Thursday, April 30, 2015



A terrific pro-life resource: “The case against abortion: prenatal development”

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By Dave Andrusko
9weekbaby5Of the three categories of posts on National Right to Life News Today that receive the most response, two are especially adroit at combining appeals to the head and to the heart. By that I mean prenatal development videos and music videos, such as John Elefante’s wonderful pro-life, pro-adoption “This Time” (“Pro-Life Music Video ‘This Time’ goes viral’”)

On their own National Right to Life News Today readers periodically send me examples of these two kinds of videos. First, the ones that illustrate that most miraculous process–how you and I each started out the same but ended up each unique. Second, there are pro-life music videos.
So, as I do occasionally, today I am reaching out asking you to send me links to just such videos.
Here’s an example: “The case against abortion: prenatal development.”

Only 3 minutes and eleven seconds long, the video covers the waterfront at a breakneck speed. The video borrows from many of the finest resources—in print and online—to create a riveting and absolutely convincing case against abortion.
Backed by a pulsating music score, a question flashes across the screen: “At what point does it become wrong to intentionally abort a developing human being?” Options range from conception through birth.
We see a snapshot of a Gallup poll where 2/3rds support a first-trimester abortion but only 10% support a third trimester abortion. Why the discrepancy?”
Because the former “kills a baby” while a first trimester abortion “kills a bunch of cells…. Or does it?”
The remainder of the video races through a highly entertaining, richly informative/persuasive tour conclusively demonstrating the developmental continuity of human beings whose maturation unfolds just the way it is supposed to–unless he or she is aborted.

“The case against abortion: prenatal development” begins with a quick perusal of the prenatal photography taken by Lennart Nilsson in his classic, “A Child is Born.” We see in these photos the developmental milestones and how remarkably intricate the child even in the first weeks.
Next to flash on a screen is that statement, “Nucleus [Medical] Media creates award winning medical illustrations.” Now we are shown the unborn as if her mother’s body is translucent. Again, it is remarkable how developmentally sophisticated the child even in the first trimester.
“On the outside chance you’re still envisioning the first trimester embryos and fetuses as shapeless clumps of tissue…” we are introduced to “The biology of prenatal development.” As it happens I wrote about this incredible 42-minute-long DVD in 2010.

This documentary utilizes six different imaging technologies to give you unforgettable images inside the womb of the growing baby at the embryonic and fetal stages. The breath-taking real-time pictures that are utilized are of the human embryo in the first three weeks. Without thinking, you have absorbed another lesson in early prenatal development, including the fact that six week embryos have measurable brain impulses.

Then the first of two key truths wrap up, “The case against abortion: prenatal development.”
“They may not look like a baby yet, but they look exactly as a human being should look, 21 days after conception.”
To finish the point, we see highlighted text from Geraldine Lux Flanagan’s book, “Beginning Life” that reads,
“In the hours of conception, every aspect of the genetic inheritance for the new individual will be determined once and for all.”
The inescapable conclusion?
“At any stage of pregnancy abortion kills a rapidly developing, genetically distinct human being.”
Wow! Do yourself a big favor and watch, “The case against abortion: prenatal development.”
And please send send me links to pro-life videos!

Source: NRLC News

Planned Parenthood


PPFA’s Cecile Richards on increasing pro-abortion solidarity through “talking about abortion experiences”

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By Dave Andrusko
Cecile Richards
Cecile Richards

When PPFA president Cecile Richards wrote in ELLE magazine last fall that she’d had an abortion, we discussed that revelation once and then, shortly later, wrote about it again.
And because this is the president of the largest abortion conglomerate in the galaxy, we returned for a third time when Richards posted a 1 minute, 19 second long video for “The 1 in 3 Campaign,” a project of Advocates for Youth.

Now, having got the hang of it, Richards has just written for what has become another in-house publication of the Abortion Movement–TIME magazine–under the headline “We Need to Talk—Really Talk—About Abortion.”
Before we get to why we really need to talk about abortion, according to Richards, some background will help us understand her “evolution” from a Johnny-come-lately (in “speaking” about her abortion) to someone who can’t talk about it enough.
Her October 2014 ELLE essay ran under the headline “Ending the Silence That Fuels Abortion Stigma.” The essay was 748 words long. Just 68 talked about her own abortion in language that was almost clinical.
By contrast her interview with Cosmopolitan, even with a highly sympathetic interviewer, couldn’t be that bland. What was interesting (as we wrote) was her insistence that her family had handled this shocker in an almost matter-of-fact fashion.
Richards said when she opened up to ELLE, her children’s response to learning they were short a sibling
was really awesome. It’s interesting, I just talked to my kids the other day, and they knew I’d had an abortion, and they were sort of like, “Mom, it was no big deal,” but I could also tell it was important to them that we talked about it. I look at the positive response from Planned Parenthood employees……[etc., etc., etc.]
But how could that possibly be true? If it was “no big deal,” how and why could she tell “it was important to them that we talked about it”?
You know your mom is a big shot in the “pro-choice” movement, runs in powerful circles, and is joined at the hip to pro-abortion President of the United States.
But while your mom has talked about being non-judgmental; about how having an abortion is easy as pie; about “freeing women,” you didn’t know that she non-judgmentally freed herself by having an easy-as-pie abortion of your brother or sister.
Of course that would be a big deal, which is why my sympathies immediately went out to Richards’ children.

Which brings us to her TIME magazine essay.
Richards is delighted that movies and television programs are talking about abortion–talking about abortion in the prescribed fashion, of course. (They “depict women making the decision to have an abortion and finding support from their family and friends.”) She’s even happier that celebrities such as Jemima Kirke are talking about their abortions.

Richards conveniently omits that these “stories” reveal far more than is intended and, in fact, often work against the narrative that abortion is as safe as taking two aspirins and that Planned Parenthood is a paragon of health care virtue. (See here.)

She also subtly suggests that abortion is an almost afterthought to PPFA, which is absolutely not the case.
But in a sense Richards is right about one thing in her TIME essay.
The discussion about abortion is “filled with “myths” and “stereotypes”–but not because they are filling a “void” left as the result of women failing to talk about their abortions. The myths and stereotypes are of the Abortion Industry’s own making.
Such as? The illogical myth that there is essentially no post-abortion aftermath–and if a woman is having problems they are because she had emotional or psychological difficulties prior to the abortion. (How’s that for sympathetic?)
In fact, a sizeable minority of women do have a whole range of difficulties, as we have discussed numerous times at NRL News and NRL News Today.

Or the myth that the ranks of the abortion industry is filled with Dr. Welbys. Just read about abortionist Steven Brigham–just one of the many, many stories we have written about abortionists–and you quickly realize how grotesquely untrue that is.
And then there such demeaning stereotypes as the cruel notion that the thousands of loving pro-life volunteers who work at women helping centers care not about the woman or girl who is about to make a life-and-death decision but only about their “ideology.”
Richards concludes, “Women are increasingly feeling supported to share stories that have, in some cases, been kept silent for years.” True.
But they are not stories that celebrate their abortions. Overwhelmingly they are confessionals in which a woman says she would do anything if she could just go back in time and save her baby.
But those are not the kind of stories that TIME magazine gives space to or ELLE touts to its readers.

Source: NRLC News

Pro-Abortion Hillary


Hillary Clinton’s “barely veiled advocacy for authoritarianism when religious beliefs clash with secular sacred cows”

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By Dave Andrusko
Pro-abortion Hillary Clinton, speaking at EMILY's List 30th Anniversary dinner
Pro-abortion Hillary Clinton, speaking at EMILY’s List 30th Anniversary dinner

Pro-abortion presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received a fair amount of attention–including from us–for parts of a remarkably candid (and disturbing) speech she delivered last week to the “Women in The World Summit” in New York City [].
More than one person subsequently told me that whatever negative publicity she received at the time for the speech in which she blew kisses to her pro-abortion sisters, it would be small compared to the far greater blowback the former Secretary of State will eventually experience.
I thought of those conversations when I read USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers’ blistering op-ed that ran yesterday.

In case you’ve forgotten, Clinton said the following:
“Yes, we’ve cut the maternal mortality rate in half but far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth. All the laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed [applause]. As I have said and as I believe, the advancement of the full participation of women and girls in every aspect of their societies is the great unfinished business of the 21st century, and not just for women, but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

The message was impossible to miss: to bring real “reproductive health care” to the ends of the earth (Hillary and Bill Clinton are anti-life missionaries), a lot that means a great deal to billions of people must be jettisoned.

And you don’t change what Clinton labeled “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases” with pleasantries. You do so coercively, with the power of the state.
Powers asks Clinton to dispense with the euphemisms–she is talking about abortion and contraception— and “Then she should explain why she thinks she, or anyone else, has the right to dictate what religious people believe about either issue. We know she wants to be president — but does she think she is God, too?”

Our issue is abortion, so let’s see what else Powers has to say about Clinton’s speech and abortion. There are three main points.

* “Like President Obama — who famously opined that Americans ‘cling’ to religion out of bitterness — Clinton seems to view religious doctrine in opposition to her political agenda as nothing more than ‘biases’ or ‘codes’ to be dismantled by those who know better,” Powers writes.
There are differences, of course, between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton but they share an abiding faith (so to speak) in the power of abortion to reshape the world and the right/obligation of people like them to make people like us kneel to their agenda.

* Powers offers, “It would take an army of psychologists to determine why Clinton believes that her worldview should override that of centuries of religious doctrine,” adding, “Religious beliefs that differ from mine are not automatically viewed as targets for transformation.” But they need to be “transformed” because the enlightened elite know better. And if you have to do so by legislation, activist courts, or the power of the purse, well, why not?

* A number of writers, including me (and now Powers) placed Clinton’s chilling comments alongside a post by New York Times columnist Frank Bruni. Bruni has not been, is not now, and likely will be even less likely in the future to worry about the religious rights of those who disagree with his agenda on social issues.
As Matt Lewis said of Bruni
Hillary’s comments also remind me of something Frank Bruni wrote in a recent column, “Bigotry, the Bible, and the Lessons of Indiana.” In that piece Bruni argues that “our debate about religious freedom should include a conversation about freeing religions and religious people from prejudices that they needn’t cling to and can indeed jettison, much as they’ve jettisoned other aspects of their faith’s history, rightly bowing to the enlightenments of modernity.”
And if you and I don’t willing bow “to the enlightenments of modernity”? Bruni doesn’t say and neither (precisely) does Hillary Clinton. But Powers has a pretty good idea. She ends her column
The intolerance, condescension and ignorance expressed about religious people is troubling enough in itself. But what sends chills up the spine is the barely veiled advocacy for authoritarianism when religious beliefs clash with secular sacred cows. … How exactly will Clinton change religious beliefs at odds with her worldview?
Inquiring minds would like to know.

Source: NRLC News

Abortion and Aftermath


Pregnant and alone at Harvard

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By Dave Andrusko
sadwoman64The last NRL News Today post for Wednesday is by far the most important. It is my reflections on a confessional that appeared in Harvard University’s student newspaper under the headline “Pregnant at Harvard?”

There is no online commentary following the story, written by “Anonymous.” Why? We’re told the op-ed is “anonymously due to the private and intensely personal nature of its content.” Online commentary “has been disabled for this piece in an effort to help protect the author’s identity.”
Everything about this story screams pain–an “all-encompassing pain.” We were all young once and most of us attended a college or university. Once we left home, we can remember how ‘free’ we suddenly found ourselves. And the author of this op-ed is honest–brutally honest–about how head-over-heels she fell in love with her “soulmate,” the “one person who had promised to always be there for me.” And, as is almost always the case, they broke up. Only later did she find out she was nearly four months pregnant.

“Looking back, it seems obvious that my symptoms were classic pregnancy indicators, clues we all learn in ninth-grade health class,” she writes. “I wasn’t stupid. But perhaps I was in denial.” Perhaps?
She adds, “I woke up every day praying that I was having some extended nightmare. I wasn’t.” A week later she headed to the clinic

with just a book, a water bottle, my Harvard ID, and a locket containing a picture of my ex-boyfriend and me. The procedure didn’t take long. It wasn’t even that physically painful. But when it was over, I screamed. I couldn’t stop screaming. As I write these words, it has been over a month since the abortion—and on the inside that screaming hasn’t stopped.

I truly want you to read “Pregnant at Harvard?”  so let me add just these thoughts.
It’s been a month since the abortion, she writes
There are nights where I stay up holding the locket [which has her ex-boyfriend’s picture in it], the one piece I have of both my ex-boyfriend and my child, and just cry hysterically. There are nights where I try so hard to convince myself that life is worthwhile by talking myself to sleep with thoughts of stargazing and dancing and laughter, but no matter what I think about I can’t get rid of an all-encompassing sense of pain.

“Anonymous” talks about how hard it can be at Harvard to get help, how easy it is to feel utterly alone, and how amazing it is that her roommates missed all the obvious signs. She wanted someone to take the initiative–to come to her.
She ends her powerful op-ed with thoughts about it might be “easier” to shove the ‘issue’ under the rug. But…

I’ve tried to cope with my situation by distracting myself with other boys; my ex uses his current girlfriend to pretend that everything is normal. Sometimes reality is too hard to deal with, and finding any escape seems like the only plausible option. This—telling my story—is a way to say that no matter what you’re going through, even if you can’t reach out for help at this point, you’re not the only one. You are not alone.
If you saw me today, you’d never guess what I’m hiding. You’d see me heading to class with an oversized backpack, or studying in Lamont, or dancing at a final club, or laughing in the dining hall while surrounded by friends. I look happy. But on the inside, I’m still screaming. …

I wonder if that “Pregnant At Harvard?” brochure is still sitting untouched in the Women’s Center. Maybe I should’ve picked it up freshman year.
Source: NRLC News



Notorious abortionist sells interests in NJ abortion clinics to man convicted of sexually abusing patients

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By Dave Andrusko
Abortionist Steven Brigham
Abortionist Steven Brigham

We last reported on abortionist Steven Brigham earlier this month. At the time, Brigham, 58, was (not surprisingly) appealing the decision of the 16-member New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners to permanently revoke his license.
Among other things the Board “voted unanimously that Brigham had engaged in professional misconduct, dishonesty and misrepresentations, and repeated acts of negligence, based on the records.”

In the meanwhile Brigham had to divest himself of ownership of his eight abortion clinics in New Jersey, the bulk of his “American Women’s Services,” multi-state operation.
Following the Board’s decision, there was a passing reference in several accounts to his medical director, Vikram Kaji. In a story that appeared in yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer, Marie McCullough fleshed out what has happened since.

Indeed Brigham (who has a “25-year, multistate history of battling medical boards, regulators, the IRS, landlords, creditors, and criminal prosecutors in Maryland,” according to McCullough) has sold his interests to Kaji.

Who is Kaji? In the mid-1990s, his “medical license was suspended in New Jersey and Pennsylvania,” McCullough explains, “for sexually abusing patients and wrongly prescribing controlled substances.” The Inquirer emailed Neal Buccino, spokesman for New Jersey’s Division of Consumer Affairs, who wrote back, “Dr. Kaji’s license is currently active, and not subject to restrictions.”

McCullough, who has done outstanding work over the years covering Brigham, explains in great detail both the latest outrageous behavior and just some of the lengthy history.
By way of summary…

Brigham got in trouble most recently in New Jersey and Maryland for doing what he was disciplined for doing back in the 1990s: starting a late-term abortion in one state (New Jersey) but extracting the dead baby in another (Maryland, where Brigham was never licensed) a day or two later. He claimed it was out of fear of pro-life activists, but in fact, prosecutors say it was “because Brigham’s New Jersey clinics do not meet the state’s outpatient surgical safety requirements, and he is not credentialed to perform the risky surgeries,” McCullough reported.

The clandestine operation went on until an 18-year-old woman, 21½ weeks pregnant, almost died.
No matter how many legal and administrative straits Brigham has found himself in, “American Women’s Services has continued to operate clinics, even in states where Brigham has lost a license or never had one,” McCullough explains. “Currently, American Women’s Services’ website advertises 16 clinics in New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. The two Pennsylvania sites – Pittsburgh and Allentown – are listed as ‘temporarily closed,’ even though in 2012, the state ordered Brigham to let the public know the clinics were permanently shuttered.”

So, in spite of pleading poverty before the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners (the board ordered him to pay $561,000 in penalties and prosecution costs on top of a half-million federal IRS lien “for not paying employee taxes”), Brigham “fights on,” McCullough writes.
“He has appealed his New Jersey license revocation to Superior Court’s Appellate Division.”

Source: NRLC News

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

One Woman's Story


Woman’s story of abortion loss: Nurse told said her baby was “not a real person”

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Editor’s note. This appeared at ClinicQuotes.
RegretAbortionOne woman tells her abortion story in an article that appeared in America magazine.

During the next 18 years I never gave the abortion more than a moment’s thought. Hadn’t I made the phone call as soon as I thought I might be pregnant? Hadn’t the nurse at the clinic told me that at six weeks the fetus was a blob of muscle and tissue, not a real person yet? Isn’t the discussion on when life begins being argued in worldwide circles? Because I was so quick to act, the abortion had little effect on me–until I became sober.
It was then I knew I had done something terribly wrong. I couldn’t find a way to make amends for taking a life that God wanted in this world. There was a saying in my recovery group that if the program wasn’t working for you to look back on your life and find something you didn’t think important at the time. After almost two decades of prayer and meditation, living a good life and making amends for harms done, something was still wrong with me. I had a picture-perfect sobriety, yet all was not right. Could the quick abortion in January 1973 when I was 27 be what I thought wasn’t important? Well, maybe.
She confessed her sin three times, and a priest told her to go to a Rachel’s vineyard retreat (a postabortion ministry)

If I were to speak to any woman thinking about an abortion, I would put my arm around her and tell her about my abrupt alienation from my husband, my alcoholism, my drug addiction, the period during which I hated the church I had earlier loved, the dark life of sin. Then I would urge her to choose life.

Kathleen, M. H. Meeting Jane Marie. America, 187, 17-18 (2002, Nov 2004).
Jane Marie was the name she gave her child

Source: NRLC News

Assisted Suicide


Director of Public Prosecutions faces new legal challenge for ‘clarifying’ guidelines on prosecutions for assisted suicide

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By Dr. Peter Saunders
Editor’s note. Dr. Saunders is a former general surgeon and CEO of Christian Medical Fellowship, a UK-based organization with 4,500 UK doctors and 1,000 medical students as members. Being behind the “paywall” means a reader has to pay to read the story which appeared in the Sunday Times.
Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders
Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders

Perhaps surprisingly, the Sunday Times has been the only broadsheet newspaper [that is, not a tabloid] to cover a landmark case which challenges the powers of the crown prosecution service.
Sadly this latest case lies behind the Sunday Times paywall which has somewhat restricted it coming to the wider public attention that it deserves, so I will quote some of the article in this post.
‘A woman who was once so paralysed she could only wink her right eye will this week launch a High Court challenge against “liberal” guidelines on assisted suicide brought in by Alison Saunders, the embattled director of public prosecutions (DPP).
Nikki Kenward, 62, will on Tuesday seek a judicial review after doctors and nurses who help severely disabled or terminally ill people to take their own lives were told that they are now less likely to face criminal charges.’

Kenward, a former theatre manager, was struck down by Guillian-Barre syndrome in 1990, aged 37.
She was initially fully paralysed for more than five months, and has been in a wheelchair since. She cannot tie her laces or hold a needle, but had a play staged last year and campaigns against euthanasia and assisted suicide through the Distant Voices pressure group. Her case is backed by the Christian Legal Centre.
Lawyers for Kenward will argue that Alison Saunders, Director of public prosecutions, exceeded her powers with what she called a ‘clarification’ to the guidelines on prosecution for assisted suicide which Saunders made last October.
They will argue that she has entered a policy realm that should properly be a matter not for her but for parliament. The lawyers will also say that the attorney-general has failed in his duty to ‘superintend’ the DPP.
In other words they will claim that she has gone beyond her remit which is to uphold the law and not to make the law.
To quote the Sunday Times again:
They are expected to argue Saunders’s guidance will “enable healthcare professionals operating on an ideological or other premise to offer their services to a person wishing to commit suicide . . . this is crossing the Rubicon.” They will add: it will “make any prohibition on a Dignitas-style of assisted suicide difficult to resist.”
[It] weakens the protection given by parliament to people . . . coming under pressure to commit assisted suicide.
The fuller background to this case deserves unpacking.
Back in 2009, as a result of the Supreme Court judgment in the Debbie Purdy case, the DPP was required to make public the criteria by which he (then Keir Starmer) decided whether a prosecution in a given case of assisted suicide was in the public interest.

Starmer published an interim policy and put it out to public consultation. After the consultation was completed, he modified this interim policy and published his definitive policy in February 2010.
The summary of responses received and the responses themselves are still in the public domain.
The interim policy did not contain a paragraph about the role of medical professionals but as a result of the consultation one was included in the definitive policy.
It now says that a prosecution is more likely to be required if… [clause 14]

“the suspect was acting in his or her capacity as a medical doctor, nurse, other healthcare professional, a professional carer [whether for payment or not], or as a person in authority, such as a prison officer, and the victim was in his or her care;”
Keir Starmer gave his reasons for including the new clause here.
Saunders, Starmer’s successor, subsequently ‘clarified’ the words in bold last October as follows:
For the avoidance of doubt the words “and the victim was in his or her care” qualify all of the preceding parts of this paragraph [43.14]. This factor does not apply merely because someone was acting in a capacity described within it: it applies only where there was, in addition, a relationship of care between the suspect and the victims such that it will be necessary to consider whether the suspect may have exerted some influence on the victim.
The key questions raised by Kenward’s case are whether this amounts to a change in the policy or merely a clarification and whether the DPP should have made the change without consulting anybody.

My own view is that DPP has actually crossed the line in both instances.
The relevant factors as I see it are as follows:
1. The ‘clarification’ makes it clear that doctors who do not have ‘a relationship of care between the suspect and the victims such that it will be necessary to consider whether the suspect may have exerted some influence on the victim’ are now not within the scope of this clause. This surely means that people like Philip Nitschke and Michael Irwin, who have made names for themselves by assisting suicides in various ways whilst not being the patient’s primary care giver, are less likely to be prosecuted. This is real change in my view. Irwin, who welcomed it [the “clarification”] as ‘a wonderful softening’ agrees with me. I think it is also clear from the current General Medical Council (GMC) guidance and Medical Defence Union (MDU) guidance that these bodies did not understand the guidance in the way that Alison Saunders has now re-interpreted it. See below
2. Assisted suicide is contrary to all historical codes of medical ethics including the Hippocratic Oath, the Declaration of Geneva, the International code of medical ethics and the Statement of Marbella – which was reaffirmed by the World Medical association (WMA) as recently as 2013. The latter reads, “Physician-assisted suicide, like euthanasia, is unethical and must be condemned by the medical profession. Where the assistance of the physician is intentionally and deliberately directed at enabling an individual to end his or her own life, the physician acts unethically.” So a strong argument could be made that this new “clarification” is morally corrupting for the medical profession as it makes possible their direct involvement in an unethical practice with far less possibility of prosecution.
3. Assisted Suicide is opposed by the British Medical Association, the World Medical Association, the Association for Palliative Medicine, the British Geriatric Society and virtually every Royal Medical College including the RCGP and the RCP.
4. The GMC makes it clear in its guidance on assisted suicide that ‘encouraging or assisting suicide’ is against the law. It makes no mention of any mitigating factors and warns doctors strongly against any involvement. It certainly does not convey the impression that doctors like Irwin, Nitschke, etc, are exempt. It is precisely this understanding of the law which led to Tony Nicklinson and Paul Lamb trying unsuccessfully to change it through the courts. Saunders seems now effectively to have done that at the mere stroke of a pen.

5. It is precisely people like Nitschke and Irwin who will push the envelope rather than ordinary GPs in a relationship of care with patients, although the ‘clarification’ does also give scope to GPs to do a little assisted suicide on the side with patients who are not “in their immediate care.” This clarification appears to give them free rein.

6. The phrase “In their care” can be interpreted in several different ways. One might argue that any doctor using his skill and expertise to help a patient kill themselves is actually involved in “care” even if he is not their primary doctor.

7. The reason people responding to the original consultation pushed for the inclusion of the doctor clause in the first place was because of concerns about the unique position of doctors. Doctors possess the sort of knowledge and power that could easily be abused. We have seen already how they push legal boundaries with abortion and how prosecutors are very unwilling to hold them accountable. This is why doctors need strong guidance and laws in place to ensure that some of them do not end up becoming the most dangerous people in the state. It is also why they should not be involved in assisted suicide.

8. As the doctor phrase (clause 14 quoted above) was introduced into the DPP guidance after, and as a direct result of, a lengthy public consultation (34% of respondents supported its inclusion) surely it should not be changed, or redefined, at a whim by the DPP without a similar public consultation. Simply asking medical bodies for their opinion would be inappropriate and inadequate – rather like asking the police about guidance on prosecuting policemen. This is why the GMC now has a strong lay membership because as a result of the Shipman case and others it was decided that doctors were not capable of regulating themselves.

It seems to me that the DPP has not merely ‘clarified’, but actually changed the meaning and scope of the guidance. Furthermore she has made the change without apparently consulting anybody at all.
I await the result of Kenward’s legal challenge with great interest.
Editor’s note. This appeared at

Source: NRLC News



Pushing DNRs on Elderly at National Health Service

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By Wesley J. Smith
Wesley Smith
Wesley Smith

Can’t have expensive OLD people hanging around using up resources (that their enterprise and hard work helped generate!) Apparently the bureaucratic controlled National Health Service (NHS) in the UK wants doctors to ask EVERY elderly person–healthy or not–whether they want a do not resuscitate put on their chart.

From the Daily Mail story:
Doctors are being told to ask all patients over 75 if they will agree to a ‘do not resuscitate’ order. New NHS guidelines urge GPs to draw up end-of-life plans for over-75s, as well as younger patients suffering from cancer, dementia, heart disease or serious lung conditions.
They are also being told to ask whether the patient wants doctors to try to resuscitate them if their health suddenly deteriorates, The NHS says the guidance will improve patients’ end-of-life care, but medical professionals say it is ‘blatantly wrong’ and will frighten the elderly into thinking they are being ‘written off’.
In some surgeries, nurses are cold-calling patients over 75 or with long-term conditions and asking them over the phone if they have ‘thought about resuscitation’.

Good grief! A DNR is an “allow to die” order in the event of a cardiac arrest. It should only be signed when one understands the specific circumstance under which it would be applied.
And don’t tell me there won’t be some “persuasion.” It’s like the dinner guest who overstays his welcome and the host looks at her watch and asks how long a drive it is to get home.
The NHS is a socialized system, but it is relevant to the USA because of the aspect of centralized control. Don’t be surprised if one day doctors receive just such a memo from our Obamacare overlords. And don’t forget that the technocrat, Jeb Bush, has already called for mandatory signing of advance medical directives for everyone on Medicare.

Not yet, but one day–unless we smarten up and dismember the growing federal power over standards of care.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Wesley’s great blog.

Source: NRLC News

Life A Great Choice


Temple football player rescued from abortion by biological mother’s caring cousin

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By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. Thursday begins (for millions of sports fans) the all-consuming NFL draft. In the back of my rapidly aging brain, this reminded me of a story we ran a while back that is both football-related and profoundly uplifting. I hope you agree.
My thanks to a NRL News Today reader who forwarded me the story, “Temple wideout owes it all to his mom.” (For non-football types, a wideout is a pass receiver.) The Philadelphia Daily News’s Mike Kern did a superb job profiling Temple football player Khalif Herbin and his mother, Lynda Jones.
Khalif Herbin and his mother, Lynda Jones. John Munson/The Star-Ledger
Khalif Herbin and his mother, Lynda Jones.
John Munson/The Star-Ledger

He begins
“KHALIF HERBIN’S story is remarkable. In large part because it almost never became a story at all.”
Back in 1994, Jones received a long-distance call from Denise Herbin, a cousin, a woman she had never been close to.
“The voice sounded frantic, saying she was going to have an abortion. So Jones immediately drove from North Jersey to South Carolina. Then the two headed back to Montclair. Three weeks later, Herbin gave birth to twins. The girl died. The boy weighed 4 pounds. Herbin told Jones she didn’t want him. Jones, who was 30, took the baby home with her.
“’I think it was meant to be,’ she said.”
The story would have been immensely moving if, having told of how Jones rescued Khalif from abortion, Kern then focused only on the challenges Jones faced, the courage she demonstrated. Khalif was not the only Herbin child Jones adopted. She lovingly brought two more home, had a child of her own, but also endured an abusive relationship.
It was not until much later in life, after retiring on disability and marrying, that her life assumed “normalcy.”
But a very important part of the story is how Jones raised Khalif. Not just to be the very decent human being everyone says he is. Even though the family has not seen or heard from Denise Herbin for more than 15 years, Jones raised him in a manner that every November he celebrates his biological mother’s birthday.

“People wonder why I would do that for someone who didn’t want me,” Khalif explained to Kern. “My mom encouraged that when I was a kid. [Denise Herbin] could have got an abortion. She was smart enough to say, ‘I’m going to give him to the right person.’ ”

He added, “Mom was always honest with me. She wasn’t afraid to tell me my story.”
Later in the story Khalif tells Kern “I used to ask God, ‘What did I do to deserve this?’ What happens is what happens. There’s a lot of people who would trade places with me. It could have been so much worse. I know people who aren’t going to make it.”
Kern’s conclusion is too powerful to paraphrase. He quotes Khalif, who never knew his father, who said
“’Most important, I want to be a great parent,’ said Khalif, a social work major who enjoys drawing and writing poetry. ‘I don’t want to be that father who’s not there. What you learn when you get to see things at a young age, that builds you up to be strong. Mentally I feel like I’m light-years ahead of everyone else. It made me passionate, it made me emotional. Who I am and what I am, that came from my mother. She knows what I’m going to do before I do it.

“’I don’t ever want her worrying about me. I’m always telling her I’m going to be successful. I don’t want to disappoint her. I’m an extension of her. God has given me a gift. I’d be crazy to waste it. One of my biggest hopes is that I’ll be able to walk into my old high school gym and church and talk about everything I’ve been through to motivate them . . .
“’She’s not looking for me to repay her. She’s the most selfless person you’ll ever meet. She doesn’t like to cry in front of us, but she’s cried a few times. That’s what keeps me going, when I want to quit. I promise you that when I get older, she’s going to get some stuff from me. I just want her to be happy.’”

Source: NRLC News

Pro-Abortion Views


Sawing off the unborn child’s arms and legs “Isn’t More Gruesome Than Any Other Surgery,” pro-abortionist insists

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By Dave Andrusko
Stop-Dismemberment55reThe headline on Sarah Erdreich’s post is “Take It From Me: Abortion Isn’t More Gruesome Than Any Other Surgery.” The objective is not hard to figure out: pro-abortionists have to relativize/trivialize the systematic dismantlement, piece by piece, of unborn babies in a dismemberment abortion.
Erdreich’s tactic is a sub-set of pro-abortion propaganda, the intent of which is to obscure and/or ridicule the normal human response to butchering unborn babies.
One common anti-life approach is to bypass altogether what takes place and airily blame pro-lifers for appealing to the emotions. For instance, Caitlin Borgmann, former state strategies coordinator for the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, told the Associated Press that the language of the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act is “meant to try to create an inflammatory description that people are going to read and then support the bill because their instinct is that this sounds terrible.”
Yes, to any morally sentient human being, ripping heads off of little torsos does sound terrible.
Others indulge in the familiar language of pro-abortion doublespeak. To quote Tara Culp-Ressler, a dismemberment abortion “involves dilating the cervix and using surgical instruments to remove the fetal and placental tissue.”

That’s right. Arms. Legs. Heads. Fingers. Toes–all “fetal and placental tissue.”
Erdreich takes a slightly different approach. She’s about to have wrist surgery–and doesn’t “slic[ing] so deep into my right arm that the muscle, bone and tendon will be exposed” sound “incredibly gruesome”?

Yes, it does, she tells us, “but it’s also essential for my health.” And besides, there were more “radical and grisly” options. Erdreich went with this one. Why? “My doctor chose this option because in her opinion it is the best one available.”
From there she mocks pro-lifers because (a) they probably will want this wrist surgery banned because it sounds so “gruesome” ; and (b) they made up “dismemberment” as a description of what happens.

Let’s go through Erdreich’s argument.
· The unborn child is a distinct human organism. Muscle, bone, and tendon are not.
· The patient-Erdreich–will be under anesthesia. Her surgery is considerable but nothing compared to being torn apart, limb from limb and then bleeding to death.
· She insists “dismemberment” is “not a medical term and doesn’t describe an abortion procedure.” Guess who uses that term? Abortionists! Guess also where the language has appeared? In an opinion written by a Supreme Court justice!
· “Informed consent” is part and parcel of medical treatment. Erderich knows precisely what will happen to her. Abortionists admit they do not tell women what happens to their baby in a dismemberment abortion. Why? Both to spare women from any ‘emotional’ burden, and to pretend they are saintly figures who are taking on the pain the woman would otherwise experience if she knew the truth. Hard to tell whether that is more paternalistic or misogynistic. How about the pain of the unborn? Doesn’t exist.

One other thing. Erdreich no doubt thought she was really being clever when she invoked childbirth as an experience that is “really easy to describe in gory terms.”

I could also invoke something that is “really easy to describe in gory terms”–a newborn abandoned in a waste disposal– which is happening more and more and more often. In the post-Roe era, merely a coincidence? To the pro-abortion set, of course. But not to the rest of us.
Erdreich told us that she chose the less “radical” option, based on her doctor’s advice and experience. Likewise, she would surely say, the less “radical” option for a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy is to eliminate the “problem” using the technique the abortionist recommends, based on his experience.

As always, to the pro-abortionist, life and death, birth and dismemberment are simply alternative ways of talking about the same thing: pregnancy termination. One “terminates” in a beautiful baby. The other “terminates” in bloody human body parts reassembled by the nurse to make sure no “fetal parts” remain in the post-abortive woman.
The pro-abortion mind’s ability to distance itself from what is happening is almost as scary as it is troubling. As veteran pro-abortion apologists David Grimes and Carole Joffe tell us at

The specifics of abortion methods can be unpleasant to the lay public. However, this is true of most operations that remove tissue from the body.
Get it? We dummies who lack the technical expertise of the abortionist look at a completely neutral graphic of what a dismemberment abortion does to a baby and want to retch.
They, like Erdreich, have long since made a separate peace with their heart, mind, and stomach.
What a bunch.

Source: NRLC News

Crime's Aftermath


Purvi Patel appeals 20-year sentence for aborting her 25-30 week old baby and then ignoring him after he was born alive

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By Dave Andrusko
Purvi Patel (Robert Franklin, South Bend Tribune)
Purvi Patel (Robert Franklin, South Bend Tribune)

This will be a fairly brief, but very important, post. WSBT-TV reported today that attorneys for Purvi Patel have filed an appeal of her 20 year prison sentence. Pro-abortionists are determined to turn Patel into a martyr, an innocent victim of over-zealous prosecutors. As we have explained on numerous occasions, this narrative, while wholly fictitious, is important to the pro-abortion cause.
As NRL News Today readers recall, St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Hurley sentenced Patel for throwing her newborn son into a dumpster following a chemically-induced abortion.

In February, following a trial that took place over six days and which 20 witnesses offered testimony, Patel was convicted of feticide and child neglect. Prosecutors said she took drugs to induce an abortion and failed to get medical help for the baby when he was born alive.
“You, Ms. Patel, are an educated woman of considerable means. If you wished to terminate your pregnancy safely and legally, you could have done so,” said Judge Hurley said. “You planned a course of action and took matters into your own hands.”

St. Joseph County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Mark Roule said Patel could have sought help for her baby, “but instead betrayed a victim who was wholly dependent on her,” according to the South Bend Tribune’s Christian Sheckler. “His only chance at survival was his mother,” Roule said. “In this case, the mother did nothing, left him on the floor to die and threw him in the trash.”
Here’s how the pro-abortion site described what happened. The first two paragraphs establish the mythology and assert Patel’s status as a victim:

Attorneys for Purvi Patel, the Indiana woman convicted of both feticide and felony neglect of a dependent, filed an appeal arguing there was no proof Patel took any drugs to end her pregnancy.
Patel, an Indian American woman who lived at home in a conservative Hindu household, in July 2013 entered an emergency room in South Bend, Indiana, while suffering heavy vaginal bleeding. She initially denied to doctors that she had been pregnant. After doctors persisted, Patel acknowledged she had miscarried, telling them the fetus was stillborn and that she had placed it in a bag and placed the bag in a dumpster.
Not true, not remotely true.

The “no proof” argument manages to avoid an abundance of text messages establishing not only that Patel tried to obtain abortifacients from overseas, she received them with the intent of aborting her child and did so. As WSBT’s Kelli Stopczynski reported,

According to text messages, the pills arrived at Moe’s Southwest Grill in Mishawaka — a restaurant Patel’s family owns — in early July. But Patel waited to take those pills until July 10, continuing to provide a detailed account of her situation to her friend, [Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Aimee] Herring told the jury.
“BTW, these pills taste like sh**. If these pills don’t work”¦I’m gonna be mad,” the text messages allegedly said.
Then on July 13, Patel text messaged her friend, “Just lost the baby. I’m gonna clean up the bathroom and then go to Moe’s.”

And it is probably quite true that the unmarried Patel did not want her parents to know she was pregnant. But that doesn’t change what happened after the baby was born alive nor substantiate Patel’s claim that she miscarried. The phony “miscarriage” argument is put front and center to “prove” that every woman who miscarries is potentially liable to be prosecuted and sent to jail.
Calvin Freiburger did a brilliant job dismantling all the canards and misrepresentations of the testimony to show that the evidence demonstrating that the baby was indeed born alive was scientifically unimpeachable.

There are multiple tragedies here, starting with the unnecessary death of Patel’s viable, 25 to 30-week-old son. But another enormous tragedy would be if the pro-abortion sites that promulgate lies about Patel and her baby are allowed to substitute mythology for truth.

Source: NRLC News

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Democratic View on Life


Wasserman Schultz goes nuclear over 24-hour waiting period, but comfortable with aborting 7-pound baby

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By Dave Andrusko
Pro-abortion Democratic Party Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fl.)
Pro-abortion Democratic Party Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fl.)

I am convinced if a bill was proposed that said abortion clinics in Florida must have an actual address (as opposed to a PO Box), Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz would indignantly announce that it is a “dangerous step toward the ultimate goal sought by some Republicans: banning all abortions,” as she did today in explaining her opposition to a 24-hour waiting period bill.
To be clear, it is true that Wasserman Schultz, who pulls double duty as a congresswoman and chair of the Democratic National Committee, hyperventilates at a drop of a pro-life hat. So we shouldn’t be terribly surprised–or surprised at all–that she would claim that such commonsense legislation “will increase suffering for women and their children — and might cost some their lives,” according to the Florida Sun Sentinel’s Anthony Man.

Wasserman Schultz and a handful of similarly-minded people held a news conference this morning at in the courtyard of the Federal Courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign the bill–passed overwhelmingly in both houses–in short order, so Wasserman Schultz had to hustle if she was going to get her demagoguery for the day in before HB 633 is law.
At the risk of stating the obvious (to anyone other than the Wasserman Schultzes), waiting periods don’t cost lives, they save lives. But, of course, those lives–the unborn’s–don’t matter.
After all this is the same woman who got into a sparring match with pro-life presidential candidate Rand Paul (R-Ky.) over whether Wasserman Schultz was okay with aborting a seven-pound unborn baby. Answer? Of course, she was.

“We have very different definitions of personal liberty,” she said. “The Democratic Party’s position is that we are pro-choice.”
Mr. Man’s article ended with “This article will be updated. Check back for more.”
He is correct. Wasserman Schultz will probably add something equally over-the-top in the next couple of hours.

RU486---RU Crazy


Pro-Life Doctor Succeeds in Reversing Abortion Pill

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By Andrew Bair
Delgado_FacebookAdvancements in science and medical technology have proven to be great gifts to the pro-life movement time and time again. Doctors are able to routinely deliver premature babies at earlier and earlier stages of development. Innovations in sonogram imaging have provided a window to the womb enabling expectant mothers to see their unborn children face to face. We also have the ability to hear the unborn baby’s tiny heartbeat.
These glimpses at the baby’s humanity have inspired countless numbers of mothers to reject abortion and choose life. However, until now, once a pregnant woman selected a chemically-induced abortion, there was little hope that the unborn child would survive.
Now, a new medical advancement is saving lives in a previously unimaginable way. Dr. George Delgado, medical director at the Culture of Life Family Health Care in San Diego, California, has been instrumental in developing a technique to reverse what was the inevitably fatal effect of the RU-486 abortion pill.
Dr. Delgado’s story began when he received a call from a friend in El Paso, Texas, who informed him about a woman who had taken the abortion pill but immediately regretted the decision.
At the 2015 American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) conference, Dr. Delgado told attendees, “I started thinking about my years of experience with progesterone, and how I’d used progesterone to try to prevent miscarriage.” The protocol calls for taking the injectable progesterone as soon as possible after taking the mifepristone.
Dr. Mary Davenport, another pro-life physician at the forefront of this new innovation, explained how chemical abortions involve two drugs:
“Medical [chemical] abortion is actually performed in early pregnancy with TWO pills, the first – RU-486 – mifepristone or Mifeprex, antagonizes the hormone progesterone, which is necessary for pregnancy. This cuts off the nutritional supply to the pregnancy, ending in the unborn baby’s death. One or two days later the woman takes a second pill, misoprostol or Cytotec, which causes uterine contractions and expels the pregnancy. Medical abortion is frequently a horrible experience for the women, lasting up to 2-4 weeks with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hemorrhage, and intense pain.”
The reversal attempts to counteract the first drug, mifepristone, before the second one, misoprostol, is ever given.
Progesterone is a critical hormone during pregnancy, said Delgado. It helps nourish the placenta, keeps the cervix closed, and inhibits contractions. Mifepristone, a progesterone receptor antagonist, acts like a “false key” binding with the progesterone receptor and blocking its activity. This action softens the cervix, makes the uterine wall more vulnerable to contractions, and attacks the placenta, Delgado said.
“I thought, well, maybe we can out-compete [mifepristone] at the receptor [using progesterone],” he said.
At a press conference held at the National Press Club, AAPLOG physicians reported that as of the end of 2014, 78 babies have been born after abortion reversal treatment, with 45 women still pregnant, a 57% success rate out of 223 attempted reversals.
One success story is Andrea Minichini, her boyfriend Chris Caicedo, and their son Gabriel David. Minichini, though still wrestling with the decision, took the first abortion pill, mifepristone, while the abortionist at Planned Parenthood cheered her on.
Instead of taking the second pill the next day, which would induce contractions, she began to look into ways to stop the death of her unborn child. Not surprisingly, the abortion center staff was no help. A local hospital informed her that if she carried the baby to term, he would face severe health issues.
A Google search led her to Dr. George Delgado in San Diego. On December 31, 2014, she delivered a healthy baby boy they named Gabriel David.
“Obviously women are changing their minds and interested in options,” said Delgado.
As noted, Dr. Delgado’s innovations have already saved 78 young lives. And that is just the beginning! AAPLOG recently unveiled a new “Emergency Abortion Pill Reversal Kit,” which they would like to see placed in emergency rooms and urgent care clinics nationwide.
Dr. Davenport observed that there are approximately 200,000 chemically-induced abortions annually in the USA.
Dr. George Delgado will address the National Right to Life Convention this summer in New Orleans, Louisiana. The event will run July 9-11 and also feature keynote speakers Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, John McCormack of the Weekly Standard, NRLC President Carol Tobias, and many more.
For more information, please visit
Source: NRLC News

Premature Babies


Baby born at 19 weeks lives for two hours, kicks his feet in video

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By Nancy Flanders
Torres-and-SavierYouanna Torres was 19 weeks and six days pregnant when she started to experience cramping and bleeding. Fearing the worst, Torres and her boyfriend, Fernando Viera, rushed to the ER. After an examination, doctors informed Torres that there was nothing they could do to stop her from going into premature labor.

Diagnosed with cervical incompetence (when the cervix begins to open too early during pregnancy) Torres’ baby was born nearly 20 weeks premature on April 4, 2015.

Baby Savier lived for two hours outside of the womb and died in the loving arms of his mother. Because he was born extremely premature, doctors were unable to do anything to save him.
Devastated, Torres and Viera took photos of their son, and even recorded a video of him. The powerful recording shows the humanity of baby Savier, as he kicks his legs while his mother cradles him. The parents spent time holding him and loving him before he passed away.

The following day, Torres shared her heartbreaking story on Facebook, asking for prayers. She wrote:
“God give me the strength […]This agony is killing me. I can’t stop cryin. I feel so weak.”
Doctors informed Torres that she will need a cervical stitch when she becomes pregnant again. This will keep her cervix closed so that the same incident with Savier will not occur again.
The days following the loss of her son, Torres continued to share her emotions. She wrote about how difficult it is to wake up in the morning, remembering that her son is gone and that she is no longer pregnant. Torres wrote about how happy she was to give her 10-year-old daughter, Sashalie, the sibling she had always wanted.

“I love you with all my heart,” Torres wrote to Savier, telling him to rest in God’s arms.
Savier was not only deeply loved, but he was alive during his short time outside of the womb. At less than 20 weeks gestation, he was a human being worthy and deserving of life. His beautiful face shows us just how precious he and all preborn children are.
Torres says she knows Savier is watching over her, and she feels that he wants her to smile and be happy. She plans to place some of his ashes in a necklace so she can always keep her son close.
Editor’s note. This appeared at and is reprinted with permission.

Source: NRLC News



Community mourns pregnant woman who was shot to death

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Her six month unborn baby survived

By Dave Andrusko
Kimberly Richardson is seen in a photo posted on a GiveForward fundraising website for her family.

Faith Baptist Church in Youngstown, North Carolina, was filled with over 900 people Sunday afternoon who came to pay tribute to a vivacious woman “who had a way of just filling up a room with a smile.”
Six months pregnant, Kimberly Richardson was shot, allegedly by her boyfriend, but managed to stay alive long enough to place a call to 911.
According to KTLA 5, “Officers believe Richardson’s strength while talking with 911 in her dying moments ultimately saved her baby’s life.”
Yesterday, ABC 11 reported,

There was also talk of the miraculous survival of the baby, Lacy Dianne Richardson.
Pastor Richard Mills said the baby’s life was possible because of Kimberly Richardson’s “heroic acts” of striving to live.
But Mills said the baby “still has a long way to go.”
He asked the community to pray for little Lacy.
Richardson’s close friend and roommate, Lauren Byerly, told ABC 11,”When she found out she was pregnant she was so excited.”

Byerly added, “She was going to be an amazing mother. And I was excited to be a part of her life and her family’s life. …[I]t helps a lot to know there’s part of her still here.”
Penney Smith, a family friend, said the outpouring of sympathy and support from the community is helping everyone to cope.
“It’s terrible with tragedies like this but we always can pull together and be there to support each other,” Smith told ABC 11.

As NRL News Today reported last week, on April 18, 911 dispatchers received a call from the 25-year-old Richardson, a call they could barely make out.
“Help, I’ve been shot” Richardson said over the phone before it went silent. As she struggled for breath, according to WNCN-TV, “She was able to tell the dispatcher that she was outside, but what followed was nearly 43 second of chilling silence before she could muster enough energy to again tell the dispatcher, ‘Behind Party City.’”
The conversation ended after Richardson responded “I can’t…I can’t talk” after being ask for her phone number.

The dispatcher tried unsuccessful to get her back on the line. Police sirens were the next thing heard over the phone.
When Raleigh police arrived, they discovered that Richardson had not only been shot, but that she was also six months pregnant. She was rushed to WakeMed where doctors performed an emergency C-Section that saved her daughter’s life.
Tragically, Richardson died.

Her boyfriend, Daniel Joseph Steele, 25, was immediately a suspect when police discovered that Richardson had said, “He shot me” during the 911 call.
He was charged with Richardson’s murder and is being held without bond.

Source: NRLC News

Monday, April 27, 2015

Pain and Babies


New Research demonstrates conclusively babies in first week feel pain

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By Dave Andrusko
newbornpain3reA 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.
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.”

However using an MRI to demonstrate newborn pain was problematic because it was thought babies would not keep still enough.
“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 th
e 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