…because between the “secret” imprisonment of Tommy Robinson for daring to report trials that the British find embarrassing, the state forcibly keeping a British family from seeking treatment of their son, a British subject and the overwhelming vote that will condemn Irish children to death in numbers that over time will make the forced famine look like picnics they British and Irish people have outdone their historic oppressors by their own free will by embracing injustices done to their own children.

Who needs Hitler? Who needs Cromwell?

That free people would do these things to themselves is completely beyond me.

(Adapted from a post I wrote for Leaven for the Loaf.)

The Trump Administration has announced a proposed Health and Human Services rule that would prevent federal Title X (Ten) family planning money from going to abortion providers. That’s “proposed.” It’s a long road from announcement to implementation. Some pro-lifers are cheering as though it’s a done deal, and abortion providers are screaming as only people who’ve been hit in the wallet can scream.

Take a breath, folks. The proposed rule is good news. It would protect taxpayers from involvement in the abortion industry. But the rule is not in place yet, and may never be. The President has announced a proposal. Tip of the iceberg, you might say. To see what the rest of it looks like, feast your eyes on the rulemaking process as described in the Federal Register.

But, still – this is a start.

The outraged wails of abortion advocates are reminding me of the similar reaction to the Supreme Court’s 1991 Rust decision, establishing that it’s permissible for the federal government to tell family planning clinics that they can’t use taxpayer funds to perform, refer for, or counsel for abortions – since, after all, abortion is not family planning. Then, as now, abortion advocates called funding restrictions a “gag rule.” They called funding restrictions a violation of freedom of speech, instead of what they are: protection of the conscience rights of people who don’t want to help pay for any aspect of abortion.

(A couple of years after the Rust decision, President Clinton suspended the regulations that Rust had okayed – and ever since, abortion providers have lined up for Title X funds every budget cycle.)

As for indignant cries of “gag rule,” the most strident critics of the proposed Title X rule are not noted for their defense of First Amendment rights of peaceful pro-life witnesses outside abortion facilities. They only discovered the First Amendment when abortion providers’ pocketbooks were threatened.

Back in ’91, just after the Rust decision, I got a letter from my then-Congressman claiming that the decision was a “devastating blow” to free speech, on the grounds that agencies using Title X funds were being forbidden to counsel for abortions. This was from a man who had for office on a claim that he opposed sending taxpayer funding or subsidies for abortion. He recognized when he ran for office that there is a difference between family planning and abortion, and he realized that family planning funds in the hands of abortion providers simply free up other funds within the providers’ budgets for use in abortions.

Then abortion providers started accusing my Congressman of opposing free speech. Worked like a charm, since no one wants to be accused of violating the First Amendment. He changed his tune.

Today, just as in 1991, it literally pays to disguise funding as free speech. Hence the revival of the misleading term “gag rule.”

The essence of the President’s proposed rule is this, which is no different from the Reagan rule that led to the Rust decision: Title X is for family planning. Abortion is not family planning. Congress is within its rights to forbid abortion providers from using a grant for purposes unrelated to the grant’s goals. If you counsel for, refer for, or perform abortions, you may do so without using family planning funds.

The response from the abortion industry is this: I’ll promote what I please; you should pay for that promotion; refusal to pay equals censorship.

Providers who do both abortions and family planning could, if they chose, separate out the abortion business and do it as a separate enterprise, with separate facilities, equipment, funding and staffing. Title X grants for family planning would then not entangle taxpayers in abortion in any way. But that’s not the path abortion providers want to take.

It’s worth remembering that while the President’s proposed rule is a pro-life initiative, it has no bearing on the right to life. It doesn’t recognize the personhood or humanity of any preborn child. What it does is respect the conscience rights of taxpayers who don’t want to help subsidize abortions.

Even that is more than abortion advocates can tolerate.

Ellen Kolb is a pro-life writer and activist in New Hampshire. She writes about pro-life issues at Leaven for the Loaf. 

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A reporter takes a picture of a protester in front of Planned Parenthood in Fitchburg 4-29-18

On Saturday in Fitchburg I attended one of the Defund Planned Parenthood protests that took place around the country as the speaker.

While nationally the effort ran afoul of GOP senators John McCain, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski In Massachusetts the effort is a tad different as it is necessary to amend the Massachusetts Constitution to do so here. So there is a need to obtain signature to get a ballot question started.

She spoke to a reporter from the Telegram earlier

Gardner resident Shelley Austin said that Massachusetts is one of only 15 states that use tax dollars to pay for abortions, which she said are a covered procedure through MassHealth.

She said that the Massachusetts Alliance to Stop Taxpayer Funded Abortion is trying to put the issue of taxpayer-funded abortion before Massachusetts voters. They are working to collect the 65,000 signatures required to get a question on the ballot.

I spoke to Shelly after the rally.

The reporter for the Telegram and Gazette spoke to several of us before the event including me.

Fitchburg resident Pete Ingemi, a longtime member of St. Bernard’s Church, said fighting taxpayer-funded abortion is the first and most logical step to ending abortions.

“What is abortion? It is the abandonment of hope,” he said. “And the argument is always that it isn’t a real life, but it is a life, and it’s a life of value. You never know what great things that human being was going to make happen.”

and stayed for most of the rosary but not for either Shelly talk or my speech

In Fitchburg, a similar, but smaller prayer protest was held on Main Street near the Planned Parenthood office. A small group, some holding rosary beads, shared their commitment to stopping abortion.

Situated under the shade of a tree, the group got plenty of support in the form of thumbed-up hands sticking out of passing cars, beeping horns and the occasional affirmative shout. There were also passers-by who strongly disagreed — though just one or two — and organizer Joyce Aucoin said this is nothing new.

The detail left out here was man who repeatedly approached Joyce as she spoke, loudly loudly asking her for condoms, he left when it was clear she was not going to let him provoke her.

As for my speech I pointed out that Planned Parenthood was built on the same lies that justified slavery from the days of ancient Egypt, to Roman times, to the Barbary Pirates to the slave trade. The idea that those enslaved were either of lesser values or not actual human beings. It is no coincidence that like most other places it operates, Planned Parenthood moved into Fitchburg as the “Hispanic” population increased.

Furthermore I pointed out that the easiest way to reveal the lie is to ask any counter-protester supporting “choice” if it is OK to abort a child in the womb because it was gay. Suddenly the woman’s choice argument isn’t good enough and the person always has to think, why? Because in their mind that person might be of their group which suddenly confers a value on that life that they didn’t before.

But the easiest way to show how carefully the lie has to be taught was illustrated by a model of a 20 week old baby in the womb.

Put that model in front of any child and ask what it is, and the answer will be “a baby”. To produce a different answer, you have to be carefully taught.

Will it make a difference? It will be tough to win this fight in Massachusetts, particularly when a lot of the GOP leadership has been carefully taught to run away from this issue, but as the man who actually wrote the Constitution of Massachusetts once said, facts are stubborn things.

To say he would be appalled at how partisans have rewritten and reinterpreted his words in their image while still claiming it was his work and not theirs, is an understatement.

The Twitterverse murmured #ThankYouCecile the other day to mark the end of Cecile Richards’s tenure leading the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Hats off to the Babylon Bee for skewering that bit of social media hashtagging: “Woman Celebrated for Killing 3.5 Million People.”

That satirical bull’s eye came just a few days after another one from the same source: “Planned Parenthood Defends Bill Cosby: ‘Sexual Assault Is Only 3% Of What He Does’”. I wish I’d written that.

But in all seriousness, Richards is a consequential woman. It would be a mistake to pretend otherwise. Planned Parenthood has had high-profile leaders before and will have them again. What sets Richards apart are the sheer bloody numbers and her solid brass determination.

PP is now the nation’s leading abortion provider, with more than 321,384 “abortion services” provided in FY 2016 alone. In the same year, according to PP’s annual report, revenue was $1.459 billion, of which $543 million came from taxpayers.

That transfer of funds from your pocket into PP’s, on such an appalling scale, was made possible because of a false message that Cecile Richards delivered unceasingly and confidently: abortion is health care. She didn’t invent the message, but she honed it to a fine edge and wielded it like a surgeon.

She knew that quibbling over what abortion terminates wasn’t good for business. Even seeing abortion as a “right” wasn’t enough to fulfill her vision. Selling abortion as health care, as a positive good, was the message she used to elevate PP to the economic and cultural position it now holds.

The political influence, the virtual extortion of funds from taxpayers and fellow nonprofits alike (cf. the Komen breast-cancer charity), the serene composure with which she dismissed the damning videos documenting the sale of fetal body parts by some PP affiliates: all of it can be explained and defended by buying into her defining message, abortion is health care.

Politicians don’t want to support taxpayer dollars going to the nation’s largest abortion provider? (Hey, I can dream.) They’re after your health care. A pastor speaks out in defense of human life? He’s after your health care. A journalist documents commerce in fetal body parts; a court upholds an abortion regulation, however mild; peaceful pro-life witnesses pray silently outside a PP facility: what they’re really after is your health care.

Abortion is health care is a hellishly lucrative legacy for PP. It’s the message that keeps half a million of your dollars going to the nation’s leading abortion provider. No wonder Richards was rewarded with compensation in excess of half a million dollars a year.

Health care and abortion are two different things. It’s going to take a lot of time and effort for the truth to regain its rightful place. Don’t ever doubt that one person can make a difference. Look at what Cecile Richards left behind.

Ellen Kolb is a writer and pro-life activist. She covers New Hampshire public policy on the life issues at leavenfortheloaf.com.  

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Win the Abortion BattleI’ve often argued that the Democrat position on Abortion is the Same as their historical position on Slavery and Jim Crow. At best they considered unborn children as subhuman just as they once considered blacks subhuman and at worst they consider unborn children property to be disposed as they see fit, just as they once considered black slaves.

So when I heard that Kevin Williamson was fired by the Atlantic for daring to consider the murder of the unborn just as heinous as the murder of the born it hit me that if he had been a columnist for a Democrat Paper or magazine in the days of slavery or Jim Crow and had dared suggest that the murder of a black person was Just as heinous as the murder of a white person he would have been shown the door as well.

Some might be upset at the reminder of this historical reality but it’s not just a historical allusion as abortion so disproportionately slaughters black children and nothing is more sacred to the Democrat elite that their ability to continue that slaughter thus Williamson’s’s objections become beyond the pale.

It seems that some things just never change.

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Finally might I suggest my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

In the days leading up to the adoption of the latest spending bill in Washington, my social media feeds were full of posts from a variety of pro-life groups addressing one topic: including protection of medical conscience rights in the spending bill. To anyone unfamiliar with the federal budget process, an appropriations bill would sound like an odd place to mention conscience rights. But as we know, all kinds of oddball things work their way into budget deals.

As it happens, the conscience protection act promoted by pro-lifers was not included in the spending bill approved on March 22. I would have shrugged – a pro-life initiative rejected in Washington? so what else is new? – but for a similar disappointment closer to home. A week before the federal spending bill was adopted, a bill to protect the conscience rights of medical professionals was rejected in my state’s legislature by a two-to-one margin.

Lest you think this is a partisan problem, note that the GOP holds majorities in the legislative bodies at issue here.

I was at the hearing for the state-level bill. The thrust of the opposition to conscience legislation boiled down to this: abortion is health care, and those who don’t want to participate in abortions have no business in the medical field.

The argument was couched in terms of denial of access: if a pharmacist doesn’t want to hand out an abortion-inducing drug, that might prevent or delay a woman’s abortion; if some doctor refuses to participate in abortion, he might let a hemorrhaging woman bleed to death. (Nonsense, but some legislators swallowed that whopper whole.)

The supporters of conscience legislation testified to the primacy of conscience, which our own state’s constitution explicitly recognizes as a natural right, not one that needs to be granted. They cited the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. They spoke of their religious and ethical beliefs and how they shouldn’t be fired for sticking to them.

“Access” met conscience, and “access” won.

These state and federal votes were hardly the last word. They’re intriguing, though. They indicate to me that hostility and indifference to conscience rights are alive and well, even in more-or-less respectable circles. Fortunately, there are people pushing back.

I kinda liked Cardinal Dolan’s pushback on the federal vote.

The failure of Congress to include the Conscience Protection Act in the 2018 omnibus appropriations bill is deeply disappointing. The CPA is an extraordinarily modest bill that proposes almost no change to existing conscience protection laws on abortion—laws that receive wide public and bi-partisan support. The CPA simply proposes to provide victims of discrimination with the ability to defend their rights in court to help ensure that no one is forced to participate in abortion. Those inside and outside of Congress who worked to defeat the CPA have placed themselves squarely into the category of extremists who insist that all Americans must be forced to participate in the violent act of abortion. We call on Congress not to give up until this critical legislation is enacted.

Ellen Kolb is a writer and activist living in New Hampshire. Read more at ellenkolb.com/blog

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My final interview from the 2018 Catholic Men’s Conference at Assumption College Was Christine of Visitation House in Worcester.

Visitation House does wonderful work. I’ve written about them before. their website is here. My interview with the speaker for their annual dinner held on April 28th this year is here.

Now that these interviews are complete we’ll go back to two CPAC interviews a day till they’re done.

Previously

March 24th
Voices of the Catholic Men’s Conference 2018 Christine of Visitation House

March 23rd
Voices of the Catholic Men’s Conference 2018 Seth and Matt of the Coming Home Network

March 22nd

Voices of the Catholic Men’s Conference 2018 Brother Jorchem of St Benedict Abbey

March 21st

Voices of the Catholic Men’s Conference 2018 Robert LeBlanc Author of Where will you Plant Your Seed?

March 20th
Voices of the Catholic Men’s Conference 2018 Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center

March 19th

Voices of the 2018 Catholic Men’s Conference: Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

This from Instapundit on the death of Stephen Hawking jumped out at me.

Stephen Hawking dies aged 76 peacefully at his home — 55 years after the world-famous physicist was diagnosed with ALS and given just two years to live.

Hawkins was diagnosed in 1963 the year I was born. Judeo-Christian values were still the norm in England and America. The Hippocratic oath had not been re-written. It was a time when the right to life was a given, where assisted suicide, euthanasia and the “right to die” was limited to a lunatic fringe as opposed to being accepted by all the right thinking elites.

So I ask you this:

If Stephen Hawking was diagnosed today and told he had two years to live what are the odds that he decides to take his own life? Furthermore how man potential future Stephen Hawkings have we either killed or encouraged to kill themselves?


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Finally might I suggest my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

I speak to Chris an activist from NYC at CPAC 2018

I conducted a 2nd interview with Chris which I played on my radio specifically concerning his Pro-life work

These two interviews were two of the most interesting I did during CPAC

DaTechGuy at CPAC 2018 The story (blogged) so far:

Thursday March 8th

Voices at CPAC 2018 Chris from NY Longtime Prolife activist

Wednesday March 7th

Voices at CPAC 2018 Michael from Liberty University

Tuesday March 6th

Voices at CPAC 2018 Sarah Rumpf

Monday March 5th

Voices from CPAC 2018 Doreen from Michigan
Voices of CPAC 2018 Susan from New Mexico

Sunday March 4th
Voices of CPAC 2018 Myra Adams

Friday March 2nd

Voices of CPAC 2018 John Hawkins and Sierra Marlee

CPAC 2018: Two Men who made a Difference For Me

Wednesday Feb 20

Voices at CPAC 2018 Dylan and Watson

Voices at CPAC 2018 Kira Innis (Two Angles)

Monday Feb 26th

Voices of CPAC 2018 Greg Penglis of WEBY 1330 Radio

Sunday Feb 25th

CPAC 2018 Dutch Kitchen Cannoli Sicilian from Brooklyn Approved

Saturday Feb 24th

CPAC 2018 / Don’t give a VUK Meet the Voter the Media Narrative says Does Exist

Friday Feb 23rd

Voices at CPAC 2018 Senator Ted Cruz Answers Two Question for DaTechGuy

Thurs Feb 22nd

We Interrupt CPAC 2018 for CNN and their Gun Control Galaxy Quest Moment
Voices of CPAC 2018: Ron from PA

Wed Feb. 21st

Voices at CPAC 2018 Vicki from Minnesota

Voices at (or near) #cpac2018 Lea from National Association of Developmental Educators We talk Students and Math

DaTechGuy at CPAC 2018 The Calm Before the Storm and What I’ll be Asking

If you don’t want to wait or my blog posts to see my interviews my youtube channel is here.

Full CPAC 2017 list (for those who feel nostalgic) is here

A reminder I have copies of my Book Hail Mary the perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer available at CPAC with me, price $7 and I will happily sign them for you.

Or you can just order it on Amazon


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Finally might I suggest my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

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.

The 2018 March for Life passing in front of National Archives. Ellen Kolb photo.

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.

A mother and daughter carry signs at the March for Life in Washington.
Mother and daughter at March for Life 2018, Washington D.C. Ellen Kolb photo.

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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