Indiana leads the nation in children adopted from foster care under Holcomb administration initiatives

Indiana Right to Life applauds today’s announcement that Indiana is the top state in the nation for the adoption of children from foster care. In fiscal year 2019, 2,489 Hoosier children were adopted through the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS). Thanks to Indiana’s record-breaking year, today the Trump Administration is awarding Indiana $4.7 million to continue enhancing Indiana’s child welfare system.

“Today’s announcement underscores the commitment of both the Holcomb administration and the Trump administration to connect every child to a forever home through the loving act of adoption,” states Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “Governor Holcomb’s focus on expanding adoption is part of his ongoing pro-life commitment to making Indiana a better place for all children, born and unborn.”

Today’s announcement was made at press event featuring Governor Holcomb and Lynn Johnson, Assistant Secretary, U.S. Administration of Children and Families.

Meet our 2020 Thomas Marzen Memorial Scholarship Recipients

AnnMarie Hemmerling of Crown Point has been announced as the top recipient of our annual Thomas Marzen Memorial Scholarship for young Indiana leaders attending college this fall. Hemmerling’s pro-life involvement began as a high school sophomore attending the National March for Life in Washington, D.C.. She has also been involved with the Diocesan Youth Council of Gary, Indiana, and has participated in numerous events through the Respect Life Ministry in her Diocese. She is also an active participant in Boilermakers for Life at Purdue. “The life issue is so important to me because of the message it sends,” wrote Hemmerling. “It speaks of love and proclaims God’s word on the importance of each life”.

Also receiving a scholarship is Rosa Elizabeth Trippel of Mishawaka. Rosa was actively involved with pro-life activities through her four years at Marian High School. She has been an avid member of the Knights for Life club, has attended the March for Life four times, was voted Vice-President of her Right to Life club, and helped organize a volunteer team for the Christ Child Society benefit auction.

A third recipient in 2020 is Amelia Turnbull of Fort Wayne. Amelia won Indiana Right to Life’s 2020 state oratory contest and has attended the National March for Life and the Northeast Indiana March for Life. In addition, she organized Carolers for Christ to minister to nursing home residents, has participated in the Pro-Life Club, and has volunteered extensively to help elect pro-life candidates to office.

We applaud all of this year’s applicants. We’re also thankful for our financial supporters who help make this scholarship program possible. You are appreciated!

Indiana’s 18-Hour Ultrasound Law To Go Back Into Effect After State’s Largest Abortion Business Drops Suit

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana’s 18-hour ultrasound law will go back into effect on January 1, 2021, as a result of Indiana’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood, conceding it will not win its suit which has blocked the law since 2017. The ultrasound law, part of the 2016 Dignity for the Unborn Act signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence, requires that women considering abortion be provided the opportunity to view a fetal ultrasound at least 18 hours prior to an abortion.

A significant decline in abortions is expected in Indiana as a result of the ultrasound law going back into effect. From July through December 2016, while the ultrasound law was in effect, there were 496 fewer abortions in Indiana compared to the period of July through December 2017, when the ultrasound provision was blocked and abortions spiked to a 13 percent increase.

The concession underscores that Planned Parenthood and the ACLU did not feel they could win the suit in the Seventh Circuit in the wake of this summer’s June Medical Services vs. Russo decision by the Supreme Court. Two days after the June Medical Services ruling, the Court vacated a previous Seventh Circuit ruling blocking the ultrasound law and remanded the case back to the Seventh Circuit for reconsideration.

On August 7, the impact of the June Medical Services ruling was felt as Planned Parenthood and the ACLU were dealt a blow by the Eighth Circuit when it lifted injunctions against multiple pro-life laws in Arkansas.

“Indiana’s ultrasound law will save lives,” states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter. “Women deserve the opportunity to see an ultrasound image of their unborn baby at least 18-hours before an abortion in order to have ample opportunity to reconsider an abortion. In the brief time this law was in effect in 2016, abortions dropped sharply in Indiana, only to rise quickly as soon as the law was blocked. Now we hope to see abortions drop once again, this time for the long term. We regret, however, that this life-saving law will not go back into effect until January.”

In a release earlier today, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill stated, ““For women considering abortions, ultrasounds are an important part of informed-consent counseling. Anyone interested in protecting women’s health, including their mental health, should support giving them as much information as possible to aid their decision-making. Empowering women with knowledge is fully consistent with the U.S. Constitution.”

Fichter is skeptical of Planned Parenthood’s claim that new ultrasound equipment at its office in Fort Wayne drove its decision to drop the suit. “Planned Parenthood is dropping this suit because it fears it won’t win now that the new standard of June Medical Services is being applied by the courts,” Fichter notes. “This move is to cut legal costs in what it knows will be a losing battle. The courts have clearly abandoned the Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt framework from 2016, and that’s great news for pro-life laws moving forward.”

Fichter also raised deep concern that the move is just another step in the direction of Planned Parenthood attempting to operate an abortion business in Fort Wayne, stating, “With Planned Parenthood, connecting the dots means it always comes back to the business of abortion. Always.”

When asked by the Seattle Times in 2019 if Planned Parenthood intends to do abortions in Fort Wayne, its CEO Chris Charbonneau replied, “Absolutely”.

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Senator Mike Braun calls for an end to tax breaks for abortion under the guise of healthcare

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Right to Life is applauding Senator Mike Braun’s leadership in calling for an end to tax breaks for abortion.  In a letter sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week, Sen. Braun and 102 other congressional members call for new regulations, stating, “Abortion is not health care.  Any procedure for which a successful outcome depends on the death of a living human being, born or unborn, cannot be considered health care.”

The letter continues: “The IRS’ treatment of amounts paid for abortion (except when the mother’s life is physically endangered) as medical care under §213(d)(1)(A) is wrongheaded and contrary to the law. By extension, it is similarly wrong for the IRS to treat premiums for health insurance that covers such abortions as medical care under §213(d)(1)(D) without following the law’s strict separate accounting requirements for coverage of non-medical care under §213(d)(6). We urge you to take swift action to issue new regulations to protect innocent human life by ending tax breaks for abortion under the guise of medical care.”

Read the full letter here

Indiana congressional members co-signing Sen. Braun’s letter include Rep. Jim Banks and Rep. Jackie Walorski.

“We thank Sen. Braun, Rep. Banks, and Rep. Walorski for helping bring tissue to light and hope the appeal will be the beginning of the end for tax breaks for abortion,” states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter.

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Joe Biden Chooses Senator Kamala Harris as His Running Mate, National Right to Life Documents Her 0% Pro-life Voting Record

WASHINGTON—Presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden today announced that Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) would be his vice-presidential running mate. By picking Senator Harris, Joe Biden has reaffirmed his commitment to abortion on demand at any time for any reason and paid for by taxpayers. Kamala Harris is the poster child for the extreme pro-abortion position of the Democratic Party.

As a U.S. senator, Kamala Harris has a 0% rating from the National Right to Life Committee. By contrast, Sen. Harris’ abortion extremism earned her a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America.

“Sen. Harris supports a policy of abortion on demand at any time, any where, and under any circumstances,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “Sadly, both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris see the lives of precious unborn babies as expendable. Joe Biden could not have picked a more extreme pro-abortion running mate.”

Tobias added, “Sen. Harris is so extreme on abortion she opposes even the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, legislation to protect unborn children from abortion after 20 weeks, when they are capable of feeling excruciating pain during dismemberment or other late abortion methods.”

In her response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 29th decision in June Medical Services, LLC v. Russo where the justices overturned a Louisiana law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, Sen. Harris said, “While the Court reached the right result today, we must nonetheless keep up the fight to protect access to abortion.”

Sen. Harris also co-sponsored the so-called “Women’s Health Protection Act,” known to pro-lifers as the “Abortion Without Limits Until Birth Act.” As a candidate for president, Harris announced a broad platform that would require states that have a history of passing pro-life laws to seek preclearance from the Justice Department before they could enact any new pro-life laws that would impact abortion on demand. Under her plan, any new pro-life laws would be considered unenforceable without preclearance from the Justice Department.

When Sen. Harris won her Senate seat, she was praised by the then-Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. Richards said, “Kamala Harris is a staunch advocate for women’s health and rights. She ran proudly on an agenda to expand access to reproductive health care…”

Following today’s announcement, Planned Parenthood Action Fund tweeted, “Throughout her entire career, @KamalaHarris has been a steadfast champion for reproductive rights…”

Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.

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United States Supreme Court remands Indiana ultrasound, parental notification appeals to Seventh Circuit; cert denied in South Bend abortion clinic licensing appeal

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The United States Supreme Court today took action on three Indiana appeals over abortion-related cases.

In two separate Indiana appeals, the Court granted a writ of certiorari. The judgments in these two cases are vacated and both remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit for further consideration in light of the June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo decision issued Monday.

One of the cases involves Indiana law requiring the notification of parents when a minor daughter seeks a judicial bypass to have an abortion. This law is blocked by the Seventh Circuit.

The second case, involves Indiana law requiring that women seeking abortions be given the opportunity to view an ultrasound of their unborn baby at least 18 hours prior to an abortion. This law is also blocked by the Seventh Circuit.

In a third appeal, the Court denied cert in a case involving the licensing of the Whole Women’s Health Association abortion clinic in South Bend. The denial of cert means the South Bend abortion clinic can continue to operate as its suit against multiple Indiana pro-life laws goes forward in the courts. Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill argued a federal judge’s order allowing the clinic to operate without a state license is unconstitutional.

“We are very disappointed in the Court’s denial of Indiana’s licensing appeal, but are cautiously optimistic that the ultrasound and parental notification appeals will find success in the Seventh Circuit”, states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter. “We are very thankful for the relentless effort Attorney General Curtis Hill has given to defending Indiana’s pro-life laws in the courts.”

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Four hundred fewer children aborted in Indiana in 2019 according to new Indiana Department of Health report

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Four hundred fewer children were aborted in Indiana in 2019 compared to 2018, according to the Indiana Terminated Pregnancy Report 2019 released yesterday by the Indiana State Department of Health. The report shows 7,637 abortions in 2019, a 5% decrease from the 8,037 abortions reported in 2018. The drop in abortions ends a two-year period of increases in Indiana and is the lowest total abortions reported in Indiana since 2016.
The new report shows chemical abortions continue to rise in Indiana, with 44% of abortions now being reported as “medical” (41% in 2018) with 56% being reported as surgical (59% in 2018). The report also reveals the continuation of a disproportionately high percentage of abortions on Black/African-American women, comprising just under 32% of abortions in Indiana, while dropping slightly among Latino/Hispanic women.
Planned Parenthood remains by far the largest abortion business in Indiana with 57% of abortions. Whole Women’s Health, allowed to open in South Bend without a license through the order of a federal judge in 2019, reported 138 abortions. Marion County reported the most abortions at 5,669 followed by Lake County at 994 abortions and Monroe County at 816 abortions.  Tippecanoe County showed a large drop in abortions from 196 in 2018 to 20 in 2019, likely due to the lack of an abortion doctor working in that county for most of 2019.
Eskenazi Hospital reported 34 abortions, while Indiana University Health Methodist reported 17 abortions and Indiana University Health North Hospital reported 1 abortion.
Non-Indiana resident abortions dropped by 156 in 2019.
“While we cannot specifically point to any one reason why abortion numbers dropped overall in 2019, we are encouraged in knowing that 400 fewer children were aborted in Indiana last year. That’s the equivalent of an entire graduating class in many Indiana high schools,” states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter. ““Yet our hearts are still broken knowing that 7,637 children were denied the right to be born, and an untold number of women now bear the physical, emotional and spiritual burdens of those abortion decisions. Meanwhile, abortion businesses in Indiana continue to enjoy a multi million-dollar revenue stream at the expense of innocent babies. The lives of all unborn children matter. We will continue to work for the day when not a single abortion is done in our state.”
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IRTL statement on SCOTUS ruling striking down Louisiana law

Indianapolis, IN – Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter issued the following statement in response to today’s Supreme Court ruling in June Medical Services LLC vs. Russo.

“Today’s ruling is an insult to every woman who has ever been injured or placed at risk at an abortion business. Not only does this ruling undermine states’ rights to enforce health and safety regulations for abortion businesses, it places political ideology over the Constitution. This is an outrageous ruling protecting the business of killing unborn children over common sense safeguards for women.”

Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote in striking down the Louisiana law.

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IRTL-PAC endorses multiple candidates in GOP primary for Fifth Congressional District

The Indiana Right to Life Political Action Committee (IRTL-PAC) has announced these multiple endorsements in the Fifth Congressional District’s competitive Republican primary:

Micah Beckwith
Chuck Dietzen
Beth Henderson
Matthew Hullinger
Danny Niederberger
Victoria Spartz

IRTL-PAC endorsements in this race were issued based on a variety of factors, including completed candidate surveys.  No endorsement were made in the Democrat primary for this seat.

A Good Friday message from Mike Fichter

This weekend will mark the first time in my life I will not be in a physical church on Easter Sunday. Perhaps like you, I will be attending worship services online, making the most of technology and innovation during these strange and troubling days. But it won’t feel the same.

This is just one more way in which the “new normal” is changing all our lives. We are overwhelmed with daily death totals, ever-changing predictions, and a clouded uncertainty that seems to mount by the hour. Terms like social distancing, self-quarantine, and stay-at-home orders are twisting our lives in ways no one could have predicted just one month ago. These truly are uncharted waters.

The immediate spikes in video conferencing, webinars, and binge watching of streaming services is understandable, but likely not durable should this continue long term. We all know there is something much larger here, something 12 straight hours of Netflix cannot fix. The pandemic is rapidly realigning priorities, and it is reminding us all of the brevity and value of every human life.

These are the days when the world is looking for hope. Easter could not come at a better time.

In Easter we have the reminder that there is a God, and He is in complete control.

We would be mistaken to view Jesus’ death as a miscarriage of justice, or as the story of a good man caught up in a plot beyond his control. He was not a passive bystander, but an obedient servant to His Father’s will, even to the point of a brutal death on a Roman cross. Why? So that all who place their full trust in Him can be forever forgiven and forever free.  This was His mission.

He didn’t come to save the environment, establish political priorities, or make a name for Himself. He came for us, because we are all made in His image, from the very moment of our conception. The God of the universe came for us, his priceless works of art, to save us from a pandemic called sin.

If Jesus were still in the tomb, these few thoughts would be nothing more than empty rhetoric and any faith in Him would be in vain.

But the tomb is empty. Thank God, the tomb is empty.

May you and your family have a blessed Easter.