It’s a reversal that makes no sense.
After the Supreme Court unanimously decided in favor of free speech in June – a case brought by 77 year-old sidewalk counselor Eleanor McCullen – Massachusetts recently enacted a law that reinstates buffer zones around abortion centers.
Under the new Massachusetts law, even peaceful grandmothers like McCullen who distribute literature within 25 feet of an abortion center’s entrance could face severe penalties – fines that reach up to a whopping $50,000 and up to 5 years in jail
Michael DePrimo, one of the plaintiffs who defended free speech before the Supreme Court in McCullen v. Coakley, noted that many may defy the new law:
“This new law chills life-saving speech by threatening massive civil fines for non-violent acts… My client Eleanor McCullen and the other peaceful sidewalk counselors will continue to serve the women of Boston who deserve real alternatives to abortion.”
Indeed, pro-life advocates already comply with the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act which ensures people have easy entry and exit from abortion centers. As a nonviolent movement, pro-lifers also follow laws against violence. Clearly, Massachusetts has arbitrarily redefined which free speech may be heard in public.
While innocent grandmothers face the threat of penalties, it’s maddening that criminals go free. In America, criminal penalties like jail time are traditionally reserved for conduct that is morally blameworthy: murder, theft, fraud, rape, etc. – conduct we all know is wrong.
Yet Congress continues to ignore conduct that fits that description exactly.
For over three decades, Kermit Gosnell found a way around a patchwork of state laws and inspections – soon including the murder of born-alive infants and vulnerable women with his abortion center’s primary services.
He found it easy partly because the relevant federal law, the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002, states that a newborn surviving abortion is worthy of legal protection; however, the law invokes no penalty when violated.
Infanticide, the intentional killing of a newborn, may be common practice at many abortion centers. Planned Parenthood has a long history of opposing any Born-Alive Infants Protection Act considered at the state level, notably in Florida and Illinois (which then-State Senator Barack Obama opposed.)
The documented stories of over 150 survivors of abortion indicate this horrific practice may be widespread.
Does Planned Parenthood have something to hide? The Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), led by Star Parker, is on a mission to find out.
“After the Gosnell conviction, inhumane behavior continues regarding the treatment of women – particularly low-income minority women – in abortion facilities,” Parker stated recently.
Because Planned Parenthood targets low-income African American communities for its abortion centers, it follows that born-alive abortions are likely most prevalent there. Thus, Star Parker has gathered an impressive coalition of black leaders to stand for life – representing more than 250,000 black Americans nationwide.
“We have several Senators who have expressed interest in sponsoring legislation,” she noted in a recent post featuring photos from private meetings with Senate and House members.
Expressing Congress’ intent to “investigate and correct abusive, unsanitary, and illegal abortion practices,” the Resolution is based on scientific evidence and the U.S. Constitution. To quote from Senate Resolution 133:
Whereas the people of the United States believe that every human life is precious from its very beginning, and that every individual, regardless of age, health, or condition of dependency, deserves the respect and protection of society[…]
Congress has the responsibility to investigate and conduct hearings on abortions performed near, at, or after viability in the United States; and public policies regarding such abortions [as well as] evaluate the extent to which such abortions involve violations of the natural right to life of infants who are born alive or are capable of being born alive, and therefore are entitled to equal protection under the law.
However, over one year since its referral to a Senate Committee, no hearings or other action have taken place on S. Res. 133.
The same is unfortunately true of the identical House Resolution 206, referred to both the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice as well as the House Commerce Subcommittee on Health – the latter chaired by pro-life stalwart Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) who issued a strong statement following Kermit Gosnell’s conviction.
“We have proof that women are being maimed, molested and murdered,” continues Parker. “We believe that hearings are essential for the health and safety of those being lured into abortion clinics around the country.”
In summary: Massachusetts has enacted massive new penalties on pro-life advocates in blatant defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court, while violent criminals face zero federal penalties for the murder of infants born alive post-abortion.
As two important film productions of Kermit Gosnell’s story proceed — ongoing documentary series 3801 Lancaster and the crime drama Gosnell — revisiting the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act must stay at the forefront to prevent similar horrors in the future.
With help, Star Parker will ensure it does. Her team at CURE is now working with faith leaders nationwide (contact CURE for details), particularly pastors serving in at-risk urban and rural communities, to draft and present a letter to Congress on this issue in coming months.
Join us at Bound4LIFE in praying for leaders in Congress, that they would follow through on their commitment to investigate and correct abusive abortion practices.
Pray also for doors to open for Star Parker, CURE and the National Black Pro-Life Coalition, so their advocacy on behalf of vulnerable pre-born children will bear great fruit.