By Clare Ruff
Clare Ruff has a BA in Theology
from University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX. She serves as Director of Events and Outreach for the Hosea Initiative and writes from her home in southeastern Minnesota.
By Julie Anderson
Member, Hosea Board of Advisors
“I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
To be honest, my husband and I have been feeling a lot like Dorothy in the “The Wizard of Oz” due to a ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court.
During the 2015 session, the Kansas State Legislature (by overwhelmingly majorities in both chambers) passed The Kansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. Signed into law on April 7, 2015, by then-Governor Sam Brownback, now ambassador at large for religious freedom, the law banned dismemberment abortions except in certain situations.
Before going any further, it’s important to first understand dismemberment abortion.
Planned Parenthood describes dismemberment abortion (also known as dilation and evacuation or D&E) as an in-clinic procedure using suction and medical tools to empty the uterus. It’s typically used for a pregnancy 16 gestational weeks or later.
In other words, the child is dismembered while still alive, then extracted from the womb, one piece at a time. According to Kansans for Life, nine such abortions occur in the state every week. That’s nearly 170 each year!
The new law was the first such ban in the nation. Other states started drafting similar laws, using the Kansas a model or springboard. Unfortunately, the law never took effect in Kansas.
Almost immediately after the law’s passage, two abortionists, the father-daughter team of Drs. Herbert Hodes and Traci Nauser, along with the New-York based Center for Reproductive Rights, filed a legal challenge in a case known as Hodes and Nauser, MDs v. Schmidt, a case which wound its way through the various levels of the legal system, ultimately reaching the Kansas Supreme Court.
The doctors claimed that sections 1 and 2 of the Kansas State Constitution (and not the United States Constitution) recognize a “fundamental right to abortion.”
Like so many other state constitutions, the first section of the Kansas Constitution draws from our nation’s founding documents. In fact, the first section is taken almost verbatim from the Declaration of Independence and reads, “All men are possessed of equal and inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Although the court heard arguments in March 2017, it took two years before the Kansas Supreme Court issued its final ruling in April 2019. Of the seven justices who heard the case, six agreed with the father-daughter abortionists. It’s interesting to note the justices took nearly 200 pages to explain their ruling, affirming the state constitution, drafted in 1859, contained not only a right to abortion, but “a fundamental right to abortion.”
Only one justice dissented, Justice Caleb T. Stegall. Perhaps he is the one who best understood what was at stake-the lives of innocent preborn children. He wrote, “In this imagined world, the Liberty Bell rings every time a baby in utero loses her arm.”
Currently, Kansas is poised to become an epicenter of abortion activity as a result of the ruling. The ruling threatens more than two dozen other laws enacted since 1997 which have allowed the people, through the state legislature, to regulate abortion and protect the lives of both women and children. Laws such as those which require a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion or parental consent in the case of a minor seeking an abortion have reduced the abortion rate in Kansas throughout the past 22 years by about 50 percent.
The other night, my husband asked me what I thought would have happened if any of the seven justices of the Kansas State Supreme Court would have viewed the1984 film, “The Silent Scream.”
Coproduced by Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson, the father of the abortion industry, a man who repented of his ways and later claimed responsibility for 75,000 abortions, the documentary is not for the faint of heart. In it, Dr. Nathanson calmly narrates the dismemberment abortion of an 11-week-old baby. Near the beginning, he cautions viewers that, “We are going to watch a child being torn apart, dismembered, disarticulated, crushed and destroyed.”
As a result of Marc’s question, I started thinking. What if the justices had seen the film? Would they have ruled differently? How did they arrive at such a ruling in the first place? And if a court can issue such a ruling here in the heartland of the nation, what is to stop other courts across the nation from issuing similar rulings?
For the past several months, prolife advocates in Kansas have been working towards passage of the Value Them Both amendment. The goal is to place it on the primary ballot in August for Kansans to “reverse the ruling,” which resulted from the Hodes and Nauser case.
The amendment would not ban abortions (as opponents claim), but would return the right to regulate abortion to the people through their elected representatives. Although more than 30,000 Kansans signed postcards of support, currently the amendment needs four votes in the Kansas House before it can be placed on the ballot.
While prolife advocates work towards that goal here in Kansas, I’d encourage you to understand the current situation in your own particular state. If a ruling such as the one handed down in Hodes and Nauser can be handed down here, I shudder to think how other state constitutions might be interpreted in view of “the law of the land.” If we don’t stay vigilant, all of us might be saying, “I’ve a feeling we’re not in the United States anymore.”
Julie Anderson is a member of the Hosea Board of Advisors, a freelance journalist of 20 years and a prolife advocate. She writes from her home state of Kansas. For her full bio, see hosea4you.org.
By Clare Ruff
I recently accompanied my husband on an international visit to Costa Rica. Dental tourism was our purpose, and we chose for our first few nights’ lodging a posada, housing only 25 persons at full capacity. This former grand-villa-transformed-into-B&B lent itself to a unique experience. The public living quarters, open-air courtyard, well-groomed gardens, romantic, Spanish architecture set the stage for meaningful human interaction unlike anything we had experienced when staying in larger hotels with hundreds of guests.
Daily conversations with travelers from every corner of the world were commonplace. Soon I noticed a theme emerge from the interpersonal connections, a golden thread crossing the vast range of age, culture and continents: a yearning for the transcendentals of life. [ In classic, philosophical terms, transcendentals refer to the true (verum), the good (bonum), and the beautiful (pulchrum), often described as unseen realities which are discovered from what is seen.]
The first day, an elegant octogenarian speaking English with a charming French accent announced to me that she had decided to extend her two week vacation an additional month. Her adult children back home in Canada would need to “stop fussing.” “I found a paradise I don’t want to leave!” she exclaimed sipping a glass of Argentinian wine while listening to classical music played from her travel-sized SOUNDBOT. She summarized, “This place feeds my soul and gives me peace.”
I mused: transcendentals!
The following day, a gentleman of 40 years chatted with me pool-side about his adventuresome travel from Africa to London and then the final twenty hours journey to the posada. He was eager for a listening ear to unload his travel story and his burdened heart. “Me Dad’s had a stroke, and work is HARD! I needed to renew. The beauty here is magical, no?” he gestured toward the horizon of palm trees and purple-hued, volcanic hills rejuvenating his spirit. Ahh, transcendentals!
Even the innkeeper shared his personal story of meeting his wife in France, starting a family in his native Norway before coming to Costa Rica. “I worked two jobs and long hours before realizing I had no patience for the very things most precious to me – my wife and children!” So, he restructured his life to provide for his family in a way that he never left “home” to go to work. Seeking the deeper meaning in life is also a quest for transcendentals!
Bernard Nathanson, M.D. had a similar encounter moving from what is seen to what is unseen after an ultrasound image of a 16-week-old baby girl in the womb allowed him to glimpse not simply MATTER (as in cells and human tissue), but what mattered, the hidden VALUE intrinsic to something.
It’s not unusual for an obstetrician/gynecologist today to see 3D, even 4D images via ultrasound. But, in 1973, when Dr. Nathanson first experienced what he called “a window into the womb”, real-time ultrasound was a new invention. The inventors demonstrated the remarkable abilities of the equipment to Nathanson because of his prominence as Chief of Obstetrics at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City.
What happened within a few moments changed Dr. Nathanson’s life. When he saw the child via ultrasound, what came to his mind was not faulty political rhetoric he fed to legislators, medical doctors and judges. His mind presented to him the horrors of the holocaust of World War II, and how those Nazis responsible for the mass-murder of the innocent, first stripped away the personhood of the Jewish people to justify the slaughter of the many. Nathanson then saw himself as the perpetrator of an equal injustice towards the child in the womb.
Once Dr. Nathanson saw what was unseen, that is, the value intrinsic to the human child, he changed his position on legalizing abortion on demand, a legislative prerogative he and Lawrence Lader as co-founders of NARAL (National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, now known as NARAL Pro-Choice America) conceptualized and brought to birth in the United States in under five short years (1967 – 1973). Many do not know this dramatic reversal of Nathanson’s position as father of the industry of abortion happened just months past the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
In his letter to the Colossians, St. Paul directs his audience to, “Set your minds on things above, rather than on things that are of earth,” [Col 3:2] looking for the True the Good and the Beautiful, beyond what is seen with the naked eye to what is unseen. Yet, “unseen” does not translate to unreal or intangible as anyone who loves or hates or hopes or breaths can attest.
If our nation more readily acknowledged the hidden, yet intrinsic value of each child nestled in his or her mother’s womb and embraced these transcendental realities, legislative protection under the law for every child born or unborn would be non-negotiable.
Clare Ruff currently serves as
Director of Events and Outreach for
the Hosea Initiative, an educational,
prolife, non-profit, and writes from her
home in southeastern Minnesota.
By Julie Anderson, Member of Advisory Board, Hosea Initiative
The Latin phrase translates as “friend of the court.”
Online dictionaries define a friend of the court as a professional person or organization not involved in the legal matter at hand but one permitted by the court to advise it in some capacity related to the case.
On January 2, a “friend of the court” brief was filed in support of the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act known as Act 620, a law passed in 2014 in Louisiana which remains on hold as it winds through the judicial system.
Terry Beatley, founder and president of Hosea Initiative, is named in that brief.
In the brief, David DeWolf of Albrecht Law PLLC, along with Catherine Short and Alexandra Snyder, both of the Life Legal Defense Foundation, offer a summary of Terry’s book, What If We’ve Been Wrong: Keeping my Promise to America’s “Abortion King.”
The brief discusses Bernard N. Nathanson, M.D., as cofounder of NARAL now known as NARAL Pro-Choice America.
The attorneys write, “After having performed approximately 60,000 abortions, Dr. Nathanson resigned from NARAL and wrote three books exposing the tactics used to promote legalized abortion, including his development, along with the help of a public relations firm, of the slogan, ‘My Body, My Choice.’”
Later, the same attorneys write, “Dr. Nathanson was the father of the abortion industry. It was his idea to meet the demand in New York by ambulatory centers. Walk-in and -out, same-day surgery centers were focused solely on abortion services and removed the hospital ‘monopoly’ and control.”
Besides legal documents previously submitted, the Supreme Court of the United States has scheduled the entire day of March 4 to oral arguments focusing on Act 620.
After reading the complete text, I learned the law passed the Louisiana State Legislature with wide margins of support. The House of Representatives voted 85-6 in favor of the law while the Senate voted 34-3.
Secondly, I learned the law focuses on “continuity of care,” relative to someone’s medical treatment. In Section I, the Act states, “a physician performing or inducing an abortion shall: (a) Have active admitting privileges at a hospital that is located not further than thirty miles from the location at which the abortion is performed or induced and that provides obstetrical or gynecological health care services.”
In other words, if a woman suffers a complication such as a torn cervix or punctured uterus, she can be treated by “the same doctor who knows the exact nature of the complication” and who “can help the patient in the hospital, improving the continuity of care.”
It’s surprising to me those in favor of abortion would not see the value of this law. Even Dr. Nathanson, “the father of the abortion industry,” prided himself on creating a safe environment for his patients. In fact, he saw it as a moral imperative.
In the Hand of God, he wrote, “Having now achieved the law, we had to make certain that it was not thrown into disrepute by clumsy practitioners little more adept than the illegals they would replace. In short, our greatest fear was that this unprecedented liberty might be jeopardized by a poor safety record. To that end, I organized and staged a comprehensive symposium on abortion on July 1, 1970, at New York Medical Center.”
Later, Dr. Nathanson recalled, “At St. Luke’s Women’s Hospital, with the aid of Dr. Harold Tovell, then the director of obstetrics and gynecology, and Avril Lawrence, the director of the operating room, we devised an outpatient, walk-in, walk-out-three-hours-later program that worked efficiently and safely for our first-trimester patients. Women seeking late abortions (after thirteen to fifteen weeks) still had to be hospitalized, since the procedures we used were more complex and dangerous.”
Finally, Dr. Nathanson also commented that, “Another of my duties as chairman of the Medical Committee of NARAL (I was also a member of the Executive Committee) was to inspect the existing abortion clinics in the area and pass on their safety and medical effectiveness.”
So, in closing, if Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the father of abortion industry, saw the necessity of medical and safety standards, I think it logical that today’s abortionists should have admitting privileges. He or she would be intimately familiar with the patient’s medical situation, and in the event of an emergency, valuable time would not be lost.
Finally, as I close this blog, I’d like to offer a few ACTION STEPS we can all take, especially as the Supreme Court gears up for this important case.
Firstly, we should study the works of Dr. Bernard Nathanson including his books: Aborting America, Hand of God, The Abortion Papers and the two films he produced: The Silent Scream and Eclipse of Reason. Become better educated as American citizens, and who better to learn from than the father of the abortion industry himself?
Secondly, mark your calendar and, if possible, plan to join Terry Beatley, founder of Hosea Initiative, on the steps of the Supreme Court on March 4 at 9:00AM. If you are unable to be there in person, join us in prayer.
The prolife movement needs YOU!