Two Planned Parenthood-Linked Companies Charged with Selling Aborted Babies’ Organs

Photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Planned Parenthood celebrated its 100th anniversary Sunday under a cloud of ongoing scandal. Just last week, the District Attorney of Orange County, California filed charges against two companies previously allied with Planned Parenthood — DaVinci Biosciences and DV Biologics — for illegally profiting from the sale of aborted babies’ organs.

DaVinci Biosciences should sound familiar to anyone following Planned Parenthood’s baby parts controversy. The medical director of Planned Parenthood Orange and San Bernadino Counties, Jennefer Russo, confirms their relationship in a Center for Medical Progress video released in March. Russo explains how DaVinci “take[s] the whole specimen” and reveals not only that the facilities she oversees manipulate babies into breech position to get intact organs, but do not use digoxin — making it likely that babies have been born alive. Planned Parenthood provided DaVinci Biosciences and DV Biologics with baby hearts, livers, brains, and more for eight years. DaVinci Biosciences also made donations to Planned Parenthood (see Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernadino County’s annual report, page 10).

It is heartening to see the District Attorney prosecuting these companies, especially at a time when Planned Parenthood has joined forces with the state of California to censor its critics. However, Planned Parenthood — DaVinci’s longtime partner and supplier — must be investigated, too. In the grisly fetal organ trade, the evidence leads back to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business, or as StemExpress founder Cate Dyer put it: “a volume institution.” There should be justice not only in abortion-friendly California, but across the nation. Continue Reading

California Anti-Religious Freedom Bill Weakened — But Not Dead Yet

Photo credit: Hakan Dahlstrom via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The saga of the anti-religion bill pending in the California Assembly (see herehere, and here) has taken another turn. And this one — plus the relentless march of time — may lead to the demise of that execrable legislation for this year, at least.

You will recall that in its original form, SB 1146 would have prohibited faith-based colleges and universities from adhering to orthodox religious (usually Christian) tenets affirming only heterosexual relationships. The bill’s “nondiscrimination” language would have required abandonment of these scriptural principles if even one student at the college or university received state financial aid. As a result, a Christian university would be forced to admit students and hire faculty and other employees who embrace LGBT behaviors in contravention of the university’s beliefs.

After an intense grassroots campaign directed by several Christian universities, the bill’s sponsor realized that even in California, such a direct assault on traditional religion was highly unpopular. So he removed the most offensive provision, thereby grudgingly allowing the Christian universities to continue to operate according to their religious principles (for now, at least — like the Terminator, he threatened that he’d be back). But the bill continued to persecute those universities by requiring them (1) to publicize to students, faculty, and the world at large the details about any religious exemption they have received from federal Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; (2) to provide to State commissars documentation concerning that exemption; and (3) to report to the State any disciplinary action taken against students related to their violation of university policies against LGBT behavior. Continue Reading

Major Victory for Christians in California — Wow!

In the battle against the totalitarian Left, every victory is welcome. Christians and other people of faith should celebrate such a victory in California – but keep the powder dry for the protracted conflict.

We’ve reported (see here and here) on proposed California legislation that would have required private, faith-based colleges and universities (in shorthand for our purposes, “Christian universities”) to knuckle under to the state government’s sweeping anti-discrimination mandates if even one of their students receives state financial aid. The new protected class under this bill, of course, is LGBT students whose conduct violates the religious tenets of the university.

This legislation would have banned Christian universities from operating in any way that reflects negatively on LGBT behavior. Married-student housing would have to be made available to same-sex as well as heterosexual couples; transgender students would have to be allowed to live in dormitories for the opposite sex; student-conduct policies could not treat LGBT behavior any differently from heterosexual behavior. In other words, a Christian university that is founded on biblical principles would have to abandon those principles to the extent they conflict with the new sexual orthodoxy.

As David French of National Review pointed out, one of the more reprehensible features of this legislation was its use of poor students as pawns to advance the radical agenda. Presumably the students who take advantage of financial aid to attend Christian universities know that those institutions are (gasp!) Christian. Maybe that’s even why they choose to enroll there. But under the California bill, their very matriculation would force the universities to jettison the values and policies that attracted the students in the first place. Continue Reading

Is California Forcing LGBT Indoctrination on Schools?

Photo credit: Hakan Dahlstrom via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Now that most sane Californians who are not billionaires have fled the state (and God bless the intrepid remnant who remain to fight!), the Left faces little opposition to its radical agenda. A recent illustration is the state board of education’s approval of the new K-12 social science and history framework.

Sober commentators have warned about the extreme leftist slant of the framework. A glaring example is that some lessons will now focus on individuals solely because of their sexual behavior.

A 2011 California law requires instruction on historical contributions of LGBT people. Since then the California Department of Education (CDE) has been busily incorporating this mandate into the social studies framework. As Susan Berry of Breitbart reports, the result is that LGBT content will begin in second grade with lessons about homosexual couples plus, for kicks, a story about a 19th-century transvestite stagecoach-driver. If parents think second grade is too early for such information, they will just have to get over it. The State has spoken.

The framework includes LGBT content in grades 4 and 8 as well, but it’s in grade 11 that the indoctrination shifts into overdrive. LGBT-ism is addressed squarely in the context of civil rights. The terms “oppression” and “persecution” are scattered throughout the discussion, with vice-squad raids on gay bars lumped in with KKK lynchings (p. 542, 561-62).

The framework celebrates successes of LGBT activism: the political vote of the American Psychiatric Association to stop designating homosexuality as a mental disorder; the passage of state laws prohibiting discrimination based on LGBT status; and court and agency decisions applying civil-rights protections to LGBT individuals. Continue Reading

Obama Admin Completely Ignores Federal Law in Abortion Insurance Case

President Barack Obama (photo credit: Marc Nozell via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Two years ago, the California Department of Managed Care informed state health insurance providers that they could no longer offer health plans that excluded abortion coverage, even if the employers offering those plans had religious objections to abortion.

A number of groups immediately challenged the rule on the grounds that it violated federal law, expecting an easy, open-and-shut case. However, after sitting on the complaint for more than two years, Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services finally decreed last week that California’s edict was in fact completely legal, inviting immediate charges that the administration is “making a mockery of the law.”

The accusation is not without merit. According to HHS, California’s order requiring health insurance plans to cover abortions does not run afoul of the Weldon Amendment because none of the insurers subject to the order had a “religious or moral objection to that procedure.” However, as has been pointed out elsewhere, this completely ignores the actual text of the Weldon Amendment, which bars states which receive federal funding from “subject[ing] any individual or institutional health care entity to discrimination on the basis that the health care entity does not provide for, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.” Whether or not the health care entity has a “religious or moral objection” is completely irrelevant.

But the actual text of laws seems to matter increasingly less to the current administration. Just consider the Department of Education’s recent edict to public schools decreeing that Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination also applies to “gender identity,” even though the latter concept appears nowhere in that statute. Continue Reading

California Bill Places Faith-Based Colleges Under Threat

Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Daily Signal reports on a bill in California that may serve as a model for forces in other states seeking to circumscribe religious faith in public life. It could also provide a blueprint for the federal government, which on this issue is every bit as radical as the California legislature.

Current California law bans colleges and universities from “discriminating” based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, but contains an exemption for “an educational institution that is controlled by a religious organization if the application would not be consistent with the religious tenets of that organization.” This means private, religious colleges and universities may make admission, housing, and personnel decisions in line with their faith.

But proposed legislation would severely narrow that exemption. Here is the language: “This chapter shall not apply to educational programs or activities offered by an educational institution that is controlled by a religious organization to prepare students to become ministers of the religion, to enter upon some other vocation of the religion, or to teach theological subjects pertaining to the religion, if the application of this chapter would not be consistent with the religious tenets of that organization” (emphasis added).

The Daily Signal reads this language to limit the faith-based exemption to specific programs for preparing students for ministry or theological education. That’s bad enough — such language would mean a faith-based college could not comply with its religious tenets with respect to faculty, students, administrators, or general program activities in, say, the math department. Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood Fights to Ban Undercover Reporting in California

A Planned Parenthood facility in St. Paul, MN (photo credit: Fibonacci Blue via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Last week, the California Assembly voted to pass AB 1671, a state bill which would make it illegal to covertly record a health care professional and publicize that recording without the consent of all parties involved. Although the bill has yet to pass the California Senate, it is already generating a great deal of controversy in the state. While its proponents are arguing that it is a necessary step in securing privacy protections for health professionals, its many detractors counter that it is a threat to the First Amendment’s protection of the freedom of the press (among other concerns).

Journalists in California and pro-life leaders — not usually allies — have both expressed concern over the broad implications of AB 1671. Thomas Peele, an investigative reporter in San Jose, Calif., warned that AB 1671 “should have First Amendment advocates, journalists…gravely concerned,” as it would create possible legal consequences for investigating and publishing suspected illegal activity in a healthcare setting. Pro-life leaders, for their part, see this as an action aimed specifically at protecting Planned Parenthood. Lila Rose, president of Live Action, said that, “Rather than be more transparent with the public, Planned Parenthood wants to make it a crime for the media to publish evidence that it might be doing something illegal.” She and other pro-life leaders have spoken out against AB 1671, asserting that it could prevent reporting of illegal activities, including child abuse and human trafficking. Continue Reading