You may know Andrea Bocelli as an Italian singer-songwriter and the world's most famous living tenor, but did you know that when his mother was pregnant with him her physicians urged her to abort him for medical reasons? She refused, giving her son the precious gift of life - a gift which he has shared with billions through his talent. A few years ago, Bocelli shared his story mid-concert, expressing his appreciation for his mother saying no to that abortion and sharing his hope that every woman can say yes to the life within her.
Why are we sharing this? Because in December, Bocelli will be coming to Columbus to perform for one night, and Greater Columbus Right to Life wants to give you an opportunity to experience Andrea Bocelli live while supporting the life-saving work that we do.
We are excited to announce that we have a phenomenal two-ticket VIP treatment concert package available, which we will be raffling off. The proceeds of the raffle will benefit Greater Columbus Right to Life. We will be making just 500 raffle tickets available. Tickets can be purchased online, in person at the GCRTL office (call ahead for open hours), or with select volunteers.
On an average day in central Ohio, 13 children are aborted. This is a tragedy, and Greater Columbus Right to Life works every day to help empower women to choose life for their unborn children, because we believe each one of them has the potential to change the world - regardless of if it is in the smallest or most profound of ways.
Ticket Package information:
This package consists of two tickets in Section F2, Row M, Seats 10-11 at the Schottenstein Center. In addition to the premiere seating location, these tickets are part of a VIP package that includes a pre-show Italian themed, multi-course dinner featuring a free glass of Bocelli wine (where liquor laws permit), additional cash bar, VIP parking, and a custom Andrea Bocelli merchandise gift bag with a color photo tour program, Bocelli music, embroidered tote bag, and more. The concert package has a retail value of approximately $1500.
You can visit our website for more information including rules here, or you can purchase your raffle ticket today here. With only 500 tickets available, we anticipate that this opportunity will sell out quickly. Note: While we appreciate his sharing his story and the opportunity to make this package available, this promotion is not endorsed or sponsored by Andrea Bocelli, his tour or tour promoters, or the venue.
Want to support GCRTL a little more? Consider joining us for our 2019 Dinner, An Evening with the Pro-Life Doc, on Monday June 10th. There is no cost to attend or to serve as a table host. Sponsorships and volunteer opportunities are still available.
Dr. William Lile, also known as “The Pro-Life Doc,” will give the keynote at the Greater Columbus Right to Life Annual Banquet on Monday, June 10th, 2019, at Villa Milano. Doors will open at 6:00 pm; the program and meal will start at 6:30. There is no cost to attend the banquet; an invitation to support GCRTL will be extended after the program.
Back in 1999, Dr. Lile and his partner bought out one of the busiest Florida abortion clinics. He immediately put the facility’s function into reverse; Lile used equipment once used to extinguish life to protect it. His passion to save the lives of the unborn landed him the nickname “The Pro-Life Doc.”
Now 20 years later, Dr. Lile continues to practice medicine, teach, and inspire countless others to defend the defenseless. Part of his practice includes offering abortion pill reversal and rescue. He provides this life-saving measure in his clinic and serves on the medical advisory board of Heartbeat International, a worldwide network of more than 2,600 pro-life pregnancy help organizations that provide comprehensive pregnancy assistance to women at all points in their pregnancies.
Dr. Lile has reached a national level of attention with his perspective on extreme abortion laws, including ones passed in New York, Vermont, and more. He discusses these scenarios from both medical and scriptural perspectives, shedding light on both sides.
GCRTL Executive Director Beth Vanderkooi commented, “We are so excited to hear from Dr. Lile, who has inspired the country with his bold plan to put a local abortion provider out of business, his courageous response to extreme abortion and infanticide laws, and his leadership in helping women who regret taking the abortion pill know that it may not be too late to save their babies."
There is no cost to attend the banquet, but advance registration is requested at www.gcrtl.org/banquet.
Cal Zastrow and his daughter Corrie have experienced victory in the protection of their free speech rights to advocate for life. This happened in Toledo, but it affects us right here in Columbus.
It all started when they were attempting to peacefully advocate for the lives of unborn babies on the public sidewalks near the Capital Care Network, a local abortion clinic.
Their advocacy includes prayer, preaching, worshiping, distributing literature and holding pro-life signs on public sidewalks near abortion centers where innocent children are killed on a daily basis.
But Toledo Police weren’t having it; the advocacy and voices of this father and daughter were effectively silenced. But not for long as God was on their side.
The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) stepped in and filed a civil rights lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on behalf of the Zastrows against the city, its chief of police, along with two officers. Said suit claimed the officers violated the Zastrows’ constitutional rights — outlined in the First and Fourteenth amendments.
The First amendment reads as such: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The Fourteenth: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The judge recognized these rights and sided with the plaintiffs, ordering the city to allow the Zastrows to continue on with their peaceful protests undeterred. And that’s not all. The city is also required to pay $7,500 in attorneys’ fees and costs to the AFLC.
This victory affects pro-lifers right here in the capital city as it further empowers us to continually protest in peaceful manners near abortion clinics within our own community. Let’s continue to fight the good fight!
A copy of the decision can be read here.
no Party Divide Here
To the stunning surprise and relief of many, Democrats and Republicans in the Ohio Senate recently came together in support of babies who survive abortion attempts. This show of unity comes in dramatic contrast to their federal counterparts.
State senators unanimously passed Senate Resolution 41, which urges Congress to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. This happened in the same hearing where the Heartbeat Bill was passed.
Democratic Senator Nickie Antonio said she does not take her vote on the issue lightly and described the issue as “troubling” because laws are already on the books that protect newborn babies.
But this issue must be clearly understood. The Born-Alive Protection Act of 2002 was signed at the time by President George W. Bush. However, the current legislation in Congress is significantly different. One of the biggest changes is the earlier bill did not include penalties for medical professionals who allow babies who survive abortions to die from lack of medical care. The 2019 bill does and closes loopholes that allow abortion providers to put a screaming, crying, unwanted infant in a room alone to slowly pass away. The WONDER database from the Centers for Disease Control reveals that from 1999-2017, at least 592 babies perished after surviving abortions.
Antonio acknowledged that “the minute that baby takes a breath, they are a citizen of the United States.”
She eventually grew visibly emotional as she continued to speak.
“When a baby is born, a baby is born. And we should do everything we can,” she said through tears.
Senate Resolution 41 was brought forward by Senate President Obhof and Republican Senator Matt Huffman. Democrats asked to caucus (meaning to meet privately) and then voted unanimously in support along with all Republicans.
We pray those in Congress see the unity within Ohio on this extremely important issue.
To encourage Ohio's members of the US Senate to support the Infant Born Alive Act, you can contact Ohio's Senators at:
Senator Rob Portman (has voted to support the Act)
Senator Sherrod Brown (has voted against the Act)
Note: Existing Ohio law (2919.17) generally requires that abortions performed or induced after the point of viability are done in a facility that has appropriate neonatal facilities to care for a premature infant and that any abortion or induction be done in a way that gives the child the best opportunity to survive. Failure to abide by this provision is a 4th degree felony in Ohio and grounds for loss of a medical license.
They Really Want Us to Quit This Work
A few weeks ago, Greater Columbus Right to Life was the first to share the shocking news that Ohio’s first abortion provider had permanently relinquished his medical license. The reasons behind the relinquishment were not clear beyond some vaguely worded content in the action from the Ohio Medical Board document, indicating that he had surrendered his license in lieu of additional investigation into irregularly providing certain drugs to male patients. Subsequent public records requests to the Ohio Medical Board gained no additional clarity beyond the agenda for a quickly-called meeting and the outcome of a vote.
The next day, we were able to share that subsequent to the relinquishment of Mr. Blank’s license, the clinic he co-founded, which has been mired in scandal for years, closed in June of 2018, and reopened in November, had surrendered its license to perform surgical abortions. The clinic is currently open 4-5 days per week providing the abortion pill, and seems to be referring women who are later than ten weeks in pregnancy to clinics in Cleveland or Dayton for surgical procedures.
We’ve continued to pursue the truth of what is going on at this and other clinics as part of our community education program and we regularly maintain information on this and other clinics, but a few days after we exposed Ohio’s first abortion clinic, we learned that someone (or a group of people) really wants us to quit this work.
For the last month, someone has been using the name (or a version of the name), the email, and the phone number of our ED to apply for large numbers of “contact requests” from career and technical schools, multi-level marketing sales opportunities, jobs, “adult novelty” catalogs, non-mainstream religions, and more. It resulted in a large number of phone calls, emails, and texts in an effort to disrupt our office activities. It appears that these folks really, really, really want us to be doing something different – anything different. It lead us to ask why it is that the response of abortion supporters, when confronted by the bad actions and bad actors of their industry, is to result to this kind of behavior rather than denounce the bad behavior of their cohort. While it was a minor inconvenience to us, it was also a disrespectful waste of the time of the people who reached out to us in response to their false request – some of whom worked on commission or with pay based on success/fail rates – people who were just trying to do their jobs. Not surprising, more than a few of them were happy to share with us the information (like ISP address from the original contact) gathered when the form was submitted, information that we could provide to law enforcement.
If anything, this activity has more firmly cemented our resolve to continue advocating for the unborn, the weak, and the infirm. We need to continue steadily proclaiming the dignity of the unborn while also peeling back the veil that enshrouds abortion as being good and necessary for the advancement of women.
So our resolution is that in 2019 we are not going to stop pressing forward in defense of human life, and we are going to continue from every angle we can.
But, we need a little help from you. Can you make a donation that is postmarked today or completed online tonight by midnight to help us end 2018 in a strong position? Or, can you make a donation in early 2019 to jump-start our efforts? Can you resolve to volunteer to pray outside a clinic with us for just one shift a month, or help us to lead the 40 Days for Life efforts at your church? Would you like to bring the Memorial of the Unborn display to your church or school? Can you pray for our leaders and volunteers? Because we can only be “all in” if you are!
Happy New Year, and may 2019 be blessed beyond measure.
* Invariably, when we make a statement like this, someone in the pro-life movement will be quick to critique that we should not find dirty conditions or dangerous complications or an abortion provider possessing child pornography to be more revolting than the act of dismembering an unborn child. Obviously we think abortion is always and unequivocally bad and not made better or worse by clean facilities or killing babies without also butchering their mothers.
If you would like to financially support the work of Greater Columbus Right to Life, you can do so here.
2018 will be remembered for many things, but one of them will undoubtedly be the #MeToo movement. At its best, the movement has brought wrongdoings, especially against women and the vulnerable, into the light in a spirit that (unintentionally) echoes the Gospel, "So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known."
Have there been false or overblown accusations and reactions? Absolutely, but as noted by Augustine, "The truth is like a lion. You don't have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself."
While the impacts of the movement have been visible at almost every level: from the halls of government, in our churches and schools, up and down the corporate ladder, and to the red carpets of Hollywood, there is one place that has been immune to accountability: the abortion industry. Aside from a few narrowly read publications tailored to the faith or pro-life movement and subscribers to watchdog groups like GCRTL, there is virtually no coverage of the bad actions and bad actors within the abortion industry. More tellingly, there has been no refutation of illegal actions and horrifically bad actors by the abortion industry itself. Rather, it has been radio silence. The hypocrisy is stunning.
Let me be clear: there are bad actors and bad actions in every field. But when a lone actor who is unaffiliated with any pro-life organization does something illegal (like this), every pro-life leader denounces the actions, reminds the community and volunteers of our standards, and shares our commitment to peaceful pro-life action. Nonetheless, the story is told far and wide in various media often with a narrative that blames the action on unrelated groups for creating cultural polarization. To be perfectly clear: the pro-life community should hold itself to the highest of standards because what we are standing for is the dignity of every human life.
But what is astonishing is the silence of abortion industry leaders in the face of horrific actions. Their silence says everything. Anyone who truly cares about women's health should be the first to speak up against illegal actions and especially horrific actors in their business. Let's look at a handful of especially egregious or recent situations here in Ohio.
The list could go on and on and on with examples. If pro-abortion organizations and individuals want to position themselves as champions of women and the underserved, they could start by having the courage to speak out against these kind of incidents. That they do not supports something pro-life advocates have been saying for years: these types of illegal and unethical behaviors are the industry norm in abortion, not isolated incidents. In the rare occasion that such grisly conditions are revealed (ahem, like in the Gosnell case), the public narrative is that it is actually the fault of pro-life organizations that Gosnell happened, because they advocate for regulations of the industry. It is crazy.
So, if the industry is not going to clean itself up, and if the mainstream media is not going to hold them accountable, and if state agencies either lack the political will or are immobilized by state regulations and laws that tie actions up in red tape and litigation, who is holding the abortion industry accountable?
You might wonder why Greater Columbus Right to Life would send out a piece like this just a few days before Christmas. We are doing it, as we do everything - because someone has to do it. However, if we are to continue to succeed, we need your help. We are currently working very hard on a campaign to recruit volunteers who can join our ministry. We are also - like many other groups - trying to make our year-end fundraising needs so that we can focus on our next project (and it is going to be a big one). If everyone who reads our emails regularly were to donate just $50, we would meet our year-end needs in a day and if everyone in central Ohio who plans to attend the March for Life or the Roe Remembrance were to pray with us just once a month, we would line the sidewalks of every abortion clinic in Columbus and change lives forever.
Ohio’s Medical Board Revokes License of Ohio’s First Abortion Provider
On November 14th, the Ohio Medical Board finalized the revocation/permanent surrender of Dr. Harley Blank’s license to practice medicine. He signed a consent decree for the permanent revocation of his medical license on October 25, 2018.
We do not yet have confirmation of why Mr. Blank’s medical license was revoked, but there is no doubt that a large part of the reason has been the extensive work done by Greater Columbus Right to Life staff and volunteers for the past five years to uncover the true conditions of the clinic, refer injured patients to legal counsel and state regulators. We have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to make this a reality, and it is paying off.
We have known for a considerable amount of time that Founder’s is not a safe place for women or their unborn children, and we have observed increasingly erratic behavior on the part of Dr. Blank, who joins another Founder’s abortion provider – who is currently serving time in federal prison for child pornography – as having his medical license permanently revoked.
We have requested supporting documentation for this situation from applicable entities, and we have reason to believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
You can read a copy of the Medical Board revocation here. You can check for updated information and documents on this page, as we locate them. You can support our work here.
Please consider donating today in support of the work that we do. We operate on a very small budget, and last Friday announced a year-end campaign to raise $30,000 to continue our work. So far, we are about ten percent of the way to that goal. Your donation of any size will help us to make that a reality.
Finally, please consider remembering Mr. Blank and all abortion providers in your prayers. Decades of work in the abortion industry carries a heavy burden to their souls, and our greatest wish is not just that their deeds are uncovered and they face civil justice for what they have done, but that they experience a true conversion of heart and choose life and life eternal.
Think it can't happen here? Think again
Over the past two weeks, more than 300 in central Ohio have come together to watch the #GosnellMovie at events sponsored or cosponsored by Greater Columbus Right to Life. Hundreds more in the local community have gone (or will go) to other showings in the area. In fact, a full list of the theaters showing the movie can be seen online. If you have not seen the movie, we strongly encourage that you go see it. Here is what a few locals had to say after watching the movie at our sneak-peek in September.
But one thing I want to make exceedingly clear, do not think that a Gosnell-type situation could not happen here in central Ohio. Because, even though Ohio reportedly has some of the strictest abortion regulations in the state, failure to meet the standards set by the laws is often met with inaction, excessively long legal practices, and penalties that are abandoned or reduced so as not to have any practical ramifications. Don't believe us? This is a document we put together several weeks ago, citing actual examples from clinic inspection reports.
But last week, something happened that was almost unbelievable and it shows just how desperately we need for groups like Greater Columbus Right to Life and other local organizations to continue serving in education, advocacy, and watchdog positions. Because what happened in Ohio last week is, quite frankly, unbelievable.
Warning - Gosnell Film Spoiler Alerts follow.
One of the shocking takeaways from the film is how the abuses at the Gosnell facility were able to continue because of political decisions and media coverage that tends toward protecting anything termed as "reproductive rights." And as a pro-life organization, we have been frustrated by local media who have refused to cover atrocities like filthy clinics hiring known sex offenders and then not reporting when that sex offender was arrested and indicted for child pornography. Think we might be exaggerating? Check the Toledo coverage of the indictment, and there was zero Columbus coverage, even though Mr. Michaelis was frequently working at Founder's.
You might have read out previous coverage of the fine that Capital Care Network of Toledo received from the Ohio Department of Health. The fine was charged after a patient's abortion was halted because the doctor thought he might have perforated her bowel. This is a very dangerous medical emergency. Rather than call for an ambulance, a non-medical staffer of the clinic drove the woman to the hospital and dropped her off at the emergency room. Here is our coverage of the situation, which was appealed by the clinic. It took nearly a year for the appeal to get a hearing, which it did last June. The defenses of the clinic were laughable, including that a) since the patient's bowel was not actually perforated, there wasn't really an emergency so there should be no fine, and b) that the clinic has not been making a profit for many years and this fine will put them out of business. This past Friday, a hearing officer made a recommendation to the Ohio Department of Health to reduce the fine to $3,000.
Here are a few things to consider from the actual case.
- First, the clinic was notified in a letter on August 21 that it had ten days to respond to fix the deficiencies and 30 days to request an appeal. It responded with the deficiencies and requested an appeal on September 8th, 2017. They did not even bother to follow the proscribed timeline to correct their deficiencies. This is typical of the clinics that have been run under the same management - no response, late response, etc.
- Second, the clinic is owned and operated in part by a woman who has been operating various abortion clinics in Ohio and Indiana under different names and DBAs for almost a decade the track record is NOT good. A few of them.
So what can we do? Well, the first thing we would encourage you to do is to contact the Ohio Department of Health and let them know that it is not appropriate to let someone with Terrie Hubbard's track record off with a minor fine. By reducing this fine the ODH will be signaling that women who enter these facilities they are setting up a do not consider women's health to be 13 times less important for similar violations against the general public! Contact information: Director Lance Himes: Director@odh.ohio.gov or call (614) 466-2253.
The Second thing you can do is to consider joining our team, which serves as a watchdog at local clinics and can help to make sure that when things go wrong, someone knows. You can do this by either volunteering with us or making a donation.
About 160 gathered on Tuesday, September 25th for a special sneak-peek of the Gosnell Movie sponsored by Greater Columbus Right to Life and Citizens for Community Values. In addition to getting the opportunity to see the movie before its October 12th nationwide opening, attendees were able to hear from film producer Ann McElhinney.
The movie shares exactly how the story of Gosnell’s now infamous abortion clinic was raided by police, the FBI, and the DEA on suspicions of running a narcotic pill mill. Once inside, investigators were shocked at what they found – a filthy mess of human and animal excrement, dirty equipment, and fetal remains facilitated by years of disregard by Pennsylvania state inspectors. It predominantly follows the investigation by a local (catholic) narcotics cop and a prosecutor portrayed as a pro-choice, up-and-coming on the political scene, mother of five through the investigation and trial of Kermit Gosnell.
The movie, while not graphic in the sense that one might expect, did not shy away of showing the horror of what investigators experienced. Rather than relying on portraying images of the youngest victims, the movie successfully used the actors’ emotions to relay the serious heartbreak of the situation. The result resonated with the crowd.
Producer Ann McElhiney shared that while she had started looking at the story as a reporter and writer, she herself had a change of heart on abortion while producing the screenplay and the movie. “I was always, well, let’s say neutral on the subject of abortion, which basically meant that I was in favor of it. But after writing the book and directing the film, I had a personal change of heart.”
If you missed the sneak-peek preview, it is not too late. Gosnell: The Story of America’s Biggest Serial Killer will open in theaters across the nation on October 12th. You can find a local theater by visiting www.gosnellmovie.com. If there is not a local theater playing the movie, please consider calling your local chain theater and requesting that it open in your community. Although the movie is a factual portrayal of the investigation and trial of Gosnell, it is running into difficulties with distribution and finding theaters willing to show the film. We have already seen stories – NPR refusing to advertise the film if it referred to ‘abortion’ at all, a showing in Texas being cancelled at the demand of Planned Parenthood, and similar sorts of discrimination. We have been told that there is a national attempt to keep this out of theaters, because those with a pro-abortion agenda know that if this movie is picked up by 600 theaters nationwide by October it will also run on Netflix – where millions of people around the world will hear about the story and start to speak up.
For this reason, we are encouraging every single GCRTL supporter to contact their local theater (especially AMC, Cinemark, Regal, and other large national chains) and ask them to show the Gosnell Movie. Then, you need to follow through by going to watch it. Trust us - you will not regret it!