By / Apr 14

Today, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R–La.), Rep. Ann Wagner (R–Mo.), and Rep. Kat Cammack (R–Fla.) will file a Discharge Petition for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. This will be the first discharge petition filed in the 117th Congress, which seeks to force a floor vote of the lifesaving Born-Alive bill.

What is a discharge petition?

A discharge petition is a tool used in the U.S. House of Representatives that is a member-driven attempt to force a floor vote on a piece of legislation. A petition must receive 218 signatures in order to be successful. In the 116th Congress, Whip Scalise and Rep. Wagner filed a discharge petition on this same bill. Notably, that Born-Alive petition set a record for the most signatures within one legislative day of a discharge petition being introduced, receiving 193 signatures from members of Congress. Eventually, the petition received 205 signatures, including three Democrats. Discharge petitions do not expire, so members are able to sign the petition throughout the 117th Congress.

In her office’s press release, Rep. Wagner, the sponsor of the House bill stated, “every single life is sacred and precious — no matter the circumstances of birth. I will not stop working until this legislation becomes law, so newborns have a chance at life when they are at their most vulnerable. This should not be a matter up for debate, and I hope every Member of Congress signs this petition so these basic rights are enshrined into law.”

History of the Born-Alive bill

As explained in a previous article by the ERLC, the Born-Alive bill would amend the federal criminal code to require any health care practitioner who is present when a child is born alive following an abortion or attempted abortion to, first, exercise the same degree of care as reasonably provided to any other child born alive at the same gestational age, and second, ensure that such a child is immediately admitted to a hospital. The bill is important because current federal law lacks sufficient legal protection and medical provision for children who survive failed abortions. When a child is born alive, whether in a hospital, at home, or in an abortion clinic, any action taken to end that child’s life is and always ought to be considered murder. Withholding medical care from such an infant denies the human dignity affirmed to that precious child by God. Such a callous dereliction of responsibility by the legal system also denies that child’s basic human right of life as guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

The most recent legislative history on this issue was the successful passage of the Born-Alive bill in the House in the 114th Congress with a floor vote of 248-177. However, the Senate has never passed the bill, but each chamber has reintroduced it multiple times. Currently, the Born-Alive bill has been reintroduced in the Senate by Sen. Sasse (R–Neb.) and reintroduced in the House by Rep. Wagner (R–Mo.). 

In 2019, when the Born-Alive bill was on the Senate floor, ERLC President Russell Moore urged Senators to support the critical common-sense legislation. Moore said: 

“The fact that this bill is even necessary is chilling to consider. That somehow there would even be a question among elected officials whether it should be legal to leave a crying child to die on the table is shameful. Protecting the lives of living babies must not be a partisan issue. Children have intrinsic value that is defined not by their power, nor by the whim of doctors, but by the image of God each one of them bears.”

What’s next?

It is anticipated that most, if not all, of the 211 House Republicans will sign the discharge petition. The three Democrats who signed the discharge petition last Congress were not re-elected. In order to reach 218 signatures, a handful of Democrats would need to sign the petition. Unfortunately, it is difficult to see how the petition  would reach that threshold to receive a floor vote in the House. The ERLC is supportive of this important bill, committed to defending the vulnerable at every stage of life.

To learn more see these ERLC resources:

Blocking the Born-Alive Bill in the House is unconscionable

Explainer: Executive Order to protect born-alive babies

What’s happening with the debate on infanticide in Congress?

ERLC Supports Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

Study shows preborn babies feel pain as early as 12 weeks’ gestation

Capitol Conversations: Melissa Ohden on Surviving Abortion

By / Dec 31

On Christmas Eve, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed legislation that would expand access to abortion in the state. On Dec. 29, the Massachusetts legislature overrode Gov. Baker’s veto, with a Senate vote of 32-8 and a House vote of 107-46. The abortion-expanding measure was included in the recently passed $46 billion budget. 

The ROE Act codified abortion into state law and allows for abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy in cases with a cases of of “fatal fetal anomalies,” and when a physician deems it necessary “to preserve the patient’s physical or mental health.” In addition, the ROE Act lowers the age at which minors can obtain an abortion without parental consent from 18 to 16.

Gov. Baker, in a letter to the legislature, stated that he “strongly” supports a woman’s right to access reproductive health care, including the provision in the bill that would make abortions available after 24 weeks of pregnancy if the fetus would not survive after birth. But in his letter he stated, “I cannot support the sections of this proposal that expand the availability of later-term abortions and permit minors age 16 and 17 to get an abortion without the consent of a parent or guardian.” Baker requested changes to this measure, including changing the qualifying condition for a later-term abortion to “if a continuation of the pregnancy will impose, in the best medical judgment of the physician, a substantial risk to” the patient’s physical or mental health.

Current Massachusetts state law only allows for abortions after 24 weeks if “necessary to save the life of the mother, or if a continuation of her pregnancy will impose on her a substantial risk of grave impairment of her physical or mental health.” But the ROE Act expands access to abortion and includes minors in the expanded access. 

Why does this matter?

Gov. Baker has stated that the ROE Act “would give Massachusetts some of the broadest and most significant reproductive health rights in the United States.” More than 400 Massachusetts pastors called on Gov. Baker to veto the legislation, calling it a “shocking and callous disregard for human life and the importance of parental involvement in the lives of children.”

Interestingly, Massachusetts was one of the first states to pass limits on legal abortions in the 1970s, including required parental consent for minors. Parents should have the right to protect their daughters from the dangerous practices of the abortion industry. 

This decision by the Massachusetts legislature comes after states like New York and Virginia passed increasingly expansive abortion legislation. Those states have advocated for safe and legal abortion at every gestational stage. Yet, polling shows us that the majority of Americans are opposed to late-term abortion, and 80% of Americans support abortion being limited to the first three months of pregnancy.

As Christians, we must not place our ultimate hope in legislation, but we also must not neglect the God-ordained role of government in restraining evil and shaping the conscience of society on vital issues like human dignity. We believe that every unborn child has innate dignity and worth and ought to be protected in the womb, and beyond. The ERLC is committed to protecting the life of the unborn and will continue to work to ensure that state and federal laws reflect that commitment.

By / Dec 23

Although it is not without controversy, even those who defend the sanctity of every unborn human life recognize that there might be at least one exception. What do we do when a mother’s right to life conflicts with an unborn child’s right to life?

What is a “right to life”?

Before dealing with a potential exception, it’s important to know what we mean by the term “right to life.” First, what is a right, and where do they come from? A right is a natural or legal entitlement that imposes a duty on others either to leave one alone in the exercise of that right, or a duty to provide that to which one is entitled. So-called natural rights come from our Creator. They are not dependent on civil authorities, customs, or laws, they are universal and inalienable endowments of God. The United States Declaration of Independence, for instance, recognizes the rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as natural rights. 

The “right to life” is a right not to be unnecessarily harmed. Because it is a natural right, everyone has a responsibility or duty not to interfere with that life without just cause. So, my right to life means that I should not be harmed unless I act in such a way that harming me would be ethically justified. If I act to harm someone else unjustly, we would grant them moral (and probably legal) permission to harm me in their own self-defense. Generally speaking, of course, the harm of self-defense must be proportionate to the degree of harm in my act. For instance, if I harm you by blocking your car in your driveway, you do not have moral permission to kill me. If, however, I draw a pistol, aim it at you, and threaten to shoot, most people would agree that you have permission to defend yourself either by running away or by doing harm to me, and in that case, inflicting lethal harm if necessary.

In the case of the unborn, there are two natural rights bearers: the mother and the unborn child. Both of them have a natural right to life, the right not to be unjustly harmed. Abortion is a clear harm to the unborn. So abortion on demand—to avoid inconvenience, embarrassment, or to remove an obstacle to a mother’s life plans—is unethical. Because both the mother and the unborn child have a natural right to life, abortion due to rape, incest, and fetal disability are also unethical. That is not to deny that in rape and incest a terrible injustice has occurred to the mother, but it is to recognize that abortion is a wrong way to right that injustice. It punishes the wrong person, the unborn child. 

Among the many ethical and legal tragedies of the 1970s, were the Supreme Court’s decisions in Roe v. Wade (1973) and Doe v. Bolton (1973). Roe provided legal protection for abortion when a woman’s life or health were at risk, and Doe infamously expanded the definition of “health of the mother” to include “all factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age—relevant to the well-being of the patient. ALL these factors may relate to health.” This essentially ensures a legal right to abortion on demand, despite the law’s violation of the natural rights of the unborn. Abortion on demand and in cases of rape, incest, and fetal deformity cannot be justified under the demands of natural rights.

A rare exception? 

Might there still be one exception, however?  What about those extremely rare cases in which the physical life of the mother is at risk through, say, an ectopic pregnancy or cancer requiring chemotherapy? Although lamentable and tragic, many pro-life Christians acknowledge that abortion may be permissible in that case (assuming that a proper diagnosis has been made and that there are no alternative treatments available). In the case of an ectopic pregnancy the embryo is developing in the Fallopian tube, not inside the uterus. If the developing embryo is not removed, the mother may die because the Fallopian tube is not designed to support pregnancy. And if the Fallopian tube ruptures, the mother may die and the child will die anyway. Protecting the child’s right to life endangers the physical life of the mother because the Fallopian tube could rupture, causing the mother to bleed to death. Protecting the mother’s right to life might mean, in those extremely rare cases, delivering the embryo with a section of the Fallopian tube. 

The United States Council of Catholic Bishops has some useful guidance in this matter:

Very rarely, continuing a pregnancy may put the mother’s life at risk. In certain cases, such as aggressive uterine cancer or an ectopic pregnancy, it is morally licit to remove the threat to the mother’s life by removing the cancerous uterus, or by removing part or all of the Fallopian tube where the child implanted, even though it is foreseeable that the child will die as an indirect and unintended effect of such surgery. Abortion, a direct and intentional attack against the child’s life, is never morally licit. The unborn child and his mother have equal human dignity and possess the same right to life. When a medical crisis arises during pregnancy, there are always two patients involved. Doctors should do whatever they can to save both their lives, never directly attacking one—through drugs, surgery or other means—to save the other. 

Similarly, as recently as 2018 the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention recognized this exception in a resolution “On Reaffirming the Dignity of Every Human Being”:  

RESOLVED, That we affirm the full dignity of every unborn child and denounce every act of abortion except to save the mother’s physical life; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we affirm the full dignity of every human being, whether or not any political, legal, or medical authority considers a human being possessive of “viable” life regardless of cognitive or physical disability, and denounce every act that would wrongly limit the life of any human at any stage or state of life; . . . 

In addition to the ethical issues, as always, there are profound pastoral issues here. It is important to recognize that there is no moral obligation to deliver the embryo prematurely. That is a decision couples have to make in good conscience themselves. Whatever their decision, couples who are caught in the pincers of this moral dilemma need the spiritual support of their church family as they grieve the loss of their child and all the hopes and dreams that are lost at the same time. Being pro-life means not only opposing abortion on demand, but also providing compassionate care to families who lose children through miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. 

By / Jan 5

Trillia Newbell discusses a new book she edited titled “Women on Life: A Call to Love the Unborn, Unloved, & Neglected,” featuring authors like Candice Watters, Jackie Hill Perry, Catherine Parks, and Kelly Rosati.

By / Sep 14

My timeline the other day was full of rich irony. On the one hand, many people were tweeting about the #AppleEvent, the annual ritual where devotees of the tech giant wait in anticipated wonder to hear about the next new tech marvels to enter our world. On the other hand, many were tweeting about the Congressional hearings on Planned Parenthood.

The irony was rich only because one of the new apps, Airstrip, unveiled by Apple for the Apple Watch. This technology can apparently replace Non Stress Tests for women who face high-risk pregnancies. These NST’s are not only inconvenient in that they require a pregnant women to continually have to visit her doctor in the last trimester, but they also have a hard time distinguishing between the mother’s heartbeat and the baby’s.

Gizmodo has an excellent article explaining why Airstrip could really be a wonderful technology for both mothers and their doctors:

Airstrip, an integrated fetal monitoring app announced by Apple at last week’s event, can comfortably gather all the information for an NST, even at home, and transmit all its data wirelessly to your Apple Watch. More importantly, it can send all this information to your doctor. But this is not just a UX innovation: Apple’s also partnered with an important medical device to work with it. The streamlined Sense4Baby monitor, which Airstrip acquired in April, looks like a comfy battery-powered band to replace a complicated array of wands, sensors, and stickers. And thanks to the excellent heartbeat tracker in the Apple Watch, supposedly it can work with the monitor to tell mom’s and baby’s heartbeat apart.

You really should read the entire Gizmodo article to get a sense of how important this new technology could be for expectant mothers.

At the same time, in my Twitter timeline, I read unbelievable accounts from the Planned Parenthood hearings before the House Judiciary Committee, particularly the testimony of Priscilla Smith, Director of the Program for the Study of Reproductive Justice at the Information Society Project at the Yale Law School. Smith was queried about the practices of Planned Parenthood, exposed by the undercover sting videos recorded by the Center for Medical Progress.

What was troubling was her testimony about the viability of the unborn in the womb. The Washington Post quotes her as saying this when pressed by Congressman Trent Franks:

Smith, the Yale law professor, was repeatedly challenged over her use of the term “pre-viable fetuses” rather than “babies,” which some of the antiabortion members preferred. In her view, she said, the term “baby” gives an incorrect and biased image.

“That makes us think about full-term gestated babies rather than fetuses in a very early stage of gestation,” she said. “When you juxtapose those images in your mind, it becomes very distasteful.”

This aligns with pro-choice ideology that assigns the unborn something less than full humanity. This is why terms like “fetus” and “tissue” are so often employed by defenders of abortion on demand.

The Guardian quotes Smith’s response to questioning about the dismembering and dilation procedure:

During a round of questions, Representative Bob Goodlatte, who chairs the judiciary committee, asked Smith whether she believed that the dilation and evacuation abortion procedure is “humane”. Smith replied that for a fetus that could not survive outside the womb, she believed the procedure is a humane way to end a pregnancy.

Smith was even unclear on the intentional dismembering of a baby post-birth, something the CMT videos about Planned Parenthood clearly exposed as a common practice. Would she call this murder or infanticide? Smith said that to answer that question, she’d “have to do some research.”

So here we have, in the culture, two competing realities. First is the legality of on-demand abortion, a practice that denies personhood to the unborn. By dehumanizing the life in the womb with terms like “fetus,” “tissue” or “clump of cells,” abortion attempts to satisfy the conscience.

And yet we have another reality: the continual emergence of technology that lets us peek inside the womb. We’re a generation raised with early 3-D images posted in celebration on Facebook. We’ve been inundated with science that tells us of early fetal viability. And now Apple is helping bring potentially lifesaving fetal monitoring technology to the masses.

These two realities are colliding. We can no longer plead ignorance of what is going on inside the womb: the development of a human being. This is an unborn life worth celebrating, worth monitoring for health and worth welcoming into life. Perhaps this is why some of very members on the House Committee charged with investigating Planned Parenthood have refused to watch the videos. I suspect they haven’t because by watching, they will see what we all have seen: legal infanticide.

How much longer can we use terms like “tissue” or “fetus” when technology is telling us something different? How much longer can we describe abortion survivors, such as those who testified on the Hill, with scare quotes, as if these people don’t really exist?

Not much longer. Either technology will force us to face the truth about abortion, or it will force us to admit we know what we are doing: taking innocent human life. Apple’s inventions, ultrasound technology and the Center for Medical Progress have made us look and see what is actually happening. It reminds me of the work of William Wilberforce, who to press his point about the inhumanity and evil of the British slave trade, forced members of Parliament to see with their own eyes the brutal conditions on a typical slave ship. He said to them, simply, “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”

The gospel calls all of us to be Wilberforces in our generation, to both speak prophetically into a culture of death and to stand on the side of those who cannot speak for themselves. We must press the gospel into the brokenness, offering hope to those who’ve previously believed the culture’s dehumanizing lies and welcome them, when they come to faith, into the body of Christ as brothers and sisters.

What’s more, we must beware of our own tendencies to look away from injustice, to dehumanize the human, whether it’s the unborn, the immigrant, the disabled, the marginalized. And we see every life as valuable not simply because technology confirms it, but because God has declared every human being to be created in His image for His glory.

By / Sep 8

By this time you’ve heard of or seen the undercover videos taken of Planned Parenthood about their harvesting and selling of baby body parts. (If you haven’t seen them, click here.) They are incredibly difficult to watch but are helping raise awareness about the horrors of abortion. You may think, “Yes, this is awful, but what can I do?” While there are many things you can do to help, I want to highlight just one for your consideration.


My husband and I felt the call to take this step a few years ago. One of the primary reasons adoption is so near to my heart is because abortion breaks my heart. After all, abortion stops a beating heart. An unborn baby’s heart starts beating around 18 days after conception, typically before a mama even knows there is life inside her womb. And, yet, it is completely legal to stop these hearts. I won’t go into the gruesome details about abortion here, but the bottom line is that abortion doesn’t have to happen at all.

There are many ministries and other non-profit organizations whose sole purpose is to help women in crisis pregnancies. They provide many free services, including pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, diapers & clothes and more. They also educate women on the options of parenting and adoption.

It’s true that the wait for newborns can be quite lengthy; however, I am convinced that if we spread awareness that there are couples willing and able to take these children into their homes, more women would choose life for their unborn babies. As the need for homes grows, there won’t be enough of them for these babies if we don’t step up. Not only that, but there are many children of all ages who are in need of good homes — at least for a season. Working through your state’s foster care system can be difficult, but it is free of charge.

As Christians, we know that the Bible tells us clearly in James 1:27 that pure religion includes helping orphans. Since we are all called to support adoption, here are three ways you can help:

1. Pray. Pray for women in unplanned pregnancies to choose life for their unborn babies. Pray for couples willing to adopt. Pray for the process to be as smooth as possible and for the funds to come together. Pray for the adoption agencies as they reach out to women in unplanned pregnancies and work with couples who are wanting to adopt. Pray about what you can do to help.

2. Donate. Finances can be stretched thin, and it seems there is always someone asking for something, but this is where you put your money where your mouth is. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21). If you truly care about life, you will support this movement financially. You can donate to the pro-life agencies, adoption agencies and the couples who are planning to adopt. Every little bit helps.

3. Adopt. Not everyone is called to adopt, but I believe some people don’t adopt out of fear or insecurity. Don’t worry about the money. Don’t worry about how the child will fit into your family. Don’t worry about what others will think. Don’t get me wrong, you need to pray and plan and make sure your child will be in a secure and safe environment, but you don’t have to worry. If God has called you to adopt, He will work it all out. Even if it’s difficult, it will be worth it.

The Bible leaves no room for doubt that adoption is dear to God’s heart. After all, He adopted us in Christ (Ephesians 1). Adoption is a beautiful alternative to abortion and a marvelous picture of the gospel. Will you consider how you can support adoption?

ERLC and Focus on the Family are hosting the first ever Evangelicals for Life event next year in Washington DC on January 21-22nd, featuring Russell Moore, Roland Warren, David Platt, Eric Metaxas, Kelly Rosati, Ron Sider and others.

By / Jun 24

What comes to your mind when you think of the pro-life movement?

Perhaps it is angry protesters standing outside of the local Planned Parenthood, waving posters of aborted babies. Maybe it is the image of the most recent person on trial for murdering an abortionist. It might be your local church’s crisis pregnancy ministry or the friends you know who go downtown to help shepherd women away from abortion clinics. Maybe it is something that is seemingly detached like legislators, laws and politics. Or maybe it is your own experience with abortion. Regardless of your experience, almost all of us think of something when we hear the words “pro-life.”

In many ways, the abortion issue can cause us to feel weary. The statistics can spur hopelessness. The constant barrage of anger, bitterness, and hateful banter can make it seem like a pointless cause. But in the midst of it all those numbers are souls that once lived in bodies—little image bearers of our Creator. Being pro-life is not about politics. It is about the gospel.  

Why should we care?

As Christians, we of all people should be the most concerned about life in every stage, especially in the helpless stage of the womb. But why should we care? From the beginning of time we understand that God created men and women equally in his image (Gen. 1:27). People bear the image of their Creator—God. This is staggering. Every soul lost through abortion is an image bearer of the King. But to take this even further, Christians are to also care about the least defended, the least protected, and the helpless. Who is more helpless than a 10-week-old baby nestled not-so-safely in the womb of a mother who is determined to kill it?

It’s really easy to be passionate about really good causes that are visible—world hunger, racial harmony, poverty, human trafficking. In a lot of ways it is easier for us to forget that the cause of the unborn is just as real and just as horrific as the child who is prostituted—we just don’t see it plastered across the television.

How can we help?

Fighting for the cause of the unborn is a tangible way for Christians to live out what it means to live as Jesus lived.

For starters, one real way to become passionate about the cause of the unborn is to know where the local abortion clinic is located. My drive home from work used to take me right by the downtown abortion clinic in Louisville. It was always a strong reminder to pray for the many women who walk through those doors. You might even be surprised to notice that many abortion clinics are either right in the heart of an urban, poor neighborhood, or near a university campus—not a coincidence at all. In some cities there are people who are willing to pray outside these clinics and even seek to counsel women away from abortion as they arrive at the clinic.

If you want to be even more involved, find out where the local crisis pregnancy center is located. Being pro-life means being pro-mom. These women are often scared, confused and alone. Many of them need a godly, older woman to shepherd and love them. I know that our local crisis pregnancy center is constantly in need of women (and men) to volunteer their time to help women in need. And I am sure many of these centers across the country are no different.

God is the author of life. Psalm 139:13 says: “…for you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” This is where we start in the pro-life discussion. Life matters. We have been given new life by the work of Christ on our behalf. To be pro-life means to desire that babies and mothers are saved both physically and eternally.

By / Jan 24

The vile morality of the abortion lobby goes something like this: The “right” of a woman to hire another person to kill her child should not only be as unfettered as possible, it should ideally be subsidized by others. Abortion clinics should be free of even the most basic medical restrictions designed to protect clients from (further) harm. They should be free from any requirement to deliver truthful medical information about the child growing inside the mother. They should be able to perform the procedure at any time up to (and, according to some, just after) birth. And abortion providers themselves are not only entitled to considerable federal and state funding, it’s worth shutting down the government to preserve that funding — all in the name of protecting the “fundamental right” to abort a child.

This love for fundamental rights disappears, however, when it comes to an actual, explicit fundamental constitutional right: free speech. The Supreme Court recently heard arguments in McCullen v. Coakley, a case challenging Massachusetts’s decision to block pro-life free speech that occurs in close proximity to abortion clinics. But such “buffer zones” are not the only challenges to pro-life free speech.

Standing on the front lines against the taxpayer-funded abortion industry are a collection of privately-funded crisis-pregnancy centers. These centers do invaluable work on the ground, often providing women with free ultrasounds, educating them about abortion alternatives, and teaching them about the value of the life. Consequently, the abortion lobby loathes these centers and is constantly seeking ways to limit their freedom of action.

In March 2011, New York City passed Local Law 17, which required “pregnancy services centers” (as vaguely defined) to make three disclosures:

(1) whether or not they “have a licensed medical provider on staff who provides or directly supervises the provision of all of the services at such pregnancy service center” (the “Status Disclosure”);

(2) “that the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene encourages women who are or who may be pregnant to consult with a licensed provider” (the “Government Message”); and

(3) whether or not they “provide or provide referrals for abortion,” “emergency contraception,” or “prenatal care” (the “Services Disclosure”).

Taken together, these disclosures not only commandeer the free-speech rights of the centers by compelling government speech, they act as an effective warning against entry for abortion-minded women — often foreclosing even the opportunity to persuade. At the ACLJ, we challenged these restrictions on First Amendment grounds, winning an injunction at the district court. The court found the definition of “pregnancy services centers” unconstitutionally vague and therefore enjoined the law’s enforcement. The city appealed to the Second Circuit.

On January 17, the Second Circuit issued its decision, reversing in part and affirming in part. It disagreed with the district court that the definition of “pregnancy services centers” was vague and also refused to enjoin the Status Disclosure. However, it enjoined both the government message and the services disclosure, holding that these mandated disclosures violated the pregnancy centers’ First Amendment rights. Regarding the government message, the court held:

We are also concerned that this disclosure requires pregnancy services centers to advertise on behalf of the City. It may be the case that most, if not all, pregnancy services centers would agree that pregnant women should see a doctor. That decision, however, as this litigation demonstrates, is a public issue subject to dispute. The Government Message, “mandating that Plaintiffs affirmatively espouse the government’s position on a contested public issue,” deprives Plaintiffs of their right to communicate freely on matters of public concern.

Regarding the services disclosure the court noted:

A requirement that pregnancy services centers address abortion, emergency contraception, or prenatal care at the beginning of their contact with potential clients alters the centers’ political speech by mandating the manner in which the discussion of these issues begins.

Judge Wesley, in a strongly-worded dissent, correctly identified the law’s fatal flaw:

Local Law 17 is a bureaucrat’s dream. It contains a deliberately ambiguous set of standards guiding its application, thereby providing a blank check to New York City officials to harass or threaten legitimate activity.

This is exactly right. While we’re pleased the Second Circuit enjoined two of the three mandated disclosures, the third disclosure also violates our clients’ constitutional rights, and the vague definitions inherent in the statute invite abuse. Stay tuned as we consider an appeal.

If the abortion lobby is confident in its worldview and confident that it truly cares for women, why does it fear debate? Why must it commandeer the power of the state to stifle free speech? After all, isn’t one of the justifications for the abortion-on-demand regime that it honors individual autonomy? What about the autonomy of dissenters?

But abortion isn’t about liberty, and it’s never been about liberty. It’s instead an ideology of individual supremacy maintained by an embrace of death on an industrial scale. 

No wonder it seeks to stifle debate.

Read the original post here

By / Jan 23

I have known since I was a child when life begins. I learned this first from the rabbits I kept as pets. Later, I understood the magic moment we were hoping for when we took my little mare to visit the farmer’s stallion down the road. I understood, too, that the damp, mewling mounds of fur my cat birthed in my bedroom one morning had begun their little lives some weeks before.

Perhaps this is why I’ve never understood when people say they don’t know when human life begins. Or why the United States Supreme Court opined in its 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion-on-demand, “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins.” To deem this a difficult question seems only a way to make crooked the straight paths of the Lord (Acts 13:10). An acorn isn’t an oak tree, pro-choice people say. True—but a sapling is.

Of course, I understand that by “human life” people are often referring to dimensions of our humanity that go beyond biology—onset of consciousness, ensoulment, intellect, sociability and so forth. While interesting and important, however, such questions are not a sufficient basis for depriving another human of life. So I continue to hold to my childlike conception of when life begins.

A couple of years ago, a National Geographic documentary called “Extraordinary Animals in the Womb” used small cameras, dimensional ultrasound scans and computer graphics to offer a glimpse into other wombs. The images are stunning. In them we can see that even in embryonic form, an unborn dog is a little dog, an unborn dolphin is a miniature dolphin and an unborn elephant is a teensy elephant. From the beginnings of all these creatures, there in the womb (or the petri dish, as the case may be), each is made according to its own.

It is no different for human lives. Simply “ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you” (Job 12:7).

Editor's Note: ERLC and Focus on the Family are hosting the first ever Evangelicals for Life event next year in Washington DC on January 21-22nd, featuring Russell Moore, Roland Warren, David Platt, Eric Metaxes, Kelly Rosati, Ron Sider and others.