I was in the midst of the March for Life in Washington a few days ago. No count was possible from my vantage point, but you can view this time-lapse image from Students for Life to get an idea of the crowd. Not many satellite trucks around, though, except for EWTN’s. Other news outlets managed to find their way to Washington for the Women’s March the next day, so it’s not as though they were unfamiliar with the area.
We weren’t exactly under the radar. Gotta love social media and the countless posts from participants in the March. President Trump’s address drew some news coverage. Still, as has been the case since the first March in 1974 observing the first anniversary of Roe v. Wade, there was plenty of room for more coverage. A civil rights march in defense of the right to life rates at least as much attention as a presidential tweet.
As a public service, I hereby announce for the benefit of all reporters, bloggers, and commentators that the next March for Life in Washington will be on Friday, January 18, 2019. Mark your editorial calendars now. No excuses. Rain, shine, or snow (and I’ve marched in all those conditions), the event goes on.
Come for the youth. The number of high school and college students will astound you.
Come to see how many states are represented. If the March is something new to you, you’ll be surprised.
Walk around the National Mall before the March and check out the meet-ups and mini-rallies going on, apart from the formal program that precedes the March.
Many states and large cities have their own marches for life on or near the anniversary of Roe. The March in Washington rates a special trip. With or without the news coverage it deserves, it’s a place and event full of inspiration and encouragement. Plan now for 2019: see you in D.C. on January 18.
Ellen Kolb is a writer and blogger specializing in public policy on the right to life. She works (and hikes) in New Hampshire. Read her coverage of life issues in the Granite State at Leaven for the Loaf.
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At my own blog and here at Da Tech Guy, I enthusiastically backed the candidacy of Bruce Rauner, the current Republican governor of Illinois.
Count me as an ex-supporter. I’ll be voting for state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) in next spring’s primary.
Rauner was a political newcomer when he narrowly defeated unpopular incumbent governor Pat Quinn three years ago. He became the first gubernatorial candidate in the Land of Lincoln to win a majority of the vote–albeit a very small one–since Rod Blagojevich’s first victory in 2002.
Rauner’s campaign slogans were “Bring Back Illinois” and “Shake Up Springfield.” He hasn’t done either which is why, in its upcoming cover story, National Review is calling Rauner “the worst Republican governor in America.”
After Quinn’s own narrow win in 2010, he and House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), by far the most powerful politician in Illinois, ramrodded through the General Assembly what was called a temporary income tax increase, which would expire shortly after the 2014 gubernatorial election. At that point, after Quinn’s presumed next win, the tax increase would be voted on again and made permanent.
But fed-up Prairie State voters, most of whom are corralled into gerrymandered legislative districts created by Madigan, who is also the chairman of the state Democratic Party, have no other way to fight back except at the top of the ticket every four years. They chose Rauner to stop the bleeding.
In his previous career Rauner was a venture capitalist. When he took over a company he could fire the CEO. He can’t do that with Madigan. So what followed was a game of chicken. Rauner, as part of his Turnaround Agenda, supported such common sense reforms as term limits for legislators, later changed to term limits for legislative leaders, which was clearly aimed at Madigan, who has been speaker of the House for an unprecedented 32 of the last 34 years. It’s Madigan who Reuters calls “the man behind the fiscal fiasco in Illinois.”
Other Turnaround Agenda items included tort and pension reform–Illinois has one of the worst-funded public pension systems in America–a ban on public sector unions contributing to state political campaigns, an option for local governments to enact right-to-work laws, as well as a two year property tax freeze.
Rauner said he was not averse to an income tax increase–but in exchange for his support of a tax hike he wanted his Agenda Turnaround agenda passed.
For thirty months the game of chicken continued, and that included an unprecedented two years without a budget. Illinois’ pile of unpaid bills tripled, reaching a level of over $16 billion. In the end Boss Madigan won. Overriding Rauner’s veto and some Republican legislative defections–who provided cover for Democrats in unsafe seats to vote “No,” Madigan’s 32 percent income tax hike became law.
Rauner and the GOP didn’t see a single part of the Turnaround Agenda included in that tax hike. Its passage was a colossal failure for the Republicans and long-suffering Illinois taxpayers.
And Rauner has been a colossal failure too. Yet he’s still running for reelection. In his video announcement Rauner dons a leather jacket and rides a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which is ironic as southeastern Wisconsin, which is where Harley-Davidson is based, has been a direct beneficiary of Illinois’ decline.
The failures of Rauner don’t end with Madigan winning the tax increase war. Breaking a promise he made Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, Rauner, who is pro-choice, signed into law a bill that keeps abortion legal in the state even if the US Supreme Court overturns the Roe vs. Wade decision. The bill also allows Medicaid funding of abortion as well as funding of abortions for state employees. And Rauner also signed into law a bill, weeks before California did, making Illinois a sanctuary state.
Ives, who is Rauner’s only declared Republican opponent, voted against both bills when they were up for vote in the House.
Last week the governor drove home the gist of his own failures when he said of Illinois, “I’m not in charge.” Who is? Madigan, because he has “rigged the system,” Rauner says. Is that true? Probably. But Rauner has had three years to unrig it. That’s why voters hired him.
What expectation do we have that Rauner can unrig it in a second term?
In her campaigns announcement Ives said that she wants to “realign public sector salaries and benefits to be commensurate with their private sector counterparts who finance it all.” Specifically she favors 401(k) plans for new state hires. Ives, a West Point graduate and a mother of five, also backs property tax reform and in an acknowledgement to one of President Trump’s campaign themes, vows to fight for the “forgotten people in Illinois” Of which there are plenty, including me.
In that campaign introduction Ives refers to the governor as “Benedict Rauner.” While I don’t view Rauner as purposely traitorous to the voters who supported him, he has been a spectacular disappointment as governor. I apologize to anybody who took my advice and voted for him.
Rauner says he is “not in charge” of Illinois yet he still wants four additional years of not being in charge. Who in their right mind can get behind that? Rauner says “it’s time to finish the job.” But he hasn’t even started it yet. Imagine Rauner as a homebuilder and three years after hiring him all that he has to show for his efforts is an unkempt pile of bricks paid for with money borrowed from you.
The city is looking to crack down on faith-driven crisis pregnancy centers, which critics say sometimes pose as clinics to lure women and hand out misleading information about abortions.
Under a measure headed for the city council, the so-called anti-abortion centers in Hartford would be required to disclose whether staff members have medical licenses, and would be banned from engaging in false or deceptive advertising practices.
When abortion advocates like NARAL start talking about “deliberate misinformation and lies,” I’m a bit skeptical. Why the sudden concern? Aha: the Hartford Women’s Center, where abortions are neither provided nor promoted, opened up in May just behind an abortion facility. The facility’s supporters find the proximity irksome.
Not content to mutter darn pro-lifers, stay outta my yard, Hartford-area abortion promoters are trying to get themselves an ordinance. But there’s this thing about ordinances: they come with public hearings. Ten days after the Courant article was published, the hearing on the proposed ordinance drew a packed house. CBS Connecticut reported that pro-life advocates outnumbered NARAL’s allies.
Outcome is yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, out on the left coast, a California law requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to post information (in large font in a “conspicuous place”) about state-funded abortions is headed to the Supreme Court.
Apparently, business is so lousy at California abortion facilities that the state must compel other facilities to help provide advertising for abortion services.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the California law, which is no surprise, since…well, Ninth Circuit. Similar laws in Maryland and New York have been struck down in other Circuits. With divided conclusions and a First Amendment issue before it, the Supreme Court agreed this month to take the California case.
I have no doubt that abortion facility operators in every state are watching Hartford’s proposed ordinance and California’s law to see what happens.
In my state’s largest city, a pro-life pregnancy help center opened a couple of years ago just around the corner from a Planned Parenthood office. It’s hard to believe that the $23 million PP affiliate might ever feel threatened by the storefront operation that serves pregnant and parenting women with clothing, equipment, and referrals.
Then again, I find it hard to believe that any state actually passed a law like California’s or that any city contemplated an ordinance like the one proposed in Hartford. Eternal vigilance is the price of service, when the service is providing and promoting alternatives to abortion.
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
-Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride
by William Goldman
I live in a relatively small town in Massachusetts and, like most towns, we have our political differences. They usually play out in local issues, but something happened about a year ago that seems to have the leftists in our little town riled up, much like leftists across the country. I won’t go into details, but there have been a number of contentious issues brought up and discussed at recent town meetings and through letters to the editor in our local paper that make this division clear. It is interesting to me that all of these new problems have been brought up by leftists in our town who apparently didn’t know that these problems existed until President Trump was elected.
Shortly after the election, one of the more progressive churches in town distributed lawn signs which many of my neighbors – including one right across the street – display even today:
It is a safe bet that anyone with such a sign in front of his or her house did not vote for President Trump. It is also clear that the sign is an attempt at signifying some kind of moral superiority on behalf of the residents of that house, implying that no reasonable person could possibly disagree with them on these points. The problem is that these points are so completely disingenuous that it’s obvious that anyone putting up such a sign has no desire to engage in a reasonable debate on any of them.
Black lives matter: Of course they do. So do all other lives, including the lives of police officers who risk their lives to keep us safe and have been put in greater danger by the behavior and rhetoric of “Black Lives Matter” and their political sycophants. Unfortunately, the people in this house are unwilling to admit the “Black Lives Matter” movement is based on a lie. Michael Brown was a criminal who was assaulting a police officer when the officer shot him in self defense. He was not a “gentle giant” who was surrendering with his hands up.
Women’s rights are human rights: Of course they are. Everyone’s rights, by definition, are human rights, and those rights are spelled out in the Constitution. But the fact that I am against abortion-on-demand and taxpayer-funded birth control does not mean that I am a “misogynist.” I believe in the right to life, from conception to natural death. This is the most basic human right.
No human is illegal: Of course not. But when humans break the law, like entering our country illegally, they should be punished. That’s what “the rule of law” means.
Science is real: Of course it is. Science is based on the idea that you form a hypothesis, experiment, and adjust the hypothesis according to the data. Science is never “settled.” The closest the proponents of “global warming” have come to the scientific method is when they changed the name to “climate change” when they were unable to massage the data enough to show that the earth is actually warming. Biology is also a science, and it tells us that men are men and women are women and wishing to be the opposite sex doesn’t make it so.
Love is love: Of course it is. But that is not a justification for changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. Especially when that change brings with it the force of the state to compel others to endorse and participate in same-sex ceremonies that violate their sincerely held religious principles. The reason that the traditional definition of marriage was in place throughout all of human history until only a few years ago is that it is the ideal environment for bringing up children. My wife and I are complementary in many ways, each bringing a unique perspective to our family in ways that same-sex couples simply cannot.
Kindness is everything: I agree, which is why I don’t have a sign on my lawn that implies that my neighbors are a bunch of neanderthals for disagreeing with me. If these people truly believed that kindness is everything, they would respectfully engage in conversations instead of accusing those who disagree with them of being science denying racists, bigots and homophobes.
A 17-year old with no visible means of financial support got an abortion this morning.
Not news, you say? Look again.
“Jane Doe” is an immigrant, an unaccompanied 17-year-old, living in the U.S. without benefit of documentation. When Jane Doe learned she was pregnant, she sought an abortion in Texas, where she is living. Disputes broke out, state and federal courts weighed in, and somewhere along the way Jane Doe was assigned a guardian to protect her interests.
The guardian enlisted the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, which jubilantly reported today that the abortion has been committed. “Justice prevailed today for Jane Doe,” went the ACLU tweet, one among many celebrating the death of a child’s child. #JusticeforJane, says the hashtag.
I suspect Jane Doe’s anonymity will dissolve when she turns 18, if not earlier, as she becomes a poster child for abortion advocates. Killing her child was worth a legal battle, to some people – more so than trying to regularize her residency status, apparently.
That’s a hellish way to become a celebrity. Whatever her immigration status, she deserves better than that.
Our country deserves better than to be thought of as an abortion haven, too.
I assume that as an immigrant without documentation, whose home is a U.S. detention center, she didn’t have money. Who paid to have her child killed? Was it you and me?
Human dignity lost today – the mother’s, the dead child’s, the abortionist’s, the abortion apologists’.
There’s surely a great deal about this 17-year-old that I don’t know. Why did she leave her homeland? Was she sent by her family, or did she decide on her own to cross the border? Was she pregnant when she got here? Did she become pregnant due to assault, and if so, is there as intense an effort to apprehend the perpetrator as there was to abort her child?
Whatever the answers, great things may yet lie ahead for her; better days, better choices.
Today isn’t a good day for her, no matter what her enablers are saying. Her child is dead, and abortion apologists are dancing on the remains. God have mercy on us all.
Alexandra DeSanctis said it better than I. “This is perhaps the most despicable thing about this entire ordeal — that justice in our modern world demands the blood of an innocent child. We have reached the point in the abortion debate where it is not only socially acceptable to crusade for the intentional killing of one specific unborn child, but where we are expected to applaud when that execution is carried out. How utterly shameful.”
[If] you do not speak up to warn the wicked about their ways, they shall die in their sins, but I will hold you responsible for their blood. –Ezekiel 33:8
Massachusetts General Law defines abortion as “the knowing destruction of the life of an unborn child.” Further, it defines an “unborn child” as “the individual human life in existence and developing from implantation of the embryo in the uterus until birth.” Now, we can argue about whether that individual human life began at implantation or at conception, but Massachusetts law is clear that the unborn child is a life and not just a “blob of tissue.” Unfortunately, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) in Moe vs Secretary of Administration and Finance (1981) decided that taxpayer funds must be used to kill that life if its mother so wishes.
Prior to Moe, the state operated under the Doyle-Flynn Amendment – the state-level equivalent of the federal Hyde Amendment, which has been upheld repeatedly by the US Supreme Court – which prohibited taxpayer funds from being used to pay for abortions. But in 1981, the SJC took it upon itself to go beyond the federal Roe v. Wade decision and decreed that taxpayer funds must indeed be used to pay for abortions for poor women under the guise of “equal protection.” Why the legally-recognized life in the womb is not also due equal protection of the laws is not clear, but the SJC ruled that since state Medicaid funds were used to pay for legitimate maternity care and other health care for indigent women, Medicaid must also pay for abortions.
As did Roe v. Wade, this decision clearly overstepped the judicial role of interpreting the Massachusetts Constitution and enshrined a policy decision with the weight of a constitutional amendment, thus prohibiting the legislature from even debating the issue. Legally, the only proper response is an actual constitutional amendment that the SJC cannot misinterpret to its own ends. The Alliance to Stop Taxpayer Funded Abortion has taken up the challenge and is currently gathering signatures with the hope of bringing this question to Bay State voters in November 2020.
The amendment as proposed reads “Nothing in this Constitution shall require taxpayer funding for abortions.” Note that it does not make abortion illegal in MA. It only permits the legislature to debate whether taxpayer funds should be used to pay for them.
The amendment process in Massachusetts is extraordinarily difficult. The first step is to gather 64,750 signatures by November, 2017. In actuality, this means we need to gather close to 100,000 signatures because it seems like the Secretary of State’s office looks for any excuse to reject valid signatures. If there is a stray pen mark on a sheet with 25 valid signatures, the entire sheet may be thrown out. So, volunteers – including my wife and I – are being very careful with the signed sheets.
Assuming we get the required signatures, the motion must be approved by 50 members of the state legislature in two consecutive sessions in order to be put on the ballot in 2020 to allow citizens to vote on the amendment. Assuming it passes, Massachusetts will be in line with the federal government and the legislative history of the state in letting the legislature decide whether taxpayer funds will be used to pay to knowingly destroy the life of an unborn child.
There are many ways you can help. Of course, you can volunteer, or donate to the Alliance, and if you’re a registered Massachusetts voter, please sign a petition. And please keep our efforts in your prayers.
Update: Stacy McCain talks about this (and a few other things) here.
I heard anecdotes about a man with a pro-life sign being assailed during the recent Boston demonstration/counterdemonstration, and then found that an Esquire writer tweeted a short video of the incident. (Language alert.)
The guy was carrying a poster with photos of preborn human beings on the upper half of the poster, visible in the video. (I should add that these were not bloody-baby pictures. If there were any photos of aborted remains on the lower part of the poster, I didn’t see them due to the camera angle.) He was pursued – or as the Esquire writer put it, “made to part ways with his sign” – by masked assailants, who tore the photos off the poster one by one. Among the screaming voices was a woman’s, saying something that sounded like “I chose to have my baby but I’m glad I had a choice!”
At least that particular woman had the integrity to speak her mind without hiding behind a mask and without vandalizing anything.
In Pete’s coverage of the recent Boston demonstration/counterdemonstration, he noted that the unifying factor among the disparate “counter” groups was anti-Trump sentiment to a greater or lesser degree. I don’t dispute that. I think that sentiment was accompanied by more than a dash of abortion advocacy, of a kind that was around long before Trump and will sadly be around long after he moves on.
I have no idea who the man with the poster supported for President; perhaps like me he’s at risk of being hashtagged #NeverTrump. Those masked hooligans who vandalized his sign didn’t care. The evidently harbored antipathy to the right to life and to anyone promoting it. Trump didn’t even need to be a factor for them.
That was one incident, involving relatively few people, in a place where tens of thousands of people had congregated for various purposes. Maybe the masked vandals who tore up photos of the preborn humans weren’t representative of the larger crowd. Then again, maybe they were.
Mayor and President alike tweeted approval of the day’s peaceful demonstrators speaking out against hate. It was a day for broad strokes, not fine details, so maybe incidents like the one I’ve described escaped the politicians’ notice.
But is it something other than hate when masked people carrying sticks menace a man holding a poster? Is it peaceful to rip up a sign someone’s holding, as long as no one sustains physical injury? I’m pretty sure that if I, as a pro-lifer, were to tear up a sign held by someone, I’d be charged with simple assault under the laws of my state. (Rightly so, I might add.) Maybe the Boston police had to pick their battles, so to speak, and sign-ripping wasn’t a law enforcement priority the day of a mass rally. Understandable, from a tactical point of view. But I believe the Boston sign vandals got a pass that wouldn’t have been afforded to anyone tearing up a pro-abortion sign.
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Ellen Kolb is a writer and pro-life activist living in New Hampshire. Read more of her work at EllenKolb.com/blog.
“They used to say that a child conceived in love has a greater chance of happiness. They don’t say that anymore.”
-Vincent (Gattaca, 1997)
This week in the commissary I passed a mother and daughter in the frozen seafood section. Her daughter was probably 9, and by her facial structure I guessed she had Down Syndrome. I made sure to smile at her and wave (if I hadn’t had three kids in tow, I would have stopped to chat). You would think it normal to smile at people, but CBS reminded us that kids like the one I passed by are being murdered at an extraordinary rate.