Please bring a heavy hors d’oeuvre or a dessert to share.
Reminder, we continue to have our weekly prayer conference calls. You can join us on the 1st and 3rd Thursday and 2nd and 4th Tuesday evenings at 8:00 PM. The call in number is 712-770-4010 and the access code is 444570. Please mark your calendars for these times and join us!
Ready to start the week with extremely encouraging news? Here it is! 40 Days for Life campaign leaders tell us that so far this campaign … 289 babies have been spared from abortion – that we know of!
We can only wonder how many mothers have turned away from abortion that only God knows about. Since He’s a good and merciful God … we have to believe there are many more!
Yuba City, California
“Praise the Lord!” said one of the California leaders. “Two babies were saved from abortion at the Yuba City 40 Days for Life!”
Both of these young women went to Planned Parenthood for pregnancy tests. They were being pressured … feeling distraught … and considering the abortion pill.
Thankfully, one of the volunteers was able to provide life-affirming encouragement – giving the women information about fetal development, directing them to a pro-life pregnancy help center and exchanging contact information so they could get back in touch.
One of the women did just that, sending back a text message after her visit to the help center.
“Thank you again!” she wrote. “I’m so incredibly thankful you guys were out there that day. You guys knew the exact words to make me feel better. And I knew you guys would as soon as I pulled up. God really does work in such amazing ways!”
Austin is taking part in 40 Days for Life for the 19th time … pausing at the mid-point of the campaign for a candlelight vigil “to give thanks for the blessings we’ve seen … to be motivated … and to pray for all of those affected by abortion.”
And those blessings include “four moms (so far) that had scheduled an abortion but changed their minds and chose life,” said Heather in Austin.
There have been dozens more that have stopped to talk to counselors. Heather noted a common theme from the women they’ve spoken to.
“‘It’s so expensive here!’ is what we keep hearing about the abortion facilities,” she said. “Your presence matters!”
“We had a turnaround!” said Therese in Portland.
A mother arrived at the abortion center with her teenage daughter. “I saw them go in,” Therese said, “but wasn’t able to hand them any information.”
About an hour and a half later, the mom came back out. “When I asked if I could give her any resources, she said no, she didn’t need any. She said her daughter had changed her mind.”
“She didn’t do it,” the mother said. “She decided not to do it.” She also said it was a hard decision for her daughter. “It’s the father that’s the problem,” she murmured.
The volunteers promised to help … and to pray. The mother and daughter left smiling.
LifeNews.com Note: Shawn Carney is the campaign director for the 40 Days for Life pro-life prayer campaign against abortion.
I had big dreams when this year started. We were going to change or repeal Obamacare with its many abortion-expanding provisions, and we were going to remove federal taxpayer subsidies for the more than 1,000 insurance plans that cover elective abortion.
We were also going to block the roughly half a billion federal-taxpayer dollars Planned Parenthood receives annually through Medicaid and various other programs.
That hasn’t happened and many pro-lifers are understandably disappointed. After all, we wanted to overturn in less than a year what had taken the Obama Administration years to put into place.
But pro-lifers are nothing if not resilient. Working with congressional pro-life leadership, we will diligently continue to undo the damage inflicted on unborn babies by eight years of President Obama. That also includes huge assists from the administration of President Trump.
Although Obamacare is still the law of the land, the Department of Health and Human Services has taken a major step toward enforcing a portion of the law ignored and unenforced by the Obama administration.
HHS has announced that qualified health plan issuers must segregate collected premiums to pay for abortion coverage; that enrollees be informed if abortions are covered by a health plan; and that HHS will fully enforce these requirements as a step toward ensuring that federal tax dollars are not used to subsidize coverage for elective abortion.
Before leaving office, President Obama issued a regulation to prevent states from redirecting Title X funds away from providers deemed unsuitable, such as Planned Parenthood. The House and the Senate employed the Congressional Review Act and voted to nullify these regulations, thereby restoring authority to the states to direct Title X funds to providers they deem suitable. President Trump signed that bill into law in April.
In addition, we started off 2017 with President Trump not only re-issuing the Mexico City Policy, gutted by President Obama, but expanding it into the new “Promoting Life in Global Health Assistance.” This initiative will apply pro-life conditions to a broad range of health-related U.S. foreign aid.
The Mexico City Policy required that, in order to be eligible for certain types of foreign aid, a private organization must sign a contract promising not to perform abortions, not to lobby to overturn pro-life laws in other countries, or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning. The new Assistance policy greatly expands the array of overseas health programs that are now covered by pro-life policy.
Right-to-Lifers applauded a momentous move by the Senate, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), to require only a simple majority to confirm a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. As you are aware, Senate Democrats were using the filibuster to prevent a confirmation vote on Neil Gorsuch to the Court. By changing the rules, the Senate is now able to confirm a judge to any federal court by a majority vote, rather than the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster.
One of our top priorities remains enactment of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. That legislation has passed the House of Representatives and has been introduced into the Senate by Sen. Lindsey Graham.
There is no question that passage in the Senate will be difficult. I encourage all pro-lifers to contact their senators, even the staunchly pro-abortion senators, letting them know there is strong support for the bill among their constituents.
Thirty-three states have senate races next year. Every voter in those states should know which candidates support the killing of unborn babies who have developed to the point of being able to feel pain during an abortion. Are incumbent senators, or challengers to the incumbents, supporting the radical position of the abortion industry that says there should be no limits whatsoever on abortion?
You can help to make sure that information becomes public knowledge. Ask the candidates where they stand on the issue, and do it in a public setting, like at a forum where the candidate takes questions from the audience. If candidates are being interviewed on a radio show and listeners are able to call in to ask questions, get out your phone, dial the station, and ask that question.
If you have built a friendly relationship with a local reporter who covers campaigns, ask them to bring up the topic in an interview. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is a federal bill awaiting action in the Senate. How would the senator, or other candidate, vote on the bill?
We can’t let candidates slip by with some mumbo-jumbo about “reproductive rights” or being “pro-choice.” We need to know exactly where the candidates stand and how they will vote on specific legislation if elected.
Babies’ lives are on the line. That’s why we won’t give up. That’s why we will keep on keeping on. The babies deserve no less.
Many of us have worn it, and others have surely seen it — the iconic pro-life “Precious Feet” pin. But what’s the story behind this symbol?
In the early 1970’s, Dr. Russell Sacco, a urologist from Oregon at the time, was aware of abortion prior to Roe v. Wade because of those who were speaking out on the topic. “I knew as a doctor that abortion kills children; they kill human beings,” he stated in an interview published on Vimeo.
Dr. Sacco said he began reading “anatomical books,” and when the Supreme Court ruled that murdering the preborn was “legal,” the doctor became, in his words, “furious.”
It was shortly after this that Sacco met a pathologist who was also anti-abortion. This pathologist “… was supposed to take the children that had been killed and destroy the bodies. But he told me that he didn’t do that; he just didn’t like to do that.”
Dr. Sacco’s image of aborted baby
Dr. Sacco said that this pathologist had preserved the babies’ bodies in a bucket of formaldehyde, which he showed Sacco. “… [I]n the bucket were about seven or eight infant bodies. It was a little bit shocking for me to see that but, there they were.”
Dr. Sacco asked the pathologist if he could photograph the babies “so that I could put it on slides and I could go around and give talks on how we should save and protect the prenatal children.”
Dr. Sacco’s image of aborted baby
Dr. Sacco said he took out “one body at a time” to photograph them. Then, he catalogued each child and their estimated ages.
“Then, one of the ones I decided to take was one that I would hold just the child’s feet between my fingers,” which Sacco says he did for scale. “So, I put my fingers on that so that you could identify the size of my hand – then you could identify the feet of the children.”
After developing the film, he discovered that the images of the feet were “better than I had thought. I really thought that… maybe God did that one for me.”
The image, which Dr. Sacco refused to copyright so it could be used worldwide, has been referred to as “Tiny Feet,” “Little Feet,” and “Precious Feet.”
Dr. Sacco’s picture of aborted baby feet
But it was in Dr. Sacco’s meeting with Dr. John Willke that this photograph became famous.
Willke has been described by some as the father of the pro-life movement; he founded Cincinnati Right to Life in 1970, and later joined National Right to Life’s board. In 1991, he founded the Life Issues Institute and served there until his death in 2014. A tribute published by National Right to Life says Willke, a devout Catholic, “helped form the foundation of right-to-life educational efforts through the development of the ‘Willke slides’ on fetal development and abortion…”
Dr. and Mrs. John C Willke (Photo: Cincinnati Right to Life Tribute Video)
In 1971, Dr. Sacco attended a speech given by Dr. Willke to the California Pro-life Council. After the event, several attendees and organizers were sitting and chatting in the hotel. Dr. Willke sat on the floor next to the couch due to a lack of seating in the room, and directly behind him was Dr. Sacco. Dr. and Mrs. Willke recounted what happened next in their book, Abortion and the Pro-life Movement, an Inside View:
Almost casually he [Dr. Sacco] said to Jack [Dr. Willke], “You might be interested in a few slides I’ve taken. ” He fished into his briefcase and came out with a few Kodachrome slides.
One by one, Jack held them up to the light of the lamp. One of them was “Tiny Feet.” Jack was fascinated. Could he have a copy? Could he use it? Dr. Sacco generously agreed.
Dr. Willke used that image in his book Handbook on Abortion. Following that, the picture was printed in early pro-life brochures such as “Life and Death” and “Did you Know?” The photo soon “went viral,” as they say, and was published in countless flyers, books and pamphlets.
That photo then inspired an Arizona couple, Ellis and Virginia Evers, the founders of Heritage House, which now offers the pins for purchase:
On January 22, 1974 Virginia and Ellis Evers ran across a full page ad in their local newspaper in San Diego, California. Prominent in the ad was a picture of the tiny feet of a ten week old unborn baby held between a man’s fingers and thumb. Inspired by the remarkable photo, Virginia Evers felt these little feet would be the ideal Pro-Life symbol. With love and dedication for the unborn, Virginia designed the “Precious Feet” lapel pin.
Dr. Willke was at first unsure of becoming a pro-life activist. But that soon changed. In an interview with LifeSite News, he recalls his reply to Fr. Paul Marx, who asked him in 1970 what he was doing about abortion.
“If we get caught up in this, it will swallow us up. No thank you,” Dr. Willke told Fr. Marx, the founder of Human Life International. “I was perfectly content to be a family physician and deliver a lot of babies,” he told LifeSite News in that 2010 interview.
Then, after receiving an invitation to speak on abortion, he said that when he agreed, he swore it would be “just once.” He was then asked to take an interview about abortion. “Just once,” he told the invitee.
But the invitations continued to pour in, and by 1971, the Willke’s had published their first book, Handbook on Abortion, which quickly sold out at a leadership conference they attended, going on to sell millions of copies. “And we’ve been on the treadmill ever since,” Willke said.
That book was instrumental in educating many on the issue of abortion in those early days. In fact, it was an image of an aborted child published in that book which inspired Live Action’s founder, Lila Rose, to become a pro-life activist.
“When I was a young girl, I had an encounter with abortion where I actually came across the image of a child who’d been the victim of a first trimester suction abortion,” Rose recalled. “You can very clearly see a child, with tiny formed arms, little tiny legs and this tiny little face, but who had been torn apart. As a nine-year-old, my heart was just cut; I thought, ‘Is this real? Is this really happening?’ I wanted to understand why it was happening….”
As Dr. Willke spoke to crowds and medical professionals, he would vividly describe the horrifying detail about the violent act of abortion. Willke used slides of fetal photos he had obtained from physicians sympathetic to the cause. About the same time, abortion victim imagery was being introduced to the pro-life movement as a vital educational tool.
“Pro-lifers understand that if the descriptions were effective, photographs would be even more so,” author Daniel K. Williams recounted in his history of those early years, summarized in his book, Defenders of the Unborn.
“It was Jack [John] Willke’s use of images that proved especially effective,” he wrote.
Williams pointed out that Dr. Willke made some of the first pro-life documentary films, including one that contained footage of early vacuum aspiration abortion. “The image of the fetus being sucked into the tube and whisked away was particularly powerful,” Williams wrote.
“To those who objected to graphic representations of abortions,” Williams wrote, “Willke had a ready answer: the pro-life movement would win its argument only if it confronted the public with the full horror of what abortion really entailed.”
And so the “Precious Feet” impacted future generations, bringing to light the truth: that abortion kills very real human beings.
“This remarkable little pin has been responsible for countless people changing their minds on abortion,” the Willkes wrote of the pin, created by the Evers family — an iconic symbol of the pro-life movement and what we are fighting for.
Editor’s note. October is Down syndrome Awareness Month. We are posting stories, just like this one, all month. This comes from our friends at the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children—SPUC.
A video of Heidi addressing a parliamentary rally went viral, gathering nearly 200,000 views on social media
Heidi Crowter is a 20-year-old woman from Coventry who happens to have Down’s syndrome. She lives independently, works in a hair salon and loves to laugh.
Last week she attended a rally outside Parliament organised by ‘Don’t Screen Us Out’, protesting against the potential introduction of a controversial new pre-natal test for Down’s syndrome and urging Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, to join their cause.
A video captured of Heidi talking at the rally [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PICqpPREZOU] has gone viral since it was uploaded to social media, gathering nearly 200,000 views. In it, she calls for equal protection of unborn children with disabilities and asks Jeremy Hunt not to introduce the new test, which campaigners believe is likely to lead to an increase of 92 abortions for Down’s syndrome annually.
A source at the rally told SPUC: “It was so emotionally powerful being at the rally. I was there chanting ‘don’t screen them out’, but Heidi was next to me saying ‘don’t screen us out’ – and that really hit home. It’s not abstract for her – in different circumstances she could have been killed because of this pre-natal screening.”
“All life is precious … we deserve to live”
Now the BBC has picked up on the story too. In the video below [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSB2dTOW9Tw], Heidi explains why she’s speaking out:
“I wanted to get across that all life is precious and it doesn’t matter if you have a disability. And I want to get across to Jeremy Hunt: ‘don’t screen us out’; that we are precious and that we deserve to live.”
Heidi’s mum Liz explained further:
“At the moment, when a baby is diagnosed with Down’s syndrome, after an amniocentesis, which is at about 20 weeks, over 90% of mothers choose to terminate. So there are already fewer babies with Down’s syndrome being born.”
“I live life to the full”
Supporters of the UK’s abortion law will argue that abortion needs to remain legal up to birth because people born with Down’s syndrome and other ‘severe’ disabilities – such as spina bifida, cleft palate and club foot – are not capable of living fulfilling lives.
But Heidi’s view is clear:
“I live life to the full, I don’t ever let it hold me back, and I love every day.”
New York City pro-life advocates asked a court to dismiss a lawsuit by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that could chip away at their freedom of speech.
The lawsuit involves pro-lifers from Rock Church who stand outside the Choices Women’s Medical Center, an abortion clinic in Jamaica, Queens.
Schneiderman said he wants to “limit” physical contact between patients and the pro-life advocates, Townhall reports. He claims the pro-lifers have harassed people by calling women murderers and pinning them against a wall. In the lawsuit, Schneiderman also accuses pro-lifers of giving women pictures of “mangled fetuses” and trying to block the abortion clinic’s doors.
But lawyers representing the pro-life sidewalk counselors say Schneiderman’s claims are “meritless,” and the pro-life advocates reach out to women peacefully, offering information and encouragement.
WND News reports the pro-life advocates filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit this month.
Liberty Counsel, which is representing the pro-lifers, said the sidewalk counselors approach women with compassion as they try to persuade them to “change their minds about seeking an abortion by communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
The pro-life legal group said it is clear that Schneiderman has an agenda. During a press conference announcing the lawsuit in June, the pro-abortion attorney general claimed pro-life Christians “run their mouths” with “unlawful, un-American rhetoric,” the group said in a news release. He also refers to them as “anti-choice” in the lawsuit.
“It is obvious Attorney General Schneiderman abhors the Christian, pro-life message of our client and is willing to twist the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act to silence any opposition to abortion,” said Roger Gannam, Liberty Counsel’s assistant vice president of legal affairs. “It is inexcusable for the highest legal officer of the State of New York to declare war on free speech and the pro-life message, and we hope the court will turn back this assault on our most cherished liberties.”
The New York attorney general’s office wants the court to grant civil penalties and damages against 14 people for allegedly harassing abortion clinic staff and patients. He claims their sidewalk counseling tactics are “horrifying” and “illegal.”
“The law guarantees women the right to control their own bodies and access the reproductive health care they need, without obstruction. We’ll do what it takes to protect those rights for women across New York,” Schneiderman said, previously.
Andrew Bath, general counsel at Thomas More Society, which also is representing the pro-life advocates, said Schneiderman’s claims are “meritless,” and emphasized that they are defending pro-lifers rights to peacefully protest abortion and educate women about their unborn babies.
“The New York Attorney General’s suit seeks to deny our clients their fundamental First Amendment rights and is without factual or legal basis,” Bath said in a statement in June. “We will vigorously defend our clients’ right to continue to peacefully deliver a pro-life message to abortion-minded women on the public sidewalk, and will seek dismissal of the State of New York’s meritless attempt to deny our clients the rights guaranteed them by our Constitution.”
President Donald Trump defended his pro-life views and actions as president during an address to thousands of pro-life advocates during today’s Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C. Never one to mince words, he also weighed into other controversial topics such as the family and the NFL protests against the national anthem.
“We cherish the sacred dignity of every human life,” Trump told the pro-life advocates in attendance. “We are all made by the same God in heaven.”
“The American family is the true bedrock of American life,” he said. “We know parents, not bureaucrats, know best how to raise their children. We don’t worship government, we worship God.”
And he recalled his nomination to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
“Some of those promises are to support and defend the Constitution. I appointed and confirmed a Supreme Court justice in the mold of the late great Justice Antonin Scalia, the newest member of the Supreme Court, Justice Neil Gorsuch. (Cheering and applause) To protect the unborn, I have reinstated a policy first put in place by President Ronald Reagan, the Mexico City Policy. (Applause) To protect religious liberty, including protecting groups like this one, I signed a new executive action in a beautiful ceremony at the White House on our National Day of Prayer, (Applause) which day we made official.”
President Donald Trump’s administration signaled its commitment to protecting life again this week in a proposed Department of Health and Human Services strategic plan.
The plan states that HHS will serve Americans at “every stage of life, beginning at conception” and up through “natural death,” Opposing Views reports. While the new language will not affect abortion laws, it will help direct public policy under the Trump administration during the next four years.
Unsurprisingly, abortion activists are outraged by the draft. The pro-abortion blog Jezebel, the Huffington Post and other liberal news sites already have attacked the life-affirming language, despite its basis in science.
It is well accepted in the scientific community that a unique, new human life begins at the moment of conception. When the sperm and egg join, they form a totally separate, living human being with his or her own unique DNA. Biology textbooks, medical experts and even some abortion advocates accept this as a basic fact.
And now so does the HHS. The draft of the HHS strategic plan refers to the full span of human life several times.
Under the goal to to “Reform, Strengthen and Modernize the Nation’s Health Care,” it states: “HHS seeks to improve health care outcomes for people we serve. While we may refer to the people we serve as beneficiaries, enrollees, patients or consumers, our ultimate goal is to improve healthcare outcomes for all people, including the unborn, across healthcare settings.” [Emphasis added]
The Church Militant reports the new, life-affirming language is a major shift from the HHS policy under pro-abortion President Barack Obama’s administration.
According to the report:
Under Obama, the HHS described its organizational structure in this way: “HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving Americans at every stage of life.” Now, under Trump, the organizational structure has been modified: “HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.”
PRO-LIFE COLLEGE STUDENT? LifeNews is looking for interns interested in writing, social media, or video creation. Contact us today.
The new policy language is what pro-life advocates hoped to see after Trump appointed a number of pro-life advocates to his administration. In HHS, these include Teresa Manning and Charmaine Yoest. Manning, a law professor, previously worked for the National Right to Life Committee and the Family Research Council. Yoest is the former president of Americans United for Life.
Trump’s administration has been making other pro-life policy changes as well. Earlier this year, the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement issued a new policy requiring that taxpayer-funded shelters for immigrants and refugees offer life-affirming support to women and girls who are pregnant, according to Slate.
Director Scott Lloyd, a Trump nominee, said the shelters “should not be supporting abortion services … only pregnancy services and life-affirming options counseling.”
Trump also defunded the International Planned Parenthood abortion group during his first week in office. On Jan. 23, Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits U.S. taxpayer funding to groups that promote or perform abortions overseas. The policy does not stop non-abortion international assistance. It ensures U.S. foreign aid will continue to go to health care and humanitarian relief in the millions of dollars. It just will not subsidize abortion overseas.
According to the report, the NRA has donated $3,555,194 to current members of Congress. In contrast, Planned Parenthood spent $38 million on the 2016 elections alone. Almost all of the abortion chain’s money went to pro-abortion Democrats, despite Planned Parenthood’s claims of being “non-partisan.”
“’Just follow the money’ is the simple refrain of those who resign themselves to a lazy kind of materialism,” National Review’s Joe Simonson responded. “And in reality, the NRA’s financial contributions are minuscule. As Davis notes, liberal groups such as Planned Parenthood exert more direct financial influence over Congress …”
The abortion chain has become increasingly political in the past few years as it fights to continue receiving about half a billion tax dollars every year and to keep abortion legal up until birth.
Planned Parenthood is the No. 1 abortion business in America. It brings in millions of dollars aborting more than 300,000 unborn babies every year, on average.
Its massive political spending continued this year, with $734,760 spent on a pro-abortion congressional candidate in Georgia and at least $3 million more on the Virginia gubernatorial race. In August, the abortion chain also announced plans to spend half a million dollars to create an army of pro-abortion activists across the country to help them with political lobbying.
Those of us in the pro-life movement are often told that Roe v. Wade is “settled law” – despite not actually being a law — and we should just fold up our tents and go home. Yet today, there are calls for the Second Amendment – adopted in 1791 and certainly settled from a historical perspective – to be repealed.
Has the NRA’s $4.2 million bought some influence over the last 19 years? Certainly. But it pales in comparison to the influence Planned Parenthood’s blood money has purchased.
Planned Parenthood wields a strong influence over members of Congress with its political spending. In 2015, LifeNews reported the abortion chain donated at least $43,362 to Democrats appointed to a U.S. House committee to investigate whether it sold aborted babies’ body parts for profit.
“Two couples left Family Planning Associates, and indicated they were happy and not getting an abortion,” Patti said. “Praise God!”
The day before was a surgical abortion day – quite a different scene around the building. Abortion days bring out about a dozen pro-abortion escorts. Still, the volunteers watched as two couples, who had only been inside for a short time, quickly left the facility.
“We hope they changed their minds,” Patti said, though she was not able to find out for sure.
“May there be thousands more lives spared through all the prayer and sacrifices of everyone in 40 Days for Life!”
steLifeNews.com Note: Shawn Carney is the campaign director for the 40 Days for Life pro-life prayer campaign against abortion.