The world is not our safe space

You probably heard about the men who recently intervened between a man and two women he was verbally “racially harassing” (one of the women was black, the other was wearing a hijab). Three men intervened and two ended up being killed. The other was injured.

In response, Portland’s Mayor Ted Wheeler has been addressing free speech on his Facebook page. He addressed the people behind two unrelated upcoming events (Trump Free Speech Rally and March Against Sharia):

I am appealing to the organizers of the alt-right demonstrations to CANCEL the events they have scheduled . . . I urge them to ask their supporters to stay away from Portland. There is never a place for bigotry or hatred in our community, and especially not now.

Now hopefully any reasonable person would agree that harassment, murder, bigotry, racism, and hatred are all terrible things. There’s no place for those anywhere. I have no idea what the purpose of those two events is, or if they plan to be peaceful. A more recent posting in reference to the event says:

We need to reckon with the fact that racist attitudes lead to racist words, and that racist words lead to violence. And we need to decide what we’re going to do about it.

What are we going to do about it? There’s this growing idea that to prevent violence, we have to prevent people from holding and expressing certain ideas and attitudes. Now, we can agree that certain things are always wrong and terrible to even think.

But what do we do when the thought police go after people with opposing views who are reasonable and not murderers? When we get to ideas and attitudes, who gets to decide which ones we’re allowed to have?

In comment sections, articles, and everywhere on social media, I see people saying it’s “hate speech” to believe in traditional marriage or be against abortion. To some, it’s not just a personal or religious belief. Those are beliefs that personally offend other people, and they want to get rid of that uncomfortable reality by getting rid of your idea.

I think it says a lot about us when we’ve become so sensitive to differing viewpoints that we want to remove those people from our communities instead of attempting to live in peaceful disagreement.

This is not about murder and racism and violent, terrible crimes. This is about the thought police trying to appease people who disagree by silencing the people they disagree with.

I’d like to ask such individuals when we started thinking the whole world was our safe space.

Because it’s not.

When we walk out the doors or connect to the internet or have contact with another human being, we are going to encounter people who think differently than us. Of course we all think some people hold ridiculous opinions and beliefs. I’m Catholic, so I think people who are Atheist are wrong about God. I think people who are pro-choice are wrong about abortion. I think people against the right to bear arms are wrong about gun control. I think Scientology is creepy and that some animal rights activists need to chill.

But you know what?

Here in America, we are free to express and live out our beliefs, no matter how wrong we may be (as long as it doesn’t hurt people). None of us are entitled to lives without having our ideas questioned or opposed.

If you are after an eternal safe space, I’d recommend never getting on the internet or leaving your home, because there probably isn’t anyone you agree with 100%. We can’t deny that and try to live in a bubble by ostracizing people we think are wrong or ruining their livelihood.

We can disagree. We should shut crime down. But free speech is something I hold dear as an American, and infringement on that has got to go. If my ideas bother you, great. I’m glad that you have an idea too. Let’s talk and see if we can figure out what’s right. Or if it doesn’t matter. Ideas exist to be debated and researched and challenged and embraced. We can’t do that if we ignore or purposefully stifle ideas different than our own.

To Life,

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Judging people vs ideas

We hear it in the media, our cultural sensitivity training, and even from the Pope: who am I to judge?

Tolerance, open-mindedness, and understanding of people with different beliefs is the anthem of the correct, the battle cry of those fighting for the love and acceptance we all long for (right?).

But there’s something about this 100% acceptance rate that bothers me: we forget to differentiate between people and ideas.

We can probably agree that the appropriate attitude toward people is love. Sometimes love challenges and confronts, because it cares for the good of the other, right? It can call people out and change us. Love doesn’t stay the same. Think about a marriage or good friendship. Do you stay on the same level forever? No. The relationship grows and stretches with highs and lows. And that’s beautiful. We sacrifice and do hard things when we love people. We accept and love people because they are people, whether or not we agree with what they think and believe.

Now, we might disagree on how to handle ideas. I think we have a major problem when we treat ideas the same way as people. Ideas are concepts that we should examine, not accept because of what they are. We need to think deeply about and ask ourselves if it is true. Ideas can be wrong or disordered or stupid, and it’s okay to recognize that. Many people, I think, have lost this distinction, and assume that if you hold a disagreeing belief you must be the thing that is stupid, not your idea.

I recently made the mistake of entering a comment box regarding the redirection of funds away from Planned Parenthood. I replied to some (false and stupid) ideas in the comment section with facts and sources, explaining my belief and backing it up. I had to laugh at some point about the replies, because they were absurd.

For example, people assumed I was a mean-spirited Republican who voted for Trump, just trying to defend my stupid political affiliation. I am not a Republican and did not vote for Trump. But even if I did, that wouldn’t make me stupid. It’s the same concept about how we tell kids nowadays “that was a bad choice” and not “you are bad”. There’s a difference.

According to those people, I am an “embarrassment to intelligent women” because I have a belief different than theirs. But that thought out position of mine is on an issue I have researched and continue to read about extensively. I’m happy to talk about it. And I understand why people think differently. So let’s talk about and see what’s right.

When we put up walls between us and people we disagree with, we can’t talk about the issue we’re facing. We’re not going to get anywhere except our own heads, which are already filled with ideas we think are right. But what if we’re not right? If our idea is wrong, and we believe things that aren’t true, we’re never going to realize that if we stay stuck in a bubble. And doesn’t that matter?

I will listen to you and your story. I will love you and try to understand you. I might call you out if you have a stupid idea too. And you know what? I hate being told I’m wrong, but I’d want to know. It’s important to judge whether or not our ideas are right, or we’ll be stuck in our own heads forever.

Who am I to judge?

I’m a person who wants to know the truth.

So I’m going to keep researching and judging ideas in order to reach the truth.

Recognizing truth and providing evidence to support your belief isn’t an accusation of your being stupid. It’s an invitation into debate and truth-seeking that is only possible if we admit we might be wrong.

May we all increase our ability to admit that.

To Life,

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P. P.S. Have you been judged to be a stupid person because of a belief? Did you do that to someone else? Please share in the comments and let’s chat! Even if we disagree 😉

#WomenWork and Strike for Justice

 

I don’t usually post about work, but I am today because it’s a #DayWithoutWomen at some workplaces. This campaign was created to encourage women to go on strike from both paid and unpaid work today to “demand justice” in honor of International Women’s Day. But I’m not going on strike today. I commuted in just like normal, and will leave just like normal right before the sun sets.

There are lots of interesting things I do in my work for the Catholic publisher #Iworkfor. I get to bring my faith to countless people while earning a living. This is #whyiwork

I am so grateful for the stay at home and work from home women and moms out there who do the valuable work of raising families in loving homes. Maybe I’ll do that one day. I’m also grateful for the women in workplaces making a difference in that way. I’m grateful that I have a full time job to support myself. And I wouldn’t disrespect the women who came before me by sticking it to the people who gave me a job.

On this #DayWithoutAWoman, I just wanted to encourage you to show up. Like Edith Stein said,

“’The world doesn’t need what women have. It needs what women are.”

It needs us, and whatever our unique personality brings to the world. It needs our compassion, our creativity, our knowledge, our passion, our empathy, and our perspectives. The world needs us to be there in the office, in homes, hospitals, schools, laboratories, studios, and wherever we are.

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

So wherever that is right now, give it your all. Show up. Work hard. Be a strong and brave example. Demand change when necessary, of course.

And know that you are needed for who you are, not what you do. Going on strike to make people miss you takes away the unique and unrepeatable gift you have to offer. Give. Love. Show up.

[I posted this on Instagram earlier, but it was so long I thought I’d put it here too.]

To Life,

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On defunding Planned Parenthood

Leading up to the nationwide Protest Planned Parenthood rallies (which occurred last Saturday), I spoke with a reporter about why I am one of many people who support stripping the group of federal funding. I appreciated being able discuss my position, one that many people in my local vicinity would consider ridiculous. And I truly respect journalists who take time to listen and include both sides of the issues they cover. But when the article came out, the pro-life position was sorely misrepresented and under-represented.

So here’s my response.

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There seems to be this prevailing mindset in America that Planned Parenthood is the primary healthcare provider for low-income women. It’s true that according to PP, 60% of their patients rely on programs such as Medicaid to receive services. And I want to be clear that my goal is not to take away ethical and needed medical care from anyone. Quite the opposite, I am in full support of resources such as the developing app Help Assist Her, which will make affordable healthcare resources more easily accessible. But most of the arguments, if you can call them that, coming from Planned Parenthood supporters center on this point.

There are several problems with this narrative:

Relatively speaking, Planned Parenthood sees a minuscule number of Americans. Out of ~320 million citizens, they see about 2.5 million/year, so about .7%. Saying millions of women will lose their healthcare is at best a gross exaggeration. Of course some people have had cancer detected and STD’s caught at PP clinics. That’s not what I’m talking about though.

People need far more comprehensive healthcare than what Planned Parenthood offers. We know from recent videos released from Live Action that Planned Parenthood is dishonest about many of their services. Most recently, we’ve realized how they’ve exaggerated the prenatal care only a few of their clinics offer. Most facilities will only see pregnant women who are seeking an abortion. It’s no surprise, then, that abortion equals about 94% of pregnancy outcomes for PP patients.

We also know that Planned Parenthood has been involved in extensive Medicaid fraud. See results of recent audits starting on page 311 of this document. Shouldn’t this be part of the conversation? Especially since a LOT of their funding comes from Medicaid reimbursements, I think we need to be honest about how the funding they receive is billed and used.

One of THE most important parts of this conversation, I think, is that while abortion, sterilization, and contraceptive services have been increasing in number over the last several years, PP’s other (less controversial) services such as prenatal care, STD tests, breast exams, etc.) have steadily been decreasing (details). If we want to have a logical conversation about policy and federal funding, then I need to know why our government should fund an organization so focused on a limited number of controversial services.

And finally, if serving women and families and impoverished individuals is a priority for Planned Parenthood, wouldn’t they find a way to do so without federal funding? This is how many non-profits work. They depend on people who believe in their mission to keep the doors open. So why is PP an exception? Why would federal funding being taken away from PP stop them from seeing the patients they care so much about? You see, it wouldn’t. They’d just have to do it on their own dime, not mine. That’s obviously a scary thought to an entity whose budget is funded over 40% by our government.

This issue is about so much more than abortion. Yes, Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion provider. But this is also about people being able to find good healthcare from ethical and responsible providers. It’s about being able to voice where my tax money should and shouldn’t be spent.

There are a number of perfectly reasonable reasons I support redirecting federal funding from Planned Parenthood to Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers. My voice matters. Yours does too. And it’s time reporters and the media started listening to people like me and including us in the conversation.

To LIFE,

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Protecting our sanity in a media saturated world

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I don’t know about you, but my head has felt on the verge of exploding lately. Like many millennials, I’m on social media and enjoy the interaction. But scrolling through Facebook makes me feel restless, and often frustrated with the world (especially lately). I know I’m not the only one who feels like that, because many acquaintances have recently decided to delete various accounts.

But don’t freak out! I’m not suggesting we all up and leave social media and form a compound where we can create a perfect world. In fact, I think we should keep our social media accounts. Here’s why.

We’re called to be artisans of culture. 

Now I can’t for the life of me remember who said that. I think it was JPII, but can’t find a reference. Anyway, how are we supposed to promote the good parts of our culture and challenge the bad parts if we run away from it? We have to be in the world, just not of the world. Unless your vocation is to join a cloistered religious community, chances are we’re going to have to continue dealing with whatever the world throws at us. So we might as well be smart and informed about it.

BUT, being informed doesn’t mean we have to know everything about everything.

We’re plugged into news 24/7. It’s easy to get sucked into that and scroll through Facebook or Instagram until 1am (*AHEM* ask me how I know). I think we have to remember that’s not a requirement. We can put our phones down. And it’s okay to not know every single pop culture reference. Trying to stay up on everything is just too much. Has there ever been a time before this when people knew about every single world event within minutes? No! It’s a recent development with the internet.

Trying to stay on top of every single thing makes me feel insane. So here are a few specific things I find helpful to maintaining sanity:

1. Create a morning routine where checking your notifications isn’t first.

Have you noticed how much this sets the tone for your day? I find that if I ignore my phone before work and make intentional time to pray in the morning, life is just better. If you struggle with this too, you could try using an old fashioned alarm clock instead of your phone so that it’s not the first thing you reach for. Or you could disable wifi and data until later in the day.

2. Pick and choose who you follow and what you click when you’re digesting your newsfeeds.

I sorted my Facebook friends into three lists: family, school friends, and then other people I care about seeing things from. Instead of just scrolling my newsfeed, I click on the friend list and only see things from that group of people. This means I don’t see updates from a lot of my “friends”. When I’m being smart and actually follow my own rule here, I don’t see updates from pages on Facebook either. I don’t really care about many pages I liked in the past, so it’s a win for my sanity.

On Instagram, I don’t automatically follow people who follow me. I’m following a little over 100 people right now, and have been needing to narrow that down.

One feature that helps with this is the “save” option on Facebook. When I see something interesting during the day, I usually save it for later instead of clicking and reading it then. When I have time to look at it later, it often isn’t interesting enough to read. Win for my sanity! Be ruthless about what you choose to click. If there are people or pages that ruin your sanity, just unfollow them. #SorryNotSorry

3. When something makes you mad on social media, stop and think before you respond.

Did your distant relative just post something stupid about Trump? How about vaccines and global warming and religion and politics and all the other things that make people mad. It’s okay to not engage, especially when we know the person isn’t interested in actual dialogue. Will this conversation bring both of you to a deeper understanding of each other or the issue? Think before you type. And I’m telling myself that too (LOL so much). I’ve participated in my share of Facebook debates and know how they can go…

4. Find things offline that refresh you and bring you joy.

I enjoy cooking and reading and have been loving local trails for hiking. I met some new friends at a brunch recently, and have been learning calligraphy. So fun! Things like this always refresh me and restore my hope in the world. Find what does that for you.

5. Whatever you do right before bed, make sure it’s offline.

. . . to which we all cackle, because who doesn’t check their phone before trying to sleep. Guilty as charged. But I have to say: putting away my phone, laptop, and tv for a while before bed makes me feel so much more refreshed than scrolling till my eyes droop. Try journaling, praying, reading, or something creative.

Our culture has some major problems, but I don’t think the solution is to run away. Please stay on social media to the degree that you can keep you sanity! The world needs your reasonable voice to challenge it. And we need to protect our sanity so we can be those reasonable voices. Let’s transform our culture together.

[But first, coffee. We gotta stay sane, right? 😉 ]

How do you keep your peace in the age of social media? Have any tips or tricks?

To Life,

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Thoughts on Trump’s refugee order

You’ve probably heard by now of Trump’s Executive Order on a seriously controversial issue:

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THE NERVE.

Okay, but in all honesty, my head hurts from all the conversations and fact-digging and thinking about Friday’s EO regarding refugees. Talking about controversial issues is one of my favorite things to do. But this area of dealing with refugees (also immigrants and illegal immigrants) is one I find particularly challenging. There’s so much being said about this, and I’ve been trying to piece together as much as I can in the last couple days. This is my attempt at adding some sort of reasonable voice to the conversation.

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We’ve all seen the photo of Omran, right? He’s the little boy sitting in the back of an ambulance after being pulled from bombed rubble in Syria. We’ve seen the videos of people looking for their relatives in makeshift hospitals after bombs were dropped. We’ve heard the stories of people losing family members and fleeing violence that is unspeakable. I’m fairly certain that any reasonable person with a heart finds those types of situations heartbreaking and horrible. So I don’t think this discussion is about are they suffering, or do they need help, or should we help – but about what our policies and procedures should look like.

Living during this time of constantly new and changing news is, I think, a huge challenge when it comes to issues like this. I started learning about this EO from friend’s posts on social media. What I heard at first pulled at my heartstrings and led me to read up on this. I’m no expert, but after a few days of clarifying information, I realize that most of what I saw others assume at first, and what many reasonable people would emotionally respond to, was actually wrong.

I’m not going to go through the text of the order line by line. But here are some of the key issues and/or objections I’ve seen:

How does a President have the power to just issue this?

Well, I thought it was kind of weird at first too. But he’s got the power. According to US law,  “whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.” Scroll almost halfway down this page to see that part of the law. So yes, it’s legal. And not rare. President Obama used the same means of establishing temporary restrictions on visas and travel during his time in office. It’s apparently just what presidents do. And Trump was very clear where he stands throughout his campaign.

Trump selectively chose countries to ban people from where he doesn’t have business connections.

Honestly, where did this come from? Do we just assume he has business connections in every country? This list originated from a list of countries needing “further travel restriction”, per the Obama administration.

Trump is just trigger-happy issuing all these orders.

Did you know Obama issued his first EO the day after he took office? It’s apparently one of the most widely-know presidential actions. This is a really interesting table showing how many each president has issued.

Look at all the US citizens and green card holders being held up and not allowed to travel!

Yes, there was a lot of confusion about this. I was flabbergasted why, even if refugees were going to be paused, why on earth citizens and green card holders would be. Apparently the departments who enforce this kind of thing weren’t given much warning, so nobody was entirely clear on who and where people were being stopped from traveling. There were apparently 109 people detained at airports for further questioning, most of who were quickly released. This was, as far as I know, resolved the next day. It does not apply to green card holders. In fact, the order allows for people to still be cleared on a case-by-case basis.

This is just Trump being afraid of people who are Muslim. Stop the ban!

If this were an across-the-board ban on Muslims entering the US, wouldn’t that have been clear? Wouldn’t he have banned all people from all Muslim majority nations for an indefinite period? This is a temporary pause to evaluate screening methods. So this argument really doesn’t stand. I absolutely think we should allow peaceful people who are Muslim in our country. Nobody’s arguing that a peaceful person who wants to come here and has no ill intention toward the US (and happens to be Muslim) should be turned away.

Okay, actually, some people think all Muslims should be banned because of their adherence to Sharia law.

True. I think we can agree that Sharia law is incompatible with US values and government. After all, it’s a religious set of laws. Some of them are highly problematic and contrary to human dignity and free will. BUT, in a country without a national religion where we’re allowed to practice what we believe, I have a hard time believing allowing Muslims here would mean Sharia law will soon become law of the land. So while I don’t want that to happen, I don’t think it’s a good argument.

So how do we cope with this?

My greatest challenge personally is that I want to help people. I see the pain and violence and it’s horrific. I don’t know that as someone living in a non-violent part of the world, I can truly appreciate the gravity and terror of living in the Middle East right now. I firmly believe we have a duty to help our brothers and sisters throughout the world. I believe that as a rich nation (guess that’s debatable) who is also powerful, we must help the less fortunate.

What that looks like is up for debate.

It makes sense to me that we would take some time to evaluate our current processes. We should ensure, to the best of our ability, that we are keeping our country safe, right? I do think the abrupt nature of this EO’s implementation could have been far better. But overall, as I learn more and more about what’s going on, I am agreeing more and more with it. Perhaps we can find ways to aid our brothers and sisters from afar during this pause.

How are you coping with this? Did I leave out a point you think is important to discuss? I would love to hear your thoughts.

To Life,

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Why Planned Parenthood Shouldn’t be Federally Funded

Planned Parenthood is at risk of loosing their federal funding, and people are losing their minds. People with lower incomes won’t be able to access healthcare, right? I agree that we shouldn’t take healthcare away from people. But I also think Planned Parenthood’s impact is thoroughly overrated. So, in no particular order, here’s why I think it’s a sensible decision to redirect PP’d federal funding to other healthcare providers.

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1. The healthcare they provide is extremely limited. They’ll provide a pregnancy test, pap smear, morning after pill, STD test, abortion, sterilization, manual breast exam (which you can do yourself), and contraception. As far as healthcare goes, that’s a small scope of care. Saying people will lose “healthcare” without PP is grossly inaccurate, because PP doesn’t provide a comprehensive scope of care.

2. They aren’t actually the primary healthcare provider for many people. The self-reported number of patients they see in a year? 2.5 million. Out of somewhere near 320 million Americans, that’s . . . not very many. If you want to know the exact number, that’s .7% of Americans who go to PP in a given year. So will “millions” of people lose their care? No.

3. According to their annual reports, their abortion, sterilization, and contraceptive services have consistently been increasing over the last 10 years. All of their non-controversial services (STD tests, breast exams, etc.) have been steadily decreasing. [see info] I think this shows a significant bias. And I think taxpayers have every right to demand our hard earned money isn’t going toward biased and controversial organizations.

4. As they’ve proven recently, PP supporters are quite capable of financially supporting the organization themselves. Why force taxpayers to fund a controversial organization when they have supporters to keep doors open? I think if they tightened their budget a little and didn’t spend $30 million on trying to get Hillary Clinton elected, they might be able to survive just like any other nonprofit: with private donations.

5. They’ve over billed Medicaid and financially benefited from the program by over $8.5 MILLION. And that’s a conservative estimate. See section starting on page 311 of this report. Since much of their government funding comes from Medicaid reimbursements, I think we need to get real about how much they’ve abused that program.

6. There are thousands of federally qualified healthcare centers to help people facing low incomes. Actually, there are 20 for every PP facility. If funds are redirected from Planned Parenthood to these centers, lower income individuals will have more access to more comprehensive care. So to say people will not have access to healthcare is a blatant lie.  Take a look at this map from the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

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But what is a Federally Qualified Health Center? It’s a healthcare provider that “must serve an underserved area or population, offer a sliding fee scale, provide comprehensive services, have an ongoing quality assurance program, and have a governing board of directors”. By meeting these requirements, the center qualifies for federal funding. Is that what everyone wants?

Looking at this information, I don’t see a logical objection to redirecting money from Planned Parenthood to Federally Qualified Health Centers. There are thousands more FQHC’s, which makes them more accessible. They provide a much more comprehensive scope of care, so we’re giving people better care. And they come without the controversy of being America’s #1 abortion provider (who’s been referred to the FBI for possible prosecution and found to be guilty of many crimes). This looks like a win-win situation to me.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let’s talk in the comments!

To LIFE,

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Planned Parenthood officially a criminal organization

It’s January – which means the anniversary of Roe v. Wade is coming up. So let’s talk about abortion. Let me preface this by saying that if you or someone you know is considering abortion, you can get immediate help by texting “HELPLINE” to 313131, calling 1-800-712-4357 (they’ll connect you to a local center), or live chatting here. If you or someone you know has experienced abortion in the past, you can find healing through Project Rachel (for women), Project Joseph (for men – availability depends on location), or by connecting with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.

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The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, which has been investigating the industry of fetal tissue procurement and research for over a year, concluded their investigation recently  with a grisly final report.

Congressman Diane Black said: “Over the last year, the Select Panel’s relentless fact-finding investigation has laid bare the grisly reality of an abortion industry that is driven by profit, unconcerned by matters of basic ethics and, too often, noncompliant with the few laws we have to protect the safety of women and their unborn children . . . the findings of this panel should incense all people of conscience”.

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According to the Panel’s findings, Planned Parenthood is guilty of (among much more):

  • profiting from the sale of fetal tissue
  • failure to ensure compliance of affiliates with legal billing practices
  • using “back-of-the-envelope-type” calculations to create prices for fetal body parts, unsupported by an independent auditor or any formal calculation process
  • violating federal guidelines on patient consent with forms found to be “inadequate” and “legally insufficient”
  • committing systemic violations of HIPPA
  • over-billing Medicaid services by over $8.5MILLION (which is a modest estimate from a fairly small sample)

In addition, a Planned Parenthood executive affirms in this report that abortion doctors may change the abortion procedure to “increase the success of fetal tissue donation”. This was a concern raised in one of the Center for Medical Progress’ original videos, in which Director of Research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Melissa Farrell, said:

“Some of our doctors in the past have projects and they’re collecting the specimens, so they do it in a way that they get the best specimens” and “If we alter our process, and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, we can make it part of the budget that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this. It’s all just a matter of line items.”

The report also outlines the exaggerated benefits and sometimes false claims made by Planned Parenthood and other organizations in regard to fetal tissue research. For example, we learn that fetal tissue was never used to make a vaccine for Polio, Measels, or Mumps. The topic of fetal tissue being used in vaccines is highly debated, and, we can see, not as integral as what we were led to believe by Planned Parenthood.

The Panel found that “in over 100 years of unrestricted research, fetal tissue has not proven to be useful for treating human disease. In contrast, although stem and progenitor cells from non-fetal tissues have only recently been discovered, they have rapidly yielded clinical treatments with proven benefit to patients. The alarmist claims that restrictions on human fetal tissue research would somehow delay or prevent the development of cures are entirely unfounded.”

This isn’t made-up pro-life propaganda. This is a factual, over 300 page, legal report. The media is failing miserably at reporting this (surprise!). But I think we deserve to know the facts. The extensive document, which outlines specific cases, further details, and final recommendations, can be found here.

AND if you didn’t already know, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary recently referred Planned Parenthood to the FBI and Department of Justice for possible prosecution. Planned Parenthood recognizes this is a dangerous moment in their history, as their dirty laundry and illegal activities are coming to light.

My next post on the topic: Why We Don’t Need Planned Parenthood (and Why Poor Women Won’t Die Without Them)

To LIFE,

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I paid for a murderer’s sex reassignment surgery

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California made headlines recently for being the first state to fund sex reassignment surgery for a convicted murderer.

On the one hand, I’m tired of talking about and being mad about stuff like this. But on the other hand, I think it’s important to be culturally aware and well versed enough in current issues to be able to talk about them.

So.

Officials justified this being funded by taxpayer dollars because the state is required to fund medically necessary care for inmates in regards to both their physical and mental health. I get that. But can we also recognize how there’s a huge lack of research into long-term effects of undergoing this type of surgery?

And even if you were one to generally support the decision of individuals to remove their genitalia and try to construct that of the opposite gender, can we agree that the government shouldn’t pay for this? That’s absolutely an abuse of taxpayer dollars. But yes, I paid for this reassignment surgery. I did not consent, and I think it’s a problem how little control the average Joe has over how our money is used.

Another issue I see here is regarding mental health. The discussion surrounding mental health can be tricky. I get it.

But how can we just say that having surgery will solve the very real issues a person in this situation is undergoing?

If we’re going to talk mental health, I want us to talk about this too.

When our minds do not see reality as it is, then we can pursue treatment to change our minds to conform with reality, or change the physical thing in reality that clashes with our minds.

Follow me for a second here: There’s a 30 year old woman suffering from anorexia and she weighs 75 pounds. But because of the mental difficulty that is anorexia, she will still think she is fat. Would anyone who loves her and wants what is best for her encourage her to vomit or refuse to eat? Now I’m not going to recommend a course of treatment for people in this situation, but I think we can agree that help from a trained professional would be needed. The woman is suffering from not seeing reality as it is, and hopefully with treatment and healing, she will see her body as it is one day.

Now I know the world of gender is a delicate arena. But I don’t see how it’s very different.

A biological woman feels or somehow comes to the belief that she is a man. She is physically and biologically a woman. But somehow our culture has gotten to the point where refusing this woman the opportunity to physically mimic the body of a biological man has become bigotry.

I don’t know about you, but I’d call that biology.

What are your thoughts, and how do you handle this type of situation?

To Life,

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7 Quick Takes, Vol. 62: Late term abortion and doing hard things

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It’s been a while since abortion made me cry. Perhaps it’s because I talk about it often. But this week (after Hillary Clinton defended partial birth abortion) has brought up stories that I simply cannot ignore. This is a hard topic, but one I think we need to talk openly and honestly about. I’m linking up with Kelly and sharing seven points about this topic.

1. Contrary to what liberal media will tell you, the majority of Americans think abortion in the last trimester should be illegal. Please note that I did not link to a biased pro-life source. This is Gallup. And I think their numbers represent the American people more accurately than Hillary Clinton or Planned Parenthood. Most people are simply not okay with abortion being free for all without limitations.

2. Let’s be very clear: late term abortions do happen in America. Yes, it’s a small percentage of all abortions. But there are abortion doctors who are very proud of this work. Just watch the documentary After Tiller. So, you might say: what actually happens during a late term abortion? In some cases, they inject digoxin into the amniotic fluid so the baby will overdose and die. Then they induce labor or surgically remove the baby. Other times, the baby will be partially delivered. They will deliver feet first and sever the spinal cord while the head is still inside and remove brain tissue through the hole to ensure success. This is what partial birth abortion is. This method, as far as we know, is rarely used (except for people like Gosnell).

3. These procedures are never necessary to save the life of the mother. If a mother is faced with a crisis situation which puts her life at risk by continuing pregnancy (preeclampsia or eclampsia, for example), doctors will deliver the baby early, probably by c-section, and do everything they can to save both the mother and child. When we’re talking about late term abortion, we’re talking about when the baby is beyond the viability point. This means even if chances are slim, they have a chance of living if they’re born early.

4. Most stories I’m seeing about parents choosing late term abortion happened because the baby had a problematic diagnosis. This, I think, is what got to me the most this week. It’s dangerous territory to deny someone a chance at life simply because their life would be hard. Yes, sometimes you know a baby will only live a short time after birth. But sometimes they’re wrong. Sometimes serious problems can be fixed. And if they can’t? A short life is still worth living. A short life can change hearts forever. Here’s a beautiful example. We honor heroes who go through hard things, and I think parents who lose their children or raise kids with severe medical issues are some of the most powerful quiet heroes we know.

5. There are options for palliative care when babies are given an adverse diagnosis. Ending their life is not the only option. When a baby is given an adverse diagnosis, it is the medical professional’s job to do everything possible for their patient. And thankfully, there are high quality NICU’s around the country who will. In the event that there’s no way to prolong life for babies with grave medical conditions, there are ministries like Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep who help parents treasure the few moments they have together.

6. If you or someone you know has been involved in an abortion or a difficult prenatal diagnosis, I want you to know there are resources out there for you. I’ve heard good things about Project Rachel and Bethesda Healing Ministry for post-abortion healing. I’ve also heard of Faith’s Lodge being an incredible place for families who have lost children. You can also call 1-800-712-4357 or text “HELPLINE” to 313131 to find a center near you that might be able to help find local resources.

7. Do you know of other resources that might be helpful? I just want the world to know there’s hope in such difficult circumstances. And I also want people to know that even though these situations are some people’s worst nightmares, we’re capable of getting stronger and living through our worst fears. And every person, no matter how long or short their life is, can make an impact on this world.

To Life,

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