, sex, national origin, potential disability or Down syndrome.

2. The Court reversed a Seventh Circuit ruling that blocked Indiana law requiring the humane disposal of aborted babies through burial or cremation. Since 1973 and until this ruling, aborted babies in Indiana have been treated as common medical waste or garbage. One former abortion clinic employee testified before an Indiana legislative committee that she watched aborted babies being flushed down a drain into the Indianapolis sewer system.

3. The Supreme Court decided not to consider the issue concerning the civil rights protections, but did leave the issue open for future consideration, noting, “Our opinion likewise expresses no view on the merits of the second question presented, i.e., whether Indiana may prohibit the knowing provision of sex, race, and disability selective abortions by abortion providers. Only the Seventh Circuit has thus far addressed this kind of law. We follow our ordinary practice of denying petitions insofar as they raise legal issues that have not been considered by additional Courts of Appeals.”

4. The Court’s opinion was issued per curiam, meaning an opinion by the Court as a whole that does not identify any particular justice as the author. Justice Thomas wrote a concurring opinion while Justice Ginsberg wrote a dissenting and concurring opinion stating she would have denied Indiana’s petition for review in its entirety. Justice Sotomayor stated separately that she would have denied the petition in its entirety.

5. The Court is also expected to decide soon if it will hear Indiana’s appeal on another provision of HEA 1337 requiring that a woman considering an abortion be provided with the opportunity to view an ultrasound of her unborn baby at least 18 hours prior to an abortion. The ultrasound provision is currently blocked by the Seventh Circuit, leading to a rise in abortions in Indiana.

Supreme Court Recognizes Humanity of Unborn in Indiana’s Fetal Remains Law

Denial to Hear Indiana’s Unborn Civil Rights Law is Disappointing, but Court May Hear Issue in the Future

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down an order reversing the judgment of the Seventh Circuit regarding the disposition of fetal remains by abortion providers and establishing a victory for the pro-life movement. Unfortunately, it also denied hearing a second Indiana provision, the portion of the 2016 Dignity for the Unborn Law that prohibits abortions because of the child’s sex, race, national origin or a potential disability, like Down syndrome.

“The Supreme Court gave the pro-life movement a major victory by upholding Indiana’s fetal remains law,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “The court sided with Indiana that unborn human remains must receive dignified disposal. Humane disposal takes us one step closer to recognizing the dignity of unborn children. Aborted children may no longer be treated as medical waste or garbage. Instead, these precious lives will be required by law to receive a burial or cremation.

“We are deeply disappointed the Supreme Court denied certiorari of the civil rights portion of the Dignity Law. Indiana was on the cutting edge of extending civil rights protections to the unborn. Justice Clarence Thomas made clear in his remarks that the issue of civil rights protections for the unborn must be addressed by the Supreme Court. He called out Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion chain, for using abortions to further eugenics. We are hopeful one day the Supreme Court will recognize the civil rights of the unborn.

“Here we now have a troubling dichotomy that cannot stand: on one hand we recognize aborted children have dignity and are not garbage, on the other hand the court refuses the inherent, God-given dignity of each unborn child by recognizing their civil rights. This once again places Roe on a collision course with itself. Rest assured, Indiana will continue leading the charge in the effort to protect life.”

A provision of the Dignity for the Unborn Law regarding ultrasounds was appealed separately to the Supreme Court. The Court has not given any indication on how it will rule on that case.

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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