They Have City Government.... But We Have You!
We knew two summers ago that the abortion industry has Columbus City government in its pocket when Council Member Liz Brown proposed a local law to make it illegal to do anything that would “annoy or inconvenience” an abortion clinic owner, employee, patient, or other individual within a fifteen foot perimeter of an abortion clinic (except the proposal used "reproductive health care facility").The bill was so egregiously unconstitutional that the ACLU stepped forward to oppose the bill, noting in their testimony that despite opposing the unconstitutional bill, it was a staunch supporter of “abortion rights.” Unfazed, City Council members forged ahead until the 11th hour, when rumor is that someone from the DC office of Planned Parenthood or NARAL called and told them it was a bad idea, and they scrambled to “fix” it. We've covered that issue pretty thoroughly in the past.
That is why it was disappointing, albeit not especially surprising, when I received an email from Columbus City Council announcing its latest press release, “CITY OFFICIALS COLLABORATE TO PRODUCE STUDY ON THE NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF REDUCED ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE.”
Curious, and remembering our last run-in with City Council on the matter of "Reproductive Health Care," I opened the press release and read on. Council Member Liz Brown and City Auditor Meghan Kilgore jointly wrote a study on Title X in Ohio. One sentence in particular caught my eye, “Planned Parenthood is the sole Title X provider in nine Ohio counties: Athens, Lucas, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit, Trumbull, and Wayne.” To be clear, this is a press release from two Columbus City officials that is so focused on protecting Planned Parenthood’s access to Title X funding that it explores “problems” in counties that are not even contiguous to Columbus. The entire study only mentions Columbus three times (the cover letter uses it another seven times, mostly in relation to the positions that the officials hold). By contrast, the study mentions Planned Parenthood more than 20 times in just five pages, suggesting that it is pushing a “study” that is more of a defense of Planned Parenthood. Oddly enough, while the “study” gives every appearance of being a piece of Planned Parenthood propaganda, it does not cite Planned Parenthood one time. A reasonable person might question who actually wrote the report and how much help she received.
If you are not familiar with Title X, it is the money that the federal government gives out in the form of grants to entities to pay for things under the broad range of “Family Planning” in low income and uninsured individuals. It covers programs like contraception, std testing and (some) treatment, limited cancer screenings, and referrals and links to other care sources like infertility treatments, HIV care, etc. Pro-abortion groups are upset about a few changes to the program. One is a rule change that would let organizations that provide training in natural family planning or std testing qualify for part of the grant funds as indirect recipients as long as another recipient or individual recipient provided other “comprehensive” care. A second is a proposed rule change, which is still open for public comment until the end of July, would prohibit entities that are using Title X funding from directly referring women to abortion providers. Under the proposed rule, a doctor whose patient indicates she would like to have an abortion may provide her with a list of providers that includes abortion providers. The doctor is prohibited from providing only abortion providers and is prohibited from referring women who do not indicate that they want an abortion to abortion providers. It would also require Title X providers to document that they follow state and local laws pertaining to reporting child abuse, child molestation, sexual abuse, rape, incest, intimate partner violence, and human trafficking. Planned Parenthood and abortion advocates have argued that this is a “gag rule” that will prevent women from accessing abortion. (Side note, if you would like to submit a comment in support of the rule, you can do so here. Remember that your comment will constitute part of the public record so others will be able to read it. You can comment anonymously).
Columbus is facing huge problems. The opioid epidemic is ravaging our communities and citizens. Our infant mortality rates are among the worst in the nation. Incidents of violent crime continue to be reported, and homicide rates are only barely lower than last years’ record-breaking murder rate. Should a member of the Columbus City Council and the Columbus City Auditor be using taxpayer resources to make the case that a rule which will require Planned Parenthood to document that they follow Ohio and local laws about reporting child molestation, child abuse, rape, and human trafficking and prohibit its doctors from referring women who do not specifically request an abortion to abortion providers will hurt people in Richland, Athens, Trumbull, Wayne, and a few other counties? We think not.
 On June 9, 2017, Columbus experienced its 58th homicide of the year. On June 11, 2018, Columbus experienced its 53rd homicide of the year. Source: Columbus Division of Police Media releases.
Thank you to everyone who has signed our petition or reached out to Mt. Carmel to ask that the hospital remove the address and phone number of a local abortion clinic from its physician referral.
We are disappointed to share that the hospital has indicated it will not be removing the physician listings and abortion clinic address from the listing.* A letter from the hospital shares that the hospital's policy is that physicians affiliated with the hospital have an opportunity to have their practice listed on the hospital's website, and because they do not discriminate against physicians, Mt. Carmel will continue to provide that listing as primary practice location of Dr. Schaeffer. The President of the hospital also indicated that to clear up any misconceptions, they will be adding a disclaimer to the directory website. That disclaimer reads:
"The Right Physician for Your Needs
We know the right care begins with the right physician. For many people, that means working closely with a trusted primary care physician, someone who can offer basic care, focusing on wellness and prevention. For others, it means consulting a specialist for a specific problem or concern. Mount Carmel has more than 1,500 physicians located throughout Central Ohio. We want to help you make the choice that's right for you. So we not only make it easy to find a provider with the right experience, location and hours -- we help you begin a partnership with an expert health care guide.
To find the right physician for you, use the online search below or call 614-234-LIFE.
All Mount Carmel facilities are operated in a manner consistent with the moral teachings of the Catholic Church and the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services (the "Directives"). Since most of the physicians in this directory are independent members of our medical staffs with their own private offices, Mount Carmel does not have control over the services provided in these locations."
We do not discount the wonderful work that Mt. Carmel is doing to serve the community. Caring for the sick, especially those who do not have the means to pay for their own care is a work of mercy and love. However, we think it is fair to hold a Catholic hospital to at least the same standard that we hold Planned Parenthood. Some supporters of Planned Parenthood have argued that only 3% of the services provided at Planned Parenthood are direct abortions. The pro-life community has rightly responded that the figures are misleading but that it does not matter what percentage of the procedures are abortion-related, the 3% figure represents more than 300,000 abortions each year - 1/3 of the total number of unborn children killed by abortion every year. There is no amount of good that can justify the intentional taking of innocent human life.
If we apply that same math to Mount Carmel's OBGYN department, of the 94 physicians listed in the Mt. Carmel OBGYN directory, "only" two of those listings will send women to an abortion clinic. That's just a little over 2%. If you look at only the 36 physicians who are listed as having an affiliation with Mount Carmel East, it jumps to almost 6%. Either way you do the math, those listings are responsible for about half the abortions performed in Central Ohio each year and about ten percent of the abortions performed in Ohio each year. **
We've heard from so many in Central Ohio who are thanking us, sending tips our way, indicating that no one has seen either Blank or Schaeffer at Mount Carmel East in years. Women who have been hurt by Drs. Blank and Schaeffer are coming forward and seeking healing and help. It has led me to believe that while I do not know what will ultimately happen, when we place our faith in God, He gives us more than we could ever expect.
224 years ago, the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne (an order of Catholic nuns) were put to death because they refused to abandon their vows as ordered during the French Revolution. We cringe at the thought that the last year of the French Revolution was marked by more than 16,000 deaths by torture and dismemberment, although that is a fraction of the number of babies who die by abortion each year in Ohio.
Their story has captured the attention of many not only for their individual courage in living their vocation, but the larger role that they played in bringing about the end of the Reign of Terror. Most agree that the story of these 16 obedient Carmelites, dressed in their habits, renewing their vows, and singing Veni Creator Spiritus, turned the hearts of the people. Within days, the Reign of Terror was ended. The story has inspired many artistic renditions, including this scene from the Diálogo das Carmelitas (note: oblique references to death by guillotine).
To be clear, we are not calling on Mt. Carmel to become martyrs to the culture of death; we are just asking that they remove the address and phone number to an abortion clinic from their physician directory. It does not seem to be mere coincidence that this weekend many of our friends and readers will celebrate Pentecost, and in Churches throughout central Ohio - especially Catholic - pro-life voices will sing Veni Creator Spiritus.
We will continue to work on this issue, making the case to Mt. Carmel that there is no room for an abortion clinic listing in life-affirming healthcare. If you've not yet signed the petition, it is not too late. Join us, in prayer and action, that Mt. Carmel live up to its name as a Catholic hospital with the same virtuous courage shown by the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne. Then pray that we each start to live with that virtuous courage and that we as a nation turn away from the senseless violence and bloodshed that starts not just in the womb, but in our own hearts.
Several weeks ago, pro-abortion activists announced that they would be suing the state of Ohio over a law that protects children given a prenatal diagnosis of likely having a condition like Down Syndrome from being aborted.
A few days ago, our stomach's curled reading an gruesome and callous opinion piece in the Washington Post, "I would have aborted a child with Down Syndrome: women need that right."
Tonight the legal aspirations of the former met the cold-hearted world-view of the latter when Federal Judge Timothy Black issued an injunction to prevent the Down Syndrome Protection Act from going into effect. You can read the 22-page decision here. The story made national and international news, at least part of it did.
What has not yet made any of the dozen or so mainstream news articles that we've read is that Justice Black was a former President of the Board, board member at large, and attorney for Planned Parenthood in Cincinnati before being appointed to the federal bench. You can read his biography submitted when he was appointed to the bench here. You can read an article by the Associated Press from when he represented Planned Parenthood in Court three decades ago here, and you can read an article from 2014 when the conflict of interest came up during another lawsuit that would determine if the Planned Parenthood in Cincinnati would stay open.
Judicial venue shopping is not new, and there is little doubt that the reason so many abortion lawsuits are filed in Cincinnati is because abortion advocates know that they have a friendly venue when going up against a judge who served as the Chairman of the Board and legal counsel for Planned Parenthood. Let's be honest; to argue that aborting a child once it has been indicated likely to have a disability is a special right that women need to preserve is a tough argument to make in the court of public opinion. In that case, it helps to have a friendly judge.
This situation, frankly, is the cause of a gamut of emotions: anger, grief, and compassion are at the top of the list. Underneath all of them, however, is one that we do not talk about quite as often: resolution. More than anything, when I read about this, I am resolved that we can do a better job of standing up for the unborn, defending those who are weak or different or disabled.
Will you be resolved with us?
Breaking News: Ohio Supreme Court Upholds ProLife Laws against two legal challenges.
Last fall, the Ohio Supreme Court heard two cases related to Ohio abortion clinics and clinic regulations.
In one case, Capital Care Network of Toledo v State of Ohio Department of Health, an abortion clinic operated by the management of Founder’s Women’s Health abortion clinic in Columbus, challenged the Ohio Department of Health’s order to close the clinic because it was not in compliance with a state law requiring abortion clinics to have a transfer agreement with a local hospital, which the state subsequently defined as a clinic within 30 miles away, or obtain a medical variance for the law.
Oral arguments were heard by the court in September of 2017, just days after the clinic was fined by the Ohio Department of Health for transferring a patient who was believed to have a perforated bowel following an abortion to a local hospital in the private vehicle of a non-medical staff person. The law was first challenged in the Lucas County (Toledo) court of common pleas, which reversed an Ohio Department of Health’s decision to revoke the license of Capital Care Network of Toledo. The 6th District Court of Appeals in Ohio upheld the Common Pleas Court’s decision. The Ohio Supreme Court released an opinion today saying that the state was within its right to close the clinic. You can read the Ohio Supreme Court's Decision, here.
The second case, Preterm-Cleveland Inc. v Kasich, was heard in oral arguments at the Ohio Supreme Court just two weeks later. In that case, Preterm challenged the Ohio law that required abortion clinics to obtain a transfer agreement with a local hospital, prohibit state-funded hospitals from entering into transfer agreements, and requiring a test for a fetal heartbeat as part of the informed consent before an abortion. The provisions were added to the state budget in 2014, and Preterm made various arguments, including that the law violated Ohio’s one subject rule and violated previous court decisions that said state lawmakers could not make it too difficult to have an abortion. The state made various arguments in defense of the law and argued that Preterm did not have standing to sue because there was no injury to Preterm. A copy of the decision by the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas is available here and a copy of the decision by the 8th District Court of Appeals is here. You can read the Ohio Supreme Court's Decision, which declared that the clinic did not have grounds to sue, here.
Both majority decisions were authored by Justice O'Donnell and joined by Justices Kennedy, Fischer, DeWine, and French. Dissenting were Justice Bill O'Neill, who recently resigned from the court, and Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor.
Neither majority opinion delved into the constitutionality per se of the questions involved, although Chief Justice O'Connor's dissent did note some of the constitutional issues brought out in the oral arguments by abortion industry attorneys. Some commentators think that this could open the door to separate federal litigation.
In the Capital Care Toledo case, the court syllabus declares, "The order of the Ohio Department of Health revoking the health care facility license of Capital Care Network of Toledo is supported by reliable, probative, and substantial evidence and is in accordance with law because Capital Care operated without a written transfer agreement for a period of five months and its subsequent agreement with the University of Michigan does not satisfy the Ohio Administrative Code requirement to establish and maintain written transfer agreements for patients in emergency situations," and the opinion concludes, "Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the court of appeals and reinstate the order of the Ohio Department of Health revoking and refusing to renew the license of Capital Care Network of Toledo" (our emphasis).
We anticipate that the Ohio Department of Health will immediately take steps to order the closure of Capital Care Network of Toledo’s surgical practice. The clinic may continue to provide medical abortions, and could pursue either federal litigation or a variance under Ohio’s law that allows a clinic that cannot get a transfer agreement to identify backup physicians who can take over patient care and directly admit to a local hospital. The majority opinion in CCN noted that the clinic did not pursue this option.
It is worth noting that the Toledo abortion clinic is owned and operated by the same people who operate the Founder's clinic in Columbus. The company owes nearly a million dollars in back taxes and fees to local, state, and federal taxing entities and was recently fined $40,000 for failing to follow their emergency operations plan after an abortion procedure was stopped because the doctor thought he had perforated a patient's bowel.
We also anticipate Pate that CCN May start referring its surgical patients to Founder’s, in which case the need to fill the upcoming 40 Days for Life campaign (gcrtl.org/40-days-for-life) and recruit new Sidewalk counselors and prayer partners (Gcrtl.org/swc-survey) is more critical than ever!
update: (2/6/18 @3:15 pm): ProMedicaHealth, a Toledo hospital system that has so far remained neutral by refusing a transfer agreement issued a statement earlier today indicating that they are reconsidering their neutrality and will make a decision soon. Pro-abortion activists are expected to stage a protest Monday afternoon calling on the hospital to enter into a transfer agreement. Toledo RTL President Ed Sitter has asked pro-life voices to reach out to ask pro-medics to remain neutral.
For the last two years, I have watched as state after state has followed in the destructive wake of Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, and Oregon in enacting laws which authorize physicians and other medical professionals to prescribe or administer lethal doses of drugs. If you have perhaps been at one of our events on the topic of end-of-life care, then you know that I have been increasingly concerned that as we seem to advance the cause of life at its earliest stages we lose footing in protections for the infirm, the elderly, and the terminally ill. As I watch incredibly well-funded national organizations go state to state, I have been increasingly concerned that the next Roe v Wade will legalize death on demand in the form of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
This is not an idle concern and it is not an issue that we can allow to take foothold in our culture any more. Do you know that a 29-year old, otherwise healthy, woman in Holland will commit assisted suicide because she has determined that she cannot live with her mental illness? Did you know that the New England Journal of Medicine recently released a report that uncovered more than 400 patients who died by assisted suicide but who did not request it? If those are too far away to seem real, Canadian healthcare officials and providers are being told that they cannot opt out of providing assisted suicide, leading to numerous “conscience campaigns” and lawsuits by Catholic hospitals. If you are shaking your head and saying that the US is better than that, did you know that under Oregon’s assisted suicide law, which has loopholes big enough to drive a hearse through, an individual with diabetes fits the definition of those eligible to die by physician assisted suicide?
Diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 30 million Americans have diabetes.
Thus, it did not come as any surprise, although it did come with a great deal of sorrow, to learn that within hours of a gathering of the pro-life faithful in the Ohio Statehouse for the annual Roe Remembrance, a local state senator, Charleta Taveres, announced that she would be introducing Oregon-style assisted suicide legislation in Ohio. In doing so, Senator Tavares’ announcement echoed with a familiar refrain, she believes that in the places in the United States where assisted suicide has been given the favor of the law that it is a rare occurrence that allows a patient who wishes to die to access death safely and with the support of loved ones and it should, therefore, be legal. Sound familiar to anyone?
In reality, however, it has been well established by medical professionals, researchers, reporters, and groups like the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition that assisted suicide laws are not as protective as their proponents claim they are. Actual statistics from places with assisted suicide show that the assisted suicide rates are increasing exponentially, and as the rates increase so do the abuses.
It is absolutely true that just last fall the Ohio General Assembly explicitly added criminal penalties for assisted suicide, reflecting the pro-life majority in both chambers of the General Assembly. It is also true that as a member of the Democratic Caucus, which is a substantial minority in the Ohio Senate, Senator Tavares is not likely to see much movement on her proposed legislation. But pro-life voices in Ohio must gird their loins, because this is a battle that is coming for us – in the legislature, via the ballot, or in the courts. Are we ready?
Here is what you can do right now:
Today in my church we remember the Holy Innocents – the multitude of innocent children that King Herod killed in his attempt to kill the Christ child.
Pro-life advocates often use the imagery of the Holy Innocents – innocent babies killed for political and personal gain – in their work to defend the unborn children in the womb. Indeed, it is a particular kind of evil that intentionally destroys an innocent human baby. I, however, have been thinking about the Angel who warns Joseph that this place, Bethlehem, is not safe and that he should take his betrothed and the baby, fleeing to some place safer. That part of the story stuck with me today, because they echo the works I frequently hear spoken to men and women by our volunteers at the abortion clinic. I cannot praise enough our brave and bold volunteers, four of whom weathered today’s bitterly cold temperatures to stand witness at Founder’s and witness to the dozen women seeking an abortion. Please, keep them in your prayers this week and in the New Year.
A few weeks ago, we shared the story of a woman who had traveled far from home seeking an abortion at Founder’s. However, the words of one of our volunteers, “it is not safe in there for you or your baby” resonated in her heart. Instead of going inside to get the abortion pill, she went home for prenatal care. Initial scans suggested that she was carrying twins, but it was so early in the pregnancy it could not be confirmed. You could feel the excitement in her words when she texted our volunteer with an update and the note, “Keep doing what you are doing. You save lives.”
But that joy soon turned to apprehension and fear as the woman started to experience some light bleeding, suggesting a possible miscarriage. She went back to her doctor and the emergency room for observation and treatment with progesterone – a hormone that can help a pregnancy to continue and asked for our prayers. It is worth noting that this mom did a complete 180. She went from contemplating taking a pill to stop her body from producing progesterone to end her pregnancy to joyfully learning about the likelihood of twins to doing everything that she and modern medicine can do to prevent a miscarriage using progesterone. Today, just under a month later, she is still (we believe) waiting to see if her babies will make it. Please keep her in your prayers.
As this year winds down, there is much to do. Year-end is the busiest time of year for many nonprofits because so many people make charitable donations at year end – and the recently enacted tax changes may mean this year is busier than most (you can read our overview here). Indeed, if you have not yet made a donation to Greater Columbus Right to Life, now is a great time to do so.
But more importantly, please join us in praying that 2018 is the year that more step forward to say, “It is not safe for you or the baby, let’s go somewhere better,” to the mothers and fathers of unborn children, and pray that 2018 is the year that more hear this message and act to save the lives of their unborn children.
PS: We’ve heard that a few of you took a social media and email break for Christmas and missed the opportunity to register for the Building a Culture of Life Conference at a discount. Never fear. Now through midnight on January 1st, you can get $5 off your BCLC registration with the code “NEWYEAR.”
One of our volunteers recently asked me what I thought it would take for Founder's to shut down. After some thought, I could only reply that I have no answer because by every metric out there, the clinic should be shut down. Thus, I can only assume that it is being propped up by something. Hint: It isn't good.
Over the past few years, we have worked very hard trying to get the local media to give pro-life voices a fair voice. If not a fair voice, at least an equal voice. You might remember last January when we tracked the local media coverage of the March for Life locally and in DC and compared it to the pro-life Women's March events in Columbus and DC. Another hint: the March for Life barely got any response at all and the pro-abortion women's march got embedded reporters. You can see some of our coverage here.
This past summer, we released a serious expose of local abortion clinics and got no media traction.
However, a few weeks ago, we started working with a local reporter - actually an intern at Ohio University in their journalism program who was working for the Columbus Dispatch for a semester. After spending hours with the reporter and connecting her to various pro-life organizations across the state, she wrote a small series looking into abortion clinics and their inspection reports. It was not the coverage we wished it would have been, but overall it was fair and honest, and balanced, and better than we've seen in a long time. You can read one of the articles here, and another here. You can also read the like-clockwork letter to the editor from NARAL in response. We are working on our own response and will update you once it is finished.
While we've linked to the content I can summarize it if you are too busy to read or if you don't have access beyond the paywall. The reporter looks at the number of inspection reports from the Ohio Department of Health and finds out that it's actually kind of a lot and that a good number are pretty specific and serious. She then looks at other non-clinics regulated in the same way in the same counties and finds fewer inspections and fewer violations per inspection. She reports on what she finds and the NARAL team respond by saying that the article should have been about how abortion clinics provide safe, legal, and professional services to women seeking abortions and that they are being singled out by the Department of Health.
What the preferred narrative of the political and public relations arm of Ohio's big abortion industry entirely leaves out is that a number of the clinics are operating in a way that would get your local dentist's office shut down.
We've thoroughly documented filthy conditions, convicted child sex offenders, unpaid taxes and liens, unfiled mandatory business reports, and more. You can find those documents on our website at gcrtl.org/columbus-clinics and gcrtl.org/abortion-pill-resources, and we go into them pretty specifically on this blog.
Which is why we are not suprised to share with you that within the past month the State of Ohio has filed another precipe for a tax lien for more than $47,000 and two actual liens for failing to pay unemployment taxes.
This means the clinic does not have
Consider joining our sidewalk counseling and prayer team, becoming a volunteer, or supporting us financially.
Looking for documentation?
JFS BES Lien 2017A
JFS BES Lien 2017B
We have BIG news! Columbus Right to Life will be participating in the Columbus Foundation’s 2017 Big Give!
The Big Give is a 26-hour online giving rally sponsored by the Columbus Foundation. It kicks off at 10:00 am on October 10th and runs until October 11th at noon. Not only will 100% of all donations made to GCRTL via the Big Give go directly to Greater Columbus Right to Life (no credit card or processing fees), but they will help us to leverage a share of the more than $1.3 million in bonus-pool funds provided by the Columbus Foundation and community partners. While the exact amount of bonus-pool funds we earn will depend on the total amount donated, the last time the Big Give was held, donations made to participating nonprofits were amplified a little more than 10%.
This Clinic Closed: Planned Parenthood Delaware
Planned Parenthood in Delaware County quietly closed its doors over the weekend. The clinic’s Facebook page and its director listing on Planned Parenthood’s website were both deleted. While the abortion giant has still not made an announcement that it has closed yet another clinic that referred for but did not perform abortions, deleting the social media and directory listing are pretty telling, as is the “For Rent” sign in the lawn.
We realize that integral to this clinic’s closing has been the prayers and fasting of so many members of the community. For that reason, we would like to join with you once again to offer prayers of thanksgiving that the Planned Parenthood in Delaware County has closed and to ask for the continued protection of pregnant women and unborn children in Delaware County.
You are invited to join us at 9:00 am Saturday, October 14th on the sidewalk outside of the former Planned Parenthood office (152 W Central Ave, Delaware) for a short program and community prayer. Community leaders and members of the clergy who would like to join in the program are invited to email Greater Columbus Right to Life to let us know of your interest.
Help us get the word out by sharing these details with your friends or joining our Facebook event.
Central Ohio Abortion Abortions Decrease Five Percent