Monday, August 31, 2015



‘To be pro-life is to be pro-child’: Couple who adopted six now open adoption agency

“God will speak to many about opening your hearts to adoption. We cannot cry out for LIFE if we’re not willing to LIVE it WITH them.” -Randy Bohlender
The first one was Zoe. Properly named Savannah Zoe, which means “from a barren field, LIFE!” Zoe was the first life Randy and Kelsey rescued.

It was 2006, just one year after the Bohlender family had spent a year of their lives in Washington, D.C. crying out in prayer at the Supreme Court for the ending of abortion.
The next year they began the journey of being the answer to their own prayers, a journey that has not stopped.
Now, the Bohlenders have six adopted children, and just this week, they launched Zoe’s House Adoption Agency, to help others be the answers to their own prayers, as well. Their journey went from praying in Washington, D.C. one year to Las Vegas the next, where Zoe entered their lives.
It was a Tuesday when Randy received a phone call from Las Vegas telling him Zoe, who wasn’t theirs yet, had been born. The social worker said she was “half African American, half Hispanic, with a gorgeous head of hair.” That day set a whirlwind in motion.

Zoe, the little girl who started it all.
The Bohlenders rushed to Las Vegas to meet their daughter. Randy and Kelsey were already parents to three boys: Jackson Taylor born in 1993, Grayson Alexander David born in 1997, and Zion Isaiah born in 2001. But that year in D.C. had wrecked them for adoption.
“To be pro-life is to be pro-child,” both of them will tell you. It sounds like a nice tagline for an adoption promo, but for the Bohlenders, it’s their life. Period. When Zoe came along, their proverbial rubber met the road – and they drove. In his book, The Spirit of Adoption, Randy narrates the urgency:
My head spun as I sat down on the corner of our bed. I was almost afraid to get excited. Had my daughter been born halfway across the country? I knew it was customary for birth moms to choose from a number of prospective families. “How many portfolios are you presenting to the birth mother?” I asked. “Just yours. She’s here in the hospital. Sir, if you want her, come and get her.” Other than Kelsey saying “Yes” when I married her, I’m not sure when any other words have had such an emotional effect on me. It was as if I was getting thumped in the chest. “If you want her, come and get her.”
And so Savannah Zoe was born to the Bohlenders in 2006. And then in 2008, things shifted more. Randy says:
In 2008, we felt the Lord encourage us to get a home study done “just in case….” something happened and we needed to be able to adopt. It was completed on a Wednesday night. Thursday morning at [a] 6 a.m. prayer meeting I received a comment on my blog that said, in essence, “My sister in law had twins and we’re looking for a Christian family to adopt them….” By 7 a.m. I’d made phone contact with the birth mother’s family and then had four or five phone conversations with her. At 2 p.m., she said “I think if I met you I could make a decision.” We raced to the airport, and by 8 a.m. Friday morning we were in her hospital room. We left the hospital that day (Friday) with Anna and Mercy.
Three years later, I received a call from her family again – she was pregnant with twins again. By this time, we had grown fairly close with them and felt comfortable talking openly. We knew she would not be able to parent them, and offered to adopt if it would be acceptable to her and them. It was, and we were in Florida for the births of Creed and Cadence.
Zoe, along with Anna River and her identical twin Mercy Rain, born in 2008, got another sister in 2009 when Kelsey and Randy had a biological child, their third girl, Piper Eden Key. Creed Elijah and Cadence Eliyana came along in 2012.

Anna and Mercy with their younger twin siblings, Creed and Cadence
Anna and Mercy with their younger twin siblings, Creed and Cadence
And another little one was waiting for his home this year. Randy explains:
Another three years later, [the same birth mother] had a baby boy. Her family was unaware she was expecting, and the state was involved more closely this time.
With this boy, especially, they had to fight against a state system that might send him indefinitely to foster care. The Bohlenders fought to raise money fast for what was turning out to be an exceedingly expensive adoption. They fought because they had four of his siblings in their home already; most of all they fought because there was a baby who needed a family. And so, with a lot of red tape to cut, Scout Caleb Justice came home, making the family what is now a social media hashtag: #bohlenderX

The newest Bohlender, Scout, biological brother to the two sets of twins.
The Bohlenders didn’t set out to be a family of 12. They set out to respond to God, and He made them a family of 12 – something that, while beautiful, wasn’t as simple as the happy family pictures make it look.
Randy wrote recently:
Our adoptions were not simple in their origins. In fact, they got more complicated as time went on. Even so, I remember why we started. In 2005, in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, an abortion rights advocate yelled in our face.
“What will you do if you win? Are you going to take all the babies?“
And Randy and Kelsey knew their answer had to be yes, at least as far as they were able. Even as they brought home Scout, they were in the midst of launching a new adoption agency.
Zoe’s House Adoptions received its license just last week. The signage is up, the Facebook page and website are live, and the road LIFE is tucked away on a street in Kansas on the Kansas and Missouri border – just across the interstate from Planned Parenthood. The physical location serves as a visual for women, a reminder that the real solution to an unplanned pregnancy is often just across the road.
Zoe’s House, Randy says, “was founded to provide top-notch care of expectant mothers and quality services to adoptive parents at a lower cost than other agencies.”
Because adoption can be expensive with lawyers’ fees, social workers’ fees, and other necessary services, the Bohlenders seek to help make the process more affordable for families to bring home their child. Randy says, “we do that by partnering financially with like-minded, pro-life people who understand that to be pro life is to be pro-child.”
And at the end of the day, that’s what the Bohlenders’ pro-life lives are about: pro-child. There are six children in their home who know that better than anyone.
Randy and Kelsey are committed to helping others adopt and find resources. You may contact them at

Source:LiveAction News

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pro-Abortion Movie


Morally blind critics cheer another pro-abortion propaganda movie

Grandma 2015 Movie PosterBack in February, we told you about Grandma, a “family comedy” about abortion, more specifically a woman trying to help her granddaughter raise money for one. And much like “Obvious Child” before it, critics are celebrating its release with odes to its biases, pretending its shallow and one-sided presentation of the subject is actually courageous sophistication, based on nothing more than the fact that it tells them what they want to hear.
In the New York Times, AO Scott calls it a “sweet, smart” film, with Lily Tomlin’s titular grandmother Elle defined in large part by “her uncompromising commitment to behaving like a free human being.” He lavishes praise on the film for the “sympathy” with which it regards Elle, daughter Judy, and granddaughter Sage… while conspicuously ignoring the total lack of sympathy for the great-granddaughter our protagonists seek to destroy.
Scott also references the “distinct risks and opportunities each one faces as she tries to pursue happiness and avoid compromise”—an inadvertent confession that uncompromised happiness is the highest good of the pro-abortion mind, the harm we inflict in pursuit of it be damned.
Next, Vulture’s David Edelstein’s review doesn’t focus much on abortion, but finds time to sneer that the “light” and “matter-of-fact treatment” of the subject and others supposedly reflects their essence in the real world, “the world that exists beyond the Duggars, the Republican primary, and in pockets of the country where four-times-married county officials refuse to marry gays because their lifestyle runs counter to the Christian Bible.” You might want to take a gander at the world that exists beyond your own social circles, David.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone cheers Tomlin’s character for “tak[ing] on the world like the hypocrisy pit it is,” apparently oblivious to the hypocrisy of demanding a child needlessly die in the name of your own humanity and self-determination.
Meanwhile, Slate’s June Thomas hails the film’s handling of abortion as “revolutionary,” claiming it treats the subject “with utmost seriousness” and noting that “the responsibility is spread around—Sage for making reckless decisions; Judy for paying more attention to work than to her daughter; and Elle’s generation for failing to make abortion widely available at a reasonable price.”
Funny how her definition of “responsibility” amounts to nothing more than lip service to Sage’s “reckless decisions,” yet it doesn’t extend to taking responsibility for the new human life she’s created. That’s the exact opposite of responsibility and it’s scandalously unserious. And how is it revolutionary to indulge in the same old narcissistic “abortion is all about my body!” delusion pro-aborts have been peddling forever?
But even more surreal is Thomas’s declaration that Elle is “also someone’s grandma—and at the end of the movie, she seems ready to recommit to that role.” By, er, shirking the reality that she was also a great-grandmother.
Alonso Duralde at the Wrap calls it “smart and sweet, mature and bawdy, knowing its characters’ flaws yet open to the possibilities of people acting upon their best instincts.” The granddaughter in the move is reportedly ten weeks pregnant. At that stage, a recognizably-human baby is killed, extracted, and sometimes removed one limb at a time. His or her gory death looks anything but “sweet.”
Does it seem “mature” to you to sweep such violence under the rug just because it gets the desired result? Is murdering someone so defenseless, fully dependent on you for their basic welfare due to your own conscious actions, really an embodiment of one’s “best instincts”?
But the most extensive discussion of the film’s abortion aspect comes from Shannon Kelley at Talking Points Memo, who gushes that it’s “so real and so nuanced and so normalizing”:
[T]he abortion is handled with a kind of understated complexity that’s still exceedingly rare on film. There are no grand speeches, nor is there any question that it should be an option, safe and available, or that it is likely the best choice for Sage, who is still in high school, wants to go to college, and has a terrible boyfriend.
Kelley actually typed that the movie contained “complexity” in one sentence and that it never questioned abortion’s legitimacy in the very next. And didn’t notice the contradiction. Nor did her editors. And pro-lifers are the ones blinded by religious-like zeal?
We learn this in a searing scene at a visit of last resort to see Karl (a de-whiskered, un-cowboy-hatted Sam Elliott), a long-ago ex of Elle’s. The reunion is filled with tension and steam and is loaded with unfinished business and not-entirely-healed wounds. He’s still furious; she insists it was her body, her life. Elle needed to untie herself from their relationship so she could finally accept herself and live according to who she really was—but she hurt a man she loved, and who loved her.
The tiny matter of her also hurting their son or daughter is naturally ignored. Complexity!
It’s bold enough to say that abortion can be hard and painful and maybe even one of those choices a woman questions years down the road—and that it can still be the right choice, and that it absolutely should be available, to every woman, as a choice.
While ignoring the central reason that pain occurs. While not explaining why it can be a right choice, or having the courage to confront the reasons it might not be.
Grandma is about grief, about idealism, about aging, about intergenerational relationships between women. That something can be both right and painful, that there are no easy choices, that the past is never past, that we will let ourselves and our loved ones down, that our loved ones will let us down.
And that sometimes we’ll kill those loved ones because society told us it was our “right,” the entertainment industry will make movies idolizing us for doing so, and pretentious critics will write odes to the “sweetness” and “idealism” of killing them.
These reviews are, of course, repellant, but it’s ultimately not too surprising to see what debauchery some film critics are untroubled by. Far more alarming is how voices of decency in the field are almost universally absent. Rotten Tomatoes has compiled 46 reviews for Grandma, only four of which are negative. Metacritic has 19 favorable reviews, four mixed ones, and zero that are outright negative.
But the kicker? None of the eight outliers cite the film’s abortion promotion as one of their reservations. It’s another reminder that, even though the majority of the country is on our side and many more are sympathetic, in many ways uprooting this cultural desensitization to prenatal violence will still be an uphill battle.

Source: LiveAction News

Life is Beautiful at All Stages

Annabelle, 8 weeks 5 days, fetus, baby, embryo

Mom posts amazing photos of her babies, miscarried at 7 and 8 weeks, on Facebook

Mindy Raelynne Danison has suffered through two tragic miscarriages – one with the baby at seven weeks, and the other at eight weeks and five days. In response, Mindy created a Facebook photo album for each child, where she publicly celebrates their short, but much-loved lives. Mindy’s photos – especially one of Annabelle – have been shared on social media, and Mindy has expressed her desire for many to see her tiny babies. Their humanity could not be more obvious.
For more information on the development of babies at this stage – including amazing videos, ultrasounds, and photos – see The Endowment for Human Development. Eighty nine percent of abortions occur in the first trimester, when many babies look just like Riley and Annabelle. At only seven to eight weeks old, babies can touch their faces and their feet. At this stage of gestation, preborn babies can squint and roll over, and their hindbrain “presents striking resemblance to that of the newborn.”

 Annabelle was born after a miscarriage at eight weeks, five days, and she is incredibly beautiful.
About Riley, Mindy writes:
He went to heaven November 6th but was born November 23. We are blessed to have got to meet our little one. Life is incredibly beautiful! We went to walmart, then at 1pm on the way to mom’s house i started having contractions. They got more intense. When i got to mom’s i got into the tub and had my beautiful amazing little Riley at 3:35pm. Home water birth is what i’d always dreamed of having and i finally got to. Seeing Riley has brought me peace and comfort. I love him and God will care for him for me until i can be with him again. baby Riley is estimated to being 7.5 weeks, Riley was born at 10 weeks.

Since Riley waited for two-and-a-half weeks in Mindy’s womb to be born, his skin is somewhat discolored, but he is still beautiful, and powerfully illustrates the humanity of children at the youngest ages.
To see more beautiful babies who are changing the abortion debate and showing the world the humanity of the preborn, take a look at Walter (19 weeks old), Nathan, (13 weeks old), and identical twins Chase and Cooper (22 weeks old).


Assisted Suicide


Assisted Suicide Push in CA

By Wesley J. Smith
assistedsuicide431More corrupt legislating from the pro-death side. As usual. Having lost fair and square in a California Assembly Committee, the suicide pushers have filed a new legalization bill–AB 15–for a special session intended to grapple with health care costs.
Assisted suicide could definitely reduce costs, I guess: Killing is so much less expensive than caring.
Assisted suicide advocacy is about lying.

Catch this bit of mendacity from the bill:

Aid-in-dying drug” means a drug determined and prescribed by a physician for a qualified individual, which the qualified individual may choose to self-administer to bring about his or her death due to a terminal disease.
No. The death would not be from any disease, but an overdose of drugs.
The committee has been re-jiggered to take the “no” votes away, I am told. Can we say, stacked deck?

And the bill is on a very fast track. Can’t give people time to think or understand why assisted suicide is bad medicine and even worse public policy.
If this shameful machination works, I hope Gov. Jerry Brown remembers his service to the dying with Mother Theresa.

She is definitely spinning in her grave.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Wesley’s great blog.

Source: NRLC News

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Doctor's Dilemma


The Coming Medical Authoritarianism

By Wesley J. Smith
Authoritarianism3reCanada’s medical establishment intends to force all doctors to kill patients legally qualified for euthanasia–a radically broad category–or find a doctor who will.
If doctors refuse, they will be punished. I call this authoritarian threat, “medical martyrdom.”
But most Canadian docs want nothing to do with killing. From a Canada Medical Association Journal story:
According to results of a CMA member survey presented at the meeting, many doctors remain opposed to assisting in a patient’s suicide. Only 29% of those surveyed said they would consider providing medical aid in dying if requested by a patient, 63% would refuse outright and 8% were undecided. Of those who would consider providing assistance, fewer would do so in cases of nonterminal illness (43%) or psychological suffering (19%).
There is power in these numbers! If the majority refuse to kill–and support any doctor that the medical colleges want to punish for so refusing–they can prevail. Dutch doctors did against the Nazis!

So hang together, ethical Canadian doctors. Or, surely your careers will be euthanized separately.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Wesley’s blog.

Source: NRLC News

Life with Disability


Baby boy with rare condition defies odds, celebrates first birthday

By Nancy Flanders
Jaxon-and-his-monkey-672x372Jaxon Buell was diagnosed prenatally with a condition so rare that the doctors couldn’t give it a name. All they could tell his parents, Brandon and Brittany, was that their son likely wouldn’t survive in the womb, and if he did, he would die shortly after birth. The couple was advised to terminate.

Shocked that the doctors would suggest abortion when they didn’t even have an actual diagnosis for their son, they decided that however long their son had to live would be up to God, and they chose life. Jaxon was born on August 27, 2014 and received an official diagnosis of Lissencephaly, in which the brain doesn’t have the folds that it should. Despite the doctors’ grim prognosis, Jaxon is celebrating his first birthday.

Over his first year of life, Jaxon amazed the doctors with how well he has been, but the last couple of months have been rough. He’s been uncomfortable and fussy, and his parents are working overtime to help him. He is undergoing testing to determine what the cause of his recent discomfort is.
“The frustration continues because obviously something is going on, but how do we find it, and how do we fix it?” they wrote on their Facebook page. “One day at a time still for our family. Our baby boy remains strong as ever to be dealing with all of this every day yet still loves to cuddle with Mommy and Daddy as much as possible.”

Told by their local hospital that they were simply out of options to help Jaxon, the family flew to Boston and is there now, meeting with the top infant neurological team in the United States. They are hoping to find answers and help for their son.

Neurologists in Boston confirmed that Jaxon has a profound case of Lissencephaly. Jaxon will be meeting with two more neurologists this week who deal with epilepsy and neurological disorders, and will also with a gastroenterologist to determine the best method of feeding Jaxon, who currently requires a feeding tube. His parents remain hopeful.
The Buells are asking for prayers that they find the right doctor in Boston who can put their son on the path to better health.

Their goal, they wrote on Facebook, is:
… to find that one person, who actually knows how to help, to hear about or see Jaxon, and can add to his life or his quality of life with some type of answer, option, or solution. And, maybe, through our experiences, the next family that may have to walk in our footsteps, will be better off and have more help of where to turn, what to do, and where to go, because of Jaxon’s story. There is hope, a plan, and a purpose here, and Boston is just the latest chapter.
Editor’s note. This appeared at and is reprinted with permission.

Source: NRLC News

Democratic Leadership and Abortion


Democratic National Committee Chair avoids answering when she believes life begins and whether aborting a seven-pound baby is okay

By Dave Andrusko
KellyWasserman3reEditor’s note. My family will be on vacation through the end of this week. I will be posting an occasional new story, but for the most part we will be re-posting columns that ran over the last year. Many will be strictly educational while some will about remind us of notable victories this legislative cycle.
Along the way, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) must have been told to dial back her extremist position on abortion. Clearly, judging by her comments to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Fox News’s Megyn Kelly, Wasserman Schultz ignored the memo.
According to Newsbusters’ Katie Yoder, referring to comments made by pro-life presidential candidate Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Blitzer put it this way to Rep. Wasserman Schultz.

“[I]s he right when he says that it’s okay from your perspective to kill a 7-pound baby in uterus, is that your position?”
“We have very different definitions of personal liberty,” she said. “The Democratic Party’s position is that we are pro-choice.”

Not exactly a precise response to the question, but the implication is clear: “pro-choice” means it’s up to the woman to decide whether she aborts a seven pound child.
Subsequently Wasserman Schultz and Kelly had a fairly lengthy discussion in which Kelly repeatedly allowed Wasserman Schultz to criticize Sen. Rand but also insisted she spell out her own position.
Kelly began by politely repeating Rand’s challenge–asking Wasserman Schultz when did she believes life begins? Wasserman Schultz simply refused to answer.

They then began with a back and forth about what public opinion is on abortion. In the transcript, provided by Real Clear Politics, Wasserman Schultz would retreat to vague generalities such as “The majority support a woman’s right to choose.” Kelly would point to specifics, such as the public’s overwhelming opposition to second trimester abortion and even more to third trimester abortions.
The most fascinating concession (even though it is undeniably true) was in this exchange:

KELLY: That Supreme Court decision, Casey [v. Planned Parenthood handed down in 1992] says the state has a say, and the state can set limits.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That’s right, and the states can make the decisions.
And then this:
KELLY: But what is recognized is that it’s not just between a woman and her doctor, that the state has a right to step in on behalf of the fetus and say at some point that fetus does obtain rights. You would admit that you can’t have women aborting third trimester babies just on a whim? Right? So you would agree that there are some limits.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Certainly not on a whim, but when a doctor —
KELLY: That’s what [Senator Rand] trying to get at.
Moral of the story? A recurring one. Pro-abortionists defend a position backed by a tiny minority of the public. The position held by pro-lifers is much closer to the position of a majority of the American people.
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Source NRLC News

Friday, August 28, 2015

Planned Parenthood Founder

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Black pastors demand removal of Planned Parenthood founder from Smithsonian

A coalition of African American pastors and pro-life leaders held a press conference today, demanding the removal of the bust of Planned Parenthood’s founder from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

The bust of Margaret Sanger stands in the same room as Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and other trailblazers who fought for human rights. Black pastors say the commemoration is an affront to the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, as well as to the African American community.

In an impassioned speech, Bishop E.W. Jackson railed on the National Portrait Gallery’s inclusion of Sanger, who was a eugenist and forced sterilization advocate. Sanger’s support for eugenics is clearly exhibited throughout her writings and speeches, as well as in the initiation of the Negro Project. Sanger’s disdain for blacks, minority groups, and the diseased and disabled birthed America’s largest abortion chain, which profits off the killing of the weakest and most vulnerable.
“If Margaret Sanger had her way, MLK and Rosa Parks would never have been born,” said Jackson. “It’s an outrage the national museum would honor such a person and add insult to injury by putting her in the Struggle for Justice exhibit.”

Chanting “you must remove the bust,” the group said Sanger, a staunch racist, has no place among the heroes honored in the exhibit. Press conference attendees included Pastor Cecil Blye, Pastor Garfield Williams, Kenneth Blackwell, and Bishop Harry Jackson.
CURE founder, Star Parker, Susan B. Anthony List, and Live Action President Lila Rose also joined the coalition to demand the removal of Sanger.
Live Action President Lila Rose
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Live Action President Lila Rose with Star Parker, founder of CURE.
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The Gallery has declined to remove Sanger from the exhibit. In a letter, National Portrait Gallery Director Kim Sajet responded:
“I received your letter regarding the legacy of Margaret Sanger and respectfully decline to remove her portrait from the museum. The Struggle for Justice gallery brings attention to major cultural and political figures from the 19th century to the present day who fought to achieve civil rights for disenfranchised or marginalized groups.”
Sajet, however, acknowledged Sanger’s eugenic tendencies:
“Her association with the eugenics movement shadowed her achievements in sex education and contraception, making her a figure of controversy, one whose complexities and contradictions mirror her times. There is no ‘moral test’ for people to be accepted into the National Portrait Gallery.”
As the founder of Planned Parenthood, Sanger encouraged the sterilization of persons whom she deemed unfit, and encouraged the reproduction of groups with more desirable qualities. Sanger, who was invited to speak to the women’s branch of the Klu Klux Klan, penned numerous pieces detailing her vision for the human family.
ForAmerica Chairman Brent Bozell told The Daily Signal that Sanger’s place among civil rights leaders is “an insult.”
Bozell called Sanger an “unequivocal racist,” who attended Ku Klux Klan rallies.
Bozell said the pro-abortion movement has become “so militant, so radicalized,” that they “celebrate her as their patron saint.”
“In a very real way, Margaret Sanger symbolizes Planned Parenthood,” Bozell said.
The exhibit website hails Sanger’s “crusade” against “laws forbidding dissemination of contraceptive information.” The website acknowledges her “association with the eugenics movement” but asserts that eugenics was a philosophy “that for a time was endorsed by many of the era’s prominent thinkers.”

Source: LiveAction News


Donald Trump and sister Maryanne Trump Barry (via

Trump: Sister who defended partial-birth abortion a potential SCOTUS nominee

In an interview with Bloomberg Politics, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump responded to a question about his sister, senior Third Circuit Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, by saying she would make “one of the best” Supreme Court Justices.

But in his pro-life book The Party of Death, National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru recounts that Barry has ruled against the constitutionality of banning partial-birth abortion. Barry wrote that one such law in New Jersey was “based on semantic machinations, irrational line-drawing, and an obvious attempt to inflame public opinion instead of logic or medical evidence.”
After striking it down in a previous case, the US Supreme Court upheld the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2007’s Gonzales v. Carhart.

Trump did, however, say on the prospect of nominating his sister should he become President, “We will have to rule that out now, at least,” though he did not make clear whether he meant he would never nominate her, or if he was simply alluding to his earlier-stated contention that it was too early to discuss presidential nominees.
Trump has sent mixed messages on abortion during his campaign. He has declared that he is “very, very proud” to identify as pro-life following a conversion he attributes to personal friends who chose life after considering abortion. He has also expressed willingness to risk a government shutdown to defund Planned Parenthood, but he has wavered on that pledge, suggesting the abortion giant still deserves taxpayer dollars for performing other health services.

Source: LiveAction News



New Research demonstrates conclusively babies in first week feel pain

By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. My family will be on vacation through the end of this week. I will be posting an occasional new story, but for the most part we will be re-posting columns that ran over the last year. Many will be strictly educational while some will about remind us of notable victories this legislative cycle.

A first-of-its-kind study at Oxford University demonstrates not only that babies in their first week after birth can and do feel pain, they are also far more pain-sensitive than are adults. The findings were published in the journal eLife last April.

As Science Codex described the findings, “The researchers say that it is now possible to see pain ‘happening’ inside the infant brain and it looks a lot like pain in adults.”
Rebeccah Slater, a doctor at Oxford’s pediatrics department, who led the study, said, “Obviously babies can’t tell us about their experience of pain and it is difficult to infer pain from visual observations.” In fact, she noted, “some people have argued that babies’ brains are not developed enough for them to really feel pain … [yet] our study provides the first really strong evidence this is not the case.”

But using an MRI to demonstrate newborn pain was problematic because it was thought babies would not keep still enough.27
“However, as babies that are less than a week old are more docile than older babies, we found that their parents were able to get them to fall asleep inside a scanner so that, for the first time, we could study pain in the infant brain using MRI,” Dr. Slater said
The subjects were 10 healthy babies between the ages of one and six days and 10 healthy adults, ages 23 to 36. (Infants were recruited from the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. The adult volunteers were Oxford University staff or students.)
According to Science Codex
MRI scans were then taken of the babies’ brains as they were ‘poked’ on the bottom of their feet with a special retracting rod creating a sensation ‘like being poked with a pencil’ – mild enough that it did not wake them up. These scans were then compared with brain scans of adults exposed to the same pain stimulus.
The researchers found that 18 of the 20 brain regions active in adults experiencing pain were active in babies. Scans also showed that babies’ brains had the same response to a weak ‘poke’ as adults did to a stimulus four times as strong. The findings suggest that not only do babies experience pain much like adults but that they also have a much lower pain threshold.
As virtually all the stories covering the study noted, it was common medical practice for babies to be given neuromuscular blocks but no pain relief medication during surgery as recently as the 1980s. “In 2014 a review of neonatal pain management practice in intensive care highlighted that although such infants experience an average of 11 painful procedures per day 60% of babies do not receive any kind of pain medication.”
Dr. Slater put the importance of the findings in context. “Thousands of babies across the UK undergo painful procedures every day but there are often no local pain management guidelines to help clinicians. Our study suggests that not only do babies experience pain but they may be more sensitive to it than adults”. She added, “We have to think that if we would provide pain relief for an older child undergoing a procedure then we should look at giving pain relief to an infant undergoing a similar procedure.”
Alluding to recent studies in adults, Dr. Slater said they “have shown that it is possible to detect a neurological signature of pain using MRI. In the future we hope to develop similar systems to detect the ‘pain signature’ in babies’ brains: this could enable us to test different pain relief treatments and see what would be most effective for this vulnerable population who can’t speak for themselves.”
Of course, virtually everything that Dr. Slater said about pain and the newborn child applies to pain and older unborn children (after 20 weeks), especially the conventional wisdom that insisted their brains lacked the structures to feel pain.
In fact there is ample evidence that by 20 weeks, the unborn child can experience pain. To read about just some of the extensive documentation, go to or

Source: NRLC News