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July 10, 2002

From Ancient Times

Abortion was present even in ancient times. Under Roman rule "[n]ot only [was] … abortion permitted; [but also] infanticide. The shriveled remains of exposed babies could be found in every countryside of the [Roman] Empire…"2 Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun referred to this culture in Roe v. Wade: "Greek and Roman law afforded little protection to the unborn … Ancient religion did not bar abortion."3

Limited records indicate that early Americans used abortion as well. "Solid statistics concerning early abortion and unwed pregnancy are unavailable," Dr. Marvin Olasky writes in Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America, "but I have looked at enough pre-1800 records of infanticide and abortion to see a pattern." Samplings of those records include a 1648 execution for infanticide in Massachusetts, a 1652 conviction for intention to abort in Maryland, abortifacient use in the 1680s, and a 1719 murder of a newborn in New York. Additionally, in a study of colonial Massachusetts records, only about 2 percent of all children were illegitimate, yet 90 percent of murdered newborns were illegitimate.4

But overall, in America’s early years abortion was recognized as a negative phenomenon and an attack on human life. To combat this, early American colonies adopted laws drawn from English common law, which declared abortion prior to quickening (feeling life) a misdemeanor, and after quickening a felony. In 1869, the British Parliament passed the "Offenses Against the Persons Act." It pushed the felony punishment back to fertilization—the point at which scientific evidence proved life begins. During the same time period, every existing state passed its own law against abortion.5

Foundations for the 20th Century

As the legal system increasingly recognized the sanctity of life in the 19th century, philosopher Thomas Malthus developed his theories on population growth and economic stability. He took a very different perspective. In An Essay on the Principle of Population, Malthus wrote: "All children born, beyond what would be required to keep up the population to a desired level, must necessarily perish … we should facilitate … the operations of nature in producing this mortality."6

Margaret Sanger was an avid follower of Malthus. She embraced his view that the weak should be purged from society to maintain order. "The most merciful thing a large family can do to one of its members is to kill it." —Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood7 In The Pivot of Civilization, she "unashamedly called for the elimination of ‘human weeds,’ for the cessation of charity, for the segregation of ‘morons, misfits, and the maladjusted’ and for the sterilization of ‘genetically inferior races.’"8 Sanger also endorsed the euthanasia, sterilization, abortion and infanticide programs of Hitler’s Third Reich.9

"The most merciful thing a large family can do to one of its members is to kill it."
—Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood7

In 1916, Sanger founded the Planned Parenthood Federation of America—which called for legalized abortion. Her anti-family, pro-promiscuity, pro-contraceptive and pro-abortion views slowly grew in popularity and acceptance throughout the first half of the century.

In 1939, Sanger outlined her plan to eliminate the Black community. She argued that:

The most successful, educational appeal to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their rebellious members.10

Kinsey’s Contributions

Throughout the 20th century, Planned Parenthood gained ground, and Alfred Kinsey’s fraudulent theories on human sexuality afforded legitimacy to Planned Parenthood and its allies. Kinsey’s studies, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, were published in 1948 and 1953 respectively.

Kinsey argued that children are sexual from birth, and he "proved" his theory through data gathered during the systematic sexual abuse of children. Not only was Kinsey a "sadomasochistic homosexual on a perverted mission," he also advocated an "amoral new order—possible only if human life is unhinged from the divine." Kinsey promoted, with the "fraudulent data of his ‘studies,’ the abandonment of absolutes in the social or juridical reasoning of America’s Judeo-Christian moral system."11

Together, the agendas of Malthus, Sanger, Kinsey—and other militant pro-abortion groups such as the National Association for Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL)12 and the Population Council—slowly permeated American culture and led to the Supreme Court’s fateful decision in 1973.

The Decision that Changed a Nation

Although abortion spans history, the 20th century response is unique. Now, not only does the government allow abortion, it has placed its stamp of approval on the practice of killing the unborn. It has allowed a largely unregulated industry to be built upon the premise that life in the womb has no value.

n 1955, Planned Parenthood held a secret abortion conference,13 which declared war against the "epidemic" of "back-alley" abortions. It claimed that thousands of women were dying from botched abortions occurring on the black market. And the only way to save women’s lives was to decriminalize abortion.14

Dr. Melvin Schwartz, an early abortion-rights proponent, strove to further the cause by advocating the removal of moral considerations from the medical field. In an editorial urging Missouri to decriminalize abortion, he wrote:

The decision should be a medical one … In Missouri we live under many antiquated laws written by non-medical zealots who have confused medical necessity with their own interpretation of the moral values of the day. The result of the decision can have a tremendous effect on the physical and psychological well-being of the pregnant woman involved. The decision is … not theological—not political.15

Lobbying efforts by pro-abortion groups began to gain ground in the late 1960s and early 1970s. By April 1970, one-fifth of the states had approved measures allowing abortion—in extreme conditions only. However, New York, California, Hawaii and Alaska had more liberal laws. In fact, California’s loose interpretation of "mental health" essentially allowed abortion-on-demand.16 "Our nationwide policy of abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy was neither voted on by our people nor enacted by our legislators." —President Ronald Reagan, Abortion & the Conscience of the Nation, 1984.

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Roe v. Wade decision. The woman at the center of the lawsuit, Norma McCorvey ("Jane Roe"), had challenged Texas’ abortion law in 1969. At the time, she was pregnant and wanted an abortion—which was illegal. According to McCorvey, political opportunists grabbed hold of her case in an effort to further their pro-abortion agenda.17

"Our nationwide policy of abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy was neither voted on by our people nor enacted by our legislators."
—President Ronald Reagan, Abortion & the Conscience of the Nation, 1984.

The court’s decision in Roe’s favor rested on two premises: a woman’s "right to privacy," and the belief that the beginning of life cannot be pinpointed. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun wrote the majority decision in Roe v. Wade, stating, "We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer."18

One observer wrote, "The Court’s majority dismissed the living individual within the womb as ‘potential’ life, worthy of the ‘interest’ of the state but meriting no protection from it … In other words, under Roe a developing child may be killed at any point in the pregnancy, since the child is not recognized as a ‘person’ by the Supreme Court."19

Key Abortion Court Cases20

Jane Roe v. Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade, Jan. 22, 1973: Declared that the 14th Amendment guarantees a woman's "right to privacy"; held that the fetus is not a person and the decision to abort should be left up to a woman and her doctor.

Mary Doe v. Georgia Attorney General Arthur K. Bolton, Jan. 22, 1973: Restricted the scope of permissible state regulation and overturned a law requiring abortions to be performed only in hospitals. Abortion could be performed "in light of all factors-physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age-relevant to the well being of the patient [mother]. All these factors may relate to health." 21

Planned Parenthood v. Missouri Attorney General John C. Danforth, July 1, 1976: Declared it unconstitutional to require doctors to exercise care to preserve fetal life; overturned a ban on saline abortions and a law which required a husband's consent to abortion.

Connecticut Social Services Commissioner Edward W. Maher v. Susan Roe, June 20, 1977: Declared that Medicaid should not pay for nontherapeutic elective abortions because the state has a legitimate interest in protecting life.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Patricia R. Harris v. Cora McRae, June 30, 1980: Stated that states are not obliged to fund "medically necessary" abortions for which federal funds are blocked by the Hyde amendment-also upheld as constitutional.

Missouri Attorney General William L. Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, July 3, 1989: Upheld Missouri's ban on using state facilities or employees to perform elective nontherapeutic abortions, as well as a requirement for medical tests to determine a fetus' viability.

Planned Parenthood v. Pennsylvania Gov. Robert P. Casey, June 29, 1992: The Court accepted a 24-hour waiting period, informed consent guidelines and parental consent in some cases. "It essentially … adopted a new 'liberty' standard. The above restrictions would not apply if they 'unduly burdened' her right to abortion." 22

Roe placed the Court’s stamp of approval on "abortion-on-demand" throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Supposedly, abortion would become "safe and rare" because women would no longer die from "back-alley" abortions.

The Legacy of Roe v. Wade

In the more than 26 years since that Supreme Court decision, the phrase "rare abortion" has become a mockery. Over thirty-five million abortions have been recorded.23 Original restrictions—such as limiting abortions in the second and third trimesters—have disappeared altogether. Further, one out of every three children conceived in America since 1972 has died a brutal death through abortion—more than six times the number of Jews that Adolf Hitler put to death in his Nazi concentration camps.24

In addition, 45 percent of abortions in the U.S. in 1995 were repeats.25 Even the pro-abortion Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) admits that the "reasons women give for having abortions include that they have had all the children they want, they want to delay the next birth, … they are estranged from or on uneasy terms with their sexual partner, and they do not want a child while they are in school or working."26 Essentially, these elective abortions demonstrate that they use abortion as birth control.

Today, a misguided "abortion rights" mentality pervades America. Women demand their "right to choose." Americans recoil at even perceived restrictions on their freedom, so abortion advocates’ rallying cry of "rights" resonates throughout the country. Shirley Spitz, a supporter of abortion-on-demand, states, "Without freedom, women will always be shackled; we will always be second-class citizens."27

By calling themselves "pro-choice," feminists avoid the label "pro-abortion" and manage to dodge the real issue. In his book, When Choice Becomes God, F. LaGard Smith asks, "Could it be that, deep down, feminists know they would lose the battle if it were fought on the turf of basic morality, and that the childlike response ‘But I want to do it!’ is all they can legitimately cling to?"28

The U.S. Supreme Court has made a "right to abortion" the judicially created "law" of this land. But there is a law of nature and of nature’s God that supersedes even the Supreme Court. This law attests to the value and sanctity of life. Can one person’s right to do anything take precedence over another’s most basic right to live? The answer is obvious.

Today, clashes between the "pro-life" and "pro-choice" sides regularly capture the headlines. The debate over this issue has left our nation deeply divided. But when the last words of eloquent rhetoric are spoken, one must acknowledge that the conflict over abortion is about pitting a mother against her child. In the cacophony of voices arguing over "rights," the quiet consciences of those who stand for the sanctity of all life understand this is an assault on the most vulnerable—those who are too weak to defend their rights—as well as an exploitation of women.


End Notes

1.Cheryl Wetzstein, "Ex-'Jane Roe' says her abortion case was based on lies," The Washington Times, 22 January 1998, A7.

2.Joseph Sobran, "Commemorating you-know-who," Conservative Chronicle, 24 December 1997, 30.

3.Francis A. Schaeffer, The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer: A Christian Worldview, Volume Five, A Christian View of the West (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1982), 308.

4.Marvin Olasky, Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1992), 26.

5.Dr. and Mrs. J.C. Willke, Why Can't We Love them Both (Cincinnati, OH: Hayes Publishing Company, 1997), 28.

6.George Grant, Grand Illusions: The Legacy of Planned Parenthood (Franklin, TN: Adroit Press, 1992), 51.

7.William F. Jasper, "Calling the shots," The New American, 19 January 1998, 27.

8.Grant, 55.

9.Ibid., 57.

10."Who was Margaret Sanger?" (Stafford, VA: American Life League, 1996).

11.Col. Ronald D. Ray, USMC (Ret.), "Kinsey's Legal Legacy," The New American, 19 January 1998, 31.

12.Today, NARAL is known as the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.

13.Leslie J. Reagan, When Abortion Was a Crime (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1997) as cited in Christina Dunigan, "Notable Abortion Dates in the 20th Century: The Transition Period: 1950-1970,", 1999.

14.Grant, 33.

15.Cynthia Gorney, Articles of Faith: A Frontline History of the Abortion Wars (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998), 29.

16.Willke, 30-31.


18.Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).

19.William Norman Grigg, "License to Kill," The New American, 19 January 1998, 11.

20.Frank J. Murray, "Birth of a battle," The Washington Times, 21 January 1998, A3.

21.Doe v. Bolton,

22.U.S. Supreme Court, No. 70-40, IV, January 1973, 11, as cited in Willke, 34. U.S. Supreme Court, 29 June 1992, Planned Parenthood of S.E. PA v. Casey No. 91-744 and 91-902, as cited in Willke, 41.

23.Jeff Jacoby, "What hath Roe wrought in the intervening years?" The Washington Times, 22 January 1998, A1.

24.L. Brent Bozell III, "Assaults on valued beliefs," The Washington Times, 27 January 1998, A19.

25.S. Henshaw et al., "Abortion Characteristics, 1994-95," Family Planning Perspectives 28, no. 4 (July 1996): 143, as cited in Willke, 113.

26.AGI, "Facts in Brief: Induced Abortion Worldwide," May 1999.

27.Pamela Constable, "A Continual Call for Women's 'Freedom,'" The Washington Post, 21 January 1998, B3.

28.F. LaGard Smith, When Choice Becomes God (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1990), 79. Contributing writers: Jessica Wadkins, Trudy Chun, Catherina Hurlburt


July 10, 2002

Ed Szymkowiak thought that this article deserved wide distribution. It concerns the destructive consequences of pro-lifers holding a "neutral" stance on contraception. (If you are interested of course.)

This column was recently published in the Nov./Dec. issue of Celebrate Life.

God Bless, Patrick Delaney


American Life League, PO Box 1350, Stafford, VA 22555

The National Right to Life Committee: Coddling Contraception The exceptional consequences of zealous indifference

By Patrick Delaney, M. Div.

As destructive floods can begin with a crack in the dam, vast social evils usually begin with a rationalized exception. Breaking with 1900 years of consistent moral teaching in all of Christianity, the 1930 Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Church was the first to approve the use of contraception for married couples in extraordinary circumstances. Today, contraceptive safe sex, with all its tragic social consequences, has risen to the cultural status of a cardinal virtue.

Possibly the most fatal problem in the pro-life movement today is the refusal to admit the connection between contraception and abortion.

Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger campaigned for 51 years to accomplish a moral and legal acceptance of contraceptives. Once the Supreme Court sanctioned the full legality of birth control in the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut decision, it took only eight more years for the 1973 Roe and Doe cases -- fully sanctioning legal abortion -- to logically follow.

In the 1992 Supreme Court decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the court makes this connection clear. Very rationally the court observed the abortion decision is of the same character as the decision to use contraception for two decades people have organized intimate relationships on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.

Birth control creates a mentality of viewing babies as unwanted, and implicitly authorizes sexual promiscuity through the abandonment of self-control. Having adopted this most unnatural new and perverted ideology, sex educators continue to indoctrinate young people into believing that habitual promiscuity, controlled reproduction, and abortion are a normal way of life. When these new lifestyles happen to produce a baby, the disposition of the parents is already established to reject that child. A cultural habit of such behavior will inevitably rationalize and demand legal abortion.

Indeed, a recent study conducted by the pro-abortion British Pregnancy Advisor Service found that almost 60% of women requesting abortion claim to have been using a method of contraception at the time they became pregnant [and] almost nine of 10 women claimed that they usually used a method of contraception even if they had not on this occasion. Ian Jones, chief executive of BPAS, admits, Abortion is an essential support to other family planning services.

This contraceptive trap is so efficient that former abortionists like Carol Everett claim to have provided free safe sex education, birth control pills and condoms to increase teenage pregnancies and thus increase demand for abortions, which her clinics would perform at a minimum cost of $250 each (emphasis added).

Pro-life indifference Despite the overwhelming evidence of the role contraceptive ideology plays in our societal demand for abortion, the National Right to Life Committee and many other alleged pro-life organizations have adopted a zealous neutrality on the issue.

The federal government, therefore, continues to massively subsidize the culture of death through population control efforts, family planning and sex education with no substantial resistance from the pro-life movement and no resulting political fallout.

In fact, NRLC gives tacit approval for such funding. Addressing members of Congress in a 1997 letter, NRLC Legislative Director Doug Johnson states, NRLC takes no position on contraception, or on federal funding of contraceptive services, whether in the U.S. or overseas; NRLC has no objection to providing increased funding to the population assistance program ...

The inconsistency here is obvious. To have no objection to massive sex education, family planning and population control funding is to have no objection to fostering a vicious cultural climate that always demands legal abortion.

These funding efforts are the toxic blood supply of the culture of death. Without the hundreds of millions of tax dollars the government provides annually to propagate this evil ideology worldwide, the culture of death just might slither back into the tabooed underworld from where it came.

Supporting this argument, law professor Charles Rice writes in his 1999 publication, The Winning Side, Any pro-life effort that temporizes on contraception will be futile because the trajectory is a straight line from the approval of contraception to the acceptance of abortion euthanasia pornography promiscuity divorce homosexual activity in vitro fertilization [and] cloning.

The morning-after pill and other abortifacients NRLC's zealous indifference on birth control causes an even greater, more immediate tragedy. Few people seem to understand that many of these taxpayer funded contraceptives really act as abortifacients -- meaning they cause the death of an already living human being. Such abortifacients include the birth control pill, Depo-Provera, Norplant and emergency contraception (often called the morning-after pill).

As Bishop Paul Loverde, Bishop of Arlington, Va., explains, Make no mistake about it. The purpose of emergency contraception is to send a dose of a very strong hormone into a woman's reproductive system solely for the purpose of preventing the implantation of a newly conceived child. It causes an early, less visible abortion.

The Food and Drug Administration and the scientists who designed this chemical recognize this scientific fact. The Vatican and several other national governments that have banned this drug recognize it as well. But the National Right to Life Committee will not recognize this scientific reality.

In fact, last February when the Virginia House of Delegates considered a bill which would allow these emergency contraceptives to be available over the counter, certain committed pro-life delegates could not elicit the aid of the NRLC state affiliate in Virginia. After pressing further, they were shocked at NRLC's flat refusal to even issue a statement opposing this deadly bill.

Could population controllers, sex education peddlers, and pro-abortion ideologues have ever planned a better scenario than having such a large pro-life organization in the world's richest country take a neutral stand on contraceptives?

NRLC's refusal to mend this flaw in its pro-life philosophy has served to neutralize any legitimate obstacle from threatening the hundreds of millions of annual tax dollars that fund the culture of death.

While some would wish to classify the moral and cultural legitimacy of birth control on a strictly abstract religious plane, the concrete results of the contraceptive culture have been a clear disaster. Does anyone believe that we can bring an end to abortion and build a culture of life while the federal government annually pours hundreds of millions of dollars into worldwide contraceptive propaganda? Does NRLC believe it?

One of these days we are going to have to wake up and consider that maybe, just maybe, 1900 years of unified Christian moral teaching has a little wisdom to offer us sophisticated moderns.

Patrick Delaney is assistant director for education at American Life League [A.L.L].

OP-ED------JANUARY 22, 2001
by--Pat Riehle

T--(805) 937-


The Supreme Court decisions of Roe/Wade and Doe/Bolton sodiminished the boundaries between medicine and homicide that an entire culture has been altered to accommodate the new precepts. For the unborn child and the millions of ensuing abortions the law became the consummate felon. Those rulings of January 22, l973 legalized abortion during all nine months of pregnancy for any reason. The ramifications now affect nearly every facet of society.

Anyone under 35 cannot recall when abortion was not legal. The truth is tht the "back alley butcher" moved his shingle to Main Street. (A killing is a killing no matter the locale). This select group, those born since l/22/73, is known as "The Survivors"--their mothers did not opt to terminate them--survivors of the termination generation.

Bioethicist Prof. Wm. May states that never has the gift of human life been more threatened. Advances in science and medicine proliferate. Verbal engineering accomplishes much. The euphemisms of the abortion movement are found in the euthanasia movement. In pursuing "freedom of choice" and "reproductive rights" we heard "products of conception", "clump of cells", "blob of tissue". Pursuing euthanasia we hear "mercy killing", "assisted suicide", "physician assisted suicide", etc.

Euphemisms signal the Culture of Death--the politically correct killing of pre-born, the defective, the dependent, the "unwanted" or the "inconvenient" at any age. There is no genuine love or compasion in either the abortion or euthanasia movements. Euphemisms are deter- mining "Quality of Life" over "Sanctity of Life".

The "quality of life" is the assumed lack of a meaningful future as an excuse to elininate that someone. Pursuing "reproductive rights", the "freedom of choice" , demands that an inconvenient unborn may be aborted. "Quality of Life" translates easily to the "inconvenient" born. Any one of us whose convenience may be determined by another--a family member, or even the State--could be the next victim of such mentality. Hence, another aspect of population control.

Do not forget the "defective patients" in Nazi Germany. Those "medical" and "scientific" experiments and starvation were not pleasant for the "useless eaters". This was eugenics in action--the fall-out of a social attitiude as observed by Dr. Leo Alexander of the Nuremberg War Crimes trials fame.

The attorney for Dr. Death Kevorkian openly acknowledged that Roe and its progeny have paved the way for death on demand.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a strong pro-life voice who once ran the largest abortion mill in the world, has stated that medical advances have unleashed a Pandora's Box--a "medicine cabinet of horrors".

In the 28 years since Roe and Doe (by the way, both women have the luxury that very few victims caught up in the abortion culture have, in that both their children were not aborted and are alive today) medical science has accomplished amazing advances with ultrasound, in fetology, refinements in fetal surgery, and more; yet, other research has doomed the preborn for presumed imperfections in search and destroy missions. Thirty years ago fetal reduction and sex selection abortions were unheard of. The harvesting--buying and selling--of fetal tissue, body parts and organs was unthinkable. Now it's debated in Congress, the legislatures, and the Courts.

The public has been duped regarding both chemical and surgical abortion. Legislation and court actions have removed parental rights re minor children, whether it's abortion, birth control sexually transmitted diseases and more, all in the name of "privacy". Parents rights are blocked at the school and clinic doors, at every doctor's office front desk and sur- reptitiously at school clinics. Informed consent is denied, though if it were a real estate transaction or any other surgical procedure, detailing the risks and parental permission would be required by the state. This is how a totally unregulated multi-million dollar industry flourishes in every com- munity. And, you, the taxpayer fund over $40 million for abortions in California. (No one is ever denied an abortion for lack of funds). Check your health insurance. You're probably paying for it there as well.

RU-486, the chemical coat hanger abortion, brings the showers of the Third Reich into the privacy of the woman's bathroom, confronting her dead baby face to face. This human pesticide drug is imported from China (with a notorious reputation for tainted drugs). Further, the Searle Co. that manufactures the second drug to complete the deadly act says it is contraindicated in pregnancy! Hence, the excessive bleeding problems, transfusions, even deaths. And why, why were original trials done on Third World women? (They're expendable, too?)

What else can we add to the Roe/Doe legacy? Formal education is often replaced by Planned Parenthood's misleading sex/AIDS education --offering recreational sex that prostitiutes our youth while real world hardships of post-abortion syndrome and sexually transmitted diseases are ignored. Throw in drug education, trendy self-esteem classes--and, the latest mandated "diversity"/homosexual education, K-12 in California public schools. Add family breakdown, cloning, stem cell and embryo re- search, restricting free speech, and free dom of assembly. Without the children in the swings, who's to pay into social security for the future? Where does it stop?

Pro-lifers predicted that abortion would lead to the slippery slope of infanticide (partial-birth abortion), the starvation and dehydration of disposable newborns and elderly in some hospitals. This ultimately pro- voked the assisted suicide and euthanasia movement that has found its way to legislatures, courts, and ballot initiatives.

All of this, and more, is the fall-out of the pursuit of "reproductive rights". DNA can now identify the youngest fetus and embryo and even the criminal--dead or alive. It is not a potential life, but life with potential. Pregnancy is not a disease. The womb should not be a killing field. The cervix should be life's entrance, not a path of demise. Enough of the population control propaganda.

M. Pat Riehle
RIGHT TO LIFE of Santa Maria (CA) Tel--(805) 937-2097

pls call a.m.'s

SUBJECT: Mobile Medical Van in the “Monument Corridor” of Concord, CA. creates larger clientele for state funded abortion/contraception

REPORTING: Camille Giglio, Founder, Ca. Right to Life

Daily reports in the media predict dire consequences for the low to middle income families, the minorities and now the elderly, if they do not obtain easy access to government provided health insurance. These sentiments seem to be echoed in the Sunday Homilies heard in certain Oakland Diocese parishes as the faithful are called upon to heed the “preferential options for the poor.” We are told that we can not remain indifferent to the “plight of half of the world’s population” as one Deacon announced recently from the pulpit.

In Concord, California, a group of parishioners from neighboring churches took the homilies to heart and decided that residents of a nearby low income neighborhood known as the Monument Corridor, a ten square mile area, needed government provided health care.

They learned about a 40 foot truck that had been renovated and turned into a mobile medical van equipped with examining cubicles, refrigerators for medicines, generators for heat, light and air conditioning. etc, that was sitting idle in the back of the Concord Police station. Funds to purchase and equip the van had been provided by a $200,000 grant from the John Muir/Mt. Diablo hospitals Health Institute for this renovation.

Working through an organization entitled Contra Costa Interfaith Sponsoring Committee - CCISCO - which includes members of Concord Catholic Churches, the Hispanic Ministry, and Protestant church, they lobbied local Public Health officials to cut through the bureaucratic red tape of licensing and get the van on the road.

A notice about the van/clinic appeared in the local newspaper on August 23, 2000. On alternating Fridays the van parks at one of two Monument Corridor elementary schools serving the students and residents of that area. The clinic is staffed through the county Department of Public Health on a rotating basis by Dental personnel, pediatric nurse practitioners, family nurse practitioners, financial service counselors, and community outreach workers. Though reports vary according to various departmental spokesmen, it seems that whole classes of students are released from class, ten to 20 at a time, to attend the clinic.

On Tuesdays, the van parks at a local shopping center in the same neighborhood. There it serves a broader clientele which includes mothers with babies, the homeless, the uninsured and the immigrant, both legal and illegal, with a wide variety of free, tax payer funded services. Those health matters that are considered urgent or can not be addressed on site are referred to other county health clinics or community based, non-profit agencies. An agreement has been made with a local cab company to transport to county facilities anyone without a car needing immediate attention.

So far all of this may sound pretty good. Catholics are being accountable for their less fortunate brothers and sisters. The problem, however, is that this group of social justice activists, as admitted by the CCISCO Director, Don Stahlhut, failed to research the full ramifications of the types of services to which this vulnerable group of people would be exposed.

This mobile clinic is a temporary substitute for a school-linked health care facility. When this van parks on school property it is a school based clinic.

Latinos, we are told, leery of government officials, do not typically seek out the services of government agencies, especially if they are without visas or green cards. Now this group, in its shortsighted wisdom is bringing government oversight of the residents into this community.

The typical services provided by the state and county Departments of Public health include tax funded family planning and abortions through Medi-Cal and a variety of state and federal funded programs. It is authorized through federal and state public laws to provide these services to minors without parental consent or knowledge. Typically a family receives a blanket permission slip at the beginning of the school year which allows their child to visit the van/clinic. There is no permission slip for any of the services provided at the clinic or for the referrals to other clinics. Further, according to a private letter sent August 21, 2000, to a California Pro Lifer and signed by Senator Jesse helms, he states that: ...”The Congressional Research Services - CRI - a branch of the Library of Congress--confirmed to me that federal law does, indeed, permit school clinics to use federal funds to distribute ‘morning-after pills’ to school children behind the backs’ of parents.” (as of this writing the FDA is set to approve RU 486 by the end of September.)

The van, as an extension of the county clinics is authorized to refer clients to a variety of tax supported and non-profit clinics including the following:

1. FAMILY PLANNING/sexually transmitted diseases for the purpose of obtaining birth control counseling, education, supplies, Depo Provera injections, pap smears & pelvic exams, diagnosis & treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, confidential HIV counseling & screening.
2. PREGNANCY testing, emergency contraception (abortion or morning after pills), pill refills.
3. TAP CLINICS. Teen age pregnancy clinics provide teenage exams thru 20 yrs of age. Well exams for school, sports, & camp physicals, health ed. re: STD, drugs, nutrition and family planning. I imagine few parents realize that when they send their child to the county for a sports physical that child is also subject to a lecture on birth control.
4. SUNSHINE PEDIATRICS. Well & sick care, sports, camp & school physicals. A report from Pennsylvania concerning a law suit brought by parents of a particular school details the results of an over zealous clinic nurse, searching for evidence of sexual abuse, demanding that unwilling children undress and submit to very invasive pelvic exams without a parent present or aware of the exams.
4. HOME HEALTH CARE. In-Home nursing care, physical therapy, and Social Services. Welcome Home Baby, a unit within the Healthy Families government funded health insurance program, is a tool placing government employees and sometimes volunteers into private homes under the premises of assisting new mothers adjust to their babies. In reality their assignment is to evaluate the family and living arrangements for the potential for child abuse. the definition of child abuse can be an extremely broad and vague blanket encompassing how many tvs or computers in a home.

Who originated the idea for a van? “The county wanted access to people in this community,” was the response from Mr. Juan Cruz, representing John Muir Hospital as Coordinator for the Monument Corridor Community Project. According to elected officials with whom I spoke, the life styles of some residents in the Monument area had been a constant source of complaints to the City Council from local businesses and community agencies for some time. The van opened up a means of accessing these residents.

Public schools now require evidence of vaccinations before children can attend school. Parents bringing their children to the van for free shots must complete a form indicating their health care coverage. If they are uninsured they are given the opportunity to sign up with the Healthy Families or Healthy Start taxpayer funded program, or some other. It is worth noting that several medical and health based parent sponsored non-profit organizations are now warning people about the negative side effects of some shots, such as vaccination induced autism. It is doubtful that any of these parents will ever hear about those concerns.

At least one of these schools, Cambridge Elementary, is begging for people to come in and help teach reading to the students while at the same time students are losing whole periods of class time waiting for their scheduled clinic appointment.

The Deacon/parish administrator to whom I expressed my concerns about our parish’s involvement waved those concerns away with the comment that they were unimportant. These people needed health care, and our parishioners needed to exercise their compassion for the poor.

The parish social justice committees can feel good about delivering health care to the poor, the public/private hospital partnership can feel good about providing the $200,000 in funds to purchase and equip the van. Those who were formerly complainers before the city council are now members of a coalition to improve the monument corridor community, the local government agencies can expand their lists of clients proving their demands for increased budgets . The employment rolls are expanded with coordinators and managers. Grant writers are hired because this van needs constant sources of funds for upkeep, drivers, utilities, gasoline while the county hospital is under utilized. Local agencies get access to more tax dollars through an influx of client referrals, family planners get a chance to control the population through prescriptions and distribution of birth control pills and devices and abortions. nurse Al who apparently supervises the activities of the health care workers said that they dispense foam and condoms from the van as well as make referrals to agencies. Even the local cab company got a contract for services.

Where the residents of the Monument Corridor ever consulted? Maybe some of the truly poor will get their health needs met, but they could have received that anyway especially if they are already signed up for welfare to work programs or Healthy Start? One is eligible for these and many more services when their income is at the level of 250 percent of poverty. That is within the lower middle class range for some. There are also plans in the state legislature to increase that limit to 300 percent of poverty .

The Bishops of the United States recognize that opportunities for church and public cooperative efforts is a new and growing phenomenon. they have published a booklet entitled: Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. It sets forth principles governing this cooperation instructing Catholics in what constitutes a licit and an illicit association. If a particular activity has an evil intent and certain parties cooperate knowingly with that intent, then it is an illicit association and morally wrong. “If the cooperator does not intend the object of the wrongdoer’s activity, the cooperation is material and can be morally licit.” A thorough reading of this booklet could lead one to the understanding that if you just don’t bother to research the full extent of the activity, or if each group involved accepts only limited information, then it would appear p ossible to join in any public/religious program without bothering one’s conscience.


Solidarity for a new morality that includes abortion/contraception
Camille Giglio
Dec. 2, 2000

The story of the Good Samaritan has taken on a whole new twist. No one has ever asked what the Good Samaritan did after he left the robbery victim at the Inn. Today’s religious activist would tell you that he went back to his church and joined an interfaith Social Justice committee lobbying for local, government funded health care clinics. These community level interfaith activities have become the norm rather than the exception.

Through the Charitable Choices amendment to the 1996 federal Welfare to Work legislation, Protestant and Catholic churches have become eligible for funds by becoming partners with community activists and government agencies in matching parishioners with government programs, especially social service and health insurance programs. A recent editorial in the Fresno Bee began “the most dangerous intersection in American public life is where religion and politics meet.”

“We, the church, have to become a good will special interest lobby group,” so stated Father Mike Cunningham, Pastor of Queen of All Saints Catholic Church to Senator elect Tom Torlakson,(D), at a recent town hall type meeting held at St. Bonaventure’s church, in Concord, Ca. The meeting, sponsored by the Contra Costa Interfaith Sponsoring Committee - CCISCO - was entitled: “Justice For All.”

The purpose of the November 3, 2000 meeting, Emceed by Fr. Rubio, President of the Board of CCISCO, was to promote the CCISCO COVENANT, a set of 10 demands for state legislation and funding, to state level officials. The officials who came were Sen. Dion Aroner, (D),Berkeley, Assemblyman Tom Torlakson,(D), Pittsburg, Martinez City Councilman Joe Canciamilla, Assembly candidate Jim Dias, (R), Concord, Senate candidate Linda marshall,(R), Berkeley.

The audience consisted mostly, of Latino people bussed in from neighborhoods within the parish boundaries of St. Mark’s Church, Richmond, St. Peter Martyr’s, Pittsburg, as well as Queen of All Saints, Concord and the First Congregational Church of Concord. St. Bonaventure’s parishioners were not represented except for the Pastor, Fr. Mangini, Chaplain for the Concord Hispanic ministry. He welcomed everybody and then left.

The meeting was held inside the church. A large banner advertising CCISCO hung on the wall behind the altar and banners calling for specific economic and social justice goals hung from the remaining walls of the church. Everyone entering was handed two small banners, one resembling a pennant and the other with blue and white streamers. The audience was instructed to wave the streamers which represent “Justice rolling like a river,” and participate in a call and response. They were to cry out for “Justicia” whenever certain words were spoken. This was followed by a call: “What do we want?” and the response: “We want justice” Then “When do we want it?” “We want it now.” “Who do we want it for?” “We want justice for all.”

Unlike the usual town Hall meeting, it was not open for public comment. The invited officials listened to personal accounts of the “hardships of living in a community ( Contra Costa County) lacking in equality and economic justice.” Each account related to one of the 10 CCISCO COVENANT demands. The CCISCO objectives were
*More state funding for after school programs.
*Equalized state educational funding.
*Funds for multi-service youth centers.
*Delinquency prevention programs.
*increased affordable housing set-aside from 20% to 35% of community Redevelopment funds.
*Enforcement of State Fair Share Housing Laws in Contra Costa County.
*Strengthened state renter’s protection laws.
*Further relax eligibility requirements for the Healthy Families insurance program.
*Increased funding for further expansion of health vans by non-profit clinics.
*Legislation to fund a county wide parish nurse program.

At the end of the evening the officials declined to sign the covenant declaring too many difficulties in bringing such requests to successful legislative completion. It was at this point that Fr. Cunningham responded by saying that “CCISCO understands.” To conclude Fr. Cunningham said, using a humble posture, “you legislators didn’t really understand the issues.” However, he hoped they would be willing to work with CCISCO and learn from them. They all reassured the gathering that they would, indeed, be supportive of the CCISCO agenda.

CCISCO, an exception? Now, with the passage of a series of federal and state pieces of legislation three once parallel avenues of service have quietly merged.

Churches are providing access to members of the community. Community activists are training church members to become volunteer lobbyists. The government is providing the funding and the programs.

In California two programs were created to meet the federal requirements for participation. Prop 10 created a fund with tobacco tax money for the Rob Reiner developed Children and Families First Program. This created an eligibility for children from birth to age 2 to receive services regardless of financial or other eligibility requirements. These services include the “Welcome Home Baby” program and a mentoring program.

The second program was the Healthy Families California version of CHIPS. CHIPS did not include abortion and family planning programs. Then Gov. ,Pete Wilson, sought a waiver from the federal program allowing reproductive coverage. This program is for individuals, children and adults, who are at 250-300% of poverty.

In order for legislators and the governor to become enthused about authoring, passing and signing these bills, they had to believe that the general public favored and even demanded these services. They needed to be lobbied.

In 1997 the Oakland Diocese’s newspaper The Catholic Voice, ran a front page article entitled “Parishes join organizing efforts to clean up their neighborhoods.” It reported on a community activist organization called The Pacific Institute for Community Organizing - PICO. PICO and its local branch, the South Alameda County Interfaith Sponsoring Committee, had maintained a presence in the area since 1994. It’s goal was to organize neighborhoods to fight against the local bureaucracy for improvements in community life. PICO itself had been around for 25 years according to its co-founder, Jesuit Father John Baumann.The Voice article details the entrance of Our Lady of Rosary Parish, Union City, into the role of community activist.

According to the Voice article, PICO was founded in Oakland in 1972 by two Jesuit Priests, Father Baumann and Father Jerry Helfrich. As Seminarians at Alma College they had attended a summer program in Chicago on community organizing. “We worked with Tom Gaudette, one of Saul Alinski’s lieutenants at the Urban Training Center,” said Father Baumann.

The Jesuits gave an added dimension to community organizing unavailable to other community activists. They had entrance to churches. The Oakland Community Organizing - OCO - was their first experiment, emerging from St. Elizabeth Parish, in Oakland.

PICO went on to create other branches including CCISCO, Contra Costa Interfaith Sponsoring Committee, PACT - People Acting in Community Together in San Jose, PIA - Peninsula Interfaith Action, North Santa Clara county and San Mateo County, and SFOP - San Francisco Organizing Project.

They have also been active in San Diego creating the San Diego Organizing Project - SDOP. The May 11, 2000, edition of the Southern Cross, the San Diego Diocese paper, carried a front page story entitled: “Area Catholics Lobby for Expanded health Coverage.” This details the trips taken by local parishioners and religious along with the Orange County Diocese Bishop, Jaime Soto, to lobby the legislators for expanded health care. PICO’s goal was the lobbying of Gov. Davis “to make an immediate investment of $50 million for the infrastructure needs of community clinics.” The parishioners in their naivete and trusting sense of compassion for the poor and needy, met with some of the most ardent pro abortion legislators urging them to author bills that would, in realty, further the legislators own population control agendas. (this legislation was killed through pro life efforts).

This San Diego lobbying effort was summed up by a St. Jude parishioner. She said, “Jesus asked us all to do for the least [of our brethren]. Jesus worked for health care when He healed people.”

In West Contra Costa County, at about the same time, parishioners were bussed to Sacramento by CCISCO to also lobby for expanded health care and community clinics. In addition they were urged to lobby the legislators to remove the debt owed by the [formerly Richmond] West County Unified School District. That district went into bankruptcy a few years back due to incompetent management. they were still paying on the debt. As a result of that lobbying trip, Governor Davis signed a bill, authored by Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, removing the debt and, in fact, repaying the district all the money it had paid on the debt.

CCISCO’s funding comes from grants by local Foundations and government funds. Churches are required to pay dues for participation. Churches that agree to become sites for recruiting applicants for the Healthy Families Insurance through the Parish Nurse Program receive $50 per successful application from the state Healthy Families funds. St. Francis of Assisi church, in concord, which has refused to provide any information to its parishioners on its involvement, is the only Catholic church listed on the healthy Families web site as a certified application assistant. The Director of the county Healthy Families Program, also a member of St. Francis church has said that he has trained at least 20 application assistants including members of St. Bonaventure’s, St. Mark’s. These volunteers were recruited through CCISCO.

The applicant chooses one of five health insurance carriers all of whom pr ovide elective abortion and family planning coverage. The Healthy Families enrollees may present themselves for health care to a large number of local, community agencies, health vans and clinics including Planned Parenthood.

The average parishioner is not being informed of this partnership. Those who are informed see and hear only a portion of the whole picture. Recently a very fine, pro life nurse said: “I’m confused, what’s the problem, I thought we were supposed to minister to our fellow man?” The assignment, she declared, was to place people in health care. If they chose to use this health care “to sin” that was their problem. In the meantime the church is now on the government payroll and our religious principles have been compromised.

Catholics must become informed, we must evaluate what our church is doing and decide if its activities are bringing scandal and dishonor to our church and our Faith. Then, we must act.