Wait Gains: 48-Hour Abortion Pause Saves Lives
October 21, 2019
She wasn't supposed to be pregnant. Not with one baby -- and certainly not with twins. When the abortion technician asked if she wanted to know the details, the fact that she was carrying two babies apparently wasn't important enough to share. It was hard enough to get women to abort one child. If Planned Parenthood told her she had two, they might just lose her business. So, the clinician lied, and a young mom who didn't know the truth about her own children decided to end their lives. But fortunately for her twins, her word wasn't the last one.
Usually, when a medical procedure fails, it's a disaster. In the case of a pregnant Tennessee woman, when the abortion failed it was a miracle. When she swallowed the abortion pills that were meant to end her baby's life, they didn't work. And 10 months later, she couldn't be happier. When it was obvious that something wasn't right, she went back to the Knoxville Planned Parenthood, who confirmed her suspicions: she was still pregnant. Panicking, she found the number of an abortion pill reversal hotline and called it. The man she eventually got a hold of helped save her babies' lives.
Now, Dr. Brent Boles is sharing her story -- not just as a cautionary tale about the abortion industry, but as a message of hope. Planned Parenthood did everything it could to trick this woman into a procedure that would have taken two lives and irreparably hurt another. But God had bigger plans.
When his patient, who has two healthy twins, asked if her baby had a heartbeat, the staffer carefully dodged the facts. At two months, she was told, there's "cardiac activity," but "it's too early to call it a heartbeat." "That's a load of hogwash," Boyes says. "If the heart's activity is visible, there is a heartbeat. There is no medical literature that says otherwise. Why would they handle it that way? Because acknowledging in layman's terms that there is a heartbeat makes the patient less likely to go through with the abortion. So, once again, they are willing to lie to women to get their money."
Lying is the backbone of the abortion industry -- and a lucrative one at that. It's part of the reason that Tennessee passed a law four years ago demanding a waiting period for abortions. They wanted moms-to-be to get real counseling before they came back two days later to get the procedure. They wanted them to know the truth -- the age of their baby, the alternatives to abortion, and the risks of it. Of course, groups like Planned Parenthood argued that pausing for 48 hours to think about this decision was an "emotional hardship." But in actuality, the law gives women what Planned Parenthood insists it supports: a real choice.
Turns out, Tennessee legislators were right. Time doesn't just heal -- it saves! Since 2015, when that law first went into effect, abortions have dropped six percent in the state. While the Left challenges the policy in court, researchers at Texas A&M are trying to determine exactly what impact the legislation has had. Thankfully, a lot. But don't expect liberal-leaning groups like Guttmacher to admit as much. When the news broke that American abortions in general had fallen by as much as 20 percent, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood was adamant that state laws weren't a factor. (Probably to stop pro-lifers from passing them!)
"The U.S. Abortion Rate Continues to Drop: Once again," Guttmacher's headline screamed, "State Abortion Restrictions Are Not the Main Driver." That's ridiculous, expert Michael New fired back on "Washington Watch." Almost 400 pro-life laws went into effect during that same timeframe -- all pushing back on the culture of death. "I think these falling numbers really show good evidence that we are, in fact, putting a culture of life in this country."
Why? Because Americans are electing pro-life leaders -- and those leaders are putting up a fight to protect women and children. Just look at the impact they've had in Tennessee. That six percent figure isn't just a statistic. Those are actual human beings, saved because people insisted that women don't just have the truth -- but time to think about it.
If you want to understand the difference a pro-life legislator can make, take a few minutes to watch this panel of heroes from VVS. In red states, blue states, and everything in between, these men and women are making a difference! Also, to understand where important laws stand in your region, don't miss FRC's new Pro-Life Map, detailing where the progress on abortion has been made -- and where more is needed!
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
For the Life of Our Teens: Suicide in Focus
October 21, 2019
Even now, his mom describes him as a typical kid. "He was a scout leader, an athlete, had a girlfriend, and led youth group at church." Talking about him in the past tense isn't easy. And for Julia, like so many hurting parents, it will never get easier. Her son Liam took his own life -- and even as a teacher with a degree in counseling, she never saw it coming.
Today, there are thousands of other moms and dads just like Julia, struggling to make sense of the loss. Looking back, some of the pieces fit together. Maybe he was too perfectionistic, she says now. He'd started struggling in some of his high school classes, and he was on medication that may have exacerbated his anxiety. Now, hoping other parents will be more vigilant, Julia warns about social media and how faith communities could do more to facilitate a discussion about kids' personal struggles.
That conversation was never more needed than now, as the CDC bowled people over with the news that teen suicide isn't just on the rise -- it's out of control. In the 10-year span between 2007-2017, the number of kids who took their own lives jumped 56 percent. Worse, no one seems to know what or who is responsible. Experts have speculated on everything from teenagers' time online to the glamorization of suicide on shows like Netflix's 13 Reasons Why. While no one can know for sure, Dr. Steve Grcevich, founder and president of Key Ministry, says there are things every family can monitor.
On Friday's "Washington Watch," he agreed it's a "complex situation." But, he went on, the structures that we've had in place to protect the emotionally vulnerable kids are also eroded. "When I look at this over the last 10 years," he told Sarah Perry, "there are three trends that I would identify that I think folks need to look at more closely. The first is smartphones. This propensity that kids have to negatively compare themselves to other people is a lot greater when you have access to Instagram and Snapchat." Dr. Grcevich just returned from a research meeting with the American Academy of Child Psychiatry where a new study was presented. It found that kids who spent three or more hours on their portable electronic devices were 60 percent more likely to develop depression than kids who use them for an hour a day or less.
The second concern he says parents should have is the "emphasis in our culture on sexual expression." It's no secret, he points out that "rates of suicidal thinking and behavior increased dramatically when teens start to violate sexual boundaries. When we're looking at data... teenagers who had sexual contact with a member of the same sex and or and opposite sex were 12 times more likely to require medical attention for a suicide attempt compared to those kids who weren't sexually active. When kids start crossing sexual boundaries," Dr. Grcevich warned, "that is oftentimes where we see these large spikes in suicidal behavior."
Finally, he urged, families need to be especially aware of the diminishing role of religion in the lives of our teens. He pointed to the Pew Foundation study that came out last week showing seven million fewer adult Christians in the United States that there were 10 years ago. That's a concern, he explained, since suicidal thinking and behavior is markedly lower for teens with parents "for whom faith was important." Today's millennials, he notes, "are the first generation of Americans in which Christians are in the minority. And I wouldn't doubt that the situation is even worse for those who are in generation Z."
So what should parents do? Well, Grcevich suggests, "One of the things that I would look at -- if my kids were of that age again -- they wouldn't be getting smartphones until they're well into high school." And only then, he followed up, it would be with "very close parental supervision." The second thing, he said, is an emphasis on faith. More research is starting to show that "kids who pray on a regular basis are significantly less likely to develop depression than kids in the general population."
"As a parent, one of the things that I would be trying to do is to cultivate the importance of faith in family life -- regularly praying together as a family, studying the Bible, [even] serving together. Because, interestingly enough, in the same study out of Virginia Tech, they didn't see [a big] relationship between church attendance, youth group participation and a decreased risk for suicide. It was only when the kids had internalized their faith and were practicing and on their own and truly had like a relationship with God that it seemed to offer protective value."
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
Stopping Traffic in D.C.
October 21, 2019
By Katherine Beck Johnson, Research Fellow for Legal and Policy Studies
The D.C. Council held a hearing last Thursday for the community to comment on a bill that would decriminalize the buying and selling of sex in the nation's capital. In addition, the bill would remove prison terms and fines for owning and operating a brothel. Family Research Council attended the hearing and testified against this dangerous and concerning bill.
As Patrina Mosley, FRC's Director of Life, Culture and Women's Advocacy, pointed out in her written testimony, "empowering the business of exploitation doesn't protect anyone except the exploiters." Rather than empower women, this legislation would remove legal penalties for pimps who sell women and men who buy them. As Patrina stated, "[l]egitimizing the buying and selling of human beings only makes it easier for pimps and traffickers to groom vulnerable women, boys, and girls into thinking that sexual violence is normal and acceptable." The many survivors of sex trafficking are the first to observe that they feel powerless, rather than powerful, when they are being sold and used for their bodies.
Along with FRC's Laura Grossberndt, I was able to witness the radical arguments of those pushing decriminalization at the hearing firsthand. We saw sex trafficking survivors minimized and marginalized, and Christians mocked for speaking up in defense of these women. Sharing about this experience on Washington Watch, I explained the impact this bill would have on women and children -- including the 20 percent increase in the demand for sex if prostitution were decriminalized. In order to fill in the demand the pimps will prey on the most vulnerable. Thus, this bill would lead to the trafficking of minors to satisfy the higher demands of sex. I shared that although proponents of this bill claim that it will assist women to leave prostitution, in reality this bill doesn't do anything to assist women. Rather, it attempts to legitimize the buying and selling of humans.
At the hearing, one pastor asked a simple but powerful question: "How did we get here?" He talked about the horrendous stain from our country's history of slavery and asked how we were once again debating whether people could sell other humans. Janet Rodriguez, a survivor, testified that it is impossible to separate prostitution from sex trafficking. Another survivor shared the story of a time where she watched a woman next to her be shot and killed. The blood was cleaned, and she was told to get back to her work. The survivor shared that although she thought it was her choice to be in this "business" she really was there because she felt that she had no other choices. The detailed and horrific descriptions of the inside world of sex trafficking and prostitution are exactly why it should never be decriminalized. Decriminalization sends a powerful moral message that this behavior is okay -- when it is anything but.
The testimonies of dozens of survivors provided a powerful insight at the hearing into what life is truly like for women who live their lives being sold for sex. It is anything but empowering. It is very rarely their choice and never their dream. D.C., nor any other city, should not believe and perpetrate the myth that women are empowered when their bodies are sold for sex. Our laws should recognize the inherent dignity and worth of every person -- not enable sexual exploitation.