Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination, signed a bill today barring abortions on unborn babies capable of feeling pain.
“For people, regardless of where they might stand, when an unborn child can feel pain I think most people feel it’s appropriate to protect that child,” the governor said.
A child’s ability to feel pain constitutes a “reasonable standard” for the state to offer protection.
“At five months, that’s the time when that unborn child can feel pain,” he added. “When an unborn child can feel pain, we should be protecting that child.”
The measure would disallow abortions after 20 weeks except to save the mother’s life or if she would suffer major, irreparable physical harm within the next 24 hours.
Abortions outside that criteria would be classified as felonies carrying a maximum sentence of three-and-a-half years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The parents of children aborted after that point can also sue abortionists for damages under the terms of the law.
It contains no exceptions for rape or incest — something that caused Democratic Party spokeswoman Kaylie Hanson to brand it “radical, dangerous, and lacks respect for half the population of Wisconsin.”
Baby now weighs about 11 ounces and is roughly 7 inches long.
Baby is 17 cm long crown to rump, and weighs about 310 grams.
The baby can hear and recognize the mother’s voice.
The mother will probably start feeling the first fetal movements.
The toenails and fingernails are growing.
The growth of hair on the rest of the body has started.
The skin is getting thicker.
The heart can now be heard with a stethoscope.
Your baby may react to loud sounds. Baby can actually hear noises outside of the womb. Familiar voices, music, and sounds that baby becomes accustomed to during their development stages often are calming after birth. This is an important time for sensory development since nerve cells serving each of the senses; taste, smell, hearing, sight, and touch are now developing into their specialized area of the brain.
Your baby now weighs about 11 ounces and at roughly 7 inches long they are filling up more and more of the womb. Though still small and fragile, the baby is growing rapidly and could possibly survive if born at this stage.
The Life News article noted that about a dozen states also banned abortions when the unborn child can feel pain. Makes you wonder about the states that don’t.
Life News has an overview of Scott Walker’s record fighting against abortion.
Here’s the latest accomplishment:
Earlier this year, Walker burnished his pro-life credentials by issuing a letter saying he would sign a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks.
“As the Wisconsin legislature moves forward in the coming session, further protections for mother and child are likely to come to my desk in the form of a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. I will sign that bill when it gets to my desk and support similar legislation on the federal level. I was raised to believe in the sanctity of life and I will always fight to protect it.”
Since then, the Wisconsin legislature has approved the pro-life measure and Governor Walker is expected to sign the 20-week abortion ban into law soon.
The position is not a new one as Walker co-sponsored legislation in 1998 while he was a member of the Wisconsin state legislature to ban abortions after 20 weeks.
And here’s the rest of the list:
Abortion Funding: As an Assembly Representative, Walker voted against taxpayer funding of abortions for public employees. As Governor, Walker signed into law a state budget provision to prohibit the UW Hospital Authority from being involved in performing abortions and from using taxpayer dollars to pay medical students to learn to perform abortions. Also as Governor, Walker signed legislation allowing Wisconsin to opt-out of taxpayer-funded abortion coverage under ObamaCare.
Funding Abortion Providers: As an Assembly Representative, Walker voted to prohibit taxpayer dollars from going to organizations that provide or promote abortions. As Governor, Walker signed into law a state budget provision to prohibit Title V taxpayer dollars from going to organizations that perform abortions. Also as Governor, Walker steered funds from the Wisconsin Well Woman program to local counties instead of Planned Parenthood.
Protecting Unborn Children: As an Assembly Representative, Walker voted to recognize an unborn child as a separate victim of a criminal act against the pregnant mother, to prohibit partial-birth abortions, and to protect unborn children at risk due to drug or alcohol use by the mother.
Protecting Families: As an Assembly Representative, Walker voted to strengthen Wisconsin’s law requiring parental consent before a minor’s abortion. As Governor, Walker signed legislation returning sex education curriculum to local control and allowing abstinence-only programs.
Protecting Women: As an Assembly Representative, Walker voted for the Woman’s Right to Know Act which requires that women be given full information prior to an abortion and establishes a 24-hour waiting period. As Governor, Walker signed legislation to protect women from coerced abortions; to prohibit unsafe RU 486 chemical web cam abortions designed to expand abortions into local communities; to require that a woman view an ultrasound of her unborn child 24 hours before an abortion can take place; and to require abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic.
Alternatives to Abortion: As an Assembly Representative, Walker voted for tax exemptions related to adoption expenses; to improve adoption laws; to expand funding for adoption assistance for children at risk of developing disabilities; and for a provision to allow a woman and her unborn child to be considered as a family eligible for BadgerCare.
Conscience Protections: As an Assembly Representative, Walker authored legislation to strengthen conscience protections for medical professionals and institutions.
Other: As an Assembly Representative, Walker voted in favor of legislation to prohibit lawsuits based on the “wrongful” life of an unborn child and to prohibit the sale of body parts of aborted babies.
The radically leftist National Journal, which despises Scott Walker, explains how he wins:
The son of a conservative small-town minister who showed his son how to be “pastoral,” Walker has mastered the art of governing in a manner that mobilizes the party faithful while campaigning in a way that doesn’t scare off moderates, independents, and even some Democrats. This misdirection has been the source of much of Walker’s political success.
“Even as he cut that abortion ad, there isn’t a single pro-life voter in the state who suddenly thinks he’s pro-choice,” said Matt Batzel, executive director of American Majority, a conservative activist group. “They know he shares their views.”
Batzel, who is based in Wisconsin and has had a front-row seat for Walker’s biggest political battles, added: “He has legislated very conservatively. But when you look at his tone and how he wins elections, it’s different. And that’s a needle he’s successfully been able to thread in Wisconsin.”
This is the story of Walker’s political rise. In a National Journal magazine profile last year, the governor’s friends and foes alike remarked on his unique ability—demonstrated over the past two decades—to wrap a fierce ideological agenda in a neighborly, nonthreatening persona.
“He has an altar boy’s appearance,” said Bob Jauch, a longtime Democratic state senator who worked closely with Walker in the legislature. “But Darth Vader writes his policies.”
Now, I understand that some pro-lifers would prefer that Walker sound more direct about his pro-life views during election campaigns. They think that there are enough pro-lifers who will go for tough rhetoric of the Ted Cruz sort. But that’s false of course. Candidates who sound shrill on social issues in a purple state like Wisconsin simply don’t win elections. Pro-lifers are notorious for shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to politics, and there is a lot of pious chest-pounding from the sidelines. But Walker knows better. He knows that to win elections, you have to speak about the issues that everyone cares about, like balancing the budget and creating jobs and lowering property taxes, and that’s how he gets elected. Then, when he is elected, he actually does pro-life things. Why would you talk to the hostile left-wing media about abortion? They will just use anything you say against you! A much better idea is to promise fiscal achievements, achieve them, win re-election on the strength of your fiscal achievements, and then be the guy who can quietly push for incremental pro-life legislation. Walker has done more for the pro-life cause than a whole host of shrill pro-life activists who have strong rhetoric, but do not have the chance to make the impact that a governor does.
Great news!!! This story is from Life News, and I have more great news below.
A federal appeals court issued a ruling today upholding a Texas pro-life law credited with closing multiple abortion clinics and cutting abortions 13 percent, saving an estimated 9,900 babies from abortion.
The legislation, House Bill 2 (HB2), requires abortion facilities to meet the same safety standards of other Ambulatory Surgical Centers in the state, ensures that abortionists have admitting privileges at a local hospital, and bans painful late abortions on fully formed babies. The admitting privileges portion of the law was the portion responsible for closing abortion clinics and, because so many shut down or stopped doing abortions, Judge Lee Yeakel claimed that constituted an undue burden on women.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed an appeal of Judge Yeakel’s ruling and the appellate court issued its decision on that today.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the lower court “erred by substituting its own judgment for that of the legislature” when ruling against the pro-life bill. It ruled that all abortion clinics have to follow the admitting privileges law except one.
And some more good news from Life News, this time from Missouri.
The Missouri General Assembly adopted legislation during this year’s session which will dramatically increase funding for alternatives to abortion programs. The authorization for enhanced funding for abortion alternatives efforts was included in a bill which overhauled the state’s major public assistance program.
The bill adopted by the Missouri Legislature, Senate Bill 24, was known as the “Strengthening Missouri Families Act.” It was sponsored by Senator David Sater of Cassville, and handled in the House by Representative Diane Franklin of Camdenton.
The legislation revised Missouri’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. That form of public assistance is most commonly referred to as welfare benefits, and used to go by the name Aid to Families of Dependent Children (AFDC).
The most widely reported change contained in the bill was a provision that scaled back the period of time in which a person can receive TANF assistance. The bill reduced the lifetime limit for recipients of TANF benefits from 60 to 45 months.
A lesser noted section of the bill established that 2% of block grant funds received from the federal government for TANF assistance shall be dedicated to the state’s alternatives to abortion services and public awareness programs.
That means that approximately $4.3 million in new annual funding will be available for alternatives to abortion programs.
[…]Services financed by the program include prenatal, medical, and mental health care; child care, newborn, and infant care; food, clothing, and pregnancy related supplies; parenting training; housing and utilities; transportation; and educational services. During the 2014 fiscal year, services were provided to a total of 1,511 women and their children.
[…]Another favorable provision in the bill calls for a similar 2% (another $4.3 million) of the federal TANF block grant funding to be earmarked for programs promoting healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood. These programs were created as a component of the major welfare reform law passed by Congress in 1996.
Those funds can be used for pre-marital education, marriage skills, marriage mentoring, and divorce reduction programs. Funds can also be expended for parenting skills training, and counseling programs to combat domestic violence and child abuse.
The Democrat governor voted to veto the bill, but there were enough Republicans in the House and Senate to override his veto. So this is more good news. If you’re a fiscal conservative who believes in smaller government, you like the welfare reform in this story as well. I know I do.
Here’s an interesting story from The Daily Caller. (H/T Mary from Marin)
A new decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals holds that New York’s state government has the right to ban “Choose Life” license plates on the grounds that such a statement is “patently offensive.”
The dispute stems from a now-suspended program offered by New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) which allowed private organizations to create custom license plates. If drivers purchased the plates, the purchasing price was split between the DMV and the non-profit.
The Children First Foundation (CFF), an organization promoting adoption as an alternative to abortion, submitted a design for a “Choose Life” license plate, which featured a drawing of two children’s faces in front of a yellow sun.
The proposed plate was rejected, with the DMV citing a policy that allows it to ban “patently offensive” plates in order to prevent incidents of road rage. The “patently offensive” category in U.S. speech is typically related to public obscenity laws, and allows for limitations on things like the public display of pornography or other materials that blatantly violate community standards.
Judge Rosemary Pooler, a Clinton appointee, agreed with New York’s position in her majority opinion. She took this view even though she also ruled that license plates are private speech subject to First Amendment protections. Despite these protections, however, she said that so many New Yorkers could find a plate advocating an anti-abortion position “patently offensive” that the DMV was justified in suppressing the speech.
I want to focus in on the life of the judge who made the decision.
I found her biography on Wikipedia. Look at how successful she was:
Rosemary Pooler was born in New York City. She earned a B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1959, an M.A. from the University of Connecticut, and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.
Following graduation from law school, Pooler entered private law practice in Syracuse, New York. In 1972, she was appointed as Director of the Consumer Affairs Unit in the Syracuse Corporation Counsel’s Office, serving in that post for a year. From 1974 to 1975, she served on the Syracuse City Council. In 1975, she was appointed as Chairman of the New York State Consumer Protection Board, serving until 1980. The following year, she was appointed to the state Public Service Commission. In 1987, she served as a committee staff member for the New York State Assembly. Following a stint on the law faculty at Syracuse University College of Law, she served for a year as Vice President of Legal Affairs at the Atlantic States Legal Foundation.
In 1986, Rosemary Pooler decided to run for the United States House of Representatives. She challenged conservative Republican incumbent George C. Wortley, who was seeking a fourth term. She campaigned aggressively and came within less than 1,000 votes of winning.
In 1990, she was elected as a Justice for the Fifth Judicial District of the Supreme Court of New York. Four years later, she was appointed to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton, serving from 1994 to 1998, as federal district judge in the Northern District of New York. She received her current appointment as a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1998.
So, this license plate case, along with many of the other issues that I blog about, is the problem. What is the solution to all these problems? The solution is for us as Christians to get serious about our education, our work experience, our earning and saving, and our marriages and parenting in order to have an influence. We need to be the judges who make these decisions about whether pro-life license plates are legal or illegal. Failing that, our children need to be the judges. And that means that when it comes to education and career, instead of doing what makes us feel happy we have to work hard at having an influence. And when it comes to marriage, we should look at it less as something that is feelings-directed and happiness-focused, and more about making it serve God by raising influential, effective children.
Pro-life debater Scott Klusendorf summarizes a recent debate between a pro-life incrementalist and a pro-life abolitionist. An incrementalist is a pro-lifer who wants to pass laws that save lives right now, while still working for a full ban on abortion. An abolitionist is a pro-lifer who does not want to pass laws that solve part of the problem, preferring to hold off on laws that save lives until they can get all abortions banned.
So there was a debate, and Scott watched it, and here is his review.
First, the intro:
T. Russell Hunter issued a very public challenge calling for any pro-life leader to debate him on incrementalism. Gregg Cunningham, a former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Executive Director of the Center for Bioethical Reform, accepted. The formal debate structure was as follows: 20-minute opening statements, 15-minute rebuttals, 15-minute cross-examination, 5-minute closing statements. An informal audience Q&A followed the formal debate.
[…]Gregg Cunningham won the formal exchange handily and he did so early by pointing out a fundamental flaw in Hunter’s argument—namely, the mistaken claim that pro-lifers have the power to end abortion immediately but won’t. Again and again, he exposed Hunter’s fallacious either/or reasoning by demonstrating that pro-lifers don’t have to choose between incremental legislation that saves some children right now or total abolition that saves all at a later time. Rather, they can advance both strategies simultaneously and save many lives in the process. Cunningham also demonstrated a superior grasp of social reform history, noting that while Wilberforce, Lincoln, and Martin-Luther King were in principle moral absolutists, in practice they functioned as strategic and tactical incrementalists—as do pro-lifers today. During cross-examination, Hunter stumbled badly when asked if those babies saved through incremental legislation should have been left to die. When he refused to give a clear answer—despite being repeatedly pressed to do so—the debate was effectively over. In short, Hunter could not preach his way to victory, even when invoking his understanding of Scripture. His claim that incrementalism is not found in the Bible was decisively refuted when Gregg cited three examples from Scripture where God dealt incrementally with His people.
I watched this video clip to get a feel for how it went down:
In the clip, Cunningham asks if the babies who are saved by incremental legislation should be allowed to die instead. He has some evidence from a law professor saying that incremental laws do save some lives, and he is asking the AHA person should we not enact these incremental laws that save the lives of unborn children.
Scott has the transcript:
GC: I’d like to return to the question with which I began, which Russ hasn’t answered. Should we allow these babies to die rather than enact incremental legislation?
GC: I’m sorry?
TRH: Like, should we allow – should we allow babies to die?
GC: Should we allow these – because…
TRH: The charade is – the charade is not even what we’re talking about – the incrementalism/immediatism debate. Focusing the ax at the tree, getting all the people who follow incrementalism to become immediatists and help put that ax to the branch – to the root…
GC: Would you answer this question?
TRH & GC: [unintelligible]
Moderator: That was the last question. Russ, go ahead and answer that, and then we’re gonna end this.
GC: Just for the record, Russ didn’t answer the question: Should we have allowed these babies to die, which this university professor says would have died had that legislation not been enacted. Should we have allowed them to die rather than enact the incremental legislation?
Moderator: Okay, Russ, answer that question, then we’ll change.
TRH: Um, well, I firmly believe that abortion is evil, and it is one of these things that the powers and principalities of darkness and high places are very in to. It’s the crown jewel of darkness, and I actually believe that if they can keep abortion going by deceiving people into becoming gradualists, they will do it. And if to deceive them they have to give them empty, illusory victories, and law professors may claim that babies were saved, they’ll do it. But I – if someone goes to an abortion mill and shoots a doctor, a baby might be saved that day, but that’s not going towards abolishing abortion. It’s not establishing justice that day [unintelligible] a baby that day.
GC: May I ask for clarification for your answer? You’re saying this guy’s making this up?
TRH: Uh, no, I have to read it. But I’m just saying that convincing people to be gradualists by saying, “Hey look, we saved some,” while they’re still being – I’m pretty sure that you can convince people to be gradualists for the next 40 years…
GC: Hey Russell, let’s do both. Let’s do both. Let’s do both.
Honestly, I am not sure why anyone pays these AHA people any mind. Just judging from that one clip, I don’t think that Hunter has anything of value to say in this debate. His group seems to be more concerned with attacking other pro-lifers who actually are getting the job done than doing anything. In the real world, incremental pro-life laws save lives. To be persuasive on those incremental laws, you have to talk about the logic and science that supports the pro-life view. That will be persuasive to Christians as well as non-Christians. Building consensus for incremental pro-life laws by appealing to a bigger audience that includes non-Christians makes sense – it solves the actual problem.