Pro-Abortion Snobbery

David Carlin: What factors divide pro-life from pro-choice Americans? Mostly, it’s the difference between humility and arrogance.


This column is about abortion, but it will take a moment or two to get to the point.  Please bear with me.

If ever there was an obvious example of fallacious reasoning, it’s this: “I am rich, and you are not.  Therefore I’m right, and you’re wrong.”

What could be more stupid than an argument along these lines?  And yet this is precisely the reasoning that has been used, century after century, by those in the higher classes to dismiss complaints made by persons from the lower classes.  This is the reasoning that permitted lords of the manor to dismiss complaints by serfs, slaveholders to dismiss complaints by slaves, mill-owners to dismiss complaints by factory hands, etc.

In a society that places great value on wealth (and what society does not place great value on wealth?), rich people cannot help but feel that they are superior people: not just superior in wealth, but superior in almost every way.  And if you are superior in almost every way, then you must be superior in judgment.

If it happens, then, that a person from the lower classes disagrees with you, it becomes obvious – does it not? – that you must be right and the other must be wrong.

Your rightness and his wrongness are so obvious, in fact, that there really is no need for you (the rich person) to examine the other fellow’s case.  Save yourself time and trouble by dismissing it from the get-go as unworthy of consideration.

And don’t waste a lot of time trying to explain to the other fellow why he’s wrong. Out of a noblesse oblige kind of courtesy, you might offer him a brief explanation; but when you see (as you soon will) that he doesn’t buy it, move on to something else.

And now to abortion.  Considered on purely intellectual merits, the anti-abortion argument is vastly superior to the pro-abortion argument.  The anti-abortion or pro-life side argues that the entity that gets killed in an abortion is a human being, a tiny human being that grows less tiny every day.

And what else could it be if not a human being?  It is not a dog or a monkey or a fish or an elm tree.  The pro-abortion side has no counter-argument that comes even close to refuting the anti-abortion case.  The best the pro-abortion side can come up with are mindless slogans like “a woman’s right to choose” or “a woman’s right to control her own body” or “if you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.”

*

This last is my favorite stupid argument.  It is strictly parallel to, “If you don’t like slavery, don’t own a slave.”

And yet, despite the obvious superiority of the anti-abortion argument, hardly ever is a pro-abortion person persuaded.  Why is this?

The answer, I think, can be found in the social class differences between pro-life and pro-abortion people.  The heart of the pro-abortion movement is found among men and women of the upper-middle classes: people who have (or soon will have when they finish college and get a few years older) good educations, good jobs, good cars, good houses, good food, good wine, high incomes, millions in assets, many important social and political connections, a cosmopolitan outlook, etc.

Given contemporary American standards, they are superior people.  They may not be superior according to the standards that prevailed in Plato’s Academy, or in ancient Sparta, or in the monasteries of St. Benedict, or in the Shaker communities. But they are without question “superior” according to present-day American standards.

By contrast, the heart of the pro-life movement is found among women from the lower-middle classes: persons with educations and incomes that are barely adequate in today’s high-price society; persons who lack the millions, the high culture, the good connections, etc.

These women tend to be religious; they tend to have more children than does the average American woman (and certainly more than does the typical pro-abortion activist); they tend to be sexually un-liberated – so much so that many of them (and this is truly shocking from a contemporary point of view) have had sexual relations with only one man, their husband.  According to present-day standards, these women are definitely inferior.

It will be pointed out that my ideas of the typical pro-life and pro-abortion person are stereotypes.  Of course. But stereotypes are often enough more or less accurate.

In any case, the typical pro-abortion activist, instead of taking seriously the arguments presented by the pro-life movement, says to herself or himself: “I am rich and well-educated, I own a handsome house or condo and a fine automobile, I am thin and athletic, and I am blessed with excellent taste when it comes to coffee, wine, food, furniture, music, movies, works of art, etc.  In short, I am a superior person.  The world is fortunate to have people like me in it.”

“And so, that anti-choice woman standing over there – whose education is limited, whose income is modest, whose house is small and unattractive and in the wrong neighborhood, whose body is unshapely and somewhat overweight, whose taste is appallingly vulgar – when she tells me that I am wrong about abortion, I would laugh at her if I didn’t pity her.  What could be more preposterous than to think that an inferior person like her might be right and a superior person like myself might be wrong?”

These “superior” people, let us remember, are the people who control the “command posts” of American culture. Which is to say that they are dominant in a number of our leading institutions: the mainstream journalistic media, the entertainment industry, our best colleges and universities, and one of our two great political parties.

They shape the public mind, especially the mind of younger generations.  If they won’t listen to reason (which they won’t), do we have any grounds to be hopeful for the long-run success of the pro-life movement?

Yes.  But I’ve run out of time (and space) today. More to come next time.

COLUMN BY

David Carlin

David Carlin is a professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America.

RELATED ARTICLE: How State ‘Birthday Abortions’ Bills Stack Up to Federal Restrictions

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2019 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

VIDEO: Archbishop Joseph Kurtz on opposition to changes in the Civil Rights Act

EWTN on Apr 9, 2019 published the below commentary with video.

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville tells me why Church leaders are against proposed changes to the Civil Rights Act that would include recognizing sexual orientation and gender identity. See the full interview on EWTN News Nightly with Lauren Ashburn.

Hoaxes, Scams, and Your Medical Care

Preview:

  • Hoaxes and scams have been dominating the news lately. We have a marginally known actor faking a hate crime supposedly to raise his Hollywood profile.
  • The scandal about Hollywood and other elites buying their children’s way into top-rated universities really hit home.
  • Now we continue to have a slew of healthcare hoaxes: corporate stakeholders, legislators, and government agencies promise everything and have no accountability for their failure to keep their promises.
  • The opioid crisis is an example of the unintended consequences of intervention by oversight agencies not directly involved in patient care.
  • Central control is not a good idea. Period. Do not believe the hoax perpetrated by the ruling class who will never have to live by their own rules. It is highly unlikely that Venezuela’s President Maduro is starving along with his people.

Hoaxes and scams have been dominating the news lately. We have a marginally known actor faking a hate crime supposedly to raise his Hollywood profile. His attempt to claw his way to the middle could have resulted in race riots, injury, and death. His punishment? All charges dropped.

The scandal about Hollywood and other elites buying their children’s way into top-rated universities really hit home. I remember when I had tutored some recent Vietnamese immigrants for a debate contest to win a scholarship for college. I could only hope that their hard work was rewarded and not wiped away by special favors bestowed on the “haves.”

Now we continue to have a slew of healthcare hoaxes: corporate stakeholders, legislators, and government agencies promise everything and have no accountability for their failure to keep their promises.

Take the large health systems’ claim that hospital consolidation and buying up physician practices would benefit consumers with cheaper prices from coordinated services and other unspecified savings. A major study of California hospital mergers found just the opposite. The analysis showed that the price of an average hospital admission went up as much as 54 percent. When the large hospital systems bought doctors’ groups, the prices rose even more. There was as much as a 70 percent increase in prices of medical services in geographic areas with minimal competition. This finding seems obvious to any of us who has the choice of shopping at Walmart or Target or Costco.

Logic aside, some legislators believe that having the government take over medical care would solve our access and cost problems. Single payer means no competition whatsoever. The single payer plans (H.R. 1384 and S. 1804) that abolish private insurance leave patients with an empty choice. Patients can contract with a physician to pay cash for government medical services covered by the government. But if the physician contracts for such services he cannot be part of the government program for any patient for 2 years. Realistically, these single payer bills make it financially unfeasible for physicians to privately contract with patients. Thus, only well-heeled patients, along with independently wealthy doctors, can buy their way out of the system.

There are variations on the theme of government involvement that allow buy-ins to Medicare, Medicaid, or iterations of the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. All of these all have the same defect: expanding the government healthcare monopoly.

The opioid crisis is an example of the unintended consequences of intervention by oversight agencies not directly involved in patient care. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), now the Joint Commission, a nonprofit organization that accredits more than 20,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the U.S, is for all practical purposes a government surrogate. In 2001, JCAHO declared that pain was the “5th vital sign” that had to be addressed or face consequences. The Federation of American Medical Boards told physicians that “in the course of treatment,” large doses of opioids were just fine. Moreover, Medicare has a hospital payment formula that relies on patient satisfaction surveys. If the patients are satisfied, including being so zoned out on opiates that they can’t taste the bad food, the hospital is paid more. The hospital is penalized for a bad rating.

And now to deal with the opiate issue, the government has issued guidelines that have been found to be harmful to some patients. One-size-fits-all restrictions have caused physicians to fear being flagged as over-prescribers by the medical board. Consequently, some physicians are tapering patients off opioids more quickly than they would ideally like. And in the public eye patients have been transformed from objects of compassion to criminal drug addicts.

Individualized medical care must not be reserved for the chosen few. Patients need physicians who are empathetic, thorough, and not married to a medical cookbook written by disinterested third parties. Perhaps this is why Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones chose to have his heart surgery in the U.S. and not with his British homeland’s National Health Service.

Central control is not a good idea. Period. Do not believe the hoax perpetrated by the ruling class who will never have to live by their own rules. It is highly unlikely that Venezuela’s President Maduro is starving along with his people.

Kids Aren’t Born Transgender, So Don’t Let Advocates Bamboozle You

People who pursue a cross-sex identity aren’t born that way, and children should not be encouraged to “transition” to the opposite sex, according to a reference work endorsed by the American Psychological Association.

Yet every day I hear from another parent who tells me that a child’s therapist, after an appointment or two, strongly recommends that the parent allow the child to change his or her name and personal pronouns, live as the opposite sex, and get on the track toward irreversible medical interventions.

Laura Haynes, a licensed psychologist in California, recently reviewed the APA Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology and highlighted its research findings about transgender children.

Among those findings, cited on page 744 of Volume 1:

  • “In no more than about one in four children does gender dysphoria persist from childhood to adolescence or adulthood,” with the majority of affected boys later identifying as gay, not transgender, and up to half of affected girls identifying as lesbian, not transgender.
  • “Early social transition (i.e., change of gender role, such as registering a birth-assigned boy in school as a girl) should be approached with caution to avoid foreclosing this stage of gender identity development.”
  • “Early social transition may be necessary for some; however, the stress associated with possible reversal of this decision has been shown to be substantial.”

Yet we all have been bamboozled by distorted claims to the contrary from sex-change advocates, who insist the science is settled.

They say people who identify as the opposite sex will never change their mind, the cross-sex identity is fixed and the earlier the child, teen, or adult is affirmed as the opposite sex and makes the transition, the better off he or she will be.

In fact, however, the American Psychological Association and the weight of historical evidence both challenge society’s affirmation of cross-sex identities.

The preface to the APA Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology, published in 2014, says it is endorsed and approved by the American Psychological Association, which describes itself as “the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and the largest association of psychologists in the world.”

underwent my own “sex change” in April 1983. I had no idea then that I would be here today talking about the subject, or that the evidence against “born that way” had started oozing out as early as 1979, four years before I was mutilated.

In 1979 an endocrinologist, Dr. Charles L. Ihlenfeld, sounded a warning on using hormones and surgery on the transgender population in remarks to a group of clinicians. Ihlenfeld had administered hormone therapy for six years to a large sample of 500 trans-identified adults.

Ihlenfeld, who is gay, told the clinicians that “80 percent of the people who want to change their sex shouldn’t do it.” Desires to change sex, he said, “most likely stem from powerful psychological factors—likely from the experiences of the first 18 months of life.”

Ihlenfeld’s comments 40 years ago foreshadowed the evidence provided in the APA Handbook, where page 743 of Volume 1 says that identifying as the opposite sex is “most likely the result of a complex interaction between biological and environmental factors.”

“Research on the influence of family of origin dynamics,” it adds, “has found some support for separation anxiety among gender-nonconforming boys and psychopathology among mothers.”

Ihlenfeld and the APA, generations apart in time, came to a similar conclusion: The desire to change sex most likely stems from early life experiences and psychological factors.

As to the wisdom and effectiveness of using cross-sex hormones and sex-change surgery to treat gender dysphoria, the evidence does not exist.

Above:  The author, Walt Heyer, takes part in a related panel discussion at The Heritage Foundation. His remarks begin at 47:30 in the video.

In the United Kingdom, the University of Birmingham’s Aggressive Research Intelligence Facility conducted a review in 2004 of 100 international medical studies of “post-operative transsexuals.” It found “no conclusive evidence [that] sex-change operations improve the lives of transsexuals.”

Additionally, the evidence showed that the transsexual person, after undergoing reassignment surgery, “remains severely distressed to the point of suicide.”

A professor at Oxford University, Carl Heneghan, is one recent voice questioning cross-sex hormone use in children and adolescents. Heneghan is editor-in-chief of a respected British medical journal, BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine.

On Feb. 25, Heneghan and a fellow researcher reported significant problemswith how evidence is collected and analyzed, concluding:

Treatments for under 18 gender dysphoric children and adolescents remain largely experimental. There are a large number of unanswered questions that include the age at start, reversibility, adverse events, long-term effects on mental health, quality of life, bone mineral density, osteoporosis in later life and cognition.

So the negative findings stack up, and alarms are raised about the lack of proof concerning effectiveness and safety. But administering unnecessary hormones and rearranging healthy body parts with sex-change surgeries continue undaunted by a deaf medical community.

I feel like I’m standing alongside the road shouting to warn approaching drivers: “The bridge is out! The bridge is out!”

Because I know—I drove off that cliff, and I’m still affected 35 years later.

The APA Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology, again, says that transgender people are not born that way, that cross-sex identification can change, and that the majority of children grow out of a desire to change sex if they don’t engage in social transition.

Strangely, the medical and psychological community doesn’t follow its own evidence and seems oblivious to the experiment they’re conducting on real lives, especially those of children.

The sex-change cheerleaders falsely claim, “Affirmation is the only solution.” They use distorted doctrine to lobby for laws that punish counselors and parents who say otherwise, laws that take away the rights of patients to choose their own therapy goals.

Organizations such as The Trevor Project are lobbying in all 50 states to outlaw any therapy that suggests interest in cross-sex transition can change.

Meanwhile, accounts such as these of families and lives being ripped to shreds by sex change appear in my inbox daily. I have compiled 30 of the stories I’ve received, along with recent research, in my own book “Trans Life Survivors.”

We must wake up and use the evidence provided in the APA Handbook to counter those who say transgender people are born that way.

Instead, we must fight loudly for the rights of patients to choose their counseling goals and against laws that legislate affirmation as the only therapy allowed.

COMMENTARY BY

Walt Heyer is an author and public speaker. Through his website, SexChangeRegret.com, and his blog, WaltHeyer.com, Heyer raises public awareness about those who regret gender change and the tragic consequences suffered as a result.

RELATED ARTICLE: My ‘Sex Change’ Was a Myth. Why Trying to Change One’s Sex Will Always Fail.


Dear Readers:

Just two short years after the end of the Obama administration’s disastrous policies, America is once again thriving due to conservative solutions that have produced a historic surge in economic growth.

The Trump administration has embraced over 60 percent of The Heritage Foundation’s policy recommendations since his inauguration. But with the House now firmly within the grips of the progressive left, the victories may come to a screeching halt.

Why? Because they are determined more than ever to give the government more control over your lives. Restoring your liberty and embracing freedom is the best thing for you and the country.

President Donald Trump needs all of the allies he can find to push through the stone wall he now faces within this divided government. And the best way you can partner with him is by becoming a member of his greatest ally in Washington: The Heritage Foundation.

Will you activate your membership with a tax-deductible gift today?

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission.

The Abby Johnson Story

One day, about a decade ago, a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic director saw something at her own clinic—and it made her instantly pro-life.

Her name is Abby Johnson, and she was the director of the Bryan, Texas Planned Parenthood clinic, which was affiliated with the greater Houston area Planned Parenthood—one of the largest markets for America’s largest abortion-provider. In 2008, Abby had been voted as Planned Parenthood’s Employee of the Year. She was on a fast-track for further promotion within Planned Parenthood.

I interviewed Abby Johnson on the radio a few years ago. She told me about something that happened that made her question how good Planned Parenthood really was: “I had been instructed to increase the abortion quota at our facility, which was strange to me because I really got involved with Planned Parenthood, believing that abortion was something we were trying to eradicate, [to] make unnecessary through various education programs.”

I said, “Safe, legal, and rare?” She said, “Sure, that’s what we said to the media, and that’s what I believed.” She naively thought abortion (as a last resort) was helpful to women.

Abby said in a television interview for D. James Kennedy Ministries (DJKM):

“Planned Parenthood says that they offer options counseling, but that’s not true….they don’t really know how to effectively counsel on anything but abortion. I was great at selling abortion. I was a very, very good salesperson. I could sell an abortion to anybody. It’s so easy when you get a woman into your office, and she is vulnerable and she’s unsure.”

But on September 26, 2009, at the request of a visiting doctor who insisted on sonogram-assisted abortions, Abby ran the sonogram machine and saw from a different perspective what her life’s work (up to that time) was really all about.

In her book, The Walls Are Talking (with Kristin Detrow, 2016), Abby writes, “As I stood watching, a thirteen-week-old unborn child struggled and lost its life within its mother’s womb, finally crumpling and disappearing into the cannula, a hollow plastic tube attached to the suction machine by a flexible hose.”

She described it this way in the DJKM television interview,

“I was just in shock. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. And the baby was actually making some progress. It was moving further and further away from the instrument, so much so the doctor had to reposition the cannula. And he finally got everything in place, and he asked the technician to turn on the suction, and she did.”

Abby continues, “In just, a few moments, I saw the child’s body begin to go through that tube.

For those few moments I was watching this child fight hard for its life. It didn’t have a chance. We had all those instruments and all that technology, and that little baby didn’t have a fighting change, and it did fight.”

Abby adds: “I walked out of the room that day just realizing, ‘I’ve got to make a change. Never again. I’m never going to participate in this again.’”

Today, Abby’s story can be seen on the big screen. Unplanned, based on her best-selling book of the same title (with Cindy Lambert, 2010), opened this past weekend and was a surprise hit. It came in number five at the box office, which is quite an accomplishment for an independent pro-life movie that virtually all of Hollywood does not want you to see. I saw it on its opening weekend and highly recommend it.

Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, told me:

“The depiction of abortion in Unplanned is something that every pro-life person should see—and every pro-choice person.”

Today, one of Abby Johnson’s central goals is to assist abortion clinic workers who want to leave the abortion industry. Her organization, And Then There Were None, is directly geared toward this.

In an online video for that outreach, Abby says,

“Our vision statement for And Then There Were None is ‘No abortion clinic workers, no abortion clinics, no abortions’—it starts with the workers. We see ourselves as being part of a pro-love movement…we want to love these workers out of the clinics. We want to love them to a path of healing, and we want to love them…into a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

So far, they have been able to help 500 people leave the abortion clinics.

In her book, The Walls Are Talking, Abby says she relates to Mary Magdalene:

“I have also done my fair share of sinning. And I have also been forgiven much more than I deserve. I abused and betrayed women in the worst possible way. I convinced them to kill their children….It was Christ who changed me.”

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, make your plans to go see Unplanned.

RELATED ARTICLE: How the Left Keeps Me Religious

RELATED VIDEO: ‘Unplanned’: How Twitter Promoted a Pro-Life Film.

Who Is Your Doctor?

In Arizona, law enforcement officers in tactical gear broke down the door to a home where children were sleeping, entered with guns drawn, and took three little children away from their parents. The stated reason: the mother had decided not to follow a doctor’s advice to take her two-year-old to the emergency room for a fever, because the fever broke and the child got much better soon after leaving the office.


People used to know who their doctor was. His name and phone number were on the wall or the refrigerator next to the telephone. He was there for you and could manage most of your problems.

When I was about 13, my mom took me to our pediatrician for belly pain. He was on his way out the door, but he stopped to take care of me. He diagnosed appendicitis based on history and physical examination. He called his favorite surgeon (“Billy,” a Tucson legend), who came from the golf course to meet me in the emergency room. Within hours, my red-hot appendix was in a jar. My parents paid the hospital bill ($150—10 days’ pay for a construction laborer) as I was discharged a few days later.

Today, the patient with abdominal pain could wait for hours to see the ER provider—possibly a nurse practitioner or physician assistant who had never seen a case of acute appendicitis. She’ll probably get a CT scan, after another wait. Eventually, Dr. On-call may take her to the operating room, hopefully before the appendix ruptures. And the bill will be beyond the means of ordinary people.

I used to be able to direct-admit patients from my office and send them with a set of orders to the hospital admitting office. For years, this has been impossible. The hospital is decidedly unfriendly to independent doctors. There’s now a gatekeeper in the emergency room, and most patients are under the control of a hospitalist.

This hospital, still Catholic at least in name, is now owned by a huge national conglomerate. Recently, it thwarted all efforts to keep it from dehydrating a patient to death despite lack of an advance directive or permission from next of kin. The patient’s mother disputed the diagnosis of brain death. The gastroenterologist of her choice was willing and able to place a feeding tube, needed in order to transfer the patient to a skilled nursing facility, but the hospital would not permit it. An outside physician whom the mother had called on was removed from the patient’s room by security, when she was merely praying with the mother. The mother could not get a phone call returned from an attending physician. Who was the doctor? Apparently, the hospital system.

Recently, a physician called me about her mother, who was seemingly a captive in a world-renowned hospital. She was concerned about her mother’s nutritional status and falling oxygen level. She could not speak to the attending physician. “They play musical doctors.”

Largely driven by government policy, the System is increasingly in control. A new level of intrusion is being proposed in California in a bill (SB 276) that would outlaw all medical exemptions for vaccines, unless a public health officer approves each one, based on the very narrow list of contraindications accepted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Doctors traditionally swore an oath not to harm patients, and are liable if they do. But government officials are immune from liability, even if they overrule a physician’s judgment that a particular patient faces an unacceptable risk of harm from a vaccine.

If you disagree with your private doctor, you can fire him or simply decline to follow his advice. But what if the government is your doctor?

In Arizona, law enforcement officers in tactical gear broke down the door to a home where children were sleeping, entered with guns drawn, and took three little children away from their parents. The stated reason: the mother had decided not to follow a doctor’s advice to take her two-year-old to the emergency room for a fever, because the fever broke and the child got much better soon after leaving the office. The main concern seemed to be that the child was not vaccinated.

Americans need to defend their right to have an independent physician, to choose their physician and type of care, and to give or withhold informed consent to medical treatments. Otherwise, their “doctor” will be a protocol in a system staffed by interchangeable automatons. Treatments will be inaccessible or required, tailored to meet the needs and beliefs of the system.

If the government is the ultimate authority on your “health care,” remember that its tools for checking whether a child has a life-threatening disease such as meningitis include battering rams and assault rifles.

Trump Really Does Have a Plan That’s Better Than Obamacare

“If the Supreme Court rules that Obamacare is out,” President Donald Trump said last week, “we’ll have a plan that is far better than Obamacare.”

Democrats couldn’t believe their luck. They still were reeling from special counsel Robert Mueller’s finding that the Trump campaign neither conspired nor coordinated with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 elections.

Now the president was changing the subject from collusion (a suddenly awkward topic for Democrats) to health care (which helped them capture dozens of House seats last November).

Besides, the president really doesn’t have a plan that is far better than Obamacare, or any plan at all. Right?

Wrong.

A look at his fiscal year 2020 budget shows that the president has a plan to reduce costs and increase health care choices. His plan would achieve this by redirecting federal premium subsidies and Medicaid expansion money into grants to states. States would be required to use the money to establish consumer-centered programs that make health insurance affordable regardless of income or medical condition.

The president’s proposal is buttressed by a growing body of evidence that relaxing federal regulations and freeing the states to innovate makes health care more affordable for families and small businesses.

Ed Haislmaier and I last year published an analysis of waivers that have so far enabled seven states to significantly reduce individual health insurance premiums. These states fund “invisible high risk pools” and reinsurance arrangements largely by repurposing federal money that would otherwise have been spent on Obamacare premium subsidies, directing them instead to those in greatest medical need.

By financing care for those with the biggest medical bills, these states have substantially reduced premiums for individual policies. Before Maryland obtained its waiver, insurers in the state filed requests for 2019 premium hikes averaging 30 percent. After the federal government approved the waiver, final 2019 premiums averaged 13 percent lower than in 2018—a 43 percent swing.

Best of all, Maryland and the other waiver states have achieved these results without increasing federal spending or creating a new federally funded reinsurance program, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has proposed to do.

State innovation also extends to Medicaid. Some states have sought waivers permitting them to establish work requirements designed to help Medicaid recipients escape poverty.

Arkansas, for example, last June began requiring nondisabled, childless, working-age adults to engage in 80 hours of work activity per month. The program defined “work activity” broadly to include seeking a job, training for work, studying for a GED, engaging in community service, and learning English.

More than 18,000 people—all nondisabled and aged 30-49—were dropped from the rolls between September and December for failing to meet these requirements. The overwhelming majority did not report any work-related activity. All became eligible to re-enroll in Medicaid on Jan. 1. Fewer than 2,000 have done so, suggesting that most either don’t value the benefit or now earn enough to render them ineligible for Medicaid.

Nonetheless, last week a federal judge ordered Arkansas to drop its Medicaid work requirement, a requirement that would likely improve lifetime earnings of Medicaid recipients.

Administration efforts to relax federal rules to benefit employees of small businesses also were nullified last week by a federal judge.

Most uninsured workers are employed by small firms, many of which can’t afford Obamacare coverage for their employees. The Labor Department rule allowed small firms to band together, including across state lines, giving them purchasing power comparable to that of big businesses.

study of association health plans that formed after the new rule took effect last September found that they offered comprehensive coverage at premium savings averaging 23%. The court ruling stopped that progress in its tracks.

Waivers and regulations that benefit consumers are susceptible to the whim of judges and bureaucrats, which is why Congress should act on the president’s proposal.

It closely parallels the Health Care Choices Proposal, the product of ongoing work by national and state think tanks, grassroots organizations, policy analysts, and others in the conservative community. A study by the Center for Health and the Economy, commissioned by The Heritage Foundation, found that the proposal would reduce premiums for individual health insurance by up to 32 percent and cover virtually the same number of people as under Obamacare.

It also would give consumers more freedom to choose the coverage they think best for themselves and their families. Unlike current law, states could include direct primary care; health-sharing ministries; short-term, limited-duration plans; and other arrangements among the options available through their programs.

Those expanded choices would extend to low-income people. The proposal would require states to let those receiving assistance through the block grants, Medicaid, and other public assistance programs apply the value of their subsidy to the plan of their choice, instead of being herded into government-contracted health maintenance organizations.

Outside groups that helped develop the proposal, which is similar to the president’s, are looking to refine it by incorporating other Trump administration ideas like expansion of health savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangements, and association health plans. They’re also reviewing various administration ideas to reduce health care costs through choice and competition.

The president really does have “a plan that is far better than Obamacare.” Congress should get on board.

COMMENTARY BY

Doug Badger is a former White House and Senate policy adviser and is currently a senior fellow at the Galen Institute and a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

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RELATED VIDEO: America’s Biggest Issues: Health Care


Dear Readers:

Just two short years after the end of the Obama administration’s disastrous policies, America is once again thriving due to conservative solutions that have produced a historic surge in economic growth.

The Trump administration has embraced over 60 percent of The Heritage Foundation’s policy recommendations since his inauguration. But with the House now firmly within the grips of the progressive left, the victories may come to a screeching halt.

Why? Because they are determined more than ever to give the government more control over your lives. Restoring your liberty and embracing freedom is the best thing for you and the country.

President Donald Trump needs all of the allies he can find to push through the stone wall he now faces within this divided government. And the best way you can partner with him is by becoming a member of his greatest ally in Washington: The Heritage Foundation.

Will you activate your membership with a tax-deductible gift today?

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission.

The Unplanned Censorship of the Abby Johnson Story

It had to stare down a media blackout, an R-rating, even a suspended Twitter account, but the pro-life movie Unplanned still defied all the odds. On opening weekend, the true story about former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson stunned Hollywood by climbing to number five on the box office charts and doubling projections with $6 million dollars in ticket sales.

“We are thrilled, gratified, and humbled,” co-directors Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman said Sunday. “We are so pleased that the American people have responded with such an enormous outpouring of support at the box office… [W]e look forward to seeing what happens in the weeks ahead.” Like Gosnell, the movie had a tough time getting visibility in the mainstream press. Several TV networks refused to sell advertising time to the project, while the Motion Picture Association of America tried to dissuade audiences with a Restricted rating.

But never underestimate pro-lifers. An outpouring of support helped Unplanned break through all of the obstacles, even earning a rare A+ from CinemaScore in the process. For the film’s distributor, Pure Flix, it was the second-best start ever — coming in just slightly behind God’s Not Dead 2. For lead actress Ashley Bratcher, whose own story took a surprising twist when she got the job, the response is overwhelming. “I am blown away by the public response to Unplanned, as well as the box office numbers,” she said. “Not only is it beyond my wildest dreams, but it has surpassed the expectations of critics across the country. Despite biased critic reviews written more like op-eds, the audience has spoken.” Still, she pointed out, “the most rewarding thing about this weekend’s opening is the flood of messages I’ve received from people experiencing healing and a change of heart.”

That’s exactly what social media giants like Twitter must be afraid of. After a blockbuster weekend for the film’s social media page, the Unplanned account was mysteriously suspended — just as followers jumped to 100,000. Coincidence? Investor Mike Lindell doesn’t think so. “They don’t want you to see this movie!” the My Pillow founder tweeted. “Make your voices heard and tell your friends to go see the movie this weekend!”

Frustrated, co-director Konzelman spoke out. “It’s a sad state of affairs when the right to free speech gets shut down with the flick of a switch… Whether this was an executive decision by Twitter, or a reaction by Twitter to complaints from those opposed to the pro-life viewpoint, either reason is unacceptable.” Actress Bratcher piled on. “If Twitter is committed to helping increase the ‘openness and civility of public conversation’ and to hold themselves ‘accountable towards progress,’ then what’s with the censorship of a differentiating opinion?”

Fortunately, after a groundswell of protest started hitting Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s account, the page was suddenly live again. The social media giant insisted the suspension was an accident. Even so, the Unplanned account seems to be locked in a see-saw battle for followers, since tens of thousands seem to keep vanishing. PJ Media’s Tyler O’Neil was one of the many people who tried — unsuccessfully — to follow the film’s page and got an error message instead.

Of course, it’s no mystery why social media would want to keep the movie quiet. Like most of the liberal platforms in America, they know how powerful the truth about abortion can be. That’s why they’ve spent years hiding the violent reality of what happens behind Planned Parenthood’s closed doors.

But this is one of those rare moments in time — like Gosnell, like New York’s abortion law — when the pro-life movement has the opportunity to break through to the hearts and minds of millions of Americans. So what can you do? Go see the movie! Take your church group, your family, or your Bible study. If your local theater isn’t playing the movie, call them up and demand it. Then have your friends do the same. Can a handful of movie tickets change the debate? Buy some and let’s find out!


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


RELATED ARTICLES:

President Trump Issues New Pro-Life Rules Protecting Doctors and Nurses From Having to Do Abortions

Man Who Portrays Abortion Doctor in ‘Unplanned’ Former Abortionist

This Is Outrageous’: Conservatives And Journalists React After Twitter Appears To Block Pro-Life Film

Dems’ POW Flags Still AWOL

Love and Hate in Verona

EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column with video is republished with permission.

Marijuana-Related ER Visits Triple During Legalization in Colorado

A toxicology specialist has found a connection between legalized marijuana and a threefold increase in related visits to emergency rooms in Colorado for heart and other issues, confirming that cannabis poses health risks.

Marijuana may be a recreational activity for many, but marijuana-infused “edibles” in particular have been subject to scrutiny because of their ties to a jump in patients seeking medical treatment.

The new study from researchers with the University of Colorado School of Medicine found that marijuana-related ER visits tripled between 2012 and 2016.

The study also found that people consuming marijuana edibles suffer from toxic reactions at higher rates than those who simply smoke the drug. These edibles typically include brownies and other baked goods.

Dr. Andrew Monte, an associate professor at the medical school’s Anschutz campus, was lead author of the research paper published Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, touted as the first study to show an increased rate of adverse health events linked to marijuana edibles.

“Some patients will have psychosis, hallucinations, or they will hear things,” Monte, also an emergency medicine and toxicology specialist at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, told the website UCHealth. “The more common thing is acute anxiety, panic attacks, and very high heart rates.”

“There’s a much higher risk with taking edible agents,” he added. “It’s so unpredictable in terms of the effects.”

Colorado legalized medical marijuana shops in 2009, then legalized recreational marijuana use in 2014. Since the legalization of marijuana in some jurisdictions across the U.S., public health experts have called for better quality control of marijuana.

ER visits by those consuming marijuana edibles have risen since Colorado legalized marijuana use, for both cardiac and psychiatric problems, the study found.

From 2012 to 2016, the study found, a total of 10,000 ER visits were tied to patients who previously smoked marijuana or used edibles.

More than 25 percent of the ER visits involved symptoms related to marijuana use. Visits related to toxic reactions from marijuana edibles were 33 times higher than expected, the study found.

Another finding: Marijuana users often suffered from nausea and vomiting, a condition known as cannabinoid hyperemesis.

Although sales of edibles make up a small share of Colorado’s marijuana market, the number of patients suffering from toxic side effects was found to be 11 percent.

Edible marijuana products also were tied to unpleasant psychiatric symptoms and, though rarely, death, according to the study. It also found that marijuana users who sought treatment generally were younger and male.

“When people take something to get high, they generally don’t want to get high three hours later and be high for 12 hours,” Monte told UCHealth, referring to the potency of some edibles.

Edibles containing greater concentrations may produce cyclic vomiting syndrome, he warned.

Enjoying pot-infused edibles “isn’t completely safe,” Monte said, but it’s hard to pinpoint all the side effects because of a lack of clinical trials.

COLUMN BY

Joshua Nelson

Joshua Nelson is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

RELATED ARTICLE: Study Shows Heavy Adolescent Pot Use Permanently Lowers IQ


Dear Readers:

Just two short years after the end of the Obama administration’s disastrous policies, America is once again thriving due to conservative solutions that have produced a historic surge in economic growth.

The Trump administration has embraced over 60 percent of The Heritage Foundation’s policy recommendations since his inauguration. But with the House now firmly within the grips of the progressive left, the victories may come to a screeching halt.

Why? Because they are determined more than ever to give the government more control over your lives. Restoring your liberty and embracing freedom is the best thing for you and the country.

President Donald Trump needs all of the allies he can find to push through the stone wall he now faces within this divided government. And the best way you can partner with him is by becoming a member of his greatest ally in Washington: The Heritage Foundation.

Will you activate your membership with a tax-deductible gift today?

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission.

How Border Security Failures Make US Sick: The Hypocrisy in our Immigration Debate.

Several weeks ago I wrote about how Open Borders Are Dangerous To Our (Public) Health and noted that Ellis Island was a quarantine station.

In the weeks that followed, attention has greatly increased over the growing measles epidemic that is infecting increasing numbers of children particularly in New York State.

On March 26, 2019 the headline of a Newsday report blared: “State of emergency declared in Rockland County because of measles outbreak”.  The subtitle of that article stated, At least 153 people, mostly children, have been affected in the county. And nearly 200 cases have been counted in recent months in Brooklyn and Queens.”

News coverage of the worrying outbreak have focused on the orthodox Jewish community blaming their supposed religious beliefs and practices for not permitting their children to be vaccinated.

This raises the disquieting question if health concerns are being used as a way of demonizing members of the religious Jewish community by blaming them for the measles outbreak.

However the Newsday report provided this important quote:

“I am an Orthodox rabbi, and there is absolutely no religious authority that forbids one from getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Aaron Glatt, chairman of medicine at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, and a specialist in infectious diseases.

“Unfortunately, there is a segment of the population that has fallen under the influence of the anti-vaxxers,” Glatt said of people who espouse anti-vaccine beliefs. “You see this among Jewish and non-Jewish parents. There is a strong contingent of anti-vaxxers who have ulterior motives, but most are decent parents who are just misinformed.”

The Newsday article went on to report:

Earlier this month a federal judge barred 50 students from attending a Rockland school because they were unvaccinated. Health officials believe the outbreak was ignited in September by an international traveler who arrived in the area with measles. The situation worsened when six additional international travelers with measles arrived in Rockland, further spreading measles to vulnerable children.

The issue has a clear nexus to international travel yet most news outlets refuse to focus on this significant aspect of the health crisis.

Having used the term crisis we cannot ignore the headline of a March 26, 2019 report published by WAMC Northeastern Public Radio, Rockland County Exec Declares State Of Emergency For Measles Outbreak.

Under the terms of the declaration of the State of Emergency children under the age of 18 years of age who have not been vaccinated against measles must not enter any public place until April 27 or until they are vaccinated to protect against measles, mumps and rubella.  The penalty for violation of this order is a maximum fine of $500 dollars and/or six months in prison for committing a Class “B” Misdemeanor.

Before we go any further, we must consider what this really means.

Out of a concern for the health of the general population of the residents of Rockland County, a country that lies north of New York City, the fact that several hundred children have contracted the measles prompted swift and decisive action to safeguard the lives of children and others who might be vulnerable to a dangerous disease.

However, under the premise of “Sanctuary Policies” illegal aliens who enter the United States without inspection are shielded from detection by Immigration and Customs Enforcement leaving them free to wander about those communities with impunity.

Aliens who enter the United States are illegally present and, as I have noted in ever so many of my articles and Congressional testimony, pose a threat to public safety and national security.  They also may well pose a threat to public health.  Under a provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S. Code § 1182 (Inadmissible Aliens), aliens may not be granted visas or admitted into the United States if they have a communicable disease or cannot provide proof that they have been vaccinated against at least the following: mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus and diphtheria toxoids, pertussis, influenza type B and hepatitis B, and any other vaccinations against vaccine-preventable diseases recommended by the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices.

Aliens without inspection are not vetted and their very presence in the United States is not known by our government.

Now let’s consider how frequently advocates for sanctuary policies justify their outrageous policies by claiming that many businesses depend on what they refer to as “undocumented immigrants” (Orwellian Newspeak for aliens who are illegally present in the United States and may have entered the United States illegally and without inspection).

Among the businesses that eagerly hire these aliens who evaded the vetting process at ports of entry are restaurants and food processing plants.

So, while unvaccinated children are to be kept away from public events under the threat of having their parents or legal guardians arrested and imprisoned for up to six months, potentially separating the American parents from their American children, illegal aliens whose medical backgrounds are unknown along with the potential public health risks that they pose are free to go where they wish in those “Sanctuary” jurisdictions and may even help to prepare your next meal.

Bon appetite!

To further support my concerns about health issues that relate to aliens who seek entry into the United States consider on January 15, 2019 Newsweek published a report, “Anti-Vax Movement Listed By World Health Organization As One Of The Top 10 Health Threats For 2019.”

Here a few excerpts from the Newsweek report to help keep you awake at night:

Fragile and vulnerable settings

Crises—such as drought, famine, conflict and population displacement—and poor health services have left more than 1.6 billion people around the world, or 22 percent of the planet’s population, without access to basic care.

Ebola and other high-threat pathogens

Two outbreaks of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo occurred last year, causing the deaths of nearly 400 people. This highlights the danger of known high-threat pathogens with the potential to cause epidemics—like Ebola, Zika, Middle East respiratory syndrome corona virus (MERS-CoV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)—as well as those that have yet to be discovered.

Weak primary health care

People in many countries around the world lack access to adequate primary health care services. This is a significant problem because they are the first point of contact that an individual has with a health care system. Often, service is of poor quality or is simply unaffordable

Dengue

Every year, about 390 million people around the world are infected with dengue fever and about 40 percent of the global population lives in regions where it risks contracting the disease. Transmitted by mosquitoes, the flu-like fever has a mortality rate of below 1 percent when it is detected early and the patient receives medical care. However, this figure can rise significantly if the disease is left untreated.

Finally, on March 11, 2019 CNN reported, More than 2,000 people in ICE custody quarantined for contagious diseases.

It is more than a bit ironic and hypocritical that while Congress collectively voted against President Trump’s declaration of an emergency at our porous and dangerous southern border that the local government of Rockland County in New York State have declared a “State of Emergency” over health concerns that may well have a nexus to border security, or lack thereof.

EDITORS NOTE: This FrontPage Magazine column is republished with permission.

Wetwork: A Review of “Unplanned”

Brad Miner on a remarkable, if uneven, pro-life movie that makes clear why abortion is “wetwork,” a loan word from the Russian mokroye delo: meaning murder.


My anti-abortion views solidified in 1976 when I bought a copy of Esquire magazine. There was something in it by or about George Plimpton that I wanted to read, but thumbing through the pages I came to an article titled “What I Saw at the Abortion” by Richard Selzer, M.D.

I’d been a Catholic for about three years and knew what I was supposed to believe about abortion. I’d recently read Humane vitae for the first time and been deeply impressed by its clarity: “all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, [is] to be absolutely excluded.” But it was when I read Dr. Selzer’s article that my view was forever set.

What knocked me for a loop was Selzer’s reference to a “flick,” a resistance, the fetus defending itself against its murder. Read it for yourself (The Human Life Review has reprinted it here), but here’s the good doctor’s conclusion:

I am not trying to argue. I am only saying I’ve seen. The flick. Whatever else may be said in abortion’s defense, the vision of that other defense will not vanish from my eyes. What I saw I saw as that: a defense, a motion from, an effort away. And it has happened that you cannot reason with me now. For what can language do against the truth of what I saw?

So, it seemed to me before I watched the new movie, Unplanned, that the defining scene would have to be just such a moment, one in which Abby Johnson (played by Ashley Bratcher) witnessed the abortion that changed her life. (The film is based on her book of the same title.)

That moment is set up nicely in an earlier scene in which Abby, the youngest clinic director at Planned Parenthood, banally counsels a young woman not to worry: “The one thing that all experts agree on is that, at this stage, the fetus can’t feel anything.”

But then she witnesses a “procedure” during which she sees (via ultrasound) the child “twisting and fighting for its life” against the abortionist’s cannula, which causes her to look anew at her participation in the 22,000 abortions that happened during her tenure. This begs the question of how one could ever not have known what the hell was going on, but that’s life, I guess. We must suppress what we believe we must not accept.

As the Psalmist says (34: 14-15), “Keep your tongue from evil, your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” And that’s what Abby Johnson did, a change of heart and mind, however, made more difficult for her because she’d had two abortions herself.

The scenes in which Ashley Bratcher acts through Abby Johnson’s descent into abject misery and ascent into pro-life glory are very fine indeed.

Yet Unplanned is sometimes sluggish, partly because of flashbacks and narration, and occasionally it’s preachy. It also goes further than it probably should have in showing, specifically, a bloody abortion gone wrong, and, generally, the blood associated with a Planned Parenthood clinic.

It’s shocking to watch, and that’s clearly what directors Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon intended these scenes to be. But it’s also why their film received an MPAA rating of R and not PG-13. The implications of this at the box office could be grave, although I hope not. And some churches may decide not to screen it, especially to teenagers, and that would be a shame, especially since a drop of blood can be effective. And anyway the point is the potential crises in abortion: perforated uterus, falling blood pressure, and the pallor that comes from blood loss. You don’t have to dwell on the effusion of blood and fetal tissue.

It reminded me of Signal 30, the driver’s ed video we were shown in high school that depicted, in gruesome detail, the consequences of recklessness behind the wheel. It was repulsive without, I’m afraid, actually being an effective deterrent.

I’m sorry to dwell on this, but the ultrasound image in Unplanned of the vacuum aspiration of a fetus – graphic but not bloody – was sufficient; its impact far greater than the billows of crimson.

Still, abortion is what, in intelligence-military jargon, is called “wetwork,” a loan word from the Russian mokroye delo, meaning murder or assassination.

But I must say that Unplanned makes its arguments cogently. And arguments are still necessary, since the idea that the “products of conception” are not a human being still clearly rules in Federal law and dominates thinking and policy in one of America’s political parties, the party of Herod.

And this is another reason why the gore in Unplanned is unnecessary. Many medical procedures spill blood and some go sideways. Audiences are used to that, and I suppose if a pro-abortion advocate saw this movie, she might say, “The fact that sometimes things get messy isn’t an argument for restricting a woman’s reproductive rights. It’s her body!”

In the end, Unplanned, though far from a failure, is shallow. The motif in the film is the fence around the Texas Planned Parenthood facility where most of the action takes place. On one side are the abortionists, who are portrayed either complacent or evil; on the other side are the pro-life demonstrators from 40 Days for Life, are of whom all virtuous.

It’s not a propaganda film, although a final scene, in which the My Pillow founder, Mike Lindell, operates a bulldozer to knock down the Planned Parenthood sign at Abby’s former clinic, threatens to make what went before seem like an infomercial. I’m sure the producers were grateful for the million dollars Mr. Lindell put into the film. “I don’t get into things for the money,” Lindell told the Hollywood Reporter, “I get into them if the message is right.” Okay, Mike, but do you have to actually get into the movie itself?

Meanwhile, Ms. Bratcher gave a remarkable interview on the Fox News Channel that you’ll want to watch before you see Unplanned. And, please, see it.

COLUMN BY

Brad Miner

Brad Miner is senior editor of The Catholic Thing, senior fellow of the Faith & Reason Institute, and Board Secretary of Aid to the Church In Need USA. He is a former Literary Editor of National Review. His new book, Sons of St. Patrick, written with George J. Marlin, is now on sale. The Compleat Gentleman, is available on audio.

RELATED ARTICLES:

President Trump Issues New Pro-Life Rules Protecting Doctors and Nurses From Having to Do Abortions

Yes, Babies Are a Better Solution to Climate Change Than the Green New Deal

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. Video by Fox News Channel Fox & Friends. © 2019 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

VIDEO: Film “Unplanned” Is All About the Big Lie[s]

I had the opportunity in 2018 to actually meet Abby Johnson, who wrote the book Unplanned. I went to see the film “Unplanned” based upon her book on it’s opening day, March 29, 2019.  The key lesson that audiences should take away from this compelling movie is that it all about a big lie. A big lie that Abby (played by Ashley Bratcher) and tens of millions of women fall far. Watch the trailer:

This is a film that exposes the big lies preached over and over again by Planned Parenthood.

An important scene that exposes the big lie is when Abby, the newly promoted Director of a Planned Parenthood in Houston, TX, meets with a protester named Shawn (played by Jared Lotz) filming outside of the clinic. Abby wants Shawn to stop filming. When Shawn refused Abby says that Planned Parenthood’s work is akin to ending slavery, stopping the Holocaust and the women’s rights movement. Shawn points out that in reality everything Abby said is the opposite of the truth. He points out that slavery took away the rights of blacks like abortion takes away the rights of the unborn, killing the unborn is the new Holocaust and once inside the PP clinic a woman is convinced to give up the right of her baby to live. Powerful indeed.

Here is a fact check video done by Live Action titled “Planned Parenthood: Lies, no matter what”:

Many of these same lies, told from 2001 to 2009 by Abby Johnson, are exposed in Unplanned. It is clear from the film that Planned Parenthood exists primarily from the money made by performing abortions, not from providing healthcare services to mothers and their unborn child. Unplanned also mentions big downers to Planned Parenthood Bill Gates and George Soros.

As the Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany Joseph Goebbels wrote,

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

It is estimated that there have been over 60 million abortions in America since Roe v. Wade. This is 60 million people who would today be taxpaying, working Americans adding to our economy. This doesn’t include the adult children of those who were aborted.

The big lie is now out in full view. This is a must watch film. Take your children and grandchildren. They must see this film. Don’t worry about the R-rating.

RELATED ARTICLES:

President Trump Issues New Pro-Life Rules Protecting Doctors and Nurses From Having to Do Abortions

Wetwork: A Review of Unplanned

EXCLUSIVE: HHS Makes $5.1 Million Grant to Pro-Life Community Clinics

The Numbers That Show Planned Parenthood About Abortion Not Women’s Health

Disentangling the Data on Planned Parenthood Affiliates’ Abortion Services and Receipt of Taxpayer Funding

‘Unplanned’ Actress Fires Back At Alyssa Milano’s Attack On Georgia’s Pro-Life Bill

Twitter Suspends, Then Quickly Unsuspends Account of Pro-Life Movie ‘Unplanned’ During Release Week

PODCAST: ‘I Was Almost a Victim of Abortion’ — Star of ‘Unplanned’ Wants Movie to Change Hearts, Minds

Ashley Bratcher, star of the new movie “Unplanned,” recently sat down with The Daily Signal to talk about the film, which opens Friday. It tells the true story of Abby Johnson, a Planned Parenthood clinic director who left the nation’s largest abortion provider in 2009 after a conversion experience. You can listen to the interview with Bratcher on the podcast or read a lightly edited transcript below.

Rachel del Guidice: We’re joined on The Daily Signal Podcast today by Ashley Bratcher. She’s the lead actress in the movie “Unplanned.” The movie tells the story of Abby Johnson, the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic director who in 2009 left Planned Parenthood due to a change of heart. Ashley, thank you so much for being with us today.

Ashley Bratcher: Yes, thank you for having me.

del Guidice: First off, I want to start off to ask you what it was like to be a lead role in a film that tells such an incredible story about not only the horrors of the abortion industry, but also the beauty of the pro-life movement?

Bratcher: Yeah, playing a real person, especially someone like Abby Johnson, is a huge responsibility. She’s just so charismatic and fun and witty. To be able to be the storyteller of her transformation was such an honor.

What’s so powerful about her story is that she made the complete 180. She was an insider at Planned Parenthood and she was able to say, “I was wrong.” To come out and tell her story, which it was very courageous and brave because she faced a lot of backlash from Planned Parenthood. Being able to really share what she went through, and the grace that she found along the way and forgiveness has been just incredible.

del Guidice: You’ve recently spoken about how this film became very personal for you, when you found out in the early stages of filming “Unplanned” that you were almost aborted. Could you tell us a little bit about how that revolution happened?

Bratcher: When I first got cast for “Unplanned,” it all happened really quickly. I’m talking four hours was the notice I got. They said, “Can you be on the plane?” And I said, “Yes.” Without hesitation. I landed in Oklahoma, hit the ground running. I didn’t have a lot of time to tell people where I was or explain.

When my mom called me on the fourth day of filming, I was a little hesitant to share with her the story because she had shared with me when she was younger that she’d had an abortion. I didn’t want her to think that I judged her or that I thought any less of her or that this was even a movie about condemnation, because it certainly isn’t. It doesn’t point fingers at anyone.

I was really proud to tell her Abby’s story. As I did, she became undone more so than I expected. She was weeping through the phone. She said, “Ashley, I need to tell you something that I never told you before.” I could just tell that this was breaking her heart. She said, “Actually, what you don’t know is that when I was 19, I was at the clinic for the second time and I had my name called back, I was being examined by a very pregnant nurse. I was on the table and I got very sick to my stomach. I told her I couldn’t go through with it. I got up, I walked out, and I chose to have you.”

It was such a profound moment because I never knew that. It was incredibly shocking and overwhelming, and so many other words I can’t even create right now in my mind, because I was here telling Abby Johnson’s story, one of the greatest pro-life voices of our time, never realizing that I was almost a victim of abortion. I was almost never here on this earth to share this story. It was definitely something that put life into perspective for me.

del Guidice: Well, that’s beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing that. This movie is coming at a particularly intense time for the pro-life movement. We’ve seen New York recently legalizing abortion up to the time of birth and similar legislation being pursued in states like Virginia and Rhode Island. How do you hope this movie might play a role in the current debate we’re seeing?

Bratcher: Well, I think the timing of the movie is absolutely divine. I would love to say that we’re marketing geniuses, but that is just not the case. This just all happened to come out at a time that I think our country desperately needs it. I think that there is a lot of misinformation out there, and people are just wrapped up in the lie that it’s just a clump of cells, or it’s just tissue, it’s just fetal matter. But that is just not the case.

Science backs the pro-life movement in the sense that a unique individual human life is created at the point of fertilization. We need a face to the victim. This is a movie that actually gives the victim a face. Because for so long, there has been a silent Holocaust happening, if you will. This is something that’s done in secret behind closed doors. For the most part, women don’t even see their ultrasounds. For the first time, we are taking people behind those closed doors to reveal what is really happening in the abortion industry.

del Guidice: What is your take on “Unplanned” receiving an “R” rating? I think I saw a report saying that “R” rating was going to stay unless all the abortion scenes were removed. What’s your take on this whole rating that its been given?

Bratcher: I think it’s completely accurate. We didn’t receive the “R” rating for nudity because there’s no nudity. There’s no sex, there’s no language. The only reason we received the “R” was for violence and disturbing images.

Well, unfortunately, that is exactly what abortion is. It’s a disturbing and violent act. The NPAA actually agrees with us, which is ironic. I think that the “R” rating is warranted because we don’t hold back. We don’t do it for the blood and gore, but we do it to reveal the truth.

I think that parents who do take their children need to have a very serious conversation about what abortion really is, this is going to definitely wake them up.

I do think that there is a serious issue in our country with the law. Because a girl as young as 13 can be pregnant and go in many states across the nation and have an abortion, but she can’t go see the movie without parental consent. She can have an abortion without parental consent, but she can’t see the movie. That to me says more about protecting women in our society than we are. Just to be able to see a movie is a lot different than going and being able to take a life.

del Guidice: Exactly. No, you’re so right. It’s no secret that pro-life movies, we rarely see them over at the box office. How has your involvement in this movie been received by those in the film industry and the media?

Bratcher: I think other people have been way more concerned than I have about where my career is headed after this. I already have offers on the table. I am a part of some projects that are in the works. It’s not really hurting my career, so to speak.

I think that anyone who is wise enough and honest enough in the film industry, any critic, any artist can look at this role and see the artistic value. Because no matter where you stand on the subject, Abby is an incredibly dynamic character. The role is challenging physically, mentally, emotionally, but it’s an incredible stretch for any actor to be able to have a role like this.

It’s just a really great story. The film industry has to acknowledge that, and if they don’t, that says more about where they stand on their political agenda than I do.

del Guidice: Speaking of the political agenda, and just the attacks we’ve seen on people who do get involved in films like this that are antithetical to what Hollywood produces, what would you say to other people who might have an opportunity like this, but they may be too caught up in their own career or the future? You’re in this movement, and you’re making a profound difference, what would you say to people who are straddling that choice?

Bratcher: I’d say that you being true to yourself is the most important thing you can do in this industry. Because this is an industry that will eat you up and spit you out if you don’t know who you are. Knowing who you are, and what the mark is that you want to leave in this industry and on the world is incredibly important. Because if you know that, and you can root yourself in your purpose, no matter what you do, you can always stand on that.

I know that in 40 years, I’m not going to look back on this project and regret it. I’m going to be very proud of my work. That’s something that I’ve always taken pride in is knowing that I only do projects that I feel moved to do. If I’m a part of that, I’m going to be able to stand behind it and back it and say, “Yeah, I did it, and here’s why.”

I think that people really need to be able to say that. They need to know why they’re doing what they’re doing regardless of what someone else thinks. You’re going to live without regret if you do what is true to you, and people are going to respect you more for being honest and authentic about it.

del Guidice: What was the hardest part about making this film as well as the best part about making it?

Bratcher: The hardest part, I would say, was the 24/7, nonstop commitment to the film. It’s definitely the hardest I’ve ever worked because it didn’t stop when the cameras turned off. It was so labor intensive, as far as research is concerned that it was go, go, go.

I would be eating dinner listening to Abby’s audio book, looking at YouTube videos. I wasn’t even taking a shower without having something playing in the background. It was intense because I was so committed to a truthful performance that I wanted to know the ins and outs of everything that she experienced.

My favorite part about making the film is that these people have truly become my family. I know that people say that all the time, but this is just different than anything I’ve ever been a part of.

I know that these are people that will be in my life for the long haul. They’re friends that call me up regularly and check on me and say, “How are you doing?” And we can have conversations outside of just the movie industry. We really developed a close sense of family because we were all gathered together for a unified purpose, and we knew that.

del Guidice: How do you hope that this film will impact society and specifically the pro-life and pro-abortion movements in particular?

Bratcher: I think this film is going to start a conversation. This is something we desperately need to talk about. I heard one of the Georgia House representatives say last week that abortion is so outside the scope of polite conversation that we can’t even bear to look at it. We can’t even come face to face with the ripping apart of a human being.

He’s right. We have to face this as a society, we have to talk about it. We have to acknowledge it. Because if we don’t, we’re turning a blind eye and nothing is happening to move this forward and progress.

This is a movie that, like I said, is going to put a face to the victim. For the first time, America is going to have to recognize that. They’re going to have to look at what’s being done and say, “Am I OK with this?” You can’t walk out and be ambivalent anymore. You’re going to have to make a choice.

del Guidice: Ashley, thank you so much for being with us today. We really appreciate it.

Bratcher: Yes, thank you for having me.

COLUMN BY

Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice is a reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Send an email to Rachel. Twitter: @LRacheldG.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column with podcast is republished with permission.

VIDEO: Finally, Justice For Dads

Finally, the fathers can stop the abortion!

The “Equality Act” Is a SOGI Accommodation Mandate at the Federal Level

Legislation recently (re)introduced in Congress could be the LGBT-left’s most ambitious agenda goal, and it has the support of many major corporations.

The Equality Act is essentially a sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) accommodation mandate at the federal level. If implemented, sexual orientation and gender identity would be given special protection status under federal civil rights law. However, the impact would be disastrous for the First Amendment and Religious Liberty.

The Heritage Foundation has outlined seven ways the Equality Act would affect Americans:

  1. It would penalize Americans who don’t affirm new sexual norms or gender ideology.
  2. It would compel speech.
  3. It could shut down charities.
  4. It would allow more biological males to defeat girls in sports.
  5. It could be used to coerce medical professionals.
  6. It could lead to more parents losing custody of their children.
  7. It would enable sexual assault. 

SOGI accommodation mandates at the state and local level have often been labeled “bathroom bills” because they would compel business to allow individuals to use private facilities like bathrooms and changing rooms based on how they identify, not biological sex. While this would present considerable safety concerns as biological men would have unfettered access to women-only spaces, the “bathroom” aspect is just the tip of the iceberg regarding SOGI measures.

Business owners, like Colorado’s Jack Phillips, have suffered persecution for refusing to affirm same-sex marriage with his artistic talents. Ruling in his favor, the Supreme Court found the Colorado Civil Rights Commission used the state’s accommodation law to act with hostility towards Phillips’s religious beliefs.

But, it is not just business owners who would be devastated by Equality Act’s passage. Faith-based adoption agencies would lose their ability to determine where children should be placed, schools would have to allow biological boys to compete on girls’ athletic teams, surgeons would be forced to perform sex-change operations, and parents could be sued by their children for not supporting gender transition.

Yet, big business, at the behest of the liberal activists at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), has openly endorsed the Equality Act. The Business Coalition for the Equality Act is a collection of major corporations that support this legislation’s attempt to promote the LGBT agenda while undermining protections for religious liberty and the freedom of conscience.

Members of the Business Coalition for the Equality Act

Abercrombie & Fitch
Accenture
Adobe
Advanced Micro Devices
Airbnb
Alcoa
Amazon
American Airlines
American Eagle
American Express
Apple
Arconic
Automatic Data Processing
Bank of America
Best Buy
Biogen
Boehringer Ingelheim
Booz Allen Hamilton
Broadridge Financial Solutions
Brown-Forman
CA Technologies
Caesars Entertainment
Capital One
Cardinal Health
Cargill
Chevron
Choice Hotels
Cisco Systems
Coca-Cola
Corning
CVS
Darden
Delhaize
Diageo
Dow Chemical
Dropbox
EMC
Facebook
Gap
GE
General Mills
Google Inc.
Hershey
Hewlett-Packard
Hilton Worldwide
HSN Inc.
Hyatt Hotels Corp.
IBM Corp.
Intel Corp.
InterContinental Hotels Group
Johnson & Johnson
JPMorgan Chase
Kaiser Permanente
Kellogg Co.
Kenneth Cole Productions
Levi Strauss & Co.
Marriott International Inc.
MasterCard Inc.
McGraw Hill Financial
Microsoft Corp.
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Monsanto Co.
Moody’s Corp.
Nike Inc.
Northrop Grumman Corp.
Office Depot Inc.
Oracle Corp.
Orbitz Worldwide Inc.
PepsiCo Inc.
Procter & Gamble Co.
Pure Storage Inc.
Qualcomm Inc.
Replacements Ltd.
Salesforce
SAP America Inc.
Sodexo Inc.
Symantec Corp.
T-Mobile USA Inc.
Target Corp.
Tech Data Corp.
TIAA
Twitter Inc.
Uber Technologies Inc.
Unilever
WeddingWire Inc.
The WhiteWave Foods Co.
Williams-Sonoma
Xerox Corp.


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HRC to Host Debate, Demand Dem Adherence to LGBT Policy Agenda

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EDITORS NOTE: This 2ndVote column is republished with permission.