Federal judge sides mainly with Indiana University, strikes key provisions of fetal trafficking law

January 2, 2018

U.S. District Court Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson mainly sided with Indiana University last week in striking down key fetal trafficking provisions of Indiana’s Dignity for the Unborn Act.  The ruling means Indiana is blocked from enforcing much of the law aimed at prohibiting the trafficking of parts from aborted babies in Indiana.

“We are gravely disappointed with this ruling,” states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter.  “The purpose of the law is to prevent the trafficking of aborted baby parts in our state.  Most of the safeguards in the law are now gutted due to Indiana University’s penchant for using the parts of aborted babies for experimental purposes.”

Indiana University sued to block the law due to its provision that prohibits the “acquisition, receipt, sale and transfer” of aborted fetal tissue.  In its pleadings, IU acknowledged it obtains tissue from organs such as brains, livers and kidneys for experiments, but argued the law’s definition of fetal tissue is too “vague” when defining it as, “tissue, organs, or any part of an aborted fetus.”   IU also argued that the definition of what it means to “transfer” aborted tissue is too “vague”.

Indiana University’s objections were more straightforward when it declared the statute, “builds a wall around Indiana and prohibits tissue from an aborted fetus from entering or exiting the state.”

“The language and intent of the law is clear,” says Fichter.  “Yet due to courtroom wrangling over what a word like ‘transfer’ means, Indiana’s protections against body parts trafficking is now compromised.”

While undercutting much of the law’s effectiveness, Magnus-Stinson’s ruling does let stand key provisions including the prohibition of selling aborted tissue or organs and the prohibition on altering the timing or type of abortion for the purpose of obtaining parts from aborted babies.

In a setback for Indiana University, Magnus-Stinson rejected IU’s claim that the state law was unconstitutional because it allegedly violates IU’s right to academic freedom, noting the First Amendment does not prevent states “from enacting statutes prohibiting conduct in which the University would like to engage, and then teach about.”

Down Syndrome Organizations Advocate in Court for Indiana’s Dignity for the Unborn Law

November 30, 2017

Alliance Defending Freedom and the Bioethics Defense Fund attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief with a federal appeals court on behalf of three Down syndrome advocacy groups and a women’s advocacy organization

CHICAGO – On Tuesday, attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the Bioethics Defense Fund (BDF) filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of organizations who advocate for individuals protected by Indiana’s 2016 Dignity for the

Unborn Law. The Dignity for the Unborn Law bans abortions for the sole reason of the child’s sex, race, national origin or a potential disability, like Down syndrome. Represented in the friend-of-the-court brief are the three Down syndrome advocacy groups – Fondation Jérôme Lejeune, Saving Downs and Down Pride – and Women Speak for Themselves, a grassroots women’s organization.

In September, Obama-appointed federal judge, Tanya Walton Pratt, blocked the Dignity for the Unborn Law by siding with Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union. Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill is currently appealing Pratt’s decision before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Chicago.

“No innocent human being should be targeted for abortion because of their sex or an extra chromosome, as is the case with Down syndrome,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “It’s telling that Planned Parenthood is suing for the right to continue aborting these innocent boys and girls. The abortion chain cares more about profiting off of women in their time of need than siding with justice, tolerance and acceptance for children with Down syndrome.

“We extend our thanks to Alliance Defending Freedom and the Bioethics Defense Fund for filing the friend-of-the-court brief. We applaud Fondation Jérôme Lejeune, Saving Downs, Down Pride and Women Speak for Themselves for having the courage to speak out. Finally, we are grateful for Attorney General Curtis Hill’s leadership to appeal the ruling on this law to a higher court.”

Learn more about the friend-of-the-court brief here: http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/10424.

Indiana Right to Life’s mission is to protect the right to life, especially of unborn children, through positive education, compassionate advocacy and promotion of healthy alternatives to abortion.


Indiana Right to Life Statement on Indianapolis Abortion Protests

November 6, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Right to Life issued the following statement about the abortion protests in Indianapolis over the weekend. The statement is attributable to Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life.

“Indiana Right to Life denounces the divisive actions of the Texas-based Operation Save America this past weekend. Indiana Right to Life focuses its efforts on legal, peaceful and compassionate actions to extend help to pregnant women and to protect the unborn from abortion. You will not find IRTL protesting outside of people’s private residences. Indiana Right to Life believes that acting in love is the more appropriate way to nurture cultural consensus that all human life is valuable.”

Indiana Right to Life’s mission is to protect the right to life, especially of unborn children, through positive education, compassionate advocacy and promotion of healthy alternatives to abortion.

“No Abortions in South Bend” Campaign Continues

November 2, 2017

Joint news release with St. Joseph County Right to Life:

Digital Ads, Radio Ads, Billboards and More Will Alert Residents to Potential Abortion Chain Opening in Their Community

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Indiana Right to Life and St. Joseph Right to Life announce additional avenues to continue its “No Abortions in South Bend” campaign. The organizations are leading the effort to keep an out-of-state abortion facility from opening in South Bend. South Bend has been abortion-free since Nov. 2015 when Dr. Ulrich Klopfer, the abortion doctor who had his medical license suspended for health and safety violations, ceased doing abortions there.

Texas-based Whole Woman’s Health Alliance applied for an Indiana abortion license on Oct. 6. The organization, which has had its own share of health and safety violations, is seeking waivers from the state of Indiana so it doesn’t have to comply with portions of Indiana’s abortion law.

Indiana Right to Life and St. Joseph County Right to Life announced the attempt to bring abortions to South Bend on Oct. 12. Since then, thousands of concerned citizens have signed their petition, generating nearly 30,000 messages to elected officials. The petition reads:

“I just learned that a new abortion business is trying to open in South Bend. I oppose the killing of unborn children and urge you to do everything within your power to keep an abortion clinic out of South Bend.  Please act now – lives depend on it.”

Today the pro-life organizations announce additional campaigns to stop abortions in South Bend. A digital campaign buy will ensure local residents within a 15-mile radius of South Bend see banner ads on applications, Google searches and more through November. This digital campaign comes on top of social media ads running on popular platforms.

Further, billboards and yard signs will soon appear throughout the South Bend area, directing observers to speak out about abortions in their community.

Finally, a radio campaign will begin next week, reaching South Bend area listeners. All the awareness tools are credited to the generous response of the pro-life community who do not want to see abortions in St. Joseph County.

On Oct. 23, U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-2), whose district includes South Bend, wrote to Indiana’s new Health Commissioner, Dr. Kristina Box, urging the state to reject the application for a new abortion facility in South Bend. Indiana Senator Joe Zakas (District 11), also took action by writing Gov. Eric Holcomb to reject the abortion facility, on Oct. 18. Sen. Zakas shared he heard from more than 200 constituents in just one weekend following the news of the abortion business’s application.

“We are committed to alerting South Bend residents that an out-of-state abortion chain is trying to profit off ending the lives of unborn children in their community,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “A news report in South Bend this week cited abortion facility leaders, saying they are ready to open any day. This is wholly disingenuous. The facility’s application for a license is pending and we will continue to oppose its opening for however long it takes.”

“St. Joseph County has always been a very pro-life community,” said Tom Gill, President of St. Joseph County Right to Life. “We hope everyone in and around this area will take an active role in fighting this deadly invasion from an out-of-state abortion chain.  Women and families in this community are blessed with an abundance of resources that stand ready to assist them in any crisis. We simply don’t need abortion here.”

The organizations’ petition to elected officials is at http://p2a.co/XiEMDui. Many respondents are also signing through their mobile phones by texting “BABIES” to 52886 (Indiana Right to Life, Inc.  Action Alerts. Message Frequency. Message and Data Rates May Apply. Reply STOP to optout, HELP for help).

St. Joseph County Right to Life, Inc. is dedicated to the social welfare by promoting life through education and advocacy. It is the oldest, continuously active pro-life organization in St. Joseph County, and is the central organization representing pro-life interests. Its goal is to protect all innocent human life–the unborn, the infirm or handicapped, and the aged.

Indiana Right to Life’s mission is to protect the right to life, especially of unborn children, through positive education, compassionate advocacy and promotion of healthy alternatives to abortion.

# # #

ICYMI: Wash. Free Beacon: Texas Abortion Clinics Marred with Health, Safety Issues, Inspection Reveals

October 27, 2017

In Case You Missed It
An explosive article from the Washington Free Beacon reports on health and safety violations between 2011-2017 by abortion chain, Whole Woman’s Health, at their Texas facilities. Whole Woman’s Health is the abortion chain that recently applied to open an abortion business in South Bend, Ind. Indiana Right to Life, along with its affiliate, St. Joseph County Right to Life, is leading the effort to keep Whole Woman’s Health from opening in South Bend. – Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life
Washington Free Beacon:

Texas Abortion Clinics Marred with Health, Safety Issues, Inspection Reveals
New reports throw light on poor standards in facilities that fought regulation at SCOTUS

Charles Fain Lehman
Friday, October 27, 2017


New detailed inspection reports reveal dozens of violations of health and safety standards by Whole Woman’s Health (WWH), a chain of abortion clinics that says it is “committed to changing the culture around abortion stigma.”

The new documents, inspection reports between 2011 and 2017 from the Texas Department of State Health Services, were obtained by And Then There Were None (ATTWN), a nonprofit group that “exists to help abortion clinic workers leave the abortion industry.”

The documents show a widespread problem of health violations at WWH clinics. Staff failed to properly disinfect and sterilize equipment used on multiple women, and were not properly trained in the sterilization of surgical instruments. In 2011, the Beaumont, Texas, clinic did not have a registered nurse on staff, in contravention of legal requirements.

The inspector’s reports also expressed concerns about maintenance of medical equipment. “There was [sic] numerous rusty spots on the suction machine used on the patient for evacuation of the products of conception,” the Beaumont report notes. In multiple cases, supplies and medication were found to be clearly expired.

Facilities themselves were also in disrepair, with floors that were “stained and discolored which gives the appearance of being dirty.” A 2016 report on the McAllen, Texas, facility notes a counter so warped it “was no longer a wipeable surface, which could harbor bacteria and infectious matter.” The reports also show cracks, rips, and tears on exam tables’ covers, and a hole in cabinet flooring that had “the likelihood to allow rodents to enter the facility.”

In the most recent report, investigating the Austin facility, investigators found missing stock of fentanyl, the schedule narcotic linked to thousands of overdose deaths.

These reports are part of broader concerns about the safety standards of abortion clinics. According to a report from the pro-life advocacy group Americans United for Life, between 2008 and 2016, 227 abortion clinics, including six Whole Woman’s Health clinics, were cited for over 1,400 health and safety deficiencies. These included failures to ensure a “safe and sanitary environment” and failures to properly handle patients’ private information.

Read the rest on the Washington Free Beacon website

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