The Point Washington Update - May 23, 2013
In this edition of The Point:
- Congress investigates abortion clinics; Congressman gets personal
- US bill would ban late-term abortions
- Senator: International health advances American values and interests
Excerpted from "Life Depends on the Choice" National Review Online, May 20, 2013 - "I can’t imagine how scared my mom must have been and how alone she felt,” Marlin Stutzman, a congressman from Indiana, would later comment. After he heard about Dr. Kermit Gosnell, he did what congressmen do: He went to the House floor, where he pleaded with the media to cover the case of the since-convicted Philadelphia abortion doctor, whose filthy clinic has exposed the right to abortion as the right to a dead baby, a right that emanates from the penumbras of Roe v. Wade.
“I went to the floor because innocent life is worth defending,” Stutzman tells me. “A monster in Philadelphia — not halfway around the world — murdered newborn babies, preyed on vulnerable women, and stuffed bodies and body parts into the freezer in boxes, bags, and cat-food tins.” The Gosnell trial “should have been front-page news across the nation,” but the mainstream media were largely ignoring it. “The American people deserved to know the truth about it, and I was seeking to raise awareness,” he says. Abortion is such a grave, ugly reality. We mask it “behind convenient euphemisms like ‘choice’ and ‘safe, legal, and rare’ instead of taking a hard look at what abortion really is,” Stutzman observes. “The Gosnell case stripped away all those euphemisms and showed that abortion isn’t safe and it isn’t rare.”
But that day in April when the second-term congressman went to the House floor to talk about Gosnell, he had no idea how personal an issue this was for him. When he phoned his mother a few days later, he learned that she was trying to figure out how to get to an abortion clinic when she was pregnant with him in 1975.
“I could never imagine how this case would change my own life,” Stutzman tells me. “When my mom told me her story — how her house had just burned down, how she was alone and terrified, and how she wanted to find a way to make it 40 miles to get an abortion but couldn’t — we both cried.”
“I can’t help wondering what would have happened if there was a Gosnell clinic four miles away instead of 40,” he reflects. “How many fathers, wives, teachers, doctors and public servants are missing today because of abortion?”
“We have to stand for life, for babies and for young women like my mom,” Stutzman says. “While Planned Parenthood talks about ‘choice,’ the sad reality is that the abortion business depends on women who feel like they don’t have another option. We need to show compassionate action and offer help to the women who find themselves in an unimaginably hard situation.”
And in the wake of the Gosnell verdict we cannot be satisfied with moving on or even simply knowing that Congress has now sent out fact-finding letters to state attorneys generals and health officials for the purpose of investigating what’s happening in abortion clinics across the nation.
CMDA CEO David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics): "Abortion clinics are the most unregulated industry in the U.S. Most do not have doors wide enough to get a stretcher through in an emergency, lack resuscitation equipment and don’t get true informed consent. The doctors doing the abortions fail to follow up with their patients or take care of their complications. Women have no choice – they put their life in danger when they walk into an abortion clinic. Abortion federations are complicit in what happened at Gosnell’s clinic. They resist and attack anyone who advocates regulating or inspecting abortion clinics. The many red flags over decades should have brought greater scrutiny to Gosnell’s activities.
- The clinic was given approval to open in 1979, but there was no inspection by the Pennsylvania Department of Health until 1989. They found no trained nurses and multiple other violations but left with only Gosnell’s promise to rectify them.
- They didn’t visit again for three years and found all the same problems … and again let his practice continue.
- In 1993, the Pa. Dept. of Health instituted a policy of no inspection of abortion clinics unless there was a complaint. They feared a reduction in abortion clinics in the state.
- In 1996, a complaint was filed due to a perforated uterus. No action taken.
- In 1997, Dr. Schwartz, head of adolescent services at Children’s Hospital, hand-delivered a complaint that contended that patients referred to Gosnell’s clinic were contracting Trichomoniasis due to unsterilized instruments. No action taken.
- In 2002, a former employee complained of anesthesia administrated by unlicensed personnel, flea-infested cats roaming the clinic, a broken autoclave and re-used disposable instruments. Gosnell also reportedly ate his lunch in the procedure rooms. No action taken.
- Later that year, a patient died from a perforated uterus and septicemia, resulting in a $900,000 civil settlement. No action taken.
- In 2003, a complaint contended that aborted fetuses were stored in paper bags. No action taken.
- A total of 46 lawsuits were filed against Gosnell over 32 years.
"Planned Parenthood abandoned their early tack of defending the indefensible Gosnell and instead claimed he was an aberration and should be punished. The truth is that there are probably replications of Gosnell-like horrors all across the country, but many abortion rights advocates likely do not want them to be revealed. Until such revelations translate into action, one of the most dangerous things a pregnant woman can do is to walk into an abortion clinic."
Excerpted from "GOP Rep. Franks to offer late-term abortion ban following Gosnell case," The Hill, May 17, 2013 - Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) will offer a bill to ban late-term abortions in response to the gruesome case of Kermit Gosnell, an abortion provider recently convicted of killing three viable infants. Franks announced Friday that he will revise his measure banning late-term procedures in the District of Columbia to apply to the nation as a whole. The bill will criminalize abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the disputed premise that fetuses can feel pain at that stage.
In a statement, Franks compared late-term abortions to Gosnell's killing of three infants born alive after failed abortion procedures. The conviction took place Monday. The case, notable for its grisly details, received attention from congressional Republicans starting in late April. Greater media coverage followed after the GOP accused journalists of avoiding a difficult story about abortion.
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.): [excerpted from news release]: "I know when the subject is related in any way to abortion, the doors of reason and human compassion in our minds and hearts often close, and the humanity of the unborn can no longer be seen. But I pray we can at least come together to agree that we can and should draw the line at the point that these innocent babies can feel the excruciating pain of these brutal procedures.
"The case of Kermit Gosnell shocked the sensibilities of millions of Americans. However, the crushing fact is that abortions on babies just like the ones killed by Kermit Gosnell have been happening hundreds of times per day, every single day, for the past 40 years. Indeed, let us not forget that, had Kermit Gosnell dismembered these babies before they had traveled down the birth canal only moments earlier, he would have, in many places nationwide, been performing an entirely legal procedure. If America truly understands that horrifying reality, hearts and laws will change.
"To this end, I have re-introduced the D.C. Pain Capable Unborn Protection Act, which will now be amended to broaden its coverage so that its provisions will apply nationwide.
"Knowingly subjecting our innocent unborn children to dismemberment in the womb, particularly when they have developed to the point that they can feel excruciating pain every terrible moment leading up to their undeserved deaths, belies everything America was called to be. This is not who we are."
Excerpted from "Sen. Graham Urges Religious Groups to Rally Support for Foreign Aid to Combat AIDS," Christian Post, May 15, 2013 - The U.S. government program that helps treat and prevent AIDS in foreign countries is threatened by budget cuts, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned Tuesday. He urged faith-based organizations to increase their efforts at rallying support for the program.
"You're going to have to up your game because pressures exist today unlike any time in politics," Graham said at a Washington, D.C. event co-hosted by a number of organizations that have worked together to fight AIDS around the world, including World Relief, World Vision, Pan African Christian AIDS Network, UNICEF and the United Methodist Church.
Foreign aid is only about 1 percent of the budget and not the cause of the nation's budget woes. For this reason, Graham believes it is important for faith groups to let their congressional representatives know they will stand behind them, or "provide a safety net," if they do not cut foreign aid programs to fight AIDS.
"In my state, the evangelical Christian community, the church community, the faith community is listened to," Graham said.
The primary federal program for AIDS relief is The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR. It was first passed under President George W. Bush with bipartisan support and continues under President Barack Obama.
Graham also argued that foreign aid benefits national security by building allies abroad and rooting out the suffering that terrorist organizations use as a recruiting tool. Graham also believes that PEPFAR has used taxpayer dollars wisely; 67,000 people received treatment for AIDS in 2004, Graham said, and now over 5 million people are getting treatment through the program.
"This is a smart investment," Graham said. "We're building friends and allies for the future. We're doing the right thing. God will stand with us as long as we stand with Him."
CMA Vice President for Govt. Relations Jonathan Imbody: "CMDA CEO Dr. David Stevens accompanied Senator Graham in 2012 to meet with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss strategies on continuing international health aid in the midst of a struggling economy. I've also been working with Senator Graham on this issue and attended the above-mentioned event at a U.S. Senate office building celebrating 10 years of PEPFAR's success in fighting AIDS and treating patients.
"When the program called for us all to join in singing 'Amazing Grace,' I jokingly wondered to a colleague next to me if the Capitol police might storm the meeting and carry us out in handcuffs, citing an imagined church-state violation. But that didn't happen, and the remarkable coalition of faith community leaders, AIDS activists, Republican politicians and Obama administration officials gathered there focused on the common ground and goals we all share in pursuing healing and hope for AIDS patients.
"Several statistics demonstrate the basis for such co-belligerence ('waging of a war in cooperation against a common enemy without a formal treaty of military alliance')--a phrase applied by Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer to alliances of Christians and others for a shared purpose.
- The World Health Organization released a report revealing that between 30 percent and 70 percent of the health infrastructure in Africa is currently owned by faith-based organizations.1
- The Gallup World Poll asked sub-Saharan Africans in 19 countries about their confidence in eight social and political institutions. Overall across the continent, they were most likely to say they were confident in the religious organizations (76 percent) in their countries.2
"Thankfully, even administrations antagonistic to many of our public policy positions recognize this strength and continue to work with the faith community in the fight to eradicate disease and minister to patients overseas."
1 "Faith-based organizations play a major role in HIV/AIDS care and treatment in sub-Saharan Africa," February 8, 2007: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2007/np05/en/index.html.
2 Gallup Poll, "Africans' Confidence in Institutions -- Which Country Stands Out?" January 18, 2007: http://www.gallupworldpoll.com/content/?ci=26176.