Daily Dispatches
Pro-lifers gather at San Francisco's Civic Center for the
Associated Press/Photo by Beck Diefenbach
Pro-lifers gather at San Francisco's Civic Center for the "Walk for Life" rally and march.

Vital Signs: Defending state abortion restrictions

Abortion

Questionable donations. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation, the charity arm of the Lutheran fraternal benefit society, has allegedly donated money to pro-abortion organizations through its Thrivent Gift Multiplier program, Life News reported. 

Though Thrivent’s Community Relations won’t approve grants to organizations that support controversial issues, the donations made to Planned Parenthood affiliates and NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota Foundation were categorized under “Health & Wellness” or “Public Benefit,” according to donation information accessed by Life News.

“We are aware of the issue and are reviewing the program,” Thrivent said in a statement. The Gift Multiplier program doubles donations to non-profits by retired and current Thrivent employees. 

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Unconstitutional? A North Carolina federal judge ruled a state ultrasound law unconstitutional Jan. 17. 

The law requires abortion centers to perform an ultrasound four hours before a woman has an abortion. The law doesn’t require the woman to look at the image, but it must be in her view. The medical professional must also describe the image to her in detail. Though the law doesn’t require that the provider express any opinion regarding the image, U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles struck it down, claiming it violates constitutional free speech rights. 

Alysse ElHage, associate director of research for the North Carolina Family Policy Council, told Citizen Link,“Judge Eagles’ injunction … if allowed to stand, places the authority to determine who will benefit from available ultrasound technology squarely in the hands of the abortion industry.”

Law enforcement. Operation Rescue has circulated a petition asking Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to end a 2-year injunction against an abortion facility licensing law. 

The law, passed in 2011, requires abortion facilities to prove they follow state regulations and have the required $500, 1-year license. However, the bill’s last hearing was in August 2012, leaving abortion facilities without oversight from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, according to Operation Rescue. 

“We are appealing to Gov. Brownback to get to the bottom of why this law isn’t being defended,” Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger said in a press release.

Closed. Meanwhile in Ohio, the department of health revoked an abortion facility’s license because it failed to obtain a transfer agreement with a local hospital. 

The Lebanon Road Surgery Center is the first Ohio abortion facility to close since the state’s lawmakers passed legislation prohibiting publicly funded hospitals from having transfer agreements with facilities that provide abortions, according to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. 

The Ohio Department of Health refused Lebanon Road Surgery Center’s request for a reprieve from the transfer requirement in a letter Jan. 17. Though the facility’s attorney said the center legally remains open while it appeals the license revocation, the health department has ordered it to close by Feb. 4.

In person. The Kentucky Senate passed a bill Jan. 22 requiring women to have a “face-to-face” meeting with a medical professional before having an abortion. 

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Sara Beth Gregory, a Republican, told the Courier-Journal that abortion providers have circumvented the current informed consent law by using pre-recorded telephone messages. The measure updates the current law by specifying a face-to-face meeting between a medical professional and the patient, in the same room, 24 hours before the abortion. 

The bill passed the Senate on 33-5 and now goes to the House.

New restrictions in Europe. Spain’s conservative government faces backlash over abortion restrictions proposed in December that would prohibit abortions except in cases of rape or when the mother’s life is threatened. The restrictions would reverse a 2010 law that broadly legalized abortions before the 14th week of pregnancy. 

Most opposition parties and women’s groups vigorously oppose the restrictions. Opponents have demonstrated against it both in Spain and at Spain’s embassy in Paris, The New York Times reported. The restrictions also sparked debate in the European Parliament over the new law’s possible effect on the rest of Europe. Portuguese media outlets expressed concern about a potential influx of women from Spain seeking abortions. 

Although the law still needs parliamentary approval, the Popular Party’s large majority means it is almost certain to pass.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Courtney Crandell
Courtney Crandell

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