Thursday, September 30, 2004
"I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child - a direct killing of the innocent child - murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even his life to love us. So the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love - that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. "
~ Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
~ Posted by Jean M. Heimann
I am looking forward to seeing 'Therese' this weekend. Here's an article from the St. Louis Review on the details.
September 24, 2004
Local Catholics lining up for opening of ‘Therese’
by Barbara Watkins, Review Staff Writer
Many Catholics in the St. Louis Archdiocese are purchasing advance tickets for "Therese," the new film about St. Therese of Lisieux, to open in St. Louis next week.
"Thérèse" is opening Thursday, Sept. 30, at the Wehrenberg Des Peres 14 and Friday, Oct. 1, at the AMC West Olive 16 in Creve Coeur.
The movie, by independent Catholic filmmaker Leonardo Defilippis and Luke Films, tells the story of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower.
Both AMC and Wehrenberg theatres reported numerous advanced sales and requests for information.
For tickets to the AMC West Olive 16, call (888) 262-1180, (800) AMC-4-TIX (262-4849) or (314) 205-9800. For tickets to the Wehrenberg Des Peres 14, call (314) 822-4520.
Vincentian Father Joseph Geders is one of the few people in the St. Louis area to have seen the film in its entirety. Currently treasurer of the Vincentians Midwest Province, he saw "Thérèse" at a private screening in Chicago when he was working for the archdiocese there, before coming to St. Louis in February.
"It’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen," Father Geders said. "It was a film that, especially for young people like her (St. Thérèse), is very inspiring. There is absolutely no violence in it, but the story is complicated. In a way it is a love story, a love story of St. Thérèse’s love for God."
He added, "This movie shows her way, the little way. She would try to find the simplest things and do them for God. Whatever she did, she offered to God. This is the most emotionally moving film I have ever seen. I would give it the highest recommendation."
St. Thérèse of Lisieux was a Carmelite nun. The Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus in Kirkwood have purchased about 50 tickets and have invited their fellow Carmelite sisters from India who are serving at St. John the Baptist Parish in South St. Louis to attend as well.
The cloistered nuns at the Carmel of St. Joseph Monastery on Clayton Road don’t attend movies but watch them on video or DVD, said Mother Stella Maris, the prioress.
"With Thérèse, you see a perfect Christian practicing perfect charity, responding to grace at every level and situation. She encourages everyone by just doing the little things for the love of God. That is enough," said Mother Stella Maris.
A number of parishes, schools and Catholic organizations are planning to see "Thérèse." At Mary Queen of Peace Parish in Webster Groves, about 20 to 30 members of the youth group are going together, said Father Andrew O’Connor, the associate pastor.
Afterward they will visit the Carmelites on Clayton Road.
~ Posted by Jean M. Heimann
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
"A child is God's greatest gift to the family, to the nation, to the world. The child is a life from God, created in the image of God, created for great things, to love and to be loved."
~ Mother Teresa
~Posted by Jean M. Heimann
Monday, September 27, 2004
I am sick of having my tax money going to pay for Planned Parenthood and abortions, but what can I do about it?
A recent article from Presentation Ministries presents some interesting suggestions.
Abortion And Your Taxes
Are You Praying for Life But Paying for Death?
IN GOOD CONSCIENCE
If Jesus were an American citizen today, would He pay taxes? Could He pay taxes without contradicting His word? I have not paid federal income taxes for over twenty years because in good conscience I cannot do so. Yet it should be a privilege for me to pay taxes, because this can be a way of doing God's will. The Lord teaches us: "You must obey, then, not only to escape punishment but also for conscience' sake. You pay taxes for the same reason..." (Rm 13:5-6) However, repeatedly throughout history, man's laws have contradicted God's law. Then it is necessary to obey God rather than man (Acts 4:19, 5:29; see also Ex 1:17ff; 1 Mc 2:22; 2 Mc 6:18ff, 7:1ff; Dn 3:12, 6:11).
Many American Christians have come to the conclusion that we are in a similar situation. Some object because over half of our tax money goes to the military and arms. This can be seen as an injustice to the poor who are deprived of bare necessities while millions of tax dollars are spent for the proliferation of implements of destruction. Pope John Paul II said: "The destructive power of modern weapons requires nations to make the most radical rejection possible of them as a means to resolve conflicts."
However, even if our consciences do not object to funding armaments, another moral challenge may be even more disturbing. Planned Parenthood, through promoting abortions, has killed far more people than the Third Reich did. It is the most efficient mass-murder machine ever devised and is funded by our federal tax dollars. It may not use our tax money to abort babies but our taxes buy and maintain the office, hire the personnel, and pay for the counseling that leads to the abortion. Even though an accountant can separate on the books the funding of abortions and the funding of abortion chambers, in reality they are one. What sense does it make to say: "I don't finance abortions. I just pay for the office, the personnel, and the counseling"? Of course, only a small percentage of our federal tax dollars go to Planned Parenthood but those small percentages add up to a multi-billion dollar funding. How can we go on praying for life and paying for death?
If any laws, including the tax laws, are unjust, we may have both the right and the obligation to disobey them. Pope John Paul II has taught: "To refuse to take part in committing an injustice is not only a moral duty; it is also a basic human right" (Gospel of Life, 74). "Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection" (Gospel of Life, 73).
Are the federal and state laws unjust? This depends in part on what the tax money is being used for. For example, a law taxing us to fund the annihilation of black people would be an unjust law. Certainly, most uses of our tax monies are not immoral, but a small percentage of our taxes fund the chemical and surgical destruction of babies through abortion and abortifacient contraceptives. Through our taxes we are even paying for partial birth abortions, which are even more obvious infanticides than are abortions.
DIRECT AND INDIRECT COOPERATION
We must disobey an unjust law if we would be directly cooperating with evil by obeying that law. Pope John Paul II has taught: "It is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. Such cooperation occurs when an action, either by its very nature or by the form it takes in a concrete situation, can be defined as a direct participation in an act against innocent human life or a sharing in the immoral intention of the person committing it" (Gospel of Life, 74). Obeying tax laws is permissible because paying our federal income taxes is not a direct cooperation with evil. However, the Lord may be calling us to disobey them and thereby refuse any, even indirect, participation in evil, for all the mass-murder machines throughout history have been fueled primarily by indirect cooperation.
WHAT ARE WE TO DO?
(1) Continue to pay city and state taxes where abortion is not funded. However, many states fund abortion; so check with your legislatures on this.
(2) File your return but refuse to pay federal income taxes, since you are opposed to funding Planned Parenthood's abortion-machine through your tax dollars. Write a letter explaining your objection. If federal income taxes are automatically withdrawn from your salary, talk to your employer about your legal right to change that.
(3) Do not have cars, houses, bank accounts, and property in your name, because the IRS can take anything of significance for the payment of taxes. This means you give up all legal rights to these possessions.
(4) Pray for the strength to obey God rather than man. Accept Jesus as Lord. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Then do what Jesus would do.
Nihil obstat: Reverend Giles H. Pater, May 27, 2004.Imprimatur: † Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 7, 2004.
The Nihil obstat and Imprimatur are a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free from doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.
Sunday, September 26, 2004
"I've never known a more stout-hearted defender of a strong America than Alan Keyes. He truly knows that freedom works."
~ Posted by Jean M. Heimann
Alan Keyes speaks so eloquently and honestly, it's hard to believe he is a candidate for the office of U.S. Senator for Illinois. I can picture a man of such high ideals and strong morals as the dynamic leader of a great nation -- a new world that does not exist here on this earth (which is exactly what we need to combat this current "culture of death.") He is so genuine and authentic that he fails the test of being a typical "politician". To be a politician, one must tell the people what they want to hear -- soothe them with soft-spoken sounds and deceive them with lofty, unkept promises.
Alan does not do this. He boldly speaks the truth and it is unbelievably refreshing! He is delightful -- witty, intelligent, an educated man who commands respect. He is a strong leader -- he knows what he wants and does not waiver in his beliefs. He is keenly aware of media bias and was quick to identify a local press reporter who asked a highly slanted question, and to point out the bias in the question. He is a man who thinks on his feet -- something that is rare today. He is extremely articulate -- in strong contrast to our current Democratic Presidential candidate, who utters gibberish every time he opens his mouth and evidences difficulty speaking in complete sentences.
His views on the issues are Christian and he is strong pro-family, pro-life, and more than worthy of our votes. I thank God for bringing this man to Illinois and I pray that he wins this election and turns this state and our country around. If we, the citizens of Illinois, want to see improvements in our schools, economic situation, our health care system, and a reduction in taxes, it's time we voted for someone who will actually accomplish these tasks. He's got my vote!
~ Posted by Jean M. Heimann
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Alan Keyes, Catholic Pro-life Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, is scheduled to be in Peoria, IL this afternoon. His schedule for today is as follows:
Press ConferenceLocation: Historic Lincoln-Douglas debate site in Galesburg (Knox County)2 East South Street, Galesburg ILMeet and greet will follow press conference.Contact Knox County Coordinator Jason Paulsgrove for more information:
Press ConferenceLocation: Peoria Co. GOP headquarters, 8835 N. Knoxville Ave., Peoria, IL 61615.Meet and greet with supporters to follow.contact David Curtin for more information:
I hope to see you there.
~ Posted by Jean M. Heimann
I did a double-take on this article. I know that things are getting pretty bizzare on some of our Catholic college campuses, but I am shocked and appalled by this. I urge you to exercise your right to free speech. ~ Jean
Benedictine University invites pro-abortion Democratic senatorial candidate Barack Obama to address its student body
9/17/2004 9:26:00 PM
By Matt C. Abbott
Pro-abortion and gay rights supporter and Illinois Democratic senatorial candidate Barack Obama will speak to the students and guests of Benedictine University, located in Lisle, Ill., on October 5, 2004.
Just how pro-abortion is Obama? Consider the following excerpt from a Sept. 1, 2004 column on IllinoisLeader.com by former nurse and noted pro-life activist Jill Stanek:
“For three years in a row I submitted the same testimony to Illinois Senate committees that were deciding whether to let the full Senate vote on the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.
“It was during those committee hearings that I first came face-to-face with state Senator Barack Obama, who functioned as either a member or the chairman, depending on the year and the committee.
“Each time I testified, I described to Obama and other members the death of a particular little girl who was aborted alive at Christ Hospital.
“The baby's death haunts me, because she might have lived with help. Her abandonment by medical professionals clearly demonstrated that wanted and unwanted babies are treated differently at delivery….
“When Obama and his fellow Democrats voted against [the Born Alive Infants Protection Act] in committee that first year, I didn’t think they understood the magnitude of the 23-weeker’s death.
“So the next year along with my testimony I submitted a page from the neonatal textbook demonstrating the resuscitation of a baby about the same age as I described. I watched Obama look at those photos… before he voted no again….”
Besides his 100 percent pro-abortion voting record, Obama also opposes a Constitutional Amendment banning homosexual “marriage.” (He has, however, claimed that he is not in favor of homosexual “marriage.” Only “civil unions,” you see.)
Benedictine University also has invited to speak Obama’s opponent, pro-life Republican Alan Keyes.
Wow. How nice that a Catholic institution actually invites a pro-life (and Catholic) politician such as Keyes to address its student body. Who would ever have thought such a thing could happen in this day and age?
Catholics who wish to express their concerns to Benedictine University about Barack Obama’s upcoming appearance there can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCI NOTES: On July 7, 2004, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, under the leadership of Francis Cardinal George, published the following letter denying the use of Catholic institutions to politicians working against Catholic moral teachings:
Catholics in Political Life, USCCB, 7/7/2004
We speak as bishops, as teachers of the Catholic faith and of the moral law. We have the duty to teach about human life and dignity, marriage and family, war and peace, the needs of the poor and the demands of justice. Today we continue our efforts to teach on a uniquely important matter that has recently been a source of concern for Catholics and others.
It is the teaching of the Catholic Church from the very beginning, founded on her understanding of her Lord’s own witness to the sacredness of human life, that the killing of an unborn child is always intrinsically evil and can never be justified. If those who perform an abortion and those who cooperate willingly in the action are fully aware of the objective evil of what they do, they are guilty of grave sin and thereby separate themselves from God’s grace. This is the constant and received teaching of the Church. It is, as well, the conviction of many other people of good will.
To make such intrinsically evil actions legal is itself wrong. This is the point most recently highlighted in official Catholic teaching. The legal system as such can be said to cooperate in evil when it fails to protect the lives of those who have no protection except the law. In the United States of America, abortion on demand has been made a constitutional right by a decision of the Supreme Court. Failing to protect the lives of innocent and defenseless members of the human race is to sin against justice. Those who formulate law therefore have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the common good.
As our conference has insisted in Faithful Citizenship, Catholics who bring their moral convictions into public life do not threaten democracy or pluralism but enrich them and the nation. The separation of church and state does not require division between belief and public action, between moral principles and political choices, but protects the right of believers and religious groups to practice their faith and act on their values in public life.
Our obligation as bishops at this time is to teach clearly. It is with pastoral solicitude for everyone involved in the political process that we will also counsel Catholic public officials that their acting consistently to support abortion on demand risks making them cooperators in evil in a public manner. We will persist in this duty to counsel, in the hope that the scandal of their cooperating in evil can be resolved by the proper formation of their consciences.
Having received an extensive interim report from the Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, and looking forward to the full report, we highlight several points from the interim report that suggest some directions for our efforts:
We need to continue to teach clearly and help other Catholic leaders to teach clearly on our unequivocal commitment to the legal protection of human life from the moment of conception until natural death. Our teaching on human life and dignity should be reflected in our parishes and our educational, health care and human service ministries.
We need to do more to persuade all people that human life is precious and human dignity must be defended. This requires more effective dialogue and engagement with all public officials, especially Catholic public officials. We welcome conversation initiated by political leaders themselves.
Catholics need to act in support of these principles and policies in public life. It is the particular vocation of the laity to transform the world. We have to encourage this vocation and do more to bring all believers to this mission. As bishops, we do not endorse or oppose candidates. Rather, we seek to form the consciences of our people so that they can examine the positions of candidates and make choices based on Catholic moral and social teaching.
The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.
We commit ourselves to maintain communication with public officials who make decisions every day that touch issues of human life and dignity.
The Eucharist is the source and summit of Catholic life. Therefore, like every Catholic generation before us, we must be guided by the words of St. Paul, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the Body and Blood of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:27). This means that all must examine their consciences as to their worthiness to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord. This examination includes fidelity to the moral teaching of the Church in personal and public life.
The question has been raised as to whether the denial of Holy Communion to some Catholics in political life is necessary because of their public support for abortion on demand. Given the wide range of circumstances involved in arriving at a prudential judgment on a matter of this seriousness, we recognize that such decisions rest with the individual bishop in accord with the established canonical and pastoral principles. Bishops can legitimately make different judgments on the most prudent course of pastoral action. Nevertheless, we all share an unequivocal commitment to protect human life and dignity and to preach the Gospel in difficult times.
The polarizing tendencies of election-year politics can lead to circumstances in which Catholic teaching and sacramental practice can be misused for political ends. Respect for the Holy Eucharist, in particular, demands that it be received worthily and that it be seen as the source for our common mission in the world.
Catholics in Political Life was developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians in collaboration with Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFMCap, and Bishop Donald W. Wuerl. It was approved for publication by the full body of bishops at their June 2004 General Meeting and has been authorized for publication by the undersigned.
Msgr. William P. Fay
General Secretary, USCCB
July 07, 2004 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Mail your letters to William Carroll, Office of the President, Benedictine University, 5700 College Road, Lisle, IL 60532, or call
phone (630) 829-6000, or email to email@example.com
Charles W. Gregory, Executive Vice President at firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel J. Julius, Vice President/Provost, email@example.com
~ posted by Jean M. Heimann
Friday, September 24, 2004
No Election Issue
More Important than Life
Writing in the September 17th issue of the Wall Street Journal, Archbishop Myers of Newark, New Jersey, and former Bishop of the Diocese of Peoria, IL, said that a candidate's stand on abortion must take precedence over all other issues.
Here is his article:
HOUSES OF WORSHIP
A Voter's Guide Pro-choice candidates and church teaching.
BY ARCHBISHOP JOHN J. MYERS Friday, September 17, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT
Amid today's political jostling, Catholic citizens are wondering whether they can, in conscience, vote for candidates who support the legalized killing of human beings in the embryonic and fetal stages of development by abortion or in biomedical research.
Responding to requests to clarify the obligations of Catholics on this matter, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, under its prefect, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, released a statement called "On Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion." Although it dealt primarily with the obligations of bishops to deny communion to Catholic politicians in certain circumstances, it included a short note at the end addressing whether Catholics could, in good conscience, vote for candidates who supported the taking of nascent human life in the womb or lab.
Cardinal Ratzinger stated that a "Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of a candidate's permissive stand on abortion." But the question of the moment is whether a Catholic may vote for a pro-abortion candidate for other reasons. The cardinal's next sentence answered that question: A Catholic may vote for a pro-abortion Catholic politician only "in the presence of proportionate reasons."
What are "proportionate reasons"? To consider that question, we must first repeat the teaching of the church: The direct killing of innocent human beings at any stage of development, including the embryonic and fetal, is homicidal, gravely sinful and always profoundly wrong. Then we must consider the scope of the evil of abortion today in our country. America suffers 1.3 million abortions each year--a tragedy of epic proportions. Moreover, many supporters of abortion propose making the situation even worse by creating a publicly funded industry in which tens of thousands of human lives are produced each year for the purpose of being "sacrificed" in biomedical research.
Thus for a Catholic citizen to vote for a candidate who supports abortion and embryo-destructive research, one of the following circumstances would have to obtain: either (a) both candidates would have to be in favor of embryo killing on roughly an equal scale or (b) the candidate with the superior position on abortion and embryo-destructive research would have to be a supporter of objective evils of a gravity and magnitude beyond that of 1.3 million yearly abortions plus the killing that would take place if public funds were made available for embryo-destructive research.
Frankly, it is hard to imagine circumstance (b) in a society such as ours. No candidate advocating the removal of legal protection against killing for any vulnerable group of innocent people other than unborn children would have a chance of winning a major office in our country. Even those who support the death penalty for first-degree murderers are not advocating policies that result in more than a million killings annually.
As Mother Teresa reminded us on all of her visits to the U.S., abortion tears at our national soul. It is a betrayal of our nation's founding principle that recognizes all human beings as "created equal" and "endowed with unalienable rights." What evil could be so grave and widespread as to constitute a "proportionate reason" to support candidates who would preserve and protect the abortion license and even extend it to publicly funded embryo-killing in our nation's labs?
Certainly policies on welfare, national security, the war in Iraq, Social Security or taxes, taken singly or in any combination, do not provide a proportionate reason to vote for a pro-abortion candidate.
~ Posted by Jean M. Heimann
Thursday, September 23, 2004
One week ago, I sent out an email to "Catholic friends" whom I thought were very strong, committed pro-life Catholics. It was brief, to the point, and something I thought would be of interest to those involved.
Instead of receiving a "Thank you", which I don't ever expect, but often receive from others in reply to emails I send to them, I received some very irate, and downright nasty emails back, some very hurtful.
I have forgiven the individuals involved, but it made me question how authentic their Catholic faith truly is and how many other Catholics there are out there who hide behind the facade of appearing as strong Catholic leaders in their community, while privately living out lives that are inconsistent with their Catholic faith. Like rebellious teenagers, they listen to the "Parent", but the words fall on deaf ears and they do whatever they please. In their distorted way of thinking, the act is morally wrong only if they are caught. An absence of action is ok because they are not "doing anything wrong." How successful Satan is in deceiving them!
The email is as follows:
In speaking of his opponent for the U.S. Senate race in IL, Barack Obama, Alan Keyes stated, " "He (Obama) voted three times to continue the practice of infanticide," Keyes said. "Could Christ do that? Obviously, since Barack Obama supports something that Jesus Christ couldn't support ... I'm arguing no Christian worth his name should vote for him."
I quoted a practicing Catholic who lives out his faith in his life and is an excellent model for other Catholics to emulate. His opponent, Barack Obama, is someone who has a record of consistently voting against life. The two are like night and day on human life issues.
What could possibly have been so upsetting about this particular email as to prompt someone to send "hate" mail in return? It must have really touched a nerve.
Please join me in praying for those Catholics who prefer to remain in the darkness and live out their lives in denial of the truth, for those who are apathetic, and for those who prefer to live in their own little world or think by saying a prayer every now and then when they are in the mood, they have done their part and that is sufficient.
I pray that the Holy Spirit will open their minds, their eyes, and their ears to the truth and move them in a dramatic way to become proactive in the pro-life movement in the way that God intends all his children to be -- each using their gifts in a unique way to carry out His will. The graces are there for them -- I pray that they step out of their comfort zone and reach out to accept them. I ask this is in the name of Jesus through the intercession of Our Holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Amen.
~ Posted by Jean M. Heimann
(News Alerts Newsletter, Thursday, September 23, 2004)
FORUM: Stanek vs. ACLU & Planned Parenthood on live birth abortion, Chicago Tribune
The original article contains multiple Hyperlinks.
A forum on the issue of "live-birth" abortion Moderated by Tribune columnist Eric Zorn September 23, 2004.
On Aug. 8, 2004 when conservative firebrand Alan Keyes formally accepted the invitation of Illinois Republicans to fill in on the ballot after primary-winner Jack Ryan withdrew, he told supporters that what finally persuaded him to say OK "was when I learned that [Democratic candidate Barack Obama] had actually in April 2002 apparently cast a vote that would continue to allow live-birth abortions in the state of Illinois. "Ever since, the term "live-birth abortion" and allusions to it have been central to Keyes' campaign. But what is a "live-birth abortion"?How common is the procedure? What are the alternatives and relevant laws? I myself wasn't clear on the answers, and it was obvious to me in talking to activists on both sides of the abortion debate that there is not much common understanding. Accordingly I invited anti-abortion activist Jill Stanek (JS), and a trio of pro-abortion rights activists from the Roger Baldwin Foundation of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and Illinois Planned Parenthood Council of Illinois (ACLU/PP) to participate in an online forum in September, 2004. Stanek, with whom I tangled online recently, is the Pro-life Coordinator for Concerned Women for America of Illinois and a columnist for the Illinois Leader and World Net Daily, and her use of the expression "live-birth abortion" during legislative testimony several years ago helped popularize it. To avoid back-and-forth debate throughout, I asked both sides first to provide relatively brief written answers to six questions, the wording of which was agreed to by all parties in advance. After this, they exchanged answers and then composed a conclusion/rebuttal statement to clarify any outstanding issues or answer implicit challenges. I have lightly edited those final statements down to a 1,100-word limit. The order in which the responses are presented below was determined using a clever, random method that involved the Illinois Lottery. _______________1. To which procedure or procedures do you think the term "live-birth abortion" applies or is meant to apply? ACLU/PP - Physicians do not use the term "live- birth abortion." It does not describe any medical procedure. Anti-choice activists created the term as part of their effort to restrict and then ban all abortions. The scope of proposed "Born-Alive Infant" legislation is very broad and puts physicians at risk when performing many medical procedures, including procedures used to complete a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. When testifying in support of the proposals, proponents of the legislation have cited cases of abortions performed by induction, that is, inducing labor. However, the legislation itself could apply to other procedures as well. In fact, the legislation could apply to procedures used at the earliest stages of pregnancy--before a fetus has any chance of surviving. One of the most serious constitutional flaws of these bills is that they attempt to require physicians to take extraordinary medical steps to "save" fetuses that are not capable of survival. The bills do this by requiring physicians to attempt to "save" any fetus that has a heartbeat - a physical condition that occurs at 4-6 weeks of pregnancy and well before the fetus is viable, or capable of survival outside the womb. Imposing these futile burdens along with the risk of criminal liability on physicians performing even early abortions runs afoul of Supreme Court precedent. Such legislation is improperly designed to chill physicians who are attempting to provide the best care for their patients. JS - "Live-birth abortion" is the common name given in 1999 to an abortion/infanticide procedure. I revealed was being committed at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, where I worked as a labor and delivery nurse. Prior to that, the American public was unaware of LBA. But we now know LBA is committed in h ospitals around the U.S., including Chicago's Rush-Presbyterian St-Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge and Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. LBA is medically known as "prostaglandin abortion," "mid-trimester labor induction," or "early induction of labor. "LBA is committed during the second and third trimesters, usually between 18 and 23 weeks. I have heard of it being committed as late as 28 weeks. For this procedure, the physician inserts a medication into the birth canal up to the cervix, which is the opening at the bottom of the uterus that is supposed to stay closed until a mother is about 40 weeks pregnant, and she then goes into labor. Or the physician will force seaweed stickst about he size of matchsticks-- called laminaria -- into the cervix. These enlarge when moistened. The medication or laminaria force the cervix to open. This can take from several hours to several days. My experience is that hospitals do not kill the baby before LBA is initiated, but abortion clinics do. Planned Parenthood should elaborate on this. In hospitals, when the cervix opens far enough, the pre-term baby drops out of the uterus, sometimes alive. At Christ Hospital, when neither the parents nor medical personnel had the time or inclination to hold the dying baby, nurses took the baby to the Soiled Utility Room, where she or he was sometimes left there alone to die. My coworker Allison Baker testified before the U.S. House Judicial Subcommittee on the Constitution of walking into Christ Hospital's Soiled Utility Room on two separate occasions, once to find a live, aborted baby lying naked next to the sink, and once to find a live, aborted baby lying naked on a scale. As I testified a total of three times before the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee and Health & Human Services Committee (Barack Obama is a member of both): It is not uncommon for a live aborted babies to linger for an hour or two or even longer. At Christ Hospital one of these babies once lived for almost an entire eight-hour shift….One night, a nursing co-worker was taking an aborted Down Syndrome baby who was born alive to our Soiled Utility Room….I could not bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone in a Soiled Utility Room, so I cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived. He was 21 to 22 weeks old, weighed about half a pound, and was about 10 inches long. He was too weak to move very much, expending any energy he had trying to breathe. Toward the end, he was so quiet that I couldn't tell if he was still alive unless I held him up to the light to see if his heart was still beating through his chest wall. After he was pronounced dead, we folded his little arms across his chest, wrapped him in a tiny shroud, and carried him to the hospital morgue where all of our dead patients are taken. _______________ 2. How common are such procedures and in what circumstances are they usually performed?JS -- I don't know how common LBA is in Illinois, nor does anyone else. I recently asked the Illinois Department of Health for the 2003 abortion breakdown by gestational age and procedure. The IDPH's Report of Induced Termination of Pregnancy form, which all aborting medical facilities must complete annually, offers the following "Termination Procedures" options: Suction Curettage Sharp Curettage Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) Intra-Uterine Saline Instillation Intra-Uterine Prostaglandin Instillation Hysterotomy Hysterectomy Other Unknown The LBA procedure is not listed as an option. Neither is D&X ("partial-birth abortion") or the RU486 abortion. The Dept. of Health options are not only antiquated but also lacking. Two of the aforementioned options, intra-uterine saline and prostaglandin instillations, are no longer commonly performed. According to an April 2004 report published in the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, "[I]n 1972, approximately 10% of abortions were performed by either saline or prostaglandin instillation procedures. Use of this higher-risk procedure declined through the 1970s to approximately 3% in 1980." So Illinois Dept. of Public Health statistics by no means give an accurate portrayal of what is really going on in Illinois in 2004. Abortions over 12 weeks can only be committed a few ways. The babies are bigger and their bones are calcified, so they can no longer be suctioned. The late-term abortion methods in common use today are: D&E, D&X, and mid-trimester labor induction, two of which are not options on the IDPH reporting form.Consequently, Illinois abortion statistics do not add up. Tom Schafer, spokesman for IDPH, told me that of 42,228 abortions committed in Illinois in 2003, 6,983 were of mothers carrying babies 12 weeks old and older, and 1,863 were of unknown gestational age. Of those, 3,709 were D&Es; "less than 51" were in each of the saline, prostaglandin, hysterotomy, and hystorectomy categories; 1,526 were "Other" and 221 were "Unknown." This means that several thousand late-term abortions in Illinois are unaccounted for but can only be one of these: D&E, D&X, or mid-trimester labor induction. Regarding the second part of the question about circumstances, I most often hear of LBA being committed to abort handicapped babies. It could also be committed for "health of the mother" reasons like ruptured bag of waters, or to save the life of the mother. However, if a preborn baby is over 23 weeks old, and needs to be delivered for health or life of the mother issues, s/he should not be aborted at all but treated as a premature delivery. There is no reason to abort then. ACLU/PP -- It is impossible to answer this question accurately, given the broad yet ambiguous scope of the so-called "live-birth" legislation introduced in Illinois. "Live-birth abortion" is not a medical term. Statistics on abortions in Illinois are kept by the Illinois Dept. of Public Health. Physicians make reports using medically accepted terminology. Thus, IDPH does not have any statistics on so-called "live-birth abortions".Advocates of the term would have the public believe that these abortions are performed when the fetus can survive. Once again, anti-choice activists erroneously conflate certain signs of physical development -- e.g., a heartbeat -- with survival by the fetus.Realistically, very few abortions are performed after there is even a remote chance of fetal survival.Since 1973, states have been permitted to ban abortions after viability -- that point at which the fetus is "reasonably likely to survive outside the womb -- except when the procedure is necessary to save the life or health of the pregnant woman. Nationally, only an estimated 1 in 1,250 abortions (0.08% ) are performed after 24 weeks gestation. Proponents of "live-birth abortion" terminology often use the induction procedure as an example of situations in which the delivered fetus might be saved. However, the examples they use often overlook the serious medical problems in the woman or the fetus that led to the abortion in the first instance.Induction is usually performed in the second trimester and can be used to deal with cases of severe fetal anomalies or health problems of the pregnant woman. Unfortunately, tests do not usually detect severe problems with the fetus until after the first trimester. Even so, induction is used rarely. This is for several reasons.First it should be performed in a hospital setting.Second it carries greater risks to the women than other procedures. Third it can take many hours and be painful both physically and mentally for the women. And finally, it is not always available. _______________3. What are the medical alternatives to these procedures?JS -- Other late-term abortion alternatives are: D&E (Dilatation and Curettage): The cervix is dilated, and the baby is cut up and removed; or the physician enters the uterus with forceps, clamps down on any part of the baby s/he can grab, twists that part and removes it and others, piece by piece. During the latter D&E method, abortion proponents admit the baby is alive much of that time. D&X (Dilatation and Extraction, aka partial-birth abortion): Abortionist Dr. Martin Haskell first described this abortion procedure he invented in 1992. The physician reaches in to the uterus and turns the baby around to a feet-first (breech) delivery position. S/he pulls the baby out up to the head, and while the head is in the birth canal, s/he punctures the nape of the neck with a sharp instrument and suctions out the brains. The dead baby is then removed. Sometimes, according to abortionist LeRoy Carhart, when he testified in favor of PBA earlier this year, there is the complication of the "free floating head," or decapitated head that is difficult to grasp and remove. To view photos of babies aborted by this method, click here. (Moderator's warning---these photos are very graphic.) Less common:Intra-Uterine Saline Instillation: A strong salt solution is injected directly into the amniotic fluid. The baby breathes and swallows it, resulting in poisoning and internal burning. The salt solution also burns and strips away the outer layer of the baby's skin. Intra-Uterine Prostaglandin Instillation: According to Planned Parenthood, these abortions are "performed by injecting a prostaglandin hormone into the amniotic sac."(Regarding the aforementioned, in 2003, the World Health Organization reported them "invasive and less safe than the newer medical methods.")Hysterotomy: A Caesarean section where the baby is killed by clamping the cord and drowning her in amniotic fluid before delivering her.Hysterectomy: Removal of the killed baby in conjunction with removal of the uterus.ACLU/PP -- Again, because the legislation introduced in Illinois can apply to numerous procedures--including those performed at the earliest stages of pregnancy-- it is difficult to discuss alternatives. There are a few medical procedures used after the first trimester to terminate pregnancy: induction, D&E and D&X. A woman and her physician must determine the procedure that is best for her under her particular medical circumstances. For example, induction might be appropriate for one woman, but another woman may have a medical condition that rules it out. Access to the various medical options is a factor that cannot be ignored. Even if there is a medical alternative, if a woman cannot access that alternative, then it is meaningless. If the proposed so-called "Born-Alive Infant" legislation were to become law, for all practical purposes a woman may have no alternatives because she will be unable to find a physician who is willing to perform an abortion, no matter what the procedure, and risk criminal prosecution for failing to attempt to resuscitate a fetus that cannot be saved. Currently it is difficult for women in Illinois to find a provider of abortion services once she has past the first trimester in her pregnancy. We know cases of women in Illinois who have discovered severe problems with the fetus during the second trimester and have had to travel out of state (even as far as California) to find an abortion provider who is able to help them. In some instances the medical condition of the woman necessitates hospital care during the abortion procedure. Unfortunately, many Illinois hospitals decline to provide even life- or health-saving abortions, leaving many women without access to the medical care they desperately need. Laws such as the proposed "live-birth abortion bans" that increase penalties for physicians and hospitals are intended to, and would, drive more health care providers from providing this essential care. _______________4. What does the law currently state about these procedures and how is that law applied (or not applied) in practice?JS -- In 1999, after sending IDPH to investigate Christ Hospital's induced labor abortion practices, then-Atty. Gen. Jim Ryan determined the hospital was doing nothing illegal under current Illinois law. So there is clearly a breakdown in law regarding live aborted babies.Atty. Gen. Ryan submitted a letter of support for legislation state Sen. Patrick O'Malley (R-Palos Park) introduced called the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act.BAIPA states that live born babies, no matter what their gestational age or circumstances of birth, are legal "persons."On the federal level, BAIPA passed 98-0 in the U.S. Senate and overwhelmingly in the House and was signed by President Bush into law on August 5, 2002. The federal BAIPA impacts federal law; Illinois BAIPA would impact Illinois law.BAIPA would not stop doctors from committing LBA. Babies being aborted -- before they are born -- are not legal persons.But if a baby somehow survives the first attempt to kill him or her, the physician should not get a second chance. The physician should then do everything possible to save the baby, if the baby is viable.If the baby is not viable, then comfort measures should be provided until s/he dies, just as would be provided for nonviable wanted babies. All babies should be given equal protection to equal medical care in Illinois. This is a simple concept that abortion proponents try to blur.When the Illinois ACLU's Colleen Connell testified against BAIPA, she told senators that existing law already protected a baby I described who had been aborted alive at Christ Hospital.This surprised me, because I had previously informed both Ryan and Cook Co. State's Attorney Dick Devine about this healthy little girl, who was aborted at the age of 23 weeks, weighing one pound, and whose APGAR scores improved between one and five minutes. Neither Ryan nor Devine acted upon the information I gave them.The baby was never assessed by neonatal doctors but was kept in Christ Hospital's labor & delivery department for 2-1/2 hours until she died. After Connell testified, I wrote her twice, asking her to defend this baby's civil liberties posthumously.I never received a response. The other side quotes an Illinois law that states a second doctor must be present in the event an abortionist thinks s/he might abort a potentially viable baby alive. But the decision to call the second doctor is up to the abortionist.The House sponsor of that bill, former state Rep. Penny Pullen (R.- Park Ridge) explained the loophole:The two-doctor rule depends on a pre-delivery assessment by the abortionist that the baby may be viable.The purpose of BAIPA is to require a post-delivery assessment, which is needed because viability is such a tricky question, and because abortionists will likely err on the side of being able to commit the abortion without inviting a second doctor to assist for the sake of the baby. It subjects him to second guessing by a second doctor.ACLU/PP -- Current law says nothing about so-called "live-birth abortion." That is probably because the term was only recently created by anti-choice activists in an attempt to scare physicians away from offering abortion services and to impose unnecessary burdens on women seeking reproductive health services. However, we do have Illinois laws that have been tested by the courts.Illinois law bans abortions after a fetus is viable (able to live outside the womb). This law only provides exceptions in order to protect the women's life or health. This law carries severe penalties for physicians who violate it. Moreover, under Illinois law, where a post-viability abortion is necessary to preserve the woman's life or health, the physician nevertheless must have a second physician present to provide treatment if a baby is born alive. The existence of the "second-physician" requirement under Illinois law makes clear that the so-called "live-birth" legislation is designed to deter physicians from performing pre-viability abortions where resuscitative efforts are futile. ______________5. If you feel the current laws are not sufficient, how would you amend it, and what would you say to those who say that broad amendments are actually aimed not at a particular procedure but at all abortions past the first tri-mester? If you feel the current laws are not sufficient, what is it in the proposed amendments that causes you to believe that they are actually aimed at curtailing all abortions past the first tri-mester?ACLU/PP -- Current laws are sufficient. There is no evidence of abuse. There is no evidence that abortions are being recklessly performed on healthy fetuses that are able to survive outside of the womb. A reading of the legislation makes it clear that it is aimed at impeding abortions throughout pregnancy.No one procedure is defined. In fact, it states that it would apply to several circumstances not just induction. No time period is outlined. It would apply to any time in pregnancy - first, second or third trimester, and as noted above, is directed at pre-viability procedures. JS -- BAIPA has been introduced in the Illinois General Assembly four times now. It has failed four times. Of course, I think the first step is passing that law.It simply states: Amends the Statute on Statutes. Defines the terms "person", "human being", "child", and "individual" to include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development. Defines "born alive" to mean the complete expulsion or extraction from the mother of an infant, at any stage of development, who after such expulsion or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut and regardless of whether the expulsion or extraction occurs as a result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion. Provides that nothing in these definitions shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being born alive. Section 2 of the Illinois Constitution's Bill of Rights would then apply: "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law nor be denied the equal protection of the laws. "It is not possible for BAIPA to be aimed at a particular abortion procedure. It is a law defining legal personhood. It could only have a chilling effect on infanticide.Beyond BAIPA, it seems to me the simplest solution is to mandate that a second physician, objective in nature (not a second abortionist), be present at all live births, no matter what gestational age. Some hospitals have already adopted this protocol. _______________6. To what degree, if any, is debate over the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act and related legislation also a debate over so-called "partial-birth" abortions? ACLU/PP --The anti-choice activists who are promoting the "Born-Alive Infant Protection Act" are using the same tactics they used in the so-called "partial-birth abortion" debate. They create a non-medical, emotionally charged term for abortion. They describe one type of abortion procedure when the legislation actually is broadly defined and would apply to multiple procedures. They mislead the public into thinking that they are only talking about healthy full-term infants when, in fact, their proposed legislation would apply to all stages of pregnancy. They mislead the public into thinking that late-term abortions are common. They craft their legislation with no exceptions to protect a women's health or life.Finally, they design their legislation to become the focus of litigation in an attempt to have the United States Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to ban abortions. JS -- As I have explained, the two abortion procedures are completely different. But I note the Illinois media tends to mix them up, particularly of late when discussing Barack Obama's position on them. (Obama voted against the PBA ban and also voted against the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act.)Obama has not helped by tending to blur discussion regarding his votes on "late-term abortions." _______________CONCLUSION Closing statement of Jill Stanek --After reading the Planned Parenthood/ACLU team's responses to Eric's questions, I wished I were Sergeant Joe Friday so I could say, "Just the facts, ma'ams."Rather, they frittered a great opportunity to do their part to clarify the confusion surrounding live birth abortion by whining about terminology, fretting about hidden agendas, warning that the abortion sky would fall if a law safeguarding infants against infanticide were passed, and then regurgitating from the top.That is because they want what is confused to remain confused. Why?As our discussion about live birth abortion winds down, it is relevant to point out that Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the United States. Internationally, Planned Parenthood rakes in billions of dollars annually, much of it from abortion.If a tobacco company were the pro-smoking debater in a forum weighing the harms of smoking, the audience would rightly be skeptical of its "facts" and motives. The audience reading our debate should approach the other side's answers with the same degree of skepticism. Planned Parenthood's adamant defense of a gruesome abortion procedure that sometimes results in babies being aborted alive is to ensure its cash cow, abortion, is not impeded upon. That's also why Planned Parenthood and its tag-team buddy, the ACLU, tirelessly fight against reasonable boundaries on abortion in Illinois, for instance, a law requiring that parents be notified before their minor child aborts; a law requiring doctors to give women seeking abortions information about the proven harms of abortion; the formation of a task force to probe the relationship between abortion and breast cancer; or regulations that would bring Illinois abortion clinic standards up to the level of Illinois animal clinics.These have all been defeated many times in Illinois General Assemblies or in the courts, primarily by the Illinois Planned Parenthood and ACLU.That's because Planned Parenthood spends its abortion profits wisely. It pays a lobbyist to work full-time at the State Capitol to protect its primary business interest, abortion. ACLU does the same. And PP generously donates to politicians who turn around and vote to give it taxpayer money. It's a circular payback system that never ends. It isn't possible to go line-by-line through the misrepresentations and distortions PP/ACLU disgorged as they flitted around Eric's six questions, such as when they said a baby's heart starts beating "at 4-6 weeks of pregnancy" when it actually begins beating at 21 days. But there are a couple of whoppers I will address.The first and greatest is when they stated, "Illinois law bans abortions after a fetus is viable [except] in order to protect the women's life or health." They will also often say abortion is legal in the U.S. for the first three months of pregnancy. These are misleading and false statements. The same day the Supreme Court granted mothers the "right" to abort in its January 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade decision, it went farther to legalize abortion on demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy in its Doe v. Bolton decision. "But only for health reasons!" the other side will shriek. They don't say that abortion for "health" of the mother "may be exercised in the light of all factors - physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age - relevant to the well-being of the patient," according to Supreme Court Justice Blackmun's Doe opinion. Thus, if a mother decides her pregnancy is causing emotional or psychological stress at any time before her baby is completely separated from her, she can abort, yes, even mid-delivery, which is actually what a "partial birth abortion" is. Indeed, it was the disclosures about partial birth abortion - a term abortion proponents hate --- that began changing American minds on abortion. We all believe in the cowboy spirit of freedom and independence, of live and let live, but that procedure is too grotesque to ignore. People who previously simply accepted abortion as a "woman's right to choose" began to think about the baby.That's why details about partial-birth abortion and live-birth abortion send abortion providers like Planned Parenthood through the roof. Because these revelations - truths - make Americans very uneasy. Polls indicate most people instinctively know abortion kills a baby. We are reasonable and intelligent and understand that humans begat humans. What to do with the quandary? For many years we went into denial… believed the lies without researching for ourselves… tried not to think about it… avoided the topic when it came up… got mad at those pro-life crazies who hold up graphic signs of aborted babies.But no more. The house of cards is falling, because not only has the abortion industry pushed the envelope too far, but also 30 years of studies have shown that abortion catastrophically impacts the health of women. We now know that 10 percent of aborting women suffer immediate complications, of which one-fifth are life-threatening: infection, embolism, ripping or perforation of the uterus, convulsions, cervical injury, fever, chronic abdominal pain, gastro-intestinal disturbances, excessive bleeding, cervical injury, anesthesia complications, hemorrhage, endotoxic shock, second degree burns, vomiting, and Rh sensitization. We now know that compared to women who carry to term, women who have abortions are: 3.5 times more likely to die in the following year; 1.6 times more likely to die of natural causes; 7 times more likely to die of suicide; 4 times more likely to die of injuries related to accidents; and 14 times more likely to die from homicide. We also now know that abortion hides incest. Abortion is a pedophile's best friend, because the sicko can take his little girl victim for an abortion, kill the evidence of his crime, and carry on with no one being any the wiser.To end where this all began, I want to address the second great whopper the ACLU/PP told.To muddy the waters, they lumped three bills together that tried to address the live-birth abortion issue. Two of the bills had to do with physician instructions and penalties for noncompliance.But the cornerstone bill was the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. Each of these bills were separately numbered and voted on separately. The definition in Illinois' BAIPA was identical to the definition in the federal version. It passed the U.S. Senate unanimously and overwhelmingly in the House, and was signed into law by President Bush in 2002. Yet, in Illinois, it has failed three times and is currently being held up by Emil Jones in the Senate and Michael Madigan in the House. This is how pathetically amoral a majority of our elected officials in Illinois are, including yes, Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama. _______________Closing statement from The Roger Baldwin Foundation of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and Illinois Planned Parenthood Council of Illinois--Jill Stanek writes in support of the so-called "Born Alive Infant Protection" legislation that was introduced in 2002 in the Illinois General Assembly. This group of 3 bills was intended to limit abortions performed well before that stage of pregnancy at which a fetus can survive on its own and therefore well before there is any constitutionally recognized state interest in limiting access to reproductive healthcare. These bills would have had a particularly egregious impact on women forced to confront the untenable situation of having to terminate a much wanted pregnancy because of a maternal or fetal health crisis. The first bill in this package would have imposed civil liability, including punitive damages, on any health care provider who failed to provide "all medical care necessary to preserve and protect the life, health and safety" of a baby born alive after an abortion, regardless of the stage of development or the reasonable likelihood of survival even with extraordinary medical intervention. The second bill defined "born-alive infant" based on minimal physical signs of fetal development--a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord and movement of voluntary muscles. This definition would have applied not only in the context of induced abortion but also, for example, where a woman goes into premature labor in the mid-term.These developmental signs do not mean that if delivered, the baby could survive outside the uterus, a concept known as viability. Instead, these signs occur early in the course of fetal development, long before there is any chance of such survival.The fetal heartbeat starts at approximately 4-6 weeks gestation and voluntary muscle movements begin as early as 12-14 weeks. By contrast, a fetus is considered viable at approximately 24 weeks, depending on the reasonable medical judgment of the attending physician and the unique circumstances of each individual pregnancy. The third bill in the 2002 package would have amended the existing abortion law to require the presence of a second physician at any abortion where these early developmental signs exist, to attempt to resuscitate and sustain a live born baby--again without regard to any reasonable chance of survival. Doctors who didn't provide this futile medical care would have risked criminal prosecution, imprisonment and the loss of their medical licenses. This package of bills differs markedly from the federal legislation to which Stanek refers. Most notably, the federal law was definitional only; whereas the Illinois bills would have imposed affirmative obligations and civil and criminal consequences for any failure to meet those obligations. The practical effect of these types of legislative threats is to scare physicians away from offering abortion care, thus depriving women of access to an essential part of their reproductive healthcare.The Illinois legislation was defeated--with good cause. Illinois already bans abortions after a fetus is viable (able to live outside the womb). The only exceptions are in order to protect the pregnant woman's life or health. And, in those situations, Illinois already requires the presence of a second physician to provide treatment if a baby is born alive. Illinois imposes severe criminal penalties for failure to comply with these requirements. As the post-viability stage of pregnancy was already addressed by existing law, it's apparent that the Illinois "live-birth" legislation could only have been directed at the pre-viability stage of pregnancy where the resuscitative treatment required would have been futile and where the state cannot impose such unnecessary burdens on access to abortion care. Advocates for this type of legislation strive to make it seem that women are waiting until they are minutes from delivering a healthy full-term baby and then on a whim deciding they no longer want to be pregnant.They also would have the public believe that doctors are depriving viable, live-born babies of medical care that would lead to sustained survival. This is simply not so. According to the most recent data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 1.4-1.5% of all abortions are performed after 20 weeks gestation (still before viability).Women seek abortions after the first trimester of pregnancy for a variety of personal reasons, including because pregnancy is causing or exacerbating a serious medical condition. Some such conditions endanger the woman's life; others may endanger her health, but not necessarily her life. Other women decide to terminate their pregnancies after learning that the fetus suffers from a severe anomaly. Most such women are ending very much wanted pregnancies.The induction procedure on which Stanek focuses in her remarks is a long and painful process for the pregnant patient. It can take anywhere from 12 hours to multiple days and involves painful contractions to expel the fetus. (Contrary to Stanek's comments, the fetus does not simply "drop out.") It is also psychologically draining, as these procedures are performed on hospital labor and delivery floors; the patient, who is often terminating a wanted pregnancy, is surrounded by others who are delivering healthy babies. These are not procedures that women undergo on a whim.Stanek and other proponents of "live-birth" legislation attempt to disguise their opposition to all abortion by claiming to be seeking protection for infants they contend are being mistreated. In so doing, they demean the often painful choices women are forced to make to protect their own health and future fertility or because they learn that the fetus they carry will not survive birth or infancy or will be condemned to a long and painful death as a result of any of a number of genetic or developmental defects.Faced with the fact that medical ethical standards and Illinois statutes already address the concerns the "live-birth" legislation would purportedly have addressed, Stanek argues that abortion providers and physicians treating women suffering from premature labor (or, the "abortionist," to use Stanek's words) will declare viable fetuses to be non-viable--"err[ing] on the side of being able to commit the abortion. "There is simply no evidence for Stanek's contention that Illinois reproductive health care providers are flouting their ethical and legal responsibilities in order to avoid saving a baby that has the potential to survive. Finally, for the first time here, Stanek concedes that "the physician should do everything possible to save the baby, if the baby is viable," and if it is not viable, "then comfort care measures should be provided."This, however, is not what the "Born Alive Infant Protection" Act provided. It is, however, what already is occurring in Illinois hospitals.Stanek's efforts to limit access to all abortions through the "Born Alive Infant Protection" Act is clear and is in disregard of women's health and their personal reproductive tragedies. This concludes the forum. My thanks to all particpants and readers.
Copyright © 2004, Chicago Tribune
St. Pio of Pietrelcina
Francesco Forgione (1887 – 1968)
Francesco Forgione was born in the Italian village of Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887 to Giuseppa and Grazio who were poor farmers. He was a pious child who was drawn to the priesthood at an early age. He entered the Capuchin Order at the age of sixteen and received the habit at twenty-five. He was ordained in 1910 and after seven years of study, became known as Padre Pio.
Padre Pio was blessed with many gifts during his long lifetime. At the age of thirty-one, he was kneeling in front of a large crucifix, when he received the stigmata – the same wounds inflicted upon Christ at the time of the crucifixion. Although he experienced numerous health problems during his life, the doctor who examined Padre Pio could find no natural cause for the wounds. The blood oozing from the wounds exuded an unusual fragrance, similar to that of violets.
Possessing the gift of prophecy, Padre Pio accurately predicted that his wounds would heal in fifty years, just shortly before his death. Padre Pio also possessed the gift of bilocation and was able to be physically present in more than one place at a time. Padre Pio was able to read the hearts and souls of those who came to him in Confession and spent hours in the confessional to bring sinners closer to God. He was a gifted spiritual adviser and knew how to counsel and encourage others with his inspiring words.
People from all over the world came to him for both physical and spiritual healing. Miracles were a frequent occurrence in the life of Padre Pio. One of the most significant occurred when he was assigned to Our Lady of Grace friary near the village of San Giovanni Rotondo in the Gargano Mountains, where he would live for the rest of his life. The Lord healed him of the mysterious illnesses that had plagued him for ten years whenever he attempted to live at the other monasteries. Perhaps this was God’s way of drawing him to the place, which he would later transform, into an international spiritual renewal center.
On September 23, 1968, at the age of eighty-one, Padre Pio died. Approximately 100,000 people attended his funeral. On June 16, 2002, Padre Pio was canonized as St. Pio of Pietrelcina.
Messages from St. Pio:
“Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”
“Prayer is the best weapon we possess, the key that opens up the heart of God.”
“You must speak to Jesus also with the heart, besides the lips; indeed in certain cases you must speak to Him only with the heart.”
“Mary is the inspiration of my hope.”
“Let Mary be the reason for all your hopes.”
“Give yourself up into the arms of your heavenly Mother…”
“Devotion to Mary is the ticket to Heaven.”
“Lean on the Cross of Jesus as the Virgin did and you will not be deprived of comfort. Mary was as if paralyzed before her crucified Son, but one cannot say that she was abandoned by Him. Rather how much more did she not love Him when she suffered and could not even weep?”
“At times Our Lord makes you feel the burden of the Cross. This burden seems intolerable to you. But as for you, carry it because Jesus extends His hand and gives you strength.”
“Continue to pray that God may console you when you feel the weight of the Cross is becoming too burdensome. Acting thus you are not doing anything against the Will of God, but are with the Son of God Who, in the garden, asked His father for some relief. But if it does not please Him to do this, be ready to say with Jesus, ‘Fiat!’”
“Let us ascend Calvary, burdened with the Cross but without tiring. And let us be convinced that our ascent will lead us to the heavenly vision of our sweetest Savior.”
“Ahead! Courage! In the Spiritual life he who does not advance goes backward. It happens with a boat, which must go ahead. If it stands still the wind will blow it back.”
“The most beautiful credo is that which comes from our lips in darkness, in sacrifice, in pain, in the supreme effort of an unbending will for our good. It is this which, like a stroke of lightning, penetrates the darkness of the soul; it is this which in the flash of the tempest lifts you and leads you to God.”
“Do not worry over things that generate preoccupation, derangement and anxiety. One thing only is necessary: to lift up your spirit and love God.”
“You are suffering, it is true, but with resignation. Fear not because God is with you. You do not offend Him but love Him. You suffer, but believe also that Jesus Himself suffers in you and for you.”
“Always live under the eyes of the Good Shepherd and you will walk unharmed through evil pastures.”
"My heart feels as if it were being drawn by a superior force each morning just before uniting with Him in the Blessed Sacrament. I have such a thirst and hunger before receiving Him that it's a wonder I don't die of anxiety. I was hardly able to reach the Divine Prisoner in order to celebrate Mass. When Mass ended I remained with Jesus to render Him thanks. My thirst and hunger do not diminish after I have received Him in the Blessed Sacrament, but rather, increase steadily. Oh, how sweet was the conversation I held with Paradise this morning. The Heart of Jesus and my own, if you will pardon my expression, fused. They were no longer two hearts beating but only one. My heart disappeared as if it were a drop in the ocean."
© Jean M. Heimann 2004, Excerpt from Gold in the Fire
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
A Prayer for our National Elections
O God, we acknowledge you today as Lord, Not only of individuals, but of nations and governments.
We thank you for the privilege Of being able to organize ourselves politically And of knowing that political loyalty Does not have to mean disloyalty to you.
We thank you for your law, Which our Founding Fathers acknowledged And recognized as higher than any human law.
We thank you for the opportunity that this election year puts before us,To exercise our solemn duty not only to vote, But to influence countless others to vote, And to vote correctly.
Lord, we pray that your people may be awakened.Let them realize that while politics is not their salvation,Their response to you requires that they be politically active.
Awaken your people to know that they are not called to be a sect fleeing the worldBut rather a community of faith renewing the world.
Awaken them that the same hands lifted up to you in prayer Are the hands that pull the lever in the voting booth;That the same eyes that read your WordAre the eyes that read the names on the ballot,And that they do not cease to be Christians When they enter the voting booth.
Awaken your people to a commitment to justice To the sanctity of marriage and the family,To the dignity of each individual human life, And to the truth that human rights begin when human lives begin, And not one moment later.
Lord, we rejoice today That we are citizens of your kingdom.
May that make us all the more committed To being faithful citizens on earth.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
--Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life
Women Who Have Had Abortions to Lead
National Prayer for Repentance and Healing
(Elliot News, Volume 3, #8)
America For Jesus, a national, interdenominational coalition of Christian ministries and churches, is sponsoring seven days of prayer, fasting, and repentance for the sins of our nation and fellow Americans from October 18-24, 2004. Two days, October 21-22, will focus particularly on abortion be will be post-abortive women.
The event coordinators are inviting women to "teach us to mourn and seek repentance." citing Jeremiah 9:17-24, which reads, in part: "Call for the wailing women to come; and send for the most skillful of them. Let them come quickly and wail over us till our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids.... Now O women, hear the word of the Lord; open your ears to the words of his mouth. Teach your daughters how to wail; teach one another a lament. Death has climbed in through our windows and has entered our fortresses; it has cut off the children from the streets and the young men from the public squares."
Women who have had abortions -- as well as others who have been involved in an abortion -- who would like to participate in a special way in this event are invited come Tent of Meeting and Prayer that will be erected on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., particularly on the 21st and the 22nd.
According to an invitation from America for Jesus:"We are representatives of the Body of Christ, all who say "Jesus is Lord", regardless of denominational differences.... Our audience is God. Our battle cry is 2 Chronicles 7:14." That passage reads: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
Sponsors of the event encourage as many people as possible to come to the National Mall in Washington for any portion of the seven days of prayer. Those who have been involved in abortion are particularly encouraged to attend on October 21st and 22nd. Those who cannot attend are asked to unite themselves to this effort through additional time in prayer, fasting, and repentance during this seven day prayer vigil.
For more information, visit http://www.americaforjesus.org/ or http://www.operationoutcry.org/ .
~ posted by Jean M. Heimann
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
On this special feast day of St. Matthew, I would like to wish my nephew, Matthew, and his parents, a day filled with blessings.
~posted by Jean M. Heimann
Thursday, September 16, 2004
"America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts--a child--as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience."
(Mother Teresa -- "Notable and Quotable," Wall Street Journal, 2/25/94, p. A14)
~ Posted by Jean M. Heimann
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
I rarely post personal news here, but feel a need for prayer support at this time. I am serving as "the token pro-life Christian" on a Voters Roundtable for a somewhat "liberal" local newspaper. When the word "abortion" came out of my mouth, there were gasps around the table. I won't go any further in describing the happenings, other than to say that I feel as if I am entering The Twilight Zone when I see and hear the reactions to my pro-life views.
~ Posted by Jean M. Heimann
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
By Jan LaRue, CWA’s Chief Counsel
Tragically, surviving the womb depends on seeking shelter with mother rather than from mother.
Three federal judges have now declared that the ban on partial-birth abortion (PBA) is unconstitutional because it has no exception for preserving a woman’s health. All three cite the mandate in the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in 2000 in Stenberg v. Carhart.
Most folks probably think that the Court is referring only to a risk to her health that stems from the pregnancy itself. And they would be very wrong. But they shouldn’t be embarrassed; Justice Clarence Thomas thought the same thing.
The “health risk” is more than that. According to the majority in Stenberg, it means that a woman with a perfectly healthy pregnancy of any gestation may not be denied a particular abortion procedure, no matter how barbaric or inhumane it may be, if she and her abortionist think it’s safer for her as compared to another abortion method. Lest you find that hard to believe, here’s what Justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote for the majority, said in Stenberg:
Justice Thomas says that the cases just cited limit this principle to situations where the pregnancy itself creates a threat to health. He is wrong. The cited cases, reaffirmed in Casey, recognize that a State cannot subject women’s health to significant risks both in that context, AND ALSO where state regulations force women to use riskier methods of abortion. Our cases have repeatedly invalidated statutes that in the process of regulating the methods of abortion, imposed significant health risks.
… The State fails to demonstrate that banning D&X [the medical term for partial-birth abortion] without a health exception may not create significant health risks for women, because the record shows that significant medical authority supports the proposition that in some circumstances, D&X would be the safest procedure. [Emphasis in original.]
Just as an aside, we weren’t aware of any “force[d]” abortions other than in China. What we do have in Breyer’s statements is an admission that abortion is risky and some methods impose “significant health risks.” Women, take note.
Martin Haskell, M.D., who perfected the breech version of the D&X procedure, testified at trial when the Wisconsin PBA ban was litigated in the federal district court. The U.S. Court of Appeals referred to Haskell’s damaging testimony when it upheld the Wisconsin and Illinois PBA bans in Hope Clinic v. Ryan in 1999:
None of the physicians would state unequivocally that the D&X procedure is safer than the D&E* procedure. Broekhuizen conceded that further study of the procedures is required. Smith admitted that he had never encountered a situation where D&X would have been the best procedure to use. Haskell, who invented the procedure, admitted that the D&X procedure is never medically necessary to save the life or preserve the health of a woman. Giles agreed.
When it comes to weighing conflicting expert testimony, you would think that the Supremes would do what the 7th Circuit did—take it from the horse’s mouth. It’s never “medically necessary.”
The last judge who ruled in the Nebraska case, who managed to kill another tree with his 480+ page ruling, wasn’t even concerned about calling his impartiality into question. He refused to allow any doctor to testify as an expert witness who hadn’t performed a PBA.
In another case, The Washington Times reported on September 10 on page A-8 that Oklahoma prosecutors have charged a woman with first-degree murder after she gave birth to a dead baby boy. They claim that her illicit drug use during her pregnancy caused his death.
This is another example that, when it comes to killing unborn children, we are living in parallel legal universes where the rules differ according to who does the killing. If the charges are true, should she be prosecuted? Absolutely.
But what if she finds some “expert witness” who testifies in her defense: “It was a late-term abortion using a safer procedure. This woman is a long-term drug user whose health is less threatened by using drugs to induce abortion. Any other procedure would be far riskier for her.” And what if the judge won’t allow the state’s expert to testify if he or she has never prescribed illicit drugs? And who are these prosecutors to invade her privacy and interfere with her “reproductive freedom”?
But there’s another story with a happy ending. As Hurricane Frances roared through Stuart, Florida, on September 4, Amanda Jones, who was almost nine months pregnant, sought shelter with her family in the Suburban Lodge. In the midst of the storm, Amanda’s water broke, and there was no way to get to a hospital.
Earlier in the afternoon, Amanda met Lori Nelson, a woman in the room two doors down. Lori just happened to be a midwife who has delivered almost 1,000 babies. She had decided at the last minute to take her tools with her as she left her home seeking refuge from Frances. After giving Amanda a courtesy examination, the women parted with a joke about being prepared if anything happened. At 7:11 p.m., with the able help of Lori, Maranda Lynn Bennett was born, and her father David cut the umbilical cord.
Lori told a reporter for the St. Petersburg Times, “It’s really kind of amazing, how we got brought together. It was just one of those destiny things.”
* In a D&E, or dilation and evacuation, abortion, which is used in the second trimester, the abortionist dilates the cervix and then uses a forceps to cut up the baby and remove it piece by piece from the uterus.
~ Posted by Jean M. Heimann
"A cross with Christ is a blessing."
~ Father Angelus M. Shaughessy, O.F.M.
~Posted by Jean M. Heimann
Jesus, Who because of Your burning love for us willed to be crucified and to shed Your Most Precious Blood for the redemption and salvation of our souls, look down upon us and grant the petition we ask for ...
We trust completely in Your Mercy. Cleanse us from sin by Your Grace, sanctify our work, give us and all those who are dear to us our daily bread, lighten the burden of our sufferings, bless our families, and grant to the nations, so sorely afflicted, Your Peace, which is the only true peace, so that by obeying Your Commandments we may come at last to the glory of Heaven.
~ Posted by Jean M. Heimann
Monday, September 13, 2004
"How many in these times say: would that I could gaze upon His form, His figure, His garment, His shoes! Lo! Thou seest Him, touchest Him, eatest Him. He gives Himself to thee, not merely to look upon, but even to touch, to eat, and to receive within... Consider at Whose table thou eatest! For we are fed with that which the angels view with trepidation and which they cannot contemplate without fear because of Its splendor. We become one with Him: we become one Body and one Flesh with Christ."... "Jesus, for the burning love He bore us, wished to unite Himself so closely to us that we should become one and the same with Him for such is the dream of true lovers."... "Holy Communion makes us eager for virtue and prompt to practice it, at the same time imparting deep peace, and thus rendering sweet and easy the road to holiness."
~ St. John Chrysostom
~ Posted by Jean M. Heimann