by Susan Dammann, RN, LAS, Medical Specialist
As we examine the symptoms exposed in the recent report unveiling the state chapter of NARAL Pro-Choice America colluding with Maryland government officials, a diagnosis becomes quite clear. This legal effort to shut down a local pro-life pregnancy care center, along with a seven-part plan developed by NARAL to shut down pregnancy help organizations across the country, reveal an infection with the intention to spread.
Miriam Webster defines diagnosis as"the act of identifying a disease, illness, or problem by examining someone or something."
First, there is definitely a primary source of infection, still seemingly localized, and the infection's focal point is limited to a small segment of the population. In 2010 when "Montgomery County passed an ordinance requiring Centro Tepeyac Silver Spring Women's Center and other pro-life pregnancy care clinics to post signs stating that they did not have doctors on staff," the outbreak was cured by three court decisions against the ordinance.
"Judge Deborah Chasanow, a Clinton appointee, noted that the people who accused the centers of spreading 'misinformation' were 'universally volunteers from a pro-choice organization sent to investigate practices' at the centers."
[Read Heartbeat President Peggy Hartshorn’s Op-Ed at LifeSiteNews.com here.]
When we learn of such outbreaks it is common to wonder if this will erupt into an epidemic or pandemic. Then we wonder how we can immunize ourselves from being attacked by the same germs.
The very best way to inoculate ourselves is to do just as they have already given us credit for doing!
The County responded to NARAL with the following statement: "I doubt my colleagues or the County Attorney will be interested in pursuing a truth-in-advertising statute...[these centers] are clearly very artful at devising strategies to avoid violating the law." Strategies to avoid violating the law simply put, means we obey the law and they recognize it. Your best immunization plan is to keep up your mission and the excellence with which you always work. You can always take your organization's vital signs by checking up on our Commitment of Care and Competence.
It would be a misdiagnosis if we thought we could treat these germs by pregnancy help organizations hiring doctors and nurses, putting in state of the art equipment and following all the best practices so that they will approve of us and stop the attacks. We have done just that and they are still manipulating women with lies and misleading information.
True choice and excellent healthcare for women are not their goal. The accurate diagnosis is that the abortion industry has a goal of permanently eliminating pregnancy centers because we are undermining their bottom line of profit.
Keep in mind that we do not live in a sterile environment and that germs abound. We can expect that by making inroads to bring health and wholeness into our world, there may be attacks. This is to be expected, but not feared. God even tells us in His Word that we may suffer for the sake of righteousness, but we are blessed.
"But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled." 1 Peter 3:14 NASB
by Jennifer Minor, Editor/Writer
Have you been hearing about those emails between the Montgomery County Council and NARAL published last week by Dustin Siggins at LifeSiteNews.com, and wondered how those emails were discovered?
Mr. Siggins took advantage of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which was enacted in 1966, to request them. (The Freedom of Information Act allows full or partial disclosure of information or records from government agencies.) Journalists aren't the only ones who can request information through FOIA. In fact, NARAL recently requested emails from the Ohio Department of Health in relation to Ohio Right to Life (read here). But is it only organizations and journalists who can make these kinds of requests?
The answer is: No, anyone can request information from any federal, state, or local government agency under this or similar state and local level laws!
Do you suspect there's similar collaboration between pro-abortion groups and public officials in your area? You can file a FOIA request today to find out.
Still have questions? Here are some answers that might help clear things up.
Who can make a FOIA request?
According to FOIA.gov, "The general rule is that any person – citizen or not – can make a FOIA request. It's easy to do so." (click here for source) All it takes is a written request to the agency you want the information from, with your specific request spelled out.
What do I need to include in a FOIA request? Is there a form or something?
You need to "describe the information you want, and the format you want it in, in as much detail as possible." (FOIA.gov) That's it. No special form, just an email, fax, or letter requesting the info you are looking for. For example, in the NARAL request to Ohio Department of Health, they requested "emails exchanged with people whose email addresses end with 'ohiolife.org [and employees at the Ohio Department of Health].'" (click here for source)
What should I expect to get from a FOIA request and how quickly?
The records you receive will be raw data. Agencies will not do any analysis, research, or creating of new records. They will only give you what they already have available, and it might take a while. The standard timeline is one month, but if there is a backlog of requests, an agency may have to notify you in writing that they need an extension. (FOIA.gov)
Is there a cost?
In theory, there is no fee for making a FOIA request, but in some cases, if the time required to search for the information requested or the pages of records needing duplication are beyond certain limits, there may be fees. However, you can always request that these fees are waived and/or limit the amount you are willing to spend in your request. (FOIA.gov) Great examples of language for this type of request can be found in the example letters at nfoic.org.
Why does any of this even matter?
We've been suspicious for years that NARAL and other abortion advocacy groups have been colluding with the government at various levels to shut us down and keep themselves in governmental good-graces. Now, thanks to Mr. Siggins and LifeSiteNews.com, we know we were right.
If you suspect similar activity in your area, you can find out if something dubious really is going on.
Suspicious about government-abortion lobby collusion going on in your area? Leave us a tip at PregnancyHelpNews.com!
Did you catch Peggy's response to this discovery yet? Click here.
By Jeanneane Maxon, Vice President of External Affairs and Corporate Counsel, Americans United for Life
Attacks against pregnancy centers across the country have been widespread, and many of you have personally experienced them. In recent years, over a dozen states and localities have considered legislation promoted by NARAL designed to drive clients away from pregnancy centers and the life-saving help you provide.
Such bills typically include ridiculous requirements, such as disclaimers like, "This center is not required to provide you factually accurate information." In many instances, centers would be required to include such inaccurate and burdensome disclaimers in all client advertising, sometimes in 24 point font, and in Washington State, in five languages including Laotian.
If this sounds absurd to you, you are not alone. Every court that has had to consider such legislation has found it to be not only absurd, but unconstitutional. In fact, just this year, a court found an anti-pregnancy center ordinance imposed by Montgomery County, Maryland to be so inappropriate that it ordered the county to pay $375,000 in attorney's fees, costs, and nominal damages to the plaintiff pregnancy center.
Although they have been successful, efforts to defend pregnancy centers have cost time, energy and critical focus away from the women you serve. As Christian ministries, pregnancy centers should be strategic and prepared to defend themselves in the most efficient ways possible. We are called to be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves. "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." Matthew 10:16. Proactive efforts, therefore, should be bathed in prayer and approached with strategic steps to make victory come easier.
As one strategy to shield these attacks, Americans United for Life (AUL) drafted a Joint Resolution Honoring the Work of Pregnancy Resource Centers which provides state legislators, as well as county and city officials, an opportunity to praise pregnancy centers. In 2010, following the launch of state-based attacks in Oregon, AUL published this resolution and began working for its passage.
To date, 23 Pregnancy Center Resolutions have been passed in 17 states (some states passed the resolution in multiple years) including Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska (by way of a "proclamation"), New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Currently a resolution is also under consideration in Ohio.
As a first benefit, the resolution gives PRCs the ability to publicly highlight the work they do for their community. When a resolution passes, pregnancy center directors and volunteers are often invited to the statehouse and photographed with the Governor and/or significant government leaders. Additionally, many states also provide copies of the resolution for the center suitable for framing and display. Such an endorsement adds credibility in the minds of donors, clients and other influencers.
Additionally, when pregnancy centers are praised by a state or representative body of the people, the attacks on pregnancy centers lose credibility. For example, in 2010, Virginia legislators were so appalled by harassment NARAL inflicted on pregnancy centers through hostile legislation attempts, that they not only refused to enact NARAL's legislation, but turned around and passed the resolution praising the centers two weeks later.
Likewise, West Virginia has been on the forefront supporting the work of their pregnancy centers by way of a resolution. This state has consistently honored pregnancy centers every year since 2011. In 2012, the resolution became particularly meaningful when a hostile state legislator inappropriately wrote a letter to all the pregnancy centers demanding they supply him with confidential center files for a make-shift unofficial "investigation."
The pregnancy centers were able to respond simply by reminding this official that both the West Virginia House of Representatives and Senate had passed the resolution praising pregnancy centers for their outstanding service to the State and their communities. Presumably in embarrassment, the legislator stopped his harassment campaign and nothing more has been heard from him.
The impact of these resolutions is so profound that Heartbeat International and AUL believe that every pregnancy center should have a resolution passed in their state.
We can assist pregnancy centers in doing so. Pregnancy Center Action kits (with tools and instruction on passing the resolution) will be available to pregnancy centers in February, and the resolution and its corresponding policy guide is currently available at http://www.aul.org/legislative-resources/order-model-legislation/ (select Joint Resolution Honoring Pregnancy Resource Centers), or by contacting AUL at 202-741-4901.
We are privileged to stand by pregnancy centers that are doing the frontline work of helping women choose Life for themselves and their unborn children. We pray that this work carries on, uninhibited, until all are welcomed in life and protected in law.
by Ellen Foell, Heartbeat International Legal Counsel
I love to study the Bible. There are two rules I try to follow in studying or teaching.
1) I try not to take verses out of context when I am teaching.
2) I try not to build a teaching around one verse.
Today I am breaking both rules. I break the rules, because I think you, dear pregnancy help organizations across America, are worth it.
This is the verse: but the people who know their God will display strength and take action. (Daniel 11:32)
This issue of Capital Matters is a call for you to rise up, display strength and take action. The November elections, whether by whim or by design, whether in retrospect or foresight, sent out a very clear clarion message across America...the people of America are more pro-life than the media, the left, the White House and pro-choice politicians like to think. Pro-life politicians have taken the Senate and kept the House. Who would have thought it?
As the proverbial saying goes, strike now, while the iron is hot.
Friends we have an opportunity. You have an opportunity in your state to display strength and take action. Jeanneane Maxon from Americans United for Life has written an article on Pregnancy Center Resolutions, their efficacy, the process, and the benefits to a center. Further, her article makes it abundantly clear that such a resolution can be reality in your state.
The positive pregnancy help center resolution is a wonderful and effective tool to wield. It worked as a shield in West Virginia in 2013 when State Delegate Stephen Skinner sent a letter to almost every Crisis Pregnancy Center (his terminology) in West Virginia demanding documentation and answers to a span of questions to be answered within thirty days. Heartbeat International's Action Alert went out to every affiliate advising that the letter was not a subpoena and further recommended that centers who received the letter could send a copy of the 2013 Pregnancy Center Resolution to Mr. Skinner. His inquiry went no farther. What would your center do if you received a letter similar to Mr. Skinner's?
Tweet this! You may ask, if the resolution is such a great idea, why doesn't every state have one?
You may ask, if the resolution is such a great idea, why doesn't every state have one? Great question! Here are the top six reasons given:
It's political so it is illegal and will threaten my 501(c)(3) status.
The PHC resolution commends the work of pregnancy centers. It highlights the good works done and the help in the communities served by centers. Communications with a legislative body on matters that directly affect the existence and mission of your organization is acceptable and not considered to be influencing legislation.
I don't have time to spearhead another project.
This is probably true...no one has time. Maybe your center can recruit someone who wants to volunteer to coordinate with AUL. Maybe there is a coalition whose director would like to undertake this project. This isn't just another project. It is a fairly uncomplicated and fairly inexpensive way to create an effective shield in your arsenal of defense weapons against the ever increasing attacks of the pro abortion forces.
It is expensive.
Not really. See Jeanneane Maxon's article.
It makes pregnancy centers a target for the pro-abortion lobby.
Don't look now. Your center already is on their radar, and a resolution can be the best shield against an attack.
There is no point to it.
It stopped a possible disaster in West Virginia.
It is too complicated.
AUL has taken the complication out of it.
Friends, the time is now. You have at your disposal a tremendous opportunity to rise up, display strength and take action.
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