Living in the state of Illinois, it is easy to feel discouraged as there is a lack of pro-life legislation. We continue to watch the state of California, as attempts are made to expand the scope of abortion and restrict the influence of pro-life organizations. But in several other States, this is not the case. There is significant progress on the pro-life front to be recognized and celebrated.
Louisiana and Mississippi Pass Pro-life Legislation
Louisiana SB534 is a bill protecting a pregnant woman from coerced abortion and defining coerced abortion as a crime of violence. It was approved by both the Louisiana state Senate and House. This bill prohibits any form of physical coercion or threat of coercion, including withholding financial support from a minor. Violations could warrant fines up to $5,000 and imprisonment up to five years. In addition, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards recently signed Senate Bill 181 into law, effectively banning abortions after 15 weeks. The law will only take effect if a similar law in Mississippi is upheld by a federal court. In March, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed the abortion ban, House Bill 1510, into law. The next day a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order on behalf of Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion facility in Mississippi.
Iowa Passes Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban
In Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a fetal heartbeat bill into law, effectively banning abortion after the point at which a heartbeat can be detected. In many cases, this could prevent abortion after about six weeks of gestation. The law is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, and represents the most significant restriction on abortion passed since Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in 1973. Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union’s Iowa branch filed a suit against the state of Iowa in May. In early June, Polk County District Court Judge Michael Huppert said that he would grant a temporary injunction against the law, while the lawsuit challenging its constitutionality is settled. The injunction will prevent the law from being enforced during the process of litigation.
Caring Network Illinois Provides Practical Help & Saves Lives
While pro-life advocates work to advance the case for life, Caring Network Illinois focuses on providing compassionate and practical help to anyone impacted by an unplanned pregnancy. In spite of the legal status of abortion in Illinois and how it may change over time, Caring Network is committed to providing this critical support. Many women who seek support at Caring Network have pressing fears and require resources to meet vital needs. Caring Network Illinois partners with hundreds of local organizations, and can provide or refer for assistance with housing, food, baby supplies, and more. Get involved with us!
Following the lead of many state legislatures, in early October the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks gestation, when the unborn baby can feel pain. Although President Trump has indicated a willingness to sign this legislation, the Senate is less likely to pass it. S. 1922, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, was introduced in the Senate on October 5, 2017, and may come up for a vote in late January. While we pray that this bill will be successful, the need for Caring Network continues. The laws of our country and our state still support abortion on demand, and there is no real legal protection for the unborn. Caring Network remains on the front line, meeting vulnerable pregnant women where they are, helping to overcome their fears with love, compassion and support. When a woman feels loved and supported, decisions change and babies are born. Thank you for being a Caring Network partner.
The pro-abortion movement redefines abortion as “reproductive rights,” and celebrates the autonomy of the individual through that choice. Hard core proponents believe that there can be no flexibility in this position. In response to the news that congressional Democrats are willing to fund pro-life Democratic candidates, feminist author Lindy West wrote, “This issue represents everything Democrats purpose to stand for . . . . To be anti-choice on a policy level is absolutely indefensible from an economic justice, racial justice, gender justice and human rights standpoint.” She continues, “Abortion is not a fringe issue. Abortion is liberty.” This philosophy is driven by the ability of the strong (those who succeed in coming into the world) to control and eliminate the weak (unborn children). This “liberty” is only procured for one group, at the expense of the other, and is in conflict with the concept of “liberty and justice for all.” Abortion continues to be sold as a force for social good. Yet at Caring Network, we see the devastation that abortion causes to women and to entire families. And what about the effect on a society willing to tolerate the elimination of 60 million unique humans? Let’s be clear. Abortion is both a personal and a national tragedy. Rather than celebrate it, our country should be united in working to help women who feel they have no other choice.
It has been reported that Millennials are very socially progressive. According to a 2017 Pew Research survey, most Millennials support liberal views on abortion, sex, the death penalty and other issues. However their personal actions indicate a desire for other traditional paradigms. At Brown University, 75% of students said they wanted to be in a committed, monogamous relationship. Only 12% of Brown students were regularly hooking up with more than one partner. The same was true at Stanford, where 86% of students wanted to be in a committed relationship. Among affluent Americans, marriage is still desired. College-educated women and men marry at traditional rates, and divorce at half the rate of people without a degree. The most elite circles of American life are the most critical of traditional living; yet they are some of the most traditional in their own life choices. Affluent women have resources that help them make good life choices. But many women need help because of lack of support from family or significant others. Caring Network is here to help them with emotional support and solutions to real life problems. All women deserve an opportunity to experience God’s plan for a flourishing life. Caring Network exists to help women and their families do just that.
The blockbuster movie of the summer appears to be Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk”. The WWII story of the rescue by sea of an entire British army facing annihilation by the Nazis has captured the hearts of many Americans. The facts are simple. On May 10th, 1940, Hitler ordered a military onslaught on France and Belgium that resulted in the British Army and other Allied soldiers having their backs to the sea and being surrounded by German troops. Facing certain death, the order was given to attempt an evacuation by sea. Eight Hundred ships sailed to the coast of France and rescued 338,000 soldiers from the beaches, returning them to Britain. It is less well known that a week before the rescue, King George VI requested that the following Sunday be observed as a National Day of Prayer, as the country was dealing with the upcoming annihilation of so many troops. Photographs confirm that many people went to church and congregations and cathedrals were filled with people beseeching God for the deliverance of these troops. Their prayers were answered, and later that week the miracle of rescue occurred. What do we learn from this story? Certainly the Dunkirk story encourages Christians to pray to our God of rescue. Caring Network is a ministry devoted to the power of prayer. Our staff prays for one another, for those we serve, for strength and for wisdom. We know that it is only God who can change a heart bent on abortion. What a blessing to serve in his mission to rescue children and empower moms.
In the wake of the Charlie Gard case, the Federalist posted an article on the need for states to implement “Simon’s Law,” to prevent such a case from occurring in the US. At issue is parental authority—who makes the decision for life or death in such tragic circumstances. The article talks about an infant, Simon Crosier, and his family. Simon, like Charlie, was born with a serious congenital illness that required life-sustaining medical treatment. His condition was quickly labeled “incompatible with life” by the medical personnel treating him and, unknown to his parents, a DNR order was placed in his medical chart. The parents were hoping that as he grew, Simon would be eligible for corrective heart surgery. This did not happen. Instead, after Simon’s death, his parents learned that only “comfort feeds” had been authorized, thus ensuring his death. Simon’s Law, passed by the state of Kansas, sought primarily to combat the trend of medical providers secretly placing DNR orders on the medical charts of seriously ill infants. In Simon’s case, the medical personnel made the decision that Simon’s life was not worth living, and that any further medical treatment was futile. Many times in our culture, people make the judgment that the child of an unplanned pregnancy will suffer from abuse or other hardship. This belief is often used as a reason for tolerating abortion. But just as in the cases of Charlie and Simon, all life should be given a chance. Our culture will be judged in future generations by how we treated those among us who were the most vulnerable. Certainly, we who follow Christ have a duty to protect “the least of these.” God bless you for your witness.
The recent case of little Briton Charlie Gard, whose parents fought to provide him with experimental medical treatment to correct a congenital defect, has raised some interesting questions. In this case, the English courts ruled over the pleas of the parents that Charlie’s breathing tube should be removed so he could “die with dignity”. Charlie’s parents wanted to give him every chance they could at life, but were overruled by the courts. Questions have been raised about the decision-making capacity of parents. Who should make these decisions over life and death, parents or government? In certain cults, members do not believe in using medicine; yet a court may come in and force parents to seek medical treatment for their children. In the abortion debate, it has long been argued that abortion is an absolute right of parents and that government has no place in limiting the ability of the mother to choose that outcome for her child. Our culture has largely accepted mothers choosing abortion. Yet Caring Network exists to challenge that choice. Through compassion and resourcing, with love, we challenge moms to reexamine their decision and empower them to choose life. Many women facing an unplanned pregnancy believe abortion is their only choice, because they just can’t do it alone. Caring Network gives them hope and says, “Yes you can. We are here to help.” It is a privilege to serve in a life-affirming ministry that has given hope to so many.
In June it was reported that a young Irish woman who was almost 25 weeks pregnant had requested an abortion, claiming that the pregnancy made her suicidal. The Irish 2013 Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act allows abortion when the woman is deemed to be suicidal or at risk of loss of life from physical illness. Her request was denied, because her psychiatrist ruled that abortion was not the solution to her problems. The Irish press ran the young girl’s story implying that the reason that the abortion was denied was that the psychiatrist did not approve of the procedure and obviously the law should be changed to allow a woman to make that choice for herself. Subsequently, a panel of experts overrode the psychiatrist and ruled that the pregnant woman could have the abortion. But good news: after developing a strong bond with her doctor, the young woman chose to carry her child. She and her baby are now living happily with her family. Of course, the media has not covered this part of the story. This story reflects the work of Caring Network. When vulnerable pregnant women are given caring support, decisions change and babies are born. This scene is found every day in Caring Network’s counseling rooms. Thank you for helping to make that possible.
In a recent article in the Federalist, Daniel Payne commented on witnessing the birth of his son. He had seen the ultrasound, thoroughly grasped the biology, and been by his wife’s side through labor, but he was not prepared for what he saw. “The one second there was nothing in my wife’s arms, the next here was a baby boy, pink and healthy and beautiful and priceless. For one of the few times in my life I was rendered speechless, and properly so. What do you say, after all, when you witness a miracle.” Payne is amazed that simple nutrients, enzymes, lipids and nucleic acids can produce a baby boy. “A few months ago I packed my wife an egg salad sandwich for lunch, and her body used that egg salad to help create our beautiful baby boy. What is a miracle, if not that?” Caring Network counselors shine light into dark places, helping women understand that what they have inside of them is not just a clump of cells, but another miracle clothed in flesh. Caring Network’s medical team helps a woman visualize her child, seeing a heartbeat and watching her little miracle move and dance. No woman who chose to carry her pregnancy has ever come back to say what a mistake it was. However, many women who chose abortion have expressed their regrets. Life is a miracle designed by God. Let us treasure this great gift.
Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the last remaining abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi, a fact bemoaned by many people wanting greater access to abortion. When the Center for Pregnancy Choices (CPC) opened a center across the street from the abortion clinic, New York Magazine reported that the new center would lure and lie “to persuade women into their center instead, often claiming that their centers can offer the services they may need.” The truth is that CPC offers free ultrasound and real choice, something that is not lost on women. Ashleigh, a woman who went to a central Ohio pregnancy center for help, stated, “When I went there, the lady there was 100 percent non-judgmental and my decision wasn’t going to make them any profit. That’s what I was looking for, someone to talk to who wasn’t going to profit off me or my baby.” Caring Network has no financial interest in a woman’s choice. Our counselors present a woman with all of her options, encouraging her to think through each one and follow her heart. Our skilled team identifies obstacles and explores solutions, offering real help to women in need. That’s real choice!