Family Research Council

May 20, 2013 - Monday

Womb for Improvement in U.S. Abortion Law

Americans love their reality TV, but when it comes to the reality of what happens in the country's abortion clinics, they tune out. While the clinics may not all be as filthy as Kermit Gosnell's, the reality of what happens there is still the same: babies born alive die painful and violent deaths. No one really knows how many children are killed by barbarians like Gosnell and Douglas Karpen, a Texas abortionist so sadistic that employees say he broke the necks of newborns with his bare hands. But what we do know from the testimony of experts is that every baby whose life is ended by abortion after 18 weeks--whether in the womb or in the abortion room--feels the pain of death.

Studies agree that babies respond to invasive procedures with elevated heart rates and the secretion of stress hormones. In other words, these little children can feel pain just as easily as they can yawn or smile. Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand, who 30 years ago became one of the first to research fetal pain, has testified that nerve endings in a developing child spread to all parts of the skin and tissues by the 20th week. Some scientists even believe that babies at this stage can feel pain more acutely than a full-term newborn. Why? Because they have the highest number of pain receptors per square inch at this stage, and the fibers that help moderate that pain don't develop until the 32nd week. "If the fetus is beyond 20 weeks of gestation, I would assume that there will be pain caused to the fetus," Dr. Anand explained. "And I believe it will be severe and excruciating pain."

With the images of Gosnell's victims still fresh in everyone's minds, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) hopes more Americans are ready to put an end to this suffering. "I know when the subject is related in any way to abortion, the doors of reason and human compassion in our minds and hearts often close, and the humanity of the unborn can no longer be seen," he said. "But I pray we can at least come together to agree that we can and should draw the line at the point that these innocent babies can feel the excruciating pain of these brutal procedures."

Franks, who led the charge for the D.C. Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, announced Friday that he's expanding his bill to a nationwide ban on abortions past 20 weeks. The Unborn Child Protection Act, or H.R. 1797, will be debated this Thursday at a hearing of the House Judiciary. Congressman Franks, who chairs the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, hopes the time is right to start pricking America's conscience. After all, even criminals are executed more humanely than unborn babies. "Knowingly subjecting our innocent unborn children to dismemberment in the womb, particularly when they have developed to the point that they can feel excruciating pain every terrible moment leading up to their undeserved deaths, belies everything America was called to be. This is not who we are."

Tomorrow, FRC will help expose this underground web of Gosnells in a new simulcast with Lila Rose called, "Inhuman: Undercover in America's Late-Term Abortion Industry." Congressmen Franks and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) will join us for the program to help spotlight the shocking violence against women and children. Join us tomorrow, May 21, at 5:00 p.m. (EDT) as we take a trip behind the dark curtain of the abortion industry. To register to view the webcast online, click here.

Floral Controversy Stems from Intolerant Left

Barronelle Stutzman may be a small-town florist, but she's planting plenty of national doubts about same-sex "marriage." As the owner of Arlene's Flowers, it didn't matter to Washington State that Barronelle had served homosexuals--or even employed them. The ACLU and state Attorney General believe Arlene's should embrace their cause, even if it offends her religious beliefs.

When a longtime customer approached Barronelle about arranging flowers for his same-sex "wedding," she politely declined. Although she'd happily sold arrangements to the man for nine years, Barronelle objected to "facilitating" a ceremony that directly violates her faith.

Too bad, says Washington State, whose chief attorney is suing the shop. Now that same-sex "marriage" is legal in Washington, officials think businesses can be forced to participate in same-sex "weddings" whether they agree or not. After the ACLU filed a second lawsuit, Barronelle turned to our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). Together, they're countersuing Washington for violating her Christian beliefs. "Marriage has religious significance," ADF argues, "apart from any civil significance. [Stutzman] believed that [servicing a gay marriage] would compel her to express a message with her creativity that violates God's commands."

This is exactly what groups like FRC and the Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW) warned about before last November's vote. When religious liberty collides with same-sex "marriage," liberty loses. The Obama administration admitted as much when its top employment officer was asked what she would do if homosexual "rights" ever conflicted with faith. "[I have] a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win," she answered. Unfortunately, so do most states where marriage has been redefined.

Joseph Backholm, head of FPIW, is hoping Washington can change that in time to protect people like Barronelle. With the help of state Sen. Sharon Brown, FPIW is trying to amend the state's anti-discrimination code to promote a right of refusal for businesses with moral or religious objections to providing certain services. "When voters [legalized same-sex 'marriage'] they had been told for a year that it wasn't going to affect anyone other than the same-sex couples who could get a marriage certificate," Backholm said. "Now that we know that's not true, Washington can have a conversation about whether the decision of the legislature to expose businesses and business owners to liability because of their beliefs about marriage was a good one." In the meantime, join us as we stand with Arlene's Flowers and our friends at ADF, who are about to become Attorney General Bob Ferguson's worst nightmare.

May Day for Scouts...

Before the Boy Scouts' National Council descends on Dallas for its most defining moment, local communities gave delegates plenty to think about on the trip there. Americans in 40 cities held large rallies in support of the BSA's longtime membership policy on Friday. The biggest event is scheduled for this Wednesday, May 22, as a coalition of groups--including FRC--hosts National Support Scouting Day. Together with OnMyHonor.net and Texas Values, FRC will be on hand in Texas, distributing materials and meeting with council members before the final decision on Thursday.

With the vote imminent, the most important thing anyone can do is pray. Please join us in asking God's hand of protection on the Scouts and His intervention on the councils still undecided. In the meantime, make sure to share this clip with your friends about what happened to Canadian Scouting when homosexuality was introduced. (Spoiler alert: it ruined the program!)

Click here to view

In Memoriam. Our friend, David Manuel, author of 36 books including The Light and the Glory and sequels he co-authored with the late Peter Marshal, Jr., passed away April 25 at the age of 76. I have no doubt that his books and leadership in the nation's intercessory prayer movement will bear fruit for generations to come. A memorial service is being held tonight (Monday) at New Testament Church in Cedarville, MA, will be live streamed at 7:00 PM (EDT) here. Please keep David's wife, Shelli, and his family in your prayers.


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

More Washington Updates »