Saturday, June 16, 2018

Save The 1 Intervenes in Iowa Heartbeat Case -- Our Hearts Beat Too! By Rebecca Kiessling, with Brad and Jesi Smith


On May 4, 2018, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the Heartbeat Bill into law which would protect unborn children who have a detectable heartbeat, except "when the abortion is medically necessary" and defines "medically necessary" as cases of rape, incest and fetal abnormality, making the abortion provider the sole arbiter of these determinations.  These exceptions were surprisingly added -- allegedly because certain legislators in the House would not sign the bill without exceptions.

Save The 1 is a global pro-life organization of over 600 of us who were conceived in rape, incest or sex trafficking and mothers who became pregnant by rape, incest or sex trafficking who are either raising their children, birth mothers, miscarried, or post-abortive and mourn the loss of their children.  Additionally, we have hundreds who were told by physicians to abort due to a pre-natal diagnosis, along with their children who were targeted by doctors.  We specialize in defending all of the so-called “hard cases” in the abortion debate through sharing our personal stories, and we additionally act as a support network.  The deadly discrimination contained in the exceptions within the Iowa Heartbeat Law hurts us -- because our hearts beat too!

One of our members and a Save The 1 international pro-life speaker, Jennifer Christie -- a mother from rape, testified before a Senate hearing on this bill, which was originally introduced without exceptions.  I testified a year earlier on a life-at-conception bill.   We are grateful to the Iowa Coalition for Life -- a coalition of the major pro-life organizations in Iowa who brought us in to testify and who vigorously opposed the exceptions.  The video of Jennifer's three-minute testimony went viral.  When she heard of the exceptions being added, she was pained and so was I.  

We discussed what our response as an organization should be.  We could cooperate in order that we may have a "seat at the table" and be invited back to Iowa to speak and to testify again on a future bill.  But to what end?  To have another viral video which ultimately is rendered ineffective in gaining any protection for us and our children?  Do we want to be popular, or protected?

Others would like for us to roll over and play dead.  Sometimes it feels like the game is fixed -- like this is the Harlem Globetrotters and we are merely the Washington Generals.  We aren't supposed to cry foul when our players are thrown to the ground.  Politically, many are quite used to us being the sacrificial lamb, and we are supposed to somehow be understanding and cooperative as we are lead to slaughter.

We are told, "It's nothing against you personally," but we are persons, the attack on our very right to life could not possibly be more personal, and of course we will take it personally!

If it were just us who have already been born and merely a matter of our feelings being hurt, perhaps we could somehow "let it go," but there are others who are yet at risk, who are being targeted for killing, who are just as deserving of protection as any of us, and so, we are fighting back.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland recently filed a lawsuit against the state of Iowa, and we are now filing a motion to intervene as necessary third party intervenors "of right" since the current Plaintiff, Planned Parenthood, clearly will not argue on behalf of our interests.  The exceptions within the Iowa Fetal Heartbeat law violate our fundamental right to life, depriving us of due process and equal protection under both the Iowa and U.S. constitutions.  Thankfully, there is a severability clause in the legislation so that the offending provisions can be severed and the remainder of the law upheld.  We have three attorneys representing Save The 1:  Erin Mersino -- a pro-life constitutional law attorney from Michigan with the Great Lakes Justice Center, Eric Borseth -- an attorney from Iowa and a board member of Personhood Iowa, and myself.

As a pro-life attorney, this is why I went to law school.  While attending Wayne State law school, I wrote what has been for decades the #1-ranked philosophical abortion essay, "The Right of the Unborn Child Not to be Unjustly Killed -- a philosophy of rights approach."  If I can't defend my own right to life in court, then what is the point of being a pro-life attorney?  What is the point of being alive?  Just to be selfish and live my life without caring about others who are yet at risk?  I was protected by Michigan law when my birth mother sought to kill me at two illegal abortions.  As a rape victim, she was not offered any help or hope -- just abortion.  My life was spared for a purpose, and for such a time as this I will use my life, my talents, my expertise and law degree to save others.

The discriminatory language in the Iowa Heartbeat law defines "medically necessary" as cases in which:

a. The pregnancy which is the result of a rape which is reported within forty-five days of the incident to a law enforcement  agency or to a public or private health agency which may include a family physician.

b. The pregnancy is the result of incest which is reported within one hundred forty days of the incident to a law enforcement agency or to a public or private health agency which may include a family physician.

c. Any spontaneous abortion, commonly known as a miscarriage, if not all of the products of conception are expelled.

d. The attending physician certifies that the fetus has a fetal abnormality that in the physician’s reasonable medical judgment is incompatible with life. 

Interestingly, among the bill’s definitions, rape, incest, fetal abnormality and incompatible with life are not included or even cross-referenced with other sections of the Iowa code, as other definitions are cross-referenced.  So the abortion providers get to decide what they deem to qualify as rape, incest and incompatible with life.

The rape, incest and fetal abnormality exceptions are based upon a fabrication that aborting these unborn children is “medically necessary.”  Not one witness testified in the Senate hearing as to such a medical necessity.  This language was added to appease state representatives in the House who said they would not approve the bill without language that excludes these children from protection.   In other words, the legislative intent was that they believed it was politically necessary – not medically necessary, if they were being honest.  The language not only excludes innocent children from protection, doing so under a faulty premise, but really was intended merely to protect certain politicians and nothing to do with protecting pregnant mothers.

The abortion physician is given the power to decide whether the unborn child has a fetal abnormality and whether the living unborn child with a detectable heartbeat is somehow “incompatible with life.”  These preborn children are actually disabled children, and as such, should be protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Additionally, and equally as troubling, the report of the rape and/or incest merely needs to be made to the “public or private health agency” – in other words, to the abortion clinic.  So the abortion clinic becomes the sole arbiter of whether a woman was raped and whether her child is to suffer the death penalty for the alleged crimes of his or her biological father, with no guidelines provided within the legislation.  This clearly lacks due process and fails to provide equal protection.


The third prong of the exceptions doesn't even make sense at all, because the law only applies when there is a fetal heartbeat.  So how could this possibly be a spontaneous abortion situation when there's a beating heart?  In so many respects, the exception provisions are extremely poorly written law.

The targeting of our people groups for exclusion of protection, and in fact, for state-approved killing is clearly discriminatory.  The sting of this discrimination not only affects every unborn child who is deemed to fit into these legislative categories of rape, incest or fetal abnormality, but is lifelong – affecting every person born who was conceived in rape or given a challenging pre-natal diagnosis by a physician.  Additionally, it causes anguish to the mothers who became pregnant by rape or who were told by doctors to abort.  They grieve at how their children are so quickly devalued by politicians and within the law.

Permitting abortion for rape, incest and fetal abnormalities sends a message to our people groups that our lives are worth less than anyone else’s.  Imagine having an exception in cases of Asian babies, Jewish babies, or left-handed babies.  The message sent is that these people are not worthy of living and did not deserve to be protected like everyone else.  There would be an international outcry if such discrimination against these other people groups were even proposed.  Yet, it is the same for us, and we feel the sting of such hatred against or apathy toward our lives. 

The rape survivor mothers and those told by doctors to abort grieve how their children are systematically targeted and devalued.  The rape victim mothers are not believed they were raped because they didn’t abort and because they actually love their children. 

We appreciate concern for pregnant rape victims, but they are four times more likely to die within the next year after an abortion, as opposed to giving birth.  In Dr. David Reardon’s book, Victims andVictors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children ResultingFrom Sexual Assault, he cites the research done on the subject.  After an abortion, rape victims have higher rates of murder, suicide, drug overdose, etc..  Rapists, child molesters and sex traffickers love abortion, which destroys the evidence and enables them to continue perpetrating.  Sexual predators depend upon abortion clinics because the abortion protects them – not the pregnant rape victim.

Tragically, it is at times a girl’s own mother who has been either trafficking her or leaving her unprotected.  It is always the baby who exposes the rape, who delivers the pregnant mother out of the abusive situation, protecting her and bringing her healing.  If the legislators truly  care about rape victims,  then they must protect her from the rapist and from the abortion, and not the baby!  Her baby is not the enemy, despite what the legislated exceptions suggest.

In regards to a diagnosis of “incompatible with life” – it is impossible to be such when you are still living.  Physicians who peddle abortion are truly the ones with fatal heart defects, often failing to treat the children of parents who refused to abort.  A eugenics mentality becomes pervasive when you allow abortion.  For parents who are told by doctors to abort, the pressure is tremendous – and not just during the pregnancy, but after the child is born when doctors often refuse to treat their disabled child. 
The purpose of the Americans with Disabilities Act is to guaranty that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion.  Accordingly, as a suspect class, the offending provisions against disabled children within the Iowa Heartbeat Bill should be subject to strict scrutiny.

The Iowa Heartbeat bill’s bewildering exceptions legislate extreme and inexplicable hatred toward disabled children in the womb, as well as those conceived in rape or incest.  Prenatal testing -- instead of being used to treat and heal -- is used for search and destroy missions for those with medically identifiable disabilities.  Iowa legislators have now authorized doctors to commit genocide against an entire people group, decreasing their voices and representation within society. 

This deliberate targeting and killing of our people groups also results in doubt being cast upon rape victims for not aborting “like a true rape victim would”, and the “blaming” of parents for not aborting their disabled children who are seen within much of the medical community as a burden on the health care system – much like the Nazi regime which employed the medical designation of “lebensunwertes leben” (“life unworthy of life”), referring to the disabled as “useless eaters.”

Using terminology such as “fetal abnormality” or “incompatible with life“ as classifications for children with disability is deceiving and treacherous treatment from a government which claims its citizens have equal protection under the law.  Born children and adults are treated by some physicians as “incompatible with life,” and doctors and hospitals point to “medical futility policies” in order to justify discrimination against these disabled individuals.  This deadly eugenics is alive and well today in the United States, and now codified in Iowa by the exceptions within this new law.

Physicians’ predictions are not medical certainty and denying the right to life and equal protection to entire groups of disabled children based on an abortion doctor’s best guess is not medical science.  Bias and arrogance of those who wish to promote biological superiority through the destruction of disabled children in the womb brings new meaning to the words biological warfare.  

A child’s God-given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should never be denied because of his or her disability or circumstances of conception.  His or her value is not based on what he or she is able to do or the behavior of his or her parents; rather, it is based on his or her humanity and that the child has been endowed by his or her Creator with these inalienable rights.

We’ve had parents within our organization who refused to abort and were told by doctors:
 “The only further testing you will receive is an autopsy,”
“If your child is born not breathing, we won’t resuscitate,” and
“Your child has already outlived her life expectancy.”
Some parents have endured others looking at their disabled child in their arms and asking, “Didn’t you get any pre-natal testing?”

The clear expectation and even obligation is to abort.  The Iowa legislature has now codified this deadly discrimination.

Since the government has not done its duty to protect disabled children in the womb, they are also targeted after leaving the womb.  Many children have medical treatments withheld and denied leading to their death simply because they have a disability. 

Children conceived in rape are often called dehumanizing names such as:

“Demon seed,” “evil seed,” “horrible reminder,” “rapist’s child” (an insult to every rape victim mother who knows that this is her child,) “monster’s child,” “demon spawn,” “Satan’s child,” “tainting the gene pool,” and on and on.  The exceptions within the Iowa Fetal Heartbeat law suggest there is something inherently different about the child conceived in rape that they would be unworthy of protection.  To legislate that aborting us is "medically necessary" further suggests that we are somehow medically harming our mothers -- furthering the notion that we are somehow the ones raping our mothers.  But we are entirely innocent and we plead our innocence.

While some states like Michigan, Georgia and Nebraska do not have a single rape exception within the law, there are other jurisdictions where the child conceived in rape is singled-out and systematically targeted for extermination.  This lack of equal protection undeniably feeds into the discrimination within the culture.  It codifies hatred, fear and prejudice against an innocent child.
 
A civilized nation must protect the lives of the innocent and disabled child, not target them for extermination and codify hatred.   It is barbaric to punish an innocent child for someone else’s crime.  The legislature should focus on punishing rapists, not babies and the Court must focus on protecting lives of the innocent and not the careers of politicians or interests of the abortion industry.  More violence does not bring healing, but only more pain, more destruction and a less empathetic society.

Given that there was no testimony before the Iowa legislature from physicians or expert witnesses to suggest that denying equal protection and due process for our people groups is somehow a “medical necessity,” it is impossible for the state to claim even a rational basis for the violation of the most fundamental right.   For the disabled unborn child, the state cannot claim any sort of governmental interest in codifying eugenics, and certainly not a compelling governmental interest.  Assuming medical necessity based upon faulty assumptions is deadly, and must not stand as a basis for violating the right to life and equal protection of the laws.

As far as we know, this is the first time in the U.S. and even globally that a group of people like us has defended our own right to life in court.  To every legislator nationwide who wants to target our people group within pro-life legislation:  we are united, we have a voice, and we will fight back!

BIO:  Rebecca Kiessling, conceived in rape, is a pro-life attorney, international pro-life 
speaker, wife and mother of 5.  She is the president and founder of Save The 1.  








Brad and Jesi Smith, Save The 1 pro-life speakers contributed.  Their youngest daughter, Faith, was born with Trisomy 18.  They were behind the Good Faith Medical Act passed in Michigan -- the first of its kind in the nation.




Saturday, May 19, 2018

More False Information from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, by Rachel Mary Guy

As I was scrolling through the Facebook page of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology I found an article done by Northwestern University.

According to a Northwestern University national survey on Teens, Technology, and Health, 84% of teens have gotten health information online. In addition to recommending teens see a Gynecologist before age 21, ACOG also has an entire patient FAQ section dedicated to questions and health concerns specific to teens.

I found it quite concerning as I looked at the flier done by ACOG also talking about the reasons why it is important for women to see a GYN before 21. Some of the topics they covered were LGBTQ, trans gender, bisexual, and "pregnancy options" (talking about abortion, adoption and parenting).  The site goes on to mention women's "options" talking about the way to keep their baby safe if they are parenting or talking about the option of adoption. ACOG mentions abortion as the first listed option when going over again the "options" for a pregnant woman. They say, "If you choose to have an abortion, it should be done early in pregnancy when there are fewer risks. If you have a medical condition, pregnancy may pose risks to your health and increase the risk of complications for the baby." There are two concerns and false information given.  First, abortion is not "safer" when it is done earlier. There are even more emotional effects on women who have abortions earlier particularly women who take RU-486 because they are the ones doing the abortion, their home is the abortion clinic and they often see their dead child. Also abortion is never necessary to "save a woman's life."

Also ACOG never mentions the side effects of abortion and their description of one claims the procedure to be "safe" yet they never explain what actually happens to the child and they never give the side affects of what truly happens to women after an abortion.

Sarah Torez wrote this Live Action article which talks about a woman's experience at an abortion clinic. This blog talks about the effects of a late term abortion on women. In Live Action's article it states, "Studies show that post-abortive women are 65 percent more likely to suffer from depression. Two studies based on medical records found that post-abortive women were six to seven times more likely to commit suicide. Other studies have linked abortion with post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disturbances, and substance abuse." (https://www.liveaction.org/news/blogger-writes-intense-suffering-women-late-term-abortions/)

Here is the description from ACOG:

"In an abortion procedure, the embryo or fetus is removed from a woman’s uterus. If you decide to have an abortion, it should be done as early as possible. After 12 weeks, an abortion requires more steps and takes longer to perform.

What are the different types of abortion procedures?
Some abortion procedures are done by surgery. Some are done with medication. The type of abortion you have depends on your choice, your health, and how long you have been pregnant. See the FAQ Induced Abortion for detailed information about each type of abortion procedure.

When can each type of abortion be performed?
The most common type of surgical abortion is called vacuum aspiration. It can be performed up to 14 weeks of pregnancy in a health care provider’s office or clinic.

After 14 weeks of pregnancy, the abortion procedure is called a dilation and evacuation (D&E). A D&E takes longer to perform than a vacuum aspiration and it may require more than one visit. This procedure can be done in a health care provider’s office, clinic, or hospital. You usually can go home within a few hours after the procedure is completed.

In a medical abortion, certain drugs are taken to cause an abortion. For this option, a woman usually must be no more than 9 weeks pregnant.

What are the risks associated with abortion?
In general, abortion is a low-risk procedure. Risks and complications depend on how early the abortion is done and the method that is used. Fewer than 1 in 100 women have complications from an abortion performed before 14 weeks of pregnancy. For later abortions, up to 2 in 100 women have complications. In most cases, the risks from an abortion are less than the risks of giving birth to a baby. Most health care providers agree that having one abortion does not affect later pregnancies or a woman’s future health. However, the longer a woman waits to have an abortion, the more risk it carries for her.

What should I expect after having an abortion?
You usually will have a follow-up visit with your health care provider after the abortion. Be aware that you can get pregnant soon after having an abortion. You should use a birth control method to prevent pregnancy right away."

Glossary

Former abortionist explains to Live Action founder Lila Rose, "https://www.abortionprocedures.com/questions/"

Friday, May 4, 2018

Iowa Heartbeat Bill: The Exceptions Speak for Themselves by Sarah St. Onge

Iowa Heartbeat Bill: The Exceptions Speak for Themselves, by Sarah St. Onge


Last month Ben Shapiro shared a video clip showing a mother speaking passionately about the value of her son’s life. Having conceived her son during a violent sexual assault, Jennifer Christie has bravely stood up to defend his right to life a number of times at rallies and before a variety of state legislatures.

Her words were well received by most pro-life believers. But her passion was evidently not enough to persuade Iowa lawmakers, and the Iowa Heartbeat Bill was passed with exceptions for rape and serious fetal anomaly. 

If we can ignore the glaring discrimination, the passage of Iowa’s heartbeat bill was a watershed moment in pro-life advocacy. While the bill still hasn’t been signed into law, it sent a strong message out to the rest of the country: we can pass restrictive pro-life legislation in a state which is not necessarily conservative. It would seem to be a shining achievement for the pro-life movement. 


But with the exceptions, the bill sent another message: A message of exclusion for those conceived in rape or who have been diagnosed with a serious birth defect, and there have been some who’ve spoken out against that message, including Ms. Christie herself.

Watch HERE.

Viewing the very personal video, seeing the visceral reaction the news has provoked in her, leaves the watcher feeling a bit less certain about whether the Iowa bill is as great as it seems. 

We move on to a statement from Rebecca Kiessling who, with tears in her eyes and audible distress in her voice, explains the emotional toll these
Sarah St. Onge with Rebecca Kiessling and Darlene Pawlik
exceptions take on her.


Watch HERE.

As a strong and outspoken representative of those conceived in rape, her words add an element of intimacy to the proceedings which highlight the fact we’re speaking of real people: children conceived during a sexual assault aren’t just a philosophical concept -- they’re our friends, neighbors, and loved ones. They deserve equal protection under the law -- the same protections you or I deserve.

Last, we hear from me, Sarah St. Onge.

Watch HERE.

My daughter was diagnosed with a lethal birth defect before birth. Exceptionally frustrated with the liberties lawmakers take in excluding children like mine from protection, I want to know why we continue to place these exceptions into laws we are writing. Why not leave the picking and choosing to the pro-choice side? Why ruin our reputation with an inconsistent message regarding the value of an unborn child? 

With the wealth of information available about the life of the unborn, it’s foolish for us to continue on the discriminatory path we are headed down. Rarely, if ever, do these exceptions get removed once they’re in place. We are sentencing valuable, wanted, and fragile innocents to death. There is no excuse for this -- the time for political maneuvering should come when we meet those who oppose us on the floor, and not before we've even put an offer on the table.

We beg you to continue to help us fight for our rights, and the rights of our children, to have equal protection under the law, like all other American citizens. 

BIO:  Sarah St. Onge is a mother and pro-life blogger for Save The 1.  She blogs on faith, grief, loss, and pro-life issues pertaining to continuing a pregnancy after a lethal anomaly has been diagnosed, at www.shebringsjoy.com.