Life Notes

Ireland legalizes abortion

In a historic referendum in May, by a vote of 66.4% to 33.6%, Irish voters stripped unborn babies’ right to life from its constitution. Ireland’s Eighth Amendment, adopted in 1983, was one of Europe’s strongest protections for unborn children, making a mother and her unborn baby equal under the law, effectively restricting abortion except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk.

The vote is considered a key indicator of the traditionally conservative nation’s trajectory. The Save The 8th campaign described the result as a “tragedy of historic proportions,” while the repeal’s supporters framed it as a win for “women’s rights.” Catholic Association Senior Fellow Ashley McGuire said, “The Repeal the 8th Campaign was a classic example of ideological colonization: it was imported and funded by extreme, pro-abortion special interest groups from outside of Ireland who could not tolerate the reality that Ireland proved that women don’t need abortion to flourish and thrive.”

Referendum opponent Aoife de Clar asserted, “There’s always going to be the hard cases, but this referendum isn’t about the hard cases. Instead, this referendum will remove every right of the unborn child.”

Without the Eighth Amendment, the Irish Parliament will soon consider legislation that would legalize abortions for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and longer, including for a wide range of circumstances including “mental health” reasons.

Irish Catholic Bishop John Buckley lamented the vote saying, “Our own Irish language has a beautiful word for the unborn — beo gan breith — which means ‘alive but not born.’” [, 5/29/2018]

AMA says no to assisted suicide

The American Medical Association’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs was recently asked by assisted suicide proponents to revisit its decades-long opposition to legalizing assisted suicide. The Ethics Committee refused to do so. It rejected the idea that assisted suicide isn’t suicide. In the council’s view, despite its negative connotations, the term physician-assisted suicide clearly distinguishes the practice from euthanasia or palliative/hospice care at the end of life.

The committee concluded, “In its current form, the Code offers guidance to support physicians and the patients they serve in making well-considered, mutually respectful decisions about legally available options for care at the end of life in the intimacy of patient-physician relationship. The Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs therefore recommends that the Code of Medical Ethics not be amended.” [, 5/7/2018]

Abortionist headed to prison

Shocking the court, abortionist Robert Rho admitted his guilt and accepted a previously offered plea bargain immediately after the judge announced the jury had reached a verdict. Rho was tried for killing Jaime Lee Morales, 30, during a brutal, 26-week second trimester abortion in 2016. The second-degree manslaughter charge carried a penalty of up to 15 years in prison, but Rho will serve between 16 months and four years.

Rho, who had performed over 40,000 abortions, had been investigated earlier by state officials because of concerns about improper procedures and poorly trained staff.

Morales died after Rho lacerated her uterus and then masked her internal bleeding by stitching her cervix shut. Continuing to hemorrhage, she underwent a second procedure. Instead of calling for an ambulance, Rho released Morales, who passed out in her sister’s car and died from her injuries in a Bronx-area hospital.

Troy Newman of Operation Rescue lamented, “When a woman dies from a negligent abortion, it simply doesn’t fit the mainstream media’s pro-abortion agenda. It’s better for them to ignore it and act like it never happened. In a way, the media bears some responsibility for cases like this because they refuse to report on the true dangers of abortion.” [, 5/4/2018, 4/25/2018]

Planned Parenthood abortions up 142 percent

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion business. Over the last 20 years, while national abortion numbers decreased by 50 percent, Planned Parenthood’s numbers skyrocketed by 142 percent. Former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards claimed “We do more to prevent unintended pregnancy and the need for abortion than any other organization in this country.” The facts, however, tell a different story.

New research by the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), published online in the peer-reviewed Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, finds evidence that Planned Parenthood has inflated the abortion rate in the U.S. CLI’s James Studnicki, Sc.D. and John Fisher, Ph.D., J.D. examined data from the years 1995 to 2014, comparing Planned Parenthood abortions to abortions performed by non-Planned Parenthood entities. They found that Planned Parenthood’s share of the U.S. abortion market increased from 10 percent to 35 percent. More than three million excess abortions, or 12.5 percent of the total number of abortions, would have been avoided between 1995 and 2014 if Planned Parenthood trends had been identical to non-Planned Parenthood trends. [, 5/2/2018]

California’s Assisted Suicide Law Overturned

In mid-May, a California judge overturned the state’s assisted suicide law, saying lawmakers violated the state’s constitution when they passed the End of Life Options Act during a special legislative session to address Medicare funding in 2015 after failing to pass it during the main session. Judge Daniel Ortega ruled that legislators violated a California statute that requires bills considered during a special legislative session to fall under the mission of the session.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra plans to appeal the ruling. Pro-life attorney Mat Staver called the legislature’s action “a stealth move” and expects the legislature to introduce another bill. [, 4/20/2018]

27 major American cities have no abortion clinic

Abortion supporters coined the term “abortion desert” to describe large areas in the U.S. where abortion facilities do not exist. A new study out of the University of California, San Francisco identifies 27 cities that fit that description, where women must travel at least 100 miles to an abortion facility. Most of the cities are in the Midwest and in rural areas. The northeast region has the fewest number.

The study’s lead author, Alice Cartwright, blames pro-life efforts for closing abortion facilities. According to the Guttmacher Institute, states have already passed 15 pro-life laws in 2018 and introduced more than 1,200 others.

The largest city with no abortion facility is Corpus Christi, Texas, with a population of 340,000. Other cities in Texas include Abilene, Amarillo, Laredo, Lubbock, Midland, Odessa, San Angelo, Wichita Falls, and Victoria. The remaining cities are Bismarck, ND; Casper, WY; Chattanooga, TN; Columbia and Springfield, MO; Dothan, AL; Evansville and Fort Wayne, IN; Green Bay and La Crosse, WI; Lake Charles, LA; Lake Havasu City, AZ; Manhattan, KA; Owensboro, TN; Pocatello, ID; Rapid City, SD; and St. George, UT. [, 5/15/2018]

States’ legislation outcomes mixed

In March, Mississippi became the first state to ban abortion at 15 weeks, the earliest abortion ban in the nation. Shortly after, a judge then blocked the law. Chances of surviving a judicial challenge is uncertain.

Louisiana became the second state to ban abortion at 15 weeks. Governor John Bel Edwards, a pro-life Democrat, signed the bill. Other laws passed would require abortion clinics to give women concrete information to make an adoption plan, prevent tax-funded abortion, create resources for children prenatally diagnosed with genetic conditions such as Down syndrome, improve protection against forced abortion, and strengthen laws against falsifying abortion reporting and patient records.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed bills that establish annual inspections of abortion facilities, require doctors to report treatment given to women due to abortion complications, and establish a fetal homicide law. However, a court blocked a 2016 law protecting unborn babies from abortion simply because of disability, race, or sex.

Nebraska and Tennessee joined more than a dozen other states that have cut funding for abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. Both states will redirect Title X money to facilities that don’t perform abortions.

In Ohio, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Ohio cannot enforce a 2016 law defunding Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities.

In the past few months, assisted suicide has been defeated in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire. South Dakota’s voter initiative failed to get the needed signatures and, more importantly, Utah passed a bill criminalizing assisted suicide.

Only hours after Kentucky Governor Bevin’s signed a bill to protect babies from dismemberment abortions, the ACLU filed a lawsuit to block it.

Missouri legislators approved an amendment to an appropriation bill that prohibits state agencies from reimbursing providers that perform abortions, closing a “loophole” that had been used by Planned Parenthood to access taxpayer funding.

In late May, the Supreme Court allowed Arkansas to enforce a law restricting medication abortions, rejecting an appeal from Planned Parenthood.

An Iowa judge blocked the state’s new “heartbeat bill” that would have protected unborn babies from abortion as soon as doctors can detect a heartbeat (at about 6 weeks gestation).


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