Life Advocacy Briefing

December 15, 2008


Two More Wins / Guilty As Charged / Death Visits Montana / Putting Women at Risk / Unhealthy Spiral / Copying a Bad Idea / Why Keep Funding Planned Parenthood? / Provoking War?

Two More Wins

THE DEFEAT OF U.S. REP. WILLIAM JEFFERSON (D) in Louisiana’s hurricane-delayed election last week was a victory for the right to Life. Though Mr. Jefferson had at one time displayed some sensitivity to his state’s pro-life leanings, his voting record in more recent years has been disappointing at best.

He was rejected by 2nd District voters in favor of an accomplished Vietnamese American, Anh Joseph Cao, an attorney who immigrated to the US as a refugee at age eight and who is an outspoken advocate for Life. Indeed, according to Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, writing in his Dec. 8 FRC Washington Update, “When asked about his priorities, [Rep.-elect] Cao said, ‘The only thing I am certain of is that I am anti-abortion.’”

Mr. Cao will be joined in the new Congress by Rep.-elect John Fleming (R), a family practice physician who stressed the right to Life during his campaign to succeed pro-life GOP Rep. Jim McCrery in Louisiana’s 5th District.  Dr. Fleming was also elected last week, completing the 2008 elections for the US House and adding up to three pro-life victories out of three House and Senate contests settled after November; still waiting for the Minnesota Senate recount, pitting leftish Al Franken (D) against pro-life Sen. Norm Coleman (R).


Guilty As Charged

LOYAL TO HER INDUSTRY COLLEAGUES, southern California abortionist Bertha Bugarin pleaded “no contest” early this month to seven felony charges of committing abortions without a medical license, according to a news release from Operation Rescue, which has been following the case. She was ordered to pay restitution to 16 of the customers she damaged and could be sentenced to up to 10 years in jail, reports OR.

Her plea obviates the need for a public trial which would expose facts about the seedy conditions which characterized both her string of abortion mills and potentially about the shoddy practices of abortionists generally.

Nine other charges will be dismissed, reports OR, in keeping with a plea agreement. Miss Bugarin’s sister, who worked in the abortion chain, “earlier took a plea bargain,” reports OR, “that would have made her testify against her sister if a trial would have proceeded.”

OR president Tony Newman described BerthaBugarin as “a cold-hearted predator who sought out human misery in order to profit from it. She showed no remorse or sorrow,” he said, “for the women she preyed upon. She has shown only contempt for the law.” He said he was “praying that Ms. Bugarin goes to jail for a very long time” and noted she “also faces 10 felonies and one misdemeanor in San Diego County that could net her nine additional years in jail.”

The notorious abortuary chain owner “once ran 11 abortion mills in southern California,” reports OR, “with a stable of troubled abortionists that, one by one, lost their medical licenses. Most of her clinics have closed,” reports OR, “and phone calls made Monday to offices in Panorama City, Santa Ana and Los Angeles referred the caller to a number that has been disconnected.”

Mr. Newman cautioned citizens not to “make the mistake of thinking that [Miss] Bugarin’s crimes are an anomaly. She was just unfortunate enough to get caught,” he said. “Illegal practices take place every day at our nation’s abortion mills.” The pro-life activist leader added, “we haven’t met an abortionist yet that did not think he or she was above the law.”


Death Visits Montana

A STATE DISTRICT JUDGE HAS IMPOSED ABETTED SUICIDE on Montana, declaring the state’s “privacy” laws as justification for a supposed “right” to suicide as a fulfillment of “human dignity.” Judge Dorothy McCarter equated patient-killingwith “putting down pets.”

Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath is considered likely to appeal the edict.


Putting Women at Risk

ANOTHER RESEARCH STUDY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED showing the mental health risk in abortion, reports Rachel Ellis in the (UK) Daily Mail, citing a New Zealand study led by Prof. David Fergusson of the University of Otago, and published Nov. 30 in the British Journal of Psychiatry. Life Advocacy has reprinted the full Daily Mail story on our Internet website at

“Women who have an abortion are three times more likely,” writes Ms. Ellis, “to develop a drug or alcohol addiction and 30% more likely to have mental disorders compared with other women, [the] research has revealed.”

Prof. Fergusson asserted the findings have “‘important implications,’” quotes Ms. Ellis, “‘because more than 90% of British abortions were authorized on the grounds that keeping an unwanted baby would cause the mother mental health problems.’”

The same implications hold in the US, where the Supreme Court’s 1973 Doe v. Bolton edict, handed down as companion to Roe v. Wade, defines as legal abortions committed because of “medical factors” in the “judgment” of the “attending physician,” i.e. abortionist. Among the “medical factors” which the Supreme Court claimed justifies the intentional killing of an unborn child are “emotional” and “psychological” health for the aborting mother.

“‘This evidence clearly poses a challenge,’” said Prof. Fergusson, quoted by Ms. Ellis, “‘to the use of psychiatric reasons to justify abortion. There is nothing in this study,’” he added, “‘that would suggest that the termination of pregnancy was associated with lower risks of mental health problems than birth.’”

Ms. Ellis notes corroborating results from a study undertaken by researchers at University of Queensland, Australia, whose lead researcher Kaeleen Dingle said, reports Ms. Ellis, “‘Abortion and miscarriage are stressful life events that have been shown to lead to anxiety, sadness and grief and, for some women, serious depression and substance use disorders.’”

Both studies furnish evidence for those pro-life lawmakers and citizens here who campaign for laws requiring abortionists to warn customers of the potential emotional and psychological damage which can attend induced abortion.


Unhealthy Spiral

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL/EMOTIONAL FALLOUT FROM ABORTION was cited last week by Dr. Theresa Burke, founder of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries, which counsels aborted mothers in their grief recovery.

Dr. Burke issued a news release commenting on Russia’s efforts to stem the troubled country’s birth dearth by awarding cash to families giving birth to additional children. She said such efforts would “not succeed until the trauma of abortion is addressed.”

“‘In Russia, 70% of pregnancies end in abortion,’ said Dr. Burke, whose book Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion explores the dynamics of abortion’s aftereffects on women. ‘In a country where the average woman undergoes three to eight abortions,’” she said in the release, “‘the problem goes beyond a dependence on abortion as birth control. There’s a deeper undercurrent at work here.’”

Dr. Burke said “‘Women who abort and don’t experience an effective healing program are more vulnerable to repeat abortions. The initial trauma of the degrading and painful procedure causes a level of detachment,’” she said. “‘The abortion experience is so unacceptable that the mind struggles to acknowledge it. This numbness,’” she said, “‘leads to a dysfunctional lifestyle of drug abuse, relationship problems and multiple abortions. …

“‘If Russia is to recover from the ravages of abortion,’” Dr. Burke said in the release, “‘the government needs to do more than offer financial incentives to give birth.’”


Copying a Bad Idea

THOSE ‘GIFT CERTIFICATES’ being sold by Indiana Planned Parenthoodhave now shown up in Illinois as well, according to Illinois PP’s Internet website. Readers may wish to check whether the abortion vouchers are being pushed in their own locales as well and to protest via such public mechanisms as letters to editors and calls to radio talk shows. The marketing tactic is offensive even to those who customarily buy into PP’s euphemistic image.


Why Keep Feeding Planned Parenthood?

AS AMERICA’s STATE LEGISLATORS PREPARE to open new sessions in most states next month – and while most of them are in their districts during the holidays – this would be a good time to encourage pro-life lawmakers to undertake defunding of Planned Parenthood in the 2009 sessions. A handful of states have already disqualified the abortion business from state taxpayer funding, which constitutes a significant share of PP’s budget across the country. Even in states where defunding would be unlikely, the debate – which could serve as a forum on Planned Parenthood abuses – would be worth having.


Provoking War?

Dec. 8, 2008, column by Ray Kerrison, New York Post, originally under the headline “Obama’s Holy Hell”

If President-elect Barack Obama goes through with his campaign pledge to sign into law the Freedom of Choice Act*, holy hell is going to break loose.

FOCA may be the most radical social legislation in decades. It seeks to strip every last restraint from abortion – outlawing states’ requirements for waiting periods, informed consent or parental consent; preventing health and safety regulation of abortion clinics and abortionists – and even ending restrictions on partial-birth abortion.

With one stroke of the President’s pen, it would nullify every one of the 330 or so federal, state and local abortion laws on the books, most of them supported by a majority of Americans.

And that’s just the start. The law would also compel taxpayers to fund abortions and provide abortions in military hospitals. Most provocatively of all, it would force religious hospital and healthcare institutions to perform abortions in violation of their convictions.

The incoming President is all for this draconian bill. In the Senate, no one held more extreme views on abortion. Abortion-rights groups have given him a 100% rating for every year he has held public office.

When he began his White House run, back on July 7, 2007, he told a cheering Planned Parenthood conference, “The first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing I’d do. … On this issue I will not yield.”

The Catholic Church, for one, won’t stand for it. The ranking American prelate to the Holy See, James Cardinal Stafford, denounced Obama’s vision as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic.”

FOCA means war. The US bishops have always been united in their moral condemnation of abortion. But they have stopped short of flexing political muscle, evading a head-on confrontation. That may now change.

Obama’s commitment to FOCA dominated their discussions at their annual convention in Baltimore last month. Their president, Francis Cardinal George, warned that FOCA would destroy the freedom of conscience of doctors, nurses and healthcare workers. “It would threaten Catholic healthcare institutions and Catholic Charities. It would be an evil law that would divide our country, and the church should be intent on opposing evil.”

Chicago’s Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki went further. He said flatly that if the Obama administration attempted to force Catholic hospitals to provide abortions, they’d shut them down rather than comply.

“There are grave consequences,” he said. “It would not be sufficient to sell them to someone who would perform abortions. That would be a morally unacceptable cooperation in evil.”

With nearly 300 prelates in attendance, one after the other rose up to demand a tough, unequivocal response to FOCA and the new President.

“This is not a matter of political compromise or finding some common ground,” said Bishop Daniel Conlon of Steubenville, Ohio. “It’s a matter of absolutes.”

New York’s Edward Cardinal Egan said, “We have one important thing to say, and we should say it clearly.”

The bishops have had it. They’re moving into the trenches, which is most uncharacteristic of them. Said Catholic commentator Christopher Manion, “The Baltimore meeting could be historic. We saw the rumblings of the giant stirring from his slumber.”

Largely unspoken but lurking like a storm cloud over the discussions was the dread prospect of excommunication.

The American hierarchy has been sharply split for years over what to do with high-profile politicians who campaign on their Catholicism but support abortion policies contrary to church teaching. Everyone knows the culprits: Vice President-elect Joe Biden; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Senators Ted Kennedy, Chris Dodd and Pat Leahy; Rep. Charlie Rangel and many, many more.

But if FOCA becomes law, the Catholic politicians who vote “aye” or otherwise help pass it risk the ultimate penalty of the church.

Asked whether politicians voting for FOCA would incur automatic excommunication, Cardinal George refused to rule it out, saying, “The excommunication is automatic if that act is in fact formal cooperation, and that is precisely what would have to be discussed once you see the terms of the Act itself.”

Put plainly, Catholic politicians can’t “cooperate in evil” and escape penalty.

It is hard to imagine that an incoming President would declare war on the church, especially when 54% of its faithful voted for him. But he is convinced that a federal abortion law will end the national divisive debate over the practice. In fact, it will do the opposite.

Obama can’t say he hasn’t been warned. If he pulls the trigger here, the repercussions will be ugly.

*Though “FOCA” is a handy acronym, it might be helpful, during this ensuing debate, if pro-life communicators were to refer to the measure as the Freedom to Kill Bill.


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