LIFE DIGEST: More than 700 saved in 40 Days
As of Nov. 16, the 40 Days staff had received reports of 732 unborn babies protected from abortion during its latest campaign, Sept. 28 to Nov. 6. More than 5,000 unborn children have been saved from abortion since the 40 Days effort began in Texas in 2004. The effort went national in 2007.
The semi-annual campaign -- which focuses on peaceful, pro-life prayer vigils outside abortion clinics -- was held this fall at a record 301 sites in the United States and overseas.
Among the reports received from participants in the latest campaign:
-- In Sharonville, Ohio, a woman stopped in her car and spoke to a 40 Days volunteer outside an abortion clinic. "She thanked me for praying," the participant said. "She said that a few days earlier she was driving by and was considering an abortion. She has five boys and is pregnant with a girl. Her husband of 20-plus years has left her." She told the 40 Days participant, "Never feel that what you are doing is in vain. It was your prayers that changed my mind and saved my little girl and me."
-- In Austin, Texas, a teenage couple went to a clinic for an abortion they hoped to obtain by means of a judicial bypass that would enable the girl to avoid informing her parents. A 40 Days participant told them about their unborn child's development and the alternatives and resources that were available. They entered the abortion clinic, however, only to leave shortly thereafter "with smiles of joy and satisfaction. They decided to not have an abortion," the volunteer said.
RECORDS DESTROYED TWICE -- Kansas government officials destroyed abortion records for Planned Parenthood not just once but twice, further undermining prosecution of the organization, it was revealed Nov. 10.
Johnson County District Attorney Stephen Howe said former state Attorney General Steve Six destroyed in 2009 copies of the same documents that were shredded in 2005 by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), according to World News Service (WNS). Howe revealed Oct. 21 the KDHE had destroyed the 2003 abortion records for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, which is located in Overland Park, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City.
At Howe's request, Judge Stephen Tatum dismissed 23 felony counts of falsifying abortion reports and 26 misdemeanor charges. Because of the destruction of the records, the "legal hurdles are insurmountable" to prosecute Planned Parenthood on those charges, Howe told Tatum, WNS reported. A hearing on 58 misdemeanor charges of illegal late-term abortions and refusing to test for viability is set for Feb. 22.
Former Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline filed the charges in 2007. Kline had received records from the KDHE in 2003 during an investigation of Planned Parenthood in his role as Kansas' attorney general. He later gained copies from Planned Parenthood but said they differed from the ones provided by the state.
The Shawnee County sheriff's office in Topeka will investigate Six's destruction of the documents at the current attorney general's request, WNS reported.
"Guilty people destroy evidence. Really guilty people destroy evidence twice," said Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, according to WNS.
Then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a defender of abortion rights who rejected legislative efforts to enact stricter regulation of abortion clinics, appointed Six. The KDHE's shredding of the records took place during Sebelius' administration. She is now secretary of the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
SIX WORKERS PLEAD GUILTY -- Six people have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from their work at a notorious abortion clinic in Philadelphia, Pa., and have agreed to testify against Kermit Gosnell, owner of the Women's Medical Society.
The latest, Tina Baldwin, 46, pleaded guilty Nov. 14 to conspiracy, participating in a corrupt organization and corruption of a minor, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. All six have pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges, and some have pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in the deaths of a 41-year-old woman and children killed after being born alive.
Gosnell, 70, has been charged with eight counts of murder -- one in the death of the woman and seven in the deaths of viable, fully delivered children who were killed.
Those babies were only some of hundreds at least six months into gestation who were killed outside the womb after induced delivery at the clinic, a grand jury reported. Gosnell destroyed most of the files, limiting prosecution to only seven cases, according to the report.
A February 2010 raid of the clinic found deplorable conditions, which resulted in its closing and Gosnell's medical license being suspended.
Gosnell, his wife and two others still face trial, according to the Inquirer.
NURSES GAIN DELAY -- A federal judge has ordered a New Jersey hospital to stop requiring pro-life nurses to assist in abortions while a lawsuit proceeds.
The judge issued a temporary restraining order Nov. 3 against the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ).
The order protected two nurses, Lorna Mendoze and Julita Ching, who were scheduled to help with abortions the next day, according to the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), which represents the nurses in the case.
Twelve nurses filed suit against UMDNJ, saying the hospital's policy violates their religious and moral opposition to helping perform abortions, as well as federal and state laws. Under a policy revision in September, UMDNJ told nurses in the hospital's same-day surgery unit they would have to help with abortions and would be fired if they did not comply, according to ADF.
Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.