by Steven Ertelt
July 16, 2007
Fred Thompson Says He Doesn’t Remember Lobbying for Pro-Abortion Group
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Likely Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson says he doesn’t remember doing any lobbying for a pro-abortion organization. His statement comes after a much-amligned Los Angeles Times news story that claimed Thompson had “accepted a lobbying assignment” from the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association to lobby the Bush administration in October 1991 to back off of the Mexico City Policy that pro-life presidents have used to stop taxpayer funding of groups that promote or perform abortions in other nations. As LifeNews.com has reported, the story came under fire across the Internet for inaccurate portions saying a top official for the pro-abortion group recalled a lunch with Thompson to discuss strategy during which the pair discussed a movie the actor and attorney stared in that hit the screens over a decade after the supposed conversation took place. The Times removed the inaccurate information from its article but maintained Thompson had done the lobbying. Thompson says he doesn’t recall lobbying for the group and federal disclosure papers show he wasn’t a lobbyist for the organization at that time or lobbying on its issues in subsequent years. In a column Thompson posted on the Internet this week, he said, “In almost 30 years of practicing law I must have had hundreds of clients and thousands of conversations about legal matters. Like any good lawyer, I would always try to give my best, objective and professional opinion on any legal question presented to me.” Meanwhile, Thompson spokesman Mark Corallo eventually told the Times in an e-mail: “Fred Thompson did not lobby for this group, period.” Later, Corallo offered a less sweeping comment about Thompson and the group: “He has no recollection of doing any work for this group. And since he was of counsel and not a member of the firm, it was not unusual for the firm’s partners to trot their clients in to meet him, get his views and even some advice.” When an Associated Press reporter asked him about the matter, he deflected saying: “I’d just say the flies get bigger in the summertime. I guess the flies are buzzing.” Then in an interview with Sean Hannity, Thompson said: “You need to separate a lawyer who is advocating a position from the position itself.”
Leading Pro-Life Organization Says Fred Thompson is Pro-Life on Abortion
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — In the wake of a Los Angeles Times article that has confused some about where likely Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson stands on abortion, a leading pro-life group confirms the former senator has a strong pro-life voting record. The Times story, which has been taken to task for several inaccuracies, claims Thompson lobbied in 1991 for a pro-abortion group seeking to overturn President Bush’s policy prohibiting taxpayer funding of groups that promote or do abortions in other countries. Thompson has said he doesn’t remember lobbying for the organization and is top staff members have said he never lobbied for it. Talking about his record as a Tennessee senator, Karen Cross of the National Right to Life Committee told LifeNews.com that “It appears that there is an attempt to create confusion regarding former Senator Fred Thompson’s pro-life position,” but “Senator Thompson had an excellent pro-life voting record while in the U.S. Senate.” Pointing to records of his votes against abortion, euthanasia, and experimentation on unborn babies, Cross said “National Right to Life PAC supported Senator Thompson for the U.S. Senate in 1994 and 1996, and considered him to be a very pro-life Senator.“ Cross, the pro-life group’s political director, said “Senator Thompson has since reaffirmed his pro-life position” and pointed to statements he’s made recently. In one comment, to Fox News on March 11, Thompson said, "I think Roe v. Wade was bad law and bad medical science. And the way to address that is through good judges." In another Fox News interview in May, Thompson called himself “pro-life.” Thompson has also sided with the pro-life community on key bioethics issues and told attendees at the National Right to Life convention in June that he backs the pro-life view on stem cell research. "I’m for adult stem cell research, not stem cell research where embryos of unborn children are destroyed. It looks to me like that there’s a lot of promising developments as far as adult stem cell research is concerned anyway and we don’t need to go down that other road,” he said
Congressional Battle Over Taxpayer Funding of Forced Abortions Returns Soon
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life groups are preparing pro-life advocates to get engaged in the next fight in the battle over stopping taxpayer funding of international abortions. The Senate Appropriations Committee recently passed a funding bill that rewrites the long-established Kemp-Kasten Provision. This provision keeps tax dollars away from organizations who support coercive abortion and sterilization practices around the world. After a State Department investigation, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, "UNFPA’s support of, and involvement in, China’s population planning activities allows the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion. Therefore, it is not permissible to continue funding UNFPA at this time." The Susan B. Anthony List recently urged its membership to begin making phone calls to support Kemp-Kasten. ”Despite the cut in American funds, the UNFPA refuses to leave China. Instead, they are encouraging Senators to change our law so they can increase their support for China’s programs,” the group said. The group said that excessive governmental actions by Chinese officials against violators of the one-child family planning policy is getting worse. For families of more than one child, what started out as heavy fines has now escalated to actual physical abuse and property destruction for those who refuse or are simply unable to pay the taxes for their children. Just a few weeks ago, villagers in rural China rose up against the powerful Chinese population police. When Chinese officials showed up at their door, armed with sledge hammers and cattle prods, many poor Chinese families with more than one child refused to pay their "social child-raising fee." In response, the population police forcibly took their property and destroyed their homes with sledge hammers. “Please contact Congress today and tell them you don’t want your money supporting organizations that help Chinese officials violate human rights,” the pro-life group told its members. “Please do not let these abuses fall beneath the radar. Tell Congress today that U.S. taxpayers will not stand for this kind of abuse.”
Abortion Practitioner Was Banned in Two States Whose New Jersey Center Was Closed
Atlantic City, NJ (LifeNews.com) — State health officials closed down an abortion facility in Atlantic City, New Jersey in recent weeks and new reports indicate an abortion practitioner who had been banned in two states ran the facility shortly before authorities acted. Steven Chase Brigham told the Atlantic City newspaper that he had done abortions at the Alternatives abortion center on June 8 and June 5 before state officials temporarily closed it on June 22 for health and safety violations. Brigham also told the newspaper he is planning to buy the abortion business form its current owners and has sent checks to the employees o the abortion center. Health authorities said there were several problems at Alternatives included an inability to control infections and problems with faulty paperwork. The state had not investigated the facility since 2001 until tipped that there were problems there. “I came in right at the tail end of it,” Brigham told the newspaper about the violations at the center, which he said predated his involvement with it. “All of these violations that the department found have been there for a long time.” Despite his claims, Brigham has run afoul of health officials on numerous occasions, including when he nearly killed a 20 year old New Jersey resident after a botched abortion when he left her bleeding for four hours in a recovery room. That incident and others led officials in New York and Florida to revoke his medical license there and prohibit him from doing abortions. He is on probation in California for further violations there. Brigham also had restrictions placed on his New Jersey medical license, but those were later lifted.
Sales of Morning After Pill Doubled After FDA Gave It Non-Prescription Status
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — New reports indicated sales of the morning after pill doubled following the Food and Drug Administration’s decision last fall to give it non-prescription status. Upsetting many pro-life advocates, the agency said anyone over the age of 18, including men, could purchase the Plan B drug at pharmacies over the counter without first having to visit a doctor. Since then, pill maker Barr Pharmaceuticals said sales will probably be close to $80 million for 2007 — double the previous rate. Sales of the morning after pill could increase further if the agency bows to pressure from abortion advocates to remove the age requirement and allow teenagers to purchase the drug without seeing a physician. That’s something Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council opposes. “Physicians consulting with FRC believe Plan B may affect adolescents differently from adults, and it is alarming that Plan B’s manufacturer did not present adolescent safety data to FDA. Consequently, FDA decided that it could not be sold safely to adolescents without a prescription,” he told LifeNews.com. “Doubling the use of a bad drug is nothing to celebrate.” Perkins also said that litigation filed by his group, Concerned Women for America, and the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons is still pending in court. The pro-life organizations and doctors group sued over what Perkins calls a “legally dubious marketing scheme combining OTC adult sales with adolescent prescription sales.” Perkins is also concerned that the label comprehension tests for Plan B, conducted by Plan B’s manufacturer, indicated that one-third of women tested did not realize Plan B was not a replacement for traditional contraceptives. “Without physician oversight, this might lead to Plan B’s overuse,” Perkins said. He also joined pro-life advocates at Catholic hospitals who are concerned about more legal requirements that they be forced to distribute the drug to victims of sexual abuse.
Surgeon General Nominee James Holsinger Gets Advice, Criticism From Both Sides
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Bush’s surgeon general nominee, Dr. James Holsinger, got advice and criticism from both sides of the abortion and bioethics debate as he appeared before a Senate committee on Thursday. Holsinger, who had headed up the health care system at the University of Kentucky, tried to remain impartial and said he would resign from the ceremonial post as the nation’s top doctor rather than allow politics to trump science. Before Holsinger could answer a single question from the Senate panel, officials with the nation’s largest abortion business protested outside. About a dozen Planned Parenthood supporters chanted slogan and questioned what kind of stand he would take on abortion and other controversial topics like abstinence education and the morning after pill. During the hearing, Holsinger largely avoided answering a question about whether he supports President Bush’s policy protecting taxpayers from being forced to pay for new embryonic stem cell research that destroys human life. However, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is concerned and said that, when Holsinger’s name first appeared alarm bells immediately went off. Perkins said he remembered that the doctor once testified in favor of cloning and human embryonic stem cell experimentation when he was the chancellor of the University of Kentucky’s Medical Center. “When we asked about his previous testimony we were told he has since changed his mind on the stem cell issue — yet we were offered no confirmation of this evolution,” he told LifeNews.com. Perkins seem to imply that members of the Senate should vote down Holsinger’s nomination or at least suggested a reason why his nomination may not be confirmed if it does. “Dr. Holsinger’s confirmation should not fail because of his views, but because of his seeming lack of conviction on any of them,” Perkins said.
Sam Brownback Engages in Pro-Life, Whole Life Tour Over the Weekend
Des Moines, IA (LifeNews.com) — With events across Iowa over the weekend in places ranging from Bettendorf and Cedar Rapids to Ames and Council Bluffs, Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback continued to stress pro-life themes. His "Pro-Life, Whole-Life Tour" saw him stop in several cities with two people who helped the Kansas senator focus on his pro-life views from conception to natural death. Brownback campaigned with Francis Bok, who is an escaped Dinka slave from Sudan and with Bobby Schindler, brother to the late Terri Schiavo, the disabled woman whose former husband killed her in a painful euthanasia bid. Schindler has since given up his teaching job at Tampa Catholic High School and now travels across the world telling his sister’s story and describing the impact of euthanasia. One leading Iowa political activist says the strong Iowa strategy Brownback is employing is working and it could pay off some dividends with Senator John McCain’s campaign floundering. "Sam Brownback is working very hard and he’s participating in the Iowa process the proper way and he seems to be having some success," said former Iowa Republican Chairman Richard Schwarm, who is backing Mitt Romney. "He is absolutely following the successful method that other candidates have used in the past." As the 50-year-old Brownback puts it repeatedly on the campaign trail, "I guess that’s what I learned growing up on a farm. You get up early, you work hard and you go to bed tired." Brownback also contrasts his longtime pro-life views with the newfound pro-life stance former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney says he has. "He’s changed on a number of these issues over a period of time and at different times," Brownback said. "I’m laying out a consistent message and I think people should know what has been different and where I have been on these issues."
British Population Control Group Says UK Families Should be Limited to Two Children
London, England (LifeNews.com) — A British public policy institute says families in the United Kingdom should be forced to have just two children. The suggestion of a family planning regime similar to China’s, which has involved forced abortions and sterilizations and severe human rights abuses, has pro-life groups worried. The Optimum Population Trust, a population control group, claims that families with multiple children are causing harm to the environment. It claims it is "no longer responsible, or environmentally friendly, to bring three, four or more into the world.” John Guillebaud, co-chairman of the Manchester-based group, said families would help Britain send a message to the world that it is a leader in combating supposed dangers to the world’s environment by having fewer children. “Each new UK birth, through the inevitable resource consumption and pollution that UK affluence generates, is responsible for about 160 times as much climate-related environmental damage as a new birth in Ethiopia,“ he said. Rosamund McDougall, a member of the trust’s advisory council, told the London Guardian newspaper, “You’ve got to consider the environmental impact across the 80 years that each of these babies is likely to live. We’ve calculated that each UK child is going to cost the world the equivalent of 620 return flights between London and New York across a lifetime." But editorial columnist Melanie McDonaghon says that despite assurances from the group that I doesn’t want to go the way of China, that “the Optimum Population people that if voluntary restraints do not work, governments will bring in coercive measures.” She said that the cost of living in the UK alone I enough of a deterrent for families to avoid having large numbers of children and that governmental controls are both abhorrent and unnecessary. “Don’t the environmentalists get out at all? Don’t they realize that there are only two classes in Britain for whom three or more children are an option – the rich, for whom mortgages don’t matter, and the poor, whose children are supported by the benefit system?” McDonaghon also argued that Europe as a whole is dealing with a severe population shortage and concerns that current generations won’t have enough workers to support aging populations. “Europe needs more babies – the average continental family has a mere 1.37 children,” she said. “The last thing we should be doing is bullying people to breed less. The population controllers have to be put back in their box.”
Ohio Sees Second Death of Unborn Child in Attack on Pregnant Mother
Cincinnati, OH (LifeNews.com) — The state of Ohio has experienced another case of the death of an unborn child in an attack on the baby’s mother. This latest case comes shortly after the state received national attention when a Canton police officer killed his pregnant girlfriend and her unborn baby, who was days away from birth. Channel 5 news reports that 15 year-old Alfonzo Price and a friend beat up his 18 year-old girlfriend Kerria Anderson early Thursday while she was waking along a street with her one year-old daughter. “She said the guy that was with her hauled off and hit her in the face,” Betty Payne, the victim’s grandmother, told the television station. “While he hit her in the face, the other guy came in and jumped on her, too.” Price and his friend dragged Anderson behind a building ad beat her and stomped on her stomach. After the attack, Anderson found a security guard in a nearby building and called police. "She’s five months pregnant, she has bruises everywhere, they just jumped her, like three guys had just jumped her," the guard told the 911 operator, according to the news station. "She knows one of them, it’s her baby daddy. Well, the unborn child’s father. And I guess it was over her not getting an abortion or something like that." Anderson was reportedly hospitalized for bruises and other injuries but her baby died as a result of the attack. Her family said she confirmed Price attacked her because he is the father of her baby and she refused his request to have an abortion. Ohio is one of 35 states that currently have a law holding criminals accountable when they kill an unborn child in the course of an attack on the baby’s mother. Some 25 of the states protect pregnant women throughout pregnancy while another 10 offer protection only in the latter stages. The laws give prosecutors the ability to bring charges for both the death or injury to the mother and child.
India Government Plans New Abortion Registry to Reduce Number of Illegal Abortions
New Deli, India (LifeNews.com) — The government of India is planning to begin to a new registry for women having abortions in order to reduce the rampant number of sex-selection abortions occurring there. The idea is to help make it more difficult for women or couples with girl unborn children to have abortions. Cultural preferences in the Asian nation strongly favor male children and some regions of the country have seen their male-female ratios horribly skewed towards boys because of infanticides and sex-selection abortions. It has resulted in higher crime and a society of bachelors who are having a more difficult time finding mates — which leads to increased levels of prostitution, kidnapping and sexual slavery. Experts say that sex-selective abortions are responsible for the number of girls per 1,000 boys slipping from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001. Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury told The Hindustan Times about the new policy. "This will help to check both feticide and infant mortality," Chowdhury told the newspaper. "With this, mysterious abortions will become difficult." Abortions have been legal in India since 1971 and were allowed a means of curing population growth in the second most populated nation in the world. Because of the cultural preferences, an industry of black market ultrasounds has sprung up where parents illegally find out the gender of their baby and have an abortion if the test reveals a girl baby. Chowdhury said women will only be allowed to have an abortion when there is a "valid and acceptable reason," presumably for reasons other than determining the sex of the child. India has been cracking down on doctors not following the sex-selection law by doing ultrasounds for non-medical reasons and on abortion practitioners doing abortions for sex-selection reasons. The government has also provided safe havens for parents to leave newborn girls to save them from infanticides. Together, the measures have helped but observers say they are far from solving the crisis. Abortion advocates decried the new policy as an invasion of women’s privacy despite its goals.