Indiana Right to Life launches #PledgeToVote campaign

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Right to Life today launched its #PledgeToVote campaign urging supporters to contact at least five pro-life family members and friends and urge them to vote.

The centerpiece of the campaign is an online pledge where supporters can add their names and show their readiness to take action.

“We are urging our supporters to go the extra mile in helping to turn out a huge pro-life vote this year,” states Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “It’s easy to just sit back and watch Fox News and CNN, or to listen to the political pundits. But none of that will have the impact of friends and family making personal connections.  Our goal is to produce a pro-life landslide in Indiana.”

Fichter notes that the pro-life community is energized and that he is confident the #PledgeToVote campaign will give Hoosiers a meaningful and motivating form of engagement all the way through the November 3 elections.

“Unborn children have no voice,” says Fichter.  “Our votes must be a voice for them.”

 

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Indiana Right to Life PAC Endorses Todd Rokita For Attorney General

Indianapolis –Indiana Right to Life PAC today announced its endorsement of Todd Rokita for Attorney General.  Rokita is a long-time advocate for the unborn, compiling a 100% pro-life voting record as a member of Congress.  In addition, Rokita was endorsed by IRTL-PAC during his two terms as Secretary of State.

Rokita’s voting record in Congress includes:

  • Voting for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act to establish a permanent, government-wide policy against funding for abortions.
  • Voting for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to generally prohibit abortion after 20 weeks fetal age and to provide substantial new protections for infants born alive during abortions.
  • Voting for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to enact an explicit requirement that a baby born alive during an abortion must be afforded the same degree of care that would be afforded to any other child born alive.
  • Voting for passage of the Defund Planned Parenthood Act to prohibit federal funds from going to America’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood.
  • Voting to amend federal law to clarify that states may, at their option, exclude abortion providers from the federal-state Medicaid program.

“Todd Rokita is the pro-life choice for attorney general,” states Indiana Right to Life PAC chairman Mike Fichter.  “We have absolute certainty that he will strongly defend Indiana’s pro-life laws in the courts, including future laws as well as those laws already being challenged in the federal courts.”

 

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Indiana Right to Life PAC Endorses Governor Eric Holcomb

Indianapolis – Indiana Right to Life PAC today announced its endorsement of Governor Eric Holcomb for reelection. Governor Holcomb’s pro-life track record during his first term includes the signing of eight pro-life bills, record-setting adoption levels for children in foster care, lowered infant mortality rates, and strong support for Indiana’s Real Alternatives program providing free, compassionate assistance to needy women and their babies, from pregnancy through the babies’ first birthdays.

“Governor Holcomb has signed every single pro-life bill that has come across his desk, including historic legislation to ban late-term abortions and to expand Safe Haven Baby Boxes in Indiana,” states Indiana Right to Life PAC chairman Mike Fichter. “We know that compassion for children, born and unborn, is deeply important to him, and we look forward to working with him to advance the cause of life to much higher levels over the next four years.”

Governor Holcomb’s extensive pro-life record includes:

• 2017 – Gov. Holcomb signed SEA 404 into law enhancing parental rights to be notified when a minor seeks a judicial bypass to get an abortion while allowing civil recourse for parents if an adult falsely claims to have parental rights for the minor. The law also tightens reporting requirements for abortions on girls under 16 years of age.

• 2018 – Gov. Holcomb signed into law SEA 203 that allows murder or manslaughter charges to be brought against any criminal who kills an unborn child during the committing a felony.

• 2018 – Gov. Holcomb signed into law SEA 65 giving parents greater control over whether children are exposed to Planned Parenthood-style sex ed courses in the schools.

• 2018 – Gov. Holcomb signed into law SEA 340 that pave the way for Safe Haven Baby Boxes, toughens abortion clinic licensing requirements in Indiana, and requires reporting of abortion complications.

• 2019 – Gov. Holcomb signed into law HEA 1211 to ban late-term D&E abortions in Indiana.

• 2019 – Gov. Holcomb signed into law SEA 201 to strengthen conscience protections for pro-life health care workers.

• 2019 – Gov. Holcomb signed into law HEA 1007 creating better prenatal health care for at-risk pregnant moms.

• 2020 – Gov. Holcomb signed into law SEA 299 to strengthen humane final disposition laws for aborted babies.

• Indiana’s Real Alternatives Program – From 2017 through 2020, Gov. Holcomb has authorized Indiana’s Real Alternatives program helping participating pro-life pregnancy resources centers throughout the state to meet the needs of tens of thousands of pregnant women and their babies all the way through baby’s first birthday, at no cost to the mothers.

Fichter also notes that under Governor Holcomb, the number of abortions dropped by 400 babies from 2018 to 2019, part of the reason Indiana is now ranked as the sixth most pro-life state in the nation by Americans United for Life.

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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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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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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.