News from the front

"News from the front" Continued...

Issue: "Roe v. Wade turns 40," Jan. 26, 2013

5. Susan G. Komen in crisis 

Executives at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation hoped for a quiet breakup when they told Planned Parenthood not to expect a repeat of the $680,000 in grants Komen had given the abortion provider in 2011. Instead, they endured an orchestrated attack campaign, with Planned Parenthood in January alerting media of Komen’s decision and accusing the breast cancer organization of defunding lifesaving screenings for low-income women.

Never mind that Planned Parenthood’s role in fighting breast cancer is peripheral, or that $680,000 represents a sliver of the abortion giant’s over $1 billion budget. Under pressure from liberal media and pro-abortion activists who raised a ruckus on social networks, the Komen board caved within three days and decided the organization wouldn’t rule out future grants to the abortion provider.

The imbroglio carried three benefits. First, many learned Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms, despite its boasts about preventing breast cancer. Second, although Komen’s cave-in damaged its reputation among abortion opponents, the crisis let other organizations know what might happen if they bankrolled Planned Parenthood then tried to back out. Third, after pro-life Karen Handel, Komen’s senior vice president of public policy, resigned during the debacle, she wrote Planned Bullyhood, a book exposing the abortion provider’s Mafia-style tactics.

6. Pushing euthanasia 

Euthanasia figures released in 2012 showed troubling yet predictable trends in the Netherlands and Belgium, the first two nations to legalize the practice. In the Netherlands euthanasia deaths doubled from 2006 to 2011, reaching 3,695 that year. (The actual figure may be 4,500 since doctors don’t always report such deaths.)

Euthanasia accounts for nearly 3 percent of deaths in the Netherlands. In March a Dutch organization launched the “End of Life Clinic,” intended to send out mobile suicide assistance teams to the sick who cannot find a doctor willing to prescribe lethal drugs.

In Belgium, euthanasia deaths rose to 1,133 in 2011—tripling the country’s 2005 total. Apparently not content with that figure, Belgium lawmakers last month proposed legislation that would permit minors and people with Alzheimer’s disease to die under the 11-year-old euthanasia law.

The push to do away with the ailing wasn’t confined to Europe. In Massachusetts, advocates of assisted suicide placed a referendum on the Nov. 6 election ballot proposing to make the state the third, after Washington and Oregon, to legalize physician-assisted suicide. Voters rejected the measure, but just barely: Forty-nine percent were in support.

7. Defunding abortionists 

Ten states since 2011 have passed legislation or taken administrative action to strip abortion providers of tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding, according to the Susan B. Anthony List. Last year Planned Parenthood waged courtroom warfare against defunding efforts in Indiana and Texas.

Indiana legislators two years ago barred abortion providers from receiving Medicaid funds, even if the money was earmarked for services other than abortion. Planned Parenthood sued the state, and last October a federal appeals court sided with the abortion provider, blocking the defunding attempt. The three-judge panel ruled that since Planned Parenthood provides services other than abortion, such as medical exams and cancer screenings, complete defunding would interfere with Medicaid recipients’ “free choice of providers.”

“The state provides low-income women a primary care physician who can do everything Planned Parenthood clinics can and more,” said Sue Swayze, the legislative director at Indiana Right to Life. “It is bogus to say that they can’t get services elsewhere.”

After Texas lawmakers voted to disqualify groups that perform abortions—or their affiliates—from receiving Medicaid funds under the state’s Women’s Health Program, the Obama administration announced it would withhold federal funding for the program. Gov. Rick Perry pledged to continue paying for women’s health services out of state coffers, but Planned Parenthood, in multiple lawsuits filed in 2012 against Texas, urged state and federal judges to restore the organization’s ability to receive Medicaid funds. At the end of the year, the Texas Women’s Health Program was set to proceed without Planned Parenthood’s participation, with another court hearing on the matter scheduled for Jan. 11.

8. Abortion creep in Ireland 

Activists pushed abortion in Northern Ireland last year, with its first private abortion center opening amid pro-life protests in October. Abortion in Northern Ireland, a U.K. territory, is illegal unless a doctor declares a pregnancy would cause the mother long-term physical or emotional harm. The new abortion facility in Belfast, run by the Marie Stopes organization, is testing the law’s limit by offering drug-induced abortions for women up to nine weeks pregnant.

The adjoining Republic of Ireland took steps to legalize abortion in limited cases after the October death of Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old immigrant from India. Halappanavar’s husband claimed that after she arrived at a Galway hospital while suffering a miscarriage, doctors refused to abort her 17-week unborn baby for three days while the baby’s heart was still beating. (Investigators have not yet confirmed the husband’s account.) After the baby died, Halappanavar died of a septicemia infection.

— with reporting by Rachel Lynn Aldrich & Jim Edsall


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