It seems like pro-abortion lawmakers have a new tradition – introducing sneaky efforts to criminalize peaceful, pro-life exercise of the first amendment rights to speech and freedom of religion - behavior guaranteed by the US an Ohio constitutions, just days before the Memorial Day Holiday. Today Ohio introduced HB 234, an(other) unconstitutional effort to criminalize behavior that might annoy someone working at, owning, or seeking care at a “reproductive services” clinic (aka the broadest terminology they can find without using the word “abortion” clinic).
Side note – why do pro-abortion lawmakers and advocates shy away from actually using the word “abortion?”
If this seems too familiar, it is because the language is verbatim (or nearly so) to a law proposed last year by members of the Columbus City Council. A law that was so blatantly unconstitutional that the ACLU of Ohio joined groups like Greater Columbus Right to Life and the Diocese of Columbus in opposing the local proposed law.
There are a few things to note about the proposal. The first is that it is unlikely to go anywhere beyond a mandatory first hearing in a committee – something that is extended to every piece of legislation. That, however, does not mean that we will not respond as a community and a movement.
The next thing to know about the proposed law is that it has one chief distinction from the proposed Columbus statute – it purports to make the penalty for violation of the law on second or subsequent offenses a fourth degree felony. This means that yes, you could be charged with a fourth degree felony (carrying a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of $5000) for praying on the public sidewalk in front of an abortion clinic if it is found to be annoying. Note that this would also potentially apply to non-pro life speech as well. For example, if a medical facility that provided reproductive services were in a labor dispute and employees were picketing or doing anything that met the bill’s requirements (including annoying someone), that person could also be charged. Other fourth degree felonies in Ohio include unlawful sexual conduct with a minor (irony alert), vehicular assault, aggravated assault, engaging in prostitution after a positive HIV test, grand theft auto, arson, and money laundering to support terrorism when the money laundered is less than $25,000.
We sometimes say that “prayer is our weapon,” but really – does any reasonable person think that it should be possible for someone to be praying on the public sidewalks in front of an abortion clinic deserve to be lumped in with that kind of criminal activity?
A third thing that you should know is that the actual criminal behaviors included in this bill – the ones that would unequivocally get a GCRTL volunteer asked to stop working with us – are already illegal on a myriad of state and federal laws. To save some time, here is a link to where we discussed this in the past, and as a recent example here is what happened when a group blocked clinic access just a few weeks ago in a stand against abortion.
A fourth thing that you should know is that this bill grants a right of privacy to someone filing a lawsuit against a pro-life person that is not statutorily available in Ohio’s courts to women fleeing abusive partners or rape victims.
The fifth thing that you should know about this bill is that the sponsors include two central Ohio lawmakers, Representatives Kristin Boggs and Bernadine Kenedy Kent.
In the next day or so, we will update this information to include how you can contact local lawmakers to share with them your concern on this proposed legislation. You may recall that when Columbus City Council tried this last year, we stepped up, led the fight, and got them to amend their proposal out of existence.
We do not get involved in politics much, because our IRS designation makes that difficult. But when a piece of legislation like this seeks to make our very work illegal and targets rights of religious conscience and the right to free speech, we have to join together as a community. Just under a year ago, we delivered more than 10,000 postcards and letters to members of City Hall. Stay tuned, because we will do it again if we need to.
In the interim, say a prayer for religious freedom – here where the threats are more incremental and across the world where the crisis is great. If you can send a few extra dollars to help us fight back this attack, we’d appreciate that. You can donate online, by sending a check to our office (665 E Dublin Granville Rd, st 115; Columbus, OH 43229) or by joining us for our annual banquet in just a little over two weeks’ time.
(Another) Founder's Staffer Indicted
We have learned that another employee of Founder's Women's Health Clinic has been charged with a crime. In this instance: aggravated robbery after (allegedly) robbing a convenience store on January 12th. Roy Richards, age 32, has worked at Founder's Women's Health Clinic in a variety of roles serving as both a clinic escort and a phlebotomist, according to conversations he has had with GCRTL volunteers and his profile on Facebook. Mr. Richards was charged as a repeat offender having only recently ended community control sanctions imposed after he plead guilty to a robbery in 2013.
According to the Columbus Division of Police's Facebook Page, Mr. Richards and Michael Reynolds robbed a Speedway on Brice Rd at 10:43pm on January 12th. According to the Facebook post, Mr. Richards turned himself in.
Mr. Richards is believed to be a family member, perhaps the son, of the abortion clinic's operator, Terrie Hubbard.
Regrettably, this is not the first repeat offender to be working at the clinic at the time of his arrest. In November of 2014, Founder's Women's Health Clinic employee and abortion provider Thomas Michaelis was indicted by the US Attorney on child pornography charges. Before being hired by the abortion clinic, Michaelis had temporarily lost his medical license for charges related to gross sexual imposition of several teenagers.
Nor is this the extent of the legal troubles surrounding Founder's Clinic. The clinic is currently operating without a valid transfer agreement because no local hospital will enter into one with them and they could not find a local physician to provide back-up emergency care. As we have extensively documented, Ms. Hubbard owes nearly a million dollars to local, state, and federal taxing and regulatory entities. If that is not enough, one of the clinics that she formerly owned/managed was closed by the state and DEA officials after being caught stealing patient blood and operating a pill mill. These and other details are available at www.ThisClinicHurtsWomen.com.
At some point, it has to be questioned why this business is permitted to continue its legal shell game. It is absurd that abortion identity politics would protect a business with this kind of record and ongoing legal difficulties. We have said it a million times, abortion clinics are not bad because they are dirty or because they employ criminals in positions of trust with patients or because they fail to pay their taxes or because they ignore regulatory procedures. Abortion clinics are bad because they profit from the intentional destruction of innocent human life. Founder's Clinic is bad because every Thursday an employee from AccuMedical drives a big truck up and then loads up boxes filled with red bio-hazard bags filled with discarded fetal remains. What is so hard to understand is how the culture, in an effort to force us to accept and promote and normalize abortion gives the clinics a pass on these bad business practices. It is a shame.
This is a difficult issue, to be sure. On one hand, we have a responsibility to help those who have struggled in life, regardless of if their struggles are legal or moral. For that reason, we do not wish to seek Mr. Richards out purely for the purpose of shaming him or bringing additional trauma to the family who undoubtedly loves him. If anything, we should reflect on the power of a mother's love for her child. It is unconditional and seeks to protect and help him no matter what he has done, no matter the circumstances of his life. It is a bond that cannot and should not be broken. Remember that when we pray for an end of abortion and all the damaged lives from it, we do not just pray for the unborn children and their mothers, but for the clinic workers and owners and volunteers too. Abortion ruins lives.
*Note: ThisClinicHurtsWomen is a project of Greater Columbus Right to Life and the GCRTL SWC program that endeavors to make sure that women contemplating abortion have an opportunity to read information that is in the public record related to their abortion provider.
Note 2: (Feb 6, 2017): An early version of this article could have been interpreted to indicate that multiple employees are under indictment for aggravated robbery. To clarify, this is the only recent indictment that we are aware of. It is, however, the most recent in a series of law-breaking activities. The first two sentences have been adjusted for clarity.
His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, who last week was awarded the "Law of Life Achievement Award" for his unwavering support of the defense of human life after the March for Life will be speaking in Columbus on Tuesday, February 7, 2017.
Cardinal Burke, patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, one of the world’s foremost authorities on Roman Catholic canon law, and an outspoken champion of the Catholic Church's pro-life and pro-family teachings, is coming to give the keynote address at Tuesday's Medical Ethics Symposium. A number of other distinguished speakers are participating in the symposium, including Dr. Patrick Lee, Director of Bioethics at Franciscan University of Steubenville; Danielle White, attorney with Heartbeat International; and Dr. Frank Ferris, Executive Director of the Palliative Care Program at Ohio Health.
Cardinal Burke’s Keynote is entitled The Economy of Life and is expected to cover the related elements of a consistent pro-life ethic from conception until natural death.
The Symposium will take place at The Ohio State University’s College of Medicine, Meiling Hall, Room 112. The event will start at 6:00 PM and will conclude around 9. Cardinal Burke is anticipated to speak at approximately 6:20 and will take questions at the conclusion of the event, which is free and open to the public. Overflow seating will be available if the room reaches capacity.
Parking garage information, including real-time tracking of garage spaces open and a general map is available online.
This morning, as I was watching the rally for life and the activities surrounding the March for Life, I could not help but be amazed by the diversity, the youth, the joy, the hopefulness, and the general love of neighbor exhibited by those in attendance. I heard from women who have their children with the help of pregnancy centers, I heard from those who have devoted their life to public service and to the Gospel, I heard from those who have built maternity homes, I heard from those who experienced great sorrow following an abortion and those who have dedicated their lives to helping other women who grieve after abortion, I heard from those who have worked in the abortion industry and gotten out, and I heard from those who now help others get out. I heard from men and women who were conceived in rape or incest, born with disabilities, or placed for adoption.
Nonetheless, when I turned to social media I was hit by a multitude of self-sanctimonious people making claims that we, the pro-life faithful of the United States, are obsessed with the fetus, only care about babies before they are born, neglect the poor and the homeless and the disenfranchised. This is completely contrary to reality, and a topic I will debunk another time, because what I want to focus on is how in a world of instant news no one is seeing the breadth and the depth and the love exhibited by the prolife community - because this beautiful diversity is not showing up in the secular media or outside of our own echo-chambers. Why is that?
There has been much made of the silence of the media and unbalanced coverage in past Marches for Life, and anecdotally it seemed accurate. This year however with the historic moment of hearing from Kellyanne Conway, Vice President Pence, and even via Twitter the President of the United States, we thought there would be good coverage. So, I took a look at the local media coverage of the March for Life and how it contrasts (so far) with last week's so-called Women's March on Washington (where pro-choice men were welcome but pro-life women not). I even decided to tweet encouragement to our local news stations for equity in coverage.
Why do this? Because by far, the coverage has not been particularly equitable so far today. What do I mean by that? This afternoon we visited the social media (Twitter and Facebook) accounts of four local TV stations - NBC4, ABC6, CBS10, and FOX28 to check to compare their coverage of the two D.C. Marches. Now, a few things to keep in mind - the day is not over, and they may increase their coverage (in fact, after our tweets, Fox28 shared how they are covering and one station added a tweet (this may have been planned; we do not know, but the timing seems likely). I also did not compare coverage of the Columbus Roe event to the Columbus Women's March - both occurred about a week prior to the DC March. I am sharing this now, hoping that our supporters in social media actively (and politely and respectfully) reach out to these media cites to encourage them in the fair coverage. Use #WhyWeMarch and #Cbus4Life for the next day or so, so that we and they can see the impact. Also, go to the facebook posts and tweets that they did make and like and share.
Here is what we found, listed in order of most fair coverage to least fair.
Fox TV Columbus (WTTE Fox 28 on Facebook and @fox28columbus on Twitter) had the most balanced coverage on social media. Their facebook page had two posts from the Women's March on Facebook and four on Twitter. Today, they had one post on Facebook and two on Twitter. They also referenced pro-life laws in other states twice this week on Facebook.
10 TV (WBNS TV 10 on Facebook and @10TV on Twitter) could have done better. Their coverage included three posts to each of Facebook and Twitter on the Women's March and 1 post (a live feed) of the March for Life on Facebook. As of 4pm Friday, we saw no twitter activity covering the March for Life.
WSYX ABC 6 (WSYX ABC 6 on Facebook and @wsyx6 on Twitter) tweeted about the Women's March on DC 13 times. They initially tweeted twice about the March for Life. After our tweet they tweeted a link to their live coverage on the March on Facebook (this may have been planned or it may have been prompted by our tweet). They posted to Facebook three times about the Women's March and once (a live feed) on Facebook. After our tweet, they posted (the same live feed) again in their timeline. This may have been planned or may have been a response.
NBC4i (NBC4 on Facebook and @NBC4i on Twitter) posted 27 tweets of the Women's March (including 1-2 embedded reporters) and 1 of the March for Life (yesterday they noted that Vice President Pence would be attending). On Facebook, NBC4 posted 9 updates on the Women's March and 5 on the March for Life. This is extremely unfair coverage.
What Can We Do?
At the end of the day, editors and social media managers are responsible for what their teams post, but we as the public also have a responsibility to work to make sure that the media outlets are hearing from ,pro-life voices in the community. In the end, it is impossible not to conclude that there is at least some bias against the pro-life message in our local TV media, especially as it plays out in social media. Here is how you can help. First - especially on twitter - make sure you are tagging the local media in your experiences for the March for Life. We at GCRTL are also going to work to do a little better to make sure that news media hear more from us in 2017 about the pro-life activities going on around town, but it is tough. We do not have the staff or volunteer resources to develop a media relationship, and we admit that it can be discouraging to publicize our efforts when the stories come out imbalanced.
If you'd like to help us in 2017 as a volunteer in the role of media relations, let us know today. We are also working toward a budget that allows us to bring on a part-time staff member or intern who can do this type of work. If 150 people gave an extra $100 this year, we could meet that need. What do you say?
Note: We did not include the local print media in this review. However, kudos to the Columbus Dispatch, whose Washington DC Bureau office covered many of the local pilgrimages to DC which were shared on social media.
GCRTL welcomed about 350 of Central Ohio’s pro-life faithful to the 2017 Annual Roe Remembrance at the Ohio Statehouse. Photos of the event, taken by Larry Pishitelli of PishPhoto.com, are available on our facebook page.
Speakers for the annual event included Fr. Nicholas Droll, Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, Secretary of State Jon Husted, GCRTL executive director Beth Vanderkooi, Linda J., and Pastor Mark Robinette.
The crowd, gathered in observance of the 44th anniversary of Roe V Wade, the US Supreme Court decision which nationalized abortion on demand. Since then, an estimated 60 million unborn children have been lost to abortion.
After Fr. Droll led the crowd in an opening prayer and the pledge of allegiance, President Obhof addressed the crowd, noting that strides that the General Assembly has made in recent years to expand legal protections for the unborn. Obhof also noted that as a father, the right to life is fundamental. Presiden Obhof also brought a pair of shoes, which he donated to and placed in the newly unveiled Memorial of the Unborn.
Following President Obhof, Secretary Husted offered a few words to the group, specifically sharing his his belief in prayer as a way of changing not only the course of a nation but also the hearts of its people. Secretary Husted also shared that to him, the right to life is not only philosophical, but deeply personal - his birth-mother chose life over abortion, placing him with "the most loving parents in the world." Secretary Husted also placed a pair of shoes in the newly unveiled Memorial for the unborn. Comments for the Memorial of the Unborn's unveiling are available in full below.
A third guest speaker, Linda J., shared her testimony from abortion to despair to hope to healing through post-abortion healing programs at Vineyard Church and the PDHC sponsored Rachel's Vineyard program.
At the conclusion of the event, Pastor Robinette spoke for the Hope that lies in the Gospel for each of us and the need to stand up for the innocent unborn.
Update: Because several have requested copies of the comments for the Memorial of the Unborn, the planned comments are available below. Audio archives of the entire program should be available soon.
In revealing the memorial, GCRTL's executive director offered the following thoughts,
"As we turn to our primary reason to be here today – memorializing the nearly 60 million unborn American children that were the casualties of Roe v Wade, there has been much discussion of numbers this week. How many attended the inauguration, how many attended the women’s march on DC, and how many will attend the march for life. Organizers claim that some 2.4 million women attended the DC or regional march this past weekend. Certainly more than that will attend the March for Life, the Walk for Like, or any of the hundreds of events like this one today. But those numbers pale in comparison to 60 million, which is roughly equivalent to the populations of DC, VA, MD, PA, DE, NJ, NY, KY, and Ohio, combined. Nationally, there are about 2735 unborn children lost to abortion each day. Here in Ohio, there are 57 abortions every single day, and 13 of them are performed right here in Columbus.
The magnitude is hard to comprehend. The numbers boggle the mind, and make it almost impossible to comprehend, impossible to process. In some ways, the sheer volume of an abstract number like 60 million contributes to the dehumanization of the aborted unborn child in a way that makes him or her less real, less personal, and less of a tragedy. I often wonder why this is, and while there are undoubtedly many contributing factors, I cannot wonder if it is because if we truly experienced the grief and the loss we would not be able to bear it, much less respond as God calls us to respond.
This idea has been heavy on the hearts of all of us at Greater Columbus Right to Life; how can we as individuals, as families and congregations and as a community truly be witness to the staggering magnitude of abortion in a way that remembers the unborn, respects and upholds their innate dignity, conveys the magnitude of this great injustice of our time, moves us to respond in act and word and deed and prayer, and inspires hope and healing and restoration to those who suffer.
With that in mind, I am pleased to share with you the Memorial of the Unborn. For the past months, GCRTL has been collecting hundreds of baby shoes, 47 hundred and fifteen to be exact. As an aside, we are still collecting, and if you would like to help us with the effort, you can share your name and contact information with one of our volunteers and we will be in touch.
We are collecting these shoes to be part of a traveling memorial exhibit that churches, schools, and organizations can host throughout the region, each shoe representing an unborn child lost to abortion right here in our community. The project will provide supporting materials to local respect life committees, small group worships, clubs, and community groups with concrete ways to get involved, and it starts today. We have produced some beautiful project information pieces that open up as education materials; please take one when you leave, or reach out if you would like them in larger quantities. But first, I want to ask you to join me in a moment of silence as we invite some volunteers to help share with you the impact that the memorial will have.
Each day, an average of thirteen children are robbed of life at one of the two central Ohio abortion clinics.
That means about 91 each week.
So far this year, that is 299 unborn children.
And each of us bears the responsibility for these abortions, by what we have done and by what we have failed to do. That casts an incredible darkness in our community. But in order to stand up to the darkness, we only need one light, and the light of Christ is the light of truth and shines bright, eternally.
It is a light that burns not as a spotlight on our transgressions, but as a beacon to hope, forgiveness, and mercy, leading us home, because in this call to life, we are reminded that we each are broken people, living in a broken world, and so we are called to works of transformational mercy in ourselves, in our brothers and sisters in Christ, and in our communities."
This week, Lila Rose and Live Action released a video exposing that prenatal care is virtually nonexistent at PP affiliates, despite many claims to the contrary. The video contrasts statements of claims that PP offers prenatal care with recordings of staff explaining that PP does not offer prenatal care. The video concludes with a note that while their investigators called 97 Planned Parenthood offices, only five reported offering some sort of prenatal services. This is a fairly large sample of Planned Parenthood offices - there are about 650 Planned Parenthood offices nationwide.
The video has made social media waves, generating more than 7 million views in its first 24 hours.
Yesterday, Planned Parenthood responded. In this article in the New York Times, a PP official says that the videos are part of an effort to smear Planned Parenthood, noting that they have never claimed that all of their affiliates or all of their offices offer prenatal services.
With this in mind, we thought we would take a look at our local Planned Parenthood affiliates' offices with respect to prenatal care. We selected two clinics - the Delaware, OH, and OSU Campus-area clinics. Indeed, a visit to these websites yields no claims of offering prenatal services, instead noting that they refer pregnant patients who wish to continue their pregnancies to other providers. That isn't the end of the story, though. You see, we distinctly rememberd a previous version of the website claiming to offer both pre-natal and fertility care. So, we used the very handy "Internet Wayback Machine" to check the history of the website, and what we found is quite interesting. If you've never heard of the "wayback machine" it is an archival service that stores archived versions of websites. While it does not capture every detail (such as when exactly a webpage was updated), it does show snapshots of a page's past on specific dates.
If you visit the Planned Parenthood campus and Delaware, Ohio, office online today, you see no reference to offering prenatal care, but if you look at the archived websites from December of 2016, both claim to offer prenatal and fertility help.
You can look this up yourself, but to help I grabbed some screenshots (on 1/25/2017). In the bottom and right sides of the images (respectively), you see the websites as they look today. On the top and left, you see the images as they were archived on December 2, 2016.
Conclusion? At some point between December 2, 2016, and today, the websites were changed to scrub away any reference to Planned Parenthood providing prenatal care and a note added that the clinics refer to prenatal help. We don't know exactly when that happened, but it seems pretty likely that they scrubbed their websites in response to this most recent scandalous expose.
What do you think? Coincidence?
Note: This post has been updated to reflect the passage of the 20 week abortion ban. Further updates with respect to Gubernatorial action will be made at the bottom, along with the date of the update.
As the Ohio General Assembly wraps up its work for this two year cycle and prepares for adjournment, two competing proposals that would restrict abortion are under consideration for enactment.
The first bill to achieve legislative support is the "Heartbeat Bill." Introduced as HB 69, this legislation was written to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected had been passed by the House in 2015 but not acted on in the Senate. The general contents of that legislation were eventually amended into HB 493, legislation dealing with child neglect and abuse. The amended legislation was passed by both chambers of the legislature and will be sent to Governor John Kasich. Governor Kasich can sign the bill into law or he can veto all or part of the bill (the bill contains an appropriation, so is eligible for a line-item veto).
A second piece of legislation, the "Pain Capable" bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks, a time when unborn children are believed to be able to feel pain. The General Assembly also passed this proposal, SB 127, sending it to the Governor for consideration.
Neither bill contains exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal abnormality, unlike Ohio's current law, which generally prohibits abortion after the point of viability, with some exceptions. Ohio law presumes fetal viability at 24 weeks and requires viability testing after 20.
What does this mean? Well, while we cheer for any law that protects innocent human life, passage either (or both) pieces of legislation will likely set off a series of legal battles during which a variety of strategic and idealistic battles will continue to take place. This means that contrary to doing a victory dance or patting ourselves on the backs, we need to become more engaged than we have ever been before. Now is NOT the time for a spirit of victory or of complacency, as those who rally for abortion will be more vocal and more well-funded than ever before. A national abortion giant recently announced that it has received more than $300,000 in donations in honor of VP-elect Mike Pence in the weeks since the election. Abortion allies are in the media, in the marketplace, in our schools, and even in our churches. We must not grow weary now, instead renewing our spirit, energy, and commitment to the pro-life cause.
I would invite you to consider joining us this Saturday for our annual Carols at the Clinic at 10:00 am outside of Founder's Clinic (1243 E Broad Street). Consider also hosting a Soles for Souls donation site, or drop a pair off at our office or another central Ohio drop location. We also would love for you to layer-up and join our sidewalk prayer team for an hour or two before Christmas. Finally, if you appreciate the work that we are doing and would like to help us meet our 2016 year-end goal of $12,000, you can donate in a variety of ways online.
UPDATE: (12/9/16): There is a significant effort by those who oppose this law to contact the Governor's office to ask him to veto the pro-life provisions. If you would like to weigh in in support of the legislation, you may call the Governor's office at 614-466-3555 or online here: http://www.governor.ohio.gov/contact/contactthegovernor.aspx. Please remember that any letters, emails, and even phone messages that you leave are a matter of public record.
Dispatch Letters to the Editor (against) the proposals
CNN Coverage of Both Bills
Washington Post: Why it will not work.
A local hospital system uses the slogan, "Because there is no routine (procedure)," inserting mammogram, cancer, heart disease - etc., as appropriate.
The same could be said of the days at Greater Columbus Right to Life, because it turns out that there is no such thing as a routine crisis, so the ways in which we help are not exactly routine.
Today brought us three different women in need of help. The first woman we met on the sidewalk, we will call Juliana.* Juliana has limited English skills and found herself thrust into the workforce after several years as a stay at home mom after separating from her husband. Then, she got pregnant. With several children at home who she is already struggling to provide for, Juliana went to Founder's, where she met one of our volunteers before her appointment.
Fortunately, our volunteer spoke some basic Spanish, and after the mom decided to walk to the pregnancy help center, I was able to meet them there to help with translations - grateful I'd brushed up on my pro-life Spanish earlier this year!
While I was still in the counseling room helping Juliana to sort through her situation, our volunteers met a second mom who turned away from the clinic. Mom number two, who we will call Katie, was a teenager herself, and she already has one infant at home. Thinking she was not up to the task, she turned to abortion as a way out, but upon meeting our volunteer, she needed help, support, and encouragement, not abortion.
After a grueling few hours of translating, a real translator showed up just in time for Juliana's ultrasound- fortunate, because my knowledge of medical terminology could be better. Still, I had formed a bond with Juliana, so she asked me to go with her for the ultrasound.
By by the time we left and grabbed some lunch, I was learning about the details of what happened earlier at OSU. There were multiple received calls and texts asking if I was ok. All in all, it was a long, exhausting, and certainly not routine kind of day, but it was not yet over.
At 4:45, just as I was battling a serious headache and about to call it quits for the day, we were contacted by a third mom. This young woman, we will call her Malika, had aged out of the foster care system and given birth to twins in the last eight months. Today, she found herself homeless -living in her car, pregnant again, and facing the news that she would not be able to qualify for a residential program helping with the transition from foster care to independence because of her pregnancy. So, we got to work with a referral to a family shelter for tonight and an appointment with a pregnancy help center tomorrow, and tomorrow we will reconnect with her to make sure she gets the resources she needs. No woman should be made to feel like she must choose between the life of her unborn child and having a roof over her babies' heads.
So many women cross our path every day. Each of them is facing a very real problem, often they have problems that we cannot fully grasp. All of them see abortion as a perceived solution for a very real problem. Frequently they refuse our help, many of them talk to us and consider what we are saying, and a few make the immediate decision for life by turning away from the abortion clinic. Whatever the circumstance, we pray for them, and we offer them hope.
There is no routine crisis and no routine day at Greater Columbus Right to Life. There are, however, regular volunteers and regular needs. This year, we have distributed thousands of pieces of literature to women seeking an abortion, their partners, and their support people. We do this because we care, because women and their children deserve better, and because we are compelled by our faith and the moral laws to stand against this supreme injustice.
Today we met and prayed for and helped three women to make a choice for life and to turn away from the clinic. There is no routine day at GCRTL, but there are routine expenses.
Tomorrow (Nov 29th) is #GivingTuesday, a national day that kicks off the year-end giving cycle. Americans have spent billions from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, and we will give millions to charity on Giving Tuesday.
Like many nonprofits, between twenty and twenty-five percent of our budget will be donated between now and the end of the year. We must raise a minimum of $15,000 to continue our work. In fact, that is what I intended to work on today, but Juliana, Katie, and Malika took precedence.
Please, consider the work that we are doing and the women who we are helping. This #GivingTuesday, I would ask that you consider a gift of at least $75 - that is less than $3 each day between now and Christmas. If you cannot donate $75, a gift of just $10 each month will go further than you can imagine. Because while there are no routine days at GCRTL, together we can show the world that life is always precious and it always takes precidence.
Click here to donate online today.
*Names changed to protect confidentiality.
Greater Columbus Right to Life recently learned that the Founder's abortion clinic, where the medical license has been under question for more than a year had applied for a variance from Ohio's ambulatory surgical facility law requiring that all ambulatory surgical facilities have a written transfer agreement with a local hospital. The provision applies to all ambulatory surgical facilities, a classification that includes (but is not limited to) abortion clinics. In September, the clinic applied for a variance from the State Department of Health, noting that when Grant Hospital declined to re-sign the transfer agreement with the hospital, no other hospital would enter into one.
The clinic noted that their two surgeons, Dr. Harley Blank and Dr. Karl Schaffer, both have courtesy admitting privileges with Grant Hospital, located just minutes from the clinic and within a 20-25 minute drive from their homes. Dr. Blank, who will turn 78 in April of 2017, is the medical director of the clinic. Dr. Karl Schaffer, age 70, is a second (of three) owners of Downtown Gynecologists, and the other surgeon who practicesat the Founder's Health Clinic. The clinic's manager Terrie Hubbard, one of the principals at T&S Management, signed onto an agreement with Dr. Blank and Dr. Schaffer to serve as on-call physicians if one is needed.
If you are confused, let us explain. The clinic's agreement states that on days that Dr. Blank is performing abortion surgeries, if an emergency arises and a woman needs to go to the hospital Dr. Schaffer will serve as the on-call doctor and admit her at Grant Hospital for emergency treatment. If Dr. Schaffer is performing abortion surgeries and an emergency arises, Dr. Blank will serve as the on-call doctor and admit her at Grant Hospital for emergency treatment.
However, acknowledging that this is a somewhat convoluted system (it means that neither can be out of the area, sick, or on vacation), they have designated their good friend, Dr. David Burkons of Akron to serve as a back-up on-call physician. Not noted in the application (or the ODH's response, see below) is the fact that Dr. Burkons was recently exposed as being under investigation by the Ohio Medical Board for what amounts to operating a narcotics and controlled substances pill mill from his office, where he admits to signing blank prescription pads for staff members to fill out. This, by the way, appears to have been at a third abortion clinic once owned/operated by Terrie Hubbard, which was closed down by Ohio Department of Health Officials and the DEA because the clinic was, among other things, stealing patient blood. Dr. Burkons has since re-opened the clinic under his own name. A second clinic owned/operated by Ms. Hubbard is located in Toledo and is only operating because of a ruling by an appeals court judge staying a different order by the Ohio Department of Health to close.
It is not surprising that today the Columbus Dispatch reports that the Ohio Department of Health has issued a response, denying Founder's' application for a variance. Note: The ODH denial letter does not include in its justification the above information about Dr. Burkons or the Toledo office. It does, however, note that having a third physician available to them locally would be acceptable, but that a physician in Akron is not necessarily a sufficient back-up provider.
Abortion supporters are going to try to paint this as an instance of the Ohio Department of Health targeting a safe, legal abortion provider with unfair laws. However, similar problems do not seem to be besieging Columbus' other abortion facility - Planned Parenthood. Abortion advocates would do well to consider what they are supporting when they stand up for Founder's Women's Health Clinic. Aside from the primary issue at hand (the intentional destruction of unborn human life), the conditions under which this clinic are operating make it a "worst of the worst" as far as medical facilities.
The clinic is clearly in a decline, owing nearly a million dollars to city, state, and federal taxing agencies. It had to resort to crowd-funding in order to pay the $250 application permit and $750 inspection fee to join the national abortion federation and starting a tee-shirt business in order to raise enough money to buy billboard advertising space. We've also covered exhaustively their serious history with hiring sex offenders and the filthy conditions at the clinic.
That said, this will not be an open and shut case where the clinic is closed down, for all that it should be.
It seems very likely that Founder's will fight the Department of Health's denial of the variance, either by identifying a third local doctor to serve as a back-up or by litigating the case, as has been done in Toledo and Dayton, with much legal success.
For that reason, we are inviting all of our supporters to join us this Saturday in a special day of prayer and fasting to end abortion in central Ohio and the world. If you would like to join us, you may join our team this Saturday, November 19th. Let us know if you can pray with us, pray from home, and what you will fast from.
Greater Columbus Right to Life has been laser-focused on ending abortion in the Greater Columbus Community by 2020 since 2008. We were told that it couldn't be done, but since then we have seen two of four local clinics voluntarily close, more than 8,000 babies have been spared from abortion, and countless volunteers have prayed and fasted for the dignity of all human life. We know that the day is coming when this clinic will close, and we hope no one is on the sidelines when it happens. Join us, pray for us, and - if you like the work that we are doing, consider supporting us today.
This morning, public records indicating that Founder's Women's Health Clinic has applied for a variance from the department of health after Grant Hospital declined to continue its transfer agreement with the facility and no hospital within a 30 mile radius agreed to work with the abortion clinic.
According to the variance request, the clinic is asking for a variance from the long-time state law and policy requiring that all ambulatory surgical facilities (including those that perform abortions) have a transfer agreement with a local hospital. Under the variance provisions, enacted in HB 59 in 2013, a facility that cannot obtain a transfer agreement may contract with alternate physicians who have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
It is not surprising that legitimate medical facilities do not want to have a cooperative arrangement with a clinic that is so besieged with legal and medical difficulties. Just last week, Greater Columbus Right to Life identified that Founder's owes nearly a million dollars to city, state, and federal tax authorities. In recent years the clinic has also come under fire for failing to notify patients that the abortion doctor lacked medical malpractice insurance, for hiring a known-child sex offender as an OBGYN and abortion provider whose employment was only terminated at the clinic when he was charged with a repeat offense of child pornography, for performing a uterine abortion on a woman whose pregnancy who experienced ecotopic pregnancies in her Fallopian tubes and had to be rushed to the hospital when they burst. The clinic also has many citations for health and safety violations.
Founder's abortion clinic is a bad place because is a place dedicated to the intentional destruction of unborn human life. That would not change if the facilities were cleaner, if they paid their taxes, or if the clinic had an upstanding record of quality patient care. However, we firmly believe that because of the utter evil of abortion, all of these sick things follow. It is why we are committed to continuing to expose the reality of conditions at the abortion clinic. We invite you to join us. Visit www.thisclinichurtswomen.com to learn more about Founder's Women's Health, or join us on the sidewalk in peaceful prayer at www.gcrtl.org/pray.