Friday, September 08, 2006

Abortion lessons for schoolchildren

Hat tip to Marti


Abortion lessons for schoolchildren

Schoolchildren should be given compulsory lessons about the benefits of abortion, ministers' advisers on sex education claim.

Abortion should be included in teaching about sex to ensure that girls who become pregnant 'can make an informed decision' about whether to have one, they said.

And the abortion teaching should combat 'myths' that turn teenagers away from terminating their pregnancies, a report for ministers said.

It cited the idea that abortion can lead to infertility as misleading.
The recommendation from the Independent Advisory Group on Teenage Pregnancy would mean - if accepted by the Government - that pupils would be taught about abortion from the age of 11.

But they could also have abortion lessons in primary schools that teach children from the age of five.
The group, which reports to Education Secretary Alan Johnson and Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt, has repeatedly called for sex education classes to be made compulsory and to include testing for all pupils down to the age of five.

At present only secondary schools need to provide sex education lessons, and parents have the right to withdraw their children. Primary schools must by law have a policy on 'personal, social and health education', but do not need to provide lessons.

Gill Frances, head of the advisory group, said in a message to ministers yesterday: "Pregnant young women and their partners need to understand all the options open to them, including abortion, so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not to continue with their pregnancy.

"We are concerned that PSHE programmes very often avoid the subject and do not provide sufficient evidence-based information about abortion, therefore leaving pregnant teenagers ill-equipped to assess abortion as an option."

She added: "Many myths prevail, including the fact that abortion may lead to infertility, which the Advisory Group is concerned may be a contributory factor to repeat abortions."

The call for teaching on abortion comes at a time of widespread concern over the easy availability of abortion for schoolchildren and the way young girls are offered abortion without the knowledge of their parents.

Two years ago there was uproar when an abortion was procured for 14-year-old schoolgirl Melissa Smith by a 21-year-old school 'outreach worker' without the knowledge of the girl's mother.

This year the High Court confirmed the right of health worker to organise abortions for girls under 16 without informing their parents.

Each year around 4,000 abortions are performed on girls under 16, with another 35,000 on girls between 16 and 19.
The advice for ministers brought protests from anti-education groups and fresh condemnation from critics of the Government's sex education-based campaign to reduce teenage pregnancies.

Phyllis Bowman of Right to Life said: "It is absolute rubbish to say that young people do not know about abortion. They know only too much about abortion.

"The education establishment has continued to ignore the results of 30 years of its policies on sex education which has pushed abortion under the noses of young people."

Anastasia de Waal of the Civitas think tank said: '"The problem is not that young people do not have enough information about sex, contraception and abortion. The problem is that they do not have enough information about single parenthood.

"We know that an awful lot of young girls who get pregnant do so deliberately in order to have a baby because they think they will gain by it.

"We should forget about teaching them more about sex and education and instead teach them about the harsh outcomes of teenage pregnancy."

The Advisory Group report called for more state spending to make the lives of teenage single parents more comfortable. It said they should have 'personal advisers to provide an all-encompassing package of support'.

Those who do not wish to live with their parents should always get 'high quality supported housing' rather than 'inappropriate temporary housing'.


Planned Parenthood fights order in fraud probe

Hat tip to Marti

Planned Parenthood fights order in fraud probe
Pro-life group's undercover work leads to state investigation

Posted: June 8, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2005

Planned Parenthood is on the defensive in Indiana after a pro-life group's undercover work led to a state fraud investigation and a judge's decision ordering the agency to turn over medical records for abortions done on girls under the age of 14.

Mark Crutcher, author of a new handbook that aims to re-energize and equip the pro-life movement, sparked the Indiana probe and others like it across the nation with a well-documented survey revealing virtually all Planned Parenthood affiliates fail to report clear cases of statutory rape to authorities.

Girls under age 14 are presumed to be victims of rape, but Planned Parenthood argues that compliance with the underage reporting law would breach the doctor-patient confidentiality agreement.

Nevertheless, Crutcher, president of Texas-based Life Dynamics, insists Planned Parenthood understands the law, noting his group has a tape recording of the abortion provider's top two national attorneys admitting that child-abuse reporting laws override confidentiality requirements in every state.

Planned Parenthood is preparing an appeal of the May 30 ruling by Judge Kenneth H. Johnson of Marion Superior Court, who said in his 23-page decision, "The great public interest in the reporting, investigation and prosecution of child abuse trumps even the patient's interest in privileged communication with her physician, because in the end, both the patient and the state are benefited by the disclosure."

Betty Cockrum, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, told the New York Times she's fighting the ruling to protect the 100,000 patients who went to the 40 Indiana health centers last year.

"It's surprising and disappointing," Cockrum said. "Patients beyond Planned Parenthood's are looking at this decision with some anxiety. People believe their medical records are sacred."

A similar case is pending in Kansas before the state Supreme Court.

In addition to the Planned Parenthood probe, Crutcher's Life Dynamics brought about the 1999 congressional hearings on the sale of aborted baby parts. His unique 1996 book, "Lime 5: Exploited by Choice," documented that women are being sexually assaulted, mutilated and killed inside legal abortion clinics in numbers never before been made public.

Staying on message

In his latest book, "On Message: Understanding and Communicating the Pro-Life Position," Crutcher provides succinct responses to 90 arguments commonly posed by abortion-rights activists.

He believes the handbook comes at a time of unprecedented opportunity for the pro-life cause.

But Crutcher contends that since the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 overturning all state laws banning abortion, the movement has strayed from the simple message that life begins at conception and, therefore, must be protected from that moment.

"If you go back to the early years of the movement, the message was, 'We must stop abortion, period,'" Crutcher explained in a WorldNetDaily interview. "But over that period, we've drifted, we've compromised, allowing abortion for this reason or that reason."

He contends there is no such position as "pro-life with exceptions."

In his introduction, he asserts the "exceptions" arguments can be exposed as fraudulent by simply paraphrasing them -- such as in the case of rape, saying, "I am pro-life, but I think it should be legal to butcher babies who were conceived in rape."

The arguments in the book, presented in an easy-to-read format, are vital, Crutcher believes, because the pro-life struggle is a grass-roots campaign that will be won by people talking to their co-workers, relatives, friends and neighbors.

"We've got to stay on our message, the fundamental pro-life view," he said. "I've just seen so many instances where people who call themselves pro-life are so far away from the pro-life position that it means nothing."

One reason he wrote the book is because of a new generation of activists.

"We have all these polls showing we have an enormous influx of young people coming into the pro-life movement," he said. "It's incumbent on those of us who have been around for a while to educate these people."

But the book has been helpful even to pro-life advocates active for many years.

A 20-year veteran of the movement, noted Crutcher, said she got the book for her daughter but decided to read it first to make sure it contained nothing inappropriate for young people.

The woman didn't anticipate learning anything, he said, but after reading it, commented, "I was astonished at what I didn't know, and I was astonished to see what were very simple no-nonsense answers to questions."

Topics include contraception, women's rights, "back-alley abortions," sex education, constitutional rights and overpopulation.

Media 'lockhold'

Crutcher believes the abortion-rights movement has been able to gain ground because of its "lockhold" on the American media.

"The mainstream media has been a giant newsletter for the pro-abortion lobby," he said.

But Crutcher also belives pro-lifers have been misguided in their strategies.

"People have said erroneously, if we can soften the pro-life edge a little bit, we'll make it more palitable," he explained. "But all you've done is confuse people."

The genius of the pro-abortion movement, he says, is they have been unwilling to compromise.

"If a state proposes the most innocuous, meaningless restriction on abortion, these people fight it like it's a complete ban," Crutcher said.

In contrast, the pro-life side has been willing to compromise by allowing exceptions, such as the health of the mother and fetal deformity.

"In the process, what we did was confuse the American people," said Crutcher. "If we had stuck to our guns, to say absolutely no abortion during the nine months of pregnancy, I think we would have won this a long time ago."

When the American people are given too many different options, he added, they "look at it and say, that's too complicated and don't make a decision."

"The irony," Crutcher continued, "is that it's been pro-lifers who are most willing to compromise, but when you take a poll of the American people, asking which side seems to be the most intractable, the vast majority would say us, despite the fact that we are the ones to compromise.

The incremental approach, he maintains, has "cost us enormously."

"We started over 30 years ago to return legal protection to unborn children," he said. "But after an enormous amount of money, unimaginable man hours, going to jail, divorces, we have not returned legal protection to one baby in one state yet."

Crutcher said some pro-lifer leaders are promoting his new book to their own people, who find the responses to be compelling ways to articulate their beliefs.

"I honestly think I completely blow [the opposition] out of the water," Crutcher declared.

For example, he said, abortion-rights advocates argue abortion is necessary to curb many social problems brought about by parents who believe they're unable to cope with having a child.

"But every one of these social problems got worse when abortion was made legal," he said, noting government statistics show child abuse up ten-fold in recent years.

Crutcher also argues it's a fallacy that abortion serves the interest of women.

"If you look at history of feminism in America, abortion serves the interest of predatory men," he said, pointing out the highest percentage of support that comes from males.

Looking to the future, Crutcher said it's a misconception that simply overturning Roe v. Wade would end abortion.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," he said. "All it will do is send it back to the states, many of which have codified Roe in their constitutions."

However, it would be a substantial victory for the pro-life movement if the justices overturned Roe because the case doesn't recognize the unborn child as a human being, Crutcher said.

"What we have to keep ultimately striving for is the biological reality that life begins at conception. Any other point is strictly abitrary."

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Permission to Speak Freely

Hat tip to Marti.

The "electioneering communications" ban silences interest groups when their messages matter most
By Jacob Sullum, 9/5/2006 9:50:14 PM

As of Friday, when the 60-day blackout period for "electioneering communications" by nonprofit interest groups begins, political speech will enjoy less protection than dirty movies. While a sexually explicit film is protected by the First Amendment if it has some socially redeeming value, an "electioneering communication" is forbidden even if it deals with important and timely public policy issues.

Supporters of this ban, imposed by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, say they want to eliminate "sham issue ads" that are aimed at electing or defeating a candidate and therefore should be funded only by political action committees subject to campaign contribution limits. But since the ban applies to any TV or radio spot that mentions a federal official who is up for re-election, it also prohibits genuine issue ads.

Wisconsin Right to Life, for instance, wants to run a radio ad encouraging listeners to contact the state's senators, Herb Kohl and Russell Feingold (both Democrats), and urge them to support passage of a stalled anti-abortion bill. The group has asked a federal judge in D.C. for an injunction that would allow it to air the ad during September without a legal penalty.

It seems Americans now need permission to speak out on political issues and petition the government. I'd suggest a constitutional amendment protecting those rights, but I thought we already had one.

The Wisconsin Right to Life ad seeks passage of the Child Custody Protection Act, which prohibits transporting a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion without her parents' permission. Both houses of Congress have approved versions of the bill, but the votes of 60 senators are required to send it to conference committee.

The ad supporting the bill cannot plausibly be viewed as an attempt to elect or defeat a candidate. Kohl voted for the bill, while Feingold, who voted against it, is not up for re-election this year. Wisconsin Right to Life has not endorsed Kohl or his Republican opponent. But because of the ad's timing, it is automatically counted as an "electioneering communication," and Wisconsin Right to Life is barred from effectively lobbying for the bill when its efforts matter most.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which supports Wisconsin Right to Life's challenge of the ad restrictions, notes that Congress often takes up high-profile legislation around election time, either because members want to impress voters with the positions they take or because congressional leaders want to discomfit the other party. Consequently, interest groups may be silenced when they most want to speak out.

During the 60 days leading up to the 2004 elections, for example, the House or Senate voted on bills dealing with hate crimes, airline "no fly" lists, spyware regulation, the death penalty, detention and removal of aliens, restrictions on travel to Cuba, funding for DNA testing in criminal cases, constitutional challenges to the Pledge of Allegiance, and a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage--all matters of concern to the ACLU. A radio ad about immigration legislation the ACLU ran that October would have been illegal had any of the senators to which it referred been running for re-election. Similarly, if the PATRIOT Act's reauthorization had happened this fall instead of last, the ACLU's ability to speak out on one of its signature issues would have been severely restricted.

In January the Supreme Court, which three years ago upheld the general terms of the ad ban, said grassroots organizations can still challenge its application to specific ads. This means interest groups can either air their ads and fight the law's enforcement after the fact or, like Wisconsin Right to Life, seek clearance from a court ahead of time--both risky and expensive propositions for organizations that often operate on a shoestring budget.

Political groups have always needed money to exercise their First Amendment rights. Now they need money to win them back.

© Copyright 2006 by Creators Syndicate Inc. Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason and the author of Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use. Sullum's weekly column is distributed by Creators Syndicate. This is reprinted with permission from REASON


We have two opportunities in September which are very important to us. One is staffing exhibit booths at the Senior Fair and various locations for the Combined Federal Campaign kick-off. This is the equivalent of the Aloha United Way, only for federal employees to “check us out.” The other is the distribution of our voter guides to the churches. Here is the information. If you can volunteer for any of these projects, please e-mail HRTL.

Senior Fair Blaisdell Exhibition Hall, Friday – Sunday, Sept. 22-24, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The greatest need is in the morning when most of the “seniors” come. Any number of hours you can staff our booth will be greatly appreciated. We can use 2-3 persons at a time.

Combined Federal Campaign (John needs 1 volunteer for each of these days.)

1, Tues. Sept. 19, Officers Club, Hickam AFB, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

2. Thursday, Sept. 21, Federal Office Bldg. downtown, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

3. Friday, Sept. 22
Monday, Sept. 25
Tuesday, Sept. 26

They have not told us where these “Service Component” events will be but the times probably are the lunch hours, 11 a.m. – 1 pm, so workers can browse the booths.

Primary Election Voter Guides

I need help calling churches to see if they will accept our voter guides. Distribution or making them available to the congregation is perfectly legal and will not endanger a church’s IRS status. Our guide is a bit different in that we list the voting records of incumbent candidates.

I am attaching the flyer that we are using for getting “orders.”

First, if you can check with the administration of your own church about receiving the guides, it will save us a phone call. You should report to me so I can check your church off the list. Read the attached page to see the choices for obtaining the guides.

Second, if you can make phone calls, we will assign a page or two from the Island Christian Guide (available at grocery stores or Christian book stores, or I can get the pages or names to you. All the ways a church can get the guides or masters to make their own copies are listed in this attachment.

Many thanks if you can help us out with these two projects. Please call me anytime at 531-6737. I work from home unless I am in the RTL office. There is an answering machine at both places.

Carol White
Administrative Assistant
Hawaii Right to Life

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Local Event - Fundraiser for HRTL

Foodland's Annual Community Matching Gifts Program

Through the month of September Foodland is partnering with Hawaii Right to Life to match a percentage of donations to anyone that goes into any Foodland grocery store and makes a donation at checkout to: Hawaii Right To Life #77510
(Remember this number)

You do not have to buy groceries to make a donation. If however you are buying groceries you just tell the cashier at the end of the transaction to add X amount of dollars to that days purchase in our name. Mahalo...