Latest Pro-Life News and Updates

Posted on March 28, 2018 10:00 AM

Book Review: A Young Doctor Faces Death in When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air

By Anne Fox, President of Massachusetts Citizens for Life

The following article originally appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of the MCFL News magazine, a perk of membership mailed out quarterly to all members.

Paul Kalanithi’s memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, written as he faced a terminal cancer diagnosis, is the story of a young doctor, and his family, who lives well until he dies. He is a very different person, but he faces terminal cancer as J. J. Hanson did, with courage and conviction. (See Editor’s Note at end of the review.) 

In 2013, Kalanithi, a 36-year-old neurosurgeon, realized he had lung cancer, which involved serious pain. As he looked at the scan he thought, “The future I had imagined, the one just about to be realized, the culmination of decades of striving, evaporated. Who would I be, going forward, and for how long?” he wondered.

Read more
Posted on March 27, 2018 10:00 AM

Why Crisis Pregnancy Centers Should Not Have to Advertise for Abortions

US Supreme Court Justices

By Dwight G. Duncan

The following article originally appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of the MCFL News magazine, a perk of membership mailed out quarterly to all members.

One of the biggest cases in this year’s Supreme Court term is National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General of California. Petitioners, a group of pro-life Crisis Pregnancy Centers in California, are challenging on First Amendment free speech grounds the California law which requires them to provide information on whom to contact in order to obtain an abortion. 

The lower federal courts in California, including the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has the distinction of being the Court overturned most often by the U.S. Supreme Court, held that the unprecedented California law was constitutionally consistent with the First Amendment. 

Petitioners’ brief was filed on January 8, and amicus briefs supporting petitioners’ First Amendment argument were filed by January 15. The government’s brief is due February 8, with amicus briefs in support thereof due a week later. Oral argument is set for March 20. Along with the Masterpiece Cake case out of Colorado, which challenges on First Amendment grounds Colorado’s fining a bakery for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding, these cases both raise the issue of freedom not to speak—one in the abortion context, the other in the same-sex marriage context. Decisions are expected by the end of the Supreme Court term around June 30.

Read more
Posted on March 26, 2018 11:03 AM

Revealing the New Paradigm of Abortion at the 2018 Convention

2018 Oratory Contest participants: Liam Siegler, Gabrielle Landry, and Zoe Henderson. (The fourth contestant, Timothy O'Brien, submitted his speech by video.)
Three youth contestants for Oratory Contest

Massachusetts Citizens for Life held its 2018 annual convention on Saturday, March 24, 2018, gathering dozens of pro-lifers from around the state to learn more about what is really happening in abortions today. While fewer and fewer abortions are being performed every year in the Commonwealth, there are new ways in which the lives of the unborn are threatened, new attitudes among people about life and abortion, and a new need to approach both mother and child as being under threat and in need of our love and care.

The event was graciously hosted by Cardinal Spellman High School in Brockton, and everyone there were so very helpful and made the day go so smoothly in their accommodating facilities. We are very grateful to them for welcoming us.

Read more
Posted on March 23, 2018 10:00 AM

January 2018 was National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

Fifth in a series: The Abortion Industry Plays a Key Role in Human Trafficking 

An estimated 25 million people are currently victims of human trafficking for both sex and labor and many of the women who are trafficked subjected to multiple abortions, often against their will.

From President Trump’s proclamation of January 2018 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month :

During National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we recommit ourselves to eradicating the evil of enslavement. Human trafficking is a modern form of the oldest and most barbaric type of exploitation. It has no place in our world. This month we do not simply reflect on this appalling reality. We also pledge to do all in our power to end the horrific practice of human trafficking that plagues innocent victims around the world.

Human trafficking is a sickening crime at odds with our very humanity.An estimated 25 million people are currently victims of human trafficking for both sex and labor. Human traffickers prey on their victims by promising a life of hope and greater opportunity, while delivering only enslavement. Instead of delivering people to better lives, traffickers unjustifiably profit from the labor and toil of their victims, who they force — through violence and intimidation — to work in brothels and factories, on farms and fishing vessels, in private homes, and in countless industries.

My Administration continues to work to drive out the darkness human traffickers cast upon our world. In February, I signed an Executive Order to dismantle transnational criminal organizations, including those that perpetuate the crime of human trafficking. My Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons has enhanced collaboration with other nations, businesses, civil society organizations, and survivors of human trafficking. 

The Department of Health and Human Services has established a new national training and technical assistance center to strengthen our healthcare industry’s anti-trafficking response.The Department of State has contributed $25 million to the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, because of the critical need for cross-nation collaborative action to counter human trafficking. The Department of Labor has released an innovative, business-focused mobile app that supports private-sector efforts to eradicate forced labor from global supply chains. 

And this month, I will sign into law S. 1536, the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act and S. 1532, the No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act.  These bills will keep those who commit trafficking offenses from operating commercial vehicles, improve anti-human trafficking coordination within Federal agencies and across State and local governments, and improve efforts to recognize, prevent, and report human trafficking.

In addition to these governmental actions, Americans must learn how to identify and combat the evil of enslavement. This is especially important for those who are most likely to encounter the perpetrators of slavery and their victims, including healthcare providers, educators, law enforcement officials, and social services professionals.  (Emphasis added)

Through the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, all Americans can learn to recognize the signs of human trafficking and how to report suspected instances.  By taking steps to become familiar with the telltale signs of traffickers or the signals of their victims, Americans can save innocent lives

Our Nation is and will forever be a place that values and protects human life and dignity. This month, let us redouble our efforts to ensure that modern day slavery comes to its long overdue end.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 2018 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, culminating in the annual celebration of National Freedom Day on February 1, 2018.

 I call upon industry associations, law enforcement, private businesses, faith-based and other organizations of civil society, schools, families, and all Americans to recognize our vital roles in ending all forms of modern slavery and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities aimed at ending and preventing all forms of human trafficking. (Emphasis added)

Next: What pro-life people can do to fight human trafficking

 

Posted on March 22, 2018 4:16 PM

You Did It! You Killed the Doctor-Prescribed Suicide Bills for This Session

Balloons

By Anne Fox, President of Massachusetts Citizens for Life

As of 4:00pm today, the doctor-prescribed suicide bills have been sent to a study committee, which effectively kills them!

We were working against 40 bill sponsors, the media, and Compassion and Choices (formerly the Hemlock Society) which has four full-time, paid employees in the state.

How did we overcome all that?  So many, many of you testified; 25 doctors held a Doctors' Day at the State House; they and members of the disability community visited committee members at the State House; and you visited them in their districts.

Aides told us what really did it: They were counting calls. You called, and got so many others to call and that did it!

People who are elderly, who are poor, who have disabilities or terminal illnesses are safe until after the election - thanks to you.

We can celebrate together at the Convention on Saturday.

You are the best - bless you!

Posted on March 22, 2018 10:00 AM

Inherent Worth

2013 Respect for Life Walk

March 21, 2018 was World Down Syndrome Day. To mark that event, we bring you this article from the May-June 2013 issue of MCFL News.

Katie Kiley, mother of 2013 Respect Life Walk Baby Julia, spoke to the 2013 MCFL Convention on the ways that the pro-life movement can support families with special needs children. Kiley started by reading a poem, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Having a special needs baby is like planning a fabulous trip to Italy. After great anticipation the plane lands, but the stewardess says, ‘Welcome to Holland.’ It’s not horrible, it’s just different. Everyone you know is talking about Italy. ‘Yes,’ you say, ‘that’s where I was supposed to go.’ The pain will never go away, because the loss of that dream was a very significant loss, but if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you will never appreciate the special wonderful things about Holland.”

Kiley did not expect to have a Down Syndrome child at age 30. “We didn’t know Julia had Down Syndrome until she was born. The attending physician said gently, ‘We’ve noticed some features consistent with Down Syndrome.’”

Read more
Posted on March 21, 2018 9:52 AM

US Supreme Court:  Our case looks good

US Supreme Court

By Anne Fox, President of Massachusetts Citizens for Life

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard arguments about California forcing Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) to advertise abortions.

As you know, MCFL filed an amicus curiae brief. All advocates of free speech should be very concerned, but we are especially interested because it would have some of the same arguments as the MAssachusetts Buffer Zone case and because the pro-abortion advocates in the state have gone to the Attorney General and are having marches claiming that some of the PRCs in the state are "fake clinics"

I was lucky enough to sit in on a Federalist Society call after the testimony. Sure enough, the fact that was important in the Buffer Zone case — that only one type of speech had been targeted — came up. Even Justices Kagan and Sotomayor expressed concern. Justice Breyer had the only problem questions: if a liberal state cannot make PRCs post information, then why should a conservative state be able to require that the mother be able to look at the ultrasound, etc. The lawyers felt that was answered effectively.

The consensus seems to be that the case will be decided on fairly narrow grounds and that we should do well. It is very interesting. If you would like to read more, Ed Morrissey at HotAir.com has a good analysis.

Posted on March 20, 2018 9:45 AM

Assassins, not Doctors

Bottle of poison

By Nancy Valko

Last year, both Hawaii and New Zealand physician-assisted suicide bills were defeated but, much like zombies, both bills were changed and resurrected for 2018.

As I wrote in a  previous blog about Hawaii’s bill, there are concerted efforts not only to pass but also expand assisted suicide laws. This bill is currently awaiting either passage or defeat in the Hawaii legislature’s Senate.

Recently, I submitted testimony on the “End of Life Choice Bill” to legalize physician-assisted suicide in New Zealand. Currently, the bill is being considered in the Select Committee.

The New Zealand bill is different from Hawaii’s in significant ways. Here are some of the differences, with emphasis added:

  • It adds “grievous and irremediable medical condition in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability”  to the usual condition of terminal illness.
  • It give patients the option of 4 ways to kill themselves or be killed, including lethal injections:

(i) ingestion, triggered by the person:

(ii) intravenous delivery, triggered by the person:

(iii) ingestion through a tube:

(iv) injection

  • “The attending medical practitioner must be available to the person until the person dies; or arrange for another medical practitioner to be available to the person until the person dies” by being “in the same room”  or “in close proximity to the person”.
  • Conscience rights: If doctors refuse to provide the lethal overdose, they must refer to a SCENZ group established by the Director General to “make and maintain a list of medical practitioners who are willing to act for the purposes of this Act as—replacement medical practitioners: independent medical practitioners”,  list of pharmacists, and “to prepare standards of care; and to advise on the required medical and legal procedures; and to provide practical assistance, if assistance is requested.”
  • The assisted suicide death (whose official cause is listed “as if assisted dying had not been provided”) must be reported within 14 days and sent to registrar who must send the report to a Review committee consisting of a medical ethicist and a medical practitioner who practices in area of end of life care and another medical practitioner. The Review committee has these functions: “to consider reports sent to it”, “to report about its satisfaction or otherwise with the cases reported” and “to recommend actions that the registrar may take to follow up with which the review committee was not satisfied.”
  • Regular reports will be issued every five years after the first to be done 3 years after the law is implemented. These reports go to the minister and Parliament.
Read more
Posted on March 19, 2018 10:00 AM

March for Life 2018 Diary

March for Life 2018

By Rob Hale

The following article originally appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of the MCFL News magazine, a perk of membership mailed out quarterly to all members.

January 18. We board two Peter Pan buses at St. Stanislaus’ in Chicopee, at 10 p.m. 

January 19. Around 1:30 a.m. we make a scheduled stop at a roadside restaurant in Cranberry, NJ. When we get back to our bus, we are told that a lady named Maria on the other bus had passed out and was being taken to the hospital. We wait for about an hour. Before we leave, we all say a prayer. 

On the bus, I talk with Mike Butler, a buddy from previous bus rides to the March. His mother Monica helped organize trips like these and other western Mass. pro-life events. Mike is traveling with two of his five kids, who are now teenagers. He says that next year he is hoping on bringing his twelve year old son, who has Down Syndrome. Mike sells transportation services for an international trucking company. 

When we disembark in front of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at Catholic University, a little ways outside of Washington, D.C., I meet Laura Hicks and her daughter, Rebecca, a high school senior, who are traveling with us. Laura has five children, including Rebecca, all of whom are home schooled. She says this is her fifth March for Life. Laura and her husband own Eddie’s Furniture in Holyoke, which was started by her grandfather in an old horse barn, where the business still stands.

 

Read more
Posted on March 16, 2018 10:00 AM

Law Would Hold Accountable Websites That Facilitate Prostitution

Man in handcuffs

By Helen Cross

Fourth in a series: The Abortion Industry Plays a Key Role in Human Trafficking

Eighty percent of human trafficking involves the sexual exploitation and coercion of women and children.

From bioethicist Wesley Smith's article in National Review ”Bill to Let Sex-Traffic Victims Sue Their Tormenters”:

In January, President Trump issued a proclamation opposing human trafficking and slavery, bringing needed attention to an evil that too often remains unseen in the darkest shadows of society.

More is needed, obviously. Here’s a good idea pending in Congress to aid this righteous cause. HR 1865 would add criminal penalties to the federal law for 'facilitating the prostitution of another person' — with extra penalties if five or more persons are so facilitated — specifically and explicitly including those prostituted in online exploitation schemes.

Perhaps most notably, the bill would create an explicit right for sex-trafficked victims to sue their tormentors in federal court: Civil Recovery.—Any person injured by reason of a violation of section 2421A(b) may recover damages and reasonable attorneys’ fees in an action before any appropriate United States district court.”

The text of H.R.1865 - Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 states the Act would “amend the Communications Act of 1934 to clarify that section 230 of such Act does not prohibit the enforcement against providers and users of interactive computer services of Federal and State criminal and civil law relating to sexual exploitation of children or sex trafficking, and for other purposes.

“It is the sense of Congress that—

(1) section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230; commonly known as the “Communications Decency Act of 1996”) was never intended to provide legal protection to websites that unlawfully promote and facilitate prostitution and websites that facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts with sex trafficking victims;

(2) websites that promote and facilitate prostitution have been reckless in allowing the sale of sex trafficking victims and have done nothing to prevent the trafficking of children and victims of force, fraud, and coercion; and

(3) clarification of such section is warranted to ensure that such section does not provide such protection to such websites.”

Next: Human trafficking awareness day and President Trump's proclamation of January 2018 as National Slavery Human Trafficking Prevention Month