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Missouri Family E-News February 14, 2011

 

 

Late-Term Abortionist Could Face Death Penalty
 

Prosecutors in Pennsylvania are debating whether to seek the death penalty against Kermit Gosnell, the abortionist who is charged in the deaths of a female patient, and seven babies who were apparent victims of infanticide.

 

Gosnell was indicted by a federal grand jury for late-term abortions he performed at his "Family Medical Society" clinic in Philadelphia.  Gosnell is accused of delivering children in the sixth, seventh, and eighth months of pregnancy, and then killing them by slicing the backs of their necks with scissors and severing their spinal cords.

 

Common Pleas Court Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes has denied Gosnell's request for a public defender.  Judge Hughes concluded from court records that Gosnell has amassed considerable wealth through his abortion practice, and can afford his own attorney.

 

The grand jury report revealed that Gosnell was making approximately $1.8 million annually from his assembly-line late-term abortion business.  The grand jury discovered that Gosnell owns seventeen properties, including a $900,000 home in New Jersey.  Law enforcement authorities also found more than $240,000 in cash in Gosnell's Philadelphia home.

 

Judge Hughes has set an arraignment date of March 2nd for Gosnell and nine of his employees, who also face charges for their involvement in the late-term abortions.  The grand jury determined that Gosnell was using staff members with little to no medical training, including the 15 year-old daughter of his office manager, who was administering intravenous anesthesia.

 

Following his arrest, investigators found thoroughly gruesome and filthy conditions at Gosnell's clinic.  The remains of preborn children were found in milk jugs and cat-food containers, and the severed feet of aborted infants lined the walls in glass jars.  Furniture and flooring in the building were soiled and blood-stained, and the premises reeked of urine.

 

Detectives are now investigating allegations that Gosnell gained additional income by selling illegal prescriptions to drug addicts.  Despite his lucrative practice, Gosnell found it difficult to pay his taxes.  His outstanding tax debts to federal, state, and local authorities exceed $27,000.

 

Pennsylvania state legislators are holding hearings to determine why complaints concerning the horrific conditions at Gosnell's clinics went unanswered.  State health officials had not inspected the clinic since 1995, when abortion clinic inspections were suspended under the administration of pro-abortion Governor Tom Ridge.

 

 

 

 

Senator Blunt Promotes Life at Conception Law
 

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt has co-sponsored legislation designed to provide legal protection to preborn children from the moment of conception.

 

Known as the "Life at Conception Act (S.91)," the bill seeks to "implement equal protection for the right to life of each born and preborn human person."  The bill declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution in the 14th Amendment "is vested in each human being."  

 

The legislation defines human person and human being to include "every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including, but not limited to, the moment of fertilization, cloning, and other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being."

 

 The "equal protection" language of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution refers to persons "born or naturalized" in the United States.  The "Life at Conception Act" seeks to broaden that definition.

Blunt joined Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi and twelve other senators in sponsoring the proposal.

 

Senator Blunt just received favorable recognition from two pro-family groups for his votes as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Family Research Council Action and Focus on the Family's CitizenLink organization recently released their scorecard on the votes cast by members of the 111th Congress on pro-life and pro-family issues.

 

Blunt received a 93% rating, and fell short of 100% because of missing one rated vote.  Congressman Todd Akin received the "True Blue" award for voting correctly on every vote that was rated and scoring 100%.

 

Other Missouri Congressmen who received favorable ratings were:

Jo Ann Emerson - 93%; Blaine Luetkemeyer - 93%; Sam Graves - 87% (missed two votes because of family emergency); Ike Skelton - 62%. 

 

Congressmen William "Lacy" Clay, Russ Carnahan, and Emmanuel Cleaver each received scores of 0%.

 

 

Prayer Amendments Introduced in Missouri House and Senate

 

Legislation to protect the religious freedoms of Missourians has once again been filed in both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly.  The proposed amendment to Missouri's Constitution would ensure that citizens and schoolchildren have the right to pray and acknowledge God in public settings.

 

Representative Mike McGhee of Odesssa has again filed House Joint Resolution 2 in the Missouri House, and Senator Jack Goodman of Mt. Vernon has introduced Senate Joint Resolution 16 in the Missouri Senate.  The proposed religious liberty amendment, developed in large part by the Missouri Family Policy Council, has been endorsed for three straight years by the Missouri House, but died each time in the Missouri Senate.  

 

At the heart of the proposal is a provision guaranteeing the right of students in public schools to pray on a voluntary basis.  Students would be assured of the right to pray and acknowledge God so long as such expressions abide within the same parameters placed upon any other free speech under similar circumstances.  This section of the proposed constitutional amendment has been approved by the Missouri House for five straight years.

 

While the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that "state-sponsored prayer" (organized prayer led by school officials) is unconstitutional, the High Court has also declared that schools and other governmental bodies cannot infringe on the voluntary free exercise of religious speech in school settings.  Schools cannot engage in "viewpoint discrimination" by prohibiting speech based on its religious content.

 

Yet school officials across the country regularly suppress the religious values and voices of students based on a false understanding of the constitutional theory of the "separation of church and state."  Opponents of religious liberty such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation incorrectly argue that any and all references to God and religion must be banished from school premises.

 

The bills filed in the Misssouri House and Senate would also protect the privilege of students to express their beliefs about God and and their religious convictions in written and oral assignments without suffering discrimination based on the religious content of their work.  Students would also be protected from being forced to perform academic assignments or participate in educational presentations that violate their religious beliefs.

 

The joint resolutions also address the religious freedoms of all citizens to pray individually or corporately in any public setting, so long as such prayers do not result in disturbance of the peace, disruption of a public meeting, or impede public access on public property.  The legislation also safeguards the right of government officials to pray and acknowledge God in public buildings, and the privilege of government bodies to offer invocations before public meetings.

 

The Senate in the State of Hawaii recently suspended invocations before its daily legislative sessions due to the threat of a lawsuit from the ACLU.  Hawaii Senate officials buckled to the ACLU, despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the right of legislative bodies to "solemnize public proceedings" through invocations.  The Hawaii House of Representatives has decided to continue their practice of beginning sessions with an invocation.

 

In another recent case, a Superior Court Judge in New Jersey ordered the Point Pleasant Beach Borough Council to stop praying before its meetings.  The Council dropped its practice of praying the Lord's Prayer before meetings after a lawsuit from the ACLU.  The Council then adopted a new policy allowing each council member on a rotating basis to offer an extemporaneous prayer.  Judge Vincent Grasso also ruled that unconstitional, saying that offering prayers at governmental sessions "is contrary to the role of secular government."

 

Brett Harvey, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), says that our Founding Fathers didn't think so.  "As one of its first acts, the United States Congress hired a paid chaplain to give prayers and three days later, they settled on the final wording of the First Amendment.  So obviously Congress didn't feel that having a minister give a prayer violated the First Amendent."

 

Attacks on the religious heritage of our nation have now even been extended to symbols of the Christian religion.   The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the Mt. Soledad war memorial cross is an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.  The cross was erected in a San Diego public park in 1954 in honor of Korean War veterans.

That decision comes on the heels of a similar challenge to a cross erected by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in the Mojave National Preserve.

 

"Veterans are outraged over these cases,"says ADF senior counsel Joe Infranco.  "These federal courts have an extreme view of the establishment clause that amounts to hostility to religion.  Veterans should be allowed to honor heroes, many of whom gave their lives for this nation, in the manner they choose."

 

Jimmie Foster, national commander of the American Legion, agrees.  "The sanctity of this cross is about the right to honor our nation's veterans in a manner which the overwhelming majority supports.  The American Legion strongly believes the public has a right to protects its memorials."

 

The most egregious example of judicial hostility to religion occurred last spring when U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that the National Day of Prayer was an unconstitutional establishment of religion.  Congress passed a law in 1988 establishing the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer "on which the people of the United States may turn to
God in prayer and meditation..."  Crabb ruled that the sole purpose of the law is to "encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context."

 

These judicial rulings not only stand in contradiction to the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, they stand at odds with the clear sentiment of the American people.   A survey conducted last summer by the First Amendment Center found that 76% of the public support the designation of a National Day of Prayer.  75% of respondents believed that students should be able to offer a prayer or speak about their faith at public school events.  

 

We encourage you to contact your state legislators to urge their support for the proposed prayer amendment to the Missouri Constitution.

 

You can contact your State Representative to urge suppport for Representative McGhee's House Joint Resolution 2 by using the following link:

Missouri House

 

You can contact your State Senator to urge support for Senator Goodman's Senate Joint Resolution 16 by clicking this link:

Missouri Senate

 

If you do not know who your legislators are, you can obtain that information through this link:

Legislator Lookup

 

Please be praying for Representative McGhee and Senator Goodman.  Representative McGhee is one of Missouri's most charitable legislators. He has persevered in promoting the religious freedoms of Missourians despite repeated setbacks.  Senator Goodman is a man of extraordinary conscience and principle who will need to overcome the annual filibuster of this vital legislation.  We appreciate your continuing prayers for them. 

 

Joe's Signature 
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