Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Great news: Supreme Court declines to hear appeal of Texas ban on late-term abortions

Life News reports.

Excerpt:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia issued an opinion today indicating the Supreme Court will not get involved in a case out of Texas that has abortion facilities there appealing a law that has closed numerous abortion clinics that can’t protect women’s health.

In a big victory for pro-life advocates in Texas earlier this month, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Lee Yeakel of the Western District Court in Austin and restored key portions of a pro-life law in Texas that will ultimately stop abortions and could close abortion clinics. Abortion clinics appealed that decision to the Supreme Court and Justice Scalia issued a ruling today saying the high court will not get involved.

“The underlying legal question — whether the new Texas statute is constitutional — is a difficult question. It is a question, I believe, that at least four members of this court will wish to consider irrespective of the 5th Circuit’s ultimate decision,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito concurring. “I would maintain the status quo while the lower courts consider this difficult, sensitive, and controversial legal matter.”

The justices voted 5-4 to leave Texas’ pro-life provisions in place and the four Democrat-appointed pro-abortion justices all voted to overturn the pro-life measure. Justice Stephen Breyer write a dissenting opinion saying he expected the case to return to the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy did not join an opinion or write their own, but they sided with Scalia, Thomas and Alito.

So the pro-life side wins, for now. All five Republican-appointed judges sided with Texas. But that decision could change if we elect another Democrat to be President and the balance of the Supreme Court changes to be more pro-abortion. For example, Hillary Clinton is almost as pro-abortion as Obama is, and she would definitely appoint pro-abortion judges.

However there was some bad news in Texas to spoil the good news:

A grant from the Obama administration is allowing the Planned Parenthood abortion business to reopen a clinic in Texas it closed after the passage of new pro-life laws there.

Planned Parenthood has closed a number of clinics after Texas Governor Rick Perry signed into law a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks and holds abortion facilities accountable for higher health and safety standards. Other clinics closed after Perry signed a bill to stop taxpayer funding for the abortion giant.

But now, thanks to federal funding, a Planned Parenthood clinic will reopen in Mission, Texas that has been closed for two years.

The Obama administration is the most radically pro-abortion we’ve ever had. They have no qualms at all about about using the tax dollars of pro-lifers to fund organizations that provide abortions.

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Wendy Davis can’t explain how Gosnell murders and late-term abortions differ

The Weekly Standard asked Texas state senator Wendy Davis about her filibuster of the ban on abortions after 20 weeks.

Excerpt:

Texas state senator Wendy Davis spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Monday afternoon about her 13-hour filibuster of a bill limiting late-term abortion, her life story, and her future in politics.

Davis has become a champion for pro-choice activists, but during her recent whirlwind national media tour, she never commented on late-term abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of murder in May for killing infants moments after they were born.

Following her Press Club speech on Monday, THE WEEKLY STANDARD asked Davis to explain the difference between the late-term abortions that the Texas state senator wants to keep legal and the illegal Gosnell killings.

Davis didn’t answer the question. “I don’t know what happened in the Gosnell case,” she told me.

THE WEEKLY STANDARD: The supporters of these bans, they argue that there really isn’t much of a difference between what happened in that Philadelphia case with abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell [killing born-alive infants] 23 weeks into pregnancy and legal late-term abortions at 23 weeks. What is the difference between those two, between legal abortion at 23 weeks and what Gosnell did? Do you see a distinction between those two [acts]?

SEN. WENDY DAVIS: I don’t know what happened in the Gosnell case. But I do know that it happened in an ambulatory surgical center. And in Texas changing our clinics to that standard obviously isn’t going to make a difference. The state of the law obviously has to assure that doctors are providing safe procedures for women and that proper oversight by the health and human services department is being given. It sounds as though there was a huge gap in that oversight, and no one can defend that. But that’s not the landscape of what’s happening in Texas.

In June, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi was similarly unable to explain the difference between the Gosnell murders and late-term abortions. Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards ducked the question in July.

Polls have consistently shown that solid majorities of Americans, including women, support banning most abortions that occur later than 20 weeks after conception.

Asked what she thinks of polls showing women support limiting abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, Davis told me that people “don’t really understand” the issue.

I actually think that it’s pro-abortion people like Nancy Pelosi and Wendy Davis, and their media sycophants, who don’t understand abortion.

Here is the ignorance again, this time on Jezebel, a radical feminist web site, as reported by the American Spectator.

Excerpt: (links removed)

Other examples include a Jezebel article that declares “the concept of fetal pain is bullshit.” It’s a fascinating piece, full of superfluous nicknames and profanities, centered on the astounding assertion that “there’s no evidence that nonviable fetal pain is a thing.” Even more fascinating, however, is that the author, Katie J.M. Baker, doesn’t cite one ounce of scientific evidence to support her claim. Instead, she awkwardly transitions into an incoherent rant against Republicans.

But despite the left’s panic, there is a strong case to be made that unborn children feel pain by 20 weeks.

In a 1999 article published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dr. Vivette Glover and Dr. Nicholas M. Fisk explain a key fact:

The most important evidence [of fetal pain] is anatomical. For the fetus to feel pain, it is necessary for the requisite nociceptive pathways to be developed. This involves neural connections between peripheral receptors and the spinal cord, upward transmission via the spinal cord to the thalamus, and from there to the outer cerebral layers.

Among the scientific jargon lies a key word – “nociception,” which has to do with nociceptive neurons. These “generate trains of action potentials in response to painful stimuli, and the frequency of firing signals the intensity of the pain.” In other words, they are what make pain painful. Glover and Fisk say that “most incoming pathways, including nociceptive ones, are routed through the thalamus and, as stated above, penetrate the subplate zone from about 17 weeks” into a pregnancy.

Now it’s true we might never know for sure exactly when an unborn child feels pain and to what extent. But Glover, Fisk, and others conclude that it is very possible pain is felt by at least 20 weeks. “Given the anatomical evidence, it is possible that the fetus can feel pain from 20 weeks and is caused distress by interventions from as early as 15 or 16 weeks. This sets a limit to the earliest stage that analgesia might be considered,” according to Glover and Fisk. They don’t suggest that abortions should cease, but instead recommend that painkillers be administered to children about to be aborted.

Pro-lifers are very familiar with what a baby can do at all stages of development. We have to be, because we have to be able to debate this issue using the real evidence. We are also the ones who push for informed consent and mandatory ultrasound, whereas the other side opposes both of those. Why is that? It’s because the pro-life side has the evidence and pushes it, whereas the pro-abortion side tries to hide the evidence and appeal to feelings. Abortion supporters don’t know, and they don’t want anyone to know. Their embrace of abortion depends on their not knowing the truth.

Pro-lifer Amy Hall tweeted about an editorial from CNN that makes this point about willful ignorance. The author writes that pro-lifers want to ban abortion after 20 weeks in order to protect unborn children who have a heart beat. Huh? Unborn babies have a heart beat at week 6, according to the well-respected Mayo Clinic. That means that the CNN journalist was off by 14 weeks in her statement.  That’s the level of knowledge that you have on the other side of the abortion debate. It’s a self-serving ignorance designed to give them maximum autonomy and maximum irresponsibility.

For myself, I think that I’ll continue to look up to  pro-life women like Jaime Herrera Beutler and Michele Bachmann. They get it.

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House Republicans pass legislation to ban post-viability abortions

The Weekly Standard reports on some good news: House Republicans have passed a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks.

Excerpt:

The House of Representatives voted 228 to 196 on Tuesday evening to pass a bill that prohibits most abortions later than 22 weeks in pregnancy (20 weeks after conception), the point by which some infants can survive long-term if born and the point by which medical science indicates they can feel pain. The bill contains exceptions for late-term abortions in the cases of rape, incest, or when a physical health condition puts the life of the mother at risk.

It was mostly a party-line vote, with six Democrats voting for the bill and six Republicans voting against it. The White House issued a veto threat against the bill on Monday night. Though the bill stands no chance of becoming law so long as President Obama is in the White House, advocates see it as an important first step to reining in late-term abortions.

The vote comes in response to the trial of Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of murder for severing the spines of three infants moments after they were born.

Here’s another Democrat trying to explain why infanticide is OK with them:

Life News had some interesting comments about the bill:

Rep. Chris Smith, the head of the pro-life caucus in the House, spoke eloquently from the House floor.

“The brutality of severing the spines of defenseless babies—euphemistically called “snipping” by Gosnell—has finally peeled away the benign façade of the billion dollar abortion industry” he said.

“Like Gosnell, abortionists all over America decapitate, dismember and chemically poison babies to death each and every day. That’s what they do. Americans are connecting the dots and asking whether what Gosnell did is really any different than what other abortionists do. A D&E abortion—a common method after 14 weeks—is a gruesome, pain-filled act that literally rips and tears to pieces the body parts of a child,” he added. “The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is a modest but necessary attempt to at least protect babies who are 20 weeks old—and pain-capable—from having to suffer and die from abortion.”

One leading expert in the field of fetal pain, Dr. Kanwaljeet S. Anand at the University of Tennessee, stated in his expert report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, “It is my opinion that the human fetus possesses the ability to experience pain from 20 weeks of gestation, if not earlier, and the pain perceived by a fetus is possibly more intense than that perceived by term newborns or older children.”

“Surgeons entering the womb to perform corrective procedures on unborn children have seen those babies flinch, jerk and recoil from sharp objects and incisions. Ultrasound technology shows unborn babies at 20 weeks post-fertilization and earlier react physically to outside stimuli such as sound, light and touch,” Smith continued. “Surgeons routinely administer anesthesia to unborn children in the womb before performing lifesaving surgeries, and this has been associated with a decrease in the baby’s stress hormone levels during the medical procedure.”

Although President Obama, who is a radical on abortion, has promised to veto the bill, I believe that this vote had value. First, it shows that Republicans are solidly for protecting the lives of unborn children. Second, we learned that the Democrat position on abortion in the House of Representatives is virtually identical to that of Kermit Gosnell. And when this goes up for a vote in the Senate, we’ll find out how many of them take the Kermit Gosnell position on abortion. Finally, we learned what people who voted for Democrats believe about abortion. It is absolutely certain that if you meet a person who votes for Democrats in any election, that they support aborting children after 20 weeks when they can feel pain. That is the Democrat position, and now we all know it for certain.

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Marsha Blackburn will lead floor debate on House bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks

Representative Marsha Blackburn

Representative Marsha Blackburn

From the Weekly Standard.

Excerpt:

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee, told THE WEEKLY STANDARD Friday afternoon that she will manage the floor debate on a bill that would prohibit most abortions during the final four months of pregnancy. The bill has been revised to include exceptions for when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. The bill already included an exception for when a physical health condition puts the life of the mother at risk.

“I think the reason that leadership asked me to handle the bill is the amount of pro-life work that I’ve done throughout my years in Congress,” said Blackburn, a co-sponsor of the bill.

[...]Blackburn said on Friday that Nancy Pelosi’s recent comments on late-term abortion were “absolutely abhorrent.” At a press conference, Pelosi was unable to explain the difference between the killings of Kermit Gosnell and late-term abortions and called the issue “sacred ground.”

“The war on women is these crimes committed by Kermit Gosnell and some of these abortion clinics,” Blackburn told me.

“I think the American people are with us on this,” Blackburn said. “Sixty percent of all Americans say abortion should not be allowed in the second trimester and over 80 percent say they shouldn’t be allowed in the third-trimester.”

The bill will be amended through a self-executing rule to include an exception for abortions later than 22 weeks of pregnancy (20 weeks after conception) in the case of rape or incest. Unlike the Democratic amendment for an exception in the case of rape that was voted down on Wednesday, there will be a reporting requirement in the bill.

Though the bill’s authors originally found such an exception unnecessary, given how late in pregnancy the restriction would begin, Democrats would have had an opportunity to force the issue to the forefront through a motion to re-commit.

The bill’s supporters believe the reporting requirement is necessary so the exception will not turn into a loophole.

My second favorite Congresswoman is Marsha Blackburn. And she’s going to be my most favorite as soon as Michele Bachmann retires at the end of her current term. I’m glad we have Marsha Blackburn to advocate for conservative policies.

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Do Kermit Gosnell and Barack Obama have the same views on abortion?

First, let’s look at this re-cap of the Gosnell story in the Atlantic. This story features a full re-cap of facts, and then concludes with a discussion of media bias.

Take a look at the facts of the case:

On February 18, 2010, the FBI raided the “Women’s Medical Society,” entering its offices about 8:30 p.m. Agents expected to find evidence that it was illegally selling prescription drugs. On entering, they quickly realized something else was amiss. In the grand jury report’s telling, “There was blood on the floor. A stench of urine filled the air. A flea-infested cat was wandering through the facility, and there were cat feces on the stairs. Semi-conscious women scheduled for abortions were moaning in the waiting room or the recovery room, where they sat on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets. All the women had been sedated by unlicensed staff.” Authorities had also learned about the patient that died at the facility several months prior.

Public health officials inspected the surgery rooms. “Instruments were not sterile,” the grand jury states. “Equipment was rusty and outdated. Oxygen equipment was covered with dust, and had not been inspected. The same corroded suction tubing used for abortions was the only tubing available for oral airways if assistance for breathing was needed. There was no functioning resuscitation or even monitoring equipment, except for a single blood pressure cuff.” Upon further inspection, “the search team discovered fetal remains haphazardly stored throughout the clinic – in bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons, and even in cat-food containers.”

And “Gosnell admitted to Detective Wood that at least 10 to 20 percent of the fetuses were probably older than 24 weeks in gestation – even though Pennsylvania law prohibits abortions after 24 weeks. In some instances, surgical incisions had been made at the base of the fetal skulls.” Gosnell’s medical license was quickly suspended. 18 days later, The Department of Health filed papers to start the process of closing the clinic. The district attorney submitted the case to the grand jury on May 4, 2010. Testimony was taken from 58 witnesses. Evidence was examined.

In Pennsylvania, most doctors won’t perform abortions after the 20th week, many for health reasons, others for moral reasons. Abortions after 24 weeks are illegal. Until 2009, Gosnell reportedly performed mostly first and second trimester abortions. But his clinic had come to develop a bad reputation, and could attract only women who couldn’t get an abortion elsewhere, former employees have said. “Steven Massof estimated that in 40 percent of the second-trimester abortions performed by Gosnell, the fetuses were beyond 24 weeks gestational age,” the grand jury states. “Latosha Lewis testified that Gosnell performed procedures over 24 weeks ‘too much to count,’ and ones up to 26 weeks ‘very often.’ …in the last few years, she testified, Gosnell increasingly saw out-of-state referrals, which were all second-trimester, or beyond. By these estimates, Gosnell performed at least four or five illegal abortions every week.”

Now let’s recall what Obama’s position is on born-alive abortion:

There wasn’t any question about what was happening. The abortions were going wrong. The babies weren’t cooperating. They wouldn’t die as planned. Or, as Illinois state senator Barack Obama so touchingly put it, there was “movement or some indication that, in fact, they’re not just coming out limp and dead.”

No, Senator. They wouldn’t go along with the program. They wouldn’t just come out limp and dead.

They were coming out alive. Born alive. Babies. Vulnerable human beings Obama, in his detached pomposity, might otherwise include among “the least of my brothers.” But of course, an abortion extremist can’t very well be invoking Saint Matthew, can he? So, for Obama, the shunning of these least of our brothers and sisters – millions of them – is somehow not among America’s greatest moral failings.

But not Barack Obama. As an Illinois state senator, he voted to permit infanticide. And now, running for president, he banks on media adulation to insulate him from his past.

The record, however, doesn’t lie.

Infanticide is a bracing word. But in this context, it’s the only word that fits. Obama heard the testimony of a nurse, Jill Stanek. She recounted how she’d spent 45 minutes holding a living baby left to die.

And let’s review Obama’s position on partial-birth abortion:

Obama’s 2008 endorsement of late-term abortion bans also appeared to be in conflict with his support for the Freedom of Choice Act. In 2007, Obama cosponsored the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which would strike down restrictions on abortion at the state and federal level. The bill stated that all abortions must be legal before “viability” for any reason and that abortions must be legal until birth if a woman’s health is at risk. FOCA does not contain a definition of “health,” therefore “anything an abortionist says is related to ‘health’ is sufficient,” according to Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee. “A state would not be able to adopt any limiting definition (for example, defining ‘health’ to exclude emotional distress), because that would be to narrow and infringe on the federally guaranteed right which FOCA would establish.  The entire purpose of FOCA is to prohibit any narrowing of the federally guaranteed right — for example, by requiring parental notification, or by refusing to fund abortions.”

Could it be that the reason that the media is not reporting on this story is because they are trying to protect the President?

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