Video: Planned Parenthood Official Argues for Right to Post-Birth Abortion
1 By JOHN MCCORMACK
Florida legislators considering a bill to require abortionists to provide medical care to an infant who survives an abortion were shocked during a committee hearing this week when a Planned Parenthood official endorsed a right to post-birth abortion.
Alisa Laport Snow, the lobbyist representing the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, testified that her organization believes the decision to kill an infant who survives a failed abortion should be left up to the woman seeking an abortion and her abortion doctor.
“So, um, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I’m almost in disbelief,” said Rep. Jim Boyd. “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?”
“We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician,” said Planned Parenthood lobbyist Snow.
Rep. Daniel Davis then asked Snow, “What happens in a situation where a baby is alive, breathing on a table, moving. What do your physicians do at that point?”
“I do not have that information,” Snow replied. “I am not a physician, I am not an abortion provider. So I do not have that information.”
Rep. Jose Oliva followed up, asking the Planned Parenthood official, “You stated that a baby born alive on a table as a result of a botched abortion that that decision should be left to the doctor and the family. Is that what you’re saying?”
Again, Snow replied, “That decision should be between the patient and the health care provider.”
“I think that at that point the patient would be the child struggling on the table, wouldn’t you agree?” asked Oliva.
“That’s a very good question. I really don’t know how to answer that,” Snow said. “I would be glad to have some more conversations with you about this.”
Later another representative asked Snow, “What objection could you possibly have to obligate a doctor to transport a child born alive to a hospital where it seems to me they would be most likely to be able to survive?”
Snow said Planned Parenthood was concerned about “those situations where it is in a rural health care setting, the hospital is 45 minutes or an hour away, that’s the closest trauma center or emergency room. You know there’s just some logistical issues involved that we have some concerns about.”
You can watch the full exchange at the 39-minute mark of this video.
Teen Accused Of Poisoning Another Teen’s Infant With Household Cleaner
A teen mother is being held without bail after she was accused of poisoning the child of another young mother.
A home for pregnant and parenting teens on Low Street in Newburyport was the scene of the crime, according to police.
“It’s alleged that a juvenile female with a young child that was at the establishment had taken a substance and added it to the formula of another female’s child out there,” said Thomas Howard, city marshal of the Newburyport Police Department.
The sick child was rushed to Anna Jaques Hospital where the little boy was treated and released, but the teenage suspect detectives were looking for was nowhere to be found.
“The one that had allegedly done the poisoning had left the home and had run away and it was after she left the home that they realized what had actually happened there,” said Howard.
Sources tell 7News the teen moms, both under the age of 17, had been at the home for less than a year and that a cleaning product used in the facility was the poison allegedly added to the baby formula.
Police said they have a few motives but won’t talk about them yet. In this quiet and serene coastal community, the people are more concerned about the child’s safety after seeing the gruesome headlines.
“I will say prayers for this baby then. I have three kids, I have 2 step sons and a son of my own and even having a very bad day they help me live. I couldn’t imagine that at all, never mind hurting anyone else’s,” said Faith Rose, a local resident.
The Department of Children and Families is also involved in the investigation.
The teen suspect was caught in Cambridge and is expected to appear in juvenile court next week.
Abortionist sees aborting ‘ugly black babies’ as a service to the taxpayers
Timothy P. Carney\
Watch the video above, of a pro-life Christian group confronting an abortion doctor. The doctor says his abortions save taxpayers money, prevent shootings like the one in Colorado, and rid the world of “ugly black babies.”
I wonder how many abortionists and defenders of abortion hold this view of abortion’s social role. (Video via Lifesite News.)
UPDATE, 5:50 pm: The doctor in the video, apparently, is an active political donor, giving almost all his money to Democrats.
Planned Parenthood Sets Up Shop At Roosevelt High To Reduce Teen Pregnancies
— Planned Parenthood and the Los Angeles Unified School District have teamed up in an unusual collaboration to reduce the number of unplanned teen pregnancies at Roosevelt High School.
Students can visit the on-campus health clinic to get free birth control, pregnancy tests, counseling and screening for sexually transmitted diseases – the first program of its kind in the country, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Birth rates among teenagers are down throughout California and Los Angeles County, but certain areas within the county, like the heavily Latino and low-income neighborhood around Roosevelt High School, buck that trend.
The school’s health center is separate from the school nurse’s office and also serves as a primary care clinic, according to the Times. However, about half of the visits this school year have been for reproductive health.
Roosevelt High School started offering contraception and counseling in 1997, but in 2006, that support from a local hospital ended and the school could no longer provide free contraceptives.
Nurse practitioner Sherry Medrano reached out to Planned Parenthood, which now provides a medical assistant, contraceptives, pregnancy and STDs testing. The organization bills Family PACT, a public program that provides family planning to low-income and uninsured California residents, the Times reported.
Students are also trained as peer advocates to talk to their classmates about STDs and pregnancy prevention.
In 1955, the anthropologist George Devereux demonstrated that abortion has been practised in almost all human communities from the earliest times.1 The patterns of abortion use, in hundreds of societies around the world since before recorded history, have been strikingly similar. Women faced with unwanted pregnancies have turned to abortion, regardless of religious or legal sanction and often at considerable risk.2 Used to deal with upheavals in personal, family, and community life, abortion has been called “a fundamental aspect of human behaviour”.
In primitive tribal societies, abortions were induced by using poisonous herbs, sharp sticks, or by sheer pressure on the abdomen until vaginal bleeding occurred. Abortion techniques are described in the oldest known medical texts.2 The ancient Chinese and Egyptians had their methods and recipes to cause abortion, and Greek and Roman civilizations considered abortion an integral part of maintaining a stable population. Ancient instruments, such as the ones found at Pompeii and Herculaneum, were much like modern surgical instruments. The Greeks and Romans also had various poisons administered in various ways, including through tampons.
Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were all known to suggest abortion. Even Hippocrates, who spoke against abortion because he feared injury to the woman, recommended it on occasion by prescribing violent exercises. Roman morality placed no social stigma on abortion.
Early Christians condemned abortion, but did not view the termination of a pregnancy to be an abortion before “ensoulment”, the definition of when life began in the womb. Up to 400 AD., as the relatively few Christians were widely scattered geographically, the actual practice of abortion among Christians probably varied considerably and was influenced by regional customs and practices.
Evolving Position of the Christian Church
St. Augustine (AD 354-430) said, “There cannot yet be said to be a live soul in a body that lacks sensation”, and held that abortion required penance only for the sexual aspect of the sin.6 He and other early Christian theologians believed, as had Aristotle centuries before, that “animation”, or the coming alive of the fetus, occurred forty days after conception for a boy and eighty days after conception for a girl. The conclusion that early abortion is not homicide is contained in the first authoritative collection of canon law accepted by the church in 1140.6 As this collection was used as an instruction manual for priests until the new Code of Canon Law of 1917, its view of abortion has had great influence.
At the beginning of the 13th century, Pope Innocent III wrote that “quickening” —the time when a woman first feels the fetus move within her— was the moment at which abortion became homicide; prior to quickening, abortion was a less serious sin. Pope Gregory XIV agreed, designating quickening as occurring after a period of 116 days (about 17 weeks). His declaration in 1591 that early abortion was not grounds for excommunication continued to be the abortion policy of the Catholic Church until 1869.
The tolerant approach to abortion which had prevailed in the Roman Catholic Church for centuries ended at the end of the nineteenth century.7 In 1869, Pope Pius IX officially eliminated the Catholic distinction between an animated and a nonanimated fetus and required excommunication for abortions at any stage of pregnancy.
This change has been seen by some as a means of countering the rising birth control movement, especially in France,8 with its declining Catholic population. In Italy, during the years 1848 to 1870, the papal states shrank from almost one-third of the country to what is now Vatican City. It has been argued that the Pope’s restriction on abortion was motivated by a need to strengthen the Church’s spiritual control over its followers in the face of this declining political power.
Early Legal Opinion
Historically, religious beliefs coloured legal opinion on abortion. From 1307 to 1803, abortion before the fetus moved perceptibly or “quickened” was not punished under English common law, and not regarded by society at large as a moral problem.9 Because most abortions took place before quickening, punishment was rare. Even if performed after quickening, the offense was usually considered a misdemeanour. This was the case until the nineteenth century; the entry of the state into the regulation of abortion has been relatively recent.
Two prominent legal cases from fourteenth century England illustrate prevailing practices at that time. In both the “Twinslayer’s Case” of 1327 and the “Abortionist’s Case” of 1348, the judges refused to make causing the death of a fetus a legal offence. The judges were, in this pre-Reformation period, all Roman Catholic.
In 1670, the question of whether or not abortion was murder came before the English judge, Sir Matthew Hale. Hale decided that if a woman died as a result of an abortion then the abortionist was guilty of murder. No mention was made of the fetus.
This tolerant common-law approach ended in 1803 when a criminal abortion law was codified by Lord Ellenborough. The abortion of a “quick” fetus became a capital offence, while abortions performed prior to quickening incurred lesser penalties. An article in the 1832 London Legal Examiner justified the new laws on the grounds of protecting women from the dangerous abortion techniques which were popular at the time:
“The reason assigned for the punishment of abortion is not that thereby an embryo human being is destroyed, but that it rarely or ever can be effected with drugs without sacrifice of the mother’s life.”
In the United States, similar legislative iniatives began in the 1820’s and proceeded state by state as the American frontier moved westward. In 1858, the New Jersey Supreme Court, pronouncing upon the state’s new abortion law, said:
“The design of the statute was not to prevent the procuring of abortions, so much as to guard the health and life of the mother against consequences of such attempts.”
During the nineteenth century, legal barriers to abortion were erected throughout the western world. In 1869 the Canadian Parliament enacted a criminal law which prohibited abortion and punished it with a penalty of life imprisonment. This law mirrored the laws of a number of provinces in pre-Confederation Canada; all of these statutes were more or less modeled on the English legislation of Lord Ellenborough.
Pressure for restrictions was not coming from the general public. Physicians were in the forefront of the crusade to criminalize abortion in England, the U.S. and Canada. They were voicing concern for the health of women and the destruction of fetal life. However, “there is substantial evidence that medical men were concerned not only for the welfare of the potential victims of abortion but also to further the process of establishing and consolidating their status as a profession.” Women were turning to midwives, herbalists, drug dispensers and sometimes quacks to end their pregnancies, and doctors wanted to gain control over the practice of medicine and elevate the status of their profession.
Race and class were also factors in the passage of the new wave of anti-abortion laws. Abortion was increasingly being used by white, married, Protestant, middle and upper class women to control their family size. “Nativists” (those who were “native-born” to the new country) in Canada, for instance, voiced their concern about what they called the “race suicide” of the Anglo-Saxon population9 in relation to the burgeoning French-Canadian and “foreign” immigrant populations. Anglo-Saxon women who refused maternity by employing contraception or abortion were condemned as “traitors to the race”. Accordingly, the Canadian parliament made contraception illegal in 1892, following the example of the U.S.
Another interpretation of the trend toward more restrictive abortion legislation focuses on nation states’ demographic concerns. Powerful social pressures for population increase meant that “the concern was perhaps more for the quantity of human beings than for the quality of human life.”
In the words of the authors of Our Bodies, Ourselves:
“.just at a time when women’s increasing understanding of conception was helping them to avoid pregnancy, certain governments and religious groups desired continued population growth to fill growing industries and new farmable territories.”
Despite its criminalization, women continued to regard induced miscarriage before the fetus “quickened” as entirely ethical, and were surprised to learn that it was illegal.21 Women saw themselves as doing what was necessary to bring back their menses, to “put themselves right”. In the words of historians Angus and Arlene Tigar McLaren,
“Doctors were never to be totally successful in convincing women of the immorality of abortion. For many it was to remain an essential method of fertility control.”21
Women continued to have abortions in roughly the same proportions as they had prior to its criminalization.5 After it was criminalized, abortion simply went underground and became a clandestine and therefore much more dangerous operation for women to undergo.
During the latter part of the nineteenth century, European views on the restriction of abortion were spread by the colonial powers throughout Africa, Asia and beyond.2 The strict prohibitions of Spain are reflected in many statutes decreed in South America, for example. Toward the end of the 19th century, China and Japan, at the time under the influence of Western powers, also criminalized abortion for the first time.2
American historian James C. Mohr makes the point that from an historical perspective, the nineteenth century’s wave of restrictive abortion laws can be seen as a deviation from the norm, a period of interruption of the historically tolerant attitude towards abortion.22
“From the second half of the 19th century, through World War II, abortion was highly restricted almost everywhere. Liberalization of abortion laws occurred in most of the countries of Eastern and Central Europe in the 1950s and in almost all the remaining developed countries during the 1960s and 1970s. A few developing countries also relaxed their restrictions on abortion during the same period, most notably China and India.”23
A number of factors have been recognized as contributing to this liberalizing trend.24 Attitudes toward sexuality and procreation were changing, and the reduced influence of religious institutions was a related factor.24 In some countries, rubella epidemics and thalidomide created awareness of the need for legal abortion. In others, there was concern about population growth. Illegal abortion had long been a serious public health hazard,25 and eventually women being injured or dying from unnecessarily dangerous abortions became a concern. Arguments were made in favour of the right of poor women to have access to abortion services. More recently, women’s right to control their fertility has been recognized.24
While the pace of abortion law reform has slowed, the overall movement is still in the direction of liberalization. Recently, however, restrictions have increased in a few countries.24
“As often happens when rapid social change occurs, the movement to legalize abortion has generated resistance and a counter movement. Strenuous efforts are being made to increase restrictions on abortion and to block further liberalization of laws, especially in the United States. [and] the former Communist countries,.but [anti-abortionists] are also highly visible in Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy. and other developed as well as developing countries.”24
The degree of liberalization has varied from country to country. Abortion laws are usually grouped according to “indications”, or circumstances under which abortions can be performed. The most restrictive laws either completely ban abortions or restrict them to cases where the pregnancy poses a risk to the woman’s life. Other laws also consider risks to the physical and mental health of the woman or her fetus. Some also allow abortion for social-medical or economic reasons, as in the case where an additional child will bring undue burdens to an existing family. The broadest category allows abortion on request (usually within the first trimester).
1. George Devereux, “A Typological Study of Abortion in 350 Primitive, Ancient and Pre-Industrial Societies”, in Therapeutic Abortion, ed. Harold Rosen, New York: The Julian Press Inc., 1954.
2. H.P. David, “Abortion Policies”, in Abortion and Sterilization: Medical and Social Aspects, J.E. Hodgson, ed., Grune and Stratton, New York, 1981, pp.1-40.
3. Nan Chase, “Abortion: A Long History Can’t Be Stopped”, Vancouver Sun, May 1, 1989.
4. Wendell W. Watters, Compulsory Parenthood: the Truth about Abortion, McClelland and Stewart, Toronto, 1976, p.52.
5. Deborah R. McFarlane, “Induced Abortion: An Historical Overview”, American Journal of Gynaecologic Health, Vo. VII, No. 3, May/June 1993, pp.77-82.
6. Jane Hurst, “The History of Abortion in the Catholic Church: The Untold Story”, Catholics for a Free Choice, Washington, D.C., 1983.
7. Wendell W. Watters, p.79.
8. Ibid, pp.92-3.
9. Alison Prentice et al, Canadian Women: A History, Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich, Canada, pg.165.
10. Donald P. Kommers,”Abortion in Six Countries: A Comparative Legal Analysis,in Abortion, Medicine and the LawFourth edition, J.D. Butler & D.F. Walbert, eds., Facts on File, N.Y.1992, p.312.
11. Janine Brodie et al, The Politics of Abortion, Oxford University Press, Toronto, 1992, p.9.
12. Jimmey Kinney.Ms., April 1973, p.48-9.
13. A. Anne McLellan, “Abortion Law in Canada”, in Abortion, Medicine and the Law, op. cit, p.334.
14. Donald P. Kommers, p.317.
15. James C. Mohr, Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy, New York: Oxford University Press, 1978.
16. Constance Backhouse, Petticoats and Prejudice: Women and the Law in Nineteenth Century Canada, Women’s Press, Toronto.
17. Terry, “England”, in Abortion and Protection of the Human Fetus 78, (S. Frankowski and G. Cole, eds., 1987).
18. James C. Mohr, p.244.
19. Wendell W. Watters, p. xv.
20. Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, Our Bodies, Ourselves, 2nd ed. (New York: Simon & Shuster, 1971), p.216-7.
21. Angus McLaren and Arlene Tigar McLaren,The Bedroom and the State: The Changing Practices and Politics of Contraception and Abortion in Canada 1880-1980, M & S,Toronto.,1986, p.38-9.
22. James C. Mohr, p.259.
23. Stanley K. Henshaw, “Induced Abortion: A World Review, 1990”, Family Planning Perspectives, Vol. 22, No. 2, March/April 1990, p.78.
24. Stanley K. Henshaw, “Recent Trends in the Legal Status of Induced Abortion”, Journal of Public Health Policy, Summer, 1994, pp.165-172.
Two abortion clinic employees plead guilty to murder
Story contains graphic descriptions in paragraphs five through eight.
By Dave Warner
– Two employees of a Philadelphia abortion clinic where live, viable babies were allegedly killed and a patient died after being given on overdose of painkillers pleaded guilty on Thursday to murder.
Guilty pleas to third-degree murder were entered by Adrienne Moton, 34, and Sherry West, 52, who both worked for Dr. Kermit Gosnell at what prosecutors have described as a decrepit and unsanitary clinic known as Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia.
Due to a court-issued gag order, attorneys declined to comment on reports that no plea agreement was reached in the case.
Sentencing was set for December 2 by Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner. The maximum penalty for third-degree murder is 40 years in prison.
Seven more defendants face charges in the case, including Gosnell, who a grand jury in January said, “killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy — and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors.”
The grand jury said that a clinic co-worker of Moton’s testified that a woman gave birth to a large baby at the clinic, delivering the child into a toilet. The jurors identified the newborn as “Baby D.”
The jurors said the co-worker told them that the baby was moving and looked like it was swimming.
“Moton reached into the toilet, got the baby out and cut its neck,” the grand jury said in its report.
West was accused of murder in the death of a 41-year-old patient, Karnamaya Mongar.
“The evidence presented to the grand jury established that Karnamaya Mongar died of cardiac arrest because she was overdosed with Demerol,” the grand jurors said.
The grand jury said West and another employee administered the drug at Gosnell’s direction and that Mongar died as a result of “wanton reckless conduct.”