The student leader of a pro-life club is fighting her Connecticut high school for the right to display life-size fetus models in the public school’s cafeteria.
Branford High School senior Samantha Bailey-Loomis, 17, says it’s unfair – other clubs are able to promote their views at lunchtime.
Bailey-Loomis founded the Students for Life club, which wants to display a model fetus for each month of pregnancy, but her principal says the display goes too far.
“When we asked our principal at our school if we can have this set up during lunch and have an opportunity for kids to come over and take a look at our display, he said no,” Bailey-Loomis told WWLP.
“He tells us that this topic in particular is too controversial to be talked about in public school,” she added.
She says other school clubs display information at lunch.
“They had information about what their club does and what they have done in the past and they have pictures and they have poster boards just like ours, except for with different content on it,” she said.
One Branford parent, Melissa Walkley, said she doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the fetus display.
“There is nothing wrong with it,” said Walkley. “I mean, I would let my kids see it. This is what a baby looks like as it’s growing in a mommy’s belly.”
She allowed her elementary-age children see the display.
“Just the life cycle of a baby, like you learn in school,” she said.
Both the principal and the superintendent of the school district declined to comment when contaced by WWLP.
So-called “crisis pregnancy centers” claim to offer support to young women facing tough choices, but a new campaign from NARAL Pro-Choice America reveals the rampant misinformation spread by CPCs. The centers, operated by right-wing activists, try to talk women out of using birth control and having abortions.
NARAL called on women to divulge their experiences at CPCs; one woman was told that college would be free if she had a baby. Another was told that her boyfriend would dump her if she had an abortion, and another woman was told that as a “native person,” she should be “more in tune with the natural world.”
In an undercover investigation of a Virginia CPC in August, one counselor was caught on tape spewing blatantly false information. She told a patient that birth control increases the risk of breast cancer by 48 percent, that birth control contains carcinogens, and that birth control causes an unintentional abortion if you become pregnant while taking it.
Despite spouting lie after lie, the counselor tried her hardest to convince the patient of her truthfulness. “I’m not lying to you, sweetie — why would I lie to you? I’m not asking you to give me anything here,” she said. “We’re a pregnancy health and education center.”
At one point, the counselor said, “If you’re not married, why are you having sex? That’s why you feel like you have to put these hormones in your body — the more you have sex, the more chance you have of getting pregnant … Confined to a marriage, of course, sex is expected — you believe in God, that’s the whole plan of God.”
NARAL has partnered with the Feminist Majority Foundation as well as college organizations to run a weeklong campaign exposing CPCs. “Women who seek information about their health-care options deserve honest information — not lies and scare tactics,” said NARAL president Ilyse Hogue. “'Crisis pregnancy centers' (CPCs) are fake clinics set up by anti-choice organizations with a mission to deceive and shame women to deter them considering abortion. “
Parents may want to shield their children’s eyes while driving down the streets of Albuquerque. Anti-abortion group Created Equal has started a new campaign to spread their cause, and is posting pictures of aborted fetuses on a moving “billboard” plastered to the side of a truck.
The group plans to drive this truck through the streets until the November 19 election to support a bill that would ban late-term abortions.
"If the photographic evidence of the injustice of abortion doesn't motive the pro-life vote, nothing will," said Mark Harrington, executive director of the group.
A similar measure was taken in June, when anti-abortion activist Bill Shaver drove his truck around with enlarged images of dead fetuses. He often parked near an abortion clinic in protest.
Said Shaver at the time, “This just shows what abortion is. It shows the reality of what abortion is. It also restores meaning to the word abortion."
"As far as late-term abortion is concerned, Albuquerque is the capital for the United States just because it's drawing people from all over the country," Shaver also said.
Kathy Foy, who was trying to find a place to park her car and eat lunch, was disgusted by the display. “I looked up and I saw that truck," she said. "It needs to stay between a woman and her doctor. It shouldn't be on a van on the street in a public place like this."
The latest moving billboard comes shortly after a campaign from Respect ABQ Women, an organization fighting the proposed ban. The group has released a video of a woman named Christie Brooks, who “found out her child would suffocate and die if she carried her pregnancy to term.” Brooks was then forced with the choice of terminating her pregnancy or undergoing labor, which would cause more suffering, and ultimately the death of her child.
Like Created Equal, Respect ABQ Women will be campaigning until the election has ended.
In a victory for abortion rights, the U.S. Supreme Court removed a major anti-abortion case from its docket Monday without any explanation.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling in the case of Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice struck down a ban on the use of an abortion drugs, like RU-486. The 2011 Law banned using any drug for the purpose of abortion if abortion is an off-label use.
Oklahoma justice’s said in December 2012 that the scope of the law is too broad and bans all medical abortions, including methods specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
The U.S. Supreme Court has made the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling final, officially invalidating the 2011 law.
The Supreme Court issued a one-line order Monday that the Oklahoma case was dismissed as "improvidently granted."
The dismissal sets a precedent in which the high court is not allow a state to ban an abortion procedure approved by the federal government.
The court will likely hear a major medication abortion case in the near future, as the fight for reproductive rights continues in Texas, whose laws are much stricter than Oklahoma’s.
Trick-or-treaters in Albuquerque, N.M., received a surprise with their Halloween candy: graphic anti-abortion cards with pictures of fetuses and phrases like “I am not a clump of cells.”
Candy bars were sandwiched between anti-abortion cards that read “53 million killed”; “I am a human being”; and “Am I not human?”
KRQE News 13 visited the woman who handed out the cards. While other homes were decorated for Halloween, her house was plastered with anti-abortion posters and paintings of fetuses across her windows. One read “Abortion is Homicide.”
She would not speak on camera, but she said she stood by her actions. She believes if people chose to ring her doorbell for candy, she has a right to share her beliefs with them.
“We just noticed these cards attached to certain candies and started pulling them off, and we were pretty shocked to see that kind of stuff targeted at kids,” said one parent, Frank Valdez. “They’re forcing an agenda on little kids, pretty much.”
"My gut reaction is anger because children should not be subjected to that kind of adult material," a neighbor said Friday.
The cards are from the Right to Life movement, but placing them in Halloween handouts is not a part of the local movement, reported KOB 4.
“No, it’s not our organization,” said Elisa Martinez, head of the local group Protect ABQ Women and Children, which is pushing for a late-term abortion ban on the ballot this month.
“Everything that we’re putting out is focused on this ordinance and passing the ordinance,” Martinez said Friday. “Whatever anyone else feels empowered to do, we’re not going to stop them.”
Though a federal court decided that part of the Texas law requiring doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital is unconstitutional Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz said he doesn’t accept the verdict.
"This law is constitutional and consistent with U.S. Supreme Court precedent protecting the life and health of the mother and child,” Cruz said “I hope the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will uphold Texas' reasonable law."
Cruz insisted that the law protected the health of women and their unborn children.
Texas attorney general Greg Abbott and Gov. Rick Perry have also taken stances against the decision.
Abbot promised to appeal the case to the Fifth Circuit Court, and said he would be unsurprised if the case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Perry said the decision would not hinder Texas in protecting women from so-called abortion mill horror stories. The governor promised that Texas would fight to enforce laws passed by elected officials and that reflect the values of the state.
In opposition to Cruz’s opinions, President of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards called the verdict a victory for Texas women, noting that the law itself had been unconstitutional and not the dismissal of it.
Senate Republicans quietly passed HB 695 on Tuesday, an anti-abortion omnibus bill that was available to the public only 90 minutes before it was passed.
The bill, which started as a Sharia Law ban, is what critics call a TRAP law or a targeted regulation of abortion providers.
“It seems to me that they’re trying to pass under cover of darkness legislation that would not otherwise be passed,” said NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina executive director Suzanne Buckley. “They’re trying to pull a Texas.”
In an attempt to perhaps neutralize the bill’s angering effects, lawmakers renamed the bill “Family, Faith, and Freedom Protection Act of 2013,” as if the legislation had some amiable intention.
Like many other Republican-sponsored anti-abortion bills that passed this week, HB 695 would require physicians to be in the room and observe any patient who underwent a surgical or medical abortion. Proponents of the bill say the requirement would exist to protect patients from unlicensed physicians.
Opponents of the mandate say it could make abortion services nearly impossible considering some medical abortion take two separate visits to perform. Women with limited time and financial resources and those who must travel long distances to obtain an abortion would especially be affected.
Melissa Reed of the North Carolina Planned Parenthood criticized the unusually strict requirement, which does not apply to similar non-abortion related medical procedures.
The bill would also ban sex-selective abortion and require clinics performing abortions to meet the requirements of an ambulatory surgical center.
The final Senate vote is scheduled for Wednesday.