Christian Science Monitor Hosts Important Op-Ed Exchange on Effectiveness of Anti-Abortion Groups

This post on National Review nicely summarizes the exchange, which began with this op-ed piece on the Christian Science Monitor arguing that “[p]ro-life groups don’t really protect the unborn.”  The responses, also posted on the Christian Science Monitor, are equally important and worth your attention.

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Update: Federal Prosecution Under the Protection of Unborn Children Act

Back in May, federal prosecutors charged a Florida man, John Andrew Weldon, with a violation of the federal law, “Protection of Unborn Children Act,” 18 U.S.C. 90A.

Last week, Weldon entered into a plea deal that will drop the “Protection of Unborn Children Act” charge down to product tampering and mail fraud.

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West Virginia Attorney General Seeking Comment

West Virginia State Seal

West Virginia State Seal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The AG’s office in West Virginia posted the following on its website

After a preliminary review, we are aware that few provisions of the West Virginia Code govern the provision of abortions in the State. Statutes require informed consent and parental notification, but we have not located any law that requires abortion procedures in West
Virginia to be performed by licensed physicians or any law that sets a gestational age limit governing when an abortion procedure may be performed.

The office is seeking public comment, perhaps in an effort to advise on matters of specific importance to the state of West Virginia.  If you are interested in commenting, send an email to regulatoryreview@wvago.gov.  It would be best received if the comment referenced a particular point of interest identified on the posting.

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Under Investigation

The non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) will investigate the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the Population Council, the Guttmacher Institute, Advocates for Youth, and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.  The investigation will focus on the groups’ utilization of public funding to the private organizations.

The GAO probe was prompted, at least in part, by a request from Members of Congress.  The request letter is reproduced below.

gao_report_request_2013_letter_final_0_Page_1 gao_report_request_2013_letter_final_0_Page_2 gao_report_request_2013_letter_final_0_Page_3 gao_report_request_2013_letter_final_0_Page_4 gao_report_request_2013_letter_final_0_Page_5

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PPACA Expands Availability of Abortion

So writes the Life Legal Defense Foundation.  Here, from Part 1 of their two-part article, is how:

“Abortion Premium”:  As part of its insurance exchange framework, Obamacare mandates that certain plans fund abortion through an “abortion premium” charge. Under this provision, every federally subsidized plan “shall” obtain a premium payment from every enrollee to be used exclusively for others’ elective abortions. See 42 USCS § 18023(b)(2)(B).  Known as the “Nelson Compromise,” this mandate cleverly avoids direct payment for elective abortions with tax money, allowing proponents of Obamacare to argue the Act does not fund abortion. Yet it actually does something worse by imposing this mandatory out-of-pocket premium which will fund, exclusively, elective abortions.

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Special Challenges in Florida

Yesterday’s article in the Tampa Tribune points out the special challenges to anti-abortion legislation in Florida, namely, the Florida constitution’s own right to privacy.  Indeed, the Florida Supreme Court has held that Florida’s constitution, which contains an explicit right of privacy, extends the right to an abortion in Florida beyond that provided by the U.S. Constitution.

Unfortunately for the reader, the Tampa Tribune article does not re-print the text of Florida’s right to privacy, which had nothing to do with abortion:

[Article I,] Section 23. Right of privacy.—Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into his private life except as otherwise provided herein. This section shall not be construed to limit the public’s right of access to public records and meetings as provided by law.

Nevertheless, the Tampa Tribune is right.  Anti-abortion legislation faces special challenges in Florida.  Not because the Florida constitution says as much; because the Florida Supreme Court has taken a political stance in favor of abortion using the Florida constitution.

In 1989, in In re T.W., 551 So. 2d 1186 (Fla. 1989), the Florida Supreme Court struck down a law requiring minors to obtain parental consent (or secure judicial bypass).  Reasoning that the decision of whether to abort was an intensely intimate decision, the Court decided that the constitutional privacy provision prevented enforcement of the parental consent statute.  Although the former is certainly true–the abortion decision is intimate on numerous levels–it does not follow that the minor’s supposed “right to privacy” extends to everything intimate, especially abortion.

Later, in 2003’s North Florida Women’s Health and Counseling Services, Inc. v. State, 866 So. 2d 612 (Fla. 2003),  the Florida Supreme Court also struck a parental notice provision by declining to adopt the U.S. Supreme Court’s undue burden standard (under which parental notice is plainly constitutional).  Instead, the Court in North Florida stuck to the idea that a right to privacy contained abortion rights and even suggested that medical developments and changes in facts could not produce a corresponding change in law, at least, not without the Court’s agreement.

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