Victory: Texas and Louisiana can cut Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood. What does that mean for Indiana?

By Katie Franklin

Last month, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Louisiana and Texas can cut off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood facilities. The ruling—a major win for pro-lifers in the 5th Circuit—could also have major ramifications for Indiana and the rest of the United States.

Almost a decade ago, Indiana became the first state to defund Planned Parenthood of federal Medicaid dollars. Sadly, that historic feat ended in litigation from Planned Parenthood, a loss at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012, and the Supreme Court declining to hear the case in 2013.

The story seemed to be over for Indiana’s defunding effort, but as the years passed, other pro-life states took Indiana’s strategy and ran with it. In 2015, David Daleidan’s undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood’s stomach-turning practices lit a new fire under states’ efforts to defund the entity of taxpayer dollars.

More legislation and litigation ensued, and by 2018, the Supreme Court was asked to consider whether Medicaid recipients like Planned Parenthood have a right to challenge a state’s determination of “qualified” Medicaid providers.

Again, the Court declined to take up the case.

In his dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justices Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito, argued that the Court was shirking its responsibility. By this point, a split had arisen between circuits and, as Thomas argued, it was the Supreme Court’s duty to settle the matter.

“Five Circuits have held that Medicaid recipients have such a right, and one Circuit has held that they do not,” wrote Justice Thomas. “The last three Circuits to consider the question have themselves been divided. This question is important and recurring.”

So recurring, in fact, that this October, the Supreme Court once again declined to hear a case on the matter. (Notably, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill led 19 other states in filing an amicus brief with the Court, urging them to take up the case.)

But just six weeks later, the 5th Circuit issued its decision reversing a previous ruling preventing Texas and Louisiana from defunding Planned Parenthood of Medicaid dollars.

Now, the split Thomas described almost two years ago is deeper than it was before.

And the duty of the Supreme Court to take up this issue—raised by Indiana almost ten years ago—is all the more clear.

Since Indiana’s law was signed and struck down a decade ago, Hoosiers have been forced to channel their taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood. This is despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion. This is despite the fact that Planned Parenthood outposts performed more than half of Indiana’s abortions in 2019, making it the largest abortion business in the state.

Indeed, in 2019, Planned Parenthood facilities performed 4,414 abortions. Since 2014, these facilities have performed more than 30,000 abortions altogether, according to the Indiana Department of Health’s Terminated Pregnancy Reports.

Planned Parenthood frequently (and misleadingly) argues that abortions make up a small percentage of their services, but these numbers are far from small. Still, even if Planned Parenthood performed a few abortions per year, the practice would remain intolerable and deserving of swift defunding.

States like Indiana should be allowed to ensure that result.

Abortion drop expected as Indiana ultrasound law goes back into effect

Indiana Right to Life anticipates a significant drop in abortions in the new year as a result of Indiana’s  18-hour ultrasound law going back in effect on January 1.  The action is the result of Indiana’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood, dropping its suit against the law in August 2020.

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.

From July through December 2016, while the ultrasound law was previously in effect, there were 496 fewer abortions in Indiana compared to the period of July through December 2017, after the ultrasound provision was blocked by a federal judge.  During the 2017 period, abortions spiked by 13 percent.

“Indiana’s ultrasound law will save lives,” states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter. “Every woman deserves the opportunity to see an ultrasound image of her unborn baby in order to have ample opportunity to reconsider an abortion decision.”

Fichter believes the timing is right for the Indiana legislature to take additional action to ensure abortion businesses are following the intent and the letter of the ultrasound law.

“Every woman should be provided with a photo of her baby’s ultrasound that she can take with her,” says Fichter.  “In addition, a copy of her baby’s ultrasound photo should be attached to her patient files to assist state health and safety inspectors in verifying the law is being met.  Currently, neither of these actions are required by law.  These are loopholes the Indiana legislature can easily close.”

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Amy Coney Barrett Believes Life Begins at Conception. And So Does Every Scientific Textbook in the World.

By Katie Franklin

Amy Coney Barrett believes life begins at conception.

That is not a controversial notion. Virtually every scientific textbook in the world reflects this biological fact.

Yet last week, after the media went to work digging up “dirt” on Barrett, they discovered her noncontroversial viewpoint and decided to sound the alarms.

“Revealed: Amy Coney Barrett supported group that said life begins at fertilization,” reported The Guardian, a publication that openly supports abortion.

The story went on to describe how Barrett and her husband signed onto a newspaper ad created by Saint Joseph County Right to Life in 2006. The group, an affiliate of Indiana Right to Life which is now called Right to Life Michiana, had generated the ad as a pro-life educational piece surrounding the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion-on-demand.

The ad appeared in the South Bend Tribune, stating: “We, the following citizens of Michiana, oppose abortion on demand and defend the right to life from fertilization to natural death. Please continue to pray to end abortion.”

The story isn’t so much a revelation as it is a confirmation of what we already knew: Barrett is Catholic and—unlike several pro-choice Catholic politicians—she takes her faith seriously. She was a member of the Notre Dame Faculty for Life group, and in 2013, she delivered a presentation around the 40th anniversary of Roe, sharing her legal and historical analysis of the decision, as well as “her own conviction that life begins at conception.” During her time as a judge for the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, she has voted favorably for life.

Yet the media is still lingering on where she stands on the question of when life begins.

“Does Amy Coney Barrett Believe Life Begins at Fertilization?” asked Vogue (perhaps the last place anyone should be seeking political news, aside from Buzzfeed.)

But shouldn’t everyone? It’s not so much a “belief” as it is a scientifically proven fact.

The controversy, of course, revolves around Roe v. Wade and how Barrett would rule should an abortion case come before the Supreme Court.

Barrett is an avowed originalist. She believes a judge is bound by the law and the original meaning of the Constitution rather than her personal biases.

But what is “biased” about the understanding that life begins at conception? It is a verifiable fact.

What is biased, however, is the unscientific belief that an unborn baby is a human life….well….whenever a woman wants it to be.

If human life doesn’t begin at conception, where would The Guardian or Vogue say it begins?

A couple centuries ago, people believed it began at “quickening,” the moment a mother first feels her unborn child move—something that is inconsistent from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy. Now, for nearly half a century, the Supreme Court has operated under the equally inconsistent and inadequate standard that says human life may be protected when it is considered “viable.”

Yet over the years, viability has changed. Tiny, premature babies are surviving delivery earlier and earlier, before the 24-week mark that has typically been used to determine “viability.” The reality is that “viability” changes depending on what time period we are in and what country we live in—a premature baby in the first world has better access to proper medical care than one in the third world. But don’t both lives have value?

The viability standard has become increasingly unworkable and archaic, yet it continues to determine public policy.

Abortion advocates have no better scientific standard to offer, so instead they ridicule the truth.

Local abortion advocates told The Guardian that Right to Life Michiana is an “extreme” group because of its adherence to basic science and morality, and The Guardian ran with that label in its subheading.

The day before her nomination, Bill Maher disparaged Barrett as a “f—ing nut” because of her Catholic faith. But when she is shown to understand a rather elementary scientific concept, she is also written off as a zealot.

As disturbing as these lies and inconsistencies clearly are, pro-lifers should take heart. Barrett is not married to a fantasy about the beginnings of human life, meaning she is already better qualified for the Supreme Court than the many men who decided Roe and the subsequent justices who preserved it.

 

 

 

 

Ginsburg’s Legacy and the Future of Roe v. Wade

By Katie Franklin

The loss of a sitting Supreme Court Justice is great, and in the political climate we are currently living, that loss is all the greater.

Many are remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a “champion of gender equality” and a “leading litigator for women’s rights,” all in line with the “Notorious RBG” canonization people have bestowed on her for years.

But unfortunately, her legacy also includes the defense of one of the most dehumanizing practices women and children have ever suffered in United States history.

That practice is, of course, abortion.

In her 27 years on the Court, Ginsburg went so far as to defend partial-birth abortion twice, once in Stenberg v. Carhart (2000) and again in Gonzales v. Carhart (2007). Years later in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2015) and June Medical Services LLC v. Russo (2020), she sided with the abortion industry, knocking down Texas and Louisiana laws which aimed to hold abortionists accountable to basic health and safety standards.

While many commentators and news outlets are lauding her for her fight against pregnancy discrimination, in 2018, Ginsburg sided against America’s pregnancy help centers—life-affirming outposts which aim to help women through the many hurdles of an unexpected pregnancy and new motherhood (NIFLA v. Becerra).

And yet—despite her consistent defense and advocacy for legal abortion, Ginsburg held a nuanced opinion on Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion all across the U.S. in 1973.

That decision, she argued, was far too sweeping.

By knocking down abortion restrictions in all 50 states, legalizing the practice through all nine months of pregnancy, and orienting the decision around the practice of abortion rather than equality, the Court, she said, had created a “target” for pro-lifers.

“That was my concern, that the court had given opponents of access to abortion a target to aim at relentlessly,” she told a crowd of students at the University of Chicago Law School in 2013. “… My criticism of Roe is that it seemed to have stopped the momentum that was on the side of change.”

Indeed, since it was decided in 1973, Roe has remained one of the most controversial decisions in Supreme Court history.

In the following decades, more than 60 million abortions have occurred in the U.S. Yet many states have made advances in protecting unborn babies, challenging Roe and forcing the Supreme Court to consider limits to the culture of “abortion-on-demand.”

Abortionists like Philadelphia’s Kermit Gosnell and Indiana’s Ulrich Klopfer have revealed the grisly reality of abortion. Thousands, if not millions of women, have come to regret their abortions. And abortion survivors themselves are speaking out.

Additionally, more than 2,750 pregnancy help centers have risen up to meet the needs of women, men, and children all across the country, posing a loving alternative to the heartbreak of abortion.

Ginsburg was a studied, hard-working, and accomplished woman, and her colleagues—regardless of their Constitutional interpretation—clearly respected her as a person and legal mind.

As Planned Parenthood and NARAL dig in their heels and prepare to smear the yet-unnamed Supreme Court nominee, we must remember the truth: Roe v. Wade was an extreme decision that ushered in the deaths of millions of innocent babies. And not even Ruth Bader Ginsburg—an avowed defender of legal abortion—believed it was good law.

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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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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