Tag Archives: Texas

Texas prosecutor with link to Planned Parenthood charges pro-life whistleblowers

Planned Parenthood senior executive: organ harvesting so she can get a Lamborghini
Planned Parenthood senior executive: organ harvesting so she can get a Lamborghini

The Federalist has the story:

Months after the release of undercover videos detailing Planned Parenthood’s scheme to traffic aborted baby body parts, a grand jury has finally brought brought criminal charges. Not against Planned Parenthood, but against David Daleiden, the pro-life activist behind the undercover sting videos.

A grand jury in Harris County, Texas, returned two charges on Monday afternoon against Daleiden, the activist who planned and organized the undercover sting videos. Although the grand jury allegedly investigated Planned Parenthood, no charges were brought against the nation’s largest abortion provider, whose executives were shown in multiple videos attempting to sell trafficked organs and other body parts harvested from aborted babies. One Planned Parenthood executive, while haggling over the prices of aborted baby organs, noted that she needed to get the right price because, “I want to buy a Lamborghini.”

According to a press release from the office of Harris County district attorney’s office which was provided to The Federalist, Daleiden was charged with the purchase and sale of human organs, a misdemeanor, and with tampering with a governmental record, a felony. Sandra Merritt, one of Daleiden’s associates, was also charged with tampering with a governmental record.

“For more than two months, the 232nd Grand Jury extensively reviewed the joint investigation into allegations of misconduct by PPGC,” stated the press release. “This grand jury cleared PPGC of breaking the law. However, the grand jury did hand down indictments for two individuals who were involved in making the allegations against PPGC public via covert recordings made in April 2015.”

Lauren Reeder, one of the prosecutors in the Harris County district attorney’s office, revealed last August that she was a member of the board of directors for the Planned Parenthood affiliate that was targeted by Daleiden.

Reeder’s LinkedIn page indicates that she has been a Planned Parenthood board member since 2013 and a fundraiser for the abortion provider since 2009.

The maximum sentence for “tampering with a governmental record” (using a fake ID, which almost every teen does) is 20 years.

Well, what happens next? This Houston Chronicle says:

Days after Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson announced that she was launching a criminal investigation into the Houston-area branch of Planned Parenthood, Anderson said she had learned one of her subordinates was on the board of directors of the agency.

[…]”She will not be involved in any manner in this investigation,” Anderson said. “If at any time in the future, reliable and credible information is brought to my attention that would question our ability to continue to perform a fair, thorough and independent investigation of this matter due to her board membership, I will revisit the issue of seeking the appointment of an independent prosecutor and act accordingly.”

Seems to me that there should be a special prosecutor, because the district attorney’s office is obviously not going to be impartial. Even if the Planned Parenthood woman is not involved directly, she works with the people who are involved. The best thing to do is get a special prosecutor.

Meanwhile, the state of Texas is continuing to investigate Planned Parenthood as a result of the videos.

Texas raids Planned Parenthood offices in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio

Texas Governor Greg Abbott
Texas Governor Greg Abbott

This is from Life News. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

After a Houston-based Planned Parenthood abortion clinic was caught selling aborted baby body parts, state investigators conducted a raid today on multiple Planned Parenthood abortion clinics across the state.
Texas officials raided several Planned Parenthood facilities today in an unprecedented move that follows on the heels of pro-life Governor Greg Abbott announcing earlier in the week that the state would further de-fund the abortion business.  Abbott said this week “the gruesome harvesting of baby body parts by Planned Parenthood will not be allowed,” but so far the state has released no evidence of illegal activity by the group.

The raids were carried out at Planned Parenthood abortion centers in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio by representatives from the Texas Office of the Inspector General and the state served subpoenas on five total Planned Parenthood centers. The Houston Chronicle has more:

Officials with the inspector general’s office at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission went to two facilities in Houston as well as clinics in Dallas, San Antonio and Brownsville. The Brownsville center does not perform abortions.

Planned Parenthood was given 30 days to respond to the move; a legal challenge is likely.

On Thursday, Planned Parenthood officials decried the subpoenas as politically-motivated, saying officials were “looking for an excuse to take health care away from thousands of women and men who rely on Planned Parenthood for preventive care.”

“The investigators were seeking hundreds of pages of information, from patient records to employee home addresses, involving 10 Planned Parenthood facilities across the state” the Austin newspaper reported. “Officials would not confirm details of the investigation, but the sources said it’s related to suspicions of misspent Medicaid money.”

ECM was quite delighted with this story, and it does show why the United States of America is still a great country. My Canadian friends have been filling up my ears with laments. “Angry”, was how one Calgary man described his feelings to me. “I’m hiding under blankets” one Calgary woman told me. Well, yes. When the Liberal Party gets a majority in a country where federalism is severely crippled, then no matter where you live, you’re pretty much done for.

But that’s not the case in the USA, where a man can dream of living under Mary Fallin in Oklahoma, or Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, or under Sam Brownback in Kansas. Or even in Tennessee or Texas under other Republican governors. You have your pick. And when you open up the local newspaper, you are going to see things happening that don’t make you angry, or make you hide under blankets. What a country! We should be thankful for the boundary between federal and state governments, and seek to strengthen the jurisdiction of states.

By the way, Texas also defunded Planned Parenthood earlier this week.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott takes action to defund Planned Parenthood

Texas Governor Greg Abbott
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican

This story is from leftist ABC local news.

Excerpt:

Gov. Greg Abbott launched a new set of proposals Friday to defund Planned Parenthood and pass restrictions on the collection of fetal tissue.

[…]On Friday, Gov. Abbott announced a new initiative in response under the acronym “LIFE.”

“Gruesome – and potentially illegal – harvesting of baby body parts by Planned Parenthood cannot be allowed in Texas,” Abbott said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “Treating unborn children as commodities to be sold is an abomination. The barbaric practice of harvesting and selling baby body parts must end.”

The initiative states, “Laws must be changed to make it a felony under Texas law to perform a partial-birth abortion; and make it illegal for abortion doctors to risk a woman’s health by altering the procedure to preserve fetal body parts.”

[…]It further states, “Funding for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers out of taxpayer money must be eliminated completely, both at the State and local levels.” Public funding has already been cut off in Texas, where affiliates don’t even participate in tissue donation.

Finally, the governor proposes to “eliminate and criminalize any sale or transaction of fetal tissue by an abortion clinic for any purpose whatsoever,” which would restrict tissue collection largely to hospitals.

Texas is a red state, although they have lots of blue major cities with Democrat mayors – yuck.

Meanwhile, there’s more good news from Nebraska – another red state.

Here’s the story from the leftist Lincoln Journal Star.

Excerpt:

Five state lawmakers already have approached Nebraska Right to Life this summer about sponsoring anti-abortion bills next year, according to Julie Schmit-Albin, the group’s executive director.

“I’ve had more interest,” Schmit-Albin said last week.

Among those is Bellevue Sen. Tommy Garrett’s planned measure to target so-called “dismemberment abortions,” a term used to describe a dilation and evacuation procedure that is standard practice in abortions beginning 12 weeks after conception.

Schmit-Albin described so-called dismemberment abortion bans as “another chipping away” at the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade guaranteeing women the right to abortion.

In 2010, Nebraska became the first state in the nation to ban most abortions beginning at 20 weeks. The change was based on the theory that by that point, a fetus has the capacity to feel pain. More than a dozen states have since passed similar bans.

Garrett is also a Republican.

LIfe News notes that Nebraska is not the first to propose a ban on dismemberment abortions:

Earlier this year, Oklahoma became the second state in the nation to protect unborn children from dismemberment abortions that tear them apart limb from limb. Previous to that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed similar legislation prohibiting dismemberment abortions in the state. Model legislation provided by National Right to Life is also under consideration in the legislatures of Missouri and South Carolina.

The Democrats would love to roll back all of these restrictions at the state and local level, but for now they don’t have control of the House and Senate to push their bill to do that through to Obama, who would undoubtedly sign such a bill.

Peter J. Williams lectures on the historical reliability of the gospel narratives

Peter J. Williams
Peter J. Williams

Here’s the main lecture: (54 minutes)

And here’s the Q&A: (9 minutes)

About Peter Williams:

Peter J. Williams is the Warden (CEO) of Tyndale House and a member of the Faculty of Divinity in the University of Cambridge. He received his MA, MPhil and PhD, in the study of ancient languages related to the Bible from Cambridge University. After his PhD, he was on staff in the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University (1997–1998), and thereafter taught Hebrew and Old Testament there as Affiliated Lecturer in Hebrew and Aramaic and as Research Fellow in Old Testament at Tyndale House, Cambridge (1998–2003). From 2003 to 2007 he was on the faculty of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where he became a Senior Lecturer in New Testament and Deputy Head of the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy. In July 2007 he became the youngest Warden in the history of Tyndale House. He also retains his position as an honorary Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the University of Aberdeen.

Summary of the lecture:

  • What if the stories about Jesus are legendary?
  • were the gospels transmitted accurately?
  • were the gospels written in the same place as where the events happened?
  • do the gospel authors know the customs and locations where the events happened?
  • do the gospels use the right names for the time and place where the events took place?
  • do the gospels disambiguate people’s names depending on how common those names were?
  • how do the New Testament gospels compare to the later gnostic gospels?
  • how do the gospels refer to the main character? How non-Biblical sources refer to Jesus?
  • how does Jesus refer to himself in the gospels? do the later Christians refer to him that way?
  • how does Jesus teach? do later Christians teach the same way?
  • why didn’t Jesus say anything about early conflicts in the church (the Gentiles, church services)?
  • did the writers of the gospels know the places where the events took place?
  • how many places are named in the gospels? how about in the later gnostic gospels?
  • are the botanical details mentioned in the gospels accurate? how about the later gnostic gospels?

And here are the questions from the audience:

  • how what about the discrepancies in the resurrection narratives that Bart Ehrman is obsessed with?
  • what do you think of the new 2011 NIV translation (Peter is on the ESV translation committee)?
  • how did untrained, ordinary men produce complex, sophisticated documents like the gospels?
  • is oral tradition a strong enough bridge between the events and the writers who interviewed the eyewitnesses?
  • what does the name John mean?
  • why did the gospel writers wait so long before writing their gospels?
  • do you think that Matthew and Luke used a hypothetical source which historians call “Q”?
  • which gospel do critical historians trust the least and why?

I really enjoyed watching this lecture. He’s getting some of this material from Richard Bauckham’s awesome book “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”, so if you aren’t familiar with it, you can get an idea of what’s in it. Peter Williams is a lot of fun to listen to – an excellent speaker.

 

Federal court upholds Texas pro-life law that has saved about 10,000 lives already

I'm Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve of incrementalism
I’m Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve of incrementalism

Great news!!! This story is from Life News, and I have more great news below.

Excerpt:

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.

Excerpt:

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.