Life Notes – Sept/Nov

Seven states are nearly abortion free!

Seven states in the U.S. have only one abortion clinic left, including Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Pro-life lawmakers in Kentucky and Mississippi have been particularly diligent in their work to protect unborn babies from abortion. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has cracked down on abortion facilities operating illegally.

State investigators have closed an abortion facility posing as a doctor’s office, where they also found numerous health and safety violations. Bevin’s administration also sued a new Planned Parenthood facility in Louisville for performing abortions without a license. Mississippi lawmakers have passed several pro-life laws that resulted in the closure of abortion clinics.

Abortion supporters have decried this news, claiming that passing laws holding abortion facilities to the same basic health and safety standards other medical facilities are held to means that women are losing access to abortion.


Assisted suicide legalization failing

The year 2017 has seen a staggering number of attempts to legalize assisted suicide in the U.S. A study by Dr. Jacqueline H. Abernathy of Tarleton State University analyzed the data. Forty-three bills were introduced in 26 states and all attempts failed. Indiana made its first attempt this year, while the other 25 states had prior legislation that failed.

Since 1994, 231 bills have been introduced in 36 states. Only three have been signed into law in the last 23 years. In 2013, Vermont passed a bill following standard legislative procedure. California, in 2015, resurrected a defeated bill in a special session, where legislation is rushed. Washington DC passed its ordinance through a city council vote.

Other states where physician-assisted suicide is practiced are Oregon (1997), Washington (2009), Montana (2008), New Mexico (2014) and Colorado (2016).

While the number of bills clearly indicates the use of persistence as a political strategy, they do not validate the efficacy of the strategy. Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, observes, “This political strategy has yet to suggest that perseverance alone can win sufficient legislative support. Perhaps a greater number of lawmakers are willing to introduce bills, but the fact that these bills continue to fail and fewer states are rushing to consider such legislation suggests that assisted suicide remains an unlikely cause to advance in U.S. statehouses.”


British infant taken off life support

In a case that sparked debate surrounding a “quality of life” ethic, British infant Charlie Gard was taken off life support on July 28, days prior to his first birthday. Charlie suffered from a rare mitochondrial disease and brain damage and couldn’t move or breath without help. In March, doctors decided there was no further treatment for the infant and advised his parents to let Charlie die. His parents emailed doctors around the world searching for treatment options and learned that 18 people in the U.S. had been treated with an oral medication of naturally occurring compounds. A lengthy legal battle began between the parents and the hospital when the hospital refused to allow an experimental treatment and would not let Charlie be transferred to another hospital. A neurologist in the U.S., Dr. Michio Hirano, an expert in the field, agreed to provide treatment, saying that the chance of Charlie benefitting from the treatment was 11 to 56 percent. Charlie’s parents raised over $1.8 million to bring him to the U.S. for treatment, but the European Court of Human Rights ruled against them. In July, due to delays caused by the legal battle, Dr. Hirano determined that Charlie had no chance of benefiting from the treatment.

Following that decision, Charlie’s parents decided to end the legal battle and allow life support to be removed. A judge ruled that Charlie be moved to a hospice, rather than allowing the parents to take him home as they wanted.

Leading pro-life advocates warn that Charlie’s death is a very concerning harbinger of things to come. National Right to Life President Carol Tobias lamented, “The case of Charlie Gard brings into grave perspective what can happen when the government controls a health care system: It alone can decide who lives and who dies.”


Iceland “eradicates” Down Syndrome

A mid-August report from CBS News revealed that “Iceland is on pace to virtually eliminate Down syndrome through abortion.” In 2000, Iceland began prenatal testing to identify babies at high risk for Down syndrome and other abnormalities. About 30 percent of pregnant women in Iceland choose screening and nearly 100 percent choose abortion if their babies test positive for Down syndrome. Although the country has a population of 330,000, it averages only two babies born with Down syndrome each year.

Lila Rose, president of Live Action, said, “Some are celebrating Iceland as having ‘eradicated’ Down Syndrome. But let’s be clear: this isn’t eradicating this disorder. This is no medical breakthrough. This is genocide. Down syndrome still exists. They are just killing all the preborn children who have it.”

In other countries, French women abort Down syndrome babies 77 percent of the time, as do 90 percent in the United Kingdom and 97 percent in Denmark. American women abort 67 percent of the time.

Dramatic improvement in the lives of people with Down syndrome have occurred due to improved education and healthcare programs. Life expectancy has increased from 25 in 1983 to 60 in 2017. Many children with Down syndrome grow up, go to school, get jobs, and even get married. Research published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics revealed that 99 percent of people with Down syndrome report being happy; 94 percent of their siblings express pride in their brother or sister with Down syndrome, and a mere four percent of parents regretted their decision to keep their child.

[; posted on August 23, 2017;]

Defunding Planned Parenthood stalled in U.S. Senate

On May 4, 2017, the U.S. House passed the American Healthcare Act (AHCA) by a vote of 217-213. This law would repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood, cutting 86 percent of the abortion giant’s federal funding for next year. ACHA redirects the funding to community health centers, which far exceed services Planned Parenthood offers and outnumber the abortion organization’s abortion facilities by 20 to 1 (see

This defunding effort came on the heels of the release of undercover videos which showed Planned Parenthood officials negotiating prices for aborted baby body parts. Planned Parenthood, which did 328,348 abortions in 2015, has also been caught in scandals involving Medicaid fraud and failure to report sex trafficking and sexual abuse of minors. The House’s Select Investigative Panel recommended that Congress defund Planned Parenthood.

The legislation requires a majority vote in the Senate, but that has been a struggle, as two pro-abortion Republican senators seem willing to torpedo the bill if it defunds Planned Parenthood. Some think there may be some pro-life senators who may be willing to “give” on the pro-life provisions to pass the healthcare bill. Given the fact that the GOP has promised for years to defund Planned Parenthood and that the party now holds the White House, the House, and the Senate, failure to keep that promise could have grave consequences in the next election cycle.

[Family Research Council Washington Update, June 13, 2017;]

Youth suicide numbers increasing

Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for youth and young adults. In First Things (August-September), Andrew Kheriaty, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Medical Ethics Program at the University of California, Irvine addresses contributing factors. He maintains, “Laws shape the ethos of a culture by affecting cultural attitudes toward certain behaviors and influencing moral norms. Laws permitting physician assisted suicide (PAS) send a message that, under especially different circumstances, some lives are not worth living — and that suicide is a reasonable or appropriate way out.” Kheriaty explains how despair, isolation, and loneliness are all factors behind depression, which is a major cause of suicide.

Kheriaty notes that a study published by two British scholars, David Jones and David Paton, shows that laws permitting assisted suicide in Oregon and Washington have led to a rise in overall suicide rates in those states. They conclude that physician assisted suicide is associated with a 6.3 percent rise in total suicide rates.



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