CULTURE DIGEST: Monday is 'Leave Abortion Industry' day
ATTWN, founded by former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson, is inviting workers at abortion clinics in the country to quit their jobs on that date. The organization helps provide financial, legal and spiritual aid for people who leave the abortion industry.
On April 1, ATTWN sent more than 600 fliers to abortion clinics to invite employees to leave their jobs, according to its Facebook page. According to ATTWN, its efforts have helped 47 people leave their clinic jobs since it started in June.
The effort's website is dayofexodus2013.com.
MORE THAN 600 BABIES SPARED IN 40 DAYS -- Volunteers with 40 Days for Life reported more than 600 unborn children were spared from abortion during the latest campaign.
The total of babies reportedly rescued was 601 as of March 26, 40 Days staff reported. The spring campaign of the semi-annual outreach concluded March 24.
The latest campaign began Feb. 13 at 261 locations in the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Poland, Spain and, for the first time, Russia, Nigeria, South Africa and Wales. The semi-annual outreach -- which focuses on peaceful pro-life prayer vigils outside abortion clinics –--has resulted in reports of more than 7,000 unborn babies being spared since they began as a nationwide effort in 2007.
Among reports from volunteers during the final week of this campaign, according to 40 Days staff:
-- Vigils in Russia's first 40 Days campaign took place not only in Moscow but in two of its suburbs and Vyborg, a city near St. Petersburg. "Our group prayed at abortion clinics," said Elena Menchikova of Source of Life Church in Vyborg. "It was an unforgettable experience meeting with the women at the door step of abortion centers. God gave us words of prayer, which would not have happened if we had just prayed at the church and did not come in contact with these women." Volunteers in Moscow look forward to the next campaign after some were hesitant this time about attracting attention. "Considering the Russian mentality, people are just not used to seeing people pray on the streets," said Arevik, a 40 Days leader. "[W]e will be bolder" in the future, she said.
-- In Columbia, Mo., a volunteer reported the local Planned Parenthood clinic has not performed an abortion in 40 weeks because it has been unable to hire a doctor to do the lethal procedures.
-- Planned Parenthood continues to incur setbacks in its abortion business in Iowa. A 40 Days coordinator said about half of the abortion giant's centers in the state have reduced their hours of operation because of a decline in business. "Those closures cut over 45 more hours from their statewide hours. This makes standing in the colder-than-usual weather worth it," said Jim from Cedar Rapids. The report came barely a month after Planned Parenthood of the Heartland announced it would close two of its Iowa offices, including one that provided abortion services.
-- A participant in a vigil outside a Germantown, Md., clinic where late-term abortion doctor LeRoy Carhart performs the procedures reported two unborn children spared. He said Carhart has not been seen recently. "So, no abortions at all this week in Germantown," he said. "What a great way to end our campaign!"
2ND REPUBLICAN SENATOR ENDORSES GAY MARRIAGE -- Mark Kirk of Illinois has become the second Republican U.S. senator to support same-sex marriage, endorsing the union April 2 on his blog.
"Same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage," wrote Kirk, who missed much of the 2012 congressional session recuperating from a severe stroke. "Our time on this Earth is limited. I know that better than most. Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back -- government has no place in the middle."
"When I climbed the Capitol steps in January, I promised myself that I would return to the Senate with an open mind and greater respect for others," Kirk, a moderate, wrote.
Kirk joins U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who announced his support for gay marriage in March, acknowledging his position was swayed because his son has come out as gay.
Same-sex marriage, strictly prohibited in the Bible, is gaining increasing support, just as the U.S. Supreme Court is considering two cases impacting the issue, the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8.
Two Republican U.S. representatives, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York, also have voiced support of gay marriage. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R.-Alaska, another moderate, has said her views on same-sex marriage are "evolving" but has not supported gay marriage, according to The Washington Post.
Several U.S. Democratic senators and representatives support gay marriage, now legal in nine states and the District of Columbia. Conversely, gay marriage is prohibited in 25 states. Other states have various forms of protection for gay relationships ranging from civil unions to the recognition of marriages performed in other states, according to freedomtomarry.org, a campaign for nationwide gay marriage.
COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL HAS IMPACT, STUDY SAYS -- The child sponsorship program Compassion International was found to have significant impact, especially in Africa, according to a study by the University of San Francisco.
"We were surprised to see that no one had ever done research to determine if international child sponsorship really works," Bruce Wydick, an economics professor and lead author of the study, said.
Researchers focused on Compassion's program in six countries believed to be representative of its work around the globe, Wydick said.
"What we found was that Compassion's child-centered development approach to sponsorship has many strong, positive impacts on the adult life outcomes of these formerly sponsored children," Wydick said.
The study was funded in part by USAID and was to appear in the April issue of the Journal of Political Economy at the University of Chicago.
Researchers evaluated 10,144 adults who were children between 1980 and 1992 to determine whether being sponsored through Compassion International resulted in differences in completed schooling and adult employment.
Compassion projects are similar to many government and individual programs promoting education but also provide children at least eight hours a week in after-school programs covering spiritual, physical, social and emotional development.
Among the findings: Former Compassion-sponsored children stayed in school longer than their non-sponsored peers, were more likely to finish secondary education, were more likely to complete a university education and were more likely to have salaried employment.
Also, former Compassion sponsored children were more likely to secure white-collar employment and were more likely to become church and community leaders, the study found.
Compassion International partners with more than 6,000 Christian churches in 26 countries to free more than 1.4 million babies, children and students from poverty in Jesus' name, the organization said.
BLACK TEEN ABORTION RATE TWICE AS HIGH AS NATIONAL AVERAGE -- The abortion rate for African-American teenagers is more than double the national average, a new study reported.
The rate is 41 per 1,000 black women 15 to 19 years of age, while the rate overall is 18 per 1,000 for females 15 to 19, according to a study released in March by the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization affiliated with abortion rights advocates. The Daily Caller, a Washington, D.C.-based publication, reported the findings.
The rate for African Americans in the age group is four times greater than that for non-Hispanic whites, which is 10 per 1,000 women, and twice that of Hispanics, which is 20.
Pregnancies among New York's African Americans in the age group result in abortion two-thirds of the time, according to the study. New York leads all other states in the teen abortion rate.
The Guttmacher study is based on data from 2008, the most recent year for which statistics are available.
SUIT: PLANNED PARENTHOOD GUILTY OF $377M IN FRAUD -- Planned Parenthood filed fraudulent claims for reimbursement with the Washington state government that could surpass $377 million, according to a federal lawsuit made public March 19.
The suit contends Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest sought reimbursement from the Washington Department of Social and Health Services for at least 25,000 false claims regarding oral contraceptives and at least another 25,000 such claims for emergency contraception, which can cause an abortion by blocking implantation of a tiny embryo.
"Americans deserve to know, especially in economic times like these, if their hard-earned tax money is being funneled to groups that are misusing it," said Michael Norton, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which publicized the suit. "Compliance with the law should not be sacrificed for the sake of Planned Parenthood's bottom line. They have cheated the American taxpayer for too long. It's time the abortion giant is held accountable."
ADF filed the suit on behalf of Jonathan Bloedow, a Washington resident who uncovered the alleged fraud through open records requests with the state. By law, such suits must be sealed until the federal government decides to join the case, according to ADF.
'RACE CARD' REPORTEDLY USED IN DEFENSE OF ABORTION DOCTOR -- African American pro-life leaders have decried the use of the "race card" by the defense attorney for Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell.
On the first day of Gosnell's murder trial, defense attorney Jack McMahon charged prosecutors with seeking to force "Mayo Clinic" standards on a clinic that served the poor in West Philadelphia for more than three decades. "If you want Mayo Clinic standards, then you go to the Mayo Clinic," he said.
"It fits their needs, this elitist, racist prosecution, to make this a homicide," McMahon said March 18, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
"Don't Black women and babies deserve Mayo Clinic standards?" asked Alveda King, director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life, in a written response. "You sir, are being elitist and racist to suggest that we do not."
Derryck Green of Project 21 said in a written release, "Are there no depths to which those employing the race card won't sink? Even when attempting to defend against the brutality of infanticide, race has unfortunately become an issue."
Catherine Davis, president of the Restoration Project, said in a written statement, "Selling out the Black community in the name of abortion rights is unconscionable. But, Gosnell's attorney has taken this betrayal to a new low by claiming Gosnell should not be prosecuted because he is black."
Gosnell has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of viable children who were killed after delivery and a count of third-degree murder in the death of a Virginia woman during a 2009 abortion.
The babies were only some of hundreds at least six months into gestation who were killed outside the womb after induced delivery at Gosnell's Women's Medical Society clinic, a grand jury reported in 2011. After delivery, Gosnell -- or another staff member in his absence -- would jab scissors into the back of a baby's neck and cut the spinal cord, according to the grand jury. Gosnell called the killing of these children "snipping."
The trial, which is in its third week, is expected to last six to eight weeks, The Inquirer reported.
WOMAN SUES CLINIC AFTER FAILURE TO ABORT 'MIRACLE BABY' -- A young Ohio woman has a six-month-old daughter she considers her "miracle baby," but she also has sued an abortion clinic after it failed to end the life of the same child.
That irony does not escape the mother, Ariel Knights, 22.
"That's a sore subject to think about," Knights said while becoming visibly emotional, according to the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal. "I mean, it's just hard, thinking she's here and thinking, if they would have done their job.... It's just something I don't like to think about."
Knights, who lives in a suburb of Akron, filed a malpractice suit March 4 against the Akron Women's Medical group and two doctors. She seeks damages for pain, suffering and emotional distress, according to the Beacon Journal. The clinic and doctors denied negligence and asked the court to dismiss the suit, the Associated Press reported April 1.
Knights, who already had a son, went to the clinic in March 2012 for an abortion after a doctor's warning, the Beacon Journal reported. Knights has a genetic condition known as uterine didelphys, which means she has two uteruses and two cervices. She carried her son in her left uterus. Her daughter, however, was in her right uterus, which the doctor told her was unstable, making it a threat to her life, according to the newspaper.
"It was a decision I made because my life was in danger," she said. "I was put in jeopardy. And I have a son that I am supposed to be taking care of."
She learned, however, a week after the procedure she was still pregnant. The Akron abortion clinic told her to visit its Cleveland-area center. When she decided not to, Knights contacted another abortion clinic, which told her it would not treat her for "somebody else's mistake," according to the suit.
She and her fiancé chose to continue toward birth. After several emergency room visits and hospital stays, Knights gave birth Sept. 20 to a six-pound, 20-inch girl who is now healthy after a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit, the newspaper reported.
"I can't explain how I felt," she said of her pregnancy. "It was just a sense of being overwhelmed, wondering what happened to the baby, wondering what's happening to me and what did [the clinic] think they did."
Compiled by Tom Strode, Erin Roach and Diana Chandler of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).